Sunday, December 07, 2014

Meetup in San Francisco?

I'm going to American Geophysical Unions Fall Meeting in San Francisco.  I fly in mid-day on Saturday, December 13.  The meeting starts on Monday, December 15.  That means I have 1.5 days to play in San Francisco.

Any one want to meet up for retail therapy?  Museum going?  Dining?  I'm up for almost anything reachable by public transit (or if you can drive).  I'm a returning SFBA native.  So, if you are also visiting for AGU, I can guide you to some of my favorite SF haunts.

I'm saving the weekend after the meeting for visiting with my family.  I'm bringing an extra-large suitcase to hold a poster tube and for treasures that have to come home with me.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Slow Sewing

There is so much going on in my life that interferes with my ability to sew. It will end someday and I will have a fantastic sewing space.  It's just going to be painful for the next 6 months.

 Since I took this photo, I've sewn the patterned duvet top together. There was just barely enough fabric so I had an excuse not to try to match the pattern.  The red African fabric has the irregular pattern characteristic of hand-printed fabric.  It would have driven me crazy to try to match the stripes.  (Remember my past experience with matching an African hand-printed fabric?)

 This weekend, I hope to find some time to make the button closure band and sew it to the cozy flannel backing.

I also hope to finish laying out my AGU poster and complete all sections except for formatting the references.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Are you going to AGU?

I should be working on my poster presentation.  But, I got hung up on some technical hurdles and further sidetracked by user questions.

Instead, I wrote up some user guidance documents that explains some things data users should understand so that they can use data appropriately and responsibly.  (This is the iceberg in big data.)
Go ahead, geek out!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

That's not what the scientists (and the data) said!

When I heard this press release and the subsequent news coverage, I knew something went terribly awry.  I didn't have time or energy to blog about it, but I am glad that Boulder Weekly decided to run Fact to Fiction, an in depth look at how this happened.
So how did a study designed to analyze traceable components of fracking fluid so potential contamination in groundwater could be identified get transformed into a headline that declared fracking fluid safe?

The answer is poor communication and bad journalism.

It started with an unclear press release from the University of Colorado with a title that declared “Major class of fracking chemicals no more toxic than common household substances.”
For starters, I believe that Laura Snider, University of Colorado media relations staff member and author of the original press release, should be fired.

How she could have been so clueless that her wording would be paraphrased into sound bites declaring fracking safe is beyond belief.  It's right up there with #shirtgate for cluelessness and irresponsibility.

I would flip the question around and ask, why are household cleaners so full of substances that are not safe and not listed on labels?  (Thank Reagan-era deregulation that allows manufacturers to declare their product ingredients proprietary and secret.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

3 Pillows

Actually, that was a slight exaggeration because I haven't sewn the square pillow yet.  But, the two bolsters are done. Finito.
I started with swatches of simple motifs like the braided and honeycomb cables from Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting, Fishermen's Wool and 6"x12" polyester neckrolls from Wawak.  I washed and blocked the swatch and then calculated how many stitches to cast on from the swatch gauge.
For the second pillow, I repeated the braided cable motif as a frame to fill out the central motif from Jess' Birthday Sweater.
Now the couch doesn't look so smooth and shiny.
I wet-blocked and pinned the cable rectangles to open up the fabric.  Then I stitched the ends together for about 1" on both ends.

The ends were surprisingly easy.  I picked up 100 stitches, divided into 10 sections of 10 stitches, and then performed a k2tog decrease every other row.  When I had 10 stitches remaining, I threaded the yarn tail through the 10 loops twice and gave a gentle tug until the hole closed up.  The ends were steam-blocked with a steam iron (above the surface) and then patted into shape.

Each end took about an hour to knit and finish.  Each rectangle took about 20-25 hours.  Sewing the zippered muslin cases and hand-stitching them to the knitted cover took another 1-2 hours.

To the friend who asked why I don't sell these: A physicist ought to earn as much as a plumber, right?  Would you pay a plumber 50 hours for these two bolsters?
I made pillow cases out of unbleached muslin and used zips left over from the days when I sewed dresses for a little girl that wore only pink and purple.  (She wears mainly black, gray and olive drab now.)

Then I hand back-stitched the rib opening to the zipper.  If you have ever hand prick-stitched a dress zipper, you can do this.  Well, your effort might be neater than this.
You can tell the cast on edge from the bound off edge on the honeycomb pillow.  I forgot that cables shrink the width of the knit fabric so much, you need to cast on fewer stitches for the ribbed edge and increase stitches on your set-up row for the cables.  By the time I figured that out, I wasn't going to rip back and redo it.  There's also one place where the stitches were moved the wrong direction.  Oh, well.
The purple zipper tape peeking out of the wavy edge reminds me of the wavy lips of a southern giant clam (Tridacna derasa).
Raveled here.

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed the flooring samples for my new place.  Yes, I will be moving yet again--hopefully to a longer-term place.  Which sample do you like better?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

On the needles

I am OBE and unable to muster the mojo to say more than this is one of two bolster covers.  I just need to sew the liners, insert zippers, and knit three more ends.  Well, a final block for the round ends would be good.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014