Friday, September 4, 2009

The Art of Starting: Again and Again

So I've tried to start this blog entry a few times and it seems everytime I do, I get a little stumped.  Beginnings seem to be problematic for me as of late. 

Speaking of trying to start again, I've been off and on trying to get back into a strong running routine.  Much like my blog entry, I seem to be constantly restarting a routine that I can stick to (only to get sidetracked, and have to try to start a routine again).  Some weeks I'm right on target with getting my mileage in, but most weeks I'm not.  I think I really have to start looking at my routine as though I'm a beginner runner all over again and go from there. 

I've written a schedule down so it's a bit more concrete.  I have a race on Monday, but after that, I'm going to start again by trying to stick to this schedule.  We'll see how it goes. 

Running isn't the only place that I've had problems with starting.  Beginnings seem to be dogging me even in my knitting.  Case in point:  my Wicked sweater.  I bought this sweater pattern and the yarn from the Miss Babs booth at Sock Summit.  I met Miss Babs herself, and she was super-nice and tried to make sure my two skeins of Yowza yarn matched as closely as possible, but we were under unatural lighting, and it proved to be more difficult than we first realized.  More on that as the story progresses...

While at the Summit, I decided to ship a lot of my yarn home to make room in my luggage, but shipped one skein of the Yowza yarn and kept one with me so I could start my sweater as soon as I got home.  When I got home I did start, but realized that the medium size was too big for me after trying it on.

I was able to complete all of this knitting in just three days, so I thought if I had to start again, it wouldn't take me too long to get back to where I needed to be.  In fact, when I decided to start over, UPS showed up at my door with the yarn I had shipped from Portland, so I thought I'd start the next sweater with the other skein and compare sizing and make sure I was on the right track.  I went ahead and started working on the smaller size.  After finishing the shoulder shaping, I realized something...
Hey!  This sweater is lighter!  Crap... 
I didn't think I would need to alternate skeins.  We were so careful to try to match them in the booth, but alas, we were under unnatural light, and most of the lightness in the yarn seemed to appear only after I had wound the skein into a ball.  I would need to start again and knit from both skeins of yarn, switching them every other row, in order to blend the colors properly.

A note for my nonknitting readers:
  Many knitters these days buy yarns from independent dyers (like the lovely Miss Babs).  Their operations are much smaller and therefore, their hand dyed yarns often don't look exact from skein to skein (unlike most commercially sold and dyed yarns).  This usually isn't a problem unless you are making a larger project and need to use multiple skeins of yarn.  Otherwise you can have something that is mismatched on the same garmet.  I found this scarf on Ravelry and the knitter was saying that the two skeins of yarn were from the same dyelot.  This can happen with hand dyed yarns, but it is also this same quality which draws us to buy it.  These yarns are unique and beautiful, even if we have to go through the trouble of alternating skeins from time to time.  Here is a picture of the two skeins of the Yowza I got at Sock Summit:
After looking at them side-by-side, it is obvious that I need to alternate them..
So, in the end, I needed to frog both sweaters and start again, but this time, alternating skeins so that the colors would blend.  I have already restarted the sweater for a third time.  I am hopeful that this will be the last time I have to start this project again.  It would be nice to finish something after starting it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Art of Summing Up: Remembering Sock Summit

I think I've finally gotten over the general feeling of exhaustion from Sock Summit. It was a lot of fun, but getting reacclimated to the world outside of Portland was a wee-bit difficult.

I soon realized that knitting in public is generally not an acceptable practice. Instead of being met with, "ooh! What are you working on? What yarn is that?" I generally just get strange stares.

While in the grocery store parking lot, I noticed that the last three letters of the car's license plate in front of me were "SSK." For those nonknitters out there, that means slip, slip, knit in pattern instructions for knitting. I almost said something aloud about it, but thought better of it.

While driving, I noticed that the car in front of me was a model that I was unfamiliar with. It was a Toyota, Yaris. Only when I first read it, I thought it said Yarnie.

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Portland anymore.

So, while I've been trying to readjust to life as usual, I thought I'd post some pics and links of the fun that was Sock Summit.

