Friday, February 26, 2010

Maybe Done

The Solstice Sweater is possibly finished, and blocking as we speak. Or as I type, at least.

Possibly because I may want to add a little bit of edging to the the front edges (clear as mud, right?), and the length may not be quite right--all that talk of knitting the neckband before I bound off to be sure I had the length right, but really the issue was the the edge curled, and stuck away from my body (because I kept trying it on while it was still on the needles--what did I expect?). I'm hoping the blocking will fix both those problems.

Here's the thing--I'm not sure what to knit next. I have a sock in progress (Monkey socks, int he yarn that only wanted to be Monkeys), but I still want a big project, since I sprinted through the Solstice Sweater.

On the other hand, I'm distracted by the rest of the last skein from Solstice. I have about 300 yards left, and I'd kind of like to use it up (maybe a hat?), but I shouldn't use it till I'm sure about the edges and length of the sweater.

Maybe it's time for some spinning?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Here's where the sweater was this morning, but since Thursday is one of the days I'm not at work-work, I've made all kind of progress since then.

Depressingly, it hasn't gotten much longer because I worked nearly all day on the collar. (I did go to the gym, and because it's been raining so much I also stopped by one of my consulting projects, to make sure there wasn't any flooding--the fact that there were gigantic puddles on all the storm drains nearby seemed like a bad sign, but it turned out to be ok. Free Archives Preservation Tip: do not put your records in your weird, semi-finished basement--especially if said basement is located at the bottom of an outside staircase, protected only by an insufficient, clogged-looking drain--because it makes me nervous. Very, very, very nervous.)

Anyway... I worked on the collar because I'm still trying to decide how long to make the body, and I suspected the collar would make the whole sweater sit higher on my shoulders. It does, so I'm glad I knit the collar before finishing off the lower edge--it would be irksome to have knit the sweater exactly the length I want (whatever that turns out to be), then have it shorten up in the finishing.

So imagine a collar on there, ok? Stockinette stitch, with a slightly rolled edge.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

3 days, 2 sleeves, 1 long run

I made all kinds of progress on my I'm-too-good-for-the-Olympics Olympic sweater over the weekend--I'd swatched Thursday night (I think I mentioned that last time?), so after dinner on Friday I cast on and knit as fast as I could all weekend. By Monday morning, I'd finished the upper back/yoke and both sleeves (Summer Solstice is worked from the center back out to the sleeves to make a kind of shrug, then from the shrug down to whatever length you want).

Things have slowed down since then--I have that pesky job for one thing, and besides, now that I've picked up the body stitches, there are about a million stitches per row. That's how it looked this morning. I've knit about 6 inches of the body, although it's still mostly made of sleeve.

We're not training for the Boston marathon (you need to qualify, and my fastest marathon time isn't be fast enough to qualify unless I can run that time again when I'm 55), but Kevin and I been doing a series of races intended as a buildup for Boston. I've been doing pretty well for me, for my general runner-ish-ness and the amount of training I've been doing (especially the amount of speedwork: none), but since I'm not actually training for a marathon, each of the longer races is the furthest I've run since 2008.

The races get 5K (3.1 miles) longer each time, and in non-race weeks I've been making Kevin run an intermediate distance with me so I feel more ready. Since this coming weekend is 25K (15.5 miles), last weekend Kevin and I set out to run 14 miles. I'm hoping it was the bad run of the season (there's always one--and hopefully only one), because it went kind of terribly. We didn't really decide where to go ahead of time, so we ended up running over East Rock, down to meet up with the canal trail, then along the trail till we got to 7 miles.

Kevin was planning to go home the same way, till I announced that there was absolutely no way I had enough hoppity to run back up the hills we'd just run down (although I may have phrased it more crankily than that--not enough hoppity makes one think of bunnies, doesn't it? I sounded like a bunny whose treats were threatened). So we tried to run back along the trail to campus, then home, but parts of the trial were covered with icy snow (and there's construction on the campus end anyway), so we detoured onto the roads. Kevin thought that had made the run too long, but it turned out to be exactly right--fortunately, because only under the best of circumstances do I have enough hoppity to run further than I'd planned.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I didn't cast on (or even choose) an Olympic project because of the trip to Mexico. I've been wanting to knit a sweater but hadn't picked one by the time we left, and grabbing yarn and needles at the last minute seemed like a recipe for indecision--a sweater's worth of yarn takes up a lot of room, and I didn't want to change my mind and have to lug around a sweater's worth of the wrong yarn.

But now maybe I do want to knit one--I have five skeins of Sheep 3 from the Sheep Shop Yarn Company in a light green that would look springy but be warm--perfect for New England. (Honestly, I am a little perplexed by the color. It's pretty but doesn't look like me. I think the Webs warehouse must have confused me.) After some waffling, I'm leaning towards Summer Solstice, but adding these modifications to the front.

I swatched yesterday and if I cast on tonight, I'll only be starting a week late. Possibly I am one of those athletes who thinks she's better than everyone else and can barely be bothered to attend the Olympics--I'll refuse to live in the athletes' village, get on TV for staying out late the night before my event, then a.) do wonderfully or b.) do terribly.

