Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Running Buddy

I am blogging right now because I am trying to avoid going running. It's not that I don't like running--I actually enjoy it. It's the time leading up to Going Running that I hate. It's just like putting off writing your thesis because you can think of a million other things that need to be done right now, even though you know that eventually you will have to bite the bullet and just get your *insertdreadedprojectnamehere* done. Plus, you feel so much better afterwards! My problem is that I started working out in earnest back in January--about 5 times a week--and for some reason I just kind of fell off the wagon recently. I didn't work out for almost two weeks! It's always hard to climb back on the horse after you fall off. (Yes, I am trying to add as many overused sayings to this paragraph as possible, thank you very much.) It didn't help that we almost hit 100 degrees here on Sunday and Monday. I was barely able to keep myself hydrated without adding a workout on top of it!

I subscribe to SELF magazine (and I'm not afraid to say that I love it!), and every year they do a three-month challenge with new workouts every four weeks. (They also have a diet plan, but I don't follow it because The Brain and I already eat pretty healthy most of the time anyway.) I've been following their workout plan, which is nice because it tells you exactly what you have to do and then you do it and you don't have to second-guess anything. It usually keeps me pretty motivated, but lately I've been getting kind of bored with working out in general. I think I need a running buddy. I used to go running in Minneapolis with my sister, but now that I live in San Diego and she lives in Silver Spring, MD, meeting up after work for a quick jog around the lake isn't possible. I live right by Balboa Park and there are joggers going up and down the street to and from the park all the time. I was joking with The Brain last night that I should just slip onto the sidewalk behind some runners some day, and just run about 3 feet behind them. I could pretend they were my running buddies! Problem solved! :-P

In addition to my good workout intentions and other super top secret Extreme Busy-ness, I have been spending a fair amount of time knitting. I mentioned in my last post that I had received my YOL (Year of Lace) and that it smelled like a perfume bottle. Well, the scent dissipated slowly and I was able to work on it for longer and longer stretches of time. I am now about 80% done with it, and will most likely finish it up in the next day or so. The yarn is very nice to work with and I like the color, but I'm still not enamored with the pattern. Oh well, part of being in a mystery club is taking what you get, right? I do have to admit that it is a highly unusual pattern, and I like that about it. I'll see how it looks like after I block it out. (Apologies for the blurry photo.)

I also finished up Flutter over a week ago, but didn't blog about it. That's because I tried it on and could barely get the thing to fit over my head! I knit it to the exact specifications, but I think the two rows of edging that you knit around the neckline may have pulled it together too much. I plan on ripping it out to see if it can be done more loosely. The other problem is that the armholes are just a touch too small. They kind of bunch up under the armpits. It would be great if I could take out the shoulder stitches and just add a few more rows, but then the sleeves would have to be re-knit in a larger size and I just don't think I have the urge to do all of that. We'll see. If it's still bothering me after I finish a few more projects, I might try it out. I do have enough yarn (for once!).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's Here!...A Week Later

I started this post a week ago, but then got sidetracked with More Important Things so I never got around to finishing it up and posting it. But it's all new to you, so it's still good. :)

My first Year of Lace shipment arrived last Thursday. I was so excited to open the package, and even more excited when I saw that the yarn was GREEN! My lovely green! If you remember, I have recently decided to embrace my lifelong love of green, hecklers be damned. The yarn is Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace, a 50% wool/50% silk blend, and it's absolutely beautiful. It is in a colorway called Mossy Grove, which is a variegated blend of (mossy) greens and browns. It's quite pretty, and even though I don't normally like variegateds, I absolutely love this yarn and I'm very happy to get a chance to use it.

The pattern?'s not my favorite. It's called the Ancient Woodland Shawl, and it's designed by Miriam Felton who is no slouch when it comes to lace. I don't think you can see the details too well in the picture, but it is a two-sided shawl with images of three trees formed out of yarnovers and cabled branches. It's not the cables in lace that bother me (would you think I was lying if I told you that I have been sketching out a shawl with images of trees using cables for the branches?), but it's the miles and miles of stockinette. I'm not a huge fan of stockinette in lace. I think lace should be...lacy. It just looks pretty and complex and if I wanted a solid fabric I could always use worsted. Plus to me, the trees look rather anemic. They need about 5 times as many cabled branches as they have...but I don't think a lot of people would be up for that either, judging by how many people have expressed dislike for this project on the YOL group page on Ravelry. And finally, I'm not a huge fan of drawing little pictures in lace by outlining the shapes with yarnovers. MAN, I'm hard to please! ;-)

So far, working it has been a little bit of a challenge. I don't have the right size Addi Lace needles for it and my regular Addis are not sharp enough to cross four stitches at the back right after a yo. I had to go back to using my Knit Picks needles for this project, and I am reminded of why I like Addis a whole lot better! Another bothersome aspect of this project is that the yarn smells. Lorna's Laces must use some kind of scented wool wash on their yarn or something because the yarn smells like an old woman at a theater matinee. You know, the one who always wears waaaay too much perfume because she can hardly smell anymore, and who you always get stuck sitting next to out of all the seats in the theater, and by intermission you are so high from the fumes you would swear everyone on stage is floating three feet off the ground and you spend the entire intermission in the bathroom blotting your face with wet paper towels so you don't faint? Tell me it's not just me. There's a reason I don't go to matinees any more.

