Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Knitting Backlog

Anybody out there remember taking pictures on film?  And getting them back from the developer weeks later?  And then throwing them into a box promising you'd put them in albums Real Soon Now?  And opening said box to do it and realizing you haven't been putting this off for 2 or 3 years, or even 4 or 5 years, but more like 18?    Yeah.  Me too.

So, even though it took me the better part of 4 months to get all my vacation pics posted, really, I've improved.  And I love having done it- going back and reading over my old trips and seeing the pictures again brings back all the fun we had.   But the actual doing of it is still subject to some procrastination.  And what do I do when I'm procrastinating?

Read, yep.  Play games, check.  Clean the house...um, well, sometimes.  But mostly I knit.   So there's a whole pile of finished knitting to show off (and really the desire to show it off helps push me to get the other blog stuff done, so it's all good.

I finished (and finally blocked) the Nutkin socks I left behind when I went to Scotland (the ones I started in Scotland haven't moved much- I'm a little socked-out, plus, the yarn is too dark to easily work with in many of my frequent knitting locations.
(Note to self, get a better picture of those.  The new camera and I are still getting to know each other.)

There's the Noro silk garden shawl.  I did some shopping last weekend looking for a shawl pin for it and finally went to Etsy, but it hasn't arrived yet.  This is destined to be a Christmas present (for someone who doesn't read my blog, obviously).


I even got to use my new blocking pads and wires.  Though I'm definitely going to need a second set of the interlocking blocks- one set barely handles a medium shawl.  And the big slab of styrofoam suffered a cat-astrophic failure and had to be thrown out.

There's the long pastel vest, which I've actually knit the full length of, but it's been waiting for me to make a decision on the edging.  (It looks the same as the last time you saw it, only longer.)  I've made and discarded a zillion plans but I've got to try something.  So, I have picked a pattern.  And will start working on it again Real Soon Now.

There are hats- I wanted to use up the bulky yarn left from the last sweater I made my husband, as it would go quickly and free up some space.   So, the plain hat.

The slouchy hat.

The Thorpe hat.

The Unoriginalish Hat (since the yarn was bulky and not super-bulky I added a pattern repeat and added another half-repetition of the chart by starting halfway through and knitting the half-plus two more chart repeats to get the right length before doing the decreases).

And I'm finally out of that yarn.

Next, I had this giant skein of angora-like novelty yarn.  I tried a couple of things, but nothing seemed to suit it until one of my knitting group suggested big, big needles.  No, even bigger needles.  So- this may be the first plain garter stitch scarf I've ever made.  I actually wound up kind of liking it, though it's not really my style, so it's going into the gift bin.

Then my husband and I settled in to watch the new Ken Burns miniseries on the Roosevelts- fabulous! Great stuff.  I needed simple knitting for that, so I made some mittens.

And some more mittens.

And even more mittens.

And finally a colorwork hat, because I've got a ton of sport weight yarn that needs using, and hey, colorwork.  Totally addictive.  I get withdrawal symptoms if don't do it for too long.

And that brings you pretty much up to date on my life.  Busy, eh?   Biscuit is just exhausted with all the supervising he's had to do.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PS: The Slideshow

Looking for just the pretty pictures, without all my babbling?  Look no more.  Here's a massive slideshow of the whole trip in pictures:
rfholly's EnglandScotland2014 album on Photobucket

Friday, October 24, 2014

Day 16: The Royal Society

Our last Saturday in London, we went to see the Royal Society's summer science show.  Founded in 1660, the Royal Society has been a center for the exchange of scientific knowledge and promotion of science for centuries.   And every summer, they invite researchers to present their work to the public. We scheduled our trip, in part so we could attend.  And it was fascinating.  We spent a good chunk of the day wandering around, looking at the displays and chatting with the researchers.

What sort of exhibits were they?  Well:

  • The University of East Anglia is doing research into leaf-cutter ants.  The leaf-cutter ant does not cut leaves to eat, it cuts leaves and uses them to farm fungi, which it then eats.  The ants produce a number of compounds in their bodies that help them to encourage useful fungi and discourage unuseful ones.  Some of those compounds are known antibiotics.  But the ones that aren't- those have the potential to generate entirely new classes of useful drugs.  So the researchers are isolating, analyzing and testing these compounds to see what they can do.  
  • Another group is working on interactions of bacteria in our guts with the immune system.  This has enormous potential for the treatment of conditions like colitis and IBS.  
  • The police academy in presented research on accident investigation and analysis. 
  • A presentation on research into use of ionic liquids for treating polution (ionic liquids tend to be short-lived compounds but can be extremely effective solvents. 
  • A bio-medical imaging study that turns tissue transparent so it can better be analyzed (right now, it's limited to dead tissue, but they're working on doing it with living tissue). 
  • The Rosetta mission to land a probe on a comet.  They expect to catch up with the target comet in November- I'm quite keen to see what happens.
  • Use of proton beams to treat cancer (they have lower energy than the typical radiation therapy and can be used with less damage to healthy tissue). 
  • 3D laser imaging being used to map and analyze the possible movements of dinosaurs. 
  • Software to make 3D images using 2D cameras. 
  • Smart wing design
  • Using ultrasonic waves to levitate small items, locate flaws in solid objects, and provide tactile feedback for use in virtual control devices.  

I can't begin to do the coolness if it all justice.  Do check out the show site.  The early 21st century is  just an amazing time and place to be alive.

Views from the Royal Society terrace