In this case, terribly would involve getting bogged down in those acres of stockinette stitch. Even more acres than the original, thanks to my plan of modifying the front. Possibly I shouldn't call this my Olympic sweater, just to be on the safe side?

I've just noticed that I'm about a half dozen projects behind entering things into Ravelry, as well as writing about them here. I've made 2 pairs of socks (Shur'tugal and some basic socks with a garter stitch rib), a shawl (Damson), and 2 hats (yet another Wurm and a 2x2 ribbed hat for charity) without writing about them (plus 2 projects I can't post about). Bad knitblogger!

Except for the Shur'tugal socks (which took forever for no apparent reason--when I buckled down to work on them, I finished the second sock in a couple of days, after it had been stalled at the cuff for weeks), everything else has been speedy, like little knitting snacks. I knit Damson in 2 days--one day of concentrated knitting on the way back from Mexico, then one day of scattered knitting to finish up the border. (Must take pictures!) I think that's why I want to knit a sweater. But, due to my late arrival/tendency to stay out late at the Knitting Olympics, the sweater will have to be speedy too.

Speaking of knitting snacks, I started another pair of Monkey socks yesterday. I bought some very pink and purple sock yarn (which doesn't look like me either) at a sheep and wool festival last year. I tried it in a couple of other patterns, but it just wants to be Monkeys.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Like Riding a Bike

So, you know how people say whatever is like riding (or falling off...) a bike, when they mean it comes right back to you even though you haven't done it in a while?

Well. Sculling exactly like riding (falling off) a bike.

It's not even been three months since I sculled last, but even so I spent the first day of rowing camp (last Thursday) capsizing. Often from a complete standstill, in much the same way as I tip over on the bike.

In my defense (I'm a competent rower, I swear!), I was in a skinny little racing single, instead of a nice, stable quad (a sculling shell for 4 people) like I rowed in all fall, or the wide, training wheels-type single I rowed at Craftsbury two summer ago. (I just looked at the boat companies' websites--the boat I learned in was 19 inches wide at the waterline, and the one I rowed last week was--unless Vespoli has changed the size dramatically--between 10 and 11 inches.) And it was windy!

It got much better--I didn't tip at all on the other 3 days, took some nice-ish strokes that might have been 60%-70% pressure, and steered my way through skinny little canals--but as a result of that first day, I have some impressive bruises.

The thing about falling out of a boat is that you land in the water. If you're going slowly enough, water is soft, so my bruises aren't from falling out of the boat. Instead, they're from getting back in--because when you fall into the water, you sink up to your neck, while your boat (hopefully) continues to float--which means that when you go to get back in, it's inconveniently located at shoulder/head height. On the plus side, you're somewhat buoyant, so you don't have to lift your full weight to start with--but the more of you gets above the water (and eventually you have to get entirely out of the water), the heavier you get.

Other people are probably more graceful, but I needed the coach (in a launch) to hold the boat steady while I pushed myself up high enough that I could swing one leg up and over the boat (as though I was getting on a horse), landing on the gunnel with all my wight concentrated on the inside of one leg just above the knee. That leg is covered with little bruises, but the one I'm most proud of is a lovely shade of reddish purple (with stripes--why?), larger than the palm of my hand.

It's quite attractive.

Monday, February 15, 2010

On Vacation

Kevin and I have been on vacation--a couple of days in Mexico City, then 4 days of rowing camp near the 1968 Olympic rowing facility. (Kevin didn't row--he ran, lifted, and did his first sit ups in months.)

It's been gorgeous:

Apparently, that warmth and light comes from this thing in the sky called the sun.

Clicking on the pictures will take you to Kevin's Flickr photostream, with more pictures. I'll write more when we're the rest of the way home.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Just Do It

I've wanted to knit myself legwarmers for a couple of years. Mainly the ones on the back of Last Minute Knitted Gifts, because apparently I spend all my time standing carefully on chairs, so it doesn't matter if my legwarmers come down almost to my toes.


Anyway, I didn't make them, because I'd convinced myself that the 1x1 ribs would take forever, and that if I ever finished the darn things I'd end up wearing them constantly, despite my theory that athletic calves and legwarmers don't mix.

Then all of a sudden Friday night, I couldn't stand it any more. My calves were cold, darn it, and legwarmers would keep them warm. If my legwarmer/athletic calf theory turned out to be correct, I'd wear them under pants and boots so they wouldn't show. So there.

The ribs took the opposite of forever. I cast on before dinner on Friday, finished the first one Saturday morning, wore it (under jeans) all day while I knit the second one, and had a pair by bedtime Saturday. And now my calves are warm.

I used a twisted rib instead of a regular rib, since my regular 1x1 rib tends to be loose and weird. The original pattern calls for Cascade 220 and Kidsilk Haze (I think), but I used my my own handspun, held double. The wool came from two sheep of slightly different colors (Sarah and Coco, according to the label)--I spun up one ply from each sheep, then plied them together. And I went up a needle size partway through, to accommodate my calves.

(Note: rabbits--even mysterious ghost rabbits--aren't the panacea for bad legwarmer photos that you might have thought they were.)