firstfrost: (knit)
Finished this for [personal profile] marleigh. It's someone else's edit of a sweater that appeared on Ravelry, replacing the paper dolls in the original with Totoros. The yarn is interesting - two sorts of British sheep plus alpaca. So it has the sort of fluffy-soft lofty alpaca feel, but with an underlying strength from the wool. Very nice for petting, and quite light.

firstfrost: (knit)
Hey, I can use sock yarn doubled for baby sweaters!    First bonus: it's a reasonably hard wearing and washable but still comfy.  Second bonus: I collect way too much sock yarn and this uses stash instead of buying new yarn.

I still miss Windsor Button for final button-picking - etsy has a lot of lovely buttons, but trying to figure out what will match is a lot more speculative.

firstfrost: (Default)
The week before last,[personal profile] fearless_prime ,[personal profile] marleigh ,[personal profile] fredrikegerman ,[personal profile] desireearmfeldt  and I went on a Mad Boat Trip in the Netherlands.   They let you just rent a boat and drive it around their rivers and canals, with a bare minimum of training in How To Drive A Boat. 

Subtitle: Things Not To Be Stuck In Next Time In The Netherlands:

  • A lock
  • The mud
  • Heathrow
  • Phone trees
It was a different sort of vacation than any previous big travel, in that, while there were some visits to Places of Note (the Musical Clock museum in Utrecht, the Gouda cheese market), most of the enjoyment came from being on a boat while scenery went past, and stopping in random places to have tasty food (including the ubiquitous mayonnaise on french fries, which I am a fan of).  It wasn't always as restful as I might have wanted, as navigation and logistics (my main job) was a little stressful, and the boat driving platform was often hot and sunny, but it was a fascinating adventure.     I'll post a link to more detailed notes and pictures when I finish annotating them, for those who like looking at people's vacation slides, but in the meantime, a picture of the boat going through Oudewater.


Boating through Oudewater
firstfrost: (Default)
I went with [personal profile] tirinian last night to see Barnum (Moonbox Productions, at the Calderwood).   It was well done - the singers are strong, the acting exuberant, Barnum and Charity have very nice chemistry, the clowns/dancers are very nice. 

Barnum is the first musical I ever really imprinted on.  I think it's that I read a review of a performance in DC when I was in high school, and bought the record?   I know all the words, my sister and I can sing the brick song together...  but I'd never actually seen it before.    In one of the last songs, when Bailey is trying to convince the now-tired Barnum to team up with him in the song of "Join the Circus", once Barnum is convinced, he says "All right, damn it, why don't we leave it to the fates?  Heads it's yes, tails it's no" and flips a coin.   That moment has always appalled me - I've never even been a believer in the trick of "flip a coin and while it's in the air, notice which one you are hoping comes up."    But - in the show, it's a coin that has appeared before, and the audience knows it's two-headed. It just hasn't appeared in a song before, so I never knew. 

But, alas, the middle Black and White section - that feels so very different now.  I did always feel a little bit bad for the people who work at the clockwork that Barnum runs into the ground.   But the election, oh, the election.   He tries to run as a facts-based candidate - talking about suffrage and budgets and the need for taxes... and he is too boring.  He is losing.   "You gotta let me bring some color into this campaign or they’ll beat me."    So he brings color in, goes back to being the Prince of Humbug and Flimflam, and he wins.  Ouch. 

It's not the same as the Suck Fairy, which sometimes visits books you read as a kid and magically turns them awful when you read them again.  (There is a whole section of the internet devoted to people rediscovering Piers Anthony that way.)    The art isn't any different, but the world has changed.  
firstfrost: (Default)
Blue-black knitted cabled hat A Christmas hat for Brian. Jared Flood makes very nice hat designs; here, the cabling deals well with the decreases in a way that many don't. The yarn is one of the Sundara yarns I got when I subscribed to their yarn party for a year, a silk/merino blend. Fun to work with, and nicely soft.
Brown hat with ear flaps and swirly colorwork Another Christmas hat, this one for Jan. He made the mistake of admiring a previous hat in this pattern, so I put it on the list for later. By the time I made it, I think he had forgotten. Oh well. :) Also, it came out a little large; the last one came out a little tight, so I tried to size it up, but it sized a little too up. Also oh well.
Dark blue socks with ruffled cuffsThe ruffles were a little tedious to put together and weave all the ends in, but they came out really cute. I also am very fond of the colorway - dark blue overall but with jewel toned color.Close-up of color work
Striped yellow socksThe yarn is from White Birch Fiber Arts, one of my favorite etsy yarn dyers. The pattern is "Bow Ties are Cool", and I did it completely wrong nearly all the way to the heel ("kb" meant "knit below" rather than "knit back"). Rather than rip back, I unraveled one column of stitches at a time and picked them back up with a crochet hook - tedious, but less frustrating than doing the whole leg again (especially when knitting two at a time).
Blue-brown socks with a tilted cable patternMaelstrom! There were a couple of places where the pattern wanted to rotate on the needles, which is always a pain in the neck for knitting two at a time, but I think I have the hang of it finally.


