Sunday, June 29, 2008

Satellites and fabric shopping

I believe the stars, moon, planets and satellites all aligned to let me join my sewing friends at A Fabric Place in Baltimore, Maryland today. I happen to be on the east coast right now, supporting testing and operations of the instrument we just launched; however, I'm working 12-hour night shifts. But I lucked out with a day night off today, which allowed me to go fabric shopping instead of sleeping this morning (well, I slept after I got back). Why would I deprive myself of sleep to buy fabric, when we all know that my stash is huge and I haven't exactly been sewing up a storm lately? Well, this was not just ordinary fabric shopping, this was shopping at the brick and mortar store of Michael's Fabrics, the online supplier of high end designer wools and silks at fabulous prices. And this was an opportunity to meet up with my internet sewing friends, most of whom I've only met on line. Michael was there to greet us, give us a tour and feed us with snacks. He also gave us a generous discount, which of course I couldn't pass up.

I didn't splurge on any designer fabrics (not that I'm aware of), but I did find some that I "needed" to have. Clockwise from the top, colorful print, the fabrics are: cotton, linen/cotton, polyester (but it feels like linen) and the brown and white is a cotton from Switzerland.

I took pictures in the store, but they came out pretty awful. I may be a rocket scientist, but I can't seem to figure out why my little camera gives me grainy photos sometimes. It shouldn't, it's a new Nikon Coolpix, so I believe it's operator error. There are much better photos posted by other people on patternreview. I do wish I'd been able to go to lunch afterwards with the gang...and do more fabric shopping, or so it appears by the pictures on patternreview that I recognize are from G Street! But I'd been up for nearly 24 hours by that point and had an hour drive to get back to the hotel, so it was for the best that I didn't stay.

I am looking forward to finishing up the satellite work next week and then spending a few days with my mom over the 4th before going home. At least I'm getting a lot of knitting done during the lulls at work. I've just about finished both sleeves of the Rowan Capri sweater I'm knitting and if the instrument behaves itself like it has been, I may get the front done. It's been interesting to see the reaction of my fellow rocket scientists to my knitting. Some get it, some don't. If you're a knitter, you probably know what I mean. For those of you who aren't, knitting keeps me focused, which is contrary to the assumption (I think) by co-workers that I'm not paying attention.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Been working on...

I finished one of two flannel baby blankets I'm making for my husband's co-worker. I completed the decorative stitching on the first one, so it's done. The second one still needs the decorative stitching. I used a variegated thread to stitch the stars, which is why it looks dark and light.


I blocked my Rowan "Bonita" sweater - finally!! Next step is to seam the shoulders and then pick up stitches and knit the neck edge.


I worked more on my Rowan "Capri" sweater. The yarn is Rowan Calmer (the one called for) and it's really coming along nicely I think. Very summery. And yes, I do seem to like Rowan patterns (and yarn), don't I?


I made chocolate covered cherries using the delicious Bing cherries from our tree and Valrhona 71% dark bittersweet chocolate. I used a cherry pitter to pit the cherries but found it impossible to leave the stems on and pit them, so I used a toothpick to hold the cherry while I coated it. I melted the chocolate in the microwave in a Pyrex measuring cup. One 100 gram (3.5 oz) bar of Valrhona coated about 2 dozen cherries. I've refrigerated half and then froze the other half to try to preserve them as long as possible. Yes, of course I could just eat them all!

I love having a garden. For the last few weeks I've been able to go out in the morning and pick fresh blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries for my breakfast yogurt. The blackberries are just about finished now but the blueberries are still ripening. Last night for dinner I went out into the garden and picked some lettuce and made up a nice vinaigrette dressing and added a sweet pepper (not from our garden...yet) to make a yummy and fresh salad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sewing Links

Here are some links to great information on fitting and alterations:

An alterations guide from Kwik Sew: download the pdf here

Lots of great articles on fit from Threads

From the Pattern Review site, Sleeve Fitting by Kenneth King

From the Sewing Divas, Adjusting for Full Bust on a Wrap Top, by Gorgeous Things.

Also from the Sewing Divas, Raglan Sleeve Cap Height Alteration, by Els.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We have lift off!

Watch the NASA video

Will we have lift off?

Tune in tomorrow (June 11) at 11:45 EDT to find out:

GLAST, which is a gamma-ray telescope, is the project I've been working with for the last 5 years.

It was due to launch last week but there were delays with the launch vehicle. Now we only have the weather to worry about.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent Exhibit

As members of the de Young museum in San Francisco, we get a glossy publication in the mail that gives us notice about the upcoming exhibits. I was thrilled to see there will be an Yves Saint Laurent exhibition from Nov 2008 through March of 2009. The exhibit is currently at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts through the end of September and its only other showing will be at the de Young.

Another cool exhibit that's opening next weekend at the de Young, not fashion related but certainly fine art, is the Chihuly glass, which will be on exhibit until September. And while I'm there I'll have to check out the Turkmen Weaving exhibition to marvel at the fine weavings from Central Asia.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I always seem to pick the expensive one

Fashion magazines sometimes will show a lineup of similar jackets or dresses or pants and I can always seem to pick the most expensive one. It just looks better. I don't know whether it's more fitted or there's more detail, but often (not always), I'll pick the one I like and read the fine print only to see that it's the one in the 4-digit range. The designer jacket trumps the Target knockoff nearly 100% of the time...even when Isaac Mizrahi designed the Target frock.

And so it is with cars. I've been sorta, kinda thinking about getting a little sporty convertible. Maybe it's my mid-life crisis or we're financially comfortable enough to splurge...or both. But I don't know what I want and I'm not convinced I should buy one anyway. But I can still look. I'm always looking around at what's out there when I'm driving around. There are a few that catch my eye but one day I spotted this gorgeous little dark blue convertible during my morning commute. I saw it again this morning and for about a minute I was behind it and got a good look. It was perfect. But oh...I can definitely spot the expensive one. It said "Vantage" on its beautifully curved rear end. As in Aston Martin. As in 007 James Bond. As in $150K. Ok, we're not that financially comfortable!

Sometimes I do pick the Target jacket, based on looks alone. But then I try it on and sadly decide to save my money for something that fits and feels better. I say "sadly" because who doesn't want to save money and still get something that looks good and has value? Take the Saturn Sky (aka Pontiac Solstice). Love the styling, love the price, but I don't like the interior and the fact that is has zilch in the way of storage space. And based on past experience, I'm not too keen on Saturn. So I'll keep looking. Looking for that beautiful blue convertible on my morning commute too.