I was lucky enough to get through the registration process and got some classes at Sock Summit. I was even luckier to get a class with Anne Hanson of Knitspot! Anne designed the Gridiron Socks that I'm working on for Chris. Since the class, I've gotten a few more repeats in. It's a simple sock, and I enjoy working on it when I'm not able to work on something that requires more attention. Anne has a lot of other designs I'd like to try, but I really should finish those socks first. It seems that I take longer to finish items that are not meant for me, I'm afraid.

After class, she let us all pose for a class pic.

Even while not in classes, I was able to learn from others at the Summit. Sarah, of The Sanguine Gryphon took some time out from selling and taught me how to use a drop spindle. The fiber is Dragonfly Fibers BFL and I'm afraid I'm not doing it justice yet. See all the nubby-uneveness? I'm getting a bit better and will soon be taking a full day class on using a drop spindle.

It all started when I began dropping hints to Kate that I'd like to learn how to spin. She was only too happy to take me to the Carolina Homespun booth in the marketplace and show me some stuff. Later, she told me that Sarah would be great to teach me (I think she was trying to avoid being blamed for getting me involved in another yarn related addiction.) It's okay, ladies, I only blame myself. More about my spinning adventures in future blog entries.

After the first day, we attended the opening ceremonies and despite their exhaustion, Gryphon and Sarah of The Sanguine Gryphon and Kate of Dragonfly Fibers smiled and posed for a pic.

While at Sock Summit, I participated in two record breaking events! I was one of the knitters trying to break the record for "Most Knitters Knitting In One Place." and even got my photo (well sort of) in a local paper! That's me behind the ladies in the blue and purple knit "wigs." My friend Nikki (Ravelry name Kurokids) pointed it out to me. Nikki also hosted a lovely dinner for a bunch of us Ravelers. We had so much fun that night.

On the last day of the Summit, I had an opportunity to knit part of the Biggest Sock in the World!

Also saw some lovely handknit socks from different time periods in the Sock Museum. Yes nonknitters, there was a sock museum.

After buying up all kinds of yarn at the Marketplace, I decided that I needed to play with some of it right away. I set up a make-shift yarn swift out of my luggage in order to wind a ball of Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs' yarn.

Despite the fact that I was at a knitting conference, I didn't have a lot of time to knit. There was so much to do and see, that I only found a few moments here and there to sit and knit in a corner. I more than made up for that when I got home. More on that in future entries.

With all of the knitting and yarn that was surrounding me at Sock Summit, it is no wonder that I've been having trouble adjusting back to business as usual. The biggest adjustment is realizing that no one around me speaks knitting. I have to get used to speaking the native tongue again.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Let the Sock Summit Begin!

I tried to blog last night and actually fell asleep while typing on my phone. I wasn't in a state to blog, but I wanted to. The first day was amazing.

The first day was busy, but not as crowded as it is today. The marketplace was only open for students yesterday, so it wasn't too hard to shop or get around, though The Sanguine Gryphon's booth was mobbed the entire evening. Check out their blog in the next few days-they have some stories to tell.

Although yesterday's lines overall weren't too bad, today's look a bit more scary:

Not too bad? It goes on...

And on...

That isn't just a crowd of people in the distance; that's the actual line winding away into the horizon. Do you think they all want Bugga?

I was able to do some shopping myself, yesterday. After class, I was able to catch up with another Ravelrer and we went downtown to the Button Emporium and Ribbonry. It was truly a charming store.

Everything was about whimsical embellishment.

I'll have more photos from my camera when I get back, but here was a very cool mermaid in their window.

And of course, I bought buttons:

After our little excursion into town we made our way back to the convention center to visit the marketplace. It hadn't been open all day and it would soon open to students only.

I had made a deal with myself. I was only going to buy things that I otherwise have a hard time getting. I couldn't believe what I was able to find!

Exhibit A:

Gothsocks and Oh My Goth sock yarm from Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs. I was able to grab a special Sock Summit colorway called Summer of Goth. I haven't been able to catch her updates, but made up for it here.

Also got Numma Numma and String Theory at the Loopy Ewe booth!

And then there was the Zauberball by Skacel. This is a funny story.

While wandering happily through the marketplace, I noticed a man knitting something peculiar in a corner within the Skacel booth. When I took a closer look, I realized what he was knitting.