Finally, a whole bunch of pussy hats. The last handful of them I traded for donations to the National Center for Trans Equality, but once spring came and winter hats were less necessary, I've moved to other projects. (But the offer still stands, if you wanted a hat and never got one.)

three pussy hats two pink pussy hats three pink pussy hats One pink pussy hat with a "nc" Non-Compliant logo in black Two light pink pussy hats, one with black stripes Two dark pink pussy hats, one with light pink trinity stitches Two pink pussy hats, one with dark pink trinity stitches and one in three-color tweed A hot pink pussy hat with "love is..." in black Three pink pussy hats in various textured patterns Three pussy hats, one light pink with dark pink stripes, two dark pink with light pink embellishments
firstfrost: (Default)
I'm switching to post at https://firstfrost.dreamwidth.org/ now that my previous posts have been imported. Not that I post very much any more, but I have some new knitting pictures to put up, at least, and some book reviews I have been failing to write for a little too long now.

I think I did the setting correctly that says that if you're my friend here, you can use your LJ account to be my friend there - but my posts are pretty much all public, so even if that weren't true, you'd still be able to see things there.

I have, however, definitely missed subscribing/authorizing a lot of people's accounts there. Working on that.
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Huh. It's orange-themed.

firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
I'm getting close to done with the recent Big Project of Doom, but I got digressed by a couple of Very Small Projects.
(Huh, I can stop outsourcing my images?  Keen!   Nope, it doesn't seem to like embedding more than one image.)

Two "kawaii potatoes" for my niece.   The brown one was first, before I realized that kawaii potatoes are definitionally pink, so I made it potato-colored.   The second one was after I was (very politely) informed that I had done it wrong. :)   Then there was apparently some angst over the idea that she might have to choose between them.   Because, you know, I have so many other people clamoring for kawaii potatoes.   (I shouldn't say that.  Last time it led to Octopus Wars).



Then a tea cozy (well, I guess that's not the official name) for [livejournal.com profile] shumashi. It's kind of slippy on the glass, but hopefully will be less so on paper.   (Those are leaves.  It looks pretty neat for the amount of easy it was.)

firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
This is the last of my extra-bonus-vacation knitting; back to normal output again now.
Pictures behind the cut )
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Monday, I became a SIPB member.  Tuesday, [livejournal.com profile] harrock and I both started at the New Job.   I like that these are next to each other like that; the New Job is probably more important in the greater scheme of day to day life, but SIPB membership means a lot to me too.  Leaving MIT was hard, and being welcomed into a different (and at this point friendlier) part of it made me very happy.

Okay, okay, "but what about the New Job", I hear you cry.  That's here: http://www.cmtelematics.com/
It's a Kendall Square startup doing a safe-driving app; Jerry is now their QA department, and I'm now their Technical Support department, more or less.  It's founded by two CSAIL professors and is full of people with brass rats; I like all the people, and it is doing A Single Thing, which is kind of novel compared to MIT.  Working at the same place as Jerry is also kind of novel, and interestingly providential.   They were pointed at me by a friend in common for the QA job; in my preliminary talking to them, I said something like "here's the sort of things I'm good at doing, which overlaps some with QA; I can probably figure out QA, but the person you really want is my husband."   ([livejournal.com profile] mjperson calls this Doing Interview Wrong.)   So I interviewed for real, and then Jerry interviewed, and they said "Well, you were right that the person we really want for the QA job is your husband, but we think we want one of you too".   So that worked out.

I did get a lot of knitting done in my Long Vacation, and a lot of books read, but those are traditionally separate posts.  I enjoyed flopping about more than I thought I would, but I am also enjoying being in the middle of a technical thing again.  (And there is a magical coffee machine! And snacks!)

Dreambird

Dec. 2nd, 2015 05:29 pm
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Another finished project!



I made this shawl a while ago for Heidi, and it was a fun pattern to play with, so I ended up picking up some more yarn to make another. Amusingly, the original was made from "sea silk" and this one is from "milk", both biosynthetics (though I guess sea silk has a lot of actual silk in it too, plus the biosynethic seacell). There are a lot of weird things people are making yarn out of nowadays.

cellulose:rayon
seaweed:seacell
casein:does not have a cute name yet? "milk protein yarn"
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Being on vacation involves a lot of knitting. :)





The sock pattern is "Smaug" - you can't see the cable very well here, but they have twining kind of serpentine cables, seen here. The pattern was very firmly three-needle, and I am very firmly two-circular, which led to some problems, and some accidental misreading led to some other problems, so I ended up ripping back more than I like to, but they worked out in the end. I've made socks with the wrapped stitches before, and it's a really nice effect to break up multicolor yarn, but it also works well for "dragon scales".

