Friday, November 23, 2012

Yarn: Reclaimed step by step

Remember my frog pond? Well, it's all been frogged. And then some!

It was really interesting taking apart sweaters, particularly from early on in my knitting career when I had no idea what I was doing. Tying in the ends? That's not how we do things any more. Then again, splicing together yarn results in some enormous hanks of yarn.... Anyway.

Step one: Unweave your ends. Curse your younger self who inexplicably tied the ends to the knitting. Or who split through single ply yarn when weaving.

Step two: Unseam your seams.

Step three: Frog! Wind into a ball. This will create a lot of fiber dust that gets in your nose and makes you sneeze.

Step four: Skein. I used my handy dandy niddy noddy and skeined up all the yarn. This was surprisingly tiring for my arm and shoulder. I tied off the hanks using scraps of sock yarn.
Processing frogged yarn

Step five: Soak the skeins.
Processing frogged yarn
With a little wool wash.

Processing frogged yarn
In a rubbermaid tub. Black and red went first.

Processing frogged yarn
Then the blue. It looked like Smurf ramen, frankly.

Step six: Wring out the skeins.Get out that water!
Processing frogged yarn
Spot the cat? Wringing out the skeins took a lot of time. Like, a lot of time.

Processing frogged yarn
Cat's easier to find on this one.

Step seven: Hang skeins to dry.
Processing frogged yarn
Batch #1.

Processing frogged yarn
All the yarn. Be annoyed that cat destroyed collapsing fabric box...

Step eight: Wait for skeins to dry. Wait some more. Give it another day.

Step nine: Call it dry enough and retwist all the skeins. Realize that you don't have space to store all this yarn...
Reclaimed yarn

Seriously, this is a lot of yarn. There's also a few un-washed balls of reclaimed yarn that I may not bother with processing. We'll see.

The process worked pretty well. Some of the yarn still has a little wave to it, some looks brand new. The red yarn is nicer than it ever has been. It was a lot of work, but I'm glad I did it. Now I need to knit some worsted/aran/bulky weight sweaters to decrease this reclaimed stash!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Piling on the miles

I'm knitting this fabulous sweater, Aidez, out of that bulky weight yarn I wasn't sure what to do with.  On my Rav projects page I'm calling it the Aidez of uncertainty because I don't know if I have enough yarn. It knits up fast though, that's for sure. Faster, if I spent more of my time knitting and less of my time ripping out all the stuff in my enormous frog pond. I've got the back and part of the left front done. I'm also a little worried that it won't be the right size. It looks so small and scrunched together....

The back of Aidez, partially done. This photo is not up to date.But it's pretty, no?

Anyway, I want to tell you about the frogging project, and I'd like to tell you about my long neglected Tiong Bahru, but what I'm going to do is talk about running.

See, I signed up for this thing. It's called Pile on the Miles, and it's organized by Monica of Run Eat Repeat. You sign up, set a mileage goal for the month of November, and can get prizes for commenting and updating your progress.

I set my goal kind of high. Like, really high.

100 miles.

Yeah, I said I would run 100 miles in November. I did the math; it's totally possible on my three day a week schedule. I'm working my way up to a 15 mile long run during the same period, so that helps. And I'll probably do a few miles of walking, too, since I'm going to lay off the elliptical for cross training and just do incline walking. (Incline walking is brutal! I was walking at a 12.5% incline today and I was drenched.)

Oh yeah, my knee has been bugging me. It feels crunchy or something - I don't even know. Sometimes it's fine, sometimes not.  But I'm doing everything I can for it short of actually not using it. I'd been doing elliptical instead of running because of it, but it actually seems to get worse after the elliptical. I guess that plan didn't work. Current plan involves supplements, ice when I need it, and hoping. So we'll see how this goes.

Anyway, I'm kicking this thing off on Thursday morning with a five mile run, and following that up with eleven fine miles on Saturday. Assuming my knee doesn't fall out or something.

