Thursday, December 17, 2009

Biggest Swatch Ever

Meet some of my handspun. The lighter grey (in the front corner) is angora and very soft wool (Cormo? Merino? I should learn to write these things down!) from Woolybuns, and the darker grey with the barely visible purple tint is Romney. They're both 2 ply, and more or less the same weight.

I've wanted to combine them for a while, and I thought I'd found the right pattern when I saw Colonnade from the fall Knitty. I started knitting, but once I got to the lace it turned out that the colors weren't right--they were too similar to contrast like the original Colonnade, but too different to read as a single color. It just looked like I'd run out of yarn and tried to hide it.

So I ripped out the lace portion and switched to garter stitch, alternating 2 rows of each yarn. I love how the colors work in garter stitch... but now I don't like the shape (which you can see if you scroll down in the link to the Colonnade pattern). At first, I though I'd just change to another shawl pattern (still in garter stitch, but maybe something more triangular?), but that wasn't really inspiring me...

Then I thought it would be a great vest--with garter stitch on the upper chest and the lighter grey on its own below the bust. I'm not sure I really have enough light grey for that plan, so I'm wondering if I could find a commercial yarn that would work instead (this would also let me save the bunny yarn for something neck-adjacent)... But maybe I shouldn't mess with my yarn choices? I think part of the appeal may be the contrast between the angora fuzz and the Romney shimmer (possibly there's some silk with the Romney?), and it might be hard to match the fuzziness level of the handspun... but what if I run out? Or can't make the vest long enough? And is angora a strange choice for a vest?

Maybe I should just make a different shawl!

In either case, my Colonnade-turned-swatch is plenty big--about 200 stitches per row, at this point. And given my possible yarn shortage, I need to rip it out to reuse the yarn!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mind Games

I've been erging a lot this month (it's Concept 2 holiday challenge time again--I have just over 62,000 meters to go before the gym closes for the year on December 23), and I've noticed that I can take whole seconds off my split times by thinking the right thing at the right time. (For some reason, mentally yelling "FEET!" is very effective.) It feels like mental yelling is I'm doing--although the machine says I'm rowing faster, I don't feel I'm exerting any more effort. That's lucky for me, since I'm lazy about hard workouts... so lazy that after a while, I forget to yell at myself and slow down again.

Only 2 of the ergs really work, and they're right next to each other, so as soon as there are 2 of us, we have to sit right next to each other (where we can read each others' monitor screens). My favorite is when super-athletic (but non-rowing) guys notice that I'm going faster than they are. (It's not that I'm especially good--it's just that the way you're supposed to erg is much faster than the crazy way people usually do.) For some reason, they find this disconcerting--what ever would they think if they could hear me yelling "FEET!" to myself??!

Speaking of meters to finish, I'm just about done with my holiday knitting--I have about 200 meters of the original distance left to go. That should be little enough to finish without resorting to frantic marathon knitting, although there's some danger that I'll get distracted: I did finally cast on for my last holiday project earlier tonight, but over the last couple of days I also slipped in two entirely unplanned projects (hey, they were small!), started a shawl for me, and did some planning and math for a shawl for Schaefer. Babies don't know exactly when Christmas is, right?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Side Effect

Here's the thing:

Much as I love yarn shops that put prices on their yarns, there's a small danger that, when a semi-acquaintance/coworker/fellow knitter/[what's it called when you attended the same college, but it different years?] asks what yarn you're using, you'll hand her the label, and the fourth fact she learns about you will be that you spent $26 for a skein of sock yarn.

On the plus side, the yarn is gorgeous, the skein was enough for 2 socks (I may like good sock yarn, but I'm not crazy), and the socks are turning out very well. AND I'm about to bind off the second, so it probably won't happen again.

At least not with this yarn!

Friday, December 4, 2009

How Did This Happen?

I seem to have only 3 hats. How is that possible? I knit hats, and I keep other things I make--why haven't I managed to keep more hats?

Also puzzling, they're all only semi-suitable for daily wear: one is the hat I row and run in, and probably everyone who comes near me outside of those contexts would be happier if I wasn't wearing it; one is lined with a felted wool sweater (and is wool itself, of course), so I save that for when it's really arctic; and the third is knit with a double strand of wool, so it's pretty toasty too.

Maybe I'll work on that after I finish all my Christmas socks?

(This sock has gotten bigger already.)

(And this one hasn't.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scarf Factory

I got a little carried away on the whole scarf thing:

(Although this is less impressive than it looks--I made the one on the bottom a while ago.)

But I couldn't help myself: they were the perfect Thanksgiving knitting--a mindless stitch pattern and cuddly yarn, accompanied by the warm and fizzy feeling of doing something nice for someone.

And the scarves didn't mess up my Christmas knitting schedule/yarn mileage obsession, even though I only meant to knit one. I have about 3/4 of a mile of yarn left to knit, and 3/4 of a month left to knit it in.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I've made all kinds of progress on my holiday knitting: I finished a pair of socks, I nearly finished the present/modeling bribe I was hoping to finish my this weekend, and I think the total yarn mileage left to knit is down to 1 mile. Plus, finishing the socks meant I didn't have a portable project, so I've moved on:

A red scarf for the Red Scarf Project. I already have a scarf ready to go, but it's not red and they're not even halfway to their goal of 3000 scarves (the deadline is December 15), so I thought I'd make another. The original 2 miles included a red scarf, but I planned to kit it from a skein of Nichole. Unfortunately, I turned covetous and wished I was making the Nichole into socks for myself before I'd even knit an inch. I don't usually feel that way, so I was relieved when some pomegranate Miss Priss appeared in the mail! As a bonus, it's knitting up about 87 times faster than Nichole--I just started that last night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Funny Things

1. I stopped at the organic grocery store on the way to the fabric store this afternoon, and while I was checking out, someone came out of the cafe to tell the cashier that "the vegan Philly cheesesteak is becoming a reality." Ok, good to know.

