Monday, August 31, 2009

Socks, Ankle Scare, and GRO Concert

My Lullaby socks are on the final stretch. So... I'm already thinking about ordering some more sock yarn, especially since I'm planning to make Jared some socks, too. He, of course, likes black and dark blue :-\ Good thing I'm getting some practice right now with dark sock yarn!

Friday night I almost sprained my left ankle, which would've been the third time. After getting up from the couch (knitting), I didn't realize that my left foot was asleep enough to make it vulnerable while walking. All I did was walk from the living room to the bedroom where I then lost my balance on my left foot. Luckily, I caught myself before putting my full weight on it. I only felt a slight pop and didn't notice any immediate pain or swelling. Saturday evening, I still went running and it felt pretty much OK, although I treated it cautiously and went running earlier than usual. Yesterday afternoon, I took Marie and Ian to the zoo where I walked around for a few hours. Today, however, I do notice some slight swelling and faint bruising. Darn! It's my running day, too. So, I guess it's time for RICE instead.

During this short post, I've had to get up to change a poopy diaper, change a DVD twice, get a box of crayons and markers, make some chocolate milk, move something out of reach, and have Ian beg that I share my lunch with him even though he already ate. So you can understand how excited I must feel to get out with a friend tomorrow night for a girls night out! We're going to a concert at The Basement to see Green River Ordinance and NEEDTOBREATH : featuring Griffin House. I've never heard of NEEDTOBREATHE or Griffin House. I'm just going because I want to see GRO! GRO opened for David Cook a few weeks ago, and I'm glad that they're back in Columbus so soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Can You See Any Purple?

Tonight while sitting out back before sunset, I took these pictures in the hopes that I could capture better the purple hues in my sock yarn. Not quite sure if I succeeded... But, at least you can perhaps see better the lace pattern I'm knitting. It's a 5-st vertical alternating lace with twisted rib. How long do you, those who regularly knit socks, knit your sock legs? I'm thinking of knitting this one about 6" maybe? Almost mid-calf is my goal. This has been such a fun knit, all because of the combination of yarn and pattern. I've got the simple 4-rnd pattern memorized and therefore can enjoy it from here on out. Love it!

I meant to mention on my last post that I've been listening to my first audiobook. I checked out Pride and Prejudice (thank you so much knit night ladies for planting the seed) and have been listening to it at night while knitting or surfing the net when everyone else has gone to bed. It's more enjoyable than I thought, listening to a book being read. Next, maybe I'll see if the library has the Jim Dale audiobooks for the Harry Potter series :-)
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Outdoor Fun and Finished Socks

Oh, thank goodness. My strawberry latte anklets are finally done! Here they are:
Pattern: Simple Toe Up Anklets (Rav link) by Rachel Calado
Yarn: Claudia Hand Painted fingering yarn in Strawberry Latte colorway; Regia Bamboo
Needles: US 0 KP Options fixed circulars
Notes: I substituted a Sherman heel and reduced the length of the ribbing. Instead of doing 2x2 rib, I used 1x1 twisted rib. For my BO, I used EZ's sewn BO worked on the WS. Gosh, it's been so long since I did the toes, I might've changed the short-row method on those, too -- can't remember, other than that I used the Magic CO as my provisional CO.

So now I'm down to two projects OTN: Wright and Lullaby Socks. Knowing me, I'll get the itch to add a new WIP! I'm already thinking of making a sweater for Marie and Ian's Winnie-the-Pooh bear. Also, I love making pajama pants for Ian. ...and both of them will need a cardi and/or pullover hoodie for the fall ;-)

Speaking of fall, that's what it felt like on Sunday! I took Marie out very near where I grew up to walk and play at Prairie Oaks on Big Darby Creek. Before ending our visit at the play area on the west side of the creek, we walked the greenway trail from the east side to the pedestrian bridge. As we approached the bridge, we had to let a long line of people on horseback go first. Marie had a hard time budging me from my viewpoint on the bridge as I gazed at the winding creek. During our visit, we listened to the loud chorus of insects that are much amplified when visiting prairie or woods. I love that sound in late summer and early fall! The flowers and tall prairie grasses are so beautiful this time of year.

