Friday, February 29, 2008


I had a appointment with the physical therapist just now (about my hand, of course).

As I'd suspected, it's completely fine--I didn't lose any of my range of motion (at least compared to my other hand, since no one measures their normal range of motion just in case they hurt themselves!), and I just need to strengthen it a bit.

So she gave me some silly putty.

I mean, special physical therapy putty, which comes in different densities, so you can build up to a harder putty as you get stronger. I'm supposed to spend a few minutes a couple of times a day squeezing it as hard as I can, making sure I work my fingers in as far as they'll go.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It Turns Out

...that I don't hate colorwork after all.

I made a colorwork hat (maybe 8 years ago?), and that was my last colorwork till last week. The hat went badly--because I carried the contrast color too tightly, the fabric was puckered and wouldn't block out. I refused to rip, so I did that thing they tell you is impossible: working backwards from the live stitches to the cast on, I pulled enough yarn back through the stitches to loosen them. Ripping would have been faster, but it worked eventually, and I still wear the hat.

Not wanting to repeat the experience, I avoided multicolored knitting. I mostly knit for myself and mostly wear solid colors, so I didn't feel this as a restriction at all--since I didn't want the finished product, avoiding the technique was pretty painless.

But small doses for colorwork have been looking attractive lately--the endpaper mitts for starters, and then many other pairs of complete mittens. So when Laura at Schaefer asked for colorwork socks, I figured why not?

And it turns out that I love it (although this may be partly due to the small size and rapidity of progress). I'm also totally amused by the toe, with its cute little decrease lines!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wrap Cardi in Daylight

In my flurry of writing and formatting, I finished this pattern (and finally got Kevin to take a picture in daylight, rather than using the built-in camera on the computer in our dimly lit home office).

So, the details:
Size: S [M, L, 1X, 2X]

To fit: 32 [36, 40, 44, 48] inch bust

Finished Measurements:
Chest: 35 [39, 43, 47, 51] inches
Waist: 31 [35, 39, 43, 47] inches
Length: 19 [20, 21, 22, 23] inches
(shown in size M on 35 inch bust)

Materials and Supplies:
Approximately 1000 [1100, 1200, 1300, 1400] yards DK/sport weight yarn. Sample was knit from 2 skeins Brooks Farm Duet [55% kid mohair, 45% fine wool; 500 yds/8 oz skein].
1 set US #8/5mm double-point needles
1 US #8/5mm circular needles
tapestry needle
crochet hook
2 1-inch buttons (1 will show, 1 will not)

Gauge: 16 sts/24 rows = 4" in stst

Price: $6.00

Automatically download-able pdf for sale here. And I've put it in my Esty shop too, in case you'd rather I emailed it to you personally.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Or Not

We decided it was too cold and slippery on Saturday to run the actual race, so we did a short run at the gym instead, and put off the longer run Sunday. Of course Sunday was still snowy, but we went to a trail that's been plowed in previous years.

Some of it was plowed this year too, but we had to run on the street for a bit to find a plowed section--and then we ran past the end of the plowed section and had to run on the street again. But there were only a few slippery spots (2 sections where the trail was covered with a couple of inches of ice--must be low enough there that last week's rain pooled and didn't run off), and the sun was out and I warmed up right away. Kevin, not so much--he finally felt like he might not die of exposure after about 90 minutes. Which is weird, since I'm the one who's always cold when I'm not exercising (perhaps it has something to do with being made of fire and air?).

Speaking of fire and air, that yoga class was canceled (because no one else signed up), so I can get a refund, but it's not my actions that mean the other person doesn't get to take the class. Hurray!

I had another random thought that would be interesting to no one but me, but I've forgotten it.

In knitting news, I have an ancient picture of the Baby Surprise Jacket (which I have now finished knitting, trimmed with orange, and sewn up... really, it looks nothing like this picture anymore).

I'd hoped to knit a whole bunch last night--Kevin has swimming practice, but Monday is the day I recuperate from running a million miles on Sunday--but instead I got caught up in writing up and formatting patterns. All very good, since it needed to be done, but it meant that I didn't get to knit at all and was very cranky by bedtime.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

No Matter What!

Kevin and I are signed up to run a half marathon on Saturday. So of course the weather for Friday to Saturday morning is looking dire: ice, snow, freezing rain and overall ickiness. And the race director just sent out an email with a cheerful subject line: The Race is on No Matter What. He suggested that we bring our yak tracks (snow tires for sneakers, basically). Of course we have some, but yuck! We've only used them once before, to slog through a nor'easter to get to the gym (the roads were closed, and the snow was too deep to run, what else were we supposed to do?).