This is Brian, and he is knitting seven pairs of socks at a time. That's right folks, a week's worth of socks at one time.

While I stood watching this, one particular colorway caught my eye. "Which one is that?" I asked and pointed. "That's the Zauberball Crazy," he said.

That's crazy allright, I thought to myself, but very charming. I ended up just going for the regular Zauberball.

After more and more shopping, they began to announce that the marketplace was about to close. I caught up with Gryphon, Sarah, and Kate, and we started making our way to the Opening Ceremony.

It was a real treat.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Yarn Harlot) and Tina Newton (Blue Moon Fiber Arts) began telling all of us about how Sock Summit came about. If you have been reading these ladies' blogs, you might know most of the story, but they were so funny in telling it. We were in stitches.

I noticed that someone was filming the event, so hopefully people who weren't able to come will be able to see it.

The event was also very emotional, when Tina talked about the challenges they faced to get something of this magnitude off the ground. And then of course it was very emotional when they began recognizing the teachers and how none of them said no when asked to partcipate. It was a great event.

Afterwards, we all left a bit bleary-eyed from fatigue, and I stumbled wearily to my hotel room. Which leads me back to the beginning of my blog entry-where I fell asleep.

And that was just Day 1.

--Post From My Phone

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Day Before: It's Almost Here!

After traveling a whole lot, I'm in Portland!

I wanted to keep blogging about my daily summit adventures, so I'm resorting to blogging from my phone. I hope this works ("is this thing on?").

My photos are coming from my phone, so tthe quality may not be the best, but more photos will follow when I can upload them to my computer from my camera.

When leaving Providence, RI, I didin't think I'd see anyone that might be a summit-goer. I figured I'd have better luck when I arrived in Chicago for my connecting flight.

As soon as I reached my gate, I pulled out my Loopy Ewe project bag, and sure enough, it acted like a beacon, and I was very quickly surrounded by friendly knitters.

During my flight I was lucky enough to sit next to Kate of Dragonfly Fibers. We chatted and knitted away and before we knew it, we were landing.

While on the plane, I finished my homework!

This will be for Anne Hanson's lace sock design class. I wonder what it will become?

After landing, fellow Ravelrer, Kermit and I grabbed some tastey treats:

I seem to have forgotten my running shoes. I made a point to check and see if the hotel had a gym (and they do) but my running gear didn't make it into my bag. This could be problematic.

After a much needed nap, I went ahead to the convention center to register. While I was organizing my registration materials, I noticed some familiar faces walking towards the registration booths. It finally dawns on me that it is Ravelry founders Jess, and Casey along with Ravelry team member, Mary-Heather. I feel like a dork wondering if I will bother them by saying "hi." I end up walking by them smiling, but my very nerdiness is blinding, and that's the best I could muster.

I was going to try to say hi, but what I really wanted to say was "thanks for Ravelry, it rocks."

I didn't say either.

Lame. Oh well.

I'm anxious to start classes tomorrow!

Let the classes begin!

-- Post From My Phone

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sheep Exonerated!: 2 Days to Sock Summit

So the truth is out there. The sheep is innocent. I've apologized, and I've gotten almost all of my homework done. (He said he would've done the same if he were in my shoes.)

Everything is bagged and tagged according to classes.

One of my homework assignments was to create a swatch of a simple stitch pattern that I'd like to incorporate into a sock design. This is a swatch of a stitch pattern called "Wave" from the Vougue Stitchonary 2 book. I knit it in Araucania's Ranco Multi in colorway 325. The colorway and stitch pattern seem to work together.

Another bit of homework has proven to be a bit more frustrating. I've frogged it about 4 times, and will probably have to do it on the plane to make sure it gets finished. It is for a class on lace sock design and I'm supposed to have a simple lace sock pattern started and ready for class. I can handle lace, which is why I'm confused about this pattern. The pattern has two options for a cuff: a lacey one, or a simple 1x1 rib. I thought the pattern was fairly straight forward and forged ahead with the very pretty but simple lacey cuff. In the pattern there are a few yarn overs after purl stitches-which I've done before and haven't had too much trouble finding the yarn overs on the next round to knit it, but somehow I kept ending up with extra stitches and would have to frog it and start over. Lack of sleep is started to rear its ugly head.