Yesterday evening, we went to the OSU football team practice at the stadium. As we walked along the Olentangy from the Lane Avenue bridge toward the stadium, we counted 6 blue herons fishing in the river. I love those birds! We had 4 resident blue herons at Lake Lynn in Raleigh, a 5-minute walk from our home. Every time I went running there, I'd look for those herons as I crossed all the many bridges that edged the lake. I'm so glad that herons live here, too. Marie, Ian, and I saw a huge blue heron at the zoo recently. It was standing in front of the lake as we headed toward the pedestrian tunnel. I've also seen a heron at an inlet of the Scioto while heading to the zoo on Riverside Drive. I think that a visit to Pickerington Ponds may be in our future!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Started My Lullaby Socks

It took several attempts and froggings, but I finally got my Lullaby Socks cast on Friday afternoon. For me, casting on two-at-a-time cuff down literally gives me a headache. When I'm concentrating on knitting one sock's CO sts, the other sock's CO sts get twisted. Once they're twisted, I have a hard time righting the stitches since I'm not able to tell whether I've fixed the twist or not, or whether it just happens to be loose between CO sts. When my head began to pound Thursday night from my casting on attempts, I decided to put off casting on again until the next day. Friday afternoon, I decided to try the Frilled CO mentioned in MSKS. Somehow I managed to keep all those stitches from twisting -- yay! Since taking the above pictures, I've completed 16 rnds of the lace pattern on the legs with 10 rnds of ribbing in the suggested rib pattern (P1, K2, P1, K1-b).

In other news, a friend's mom passed away this past week after a 2.5-year battle with cancer. Her name was Alice and she was 72. My friend is the youngest of her 10 children. Alice and her husband Robert had married in 1959 and lived on their farm for nearly 50 years. They recently had moved to Delaware to be closer to family. I feel bad for my friend because one of her sisters died from cancer back in 2004.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tubey Tank Done

Here's my lastest use of scrap yarn: Tubey Tank. Luckily it turned out overly long as planned so that Marie can wear it next summer, too. I finished it while watching Pride and Prejudice which happened to be on TV last night :-)
Pattern: none
Yarn: various scraps of dk cotten blends
Needles: US 6 16" circs
Details are on my project page on Ravelry, but basically this is just a 3x1 rib tube top with a drawstring closure. The color changes are at the beginning of the round which I placed at the left side. I really enjoyed knitting this entire tube top in Continental Combined! It's not often that my entire project is ribbing. The last time I did a full project in CC was my Marine Tubey sweater and before that my Central Park Hoodie where there were columns of purl between cables and ribbing. It really does make all the difference in the world in evenly matching purls with knits and helping avoid the forearm fatigue from throwing (or the finger fatigue from flicking, if you knit Continental) the yarn on all those purls. It sure was nice to lazily pick both the knits and the purls, mirroring each other exactly in movement. Can we say, "Ohmmmmmm." Oh BTW, doesn't Marie look like she's wearing a big girly tube sock?!

Luckily, Marie actually likes this top (compared to the white halter tank I just made her). She says that she'll wear it. Whew... Good thing because I think it's cute. I like the colors, and I know it's comfortable on her. Until I finish Wright for myself, I'm going to not let myself CO for any more kid projects. ...which reminds me...

