Fair Isle Sweaters (part 1) and the Devil


Just as a feeble, juvenile caterpillar emerges from its homey cocoon, metamorphosed into an ever more elegant being, mature in stature and character and with nature’s art pressed precisely upon its wings, so have I, after several months… decided to write again after studying for my MCAT.  I know, lame excuse and a completely inaccurate juxtaposition, but that’s all I got.

For the past four months or so I’ve essentially closed myself off to the outside world in preparation of this daunting test, and I’ve purposely staved off this blog as a measure of discipline, because I knew if I started writing I wouldn’t stop, and then knitting would literally be the downfall of my (future) career.  But seeing as today is the day before my exam, and everyone recommends to take this day to relax and alleviate any nerves building up, I’ve decided to indulge myself with every vice imaginable, including writing this MCAT eve post!

***Water coming out of a shower head causes the air on one side of the shower curtain to move uniformly and relatively faster compared to the other side.  This increase in air velocity, in accordance with Bernoulli’s principle, corresponds to a decrease in air pressure, explaining the phenomenon of why shower curtains always blow inward, towards the water.  This also explains how planes fly.

Although I’d suspended my blogging, I found it impossible to stop knitting.  My fingers just felt lazy and dumb without a proper thread wrapped around them.  Fortunately, I’ve had a huge project to work on that’s lasted me almost 5 months now:


It’s a fair isle sweater!  I spent a good two weeks trying to determine whether or not I was skilled enough to even attempt such a thing, but when my friend asked me to make her one, I just thought it had to be fate and decided to give it a go!  However, not only is this my first fair isle sweater attempt, but it’s also an original pattern of mine! (Sorry, three ! in a row.  I’ll try to stop!  Whoops, I mean, I’ll try to stop.)  Now, I’ve never designed something as elaborate as a sweater before, so I wasn’t quite sure where to start.  I did know that architects usually start a house by drawing it all out on paper using a lot of numbers for dimensions, and since this sweater is a house of sorts (a house for the… bosom?), I decided to pretend to be an arknitect for a couple hours and try my hand at drawing up some schemaknits.



IMG_1377These were the basic motifs I wanted, and I had an idea of a template sweater stitch count, so most of the work was spent trying to find the least common denominator for all the different patterns.  Oh yeah, and straight lines.  I spent a lot of time making really nice straight lines because it made me feel like a legit knitter (legitter?).  Finally, after I determined the size of each pattern and how many times it would repeat, I made a drawn (roughly) to scale sweater so I could compare what I made with my plan each step of the way.  Here’s everything put together:

IMG_1376Sometimes I like to think that this is what Michelangelo did before painting the Sistine Chapel, or what Martha Stewart does before she turns a cardboard box into an oven (no lie).

And for those of you comparing my drawings with my actual sweater, don’t bother.  I changed the pattern as I went along, because I learned that fair isle knitting with more than two colors is very very hard.  You have to be able to carry multiple strands with the same tension the entire way, and it was just more than my own two hands could handle.  Perhaps future projects will show more variety.  On the plus side, all of this fair isle knitting has taught me to knit western and continental style fluently (for you knokn-knitters out there, that’s comparable to being able to write with both hands at the same time.  kind of.), which has always been a secret (as it should be) dream of mine!

As most of you have noticed from my pictures and the suggestive title, this sweater is still a work in progress.  Apparently, the city of San Francisco is suffering a shortage of Berocco Vintage yarn no. 5112 (not nearly as bad as the Karabella cashmere crash of ’94, but reminiscent of the Lorna’s Laces DK drought of ’05), forcing me to a halt until stores get restocked.  But rest assured, as soon as I get my hands on that yarn, I’ll finish up this sweater and have more complete pictures for all of you, maybe even with someone wearing it!

***The two common types of treatment for HIV are nucleoside analogs (e.g. 3TC), which prevent viral genome replication, thus lowering viral genome concentrations in the plasma, and protease inhibitors (e.g. indinavir), which block the cleavage of necessary viral proteins.