2. I buy yarn and fabric (and patterns for each) in completely different ways. I buy yarn mostly because I like it, then later on I find a pattern that goes with it, and then I knit. (There are occasional exceptions, when I love a pattern and don't have the right yarn, buy some, and cast on immediately, but mostly, it's yarn first.) Sometimes I buy yarn on sale, but I'm just as likely to pay full price.

For sewing projects, I find a pattern, wait till it goes on sale, then buy it. At some point--possibly at the same time--I buy fabric (which I also almost always buy on sale), then I sew whatever it is. What's funny about this scheme is that it's sometimes hard to find the right kind of fabric for a particular pattern--I seem to gravitate towards patterns meant for knit fabric, for example, but I have a terrible time finding non-hideous, me-appropriate knit fabric--and although I know they could be adapted for woven fabric, I'm lazy (and hate installing zippers). On the other hand, there are a jillion me-appropriate yarns in the world, and when I do pick the pattern first, I never have a hard time finding yarn to match.

All this to say that I found some non-hideous knit fabric at the store today, so I'm going to do some sewing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Think I Told You...

...about my Lacy Baktus Scarf when I was cataloging recent projects where I've run out of yarn? (A normal person would just have listed them, but I have an MLS...)

See how close I got to finishing it? But I've convinced myself that the asymmetrical dark end adds character--and there was no way I was going to rip back half the scarf in order to start the decreasing side of the triangle sooner.

In other news, as I was starting to think about my holiday knitting a couple of weeks ago, I worried that I might be planning too much for myself, so I pulled out all the yarn I'd earmarked for presents (plus the Endless Thingamajig for me... priorities, you know), and added up the mileage: a little over 2 miles. Totally knittable in 2 months--even if an extra (small) project or two sneaks in. (My average monthly mileage for the year so far is 1.37.)

See--I knew that compulsive tallying would come in handy some day!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finally, a Picture!

I was determined to take a picture of my dress on Saturday, even though it was rainy:

Little did I know how gorgeous it was going to be on Sunday, or I would have waited!

(Not shown: the pictures where I made faces because I was getting rained on, the ones where I was visibly shivering, or my hair, which objects to drizzle).

Anyway--this is the drop stitch dress, from Classic Elite's Winter Whimsy booklet. I basically followed the pattern, except that I lengthened the skirt (it's knit from the hem up, so I worried about running out of yarn, but I had enough left over to make most of a hat), and worked a few rows of stockinette around the neck, since the shoulders were very narrow as written (naturally, my shoulders are not at fault here!).

It's cozy and comfortable, but the back neckline is the same as the front--very pretty and ballerina-y, but the back of my neck tends to feel chilly, so I wear it with a shawl.

There's the smallest chance I'll have another picture tomorrow--I finished the Endless Whatchamacallit, and am planning to wear it to work.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coming Soon

I'll have Kevin take some pictures of me wearing the dress this weekend--the way I'm wearing it so far (with a camisole and leggings) seems too informal for work, and it's too dark in the evenings now for photoshoots!

I had the least coordinated morning today (I've been up for 4 hours, even though it's not yet 9:00). I knew I needed to stop for gas on the way to rowing, and there's a 24-hour gas station near my house, but in the opposite direction from the boathouse. So I left 15 minutes early, figuring I could go to the gas station, then pop into the post office to use the automated kiosk thingy to mail a package (once I've gone to the gas station, the post office is on the way). But the gas station was VERY closed (with a chain-link fence around the pumps and everything), and the kiosk kept freezing, or something, because it took a minute to respond when I tapped the screen. I'd left early, but not early enough to wait through all those minutes (and what a 21st century, well-off, healthy person in a rich country problem that is!). Anyway, it's not a good sign for the day when you've already failed at two errands before sunrise!

Then rowing was disorganized, and I felt like I rowed terribly. At least I made my breakfast successfully--yesterday when I tried to sprinkle some cloves on my oatmeal, I instead poured on several tablespoons and had to start over.

On the plus side, I'm 61% done with the endless wrap/shawl/cardi (two of those words actually are in the name, but which two?), and and I'm starting to think about messing with the bind off. As written, there are some garter ridges as you're finishing the body rectangle, then a three-needle bind off to turn a rectangle into a cardi. I tend to be a tight binder-offer, and I'm wondering whether I might be happier with the finished sweater if I grafted the edges instead of following the pattern (I certainly won't be happier at the time--I don't mind grafting, but a three needle bind off is definitely easier!). And while I'm messing with that, I might also continue the stitch pattern so it appears to flow uninterrupted across the grafted edges.

I think the designer chose a three-needle bind off because all that grafting would have turned an otherwise accessible advanced-beginner to intermediate pattern into a bigger challenge (plus, many knitters hate grafting). But what if there's another reason I'm missing now--but will discover as soon as I try on my carefully grafted sweater? I've been thinking about this a lot because do you know what's more annoying than grafting? Picking out grafting. In a mohair blend.

Monday, November 9, 2009


1. It turns out that I don't hate working narrow borders as much as I thought I did. I made the Veyla mitts (pix once I find some buttons), and am now working on the Scroll Lace Scarf. I thought making the lacy borders would nearly kill me, but it's kinda fun. Maybe I would live through a shawl with miles of narrow border after all.

2. Or maybe I just think they're ok right now, because they feel fast in comparison to my other project--the aptly named Endless Shawl Cardi? Since I started it on November 1, I'm seeing if I can finish it as a NaKniSweMo project (that's National Knit a Sweater Month). I calculated how many rows and stitches are in the whole thing, and how many I have to work each day, so keeping ahead of that number is keeping me amused for the moment... but goodness, those rows are long! (More than 360 stitches for my size.)

2b. 51%, as of last night.

