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Dana Doodle Knits

Posts tagged with research


Posted on March 12, 2012 by 1 Comment

I’ve decided that it’s about time to get myself a grown-up chart maker. But first things first, a little research into my options. One feature that I would want is simply logistical, being able to download the program multiple times on different computers, both Mac and PC. Other things like stitch customization and export options are a little trickier to pin down.

Knit Visualizer

$185 – single timed download

Aran Paint +Plus

$49.95 – PC only – potentially multiple downloads available

Stitch & Motif Maker

$89.95 – PC only

Intwined Pattern Studio

$44 – multiple downloads PC/Mac


$99 – PC only – multiple downloads (Mac in development)

Stitch Mastery

£60 (~$94) – 2 machines PC/Mac

Cochenille Stitch Painter

$85 – PC/Mac


After reading through several Ravelry forums, I think that Stitch Mastery rises to the top, which also happens to be the official charting software of Knitty. I’ll definitely need to spend some quality time with the demos and see how I feel after making some charts and poking around. For now, I’m not intending to use written instruction, which a lot of these programs seem to be able to translate charts into. And I’m mostly looking to use the image of the chart to edit the program in Microsoft Word or something, but that might change in the future, so having options is good.

If you have an opinion let me hear it!

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Posted on November 13, 2011 by Leave a comment

While trying to write my personal statement for grad school apps I realized that one of the things that’s really important to me in applying is the story of how I got to where I am. It’s been through a lot of hard work and just as much good fortune that I’ll soon be applying for a few top graduate schools. Without my hard work or my ability to see good opportunities for what they were I might be a little less certain of my future.

I’m not sure that any of this will make it into the final draft of my personal statement, but it felt good to write it up.

The first in a series of fortunate events leading me to apply for a graduate degree in Immunology was while applying to college in High School.  I was unsure of what I wanted to major in and worried that I couldn’t decide on what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. The teacher I had for AP Biology inspired me to pursue a future in Biology. Her fascination with the subject was evident in her teaching and she encouraged us to explore Biology through individual projects and group presentations. As my education in biology continued at GWU I soaked up each class with such enthusiasm until I was worried yet again that I wouldn’t be able to find my focus. I knew that biological research of some sort was my future goal and hoped to continue my education after college with graduate school, where I could hopefully narrow down my interests. The second fortunate event came from applying for the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates, which gave me an opportunity in an Immunology laboratory at GWU. I not only learned what real-life biomedical research was like, but I discovered knowledgeable and passionate people that I was able to work side by side with for over two years. Exploring the questions of each of my projects as an undergraduate as well as the day to day methodology convinced me that Immunology research was how I wanted to spend my foreseeable future. The third serendipitous event was a seminar put on by my lab’s department on vaccines that sparked my interest about the possible outcomes of immunology research and how our knowledge of the human immune system could lead us to engineer protective immunity through vaccines. At my current laboratory, my research on vaccines for Leishmania and HIV has shown me the magnitude of possibilities for cellular immunology and vaccine research. The passion and commitment that I am surrounded by everyday at the NIH has fueled my curiosity and determination to continue on the path of biomedical research. The two main avenues of immunology research that appeal to me are vaccine research, specifically HIV vaccines, and basic lymphocyte immunology. Through researching vaccines for infections where there is no natural immunity, such as HIV, it is evident that there is a lot left to be discovered about how the human immune system works. A few basic questions could hold the key to vaccines for many diseases, questions such as how T cells mature, and what signalling pathways correlate to protection. It is these types of questions and the overall goal of vaccines  that have lead me to pursue a graduate degree in Immunology.

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More yarn

Posted on February 20, 2010 by Leave a comment

I want more yarn. Working with knitpicks stroll has me wanting bucket loads of the stuff. It’s soft, it’s small gauge, it’s machine washable and they have the most amazing colors. I made Alex fingerless gloves with her stash of stroll, and now she’s having me make some for will. This pattern that I made up over spring break is really great and I like working with it. It ends up gorgeous, even with two very similar colors.

I started and finished Ashley’s hat that she’s been wanting me to make for a while. I think it ended up well, and it’s interesting how the combination of colorwork and cabling came out. I’ve never done cabling with two colors before, but I figured out that as long as everything is done with the knit stitch it works, and you don’t need the contrast of knit and purl stitches to make the cables stand out because there are two different colors.

