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September 08, 2006

Little geeks unite!

A coworker of mine is about to become a father for the second time. He and his wife already have a three and a half year-old daughter, and the new baby will be a girl as well. To be honest, I never contemplated knitting for them because it's just not that type of relationship, you know what I mean?

Instead, I became rather fixated on making those adorable stenciled onesies using freezer paper. I knew the parents would appreciate a cute but science-geeky gift, so freezer paper stencils seemed like a natural choice - I could adorn the onesies with neurobiology images! You may laugh... now :).

If you read any crafting blogs, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. Ms. Soule made some here and here, and Ms. Shim won me over with tiny blossoms (as well as superlinked the whole freezer paper craze in this post).

But it was only when I saw a fellow knitter, June, make some that I finally said to myself, "That's it! If a knitter can do it, I can do it!" Granted June is much more than just a knitter, as I'm sure you know if you read her blog, but... you know.

Information on freezer paper stenciling is anything but lacking, and it would certainly be redundant of me to tell you exactly how I made mine, considering I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. I'll mention that I had to purchase freezer paper on Amazon after raiding all the local supermarkets and hardware stores in vain, and that I was mainly guided by a rather informative post on Craftster (which, by the way, made me realize that I'm only a year or two behind the whole craze :)).

I picked neurobiology-based designs that are relevant to our lab. I imagine most of you will recognize the yellow neuron, but probably not the other three:

I used Marabu fabric paints, which are conveniently available in an arts store near my house (pink is Textil metallic-pink, yellow is Textil medium yellow, green is Textil light green, and purple is Textil plus dark violet). I also tried Jacquard Lumiere, but found it to be too thick and cakey.

Big sister received a stenciled long-sleeved t-shirt:

Because this was not a light-colored fabric, I used the Textil plus in dark violet.

Bottom line: my co-worker kept exclaiming that this is, "SO cute!" I think he really liked it, and I'm sure his (also scientist) wife will agree. Furthermore, other co-workers have asked for stenciled t-shirts for their little ones, which of course I'll gladly make.

Geeks unite! Little geeks unite!

Posted by Kathy on September 8, 2006 09:56 AM


Lovely! Stenciling can become very addictive, so watch out. I picked it up last year and then went on a bit of a spree. The Pearl in Central has Speedball screen printing inks, which I find hold up really well after repeated washing. You just need to heat set them for a few minutes.

A neurotransmitter onesie! That is so cool.

I've been wanting to try this. We tried doing something similiar using sheer fabric instead of freezer paper. It worked - but I think this would be easier.

Did you know they have plush animals of viruses, bacteria etc? My favorite is Black Death - the Plague! Perfect for little one.

I'll be the only one to say it. I've never heard of this. Freezer paper what now?

Hmmmm....this may be something I need to try.

Meanwhile, your stuff looks fanTAStic!! Too clever.

I recognize them, but you could probably guess that I would. One of my coworkers has a great medium spiny neuron tattoo.

Those are awsome!! I totally want one with an E-flask now!

Well, you may be a year or two behind, but at least you have heard of it! This was completely new to me. BTW, I am holding off on submitting my Jaywalker socks so I can be #500! Actually, it's more like my son has the digital camera and refused to take a picture!

Oh that's so cute and a great idea. I want to try this for some friends and even family that I could make something cute and personal for them and their child without having to knit it!

So what are the two bottom tee shirt images? Work with me here, I study botany.

And now I'm probably going to have to stencil myself a chloroplast tee shirt. This is all your fault. :)

I love them all, especially the pink one. So cute!!

oooo, i smell a project I can rope the little monkeys (kids) into. Very cute!

I love them! I don't recognize the symbols at all, belonging to the wrong geek clubs and all -- which of course is the way it should be and what makes the shirts excellent as well as beautiful!

Welcome to geekdom, little child, I'm so glad Auntie Grumperina is there waiting for you. :o)

I'm so excited--i'm going to try it out this weekend! i'm going to the fabric store too to get some more fabric for WIP bags and now, i can put stencils on them!!!
amazing neuron stencil too! geeks unite! i'm here! where are the rest of them? ...i must be in the wrong room...

Seriously, if you think you are one year behind, that means a good three year lag from me...and I read craftster regularly :( It might have to do with the fact that I rarely stray from the knitting forums though.