3. I went to the opening of a new LYS (Knit New Haven) the other weekend, and then back today for actual shopping. I meant to buy black superwash for a kid's hat, but instead bought... sock yarn! What a shocker! But they didn't have any black superwash, and the owner was really nice. Plus, there's a rumor that they'd like one of the SnB groups to knit there.

4. My sock drawer/collection of handknit socks seemed a little excessive a couple of moths ago, but now that it's cool again, and now that I'm wearing knee-high boots to work most days (tall boots can hide all manner of wacky socks), they seem more reasonable.

5. I don't think I mentioned, amid the debacle of the posts which must not be named, that I made that dress I was obsessed with. I wore it to spinning yesterday. The spinners liked it, and no one thought I'd crossed the line between arty quirkiness and deranged swathing of self in wool (it's possible they're biased, but let's pretend they're not--the dress is quite comfortable and cozy!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It's hard to see here, but the fur on Moppet's face was getting so long this weekend that I put it in a ponytail. The ponytail holder is the dark spot on top of her head.

The white and tan fabric behind her is Kevin, and despite her faith that he's the nice one, you'll notice that he didn't stop me. Luckily for her, I trimmed her face fur the night before last (and now she can see where she's hopping).

Monday, November 2, 2009


Well, I almost had enough:

The thumb on the right hand isn't the same yarn as the rest--it's another handspun, made of roving from the same dyer, but a completely different color--in the skein, at least. Here, I think it blends in well enough. (My right hand is on the right here--I used my computer's built-in camera.)

I'm hoping that this is the end of my running out of yarn trend. It's definitely been going on long enough: I tried to knit a pair of socks from half a skein of yarn a few weeks ago (the first half having been enough for a pair), and had to make the foot a little shorter than I'd planned because I ran out of yarn. It turned out fine--I gave them to Jenn.

Then I knit a Lacy Baktus scarf, and even though I weighed my yarn and started decreasing when I'd used half of it... the end is a darker purple than the rest, because I ran out of yarn.

When I knit the Baby Surprise Jacket for Sunflowerfairy (it's the yellow one), I ran out of yarn (handspun) with about 10 sts left on the cast off. I ripped out the previous 10 sts of the cast off, un-plied the yarn, un-plied a coordinating yarn, then bound off with 1 ply of the handspun together with 1 ply of the coordinating yarn. Fortunately, it's on the button side, so it's hidden.

When I made the second BSJ, I'd caught on to the trend, so I added the purple stripes just to be safe--and finished with just a few yards of both yarns. Phew!

Surely that's enough for one knitter? (I may be forgetting a few incidents... it's just too disheartening... especially since I'm usually so good at estimating.)

I hope so, because I've started an Endless Cardi Shawl, and I'll be awfully cranky if I need to do something unexpectedly creative to finish it off!

On the bright side, at least I have a ways to go before I need to start worrying:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Ok, maybe that's only funny to me?

I made 2 mitts like this last year (as a break from socks), and lost one a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, I happen to have [what I think/hope is] enough yarn left over to make a replacement.

Less fortunately, the older mitt is pretty fuzzy (so fuzzy that you can see the difference even in an artificially lit, took it myself at 4:55 AM, iPhone picture), although as I recall it only took a couple of wearings for the yarn to fuzz the first time around, so they should match pretty soon!

Monday, October 26, 2009


Hey, here are the Baby Surprise Jackets:

This one is handspun superwash BFL from Spunky Eclectic, made for Sunflowerfairy's new son.

And this one...

is Lola from Schaefer Yarn, for Peaceful Knitter's impending baby. She and Sweetie had a baby shower this weekend. (Their house always makes me want to move in with them, do you think they'd mind?)

Rather than games, we decorated onesies. Although my last stencil-related experience was a silk screening attempt in elementary school (which went badly), I freezer-paper stenciled 3 goldfish without disaster. It turns out that 25 extra years of practicing fine motor skills, xacto knife usage, etc., make all the difference!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not Quite Right

Sorry for being such a boring blogger... I've been working on gifts, which I couldn't show (although as they've been given, now I can), and a design, which I'm not sure if I can show (but it's done now).

A while back I started knitting Henley Perfected, from IK (it's here on Ravelry). I'm using the Sylph (a wool, silk and mohair blend) I bought a year ago in San Francisco, and I'm not sure it's the right yarn for the project. It's a bit lighter than the yarn used in the original, and because I just barely have enough as it is, the trick of following the directions for a larger size on smaller needles to get the right size is out. The lighter yarn means the solid portions are a bit sheer, which sometimes seems like it might be a bad idea. Plus, I'm not crazy about how the lace it turning out (even after blocking--I finished a sleeve Friday night and blocked it).

I think I might want to try something else with it--I love the yarn, and I don't want not to love what I make with it. I've been coveting the Endless Cardi Shawl (or here, on Ravelry) fora while--I'm especially fond of this version.

Then today at Stitches I really liked the Savvy Origami Wrap (there's a knitted version too), and although the pattern was only available there as a kit, it looks like you can buy just the pattern online.

So now I'm torn. I think the wrap cardi would be more useful, but the origami wrap was so cozy. But maybe it would look too much like a blanket? Or maybe I should wait and make the origami wrap out of handspun (there's a garter stitch version, which had handspun written all over it). Or maybe I should just stick with the henley?

Waffle, waffle, waffle.

At least I'll have pictures of the gifts next time I post (and maybe even my recent purchases... Rhinebeck and Stitches... it's been a very yarn-y month!).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Sale!

My mom volunteers at her town's public library book sale (which is not like the public library book sale you're imagining--it's the Friends of the Tompkins County Public Library Book Sale, and it's a gigantic operation that fills an entire warehouse with used books. There are two sales a year, and people line up overnight to be the first ones in the building in the mornings. When I was growing up, the paperbacks were fill-a-bag for a couple of dollars on the last day, which was the best thing ever for a speed reader who'd read anything. Visit this weekend if you're in the area!).

Sorry--I got a little distracted. The point is: Mom. Book sale. Semi-heated warehouse in upstate New York in October.