Classes are killing me, not completely with work, but I’m soooo burnt out that I don’t want to do much of anything anymore. Work is alright, things are actually going well there, and it’s not too stressful. I talked to my boss and she said that she definitely has enough money to keep me on until I graduate, which is what I’ve been hoping. Without me even saying anything, she said that starting this summer she is going to bump me up to $12 an hour instead of $10, which is fantastic. And I asked her about working for a year after I graduate and she said that as long as there is money for whatever project I would work on she could keep me, but if not, she’ll be looking for a lab manager, which means that she could pay me from any grant. So depending on what happens over the next six months or so it definitely looks like staying in DC for a year after I graduate is a possibility. I’m getting more and more sure that I will need a year to just work before I start graduate school.

And, I can’t wait until it’s warm outside!! It’s so close I can smell it, but it hasn’t quite reached above 50 F outside. Stupid abnormal DC winter….

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Posted on July 31, 2009 by Leave a comment

Yay! Today we had our poster presentations for my summer internship. It’s so nice to be done. It went pretty well, I got to present to quite a few people. And some of the people from my lab came by, and Alex and Will stopped by. I’ll be starting a new project with Dr. Constant, but I’m going home for two weeks of vacation, which will be sooo nice. I’ve been so tired recently, even though I’m not technically working even 40 hours a week.

I’m almost finished with mom’s shirt. It’s looking really good, and the color is beautiful. I just need to sew in all the ends and add on some buttons. But first I have to buy buttons, so hopefully I’ll find some from the button lady at eastern market.

I have one of Ty’s socks completed, and haven’t started the second. And I’ve started a second Brigid Larkin hat with yarn that I’ve had lying around for ages. I also bought some pink lace yarn for a summer shirt that I thought up a while ago, so I might do something with that soon. Although it’s in a hank, and I don’t have my swift or ball winder with me, and I might be too lazy to wind it by hand.

Anyway, hopefully this weekend I’ll get up some pictures of my WIPs. And by the way I finally got that toaster, and have been enjoying toast for the last week :-)

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Posted on July 21, 2009 by Leave a comment

I finally got in the yarn for my mom’s shirt. So I started that yesterday, and hopefully will be able to finish it in two weeks *fingers crossed*. All of the knitting is really easy, just ribbing and stockinette, but it’s a top-down shirt, which I’ve never tried before, so I’ll see how the shaping goes.
I’m also kind of worried because I have a bit of work to do in the next two weeks. We’re hoping to change a few things about our samples so that some of the assays actually work, which they haven’t been so far. And I also have a poster presentation next Friday. I’m not very worried about presenting it, because it’s just a poster fair. But I have to get a poster completed soon, and that involves having graphs, and having graphs involves having data. I’m also kind of excited because I’m going to have a meeting with my PI tomorrow about the new project I’ll be working on in the fall.
And! I’ve been trying to have a LotR marathon with Alex and Will after work. So last night we got through the first half of the Fellowship. But tonight we didn’t get to watch any because Will was working, because he has something big going on at work this week.
Anyway. Time for bed now.

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Hug Box

Posted on April 14, 2009 by 1 Comment

So I finally finished the hug box from the visa commercial, and I’m even putting up pictures!

This is the original mastercard ad (I think I’d previously said it was Visa, whoops!) . The label for these cute creatures is “Hugs”, which is why I’ve named them hug boxes.


This is mine. My yarn color and the proportions are a bit off because I was just using scrap yarn. And it’s not quite as box-like as the one in the ad, but mine’s HUGABLE, which is the best part!


Alex huggling the hug box.


It doesn’t have the ability to hug back, cause it doesn’t have arms yet. But once I find a sheet of brown felt I’ll add them.

I ended up buying a lot more stuffing than I needed, so now if I ever do another stuffed project I’ll be set. I’m debating making another to sell on Etsy, but I don’t know if anyone would want it.

Still working on the thrummed mitten, take two. This one fits a lot better, and I’m not terrified of running out of roving. I have these buttons that I got at Eastern Market from the button lady. They’re shiny and silver and look like someone soldered onto square buttons. I’ve been thinking that I want to make a cardigan for the buttons, in a deep blue, with knit and purled diamonds. I still want to make a summer top for my mom, but that would require her responding to my email. It would be nice to knit something from someone else’s pattern for once. Although I suppose, being me, I would decide that it wasn’t the best way to do it and just take the idea from the pattern. Oh well, what can you do?