At any rate, this freezer stenciling business is just the cat's pajamas. The kids are lucky the parents know a good hearted geek like you!

Okay I recognize the neuron, the vesicles and the pathway, but what's the purple tubing? My lab mate and I really want to know!!

I want to make some but only with viruses!

Great job! Your stencilling came out super cute. It's nice to be able to make exactly what you want!

Count me as another multi-year-behind-the-curve craftster. Freezer paper stenciling was definitely below my radar. No longer, though, thanks to you. I see a t-shirt in #1 son's Christmas stocking. Yeah, he'll be 22 by then, what's your point? He's off to med school next year, so I'm gonna copy you in more ways than one ;-)

FWIW, I see the purple tubing thingy as a pin-headed purple person bowing/praying to San Francison, i.e., west [five times a day]. I'm right, aren't I?

Oh my gosh, those are so cute! Way to get them started geeking early. ;) I love the neuron and the synaptic bouton...but what is the purple shape?

Those are so cool! I've never heard of this, either, but it looks pretty simple and fun! I bet my daughters would love to do this. And my son could even get in on it if I cut him out a stencil of a car or a light saber or something.

Very cute and so appropriate. I have to admit that your stencils are out of my league. My college chemistry class is not enough. But now you make me wonder what I could do for Civil Engineer's....perhaps a simple moment diagram or a stress curve. I will have to ruminate on it.

I am dying from cute explosion!

Cute, cute, cute! I want to make some right now!


Geeks of the world, unite!

Neerrrddd.... :D Stencils look great!

I can guess what the pink one is (acetylcholine synapse stuff?), the green image is a mystery. The purple image... reminds me a little bit of a colon b/c of the pointy end on the left made me think of a rectum. What can I say, I have intestines on the brain...

Glad my post gave you the activation energy to try the technique!

Those are such awesome baby prizes! How neat to incorporate the magic of science and babies.

Lateral inhibition and...cartoonish rat brain? Love these.

Those are *so* cute!

Very cool! I never knew this existed til now :)

Completely adorable. I have no idea what they are, but I love them anyway. What a wonderful idea!

Those are fantastic! As a linguist/cognitive scientist/AI person, I only recognize a few of those (the neuron is awesome!), but I'm sure I could come up with some geeky stencils relevant to my own areas of interest. Hooray for geeks, whether grown-up or little!

Those are fabulous! Is there nothing you can't do?

cool idea! I recognise the thing with the triangles =) My hubby used to draw those when he was inventing things =)

You never cease to amaze me. A brilliant and thoroughly useful baby gift. Little ones wear onesies just about 24 hours a day. And like others who left comments above, I never heard of this technique before. Geeks unite indeed. Please let us know what the other symbols stand for.

Super cute and they look so professional. I want one!

I'm a science textbook editor and one of my coworkers is pregnant. I was going to knit her a DNA model, but this might just be even better. I had totally forgotten about freezer paper stencils!

Clearly I've been living in a cave. This is the first I've seen anything like this and they are very cool. I have a baby shower coming up and I might throw a couple of onsies into the package with the handknit sweater.

Fabulous idea! That could take care of all my X-mas presents!

Nice hippocampus!

Ah, how you inspire me! I love embracing my inner geek, though I fear my shirts would come out with proper grammar, etymological references and obscure poetry. Yours are far more adorable! Way to start 'em off early. :)

have fun with stenciling! i started freezer paper stenciling shirts and such recently as well (took a little summer knitting hiatus)...what fun! they look great.

Neurotransmitters? A cerebellum? A colon with appendix? (No, that can't be right.)

I am delurking today to compliment your geekiness Grumperina and to tell you how much your blog has inspired my knitting. The only reason my Jaywalkers aren't in your gallery is because I ran out of Koigu at the toe decreses on the SECOND sock. I don't have the guts to rip both and the yarn is no longer in my LYS. I can't bear to shell out $16 for another skein plus shipping. When I do, I will send them along.
Please check out my brand new blog Designer Knits

Is that a mouse brain?

I love the axon terminal one. I think I need to make something like these for myself now...

So, so cute! Must make some archaeology-themed ones for my wee one!

those are really cute, definitely one-of-a-kinds. great idea!