Good news: I'm down to just two (although soon to be three) WIPs! Wright and some Claudia Handpainted anklets. I'm frogging some sportweight socks today to make my KP US 1 fixed circs available to knit my first pair of MSKS socks in KP Stroll Hand-Painted Lullaby yarn (see previous post for pics). I still have a cell phone cozy on my US 1 dpns, but it's hibernating for now.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

A Tracy Flick Moment and Yarn-y Loveliness

For those familiar with Reese Witherspoon's character Tracy Flick from the movie Election, you'll understand what I mean when I say that my husband had a Tracy Flick moment. I'd gotten tired of cleaning all the toys off the living room floor and decided to give up doing it until someone else wanted to lend a hand. That was weeks ago... Thursday night when I came home from my weekly knit night, the living room floor was clean. I guess hubby stepped on a sharp-edged toy and heard tribal voices inside his head, hence the Tracy Flick moment. :-D (Actually, you could also say a Rachel Barry moment, too, but you get my point.) He proceeded to have my daughter help him put away the toys. Ahhh... yes (sigh). BTW, the floor still looks good four days later -- wooHOO!

Note: Skip to end of post for pics of yarn-y loveliness if desired ;-)

Friday was our 10th anniversary. We took the kids to the zoo and enjoyed the afternoon. Then we all came home and had some Donatos pizza. Marie got hot at the zoo and asked if she could wear the Dream Swatch headband I recently knitted while walking to the car. So that's what she's wearing in this pic.

Since last posting, I celebrated my birthday. We went to see David Cook that evening which was fun because it had been a while since I'd gone to a concert. I loved the opening band Green River Ordinance, as many of you already know ;-) When I went to last week's knit night, I received a very nice present from my knitting bud Kristie: a signed copy of More Sensational Knitted Socks!! I've been wanting that book forEVER, and she surprised me with it. Kristie got it signed by Charlene Schurch at Sock Summit which we all got to hear fun stories about, not to mention fondling all the lovely haul of yarn-y goodness she brought back with her. Kristie didn't have a class with Barbara Walker, but she got to speak to her at an impromptu moment during the summit. She also had a class with Jess and Mary-Heather from Ravelry. Lucky woman! Nearly all, if not all, known knitting designers were at that event. How awesome it must've been to be there in the midst of knitting greats and enthusiasts!

Speaking of Barbara Walker and luck, that made me think of the really cool article I recently read in the Fall 2009 issue of Twist Collective. If you have time to read it, it's worth it (as is viewing all the nice fall patterns -- I like so many, I can't narrow them down yet to my favorites!). Elizabeth Zimmermann's goddaughter Joan Smith walks into a knitting shop. She introduces herself and asks to have a sweater EZ knitted her decades ago repaired. Besides the story, what's also interesting is the EZ sweater design because there are none like it in all of EZ's books. Next up to read, time willing, is the accompanying Twist Collective article "The Tale of the Green Sweater" written by Joan Smith.

Pattern: a modified Katja.
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby (yes, I still have some)
Needles: US 5 KP Options 24"
Notes: This summer halter tank is written for up to 24 mths. I sized it up to a 5T with a 24" chest circumference. I knit the tank seamlessly ITR, added a garter stitch division, and then added some 12-st feather-and-fan lace after a plain stockinette portion. So, I guess you could say this was a Katja-inspired tank for my daughter. She didn't like it at first, but warmed up a little to it when she noticed that Cinderella wears white... Maybe she'll warm up to it more next year -- that's what I'm hoping since I made it big enough for her to grow into.

Last, but not least: YARN-Y LOVELINESS!! This skein of beautiful sock yarn from Knit Picks arrived in today's mail. Squee! (Did I really just use that word?!) It's the Lullaby colorway of the new Stroll Hand-Painted. As with my photos and those on Ravelry, the violet shades don't show up as well. There is a good deal of violet in this yarn, about a 50/50 mix. It could be this dye lot, but I think it's just hard to capture on film. I love it all the same! This afternoon, I browsed FOs of all available MSKS patterns on Ravelry and made a list of contenders. (A little voice inside me is also pleading, "make Hedera or another Pomatomas." But I will not stray!) Next I plan on reading the book between now and Thursday's knit night, hoping to wind my skein into a ball while there (please, please Julane!). I wonder if I could get away with separating the skein into two balls using a scale (crosses fingers hopefully)...

