Thursday, April 30, 2009

Knitting Chart - Generic Pentapeptide Backbone

To help you design your own peptides, here is a generic peptide backbone. You can put whatever amino acid side chain you want on this peptide (see charts designed by Chemknits, they may need to be rotated to fit!).

See how the chart works on a peptide beer cozy!

By rotating/flipping the charts as necessary, you can fit whatever amino acids you want into the peptide backbone, as long as they won't overlap!

(of course, for glycine you would have to remove some from this template, and proline would require further modifications, but this chart should help you make your own custom pentapeptide.)

This this pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. This pattern is not to be replicated, sold or redistributed without permission from ChemKnits. © 2009 ChemKnits

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Peptide Beer Cozy!

Based on the amino acid charts that I have designed, I decided to take them to the next level and make a peptide pattern. Here I incorporated it into a beer cozy.

Materials Required
  • worsted weight yarn - I used Wool of the Andes from KnitPicks: Lake Ice Heather (MC), Winter Night (Nitrogens), Hollyberry (Oxygens), and Black (bonds).
  • size 3 double pointed needles (I like a tight gauge on my cozies)
  • A beer bottle to check the desired height

  • Cast on 45 sts in the main color (this will be the top of the cozy)
  • k2, p1 *repeat for three rows
  • Start the chart, working from the bottom up, right to left. (note that the first charted row is all in the main color) (Please notice the update. I have rotated the chart so you can make the cozy as shown in the picture versus knitting the mirror image. I managed to invert it correctly in my head as I made the cozy myself.)
  • (starting the decreases for the bottom - you may want to make the decreases faster or slower depending on your gauge.) K5, K2tog * repeat 6 times, K3 (39 sts)
  • k1 round even
  • K1 K2 tog (26 sts)
  • K1 round even
  • K2 tog across (13 sts)
  • K2 tog across, K1 (7 sts)
  • pull remaining stitches together. weave in loose ends.

You could incorporate any of the amino acid charts that I have published previously to create your own peptide chart. This particular amino acid sequence (HNAVS, aka His-Asn-Ala-Val-Ser) has no meaning other than it would fit on a beer cozy and I though these residues would be pretty. (Histidine happens to be my favorite amino acid, and I do have some affection for asparagines as well from my research.)

I did a BLAST (i.e. search all know protein sequences for this stretch of amino acids) this peptide sequence, the first non-hypothetical protein hit is a isopenicillin N epimerase, which is involved in penicillin biosynthesis. (For those of you who know what my research is about, this will be really funny!) Now, since there

I expect that this will be a hit around the lab!

This this pattern was created by ChemKnits for your personal or charity use. This pattern is not to be replicated, sold or redistributed without permission from ChemKnits. © 2009 ChemKnits

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hand Dyed Wool-Ease Yarn

So I will have a ton of extra wool ease yarn left over from my sampler afghan. I want my fast chunky blanket to have more color than cream, so I decided to try to dye this blend.

Now this yarn is a wool acrylic blend, so I thought that if only the wool got dyed, it could have an interesting effect. I thought that the wool content was as high as 40%, but it is actually only 20%. My concern grew as I found this website, and saw that with 5 packets of dye per ounce of yarn, they saw very little color effect in a wool-acrylic blend.

In my kitchen, the Lion's Brand Wool-Ease yarn soaked up the dye very easily. There is a whiteish halo on the yarn, which is likely the acrylic. I love the way it ended up!

General Protocol (Stove Top)
  • Soak yarn (about 1.5 ounces or 40 g) in water until it is wet
  • mix food coloring/KoolAid into 1-2 cups water
  • in a pot, pour the dye onto the yarn and add enough water so the yarn is just barely covered
  • Simmer for 30 minutes (a little past the time when the water is clear, I wanted the dye to be set really well.)
  • When I rinsed the yarn, very little dye came off. Wash with mild soap, and then hang to dry.
Kool-Aid Pink
  • 2 packets Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid, 2 packets Cherry Kool-Aid
This looked a little like ground beef while it was simmering (it completely freaked my roommate out!)

Kool-Aid Grape-Grey
  • 3 packets Grape Kool-Aid
I suppose that this must look purple when it is diluted to the drink, but the dye looked black... and the resulting color is very gray.

Boosted Kool-Aid blue raz teal
  • 2 Ice Blue raspberry lemonade Kool-Aid packets. 4 drops blue food coloring, 2 drops yellow
Bright and fun!

Purple Attempt - take 1!
  • 1 Kool-Aid Ice Blue raspberry lemonade packet, 1 packet pink lemonade. 5 drops blue food coloring, 10 drops red.
I was disappointed. I was hoping that the purple would come out as vibrant as the pink and the teal, but when combined the purple is fairly muted.

I'm super excited that I was able to dye this wool-acrylic blend! Now my remnant afghan will have some more punch to it and stand out more than the sampler afghan.

Some helpful dying references

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Search for the Big Needle Blankets

I will have a ton of left over Lion Brand Wool-Ease Yarn (from my sampler afghan), and I thought it would be fun to use up my stash in a remnant blanket. I would love to use 4-6 strands at once so this project would go quickly, and give me something warm to cuddle with and to remember various gifts that I've made over the years. So let the search begin!

At first glance, many of the projects that came up were only stockinette (Lion Brand has about a dozen on their website), but further searches revealed more interesting projects.

