14 December 2009

from the local yarn shop...

Took a visit to the local yarn shop, Mustard Seeds & Dreams, the other day and picked up some goodies. I was amazed at the selection of colors and fibers... all so beautiful. It was hard to stop myself at three skeins... but my hubby was there with me... the voice of reason, I guess...

New yarns! (DSC02266)

This is one is an 80% Mohair • 20% Acrylic blend by Kraemer Yarns. I am currently making a lace-type scarf for my mother-in-law for Christmas. It is more of a green... the photo doesn't quite do it justice...
Mohair/Acrylic Blend (DSC02271)

This one is a painted 50% Llama • 50% Wool blend by Cascade Yarns. This hank is destined to become a scarf for my sister-in-law for Christmas... which is really right around the corner (I better get started, huh)...
Llama/Wool blend (DSC02270)

This one is for me... it is a 79% Wool • 21% Linen blend by Cascade Yarns. I haven't quite decided what I will make with this one... probably a scarf... it is cold and I am loving scarves...
Wool/Linen Blend (DSC02277)

19 October 2009

National Chemistry Week...

Enjoy...
flames

liquid_nitrogen

whoosh_bottle

glowing_pumpkin

18 October 2009

still here...

I am sad to see that October is already nearing its end. School has proved to require much more time than anticipated this semester, and I cannot seem to find any time for hobbies. Between 12 credit hours (all undergrad and graduate chemistry courses), teaching 2 general chemistry labs, grading for a professor once a week, research, and planning our Chemistry Club's National Chemistry Week events I am surprised my head is still above water... though just barely... and kind of sleep deprived as a result.

I call this one the Bible of Organic Chemistry... 

The Bible of Organic Chemistry (DSC02120)

It is not crochet related, but I am going to post some cool chemistry demo photos tomorrow to kick off National Chemistry Week 2009...


23 September 2009

05 September 2009

at the fair...

Had a great time at the state fair today! My hubby and I like to go every year... I guess it is a tradition... and we met up with some of my family there, which was nice. We had our usual pronto pup corn dog, tigers ear scone, Chinese rice bowl, and lemonade slush... nom nom...
I especially love to walk around to see all the exhibits... saw an old Zassenhaus coffee grinder in the antiques, some 'awwww' baby photos in the photography, and lots of floppy-eared bunnies. I was quite disappointed by how small the crochet exhibit was... I almost missed it since there were so few entries. I think next year I am going to enter something, and I have a whole year to figure out what...
The best part of the fair was the petting zoo... oh my heck, I love the alpacas and there were the cutest little 7 day old pigs... :)

I want one! ...
this one is my favorite (IMG_0020)

alpaca buddies (IMG_0021)

nom nom alpaca (IMG_0018)

29 August 2009

gar... broken hook...

Ever used a plastic crochet hook?
A few weeks ago I picked up a set of the Susan Bates plastic crochet hooks, and even though they seemed a bit flimsy, I liked how they felt in my hand and how the yarn slid across the hooks. Today I was just tinkering around with an amigurumi and the head of my size H hook just snapped clean off! I guess I should have seen that one coming...

plastic hooks break easy (DSC02035)

broken hook (DSC02033)

I think I'll reserve the rest of my plastic hooks for looser stitch projects...

27 August 2009

mmmm... coffee...

Coffee... the home-roasting experience...

action shot...
action shot! (DSC01960)

fresh coffee... one of the best aromas and tastes for sure...
fresh roasted beans (DSC01961)

24 August 2009

I come in peace...

Alpha the amigurumi martian (DSC02026)

Here is Alpha... a sweet little martian looking for new friends...
The pattern will soon be available here on my blog as a free pdf download. Happy face... I love him :)

22 August 2009

corks...

I ordered some wine corks from the net about a week ago and they came in the mail yesterday... [ebay is wonderful]. My hubby split them into halves so we can make a cork board for our office.

wine corks (DSC02015)

19 August 2009

in pieces...

put me together, pretty please...

martian amigurumi all in pieces (DSC02008)

14 August 2009

published continued...