Finished pre-pneumonia, fortunately.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hi Again

I'm back, mostly.

Mostly in two ways:

1. The posts about China are gone. Forget that you ever saw them--if you mention them, I'll have to kill you.

And, 2. I've been sick--not with swine flu, but with a cold that skipped my nose and throat and went right for my lungs and ears, and turned into "a little" pneumonia and two ear infections. (Did you know pneumonia came in quantities?) So I've been lying around, drinking a lot of tea, not hearing anything, and coughing. There were even a couple of days when I didn't really want to knit, which I'd been pretty sure couldn't happen. I'm mostly well now (I rowed this morning, and am feeling guilty about how long it's been since I've run... 2 weeks tomorrow, which I think is the longest I've gone without running since 2002), at last.

Of course, now that I can blog again, I've forgotten all of the imaginary posts I wrote while I couldn't...

Anyway, hi! I missed all two of you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I'm not sure about this hat.

It's cute, and I really enjoyed the pattern (its the Icing Swirl Hat, by Ysolda Teague), but it's not quite right on me--or maybe I just need to get used to it? Right now, I think it makes me look funny--like I'm trying to cover up my hair, but am doing it badly. (Also, the green is a bit bright in person.)

But look how neat the back is!

Monday, September 21, 2009


I should try to do something with my single skeins (and enough-yarndage-to-be-useful remnants) before I go in a yarn-buying spree?

Or at least make some multi-strand hats to use up scraps?

(That bulky green one in front is already a hat--although the hat didn't quite use up the whole skein, unfortunately!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Kevin's first class of the semester was yesterday,and at the last minute I went up with him. Naturally, I went to Webs, where I wanted to buy all the yarn, and knit everything, immediately--or possibly sooner. Of course, I also wanted to buy everything in Northampton (particularly this gorgeous, impractical formal dress... as soon as I have a life where full satin skirts with poofy petticoats and dramatic necklines are required, I'm getting that dress!), so at least it wasn't just yarn.

But back to the yarn: I'd gone with the intention of finding yarn for a gift (which I did, although I can't write about it), and thinking about yarn that might work for a sweater for me. I have this fleece 1/2 zip pullover that I wear all winter, feeling slightly guilty because it's not knitted. (I think I may have written about this before?)

So I'd like to knit myself a sweater of the same shape and style. I thought of Cascade 220 first, but I also want to consider the similar yarns from other companies. (I've made several sweaters from Cascade 220--maybe it's time to branch out?)

Instead though, I became obsessed with the La Gran Drop Stitch Dress from Classic Elite's Winter Whimsy booklet (it's the first one on that page--if you click on the picture, you can make it bigger). I think it's an ok shape for me, but I suspect it would be entirely useless, due to being transparent. I think I could wear it over another dress (I have a collection of simple black dresses, and one of them should work, right?) or slip, but I'm not sure about wearing it over leggings and a shirt in real life. Or, at least, not my real life.

I managed not to buy it (there was some lovely yarn, very like La Gran, on sale... fortunately there were dozens of skeins left), by telling myself that I'll be back next week, and can get it then if I'm still obsessed.

Of course, I also told myself that about at least two dresses, several necklaces, this very funny desk toy (a block of wood with "grouchy" and "grouchier" carved on one side oriented at 180 degrees from each other, so you can turn one or the other right side up, depending on whether you're grouchy or grouchier. Very few people come to my desk at work, but it would be a useful warning for those that do!), a couple of rings, a purse or two, and a skirt!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Too Easily Intimidated to be a Real Jock

So last night, I went to the second practice of the grad school crew (which it turns out is open to staff, faculty, partners, etc., not just grad students). I got to the tanks and was immediately intimidated. Loud music, what felt like hundreds of gigantically tall men, all in great shape, all high-fiving each other and fist bumping right and left, and all looking like they'd been rowing forever. (Bear in mind that I'm 5'9", so feeling short isn't usually an issue.)

I stood nervously on the edge, thinking that kids these days listen to their music too loud, dreading how many times I was going to crab once we got in the tanks (the tanks are out to get me), and reminding myself that--while I would probably be too embarrassed to run out of the room in the middle of practice--at least I never had to come back.

Just as I was thinking I could probably leave immediately without attracting much notice, the coach called us all together and announced that everyone new to rowing should go into the other room.

And, the room just about emptied. Most of the imposing, gigantically tall men? Had never rowed before.

I'm not planning to join the grad school crew, by the way, but I'm not in the women's four that's going to the Head of the Charles. As a result, I suspect my fall rowing is going to be a little haphazard, and involve more sculling than sweeping. Sadly for me, I'm still not good enough at sculling for it to be a physical workout--my brain is working too hard trying to communicate with my left hand for me to really get going. (I'm a port, so in a sweep boat my left hand just provides muscle--in a scull, it's in charge of an oar all by itself. If only it knew how much better things would go if it would listen to my brain!)

Monday, August 31, 2009

It's Official

Kevin finished in about 12 hours and 45 minutes, nearly 90 minutes faster than Florida (mostly by doing much better on the bike, but also by decellerating to a shuffling jog instead of a walk when he couldn't run any further.

Hurray for Kevin!

(Here he is about mile 11--about the only picture I managed to take.)

Also, look what I found near the swim start:

I must be a real rower, because now I find rowers wherever I go (just like I find knitting shops).

Sunday, August 30, 2009


The swim course always seems to be in a no swimming zone (in this case, because it's an active shipping channel).

But this one's new:

(Can you see that it says to avoid contact with the water after "rain events"?)

Saturday, August 29, 2009


It took me 16.5 hours to fly from New Haven to Louisville yesterday (for Kevin's ironman--he went ahead on the last seat on an earlier flight so he could check in). The drive would have taken 13.5.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Don't Look a Gift Elephant in the Mouth

Because it's kind of creepy:

But it turned out cute:

(That's the elephant from Last Minute Knitting Gifts, but knit on size 4 needles, so it turned out smaller--6 or 7 inches tall, not 10, or whatever the one in the book did.)