To tell you the truth, me running out of yarn was actually the best thing for me.  I’d go even so far as to say that it was divine intervention by God to keep me focused on the task at hand.  You see, about a month ago, I started to get really tired of studying and could tell that apathy was creeping over me.  And in that period of weakness, I could see the Devil’s work all around me, turning seemingly innocuous things into worldly temptations.  But just as Jesus denied Satan three times in his isolation in the wilderness, I, too, denied (well, it was more like “not yet”) him on, well, several different occasions.  And I wasn’t really isolated, either, but, um, you get the picture.  Wow, these analogies are hard.

In any case, the following are the ways in which the Devil attempted to steer me off the straight and narrow in the passing weeks.  It is important to remember that I say these things not to attest to the power of evil, whose very acknowledgement contributes to the furthering of its agenda, but to warn others of the possible forms in which evil’s work may come.  And for those who read what comes next without a guarded heart and mind, may God have mercy on your soul.

1. Candy Crush

Seriously, anyone who’s had anything worth doing will tell you that this game makes a 5 minute task take an hour.  Often times in my own studies I would forego another physics passage just to try again to clear all the jelly in 15 moves (impossible, right?!).  But the genius in its allure isn’t that it’s a stress-free version of Bejeweled or that you can compare your level with Facebook friends; it’s the fact that the combination of different bonuses are so gratifying that you can’t get enough.  For example, one stripey will clear either a row or column, but swapping two stripeys will clear both the row and the column of intersection.  What’s even better is the wrapped candy, which, when swapped with a stripey, will create a STRIPEY (read as: mega stripey) which clears several rows and columns.  Think that’s it?  Think again.  Swap a chocolate ball and stripey you turn all of that type of candy into stripeys, crushing rows and columns all over the place, and swap a chocolate ball with a wrapped candy and you get this huge bomb like things that can wipe out an entire quadrant.  One time, I had a dream that I swapped two chocolate balls, and the effect of the combination was so powerful that it woke me up.

Anyway, bottom line: Candy Crush is the ultimate efficiency killer.  I’m not sure where they designed those shiny little jellies, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be serving them in Hell.

2. Extroverts

Okay, this may be more specific to MCAT studying, which usually occurs in one’s early to mid 20’s and involves several hours of isolated studying, but there’s nothing that can keep you from studying more than when your extroverted friend texts you, asking to hang out.  And you think you can do it just this once and it won’t seriously impact you all that much, right?  WRONG.  You go hang out with your extrovert friend one night, and for you, that’s enough for a week or so.  But for them, they want more, and now that you’ve hung out with them once, they’ll think you can go out all the time, so they keep texting and calling, guilt tripping you and making you feel like a recluse for rejecting their invites.  But stay strong, for the Lord is with you, and I’m pretty sure Satan was an E… STP.

3. Videos like this

After I realized almost every act of every talent show across the world was on Youtube, I found myself searching: “singing emotional inspirational audition” (one of the lower points in my life).  That’s when I knew the Devil had me right where he wanted me.  But c’mon, how is she not amazing?

***In circular motion, the primary force one feels is directed inward (i.e. centripetal force).  The force one feels pushing outward (i.e. centrifugal force) is non-existent, and arises from a mass continually resisting a changing acceleration.

Truthfully, major studying is probably best done alone.  I used to think I could be like Akeelah and the Bee and have random people on the street quiz me on my way to work, but sadly, the real world isn’t like that, and Laurence Fishburne isn’t my study coach/father figure.  Nope, good ‘ol fashion hard work and discipline at the cost of social wellness seems to be the best method as of yet.  So, for those of you in the thick of studying, stop reading my blog and get back to work.  Oh yeah, I also wish you the best of luck, and I’ll see you on the other side.

***If stranded at sea with nothing to eat or drink, the best way to hydrate oneself is to perform an enema, forcing sea water up the rectum and into the large intestines.  Unlike the small intestines, the large intestines will absorb water, but not salt.  Drinking the sea water will result in death by dehydration.


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