Even if you're not a runner and just want some incentive to get out and walk more this month, sign up! There are about 700 people signed up right now, with goals ranging from 20 miles to 200 miles. It's not about being the fastest or the best, it's about giving yourself a challenge and some motivation.

I can do this. So can you.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rippit, Rippit Good, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Frog Pond.

I switched over my wardrobe from winter to summer (which mostly involves putting away the shorts and pulling out the sweaters - most of it stays the same), and finally had to deal with the problem of my sweaters.

You see, I have about a half dozen handknit sweaters which are... too big. Not too big by a little, but too big by a lot. I don't want to give them to goodwill, so I had to get up the courage and start a frog pond.

Frog Pond

In the frog pond we have:

My very first sweater ever. Made of a very wooly wool I bought at a flea market in Wisconsin.
Frog Pond

My Wicked cardigan. Knit out of Cascade 220. This is a pattern I would actually knit up again, and very well may.
Frog Pond

The Quincy hat, which is not really a good look for me and cashmere is a horrible thing to waste.
Frog Pond

The Amelia cardigan, which I like and put a lot of work into, but now that the arms fit, the body is a bit saggy. Made of Cascade Lana d'Oro.
Frog Pond

Frosting. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's too messy for a gift, and too itchy for my poor sensitive skin. Made of Cascade Cloud 9.
Frog Pond

These will join my Bulky Mini-Cardi, which got frogged last week. The Arucania Nature Cotton may get a second life...
Frog Pond

Narrowly avoiding the frog pond are my Tangled Yoke Cardigan and my Eris cardigan. I don't think the yarn of either will stand up to frogging. Besides, I love my Tangled Yoke. Eris was never really a success, but it is warm. Both will be okay for curling up in around the house.

Letting go is hard, but there will suddenly be a lot more a lot more yarn in my stash.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Expectations v. Reality

*This post has neither photos nor knitting. But I promise the next one will have both!*

So it turns out that posting my weekly exercise schedule on here was actually really really motivating. Here's what I said I would do last week:

Monday - rest
Tuesday - 45-60 minutes of running, with speedwork
Wednesday - weight training (45 minutes)
Thursday - 4-5 miles easy run
Friday - rest or weight training or bootcamp class
Saturday - long run, 6-8 miles
Sunday - weight training, 30 minutes elliptical

And here's what I actually did:

Monday - Rest! No running or gym anyway.
Tuesday - Ran for 4.62 miles/52 minutes. 1.5 miles to the track, 5x200 with 200 rest, 1.5 miles home or so. I have no idea what I'm doing for speedwork. 58 degrees out!
Wednesday - Did my weight training circuit and had time to follow it up with 28 minutes of elliptical (the "fat burner" program on the AMT, mostly because it's programmed to last 28 minutes) at a fairly moderate intensity.
Thursday - Ran 4 miles/46 minutes. It was 30 degrees out. I couldn't feel my thighs.
Friday - Had kind of intended to get to the gym, but with my rest option instead.
Saturday - Air quality was unhealthy, so my run date was cancelled. I went and did weights/elliptical instead. More intensely than Wednesday. Maybe because I saw my trainer there.
Sunday - Air quality was still unhealthy, so I did 7 miles/76.5 minutes on the elliptical. 30 minutes on a regular elliptical, the rest on the AMT (which has a more "run-y" motion).

And here's what I intend to do this week:

Monday - Rest. Already executing that fairly successfully.
Tuesday -45-60 minutes of running, with hill repeats on the only hill in town.
Wednesday - Weight training (45 minutes)
Thursday - 4-5 miles easy run
Friday - Rest or weight training or bootcamp class
Saturday - Long run, 8-10 miles
Sunday - Weight training, 30 minutes elliptical

I realize this is a bit dull. I'll try to think of ways to liven it up in the future.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Set Up