Last week was the week of last minute knitted gifts, certainly. One anticipated-but-procrastinated last minute, and one-came-up-at-the-last-minute last minute.

Niece E's first birthday party was Saturday, and although I've known about it for months (all year, technically!), I didn't start knitting anything for her till the beginning of the week (hey, the book said it would only take 6-8 hours, and there was that all night train ride to DC, in case I REALLY waited till the last minute!). I'd figured out what to make, and had the yarn, but was a good little knitter and worked on the new sweater for Schaefer instead. So that was the procrastinated project.

The really last minute project was a hat for one of my boat-mates, who moved at the end of last week. We'd planned a goodbye party for Wednesday, and on Tuesday morning we decided she needed a goodbye hat (she wears a lot of knitted hats). I cheated a tiny bit, with lace, size 10 needles and chunky yarn, which meant I even had time to block!

(Imagine a picture of a navy Foliage hat here... the navy yarn defied all attempts at photography.)

I got back to the elephant as soon as I got home from the party, and finished it on Thursday.

My boat-mate emailed the day after the party that she hadn't yet taken the hat off yet, and E drooled on the elephant immediately then carried it around by its trunk...

The perfect thank yous for a sleepy knitter who'd stayed up till all hours knitting her fingers to the bone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


1. I actually made as much progress as I'd hoped on the sweater for Schaefer. See?

The whole back is done (or, was done, till I blocked it on the needles and decided it should be an inch or tow longer...).

2. I did not collapse from nervousness and/or heat prostration during Nationals. And two of our women's 8s got bronze. The 8 I was in made it to the finals but didn't medal. Three 8s does not mean there are 24 of us... there are 12 of us, just barely (someone who just moved here rowed with us for the first time on Monday, and was roped into racing with us on Saturday... we're already plotting how she'll fit in for the Head of the Charles. We're very friendly... but also short on women sweep rowers.) So anyway, there's a lot of overlap between these boats, with people swapped in and out to change the average age to fit different races.

3. I actually lifted weights this morning! The new rower and I planned to go out in a pair this morning, but then it was very foggy (and I suspect my knowledge of the river is not as good as it should be... this is possibly because I'm oblivious, but I choose to see it was being VERY good at keeping my head in the boat. Ask me how many times this weekend the rest of the boat waved to Kevin... and sometimes yelled "Oh, there's Rebecca's husband! How cute!"... while I stared off in random directions. Once I heard the "how cute," and decided they were talking about a puppy (?!??) and scanned one riverbank for the cute puppy while everyone else waved to Kevin on the opposite bank. See? Head in the boat... or on the shore with the imaginary puppy.)

Right, it was foggy, so we decided not to row. But then I actually went to the gym, erged (for the first time since May!), ran (on the track! a whole mile further than I'd told myself I had to when I started!) and then lifted (the workout I am officially most likely to skip).

4. I'm making good progress on this shawl I'm making as a gift. See, Kevin and I are going to China in 10 days (ack!) with a whole slew of other archivists, and they suggested we bring gifts for the two translators who'll be with us. So I'm making one of them a shawl (we considered a scarf for the male translator, but there won't be enough time so we bought a pen and notebook from Etsy instead. Not having tried to make that scarf anyway is miracle 4b.)

Funny story: this shawl is going to be gorgeous--I'm using Schaefer Andrea in the chamomile colorway. Andrea is 100% silk, and chamomile is this rich, golden-y yellows--even though I'm not usually a fan of yellow, I love it. And the pattern (North Roe) is simple and beautiful.

We tried to tell the trip organizers about it: I'm making a shawl, the yarn is dyed by a small company near where I used to live, etc. I many have mentioned that the Schaefer dye studio is in a barn. They've never met me, never seen anything I've knitted, and don't have any reason to know about the amazing fiber being created by independent dyers right now... and you could hear their hearts sinking with each new fact.

Handknitted. Clunk.

Shawl. Clunk.

Hand-dyed. Clunk.

In a barn. Ker-plunk.

(Maybe we should have mentioned the silk?)

I can't wait for them to see it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Austin Cupcake

... And now the archivists conference is a success!

I went to the nearest yarn store (Hill Country Weavers) after lunch today, then to the cupcake truck the internets told me was right across the street. The store was lovely--I narrowly escaped buying a purse/knitting bag, but just bought some buttons for Hey Teach instead--and the cupcake tasty.

And I used a new-to-me iPhone feature--the built-in map can give public transit directions, but I hadn't needed directions anywhere with public transit till now. Turns out, it's very helpful: tells you where the bus stop is, which bus to take, when it's coming, where to get off, and how to get from the bus stop to your destination. Brilliant!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finally the Right Color

It turns out that taking pictures in natural light helps the color turn out accurately--who would have guessed?

It still needs buttons, but I wanted to wear it anyway... wanna bet it's going to be an embarrassingly long time till I buy those buttons? (and an even longer time till I sew them on!)

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'm finished Hey Teach, and am in the midst of figuring out enough about the sweater I'm designing for Schaefer to cast on (no need to worry about that beginning of September deadline... I have a lot of plane and conference knitting coming up!).

I had a strangely difficult time with the sleeve caps on Hey Teach--I knit the correct size, as written, and they were both too small for me (must be all that rowing), and too small for the other pieces of the sweater (the perimeter of the sleeve cap was about 4 inches too short for the perimeter of the armscythe).

So then I knit a new sleeve, this time following the directions as written for the 2-sizes-bigger sleeve. That one fit me, but the cap perimeter was still 2 inches too small for the armscythe. So I ripped back part of the sleeves cap, and re-knit it with more plain rows (to make it taller). And that one finally fit.

