Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm It!

Jenn tagged me, so here goes:

1) What was I doing ten years ago?
I'd just finished college (Smith), and moved back home to work for the summer as an unpaid intern at the local weekly paper. Fortunately for me, the person I was interning with gave notice after about 2 weeks, and they offered me his job. Interestingly, I gave notice about the same time the following year, in order to go to grad school.

2) Five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:
-maybe get a snack?
-learn about biking stuff (Kevin and I are in Northampton, learning about road biking though Ride Noho. We've learned all kinds of stuff and I haven't tipped over trying to stop yet, so the weekend is already a complete success.)

3) Snacks I enjoy:
-candy, especially chocolate
-fritos and tortilla chips
-raw carrots and cabbage
-fruit, especially frozen mango and pineapple
(Gosh, those last 2 make me look like a healthy eater, don't they? Too bad it's easier to find candy than cabbage and frozen mango!)

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
It turns out I'm kind of a lame billionaire, because none of the things I want to do but don't have to do with money. I can't imagine not working, although it would be nice to be able to do something yarn-y without having to think about money (and if I wanted that enough, I'd find a way to do it now, so maybe money wouldn't really help with that either?).

So that leaves:
-more travel
-give away as much money as possible, to organizations that help people/groups/countries/causes help themselves

5) Places I have lived:
-Albany, NY
-Andover, MA
-Aurora, NY
-Corning, NY
-Ithaca, NY
-Los Angeles, CA
-New Haven, CT
-Northampton, MA
-Princeton, NJ

And if I'm really stretching the time that counts as living somewhere, I spent a semester in Yaroslavl, Russia in college.

6) Jobs I have had:
-weekend housekeeper in my dorm
-student assistant in the tutoring center in college
-ad design person (for the weekly paper that evidently went through an ad person every 12 months)
-graduate assistant/TA
-preservation field services consultant

7) Peeps I want to know more about:
Anyone who wants to answer!

I finally took pictures of the Brooklyn Hansdspun socks, the red socks I knit for Schaefer that I finished in April (or March?), and the yarn I bought at the sheep and wool festival last weekend.... but the camera battery is dying, so they'll have to wait a bit. (We packed quickly, so of course we left the charger at home. Also, water bottles, Kevin's preferred shoes, and every bag/backpack/container we've ever used while biking. At least we remembered out bikes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Very Speedy!

Not my running, but this post.

1. I finished the marathon, in slightly longer than my first marathon (I'm wildly annoyed about this, and am trying not to think about it).

2. My legs were very sore Monday and yesterday, but now I can walk, stand, and go up and down stairs without moaning quietly to myself. Hurray!

3. Even though I was off on Monday, work was a flurry of activity yesterday. That, plus the marathon, meant that all I wanted to do last night was collapse with easy knitting (more scrap hats!). So sorry for leaving you in suspense.

4. Work is still a flurry of activity today (my department has been working on a project all year that ends today, and while I've played a pretty minor role in most of it, I've been very involved in the final event).

Must go!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Good morning! It's very early. I have a bug bite on my neck from yesterday, my big toe hurts, and I'm pretty sure this whole running thing was a bad idea. Also, my hair looks funny. How are you?

Really, I'm sure it will be fine once I start. The sporty people just make me nervous. I scurried through the expo as fast as possible yesterday, grabbed my number and timing chip and went back to the car to knit. I am the expo vendors' biggest nightmare. Although I did manage to spot people with free ice cream, and deploy Kevin to bring me some (he isn't intimidated by the sporty people). Do you think Ben and Jerry will also give me free ice cream after the race?

In other news, I stayed as far as possible from the bunnies at the MA Sheep and Wool Festival yesterday, but I did by fiber to make up for it: 2 skeins of sock yarn (in preparation pretending I'm going to try to knit a pair of socks a week starting in 6 days), 4 oz. of fiber, and a gigantic skein of lace-weight. Maybe someone could run in front of me carrying my new yarn like a carrot?

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Knitting was particularly tasty last night:

's b-day is this week too, so our knitties brought us cakes! This one is ice cream cake, and there was also a delicous cake-cake, which fell victim to ravenous knitters before it could be immortalized in pixels.

