Monday, May 31, 2010

Not as Bad as Expected

(This post has been carefully designed to bore everyone--knitting to bore my family, rowing to bore the knitters... and probably my family too. And I'm going to talk about cupcakes again, now that you've finally stopped craving them. I'd recommend just skipping ahead to the end for a link to Baby M photos on the photographer's blog. Although, there's a cupcake hat there too, sorry about that.)

I'd been dreading the finishing work on Manu ever since I read the pattern--it's all i-cord, and I abhor i-cord (this is a sub-component of my hatred of knitting-on edgings... even though they turn out to be not so bad once I'm actually working on them). But by Friday, I'd finished up all of the other knitting (well, not the pockets, which I may leave off), and it was time to i-cord. And it wasn't really so bad--I finished it last night (Sunday), without ever feeling like it was consuming my weekend.

Which it wasn't: in between working on the i-cord, my boat went to its first race of the year, which also turned out to be not as bad as we'd expected. We spent all week almost bailing out (ha!) and thinking of reasons why we should just skip the whole thing, but the handy thing about racing as a team (it was a 4+, so there were four of us plus the cox) is that probably you won't all want to stay home at once, so you can talk each other back into going.

My least favorite moment is pushing away from the dock--it all seems kind of unreal till then--as though maybe you're just hanging out with some nice people (all dressed the same for some reason), and the water is pretty and I don't really like the beach but parks next to the water are nice and the grass is green and the sky is blue and clearly I didn't row in college because the weather in the early spring in New England is really gross, but masters race in the summer and fall, so the sky really is blue... and then you're carrying a boat down to the water but I don't really connect that with racing because I'm thinking about not tripping or running the boat into anything (like the side of a building). And then suddenly it's too late to back out, because you've shoved off from the dock (it would be too embarrassing to stand up and dive overboard!).

Anyway... we came in second, and now we can be less nervous next week.

At the race, I worked on a sock, then a bunch of the afternoon was also lost (at least from the perspective of the i-cord) because Kevin and I went on a bike ride. We're going to China in a week (remember, if you mention any previous trips which might or might not have been to China or somewhere near by in the comments, I will have to kill you... I will say that we're going because Kevin is giving a talk, and we told everyone--all 1,330,141,295 people!--that I'm a vegetarian), and after the work part of the trip we're going to bike in the western part of the country. Anyway--we upgraded our tandem to one that comes apart and packs in 2 suitcases, so we needed to break in the new bike.

Then on Sunday, Sunflowerfairy and I went up to the MA Sheep and Wool Festival, and I worked on the sock on the way--so that was more time away from the i-cord. But it's done anyway (except I suspect that the pockets, if I make them, will be be-corded), and the moral of the story is that i-cord isn't as bad as I think.

If you lived though that, look: a baby in a cupcake hat!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bad Auntie

Thanks for all the happy birthdays. I spent half of my actual birthday on the train (not so bad, I finished a sock and took several nice naps), but for my birthday, I went to DC to see my new niece:

(Photographic proof that yes, M does fall asleep on everyone but my sister/her mother, just as A suspected.)

A finished her WIP as planned (a week ago last Thursday), but I was less efficient--she requested knit hats and I only started the first one, a cupcake hat, on the train on the way down. Which meant I was finishing it up all the way there:

And then it was laughably huge (even though I used a pattern intended for a newborn, got gauge, and followed the directions exactly.... although now that I think about it, the pattern didn't give any finished measurements, so possibly the designer has as vague an idea of the size of newborns' heads as I do?). So I knit a second smaller one while I was there, which will just barely fit till mid-afternoon today, as long as M's hair doesn't grow too fast.

But the cupcake hat served its purpose--M wore it for her official newborn pictures (with a professional photographer--I'll link when the photographer posts them on her blog) yesterday morning, M's big sister E spent the whole weekend saying "cupcape," and we had cupcakes for my birthday.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Growing On Me

Still writing madly. And reading madly, which has at least let me work stockinette. I've knit the body and half of one sleeve of Manu (a cardigan--imagine a maroon rectangle, with some barely perceptible shaping, please), and one and a half socks.

The yarn is handspun, a superwash BFL and sparkle mix, and it's growing on me--I liked it as roving, liked the single, like the 2-ply, then disliked the knit fabric through most of the first foot (something about the contrast between the solid sections where both plies were the same color and the heathered parts where they were different colors bothered me...). I'm feeling more kindly towards it now--and I can always give it to someone as a present (hopefully someone with a short memory, so they won't remember reading that I decided to give the socks away when I didn't like them!).

I'm also feeling conflicted about Manu, but I need to take pictures of the partial sleeve to explain why, so that will have to wait.

Hey, Kevin and I finally got our acts together this year in time to register for the Five Boro Bike Tour (thanks to a rowing friend with a better memory than us!), and did it last weekend. It was mostly fun (and the weather was just about perfect--a little warm, but not too bad with the breeze from biking), but crowded. The city closes down 40+ miles of streets for the ride, so it was neat to see the streets filled with bikes, but all those bikes meant everyone basically had to stop for every hill, and almost every turn, for the first 6 or 7 miles (which took us an hour--that's just about the speed I could have run that distance!). I had a depressing moment when I realized the whole thing would take 6-7 hours at that rate, and then things opened up enough that the experienced/fit cyclists could speed up. Further back in the mass of riders, I believe you end up biking slowly the whole way.

And I've been rowing a lot, although I'm not sure it's doing any good. I had a dream the other night that I followed the coach around (to the gym, to the grocery store, when she tried to pick up her child at school... I don't even know if she has any children), wanting to know what the point of rowing with your feet out of the shoes is, anyway? Dream-me kept sitting down on the floor and pretending to row, pulling my feet in because it's hard to slide your seat forward when you're just sitting on the ground and waving my arms around like they were oars. She finally got away while I was sitting down and couldn't jump up fast enough to catch her.

Awake, I feel like I'm rowing weirdly. I'm trying to believe that it feels strange because I'm more conscious of what I'm doing and apparent weirdness is the first step to some kind of improvement... but it's just as likely I'm over-thinking and making things worse. Big shock that I'd over-think, huh?