Here is my harmonic oscillator demo that was published to the Wolfram Demonstrations project...

"Energy and Position Relationships in Simple Harmonic Motion" from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project

13 August 2009

published...

Yes... I have published! I am so thrilled that both of my demos were published to the Wolfram Demonstrations Project. I'm waiting for the harmonic oscillator demo to be updated, so here is just the spectroscopy demo for now...

"Rovibronic Infrared Spectrum of a Rigid Diatomic Rotor" from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project

10 August 2009

yet another comfy crochet hook...

Here is another comfy hook... I went with a different design for this one with a much larger diameter, and I have decided it is even more comfortable this way. I also sanded this handle grip, while wet, with 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper. This really smoothed the surface and gave it a slight sheen.

front...
another handle grip (DSC01965)

back...
back of handle grip (DSC01969)

whoa... zoom... I molded indents for fingerplacement...
moldings for finger placement (DSC01970)

hook in hand... nice fit!
hook in hand (DSC01972)

07 August 2009

they say patience is a virtue...

As of yesterday, I submitted two demonstrations to the Wolfram Demonstrations project... one about simple harmonic oscillators and another that simulates rovibronic infrared spectra of rigid diatomic rotors. This is really the first milestone of my chemistry graduate work... a culmination of about six months of work since I had to learn a new program to develop these demos. I am super anxious to hear back from Wolfram as to whether they will be published or not... and now it's the weekend so I have to wait even longer. Hopefully I will hear back early next week. I did find a neat demo on the site that produces some really amazing patterns... I am currently using one as my desktop background.

Moiré pattern

"Super Moiré Patterns" from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project

These patterns are produced by superimposing rotated screens of parallel lines. The Mathematica player needed to play around with the patterns and other demos is available as a free download on the site.
Well, off to the store... the xbox just died...

04 August 2009

comfy hooks...

comfy handle grip (DSC01953)

handle grip close up (DSC01954)

Now that's more like it!
Making tight stitches can really wear on my hooking hand... so to make my smaller crochet hooks more comfortable, I have started to mold polymer clay into a handle grip. This method is ideal because I can increase the diameter of the handle to the size and shape that feels most comfortable and make it more eye catching... transforming any old hook into a hook made just for me... ergonomic... just the right look and fit.

If you want to give this a try here is what to do...
  • preheat oven to 275 °F (135 °C)
  • work the polymer clay (I use Sculpey III) until it is soft
  • mold the clay around the handle of your crochet hook into a shape that fits your hand the best
  • place hook on an oven-safe glass dish and bake 15 minutes for every 0.25" (~6mm) of clay
  • remove from oven and allow to cool
  • enjoy the comfiness and crochet to your heart's content

03 August 2009

pattern almost done...

slow shutter 2 (DSC01326)
Geez, time sure flies... I thought I would have finished designing my first pattern by now. Oh well, it is almost done. He is a sweet little amigurumi martian... still trying to think of the perfect name for him. So the first mock up is done. I decided last night to make it a second time, you know, to work out any kinks and maybe try a different color combination. Super cute, though, and I am really happy with how he looks so far. I can't wait to share...

30 July 2009

yarn barf...

I lightly tug on the yarn end peeking out from the center of the skein and feel some resistance... uh oh, I pull harder and....
blech... yarn barf... all over my lap.

I just loathe the notorious yarn barf, especially when I am itching to get my hook around a new strand of fiber. This seems to be a common problem and, for me, quite a nuisance... winding the mess into a ball and the sometimes laborious unknotting and untangling. Though this most recent incident was by no means the worst I have experienced... imagine skeins spilling their guts so badly that only a thin outer shell remains... this was not the first and likely will not be the last. What to do... what to do... I think I will have to visit my trusty friend Google to see if there are any tricks out there to avoid the yarn barf...

29 July 2009

crochet Journey...