Realizing that I'm running low on time, I just started the rib pattern, but I just realized that I didn't cast on loosely (I usually use two needles to cast on loosely), and will probably have to frog it again. I'm a bit unclear how this is going to work in class, but we'll see.
This is supposed to be the Waving Lace Socks from the Favorite Socks book. It is being knit in Socks That Rock, Lightweight in the Moonstone colorway.

This next project is probably the project I will work on while on the plane. It is also the project I'm bringing to knit during the Guiness World Records event. It is the Knitty's Lace Ribbon Scarf done in The Sanguine Gryphon's Sappho II yarn. The yarn is a beautifully saturated purple and the picture is not capturing the subtle changes from light bluish purple, to reddish purple, to dark purple. It is wonderfully soft.

Again, sorry for the lame picture. Will do a better job when I have a bit more to work with. This is one repeat of the pattern and there isn't enough to photograph it well.

And that's it for homework. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it was a lot to get organized in a couple of days.

In addition to these projects, I have a grad course that is wrapping up and have been doing homework for that too. Last minute, my professor sprung a mini paper today. I had planned on using the time to finish knitting my homework and start packing, but I lost about four or five hours on the grad school stuff, so packing will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm trying to keep hysteria at bay.

Which isn't too hard when you are exhausted...Zzzzzzz.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"The Sheep Ate My Homework!": 3 Days To Sock Summit

It could happen.


I'll just keep working at it. The teachers wouldn't believe it anyway.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Art of Panicking: 6 Days to Sock Summit

hys*ter*i*a (n) - behavior exhibiting excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic.

Today, I started getting my stuff printed up for sock summit. This included printing my confirmation email, a map of the marketplace, a list of vendors, a schedule of events, and finally, my classes. I'm having a great time listening to my Ipod and highlighting booths on the map and making notes as to which vendors will be there that I want to visit. I highlight times and places of events and classes, so I can quickly glance and get my info. I go ahead and highlight the confirmation numbers of my classes so the nice people at registration can quickly find the info they need to register me. I even print out an extra copy that isn't highlighted in case they don't want those numbers highlighted for some reason. I then go to my classes that I've printed. I'm about to highlight the class lists of materials and then it hits me...

And then the hysteria began...

I forgot to put homework on my list.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Art of Planning: The Beginning of the Countdown!

"Plans are nothing: planning is everything." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

7 Days 'till Sock Summit!

Started planning for Sock Summit today. I always make lists when I plan. It really is the only way I can get anything done. I never used to think of myself as distractable, but I'm finding over the years that I am very distractable. Here's an example:

I'm about to do the dishes so I can start my breakfast and coffee. When I have my breakfast and coffee, I surf the internet, check my emails and then I'm ready to start the day. I can't do any of that when I have a messy kitchen.

So I head off into the kitchen and start the dishes. Before I begin, I need to grab a paper towel because I notice the faucet is in desperate need of a wipe down. Not only does it need to get wiped down, but I suddenly notice that behind the faucet there is some wiping that needs to be done there.

Rather than start the dishes, I go to get a paper towel to take care of the faucet, but I find that the counter is cluttered and there are little crumbs that seem to have escaped me the day before. I wipe the crumbs off and tidy up the counter.

I go to throw the paper towel away and mean to get another, so I can go back to the sink, but I drop it and it falls to the ground. I go to pick it up and notice that, somehow, a strawberry slice escaped from last night's prep of some fruit salad, and it isn't pretty. This needs to be taken care of STAT.

After a bit of scrubbing, I finally go to throw this paper towel away. I flick the trash bin's lid up to dispose of it and am revealed of the horrors that lurk on the inside surface of the lid. This cannot stand. All other issues are forgotten as I try desperately to remove the stains that have been secretly amassing on the inside of this seemingly innocent lid.

Now, this domino effect continues until:

a. I realize my original intention, and I force myself to stop and go to complete
the original task, or

b. four hours pass and I'm a huddled mass in a fetal position on my (clean) floor
as I suffer from food and caffine deprevation. (A sad sight, indeed.)