It's unusual for me to have problems like this, and I'm not sure where things went wrong. Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to have Moppet inspect my knitting from here on out:

If she can stay focused.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Ack. The rowing club's competitive crews are racing at Masters' National Championships at the end of next week. It's seemed safely far away for months, and suddenly, it's soon.

I thought it would be fun, till last night, when I read the climactic chapter in Once a Runner, about a (fictional) runner who trains (and trains and trains and trains) to break 4 minutes in the mile. The training chapters were great--I've never been in any danger of being a miler (oddly, a lifetime fastest mile of 7:22 is not quite good enough for that), but the point of training--learning that you can keep going when you're miserable and tired and in pain and someone has taken all the oxygen out of the air--is the same at any speed. Or so we slow people like to tell ourselves.

Anyway, I devoured the book till the last few chapters. But when he was warming up for the pivotal race, I realized that reading about him being nervous was making me nervous. I skimmed the rest of the pages till the race, trying not to understand the words (like watching a scary movie with your eyes partly covered), figuring that reading about the race would dissipate my nerves.

Nope, still nervous. And tapering for next week doesn't help--I hate, hate, hate this part--when I'm exercising less (I haven't biked since Saturday, I'm running less and slower, and the crew's last hard really hard practice was Wednesday), but instead of starting to feeling rested, I feel like I've somehow detrained entirely in 48 hours.


On the positive side, we rowed well in our time trial this morning (it doesn't count as a hard workout because we only did one), and we had one really great set of 20 strokes on the way back to the boathouse... and the duck we ran over (with the boat--it went under the bow and popped back up among the oars) didn't seem at all hurt by the experience.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Kevin and I went to a tandem rally near my parents' house this past weekend. It was fun to ride with other tandems, especially because it meant we could all drag ourselves uphill together, rather than fruitlessly trying to keep up with single bikes.

And I'm sure it was nice for our bike to meet other bikes just like it:

On Friday, we did a short ride with ice cream near the end (we went on the ride with bigger hills, so we could have more ice cream!). And a longer ride on Saturday--we'd convinced ourselves there was a metric century (100 km/62 miles) option, but there wasn't, so we added some length onto the end of a 58 mile ride--and nearly got lost in the process, because Elmira has an unnatural number of one way streets.

Here we are at the end of that ride, just about to have lunch and go for a run.

In other news, , some of the SnBers are doing a sweater knit-along. I'd planned to join, thought I'd missed the start, found out I hadn't, then started the sweater I'd planned to knit (Hey Teach, from Knitty) a week before the official start date.


At least it's coming a long well (since I took this picture, I've finished this piece--the back--and both fronts, AND sewn them together. It's been a while since I made a sweater in pieces, and the sewing was starting to seem imposing, so I figured I should get started.) The yarn is Bam Boo, from Classic Elite, and it's actually more teal than it looks here.

Since the early start date disqualifies this sweater from the knit-along, I'm going to use the sweater I'm designing for Schaefer instead... which means I should actually start knitting, instead of just swatching and sketching till the end of time!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I'm amazingly tired--Wednesday's and Thursday's workouts were an obvious attempt to kill us all, and I made things worse by biking with Kevin Wednesday night, then running after practice yesterday. All I was good for after that was napping--even knitting was too tiring (fortunately, Thursday's not one of my days at work).

Speaking of biking, anyone who thinks people have become unfriendly and too busy to chat should try riding a tandem bike (or a Vespa). When we're actually riding, we're followed by an echo of "look at that bike! I want a bike like that!" And when we're stopped near the bike (on Monday, for example, I sat on a bench at the beach while Kevin swam with the other Sharks), people want to know where we got it, how much it cost, if it's hard to ride together, etc.

One time, we were stopped for a red light and a police car pulled up next to us. We may have rolled through a stop sign at the previous corner, so I was sure the officer was going to lecture us about bike safety. But no; he wanted to know where we got the bike, if it was fun to ride, and if it had been hard to learn.

I'm having a hard time cutting back on socks. I've backed off from a pair a week, but it seems like I might still be knitting a sock a week (although I guess cutting my sock output in half is progress--but on the other hand, even if I keep halving my output forever, I will never not be knitting socks! Good thing Zeno wasn't a sock knitter.)

Anyway, more socks:

That's Hedrea and Muscari from Knitty, and Lindsay from Sock Innovation.

All knit from Anne, which is possibly my favorite yarn ever.

And Muscari and Lindsay close up:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Colorguard Instructors Would be so Proud

We mostly maintained the right stroke ratings (that's strokes per minute--which supposedly is set by the stroke, although it just felt like I was rowing whatever rate the rest of the boat was rowing), despite my previous poor track record of maintaining anything like an even pace at anything (starting with my inability to march and spin a flag in time with music, or the rest of the guard). And it only took 18 (19?) years!

Also, there's this point, right before the last piece of hard workout, when the cox tells us to empty the tank on the next (last) one. Every time she says it, I remember (for the first time all practice) that I'm planning to run as soon as I get home--which makes it all the harder to row with everything I have left.

(Hey, I'm knitting some socks! And I started a shawl, but I'm not happy with the needle-yarn combo. The needles are bamboo with a bumpy cord-to-needle transition, and the yarn's silk... which you'd think would be slippery, but somehow it sticks.)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

We're back now, but Kevin and I have had another flurry of traveling--this time, to North Carolina to see his parents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. Naturally, we'd scheduled 2 races in the 2 days before we left, so step 1 in going to NC was to go to Rhode Island.

My race was on Saturday, a regatta at the Narragansett Boat Club in Providence. The women raced an 8 in the morning, and a 4 in the afternoon (the 4 who weren't in the 4 were in another 8). I essentially forgot how to row during the first race (maybe it wasn't that bad, but it felt like it), and I suspect that the rest of the 4 weren't looking forward to rowing with me a second time--especially since the wind picked up dramatically and the water got very choppy. (Even under the best circumstances, the water would have seemed weird to me, since we row on a regular river, but the Seekonk River is tidal.) I definitely didn't want to row with myself, and the trip up to the start was not reassuring, but amazingly, it went fine. I relaxed, and remembered how to row, and didn't panic (much). And we even won--really won, and then won by a little more because we had a few seconds handicap. After the race, the cox informed us that there has been times she couldn't see because she'd just been swamped by a wave (it was a bow-loader). So glad I didn't know that at the time!