The cowl was a kit - they came in a bunch of color combinations all named for classic leading ladies - this one was Dorothy Lamour. Here's me attempting to model it. It's soft and warm and poofy and pretends to be mink, and would probably work well under a non-zipper coat. (I would not trust zippers to zip up over it). Is this anyone's One True Awesome Winter Cowl that they want?
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Finished two projects in my new vacation time! One small, one large:




The rainbow socks were a convenient travel project. They're worked two at a time from opposite ends of the yarn ball, so the stripes are actually reversed between socks, but you don't really notice unless you look closely, and even if you do look closely, you probably don't care.

The blue cable sweater took ALMOST EVERY SCRAP OF YARN that the pattern required. I had to switch to using leftover sock yarn to sew the sleeves in, though I probably should have done that for the whole sewing up instead of using sweater yarn, because it didn't hold up well to being used for sewing. It's a woolen-spun yarn, not worsted-spun, which means that instead of the fibers being mostly parallel, they're kind of jumbly. This makes it loftier and warmer than the corresponding weight of worsted yarn, but it also makes it a lot more fragile.

Off I Go

Oct. 23rd, 2015 09:55 am
firstfrost: (autumnleaf)
Some of you have already heard this, but I have resigned my position at IS&T at MIT, as of last Monday. I been associated with MIT for all of my adult life, and I have had this particular job for seventeen years, so it's kind of unsettling. Accounts was the perfect job for me, and I was good at it - for a long time I expected to work there forever, or at least until I died. More recently, I have been thinking that I would work there until it killed me, which is a little different. The recent reorg has done an excellent job of destroying all of Support ("Provider and Consumer Partnerships" but I can never remember that) by punting all the managers, crushing all morale in the entire organization, and inflicting I think well over 50% casualties at this point. There wasn't actually an Accounts in the post-reorg world, I had a different official position with a person's worth of work, plus the three people's worth of work that the Accounts queue was. But I was managing, and I had recruited a padawan and started training him up (which would have worked better if they hadn't kept putting him in the Call Center for six hours a day). Friday I was called to a meeting with grandboss and uberboss and HR "to address my unprofessional communications"; highlights included "you shouldn't ever make guesses about the cause of a problem when you're talking to a professor" and "you shouldn't point people to the Sloan help desk when they're the ones who can fix the problem" and "you shouldn't put it in writing to anyone when you think that this bug is breaking MIT's anti-discrimination policies and should be fixed". So I resigned, which seemed to surprise them; it appears that the plan was to use the evidence that I was not suited for a customer-facing role to pressure me into taking a different developer-y job, but they hadn't gotten to that part yet. (Only after I left did I hear some of the worse horror stories; my citations were reasonable by comparison).

So now the Accounts queue is kind of on fire (I hope nobody needs to hire any temps any time soon), and my unfortunate padawan is trying his best to be me, but I had spun up about three timelines on work and he only has the standard one. Okay, there's some mixed metaphor going on there, but I guess my original metaphor is what tripped me up. If he's the padawan, then I was Qui-Gon Jinn, and I was doomed to be taken out by Darth Maul working for Palpatine (and I know who they are!), and you all know where that story ends.

However, despite everything, I will always be grateful to my grandboss for allowing me to use my chosen exit line.

"Can I talk you into changing your mind and staying?"
"In the words of my people... Offer me money. Power too, promise me that. Offer me anything I want.... I WANT MY MANAGERS BACK, YOU SON OF A BITCH."
firstfrost: (knit)
Two entries in the category of "making things that sound cold to make [livejournal.com profile] mathhobbit grumble", these are Frozen fingerless gloves, for [livejournal.com profile] harrock to wear when Ingressing in the less-than-deep of winter, and Snow Dancer socks, probably for a Christmas present.



I've slacked off on posting for a while; a lot of my life has been eaten by the recent reorg Agile Transformation at work, which I'm sure those of you standing near me have heard quite a lot about already. A sad comment to Facebook about empty chairs and empty tables (I think we just hit "30% have quit", plus moves) apparently caused a cousin (who I haven't seen in decades) to call my mom in a panic. I like my new co-workers (especially including my padawan), but I miss the ones who have gone, and there are a bunch of Things that I just get bitter about. And it's kicked my workaholic impulses into overdrive, because my Stuff is Never Done. (More sensible people than me keep telling me to stop doing that, because it muddies the "we are falling behind" signal, but I hate hate hate having to be the person who left you waiting for three days while they didn't bother to answer your question...)
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