I have about two and half more weeks of classes, and then finals. I should find out about my summer research program soon. I would really love to get in, but if not I’ll figure something else out. And apparently I’ve been listening to the same song for the last 15 minutes because I forgot to take it off repeat. Strange how I didn’t notice for so long. Good song though, an a cappella version of Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Oh, and we’re participating in the Fair Trade student organization’s Rice Cook-off again. I think Ellie’s making her chi rice pudding. And we’re planning another ‘learn to knit’ for next weekend, and a little event for stress week (the week before finals) because we basically get free advertising. I think we’ll be putting in more of an effort at the beginning of next year, get our membership up from four. It would be really nice to have more people. We’d get more ideas, be able to help out, or get help, and have a variety of conversation. Although it has been nice with just the four of us, they’ve been coming over on some weekends to watch a movie and test out a new cocktail.

All in all, everything’s good here. But I do wish that it would warm up for more than a day at a time. I can’t wait for it to flip-flop weather for a whole week. Oh! and cherry blossoms! Here:




I know, I’m so artsy 😉

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Plastic Knitting

Posted on March 31, 2009 by Leave a comment

Now I have a headache. Not sure if it’s from the loud movie, or if it’s from trying to knit with plastic bags, after transitioning from knitting a sock. That’s right, plastic bags. It’s a little weird, I admit, but strangely nice. We keep our plastic bags that we get from Safeway, and CVS, and all those other places, and normally we use them as trash bags. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s all about saving the environment right now. So instead of going out and trying to find ‘the’ bag for the spring, why not use what you already have, and of course, your knitting skills. Alex sent me this nice tutorial on how to cut up plastic bags and essentially make it into ‘yarn’. It’s a little hard to get used to, especially since there’s little give, and it doesn’t slide along the needles nicely. But, I’ve been needing a better bag to carry my school stuff in, and have been feeling too broke to actually buy one. We’ll see how far I get with this, because it seems like one bag doesn’t go extremely far, and it’s not as transportable.
But on the other side of knitting is Ty’s sock(s). I’ve finished the first, and had Alex try it on over her sock, so I’m hoping for the best, fit wise. I started the second, and of course, the spiral is going in the opposite direction. I love him dearly (is it too early to start calling him hubby?), but he’s amazingly OCD about some stuff. Fortunately, it’s usually very adorable.
The hug box is nearly complete, just waiting for the stuffing. I want to perhaps make another, or see if there is any interest for one on Etsy. They’re adorable, and I’ve been itching for some more Etsy sales.
That’s just about it for now. Mostly I’ve been busy with school, and figuring out plans for this summer and next year. Hopefully I’ll have good new soon about that summer research position. What exactly does ‘by early April’ mean?

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Spring Break

Posted on March 18, 2009 by Leave a comment

Alright, so I finally get a break from school and I get sick straight off. It has been too bad, we went up to Vermont and watched the snowboarding half-pipe championships in Killington. I’m back in Wayland now, and haven’t been doing too much, which is actually pretty nice.  I’m trying not to think about getting back to school, or anything really.

I brought some new knitting with me.  I finally re-started the sock that I’d been having trouble with. It’s going nicely so far, but it’s hard to say if it will actually fit. At this point I’ve decided that it’s not worth it to stress, because I’ve done all the calculations, and if it doesn’t work, oh well.

And I’ve finally finished Alex’s fingerless gloves. She loves them, thank god. It’s a bit warm for them, but I don’t think that’s going to stop her. I think I’ve finally gotten over my knitting funk. It was good to slow down with knitting for a while, and I definitely think it elped with my schoolwork. I applied for a summer research experience at GW and won’t hear back until sometime in April. I definitely think I’ll be stress knitting, which is particularly unfortunate because I really want to start a sweater or something, but I decided that I wouldn’t buy any yarn until I knew that I was making money this summer. On the other hand, I found some leftover Red Heart yarn that’s perfect for making a hug box for Alex (the hug box from the Visa commercial)[edit: it’s actually mastercard…]. I just have to find something to stuff it with. I saw online that other people have made it, and someone put it around a cardboard box, which I think is ridiculous, because what’s a hug box that you can’t hug?