No pictures of the 4 because Kevin spend the afternoon dashing around the state, getting all his stuff dropped off for his race--unlike most races, the bike was point-to-point, so he swam at a state park about 50 miles from Providence, got on his bike, rode into Providence, then ran around downtown, ending up in front of the capital (inconveniently located at the top of a hill).

Trust me, it was much steeper in person. Especially after nearly 6 hours of exercise.

Kevin's been biking a lot more this year than usual--he's doing this Tour de France bike-along, so he's biked every race day of the race... although it should be noted that last Monday, a rest day, he biked a little, and I think we're also planning to bike tonight... a nice, easy 1-2 hour ride, just like the real riders do on rest days. Of course, on non-rest days we also do rides they would consider nice and easy, so it's not quite the same thing.

Anyway, this means 2 things: first, that Kevin's bike time was much better than in his previous 1/2 IMs, which meant his total time was much better (it also helped that the run course was not the hilliest course ever, like it was last time!), and second, that I'm biking more than usual. Especially while we were in NC, because we only brought the tandem--so for him to bike, I had to bike.

This was generally a good thing, as the theme of the trip was frozen dessert (on Tuesday, my mother-in-law and I had ice cream as a pre-lunch appetizer, then Kevin and I had a root beer float as a post-workout snack... on Thursday, she and I had Italian ice--also before lunch, actually--then Kevin and I stopped on our ride for more... ), but by the end of our ride yesterday, it was clear that I'd doubled the mileage of my previous longest week ever without any kind of build-up. (And after essentially taking the previous week off from biking, because the tandem was at the bike shop.)

Fortunately, we were short on rowers this morning at practice, which meant the lineup was a little strange, which meant that we did a technical workout instead of whatever terrible/good for us piece of torture/fun they'd originally planned. Sadly, this will not be the case on Wednesday... when it appears that I'm going to stroke. Clearly, we're still short on rowers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Lazy Blogger

Fortunately, I knit something for E., so I can distract you with cute.

It's the Little Sister's Dress, knit at a different gauge (I think), and after I finished the stripes I just joined the body to knit in the round, casting on a few stitches in each underarm when I got there (the pattern asked you to knit a few rows flat on just the front or back before joining), like a top-down raglan. And I added the stripes--the original was solid.

Too bad everything else I own you pictures of is adult-sized!

In other news, I have a race on Saturday (rowing), and then Kevin has a tri on Sunday. In preparation for the race, we practiced every morning this week (rather than just 3 or 4 days). That extra day or 2 of getting up at 4:35 was painful, and to make matters worse, I wasn't home either of the days I wasn't at work (on Monday, the SnBers went on a field trip to MA, for yarn and fabric shopping--incredibly, I only bought a bowl of soup!--and on Thursday I was doing some consulting) so I couldn't nap. So I'm tuckered!

As a result, it's taken me all week to knit 2 inches of sock--or at least it feels that way.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thinking about Sweaters

(Naturally, because it might have finally stopped raining and started being summer.)

I bought a cone of Artfibers Sylph in San Fransisco last August--it's a DK weight wool, silk and mohair blend, and mine is a dark chocolate-y brown. Now that I'm not knitting quite as many socks (never mind that the only project I have on the needles right now is a pair of socks), I'd like to turn it into a sweater.

I like the idea of Amelia, from Knitty, but I suspect the fuzz of the mohair might obscure the ribbed sections entirely. And I've convinced myself that there's something strange about the way nearly everyone's Amelia looks in the bust. Intellectually, I think there's nothing weird going on (why would so many people rave about their Amelias, if they all looked secretly weird?), but I'm concerned that I've thought about it so much that I'll think mine looks funny no matter what, and then I'll never wear it.

And now I have to take a nap because all that thinking about what I might think is exhausting.

But back to sweaters... I already have 2 brown cardigans in this same color, so it's possible a pullover would be more useful. But one of the cardis kind of drives me crazy (and I bought the other one, so even though I love it, it doesn't really count, right?), so maybe another cardigan?

Suddenly, it's clear why I keep knitting little things!

But I do really want to start something larger--sprinting through small projects is making me feel scattered and flighty. I want a project to last long enough that I can look forward to working on it for more than a couple of days. I made a Burnished Leaves Cowl over the weekend, in some lovely baby alpaca (from an alpaca named Gracie), and it was really nice to think about working on it when I wasn't, if you know what I mean.

Kevin and I were in Lake Placid this weekend for our triathlon club's training camp. We tried to go for a run before dinner on Friday, and got about halfway around Mirror Lake when the sky got dark, then opened up. We were soaked immediately--hair plastered to our heads, shoes filled with water, glasses a dripping blur--and it was nice, as we swam up the last hill to the hotel, to anticipate knitting my cowl with soft, fuzzy (dry!) yarn.

But the cowl's done now, the socks are strangely un-look-forward-to-able (possibly because they're going to be slightly too small to be perfect, but I decided to finish them anyway?), and I'd like to knit a sweater!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I think I mentioned my plan to knit more of my handspun this year? Well, I tried--I had some superwash merino that spun up kind of stripy, so I set out to make another baby surprise jacket. Things seemed promising--I'd started with 4 oz of wool, the same amount as the last time I used handspun for a bsj (when I had plenty left over, and I'm spinning much finer now that I used to, so I figured I'd have more yardage this time.

But I didn't:

(At that point, I still have maybe 20 more rows to knit--the extension of the body, and the front borders, which include the buttonholes.)

