Friday, May 02, 2008

my so-called computer scarf

weird looking button monster

I'll explain what this odd looking button monster is in a moment. First: some context. There's been a lot of fuss about London's academic libraries over the last few weeks. I'm a bit of a connoisseur of such places so have been following the debates with equal measures of glee and distaste (my take on the subject is posted here). One of my favourites is a specialist library at the Wellcome Trust. Its a lovely place to study for those of us lucky enough to need to consult great tomes on the history of medicine. The interior is gorgeous; it's like you're walking into a George Bernard Shaw play (but with wifi).

Except, last week I got told off by the librarian. I can't bring my laptop case into the reading room. After all, I could be using it to steal books (or smuggling in illegal objects). This is fair enough, the British Library actually check the inside of everyone's laptop when they leave. However I need the case - the little magnetic bit that keeps my computer shut is broken. Without the case, the computer flaps open. And because the shutting mechanism is linked to sleep mode, this means the computer turns itself on and off, on and off, on and off, and crashes. Solution: a super-snug computer scarf (ravelry posting).

scarf on

Hence why I asked for a stitch with very little stretch. After trying a few slipped-stitch options, I settled on the so-called scarf pattern, because I like the texture. I bought the yarn in Japan and have no idea what it's made of. I think it might be a mix of bamboo, silk and possibly something plastic. Its strong anyway, and a light worsted which I worked on a reasonably tight gauge (3.25mm needles). I made enough to go around the computer and some. I added some buttons up each side (20p each, John Lewis, because no doubt someone will ask), made a few icord fasteners. Viola: a safe computer, without risking the suspicion of those fine librarians at Wellcome.

I'll finish with a screen-shot of the computer in action, as people seemed to enjoy nosing last time (from my introduction, which I forced myself to write this week). After all, it is my largest WIP at present.

thesis WIP May

16 comments:

Joan [yarnygirl.com] said...

i think this fo is super clever and cool-looking to boot!

startare said...

Très chic, the white on white effect. Very nice idea.

Pig wot flies said...

Cunning!

KGLO said...

How resourceful of you! wow!

hooray for macs!

Anushka said...

i absolutely love the wellcome trust! i went there last summer and spent the whole day drinking in the display of henry wellcome's collection, and joined the library on impulse after the camp secretary with pink hair made me laugh. i still haven't been there (i'd been planning to do an art project on anatomy drawings, but it morphed into storytelling - !) but as you say, not being allowed to bring in bags is a little bit hindersome. i can't wait to see the exhibition on science's influence on textiles. Anyway, your little laptop snap is very cunning indeed.

Ruth said...

I love the Wellcome, too! I did dissertation research there. And while I can't say I ever *slept* there, I do remember getting distinctly sleepy while reading nineteenth-century childcare books in the afternoons. . .

Cute solution to your laptop problem! I had the same problem once, and I had to send my laptop off to be fixed. I waited two weeks to get it back, meanwhile writing all my research notes by hand. The agony! Too bad I wasn't a knitter then.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I found getting access to all of the London libraries and archives that I needed to use for research to be almost absurdly difficult compared to comparable institutions in the United States. I don't think that access is the issue -- the issue is how people are allowed to behave once they're in the library or archive.

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

Liminality--that word was ALL OVER my dissertation*!!





*'The War That Dare Not Speak its' Name--Representations of the Algerian War in French Theatre'

It was weak but it did the trick:)

gleek said...

great idea! i'm sure your computer sleeps well now ;)

SMF.sportychic said...

Love, love, love the computer scarf! Ingenious!!!

YowlYY said...

Good idea, and it looks quite elegant this computer scarf :)...actually, you've inspired me to deal with another laptop issue I have. We knitters are so resourceful!

Penny said...

Ha, my other half had the same laptop, with the same problem with the catch. So he gave it to me and got himself a new one. If I hadn't replaced it, your solution would be very nifty.

The one time I've been to the BL, they were checking everyone's bags. I'd just been being material in Libertys, I think they found it an odd thing to have in one's bag.

Liz said...

I admire your commitment to an elegant solution. I think I would have just gone with a strong bit of elastic!

pavlova said...

As someone who is suffering with finals at Imperial I am v.jealous you get to use the Wellcome library as all I have at the moment is the horrible central library with all the nasty drilling (I get in at 6am but then you have the cleaners come in at 7am and then the drilling begins at 8am. Civil Eng doesn't open until 9.30am). And it's hot and sweaty. Radiators on in the summer? Really?
The laptop scarf is genius - making things you can't buy is what knitting is all about!
Think might have to renew my British Library pass soon as my project is going to need some serious locking-away in a decent library-type of action!
Also - I doubt you would ever need to go there but the Institution of Civil Engineers has a really nice library which feels like an old boys' club smoking room.

Anonymous said...

An Introduction is the last thing to be written in a thesis - so you are that close to being finished with the writing?

Janey
janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca

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I have been a lot of fuss in my university, but I have never seen something similar to the problem in the post, I think that it was so big, I love the pictures because are so nice.!!!

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