Let's think about something more pleasant, shall we?

I'm done with some more socks, and this time I managed to take pictures! But not of the striping cuff wackiness, which I decided to live with (on the grounds that these are just socks, and I tend to wear my pants as long as possible anyway). The stripy part is Spunky Eclectic something or other in the Irish Dreams colorway from the Woolgirl sock club, and the toes and heels are Socks that Rock in the Lenore colorway. I haven't made complete socks out of Lenore yet, but I'm fairly certain I'll have plenty left--those skeins are generous.

I also finished the purple handspun vest, but didn't take any pictures (and if I wear it one more time, Kevin will laugh at me, so pictures will have to wait a bit). That leaves just the felted wreath, of the many (for me) projects I had going when I complained that my broken had was giving me startitis. However, I'm officially setting it aside while I try not to procrastinate on several projects with deadlines: designs for a sweater and socks for Schaefer Yarn and a baby surprise jacket. Naturally the jacket is going the fastest, since I have plenty of time for that.

Speaking of broken hands, as of Monday I don't have to wear my split any more! I'm not supposed to support much weight on my hands (leaning is fine, but no handstands), pull too hard (I open heavy doors with the other hand), or play basketball (finally! an excuse for being tall and hating basketball!) for a few more weeks, but otherwise I'm back to normal. And the doctor said that knitting is good therapy for strengthening that hand again! Perfect--medically recommended knitting!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Go Fish!

I made myself a list of designs I want to write up and patterns I want to post, and it's kind of scary. So I'm going to start working through it... starting with the fish!

Fish aren’t usually cuddly, but this this one is! Covered with knit-in ruffled fins and stuffed with fiberfill, the fish is finished off with googly bobble eyes. Pick a bright handpaint for a tropical look, and machine washable yarn so there’s no need to worry about dirt.

Finished Length: approximately 13 inches

About 250 yards light worsted or heavy fingering weight yarn. Sample knit with 1 skein Lola from Schaefer Yarn (100% superwash merino wool; 4 oz/280 yds)
Approximately 1 yard contrasting yarn for eyes
About 3 oz. of stuffing/fiberfill
US size 4/3.5mm needles, or size to create dense fabric
US size 6/4 mm needles, or 2 sizes larger than other needles
Tapestry needle

20 sts/28 rows = 4 inches in stst

Note that exact gauge is not crucial. However, fabric on smaller needles should be dense enough that stuffing will not show. Fabric on larger needles should be looser, and holes are not a problem.

Price: $4.00 (for a download-able PDF)

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Heather (superwash wool, silk and possibly nylon blend from Schaefer Yarns. There are 9 skeins within 4 feet of me,, but I am too lazy to go look at a label to check the exact content). Anyway, Heather seems to be machine washable, I repeat, machine washable!

I knit the cutest little swatch of all time, and washed it (in cold water, on a regular clothes cycle, but in a mesh laundry bag). It still looks fine and is the same size. Naturally, I didn't take any pictures.

This means I can machine wash the red socks I just finished (which I also haven't photographed). And the other 9 pairs of socks I'll have eventually. Yay! It will probably shorten their life somewhat, relative to carefully handwashed socks, but that's actually a good thing: it will save me from needing a larger sock drawer. And given the carefully configured storage situation, we would probably need to move in order for me to have a larger sock drawer.

(Also, I met someone at SnB who took a class that used a textbook my dad wrote. She loved the book, and even asked my dad to sign it at a conference. I'm fascinated by my dad's secret life as a professor, and wish I'd snuck into a big lecture he was teaching when I could reasonably have blended in with the undergrads. Now, the knitting would give me away immediately...)

Friday, February 15, 2008


So, a funny thing keeps happening to our car (ok, it's only happened twice, but it seems like it's a weird problem that shouldn't even have happened once!).

Twice now, when it's rained and then turned cold, the gas tank cover thingy has frozen shut. Not knowing it was frozen we've pushed the level to open it hard enough to break the cable. Which means the gas tank doesn't open at all. The time I did it (2 years ago), I was driving back from New Haven to Andover, MA, and had gotten exactly half way. I'd filled up right before I left Andover a couple of days before. In theory, one tank of gas is enough to drive the 300-mile round trip, but we'd also driven around a little bit in New Haven. I wasn't sure how much, exactly, so the rest of the drive to Andover was a bit suspenseful. Would I make it? Would I run out of gas on 495? A few blocks from my house? My plan was to drive till the fuel light came on, then look for a gas station/repair shop, so I'd be as close to home as possible when I got stuck.