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Hard Hats and Fancy Pants

Posted on July 7, 2008 by Leave a comment

They’ve been doing construction outside of my window at work pretty much since I started. I don’t know what they’re doing to the road, and it’s not loud, and only has a few people working on it, but now that they’ve moved over and the ginkgo tree outside my window is blocking them, I’m annoyed. I like watching them. They’re something calming about watching someone doing their job when it doesn’t affect you. It’s difficult to sit at my desk all day, watching people hurry past, listening to them talk about important things to other, and just do nothing. I’d like to at least be able to pretend that I’m important, that I’m part of the company. But the sad truth is that I’m neither. I’m a summer intern. My time is up at the end of August. Why should they bother to teach me things that they can do better and faster when I’m not going to be around long to do it.

School is a bit easier. It’s temporary for everyone. At the end of the semester the students are done with the professor and the professor is done with the students, all of them. There is a set curriculum. There are tasks to be done and lessons to be learn. There is structure. And as a student, you can decide if you interact with the professor or not. You can simply go to class, listen and take notes, and take the tests, or you can constantly ask questions in and out of class. Most professors will help you if you show an interest in being helped. I personally like being one of the crowd. I am not so special that I feel the need to stand out. I am independent to the point that if I have a question I will exhaust all other options before I go to the professor. But knowing that they are there if I need them is nice.

Becoming a professor is slowly starting to be an option for me. I’ve thought very little of it before. And mostly with a high school teacher in mind, which I’m still pretty sure is off the list. Only recently have I decided that research seems much more interesting than my current industry work, despite the fact that technically I’m doing research. It’s possible that my opinions on the pharmaceutical industry are skewed from the viewpoint of a summer intern, but research seems so exciting, so mysterious. And that is the nature of research, mystery. We try to find out what we do not know. The reason I like the idea of research is the same reason that I like school (or at least the idea of it). I want to know what others know, and when I’ve run out of that, I want to know what no one knows.

The strangest thing is that while I contemplate the possibility of me becoming a professor solely for the purpose of participating in cutting edge research, I find that the classroom aspect may appeal to me as well. The more I think about it, the more they are similar. As a preface I will simply state that I have never enjoyed creating my own experiment, but I believe that that may be because in high school it wasn’t your own experiment, you just had to figure out what the teachers really wanted you to do. In research you have a start and an end. There is what you know, and what you want to learn. You design an experiment based on these parameters (and the instruments you have) to get from one to the other. Working with students is the same thing. They come into your class knowing a certain amount that is relevant to your subject, everyone is different. You must take these students, and conduct an experiment. Teach them what they might have learned so far, and then expand into what they don’t yet know. Some of the “samples” will come out as desired, with a high level of understanding, and some will come out as less than desired. But all of these data points are used to adjust the experimental process. A good professor will alter their syllabus every semester based on their previous results. Their goal is to produce as many desirable results as possible. A class is always changing, and there are new surprises every semester.

As I type these words out I come to realize the potential of becoming a professor as a rewarding career, not just for the research, but also to teach others. And hopefully, to encourage others to desire to learn. Maybe not to enjoy learning, because I know that sometimes I loathe it, but to want to learn despite the difficulties. I remember when I was little, and just starting to read chapter books, I came to the realization that libraries don’t simply exist in my town, or state or country, but in the entire world. And how on earth was I going to get through every book before I died. Although I am unfortunately not much of a reader anymore, I still have that need to learn everything there is to learn. And even though I have narrowed it down to the sciences, and cut out a whole lot of knowledge, there is no way that I’m going to learn even a small percentage of what there is to know. Because of this, I must always be learning. I could never be satisfied with doing the same thing year after year.

So even though I have a while to think about it, I have just opened a previously blocked off road. Professor Dana Michelle Placha (Ty and I will most certainly be married by then, and there might be a PhD. in there too).

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    Hi! I'm Dana, a Brooklyn-based knitwear designer, PhD dropout, editor at BioMed Central, and amateur photographer/graphic designer. I'm particularly fond of cables, size four needles and vibrant hand-dyed yarn.

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