In an effort to avoid this scenario, I have learned to make lists.

So on the top of my list was to get some audio books for the very long flight to Oregon. I think flying from Massachussetts to Oregon is just as long as flying over to England. I flew to England once, and it was a long flight. Typically I plan on having some well chosen audio clips for a trip, but in the last days' rush to pack, these things never get taken care of, and I end up taking whatever might be on my Ipod at the moment. Knowing this is how I roll, I put it on the top of the list.

I grabbed the second installment of the Twilight Series, New Moon. I also grabbed various podcasts of "This American Life" as well as some works from Neil Gaiman.

Another thing on my list is trying to decide what knitting I should bring for the flight, but am afraid to take anything on a cable needle since it might be looked at as more dangerous than regular knitting needles. Right now, my projects of choice to work on are the lace shawl and Entrelac Stole that I am currently working on.

I never thought I'd be knitting a lace shawl. I dabbled in some lace when I made my Embossed Leaves socks and eventually, my knitting path led me here:

It is a difficult colorway to photograph (even for me), and the yarn is just a wonderfully soft wool. It is called Free Range because it is organic wool. All the yarns are named after chicken breeds, which I think is just charming.

Pardon the photo below. I'll get something better when it is done and blocked. It sort of looks like a manta ray, but you get the general idea.

The other project that is addicting to knit is my Lady Eleanor Entrelac Stole from the Scarf Style book. It is knit in Noro Silk Garden.

I'm knitting in colorway #251, which has been discontinued. I saw this colorway worked into an entrelac scarf on Ravelry and thought it looked divine, so I knew when I was ready to tackle it, I had to get that colorway. I was able to find some on Ebay and even got matching lots! It looks very rustic and faded which is fitting since the stole was inspired by images of ladies walking in cold and drafty castles (no insulation, you know) and thus these ladies would benefit from a nicely knitted stole. I think it will do nicely to ward away chills at work and at home (no castles I'm afraid, but I like insulation).

I'm afraid to take either of these projects on the plane because they are being made on cable needles. I'm not sure that the cable needles would make it through security. I'm thinking about starting another pair of socks but doing them on double pointed needles rather than two-at-a-time on a cable needle.

Next on the list:

1. Get a project for the flight.
2. Organize the materials for classes.

Hopefully, I can plan enough that I won't be distracted (much).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Art of Taking a Plunge...Sort Of

It's amazing how time flies by. One minute I'm saying "I need to go to Sock Summit," and then suddenly, the time to get ready and start planning is here. My head is spinning with all of the delightful details I need to get ready!

The funny thing is, I thought I'd be whipping out socks like mad before arriving at the big summit. I thought I'd have added a ton of socks to my handknit sock arsenal by now, but typical of my A.D.D. self, I find myself distracted by lovely lace projects (more on that later). In fact, after deciding to go to Sock Summit, I decided to join the 52 Pair Plunge group on Ravelry. The challenge is to make 52 pairs in 52 weeks. Some people have actually completed the challenge. I likened it to the Ironman Triathlon of Sock Challenges. It is indeed a tall order to fulfill. The challenge started on June 1st. Since then, how many sock pairs have I completed?


...but they are lovely.

Here are my Spring Forward Socks in The Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga! yarn. The colorway is Tufted Jungle King (which I think is the name of a butterfly).

Here's a closeup:

I thought it was funny how the yarn's colors turned out so autumnal and the pattern is Knitty's Spring Forward. I also thought it was funny how the yarn's colors looked so much lighter in the skein but when knit up, became more deep.

Here's a pic of the skein so you can see what I'm talking about:

I thought the colorway would be a bit lighter, but I've seen that happen with colors when they are knitted up. Sometimes just placing a color next to another can change the way it looks. The eyes send the image up to the brain and then it is translated differently. That is so cool.

So that was pair #1. I'm registered to blog on the official 52 Pair Plunge Blog, but I'm a little embarrassed to have only one completed pair to present while others are whipping out socks by the bucket full. Like everything else, I'll catch up.

