Thursday, March 25, 2010

Plumb out of luck

I honestly don't know whether the phrase is "plumb out of luck" or "plum", and the interwebs have failed to provide a consensus. I was trying to make a witty pun, sorry. I heard somewhere that puns are the lowest form of humor, but don't they always make you smile? Sure, it's in an "I'm so embarrassed for you" sort of way, but it still lifts your spirits in the sense that you're not the one making the cringe inducing joke. What the hell does the aforementioned phrase mean anyway? Doesn't "plumb" just mean upright and "plum" is an OK fruit that's a delicious addition to pudding? Maybe you're out of plums and you really wanted to make pudding, and so you're POL.

This rambling might be going somewhere eventually. I made my first CO/BO stretchiness test swatch last night, and pondered what my experimental set-up should be. I could pull on all of them to what I felt was their maximum stretch, but when I tried measuring a couple of times on the same swatch, the results weren't consistent. That makes the test qualitative--I can tell by the feel how relatively stretchy I think it is, but I don't have solid numbers to back it up. I felt that this experiment could be at least semi-quantitative, so the idea of the moment is to hang a plumb-bob from the corner of the edge to be tested and measure the vertical stretch.

Now the current problem lies in scoring a plumb-bob. If I was back in WI, I'd stroll into the lab and borrow one. I don't know what I'm going to do when(if) I graduate; it's so nice to have all kinds of limited use tools at your beck and call for that one time you actually need them. How often do you need an Dremel or an acetylene torch (please don't answer if it's going be disturbing)? Here in Berkeley though, I'm working on simulations, which means strictly computer stuff. The simulations work is also sometimes referred to as 'modeling', which never fails to amuse. When I tell someone I'm "working on a modeling project", they invariably get a look on their face that says "modeling for the cover of Crackhead Weekly?" But the upshot is, no access to tools. There are two guys in the group that do experiments with actual stuff instead of playing computer make-believe. But, full disclosure: I'm embarrassed to ask to borrow a plumb-bob because I know they're nice dudes and would go to a lot of trouble to get me one if there wasn't one around, and then I would feel bad about the fact that it's not even close to being for work. I have a soul, it's just a small one.

I also have another idea for a hat that I'm itching to get started on. It's inspired by a North Face hat I've been seeing on the slopes for a couple of years now--I like the idea, but naturally I think that I can do it better. Here's the hat I keep seeing:

I always imagine someone haughtily saying, "The Nawwwwwrth Face" with a British accent.

My goal: add a cute brim, bring down the gauge by about half (meaning stitches half that size) and make the whole shebang two interlacing colors. I think doing it fair-isle-style will beef up the thickness nicely, accounting for the decrease in stitch size (which I'm assuming is why a chunky yarn was used, for thickness). I've been batting this idea around in my head for a loooong while, so I'm going to take the plunge tonight and get started (in parallel with my stretchiness experiments, of course). My only regret--we're just about out of hat-wearing weather. I'm trying to look at it as plenty of time to perfect a kick-ass pattern.

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