I've been using Flickr all day for actual work-work, and it's making me feel vaguely guilty--as though using Flickr is by definition goofing off, and should be kept to a minimum. I am obviously a wimp about this, because I also had to leave campus (just barely: I was next door to a university building and the university may very well be the store's landlord) to make a work-related purchase during the day and felt like I was cutting class. Clearly, I have never skipped an actual class, or I wouldn't be this confused. (Oh wait! Once in high school I stayed home because I couldn't wear my contacts and my glasses prescription was really out of date. I'm such a rebel!)

In unrelated (but visually somewhat cake-like) news, I started knitting the hemlock ring doily-turned-blanket over the weekend.

I was sort of dreading the feather and fan (I once knit an interminable F and F blanket, from which I have obviously not recovered), but it turns out that it's slightly addictive (consequently, the blanket is much bigger than it is in this picture).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Felted Bunny

Here's the bowl, post-felting.

It's still floppy, so I may want to felt it a bit more.

(Sometimes, the model doesn't cooperate!)

Sporty Update

I'm working on more secret projects (also, I've taken pictures but not uploaded them to Flickr), so will have to talk about my athletic endeavors.

In list form:

1. Running

You may recall that I thought it would be a good idea to run a marathon for my birthday. Now that my birthday is this weekend, I'm not so sure--and I suspect it's going to go badly. This will be my 6th marathon, and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to finish it somehow (I'm fairly confident in my ability to keep chugging/walking/crawling along, almost no matter what), but I'd rather not do worse than my first marathon (4 hours, 40 minutes, 17 seconds). The 4000-5000 miles I've run since that marathon ought to count for something, right?

On the other hand, I'm not sure about my training this time around. I did all the long runs like you're supposed to, but I think I averaged 4 days of running a week, not 5-6 (meaning I often skipped a short run). And I didn't run yesterday or the day before (although we did bike for a couple of hours each day), which probably won't have any effect on my actual performance, but which makes me feel guilty.

2. Biking

That tandem bike really is miraculous, in that it's finally gotten us to start bike training for the year. Kevin is signed up for a 1/2 Ironman in early June and he'd kind of decided that he wasn't going to be ready (it's in New Hampshire, and very hilly. There's a guy in a devil costume and everything.) But we've sprung into action and it seems to be going OK. We haven't tipped over yet, which is a definite improvement over last year. And we're actually riding.

This is good news for many reasons... we're riding the Lake Placid Ironman course with our triathlon club in the middle of June, and as much as our cardiovascular systems might have been ready to jump on a bike for the first time in 8 months and ride for 112 miles, our butts would not have been. And we're going to a weekend bike camp in 10 days (doesn't everyone celebrate having run a marathon by spending the next weekend bicycling?), which, again, would not have been the best time to readjust to our bike saddles. It occurs to me that I should probably try biking on my own bike at least once before then, so as to avoid tipping over.

3. Rowing

Last week I rode along on the launch with the coach during crew practice, and it was really great. Although it did remind me that one day I'll have to coordinate my rowing efforts with other people and somehow get the oar in and out of the water. And not capsize. I'd blocked out all of that, and was completely amused by not being terrible at erging.

I'm still completely amused by not being terrible at erging, honestly (I know I run a lot, but my very best running is consistently twice as slow as the people who win, so realistically, I'm pretty bad. I'm not looking to win, but twice as slow is almost a different activity!). But I am kind of looking forward to rowing on actual water (which can't happen till the water temp is above 60 degrees... maybe they've heard about my learning curve with the clip-less pedals?)

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Since everyone was so quiet and well-behaved, you probably didn't notice, but the past couple of days have been very busy on my blog:

One of the secret things I knit in late March and early April was a summer top for the Classic Elite webletter . Guess which day it was published!

I forgot to take pictures of it before I sent it in, but go visit it on the CEY site (or on Ravelry, if you're so inclined). It was one of the projects I brought with me when I visited my friend in LA, and the lower body--all stockinette, in the round--was perfect for knitting while talking. (I think I knit an entire skein in one night--it's a very speedy yarn.)

Rabbit for Scale

In between agonizing about socks (which continues, in semi-unbloggable form, because the July Mystery Socks are fighting back), I made a bowl to felt, out of the wool my sister brought back for me from Peru.

