Friday, July 29, 2011

FO: Liesl Cardigan

Vital Stats
Pattern: Liesl Cardigan
Yarn: Rowan Cotton Tape, just under 9 balls or just over 600 yards
Needles: US 11
Size knit: 46", but I went up a size because my gauge was tight
Time to Completion: A month or so.

I finished up my Liesl cardigan more than a week ago, but hadn't gotten around to asking Mr. Husband to take some photos of me. In a fit of productivity this morning I went out on the porch and took some photos in the full length mirror there. Yes. We have a mirror on the porch.

This is not a mirror shot - this is a kitchen table shot.
liesl cardigan

I received this yarn in a secret pal swap. It's lovely yarn, but cotton is not usually my thing. So it hung around for a little while before I decided to put it to use in the Liesl cardigan.

Liesl cardigan

I was pretty skeptical about this pattern. I know it's wildly popular and all, but to me it looked a little bit, well, like a baby cardigan. Plus it does that 3 button thing at the top that I'm not a fan of. Why am I not a fan? Because if you've got a belly, I feel it can look a bit maternity.
Liesl cardigan

But it turns out that I quite like this sweater. I found the yarn a little tricky to use - it has a tendency to catch on things, and it's difficult to effectively weave in ends. But the pattern is lovely. My only confusion came from trying to understand the buttonhole instructions, which I couldn't seem to grasp. I did something and ended up with three button holes, though.
liesl cardigan

The buttons I choose are really too heavy for this sweater. I should probably buy some cheap plastic ones to replace these. But I did happen to have thread that matches the yarn nearly exactly!

And there it is! It must be a summer of cardigans. I'm not sure what I'll cast on next. I will keep you appraised of the situation.

Running is going smoothly. I attacked the only hill in town on Thursday. Twice. Hills are hard. What possessed me to sign up for a hilly first half marathon? Lack of reason, I guess.

My long run for Saturday is scheduled to be 6 miles. I'm planning on hitting 6.2 for a nice even 10K. Last Saturday I carried a water bottle for the first time. It was the 20 oz bottle that came free with my cheap-o bike (which has had a flat read tire for over a year. Anyone wanna fix that for me?). I chose it because I wouldn't be sad to abandon it. I didn't, but it was annoying to carry, and heavy too. Also my hand got wet and gross from leakage. So I was on the lookout for an alternative.

Little water bottle

There she is. The FuelBelt Sprint Palm Holder 10z. I got it from the place I linked. I like them because of the free two day shipping, even on little things. Also, the price is good. I think it'll be a good solution. Pretty light, and the doohickey keeps it stuck to my hand.
Little water bottle

I bought some powerade to stick in it. POWER! I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

On the treadmill

Let's start with running today, shall we? On Tuesday I was scheduled to do a 35 minute run, but couldn't drag my butt out of bed to get out before work. And, by the time I got out of work, the wind was gusting up to 40mph so I wimped out of running outside. To the treadmills! I went down to my gym and hopped a treadmill.

What I forgot is that I really really don't like treadmills. Not so much the boredom, though there's that. But the lack of breeze really does me in. I overheat and it gets really hard to keep going. So it was horrible. I ran for 35 minutes, including 2 one minute walk breaks in the second half. My technical fabric shirt didn't stand a chance - I was pretty well soaked.

But next time I'll take the wind and leave the gym for strength and cross training.

Tomorrow is another three miles! Outside this time, for sure. Tomorrow morning looks fine, with only 11mph winds.

Now knitting! With the sad closing of the Dancing Ewe, there was no longer a centralized local group on Ravelry. So I took matters into my own hands and set up a group, Windy City Knitters, for anyone in or around Ellensburg. Check it out if you're local or planning to pass through.

Tonight I sewed on the buttons of my Liesl cardigan! Soon there will be photos. In the meantime I've picked up my sock yarn blanket. But it looks much the same with a few new squares as it did before. I'm really enjoying the blanket at this time - small squares are satisfying.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Salad and a sweater

I made another pasta salad this past week for my lunches. It was more successful than the previous one, with the tuna and the bacon, but it got a bit old eating it everyday, plus once for dinner. Still, it gets a mention - Pesto Turkey Pasta Salad.