First things first! An FO. A pair of basic stockinette "movie theatre socks." So called because I knit this kind of sock during movies because I don't have to look at it (I don't do the heels, toes, or ribbing at movies, though).  I had a couple partial balls of this yarn (maybe a Regia?) and went for it. I had to cut the ribbing of the second sock a couple rounds short and use a little bit of a different sock yarn for half the bind off. Nothing remarkable - solidly useful socks. I think, though, that I might start doing afterthought heels for this kind of sock, so the patterning doesn't get quite so wonky.
Basic socks
Basic socks

I'm working on a Tiong Bahru, which is a gorgeous pattern. Unfortunately, I repeatedly miscounted my stitches and ended up 15 short on the first pattern lace row. My trouble? The counts given don't include the border stitches, which I was counting. Sigh. I'm hoping to get back to where I was by next week and I will show you my process for ripping back 3000 stitches when you didn't put in a lifeline...

I also want to start knitting a sweater out of some bulky yarn I have. I bought the kit for the Gallatin sweater a while ago, but find I don't care for the sweater as much as I did a year ago.
I'd planned to do the owl pattern in the grey colorway.
 I have about 1000 yards of the main color, which ought to be enough for a sweater. Plus 500 yards of each of the coordinating colors. But I don't know what pattern to knit - I would be very glad to take suggestions.

Switching modes now, from knitting to fitness stuff. I met with my trainer on Wednesday, and she gave me a new workout routine which is pretty intense. I've had about a month and a half of sort of fumbling as far as fitness and training is concerned (vacation directly into 3-4 weeks of insanity at work (pretty much have maxed out my accumulation of comp-time)), so a reset was sorely needed. And a little accountability never hurts. So this is my plan for the week:

Monday - rest
Tuesday - 45-60 minutes of running, with speedwork
Wednesday - weight training (45 minutes)
Thursday - 4-5 miles easy run
Friday - rest or weight training or bootcamp class
Saturday - long run, 6-8 miles
Sunday - weight training, 30 minutes elliptical

I have goals, so sticking to that plan, and also to a reasonable eating plan, will help me reach them. Not to mention, this weights routine will help me get stronger. I like being able to impress people with my recently developed ability to lift heavy things. Onward!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

FO super post!

I've been busy!  And lazy! Let's just cut to the photos of knitted things, okay?

Corrina Ferguson's Berlioz

A super cute shawlette knit out of Shalimar Yarns Breathless. Like the pattern, like the yarn, like the results!

Ribbelmuster Socks

These got a blue ribbon at the fair!  Knit of Handmaiden Casbah Sock (luscious). I love swirly sock patterns.

Corrina Ferguson's Minerva's Tower socks
Minerva socks
Minerva socks

Knit from Madelinetosh Tosh Sock. A purple approaching black. I love these socks. They look super complicated, but the pattern is easy to remember. But I would suggest using a bobby pin to help with the cables.

Cecily Glowik MacDonald's Goodale cardigan
Goodale cardigan
Goodale cardigan
Goodale cardigan

Knit from Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, I made a couple small changes to the pattern. First, I added a few inches to the body. Second, I added elbow length sleeves. I love how wearable this cardigan turned out.  Also, I adore pockets.

BONUS!  County Fair Pictures!
country fair socks
County fair sweater
County fair shawl

The aforementioned Ribbelmuster socks with their blue ribbon. My Acer Cardigan with its blue ribbon (despite not having a top button or having been well blocked (had to bring them to the fair three days earlier than I thought I had to...)). And my Evenstar shawl with its blue ribbon and Superintendent's Choice rosette. Very exciting.

And that's the knitting that's fit to share. Onward, ho!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Button troubles

Buttons are hard. I have trouble picking out buttons and it takes me forever to get around to sewing them on. Like for this vest:
Grandfather's Vest

I finished knitting the vest in, like, February, and didn't put buttons on it until June. And didn't do photos until today. This is the Grandfather Vest by Veronik Avery. I knit it from cashmere. Because I could. It's so soft.

Grandfather's vest

The buttons are from my horde of vintage buttons. I love vintage buttons. I think they go together quite nicely and I think I'll get a lot of wear from this vest.