But anyway, the yarn is all perfumey and it makes me dizzy just knitting with it. So to the list of things to avoid when knitting cabled lace, I would like to add perfumed yarn right after alcohol and screaming children. I persevere because the day has not yet come when a lace project will conquer me with its overpowering stench...but I try not to work on it for long lengths of time either. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some Randomness

This post is going to be a jumble of random kinds of knitting stuff. My apologies in advance for not waxing long-form about one thing or another. Kidding! Wouldn't want your eyes to glaze over. ;-)

Well, as you may or may not have heard out there on the internets, the U.S. Year of Lace shipments were delayed and did not get mailed out last week as planned. Apparently, the yarn is coming from Oklahoma. But the Make One yarn shop is in Calgary. There is no sense in shipping yarn from the States up to Canada and then back down again. So the U.S. yarn is shipped to Montana, one of the women from Make One drives down and assembles the kits, mails them from the U.S., and hops back across the border. This time though, the post office in Montana decided not to hold the yarn there and shipped it right back to Oklahoma...meaning it had to be shipped *back* to Montana to be shipped to the knitters this week instead.

The Brain says it's all my fault because I have the worst luck with this kind of thing, and now I'm subjecting innocent people from all over the country to my particular brand of wonkiness. Even Jacey noticed it and commented on it in my last post! There is nothing I can do but apologize...and wait for my yarn along with everyone else. :)

Well, that left me in a lurch because my Little Birds is stalled while I wait for more blue yarn, and my Year of Lace yarn is criss-crossing the country. I was asked to knit up a sample piece for J. Knits: an infant dress, and I did that in three days. Yep, three days to knit the thing followed by one entire day trying to figure out how the heck to do the row of single crochet and row of reverse single crochet around the neck edge. It took *hours*. I'm not kidding. I felt like an ape who has just discovered tools while I sat there with my tongue sticking out the side of my mouth, manipulating yarn with this unfamiliar hooky thing. I really should learn how to crochet. It makes edges look so much nicer! And don't worry, I blocked the edging after I took this photo.

That still left me with nothing to do, so I went ahead and cast on for a simple project last night. Flutter, from Norah Gaughan Vol. 4, is basically just a v-neck tee with a ruffle down the front. I know I'm supposed to be using up my old stash this year, but I purchased a few skeins of Aslan Trends Glaciar del Cielo cotton at one of my LYSes in February. They were having a 25% off everything sale, and I considered it my birthday present to myself. Believe me, at 25% off an already low $3.80, I think it was OK. :) I don't normally knit with cotton, but so far I am really enjoying this yarn. It's suuuuuper soft and the drape is very nice, almost like bamboo but not shiny. I'm hoping to finish this one before my other yarn comes in and then I'll have a new top to wear for summer. Yay!

I leave you with some random photos from Balboa Park this past weekend:

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Look! It's Almost a Sweater!

See that? It's my Little Birds sweater. I'm only 16 rows from finishing. See that coil of blue? I bet you can guess what that is: the end of the line. I am out of blue yarn! I only need the blue for six more rows, but it is simply not going to last that long. Even if I cannibalized my swatch and all the ends from the inside of my sweater, and spit-spliced them to within an inch of their lives, I would be lucky if I got an entire row from it. Most frustrating is the fact that I had to wait six months for the yarn to begin with. I think it should be easier to get another ball this time though--last summer when the pattern came out there was quite a run on this yarn, but I shouldn't have that problem this time. Maybe I'll chuck a couple more balls (of a different color) into my order so I can make a Selbu Modern...I wouldn't want the rest of the blue ball to go to waste, right?

I was hoping to have this sweater all done before my first Year of Lace shipment arrived. I'm expecting it in the mail any day now (maybe today?), and I plan on jumping into it right away. But that's OK...this delay will let me do just that without worrying about leaving my birds to languish in a corner.

P.S. Thank you, Amy, for your kind words and thoughtful advice on my last post. Blogger won't let you reply to comments, so you get a public shout-out instead! The rest of you should check out her website--Amy sounds like good, fun people to me! :)