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!