Oh yeah, one more thing: it's really, really muggy outside tonight. How do I know? I went running around 8:00 PM. Though I've missed a couple of times for whatever reasons, I've been running since August 1. Tonight was a challenge, not only due to mugginess which I'm used to after living/running in Raleigh for 8 years, but also because all my running intervals ended uphill! Yeegads, that was tough. But, it felt good: I felt every last bronchiole (and their respective alveoli) of my lungs functioning and blood coursing through every last capillary. At the end of my run, I finished with walking lunges up the driveway and a set of lateral squats. I've worked up to 5 minutes of running at a time with short walking intervals in between. So, I'm running more than half the time. Once I make it 5 or 6 weeks in, I should be fine. I probably won't be running the entire time at 5-6 weeks, but my body will feel more up to the task at least and the habit of running will be developed.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Getting Things Done

Yesterday was all about cleaning up the kitchen and catching up on laundry. With two kids, it's easy to let things slide, especially in the summer when there are places to go and things to do. My return to running and working out seems to be what spurred this cleaning stint. Normally, I sit a lot throughout the day. But after shocking my metabolism by exercising for the last week, my body has been in recovery/adapt mode. I feel like I need to do something at times rather than sit... similar to the need to knit or do sudoku while watching TV to keep my hands and brain from being idle.

My goal is to run 3 times per week with off days of working out to my Cardio Max and Power Sculpt dvds (The Biggest Loser). When I alternated these two things last spring, my legs looked the best they ever have even though I didn't quite get down to my goal weight range at the time. The endurance built by running and the strength and power built through all those lunges and other aerocircuit moves are a good combination. Just yesterday, I was reading that the best way to maximize weight loss is to alternate two types of cardio (and be sure to include strength training, of course). That's exactly what I was doing last year, and it worked. Actually, I've been able to lose weight with just running. But by including workout dvds that combine cardio and strength training, I'm able to sculpt and tone my legs in a way that running isn't capable of on its own. Plus I like getting my upper body more muscular along with my legs so that I look more balanced.

My first time back running was last Saturday, and I followed that up with a run on Monday. The first run didn't make me that sore, but the second one sure did! Even my feet hurt (from all the extra weight I'm guessing). The first time I ran with my daughter in my jogging stroller, and the second time I didn't. Maybe I pushed myself hard to compensate for not having the stroller? My time on the second run was 36 minutes with 19 of that running. It felt so nice to be outdoors, alone with my thoughts and challenging myself. At the close of each run, I did some walking lunges up the driveway followed by stretching. I should've run or worked out yesterday.
But, after standing on my feet all day cleaning, I decided to postpone until tonight after knit night. Then tomorrow I'll run.

Now that I'm done with the Dream Swatch headband, I thought I should CO for an upsized girl version of Katya (a baby girl tank). I've already made the cups and straps and have joined in the round. The pattern is now tucked away while I knit rounds and rounds of stockinette with some possible rounds of purl/garter.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Dream Swatch Headband FO

Pattern: Dream Swatch Head Wrap by Wendy Bernard.
Yarn: Knit Picks Essentials Multi in Confetti, 1 skein divided and held double
Needles: US 5 KP Options

Notes: I only did 2 pattern repeats and CO 2 extra sts on each end (14 sts total). I ran out of yarn before the headband became long enough to use as a wrap. So, I sewed on a button with my last bit of yarn to use with the holes that fall naturally in the center of the headband (between pattern repeats). Since there are a series of holes, the headband is adjustable.

Now that I've made this, I might at some point have to make Calorimetry for when the weather gets colder. I have a blue fleece running headband, but it's not for extreme temperatures unless it's worn under a hat. I'd also like to make a beret or some other slouchy hats this fall/winter...

