Anekdoter från elva och ett halvt år år i vetenskapens tjänst. Från-och-till en vetenskapsblogg, när jag hittar något intressant. Annars matblogg, syblogg, bokblogg… And sometimes not even in Swedish. I've been thinking and writing in English for a decade. Whole chunks of my thinking are easier to express in it.
Thick yarn makes for a quick knit. I am already finished with the Gunhild cardigan, a month before the agreed deadline. Slight stumbling block on the way; I ran out of main colour yarn after doing some modifications. And it wasn’t to be had anywhere in Europe, and out of stock at the supplier.
But I had bought some extra contrast color yarn, so I ended up doing half sleeves in the contrast color, and not just the edging. With extra long sleeves, which I like. And I sewed in a button so it would be wearable without a shawl pin for closure.
Knitting thick yarn is exponentially quicker than thin yarn, so I am already approaching done. Gunhild is knitted, steek-ed, and has edgings – just a soak, then blocking (persuading the knit fabric to reach its final intended shape).
There was one major setback on the way – I ran out of the main colour yarn after adding some much needed bust space. And so, it turns out, had every yarn store on the continent. That particular burnt orange nuance was backlisted months in 50 different yarn stores. I should in retrospect of course have gotten an extra ball of yarn of each color; I only got an extra ball of the gray contrast yarn. So this Gunhild is unique, with contrast coloured half sleeves, and slightly different edging.
2021 projects, #2: Veganuary Going well so far; veganizing breakfast was easy, quick work-from-home lunches depend mostly on what we ate the days before so they will veganize themselves in time. Dinner requires more adjustment, since I have two kids – relativley open to eating new things, but one of them is probably a supertaster. Most of my #veganuary updates will be posted on Instagram.
2021 projects, #3: test-knit a cardigan Also going well, I have the yoke almost done. The only annoyance is my cable keeps unscrewing from the right hand needle, regardless of how hard I screw it stuck. Again and again.
2021 projects, #4: learn something new This project hit an unanticipated rock in the road – the Swedish AI course I joined, “Elements of AI” in Swedish translation, which looked good at the start, turned out to be a disappointment. Weirdly formulated problem statements – I supposed they aimed to be inclusive give simple questions, but missed the mark – and finnicky automated-response-checkers. Translation was great, though. The only term not well translated was Data Scientist.
2021 projects, #6: scouting & leadership We joined in late November, so the only scout meetings we have had so far took place on Zoom. But there are plans to be outside and DO things, which I look much forward to. And I am psyched to be a parent-leader; I have so many ideas for keeping the kids busy and entertained.
2021 projects, #7: books This will be the most work, likely. All books in the apartment need to get sorted, a fair amount will be packed in boxes, and the equal amount of books will come up from the cellar storage. All books to be scanned and registered. And I need to go through, sort and tag all my 700 e-books.
2021 projects, #8: podcasts This project, I think, will be a main contributor to keeping me sane. I plan to take long walks and listen to interesting things. I have already found a few new favourites to add to my listening rota (which so far is mainly EscapePod): the ORIONScience podcast, and the Svenskan i Samhället (Swedish in Society) podcast.
2021 projects, #9: RRIDs on everything This is by far not my only upcoming work project. There will be Google Summer of Code, there will be INCF Working Groups, and literature search for the INCF Infrastructure Committee. And meeting new people, helping some people connect and collaborate… I will likely not have a boring moment.
Podcasts have been growing quickly in numbers during the last years, and I didn’t really clue in to that until I re-joined LinkedIn in the middle of the year for other work purposes – and suddenly, it seemed whoever I checked and followed had a podcast. Or had just started a podcast – it is apparently the Professional Thing To Do in the 2020’s.
Currently, my life mostly lacks quiet time to sit down (or go for walks) and listen to podcasts, so I have been amassing an ever-growing long list of interesting, possible podcasts to listen to; it is very low effort to follow more podcasts now that they are available on Spotify.
I used to listen to a lot of podcasts some years ago, when the kids were still small enough to need daily long walks in a stroller. It was mainly EscapePod and a few different Swedish Radio pods, and a very nice podcast with some of my favourite authors chatting about different things, the SFSqueecast, but it ended long ago.
So, my project for 2021 is: take the looong list of podcasts I currently subscribe to, and trial them to see which ones are worth keeping long term. I have one nominee for the list already, the ORION Open Science podcast.