I made it home, and then to the repair shop, where they explained what had happened and replaced the cable. (By the way, the thing to do in this circumstance is hit the tank cover sharply before you try to use the release lever, to knock ice loose.)

Monday, when Kevin did it, he was at a gas station in town, so there wasn't any chance of getting stuck on the highway. But it was still irritating. I hadn't thought to warn him, so he too kept pushing the reluctant lever till the cable broke. He called, I explained what had happened, and he drove home (in suspense, because we'd put off filling the tank, as usual).

This time though, the internets saved us. It turns out you can reach under the trunk lining, then between the inside and outside layers of the trunk wall, to pull out the latch and release the door by hand. It's not the fastest process, but it did let us fill the tank--and put off getting it fixed till this weekend.

What I've been trying to figure out is whether there's a way to use the old cable (still mostly in place) to pull the new cable through--it needs to get around the doors, then attach to the underside of the lever. I think the repair shop takes off the trim around the doors to get to it, but it sure would be nice if there was a do-it-yourself way. I like to imagine I'm handy, based almost entirely on the time I made a coat hook out of a paper clip, tape and string (and hung it on the wall without making any holes or ruining the wallpaper with tape), and the time I fixed a toaster with just a pocket knife. I'm optimistic that these achievements indicate a hidden talent for car repair, but Kevin is not so convinced.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Just in case you've been waiting on the edge of your seat, wondering which socks I'd work on... I decided to concentrate on finishing the red socks which I'd set aside. But I also worked intermittently on the weirdly striping socks, when I wanted to knit without looking.

And now I've finished the red socks (pictures soon). The last few rows and the ribs were very satisfying, since (as of yesterday) I don't have to wear my split when I knit! I'm especially happy about this because the way I had to hold my right needle with the split on squished the needle (the length, not the tip) into the side of my middle finger, and it wasn't especially comfortable. The funny thing is that I'd always knit before without really thinking about my hands, so I couldn't remember how I usually hold that needle until I was able to knit without the split! Turns out I grip it with my pinky and ring finger.

In other news, Kevin and I signed up for a series of races (10K, 15K, 20K and 25K) that's meant to build-up to the Boston Marathon. We're not doing Boston, but we'd been thinking about doing a spring or early summer marathon, and this seemed like a good way to make sure we actually started training. But that may not have been the greatest idea. Kevin did the first one, but I skipped it because we hadn't been running as much as we'd hoped so 10K (6.2 miles) seemed too far. Plus I had a cold. Then we both skipped the second one because it was cold... and the forecast for the race site was even colder. In our defense, we did run almost as far on our own later that day (15K is 9.3 miles, and our run turned out to be 8.5).

The 20K (12.4 miles) race was this past weekend. You'd think I'd have used my split as an excuse (I used a cold and the cold as excuses... and my cold wasn't that bad and it wasn't that cold), but no. Even though the forecast was depressing (wind, rain, dropping temperatures), we did it! It was definitely our slowest race ever--not surprising, since Kevin decided to run with me and I haven't been doing any speed work lately and have been running slower and slower and slower and slower as a result... also, there were hills.

But I was really relieved that I did it, since we're signed up for a half marathon in 2 weeks. Plus, when I go too long without a long run, I start to worry that I'm just going to stop running entirely. It's so easy to skip it on any given day, thinking "I'll go tomorrow," but string together enough days of not running, and eventually you don't run anymore. (Do you think this is the same thing that happens to those mysterious people who used to knit, or don't knit when it's warm, or only knit at knitting group? They confuse me!)

