The Illustrated Brain

Anatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal was the first to see–and illustrate–what neurons really do. His exquisitely detailed drawings changed our understanding of the brain and nervous system. Cajal relentlessly pursued his microcopic study of animal tissues, leading to an essential discovery: Brain signals jump from cell to cell rather than flow through a continuous web of fibers, as was believed at the time.

Discover Magazine has a fascinating (and beautiful) gallery of illustrations of neurons and neural tissue by the Nobel Prize-winning Cajal. Amazing stuff, especially since he made his discoveries armed only with curiosity and a microscope.


I haven’t been doing much knitting recently…

I’ve been volunteering at the St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival every day for the last week and a half, and it’s been crazy-busy.

I’ve had loads of fun, met some awesome people, and seen a bunch of great shows. It has not, however, been conducive to knitting.

I’ve been working in the box office and I had initially brought a book and a project or two with me because I figured there would be long stretches of boredom (interspersed with brief moments of madness) I’d have to fill somehow.

… Yeah, not so much.

I did finish a block the Mystery Shawlette, and I have another shawl completed that I need to block, but I don’t have pictures of either of them.

Colour Perception Illusion

From the Perceptual Science Group at MIT:

All of the small bars within each pattern are actually the same color (i.e., all of the blue segments are the same color blue, all of the red segments are the same color red, and all of the small grey bars are the same color grey). The lightness differences you are experiencing are massive illusions. A theory of what’s underlying the lightness illusions in this figure is described in a paper to appear in as special issue of Perception on “Contextual effects on color appearance.”

Really fascinating stuff, especially if one plans on doing any colour knitting.

Mystery Shawlette clue 3, finished

I finished the third clue in the Wendy Knits mystery shawlette knit-a-long a few days ago, but the weather wasn’t amenable to decent picture-taking until today. (Basically, yesterday and the day before it was too hot to move while the sun was out.)

The final clue will be going up later today.

I’ve very much enjoyed this KAL and I like the shawl so far.

(I also managed to get Roxanne blocked yesterday; pictures will be forthcoming.)

Summer Mystery Shawlette, part 2

The second mystery shawlette clue went up yesterday and I finished it last night; it went pretty fast. And it’s starting to look more like a shawl.

Here’s a close up of the lace pattern so far.

I am pleased. But I wish I had known how scratchy this yarn was beforehand (it’s a mystery yarn that I inherited when a friend destashed before a move) because I can’t work with it for too long or my hands start to itch.

Summer Mystery Shawlette, part 1

As I mentioned in my previous post, I started on the WendyKnits mystery shawlette last week. The first clue went pretty fast (though it was only twelve rows) but I didn’t get around to taking pictures until today because, well, the second clue went up today and I do want to get pictures of each completed step.

It’s all bunched up on the needle, so it is kind of hard to see what’s going on. The little orange thing is a removable stitch marker that is attached to the column of stitches that make up the shawl’s spine.

A close-up of the edge.

Roxanne (the end)

I completed the final clue of the Roxanne KAL a day or two after it was released. I haven’t yet taken a picture of the completed shawl because I haven’t been able to block it yet. I have a cat. He likes sitting on things. He likes sitting on things and sharpening his claws. This, as one might suspect, does not lead to nicely blocked shawls. It leads to messes, and lots of crying.

(He hasn’t destroyed a shawl yet, but after what he’s done to my mother’s couches over the years, it’s only a matter of time… )

I’ve just been too lazy to drag the shawl and the blocking boards and all the pins to a cat-free environment where it can be blocked out safely. Right now, I only have two places where I can do that — at my mom’s house, or at the local yarn store. The only person I know within walking distance who doesn’t have cats probably wouldn’t appreciate me annexing a chunk of his living room floor to pin out a shawl.

I do love that the designer’s instructions for how to block the shawl are pretty much “Make it look like a Cylon raider”.

Final judgment on the shawl will have to wait until it’s been blocked out, but I very much enjoyed the process of taking part in a mystery knit-a-long, and I’d definitely do another one.

… Which is why I cast on for Wendy D. Johnson’s Summer Mystery Shawlette as soon as the set-up clue went up on her website. And promptly ripped back once the first errata was discovered, because I’m a perfectionist like that.