My kids wanted to join the Scouts, so we put them in the queue for our local Scoutkår, Adolf Fredriks. Kids whose parents agree to help with (co)leading get boosted higher in the queue, and I do have earlier experience, so I indicated my willingness to help. And then we waited.
Not for long, it took maybe a month or so. No regular meetings were held, but we tried to meet up on Zoom each week (and if you have ever wondered why Zoom etiquette is needed, try meeting with a group of eight-year-olds and try to get them to follow a program).
There have been no outside activities yet, but that is our likely next step, so we have gone over what outdoor equipment we have and what we need. Black Friday let us buy two good sleeping bags for a good price. The kids’ great-grandmother gave them each a good outdoor backpack. I found myself hiking boots, outdoor trousers and a decent size backpack (~50 l ) on sales. Rainjackets, -trousers and boots/waterproof shoes we already have, because of Stockholm winters. We also got two pairs of skates and helmets for the kids, because one of the possible future activities is the skating ice frozen in the nearby Vasaparken, arranged every winter season by the local authorities.
So for the next year at least, I will be the co-leader of a troop of 8-year-old scouts (who will turn 9 during the year). I have so many ideas for fun stuff to do, based on my own years in the Mjölby scoutkår at home.
I have always sought out situations where I think I could learn something interesting. 2021 will not be different. Many of the tings I have learned over the past decade are by Brownian motion and absorption – spend enough time in a community, you will pick up their interests. So I thought it would be a nice thing to learn something in a more structured fashion.
If there is one thing – something not Covid – which has popped up repeatedly in the space around me this year, it is AI and machine learning. Many papers with new neuro tools using deep learning and other ML approaches. That fantastic protein folding study. The Semantic Scholar search enginge’s new amazing TLDR:s of papers. And I attended a very interesting webinar on the possible applications of AI in music (I think it was a Stockholm AI event, but their event calendar is bugging out on me currently, so I can’t verify).
What entices me is the amazing creativity I see in many approaches – there are obviously a wide range of AI applications that I had not been able to imagine.
So I have signed up for two courses, one translated into Swedish – mostly to pick up the Swedish terms if they even exist yet, also because the translation is fantastic – and one in English from Coursera.
My 2020 project was to learn Python. Since I effectively started it in September, I haven’t come that far yet (I am at the NumPy stage), so this will be a continuing project in 2021. Also, I was gifted my friend Benjamin Auffart’s new book on ML in Python, the Artificial Intelligence in Python Cookbook, so I have resources to make this another branch of the AI learning project.
I have knit a ton of things over the last 15 or so years, but I have never tested someone else’s pattern, yet benefited from others testing patterns I then bought and used. This is sort of the knitting world’s equivalent to peer review – you invest your input in the system and it pays back to you (eventyally and indirectly).
I decided to start off easy, so when my friend Helena (who designs and knits awesome and pretty complex sweaters and hats) sent out a call for testers of a new cardigan, the Gunhild cardigan, I hopped on. In thick, wooly Alafoss Lopi – a much quicker knit than what she usually designs, and much esier as a starting point.
The test knit came out beutifully – exactly the right number of rows and stiches measured over 10 x 10 cm (the standard way; each pattern has/should have this info). But it required cable needles, and despite more than a decade of hoarding needles, I didn’t have enough of that kind in that precise size.
Ordering stuff online just before Christmas is no fun, but I found a new-to-me Swedish company that had the right needles and order the most expedited freight option. Then an excruciating week of waiting, before they finally arrived late last night. Which puts this project sqarely into 2021!
Den som råkar snubbla på min Ravelry-profil kan se att jag mest stickar tröjor och stora sjalar. Långsiktiga projekt som kräver mycket tid och mycket garn. Det blir tidvis lite tråkigt och jag lär mig inte så många nya tekniker som jag skulle vilja. Årets mål är därför att sticka fler små projekt – mössor, vantar, sockor – och att använda upp en del av restgarnet från gamla eller övergivna projekt.
Först ut är en mössa, Miki, av Angela Tong, klar idag! Jag försöker numer att alltid välja projekt före garn – låt oss säga att det är en surt förvärvad erfarenhet från tidigare projekt – men det här garnet, ett rosa sockullgarn och ett färgskiftande ullgarn, var ett impulsköp. Jag fick leta en del på Ravelry för att hitta något passande.