Here is is pre-block, with Moppet for scale (not the best comparison, since Moppet is huge! She weighs 2.8 lbs, up from not quite 2 lbs when I bought her... about 18 days ago. Rabbits are supposed to eat carrot cake, not just carrots, right?).

And here's what the yarn looked like originally:

It's kind of a waste to felt yarn with so much personality, but although I like the color generally, it's not quite the right red (in person) to fit happily into my wardrobe. It's blocked already, but Moppet doesn't want to pose with it until it's dry.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Still Doomed

So, Monkey v4.3 didn't fare much better than v4.1 or v4.2, although at least it went badly in a different way: the first, nearly-finished, cuff is difficult to get over my foot. Since none of my previous Monkeys have this problem, I suspect it's entirely my doing (the presence of 3,832 other finished pairs in Ravelry would seem to confirm this suspicion!).

Heather is partly silk, so it's less elastic than the mostly wool yarns I used for versions 1-3 (Ellen's Half Pint Farm merino (or merino and nylon?) sock yarn, Colinette Jitterbug, and Socks that Rock, respectively). Rather than compensate for this, I decided to use slightly smaller needles than called for in the pattern (US 1.5/2.5 mm, rather than US2/2.75 mm), because I think my Veil of Leaves socks, knit with Heather on US 2 needles, are slightly floppy. Typically, I can't decide whether to frog the cuff and start again or frog and take the third wonky Monkey attempt as a sign that I should work on something else.

Like another sock! I'm the July designer for the Sock Knitters Anonymous SockDown! Sock Knit-along (that's nearly as unwieldy as my position title in the leadership of the sub-section of the professional organization I'm involved in!), and it might not be a bad idea to get started (although it will make for boring blogging, since it's a mystery knit-along). Especially not a bad idea since the theme (either for July or just for my design, I'm not sure) is microgauge (which they're defined as more than 9 sts/inch), so it's possible that the sock will progress slowly.

(Could I have fit more parenthetical comments into that paragraph?)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Doomed

I have been trying since Tuesdays to start a pair of Monkey Socks (pair #4, so I should be good at them by now!)

My first attempt began well enough on Wednesday but ended in failure on Thursday. The ribbing looked basically OK, but once I got into the pattern I decided the yarn was too thin for the needles and/or pattern.

Then I tried to knit other socks with the same yarn and needles (because I was trapped in a series of presentations at work with no other supplies! The horror!). But that didn't work either.

Kevin's starting going to a track workout on Thursday nights, and we decided to bike there for some extra tandem-ing practice. I planned to knit while he ran (17 days out from a marathon is not a good time to do speedwork for the first time in several years!), but we weren't home long enough for me to wind new yarn.

Fortunately, I'd brought my traveling swift:

Naturally, since I am the queen of pooling, the yarn (Socks that Rock mediumweight, in one of the 2007 club colorways) pooled like mad:

And the fabric seemed a little dense (I must have used size 3 needles last time I made socks with mediumweight).

So I ripped AGAIN when we got home, and started a third time with some nearly solid deep red/pink Heather from Schaefer Yarns. It's lovely so far (after the ribs and 2 pattern repeats), but of course I haven't taken any pictures of it.

What's especially foolish about this desire to make monkey socks is that I've signed up for the second 52 Pair Plunge, wherein a bunch of lunatics try to knit (on average) a pair of socks a week for an entire year (any size socks count). It starts June 1, so any socks I make before then do not count (and use up vital sock yarn supplies I should be conserving for the plunge). Naturally, I started wanting to knit socks immediately after signing up... a feeling I expect will vanish about 11:53 PM on May 31.

I expect I will fall quite short of 52 pairs, because of all the other things I want/need to knit instead. But I'll be interested to see how many I do make--I suspect it will be between 24 and 30 pairs, because I can knit about a sock a week, focusing somewhat hard some of the time, but also knitting other things when I feel like it. Presumably, a formal challenge will make me slightly more focused--but also more likely to rebel.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bike Storage

We do have a lot of bikes in our condo (for the mathematically inclined, it's about 750 square feet, and there are currently 4 bikes... that's one bike per 187.5 square feet... except that we fit them all in the front hall).