Speaking of just not doing things, I signed up for 2 yoga classes at work, and finally went for the first time last week. One of them is fine, but the other instructor managed to say everything that drives me crazy. There were only 2 of us in the class, so she asked us to explain our previous yoga experience and any other exercising we do. Then she lectured us about the dangers of running and other styles of yoga (of course! I will be condemned to misery and pain unless I take only her class!), interspersed with overall wackiness (she thinks I'm flexible because I'm composed of fire and air... she likes to talk ALOUD to her endocrine system, to let it know she appreciates it... ). So I may not go back. The trouble is that if a third person doesn't register, the class will be canceled and I'll get a refund (there are no refunds otherwise). My going or not going doesn't affect that, as long as I'm registered and have paid, so I'm not taking anything away from the other person my skipping it. But if I don't go back, how will I know whether it was canceled? If it's not canceled, which will be more annoying: having paid but not going, or going and being lectured (and not allowed to stretch fully into any pose because, being composed of fire and air, she thinks I need to work on strength rather than flexibility)? Can I over-think this any more?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Sign of the Four

Ignore the blurriness, and please excuse my taken-with-cell-phone-at-lunch photo. Look at the striping:

This is in no way the yarn's fault--I decided to try some calf shaping, so the sock starts at 72 stitches and decreases to 68. But it's still annoying, especially since I like the top (lower ankle and start of foot--that random yarn in the middle is for an afterthought heel), where are the colors are mixed equally, much more than the bottom (upper cuff).

But I can't decide how much I care. Enough to snip a thread, separate the 70- and 72-stitch portions, unravel them, then reknit the cuff on 68 stitches (I think I can do it so the yarn goes in the same direction and I won't have to graft anything--it's just that the thought of undoing almost all of the one-handed portion gives me pause), or just enough that I'll leave it alone but be glad the cuff is mostly covered by my pants?

For the moment, I'm going to keep knitting, since messing with the cuff the way I've planned won't affect the foot. Maybe once I have more of the good stripes it will be more obvious how much the bad stripes will stand out.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


It's still oddly difficult to mouse with my right hand (although everything else is going fine, and I've thrilled about multi-handed knitting), so my friend Annie wrote a haiku for me:

Mouse with the left hand,
The right hand still reluctant...
Chasing its own tail?

I love haiku! Like socks (small, defined structure, but somehow lots of room for creativity).

Fellow Garter Belt-er Cindy named me as one of her "You Make My Day" blogs (several posts ago... being back at work has reactivated my procrastination gene), but I'm still thinking about who to pass it along to. It's too bad you can't include the person who sent it to you, 'cause Cindy's knitting and her blog make my day too.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Blogging for Just a Second at Work

To say that I'm just back from the doctor and HURRAY! I can sleep without my splint! And I can start typing (and KNITTING!) with my 2 exposed fingers and thumb! And start running and yogaing again (carefully, not doing any yoga poses that put weight on my hand, and not falling down... maybe I will stay away from biking for a little while longer)!

And starting next week I get to take off the splint when I'm typing/reading/knitting/otherwise sitting still!

I think this calls for celebratory cookies, don't you?

(Naturally, because I am a big knitting dork, my second thought after HURRAY! was should I keep working on the socks from yesterday, return to the socks I put on hold when I broke my hand, then come back to yesterday's socks, or alternate? But really, who cares? I get to knit with 2 hands! YAY!)

Sunday, February 3, 2008


The blue thing is not a baby blanket. But I have a bunch of gift knitting for babies coming up... just as soon as I can use my hand!

Also, do you think these stripes are funny looking?

That's about 400 hours' worth of sock knitting right there, and Kevin is no help... he said the stripes don't look any funnier/more funny than my other socks. Gee, thanks!

I think that I only think only look funny because they seem very orange to me(to a non-orange wearer, anything with any orange looks completely orange). But maybe they really do look funny and I'm so distracted by the orange that I can't tell how funny looking they are. It's hard work to over-think this much--makes the brain hurt!

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Wait, wait, wait! The wrap cardi was knit entirely pre-hand injury. Since then, my output (especially considering that, theoretically, I can knit), is much less impressive.

One secret blue thing:

(This is actually the second installment of blue things; the first one is shy.)

One cinnamon roll:

I mean, one base for a felted wreath... Suddenly, I really want a Cinnabon, don't you? I think there was another brand of gigantic cinnamon bun at the mall nearest my college, and those were tasty too... Maybe something like monster bun? Wait! Cinnamonster! Yum!

Anyway... the upper front of a vest:

And a couple more inches of sock. The sock feels like it goes really slowly (really?) and I'm not sure about the pooling situation, so I've started a hat (knit flat! So silly, but I need it to be on long needles), using some yarn my sister brought back for me from Peru.

The yarn is kind of thick and thin (in a good way), so I'd usually knit it up loosely to show off the texture. But this particular skein was broken is a couple of places, so I decided to double it and knit a hat to hide the joins on the inside. It's really soft and I love the depth of color so I'm really looking forward to knitting up the other skeins into something drape-y.