Fortunately, I had coordinating solid yarn floating around, so I finished off with that:

Of course, I'd used some of that skein for something else (or at least some swatches?) already, so I nearly ran out of it too. That little ball on the left is all that's left!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

As requested...

..Pictures of the whole skirt (which I have typed shirt every single time).

This was the end of a day of sitting, so the back is a bit stretched out--fortunately, the weight of the cotton pulls the extra fabric down, so it's maybe an inch or two longer in the back (a hemline which can also exist on purpose) rather than bulge-y and weird.

I used 600 yards of Laurel, Schaefer's heavier 100% cotton, on size 7 (for the waistband) 8 (for the stockinette stitch portion) and 10 (for the lace) needles. I meant to use 7, 8, and 9, but couldn't find my 9. The pattern called for a slightly lighter yarn, and slightly smaller needles, but the numbers for the smaller size (which I am not) worked out to be the size I wanted.

Mystifyingly, the pattern called for only 8 inches of stockinette before the lace (and them more reps of the lace). That seemed short so I kept knitting, till I ended up knitting 16 inches. I know I'm tallish, but there's no way I'm twice as tall as the model! Maybe just twice as interested in being able to wear my skirt to work?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Just like the attack of the picots from 2 summers ago, I'm currently beset by feather and fan.

There's my version of the Buttercup Sweater (that's a link to Ravelry, which won't work for the non-knitters/non-members), which has feather and fan at the neck.

(I wore it last week and again yesterday, and I think I may want to mess with the lower hem before it's really done--I finished it off with a few rows of garter stitch, but it still wants to roll.)

And I speed knit a Wave Skirt (another Ravelry link) last week, which has feather and fan on the lower hem.

Finally, a top of my own creation...

... That's not quite done. I had 2 skeins of Class Elite's bamboo and cotton blend left over from the top I made last summer, which wasn't enough to make anything adult-sized on its own. I originally thought I'd make the skirt of a dress for E, with the top in another yarn, but then I thought maybe giving my sister a half cream dress to keep clean wasn't very sisterly. So I knit the cream yarn into the lower part of a top for me, and I'll make the upper bodice out of fabric and attach the knitted part to it. Eventually... it's amazing how I procrastinate on sewing!

Friday, June 12, 2009

That Didn't last Long

I've started knitting socks again.

What else was I supposed to do with the leftover yarn from the hat?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Sporty Weekend

For all that triathlons are solo events (and you could, in theory, wake up one morning and think, huh, maybe I want to do that race, and then do it--if you'd been training and the race hadn't filled up) and sweep rowing is not (in that you need a varying number of other people, with their own schedules and weekend plans), my scientific study of 1 triathlon club and 1 rowing club suggests that triathletes plan way ahead and rowers wait till the last possible second to decide, tentatively decide something, and immediately begin think about changing their minds.

What this means in practice is that Kevin signed up months ago for a triathlon which was on Sunday, and my boat and I decided a week ago to race in a regatta on Saturday (and, just in the interest of scientific accuracy, were not 100% sure what race we were racing in, or who was coxing, till Friday night).

This deciding later thing actually worked well for me, because it saved me from having to be nervous--if I started to worry, I could just remind myself that maybe we wouldn't actually race!

But we did, and it went well (we won, in fact, but only because no one else signed up in our event--but more importantly we rowed well and kept racing the whole way, and didn't get demoralized when the men's boats which were racing at the same time leapt ahead of us at the start).

Even though the actual race took 4 minutes, we were there all day--I volunteered in the morning at the registration desk, then we went to the boathouse, launched our boat, rowed down to the race, raced, rowed back to the boathouse, put the boat back, then went back to the regatta to watch the last few races (normally, the boats are driven to the race on a trailer, but this regatta was just a little ways down the river from our boathouse, so we rowed there). Meanwhile, Kevin was volunteering at the finish line. Kevin's tri was kind of in the same direction but further away, so we stayed up there (in Southbury, I think it was) Saturday night.

You know, I thought when Kevin started doing triathlons that I'd feel bad about not doing them too--but it turns out, I'm happy to be a spectator. Getting up at the crack of dawn is a pain, but otherwise, it's perfect. I went for a run while Kevin was getting set up, then hung out with him till he got in the water. I even took pictures:

I watched the swim start, then watched the swim to bike transition till Kevin came by, then went back to the car to nap and knit till it was time for him to come back from the bike. When the car got warm, I moved to nice shady bench under a tree. I nearly missed Kevin's bike to run transition, because he biked much faster than I expected, but I did see him.

Then I knit some more, then went to watch for him on the run. The course was a little strange--5 miles out, 5 miles back, then a 3 mile loop--so it was possible to stay near the start and see your runner at the 10 mile point. Because it was so convenient to the start (and the parking lot) there were groups of kids with their non-triathlete parent, waiting to see their triathlete parent come by. Triathlons are not a kid-friendly sport--hours of waiting for few short glimpses of your parent. And that led to some funny conversations--one mom who told her kids (right after their dad passed by, with 3 miles left to go) that their dad would be back in 15 minutes.... because he just needed to get warmed up with a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, an 10 mile run at regular-person pace before picking things up to world-class pace for the last 3 miles, apparently!

Anyway, Kevin made it to the finish line...

...Even though the run was nearly impossible. Really--the pro who won said it was the hardest course he'd every done!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fewer Than You'd Think

That's how many of the 52 pairs have made it into my sock drawer. I've just counted, and I'm definitely keeping eleven pairs--there are a few more pairs that I still have, but which are slated to be presents.

The eleven pairs make up most of the upper row--although there are also a couple of pairs of anklets currently in the wash.

(I've started a summer top, and am about to wind some handspun to start Ishbel.)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

At Loose Ends

Pair 51:

And 52:

And now I don't know what to knit.

Maybe I should spin?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Getting Closer

Naturally, now that the toe is getting closer, I'm tempted to drive myself crazy by trying to make adult socks for pair 52. Must be reasonabe!