The tandem is currently on the floor, leaning against the wall (out of the picture below the blue bike), while we try to decide whether to put it in the storage space (down a short flight of stairs from the ground floor--the stairs are why it didn't work for poor Vespy (RIP), but the bike is light enough to lift that little bit) or move my road bike to the storage space and hang the tandem instead. Or we may just sell my road bike. We're taking a weekend bike course the first weekend in June, and I need my own bike for that, but I don't think I'll do that much solo riding after that--even after just 2 short rides, it's pretty clear that we're both much happier with me on a tandem! And if I did want to do a solo ride, the bike store people said that we're probably close enough in size (Kevin's about 2 inches taller than me) that his bike could be adjusted to fit me.

The good news is that we have way more scarves per square foot than bikes--you can see some of them in the bottom of that picture. Figuring if you can't beat them, join them (or rather, if you can't eliminate them, decorate with them), Kevin installed a dozen hooks on the walls of the front hall for a portion of the scarf collection. It's like a tryout--new scarves visit the hall, and either enter the regular winter rotation or are eventually sent back to the minors (in the case of scarves, the minors are either the back of the hall closet or a scarf drive for charity).

New Socks, New Bike

Kevin and I went to visit my parents in Ithaca this past weekend--although it was a lot of driving for Kevin (and a lot of knitting for me, because I set a new record for remaining conscious in a moving vehicle and only took 1 small nap each way!), it was really good to see them.

I convinced my mom to take photograph some socks:

The red ones (there are two of them, really!) are a pattern I made up in Schaefer Yarns' Heather. They've posted it on their site, but I'm not sure how long it takes for the pattern to reach the stores... and I still need to format the version I'll sell here. The one in the middle is the new design I'm working on for Brooklyn Handspun (I'm almost done with the second one, but I probably won't be able to write up the pattern or take photos with both socks till next week). And the turquoise ones (there are two of them too, honest!) are the Veil of Leaves Socks from New Pathways for Sock Knitters.

And we also bought a new bike!

(I know this looks like a gigantic impulse purchase, but we've been thinking about a tandem for about 2 years, and finally found a store semi-near somewhere we were going to be already that had a bunch to try.)

The good news is that I'm the stoker (that's the one in the back--usually the less strong cyclist), and that the stroker is not responsible for keeping the bike upright during stops and starts. Hurray! The bad news is that Kevin's developed some weird starting habits (perhaps from having to wait while I try to get my feet locked in without tipping over?), which make starting a little bit wobbly. But we haven't actually tipped over yet and we did get much better over the course of just a short ride, so things are looking promising. We're going to try again this afternoon (anyone driving in New Haven, please be nice!).

Hey, funny thing: I needed oil for my wheel and someone on the Lendrum forum on Ravelry suggested a precision oiler from Radio Shack, so Kevin picked one up for me on the way back from swimming yesterday. The salesperson said it was the third precision oiler he'd sold that day, and asked if Kevin knew why they're suddenly popular. Duh--people (all of them living in New Haven, apparently) bought new wheels in Maryland, and now they need to oil them!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Better Pictures & Moppet Update

I've decided that purple matches everything (plus it's been chilly at my desk), and have been wearing the new shawl a lot. It came to lunch yesterday:

(Nothing like arranging knitwear on a public walkway to make you look peculiar!)

(I'm still thinking about the upper border, but it's getting less and less likely--I really like the shawl as is, and would rather start a new lace project!)

Moppet seems to be settling in OK. Her cage is in the living room, but that room is filled with tasty, chew-able things so she has to stay on the couch, and can't really hop around. But the hallway is pretty empty (if we pick up our shoes and hang up all the bikes), so that may be the official bunny run.

As I suspected, the floor is too slippery for effective hopping. The first time she tried to hop, her back feet scooted out behind her like flippers, and she slid backwards instead of hopping forwards. So we flattened a big box and put that down--traction has significantly improved her hopping abilities.

I've reached the gusset of the second Brooklyn Handspun Sock--I tried to take pictures yesterday, but something about the sun and the color overwhelmed the camera--maybe I'll try again today if it ever brights up from drizzly to overcast!