Turkey pesto pasta salad
Ingredients: pesto mix, turkey breast (only used maybe half of it?), grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and pasta. Oh, and I tossed in some carrots for good measure.

Nothing fancy, just cooked the pasta, sauteed the mushrooms, and cut up the turkey, and mixed it all up. Oh, and the pesto mix which required a full quarter cup of olive oil. Hello!
Turkey pesto pasta salad

I'd put some grated parm on it before eating it at work, and that improved things as well. Cheese usually does that. I'd call this a success, but it made too much food. I think I'm done with this whole pasta salad thing for a while. Three weeks is enough. But what should I do for lunches next week?


Thursday, at knit nite, I finally finished knitting my Liesl cardigan. It's a pretty fast knit, actually, but I am just not a fan of cotton. Or bulky yarn. I played fast and loose with gauge, which means that even though I knit a size up, it may still be just on the small size. Also I did not wash a swatch, so I don't know how it will behave when washed and dried.

Liesl sweater

I picked some buttons out of my button collection - I like them a lot, but they're pretty heavy. I'll have to see if the cardigan can handle them.
Liesl sweater

I took pictures of the buttons while the sweater was soaking. I used a sample of Soak which must be several years old, but still smelled nice. I was surprised by how much dye came out of the sweater, especially considering none ended up on my hands during knitting.
Liesl sweater

And the sweater spread out to dry. I managed to make it a little bigger, but time will show if I was successful.
Liesl sweater

Now I think I'll work on my sock yarn blanket for a while.


Running! I finished my running for week 2 of training this morning. I did a 5 mile long run in what constitutes highly unusual weather for this area - humidity. It was very very strange. I ran just over 11 miles this week and will likely do about the same for next week. I did join to track my runs and connect with other folks. It's got some really neat functions - I think I'm going to like it. Track me down and join my "street team" if you've got an account!

Friday, July 8, 2011

7/8/2011 - Cleaning house

We have a knit nite here in town. Used to be held at the yarn store, but now that we're LYS-less, we hold it at the campus Starbucks. Things were getting downright rowdy yesterday! Kestrel came in her awesome pants and brought Rebekah (why do I assume Rebekah is spelled that way? It's almost certainly not.) with her. Rebekah attempted to educate me in anime. I may be hopeless. Still, I managed to knit an inch or two on the Liesl cardigan, which means that it looks essentially exactly the same as it did last time we saw it. I think I'm nearing the end of the body, at least, and the sleeves should be super quick!
Liesl Cardigan
Love that texture photo.


Thursday was meant to be a crosstraining day, but I was so tired when my alarm went off that I decided to switch it with my scheduled rest day on Friday. Which means I slept in yesterday (until 6:40!) and went off to cross train at the gym today. I do an endurance weights routine with some cardio thrown in. My trainer, who's a firecracker, says it's meant to raise my lactic threshold. I followed it up with some time on the elliptical. Tomorrow is my long run of 4 miles and, luckily, the wind is supposed to be under 10mph when I plan to go out! Hooray!

I seem to be terrifically linky today. How about that?

I've changed sizes recently. Enough so that the closet of clothes I'd been cultivating for years no longer fits. I'm trying my luck with a bit of an internet yard sale. If you're interested in XL, XXL, 18-20 (with some 14-16 tops), hop on over to Crazy Froggy's Internet Yard Sale. Everything must go! Will accept yarn in trade!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7/6/2011 - Slow Knitter to Conquer Half Marathon

About a year ago I started the Couch to 5K program. Why? Because I couldn't run a mile and that seemed like something a body ought to be able to do. Of course, by the end of the program, you're running nearly three miles! So I did that and then followed it up by alternately running for a while then not running for a while. Winter, you know. When spring came, I got my mojo back and began to set goals. I decided to run 5 miles. I did. Then I started to look around for half marathons (13.1 miles). Eventually, I found one that seemed awesome! So I signed up. It's the Columbia Gorge Half Marathon. It'll be held at the end of October and is a pretty hilly course - perhaps not the wisest choice for the novice racer, but I think it'll be fun.

It's kind of awesome that I've gone from dismissing runners as merely crazy to embracing the whole thing. I realized that, when I go out to run, I freaking look like a runner. Maybe a fat, slow runner, but a runner nonetheless.
Running gear

Click through for a ton of notes.