  • Hot Damn Afghan - There are no pictures, and it is sloppily written, but the three patterns listed here are simple enough. One has a drop stitch (which would make the project go even faster), and the other two have some combination that would be really simple to swatch and see if you like the results.
  • 6-Hour Afghan - You will need to create a log-in, but the pattern is free, simple, stockinette. They have "multiple" big needle patterns, but they are stockinette with different colored yarns held together.
  • Evergreen Speed Stix Afghan - You will need to create a log-in, but the pattern is free. The picture is not the best at displaying the pattern, but from the name I'd gather that it will look like there are leaves of some kind going across it(?)
  • Textured Treasure Speed Stix Afghan - You will need to create a log-in, but the pattern is free. This textured afghan looks tiny, if not for it laying on a chair. This could be easily completed in an afternoon!
  • Champaign by Night Speed Stix - You will need to create a log-in, but the pattern is free. I do not know how to discribe this really, but it is like an offset rib.
  • Super Quick Afghan - You will need to create a log-in, but the pattern is free. This garter stitch afghan is used by holding strands of different colors together at different times. Use it for inspiration to consume your remnants!
  • 4-hour Bias Baby Blanket - Get ready to knit and slip! (This is another Lion Brand pattern, but this one does not require a log-in.)
  • Update 2/25/10 - 10 Hour Remnant Afghan by ChemKnits. I did it!

Books that came up through my search:
  • Big-Needle Knit Afghans (Hardcover) - Reviews complain of many pattern mistakes, but with 175 pages there are bound to be some good patterns in here. Not sure if they would be conducive to my 6 strand at a time, but it could be worth checking the library.
  • Five Big-Needle Afghans - You can see pictures for all 5 projects on the amazon website, they are pretty cute, but again, I think I'd rather design my own before purchasing a book.
I suppose that it makes sense for most of the patterns to be manufacturer driven since these projects are based on needles that are only made by some companies.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Annemor #17

I constructed the Annemor #17 Glove Pattern from SELBUVOTTER: Biography of a Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea. Color work is easier than I thought, and these worked up quickly. I think that these will be a great gift for the upcoming year.

I knit these gloves on size 1 (2.5 mm) DPN with Palette fingering weight yarn from KnitPicks (MC - black, CC - cream), consumed about 50% of the yarn. I took the finished gloves and remaining yarn into work to weight them (my lab-mates thought this was hysterical!) Of the 100g total yarn that I started with (this is approximate, as I did not weigh the balls to start), I have 20.6g Cream and 28.4g black remaining. The gloves weigh 47.6 g. I ALMOST have enough yarn to make another pair of gloves, but I don't think that I'd risk it with just these two colors. I would use the black as a CC with another main color, though.

I may be motivated to weigh my yarn before starting projects now!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Moss and Rib Block Stitch - Square 18/20 in the sampler afghan.

Two square left to go! Maybe I'll finish this before 2010...

Friday, April 10, 2009

I (Heart) Felt

I (Heart) Felt: 33 Eye-Popping Projects for the Inspired Knitter by Kathleen Taylor

The first chapter is dedicated to the art of felting, tips for projects with a single color, cables, or fair isle (and other color work). There are then three main sections: Playing with texture, using color and exploring embellishments.

Taylor's book plays with font size on intro/summary pages, in a way that I find annoying and distracting, but there are some interesting patterns. This book could be nice for a beginning felter, as each pattern contains essential felting tips (i.e. you may need multiple cycles in the washer and that sizes of felted projects vary after felting.)

The Patterns include:
  • Playing with Texture: The Big Bag, Bobble Bucket Hat, Bobble Scarf, Yellow Ladders Purse, Child Shaggy Slippers, "It looks like a purse", Alpaca adult hat and scarf (for him), Alpaca for her: honeycomb scarf and ear warmer, Cabled tote, Cabled evergreen jacket.
  • Using Color: Gourd and squash plushies, I-cord belts and headbands, Men's striped slippers, soft stripes hat, patchwork intarsia mittens, intarsia sewing kit, Grazing Sheep Bag (!!!), Zigzag Hat, Peppermint Stick christmas stocking, Child's gingham vest (adorable!).
  • Exploring Embellishments (lots of embroidery and applique in here): Frosting Hearts hat and bag, Field of flowers mittens and wristband, Beaded tiaras and magic wands, Beads and Scallops hat, Berries and Vines Slippers, Needlefelted fingerless mittens, Cosmos bag, and Santa Ornaments.

I bought this book for the Grazing Sheep Bag Pattern (Darn you KnitPicks for posting patterns on your website but making you buy the book to get them! At least I know someone who will like that bag very much!!)

My overall impression of the book is so-so. Some of the patterns are not that inventive, much more interesting ones can be found for free online. However, it does demonstrate a range of colored and textured projects, so while I may not make many of them for myself, I have a place to go for tips when I want to try felting something else.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Baby, baby, baby!

I just found out (thank you, Facebook!) that an old friend from high school is pregnant. I thought it would be a nice gesture, even thought we haven't spoken in a long time, to knit some items for her baby. While waiting for the hat yarn to arrive, I whipped up some baby booties ( with remnant Shine Sport Yarn from KnitPicks.

I made a few baby hats back in high school for teachers and family friends, so I wanted to do something different than just st st with a bobble on top. I selected this ripple eyelet knitting pattern to knit with worsted weight shine yarn from KnitPicks. I really like this cotton modal blend, it has more give than 100% cotton and is comfortable to work with.

I adapted the pattern to do the hat in the round so I would not need to sew up a seam at the end.
  • On odd rows, where it says Knit - pearl. On odd rows where it says pearl, knit.
  • Cast on 70 stitches (the pattern is a repeat of 10 sts).
  • During the pattern rows, only do the repeat part of the pattern (what is between the *'s)
  • For the decreases, place the Sl1, K2tog, PSSO's so they are in line with the pattern below. (Ex: for decrease row 1 - *K3, Sl1, K2tog, PSSO, K7* repeat from * across, etc).