Wow, what a great weekend... I know it is Wednesday but technically my week started yesterday. Anyways, I traveled to Boise, Idaho to spend some time with my brother and we went to the Journey and Heart concert... it was absolutely fabulous! Journey is one of my favorite bands and it was a remarkable experience to see them live. Tell you what, I could not stop smiling and, oh, I got a sweet t-shirt (see the photo above).
Having taken a brief weekend hiatus from all my crochet projects, it is time to return to my crochet journey. Here's a preview of what is coming... purses and amigurumi...

comments enabled...

I just realized today that even though I enabled comments when setting up my blog... for reasons unknown to me... people were still unable to leave me their own two cents. Well that problem is now solved and the comment form is embedded with every post. Just click on the comments link below the post and let me know what is on your mind...

23 July 2009

confessions of a yarnaholic...

Hello... my name is Whitney... and I am a yarnaholic.
I have been lovingly asked to address this issue and informed that I cannot buy another skein until 50% of my collection has been used, and not a skein sooner... and what did I do today... bought 3 hanks of hand painted wool. "I... I... I just couldn't help myself, they were so beautiful" said I to my hubby, all while making my best pouty face.
Yarn... so many different kinds, all so full of potential. I love the look, the feel, the menagerie of colors, and sometimes even the smell; so many different choices that the eyes cannot take it all in at once. Needless to say, over the years I seem to have accumulated quite a bit of yarn... yarn gathering dust from all those neglected projects, scraps (I am no stranger to the term "pack-rat"), random skeins I just had to have for the unique color or texture, others left behind from overestimating the needs of a project, and a staggering amount of clearance novelty yarn. And when I mean staggering, I am not exaggerating... but at $0.25 a ball, how could I pass that up, right?
Just today I finished organizing my yarn smorgasbord, filling two large plastic totes and the inside of my craft ottoman... but even with this large surplus I found myself only being able to part with a couple skeins. Well I call that progress, and after running my hands across each lonely skein, project ideas rapidly moving through my mind's eye, I look towards the future... excited and eager to delve into my heap and hook my next skein of yarn...

Joey wants to keep all the yarn for himself...















comfy...

20 July 2009

ouch!

one word... ouch! I spent most of last night finishing a purse and starting an amigurumi toy for my dog, Joey. Both projects consist of very tight stitches, and boy do my fingers hurt. I think I will have to mod my small hooks tonight to make them more comfortable...

19 July 2009

first time for everything...

Ever since I set up my blog, I have been scouring the net for a blog background that suited my tastes. Needless to say, my searches were fruitless. What's a girl to do but to do it herself. So last night was my first attempt at Gimp (basically a free version of Photoshop), and the end result... my blog background! I spent 6.5 hours on this last night, a couple more this morning, and that's not even considering the hours spent looking for the perfect picture for inspiration... speaking of, I would like to thank Corrine Papier @ {Papier Pieces} for the great striped background paper from her Thinstriped paper package. It was just what I was looking for with the woven appearance. She certainly has some unique digital paper, definitely check her out. Well, it was a lot of fun working on this (with some help from my hubby, who is more versed in photoshop than I), and I am for sure going to make some new ones... :)

17 July 2009

amigu... what?

I recently stumbled across amigurumi... so adorable, by the way. Check out this link and you'll see what I mean -
I usually just crochet afghans, baby blankets, and the occasional purse, so I'm quite excited to try out something new. But rather than using a pattern, I am attempting to come up with my own so I can share it here on my blog and make a how-to video. My sister is going to have a baby in January, so I think I will start there and make some baby toys... a teddy bear maybe...

16 July 2009

in the works...

So I have set up a YouTube account... yes, that's right, how-to videos! There isn't anything there yet, but hopefully soon. I am studying for the GRE at present... meh... so it may be slow coming, but watch for it because it is coming.
Here's the link -

15 July 2009

my first blog post ever...

So I finally started a blog, something I've been thinking about doing for a while now. My husband has been enjoying his website/blog, so I decided it was time to blog about something I enjoy... crochet.
I consider this venture as a way to connect with people and motivate myself to try new things. So yes, this is The Crochet Cafe, but there will be more than crochet here. This is a new creative outlet for me... oh so many possibilities.