This week is week one of half marathon training. I'm doing three runs a week with 2-3 days of cross training, 2 of which include a strength training regimen. My long run this week is 4 miles. Woo hoo! I'll hit 6 miles by the end of the month and up up up from there. I also run the only hill in town once a week to get the feel of that kind of challenge.

Let it be noted that I am breaking no land speed records here. My fastest mile ever was 11 minutes, but I average more around 12 minutes. I'll probably be even slower once my mileage gets up there. My husband can literally walk as fast as I run. If I can do this, anybody can.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

7/5/2011 - Questionable Pasta Salad

I'm not so great at post titles. It's easier to classify things by date.

Summer is finally hitting - it's been a long cool spring with moments of warmth. It doesn't help that our house is a cave, so until yesterday I was still under a fleece blanket while sitting on the couch. But the heat is here and will probably be for at least a couple of weeks.

Liesl Cardigan

I'm working on another summer cardigan - Liesl. I'm knitting it with Rowan Cotton Tape which is very interesting. Not, I would say, my favorite yarn. I'm not a huge fan of cotton. Nor am I a huge fan of bulky yarns. It's knitting up fairly nicely, though I worry the finished product may be on the heavy side.

Liesl Cardigan

At least it's a pretty fast knit. I should be done with it in a week or so, momentum permitting, and may actually be able to wear it in its appropriate season.

questionable pasta salad

To me, summer is the season of the pasta salad. Last week I made a nice salad of chicken, tortellini, and grape tomatoes. I got a little more... creative this week. This week's salad includes: Whole grain shells, tuna, bacon, bell pepper, peas, carrots, onion and garlic (sauteed in bacon fat), and a dose of Miracle Whip. It's... passable. I don't think it would be a hit at a party, and the colors leave something to be desired. It screams 1970s kitchen to me. Eh, I'll eat it anyway.

FO: Featherweight Cardigan

Oh, my Featherweight cardigan. I love it. I love it like I've never knit any sweater I've knit. It's light, it's breezy, it's easy to wear.

Vital Stats
Pattern: Featherweight Cardigan
Yarn: Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk, a little more than half a cone, maybe?
Needles: 6? Whatever the pattern asked for.
Size knit: 42", I think
Time to Completion: 3 or 4 months

Featherweight Cardigan

Did I mention that I love this cardigan? I do.

Featherweight Cardigan

The arm holes are actually enormous. That would bother me on some sweaters, but it's perfect for this one. Knit in an 80% alpaca yarn, I wouldn't want the arm holes too tight in summer. It weighs practically nothing.

Featherweight Cardigan

After knitting the sleeves, I noticed that one was about a half inch longer than the other. I didn't fix it. I tried to make them the same during blocking. I think it was successful, although it's hard to tell due to the loose way this cardigan sits on the body.

Featherweight Cardigan

Picking up stitches for the band was the hardest part. The pattern is a ton of stockinette, so that actually slowed me up some. I didn't have the inertia to finish for the longest time. But I'm glad I finally did!
Featherweight Cardigan

See that shoe box on the floor? Those are my new running shoes. I'm training for a half marathon in October. I'm thinking about blogging my training here. Any strong feelings about that?

Monday, July 4, 2011

FO: Acer Cardigan

What? I didn't blog my completed Acer Cardigan? Well! I'll have to remedy that.

Vital stats:
Pattern: Acer Cardigan
Yarn: Cascade Lana D'Oro, color 1052. About 6 skeins. Maybe 5.
Needles: Size 6
Time to completion: About 5 months.

Acer cardigan

I finished this cardigan at the beginning of May. Just in time for warm weather! Nothing like a wool/alpaca blend to welcome the sun. I was mostly just glad to finish this cardigan. It was a long knit. It wouldn't have even taken that long if I'd been committed to it, but I wasn't.

Acer cardigan

I do really like this sweater. I hope it gets a lot of wear next season. The pattern is really a very flattering style. As I knit it, the arms are a bit tight, which seems to be a pattern with me. I've historically had very large upper arms.

Acer cardigan

The buttons are some inexpensive plastic ones from the tiny sewing shop in town. I like the sort of retro look they have.
Acer cardigan

And that's that cardigan. I think I'll queue up a post about my exciting new Featherweight cardigan.