Pair #2 is almost done. They are socks for Christopher, my husband. He loves blue, and when I found this colorway from The Alpaca Yarn Co. (Heels and Toes yarn in Singing the Blues colorway purchased from The Loopy Ewe) I immediately thought of him. I like this yarn because I love the fact that you get a contrasting color for heels and toes, but I found the yarn sort of splitty. The pattern I'm using is Knitspot's Gridiron, a perfectly suitable pattern for a boy, but perhaps it would benefit from a less busy colorway. I've acutally started the foot, so it is a bit more completed than this photo:

It has a wonderful striping pattern, but after completing the heels, there is some pooling happening in the foot. I'm not sure if I like it yet. I'm sure it will grow on me, but the big question is if Chris will like them (and I hope he does).

Otherwise, the pattern is a nice and easy one to memorize making this a great take-along project. If I could just take it along with me to finish rather than than all of the the stoles and shawls I've started to work on (more on that later).

Oh! And I never got to post a pic of my finished Embossed Leaves socks. They are one of my favorite pairs. There is quite a story about finishing them. I had cast on the socks too tightly but, for some reason, never tried them on as I worked on them, so when I finished them and tried them on, I couldn't get the cuff over my calves. I needed to unravel the cuffs and rework them so they would be looser. Did I mention that I did these socks two-at-a-time? Yeah. But, long story short, I fixed them and here is a photo:

It's too bad that they can't count towards the challenge because they were completed before June 1st.

I know that I may not reach the 52 pairs at the end of the challenge deadline, but I think the challenge, for me, is more about getting to try techniques that I normally might not. I want to try my had at stranded sock knitting, simple sock design, and more ambitious patterns. I may not complete the Ironman Triatholon of sock knitting challenges as outlined by the organizers, but I can try to overcome my own challenges and just try to become a better sock knitter overall.

What are some challenges you want to overcome?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Art of Training 5/31/09

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare."
-Juma Ikangaa, New York City Marathon winner

Last year, around this time, I was training for a 10k, but I was about 15 pounds lighter (eeek!) and had been running 20-25 miles a week, every week, for about 8 months. Things are much different this year.

But that's ok. I keep telling myself-"it's ok, really, it's ok..."

Even though I keep telling myself it's ok, I don't quite believe it. Last year, I ran five races (had planned six), but over trained and found myself fatigued and getting sick at the drop of a hat. What was worse, as I became better from my colds, I would rush back into training, try to make up for lost time and wind up in the same situation. Thus began a cycle that continued on into February until I figured out that I needed to do something different. In March, I signed up for personal training at my gym and basically took it one week at a time. Some of those weeks I only had time for my one training session, but I kept going thinking that the next week, I'll start running, or the next, or the next... Eventually I started running again, and fit it in when I could.

It's now the end of May, and I went running today. I am running about 10 miles per week (5 miles at a time). I keep wanting to add that third session per week, but my schedule has been loopy. I hope to add that third session this week. It's amazing how my body has to regain the stamina I used to have, but I'm even more amazed at how quickly I went from running 3 miles to 5 miles. I'm hoping next week I can get to 6.


So I have been debating whether or not to sign up for the local 10k. I ran it last year and placed in the top 20 of my age group (I was #19) and thought I had done pretty well for my first 10k. I knew I'd be running slower this year and there's a little scared voice in me that keeps telling me not to run the race, to just keep training and forget about racing for the time being until I get back into my original racing form. I asked Nate, my personal trainer and running guru, what I should do.

"Can you run four and half miles right now if I asked you to?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said expecting him to tell me to sign up for the 5k.

"Then sign up for the 10k."

I was afraid he would say that.

He went on to tell me that I should set three goals for myself (for instance-placing somewhere in my age group, running a bit faster than my current pace, etc), so even though I wouldn't be running like I did last year, I could accomplish at least one of those goals rather than fixating on how I would never be able to match the results of last year.

Suddenly I felt lighter. I was overburdening myself with expectations that I couldn't meet yet at my current fitness level, and when I would fail, I would start the quitter talk.

It's a good thing Nate's lessons (that I paid for in advance) are so expensive, or I might have given up sooner.

So, even if it's at a turtle's pace, I'm back in training.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hey Lookie!

A new banner! Maybe I'll switch it up every couple of months.

More blog make-overs coming!