I love it. Now I need to make some librarianish ones...love it!

those are great. but... is the blue one an electronic circuit? with diodes?

omg, so cute. So freakin' cute.

You make those geeks so hip I want to scream. Love it.

what a fabulous idea! a friend of mine had done applique on onesies... i will pass this idea on. they are adorable.

You are too, too clever. Coming to your blog every day is such a treat! Thanks.

Too freakin' cute. Though I have no idea what the symbols are. Love it.

Cool! I'm curious what the symbols are now. Maybe you'll edit to tell us?

Very cute and crafty! What do the other symbols mean?

ha! those are very clever.

Those are great! I love the idea of using this for baby gifts - and love the idea of little babies getting their geek on even more.

Very cute! What's the difference between freezer paper and wax paper? I always thought wax paper _was_ freezer paper.

How totally cool!! I love it!

Very cute! Love the neurobiology symbols, personal and geeky:b

love it! thanks for share this new "old" craft trend! must try it sometime :-)

here are my guesses, starting in the UL corner clockwise: axonal end with neurotransmitter vesicles, axon wrapped with myelin showing Nodes of Ranvier, cingulate gyrus, and neurocircuitry?

LOVE the purple intestine. That IS a purple intestine, right?

Wow, this is so cool! I am totally out of the loop because I have never even heard of this before. What the heck have I been doing with my time?
I think it is such a great idea of a baby gift because you can personalize it (as you have done) and it seems like it would be pretty inexpensive. Maybe not. Must. Read. Tutorial.

Very nice work! Looks like you've found a new career. You can sell them at conferences and trade shows.

Those are so creative and cute!

Cool! What an clever and original gift!

"most of you will recognize the yellow neuron" Ahem. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm clueless about all four designs. It wasn't part of continuing education for tax accountants. And I don't think I'll find it in any LYS's collection of books. LOL!

But very cute onesies and nice choice of colors.

BTW, please note new contact info.

Synapses, vesicles and pathways! Oh, my!
Synapses, vesicles and pathways! Oh, my!
(Repeat ad nauseum to the tune of Lions, Tigers and Bears a la Wizard of Oz!)
How incredibly adorable! You need to do these for adults!!!!!!
There are a few of us raving neuroanatomy types out there!
How about a phospholipid bilayer with an ion channel to boot! :=)

that is so incredibly cute, I can't stand it!!! Sounds easy too, I may have to try that for Christmas gifts since I'm getting rather behind if I have to knit everyone something ;)
thanks for the info - I hadn't heard of that before! :)

Ohmygoodness! That is so cool! So inventive! I love 'em. You should totally sell these on etsy or something.
(By the way, I only recognize two out of four - yikes!)

Those are very cute. What a great idea for a gift - homemade and everything!

Very cute shirts! Don't know what any of it is for sure although I'm thinking that the pink is a representation of the cranial fluids, the yellow neuron as you mentioned, the green represents the neural pathways in an electrician's diagram and the purple is the base of the brain where it meets up with the spinal cord?
What's freezer paper?

Cute! I like the yellow neuron one best. Recognizeable for us non-geeks. (Hahahaha. We're just a different flavor of geek.)

Very well done (of course!). THere's also a world of projects using transfer paper and your computer printer...
And, if you really want to knit something, check out www.kimberlychampman.com. She's got some brainy baby toys, knitted, on there!

Well, at least I recognize the neuron, but nothing else. Can you clue is in on what the other figures are?? These are great.

What a FAB idea! I've made a hemp baby kimono for Hubby's co-worker, but a couple of onesies with double helixes would be PERFECT (Hubby works in biotech)! thanks for the idea....

I am just in awe of the simple yet stylish look of these "gems". The onsies look like the heavy cotton (good quality)....what brand are they, where did you find them. Keep posting your great stories and useful info. Thanks!

Excellent, excellent!

You have to get those little ones started on the road to geekdom as early as humanly possible.

Well done!

I'm a new knitter who reads your blog regularly, and was thrilled to see your neuro-biologically themed onesies! Check out the NYTimesdotcom today, where biology is applied to architecture. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/12/science/12find.html?_r=1&ref=science&oref=slogin

so cute!!

I love the neuro onesies. Do you sell them? Have you considered doing so?

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