This weekend I made more flax seed hair gel (FSG). For the first time, I added some rosemary and oregano per a recipe variation. The rosemary smelled wonderful and mixed well with the lavender EO I added later on. However, my next batch will probably not have any herbs in it (or, maybe only the tiniest pinch of rosemary) because I like the lavender on its own. Many people add a variety of things to their FSG, but I like it very simple. The only extra ingredients I might add, other than the EO, are honey and aloe vera gel. This stuff works so well under regular storebrand gel. If it were strong and heavy enough, I'd wear it alone. But, it's too lightweight for my hair (like the weight of a mousse) unless I put in several handfuls. Anyway, I thought I'd share a pic of what the FSG looked like cooking on the stove. The whole process of making FSG only takes 10 minutes, 6 of which are for boiling. What a cheap and fast way to make an expensive storebought gel!

And finally, recent pictures of the kiddos:

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Fall IK and fall previews; Return to running?

I got my Fall 2009 Interweave Knits in the mail today! Wow, didn't the preview just go up not too long ago? I haven't looked through it yet, but right off the bat I like the Farmer's Market Cardigan. Once I've taken the time to really scrutinize each pattern, I'll mention more patterns that I like :-)

Another knit blogger mentioned that Vogue Knitting has their fall preview up. Congrats again to Saunielle for her pattern which is in this issue (see this link for 360-degree view)! Also, Jared Flood has a very nice collection of patterns coming out for Classic Elite Yarns, Made in Brooklyn. His attention to detail is impressive as always. I've always liked his style. BTW, now that Knit Picks has City Tweed HW, I can finally make his Morningside Neckwarmer. Lastly, from looking at the Knit Simple fall preview, I'm interested again in making a moebius cowl. I want to do the moebius cast on that Cat Bordhi shows on YouTube. You work from the center outward in the round :-) If interested, here's a dissection of the different types of moebius construction...

Every time I get on Ravelry, I check to see the ever-growing stash and projects of the new Stroll Hand Painted by Knit Picks. I'm loving the Lullaby colorway -- WANT! The more I see Ravelers' stashes and WIPs, the more I'm liking Lullaby and Make Believe the best. BTW, I like how the Stroll Hand Painted is dyed like Imagination rather than Stroll Multi -- less chance for pooling.

My Dream Swatch Head Wrap is coming along nicely. I'm only doing two pattern repeats so that it's more like a headband. Also, I'm doubling the sock yarn, Knit Picks Essential Multi in Confetti leftover from making "Louie" (Lola) Bunny.

Tomorrow, the family's going to our first Clippers baseball game in the new stadium downtown. From the outside, it reminds me so much of the Durham Bulls' ballpark. Can't wait to see if the inside is the same, too! If so, it'll be classy and modern with the feel of a real baseball stadium. I love that it's downtown and in the Arena District.

Oh gosh, I almost forgot to mention that I... went running tonight! Actually, my intent was only to take a long walk. I had my daughter and the jogging stroller with me. She walked about 1/4 mile and decided to sit in the stroller for the remainder of our outing. She asked me, "Mommy, can we go faster?" I said, "OK, maybe a few sprints here and there." She liked it so much when I ran that I felt like I had to keep it up. I ran for 3-5 minute intervals, only walking long enough to catch my breath. What was strange was, despite being my heaviest ever (30 lbs overweight), I didn't feel bad at all. Normally when I haven't been running for a while, I feel pretty rundown only 10 minutes in, both my muscles and my breathing. Tonight, I felt fine. It was perplexing to me that I was easily pushing my 30-plus-lb 4-year-old and that my deltoids weren't burning too badly from the constant contraction. Well, I'm pleasantly surprised and feel the stirrings of motivation! Maybe I'll be able to enjoy running once again this summer. I need it. It's been a while since I ran regularly. January - May 2008, I trained for a 5K to shed baby weight. Though I did get back into decent shape and lost about 8 lbs, I didn't enjoy it thanks to some lingering postpartum issues. Since I didn't experience any issues on tonight's run, I'm looking forward to hopefully enjoying running as much as I did back in summer 2004 (pre-kids). That was the last time I truly loved running and was in great shape.