Time For a Spring Cleaning...Even Though It's Almost Summer

Okay, I'm not going to go on about how neglected my blog has been. Nope.

I'm not going to go on about how I have not been training or losing weight like I had planned. Nope.

I'm not going to go on about how busy I have been, and how I wish I had more time to blah, blah, blah... Nope.

Though I'm not going to go on about it, I will mention one thing: sheesh, my blog needs a make-over!

More to come in the next days. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wake Up!!!!

You know that feeling you get when you wake up after a nap that has gone on for too long? I sort of feel like that right now.

I just realized that the last time I blogged was back in November, and I was sick. Then the holidays happened and that seemed like a blur because I was constantly playing catch-up because it took so long for me to get over my cold. After the holidays, I tried to get back on track with my exercise routines to get back to my racing weight (um, yes, have put on a few pounds since the holidays). I was able to get into a good rhythm, saw the scale drop a bit and then BAM! I got hit with the flu.

Sigh... this has been my routine since September. I've had the flu twice and at least two colds. Needless to say that I'm planning to start my next exercise regimine very slowly.

Note to self: get a freaking flu shot next year.

But on the bright side, while I've been napping and recovering on the couch, I have been able to get a bit of knitting completed.

I did finally finish the Noro Striped Socks. They were a gift to a good friend in England. I wanted to give her something bright, vibrant and beautiful-something to compliment her wonderful personality. I did find the second sock too dark and ended up frogging it. (For my nonknitting friends, this is knitter talk for taking apart a project. The word "frogging" comes from the idea that a knitter is ripping the knitted fabric apart. Basically you rip it, rip it, which sounds like "ribbit, ribbit" hence the frog reference.)

Anyhoo, I started the second sock with a new skein and got a lovely bright sock to match the first:

The top of the sock is a bit more heathered than I would have wanted, but I think they do look great together. Here's the final pair:

They were fun to make. I had so much fun watching the striping that I ended up making a scarf out of the Noro Kureyon worsted weight wool.

It's still a work in progress, but this is my mindless knitting project. Something I take to the doctor's while I'm in the waiting room or on long drives. Nothing that needs too much attention while I knit and can be put away rather quickly if need be. It's basically the 1x1 rib pattern made so popular by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed fame. Here's a close-up:

Then I made a pair of socks for just me. That's right. I made something for myself. The scarf doesn't count because it isn't finished yet, but to make something for myself is monumental. Most knitters can attest to this. I have noticed since the holidays that everything I've casted on has been for moi.
These were knitted using Sockpixie's merino sport wool. I call them my Cafe Au Lait socks because the colors look like a swirling cup of coffee and cream. They are extremely comfy and are a delight to wear.
Then I went ahead and knit a pair of lovely wristwarmers in The Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga! yarn. (And yes, the exclamation mark is part of the yarn's name.)
This could be my absolute favorite yarn right now. All the colorways are inspired and named after bugs. I'm going to have to blog about all of the cool colorways I've been able to snag because each skein is a work of art.
The yarn is made up of merino wool, cashmere (yum) and a bit of nylon for strength. Check out some colors here at The Loopy Ewe because Gryphon sells out of this stuff all of the time, and you can't see any pics currently on her site. The wristwarmers were knit in a colorway called Robber Fly.
These were also fun to knit and they are extremely warm. These will be especially helpful in the spring, when it is too warm for gloves, but too cold for spring wear with 3/4 sleeves. I want to knit a darker pair to wear while I cycle, but not sure if that will be comfortable while I ride. We'll see.
And this is my current project:

The pattern is Embossed Leaves Socks, and I am knitting them in Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga! in the Praying Mantis colorway. I love this colorway and the yarn is knitting up to a velvety fabric. Did I mention that this yarn is fabulous?

Currently, I'm working on two graduate courses right now (while juggling work), and I've been working on these a few rows at a time each night. I usually knit about four rows and then fall asleep on the couch. I'm actually using the two-socks-at-a-time technique, so I'm hoping that this will pay off in the end (meaning I can knit more socks faster, of course).

So with a bit of luck, I'll get more knitting done, get back into my exercise routine, and finish these courses without too much stress. Not too tall an order, right? Now where's my vitamin C?