The other buttons which gave me a little headache are these:

Safire Cardigan

Bright yellow little things. Don't let the photo color deceive you, that green is a green apple green. Bright! and Green! and Bright! So there's some contrast there.

Those buttons found their home, just today, on my Safire cardigan. The Safire cardigan is a cropped cardigan which is not entirely my style, but will be okay for certain occasions nonetheless. It's knit from Cascade 220 superwash. I was worried about running out of green, so I used the brown to ease my mind about yardage.

Safire Cardigan

So, that's the recent button troubles. Not troubles really, so much as avoidance of sewing them on. Funny how the odds and ends of finishing can take so much more mental effort than the knitting.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

FO: Evenstar Shawl (at last!)

Pattern: The Evenstar Shawl
Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist Fino, Duchess Blue. About 2.5 hanks (1312 yards).
Needles: Size 4 Addi Turbo Lace
Cast on: January 4, 2012
Bound off: April 23, 2012

Evenstar Shawl

I've been in love with this pattern since I first saw it. It's been high on my to do list, but I haven't committed to a large lace piece for a while. And I wanted to change that this year. I have a whole list in my Rav queue tagged 2012 of goal projects for the year.

Evenstar Shawl

I cast on just after the new year. I was hoping to knit this in about two months, but I've been really overworked at my job, and between work and training for my half marathons, I just wasn't putting in the time on this that I had hoped. So it took closer to five months to finish.

Evenstar Shawl

The pattern is very nice. Clearly written and easy to follow. I only made one small modification which is, on the edging, on the WS, to slip the first stitch (the k2tog with the body on the RS) instead of knit it. Felt more secure to me. The finished, blocked shawl, is somewhere around 5 feet in diameter. Blocking it was actually sort of fun since there weren't 300 little peaks to pin out, just 56 (I think).

Evenstar Shawl

This yarn, Alpaca with a Twist Fino, is right up there among my favorite yarns to knit with. It's gorgeous. Soft and supple, but not too delicate. Give me a yarn with some silk blended in and I'm generally a pretty happy knitter.

Evenstar Shawl

Overall, I recommend this for the knitter looking for a larger project and a little bit of a challenge. Nothing in here that a dedicated beginner couldn't tackle, but you need to be comfortable trying new things and devoting a good chunk of time to this. (The edging alone probably took me over 24 hours to finish...)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Whidbey Island Half Marathon

Hi blog. I guess I'm only coming out to talk about big things. Like the race that I ran last weekend. I have a massive knitting project which is so close to done, but actually hours and hours of knitting away from being done, and will absolutely be shared as well.

I ran the Whidbey Island Half Marathon on Sunday, April 15, 2012. The race is on Whidbey Island, and runs out of Oak Harbor. Whidbey Island is home to the ridiculously scenic Deception Pass and it's iconic bridge. The full marathoners ran over the bridge. Gorgeousness.

 Anyway, Sunday was a great day for a race. Started out about 50 and overcast, clearing and warming slightly during the run. The half had about 1000 runners and was well organized - including pace signs to line up by (something my last race did not feature). There were lots of water stops and plenty of volunteers. So a nicely run race. The course had hills in the first three miles and the last three miles, the rest being pretty flat. The prerace was a little chilly, but I didn't want to wear my sweatshirt as I knew it would end up tied around my waist in about a mile. So I went with gloves and a sleeveless shirt. That strategy worked great. When I took off my gloves, I tucked them inside the band of my SPI belt (which held my gels and mp3 player) which held them secure for the next 11 miles!
Out of the starting gate. Feeling good and looking a little silly with the gloves.

 As for my race… It went great! I started out running at a pace that felt easy, but was actually a decent clip for me. I kept up that pace, even up the first set of hills - one of which seemed pretty steep indeed. I just kept running comfortably. Not really passing anyone, just keeping going and eavesdropping on the runners around me. I took a gel around mile 5, because that was the plan. The next couple of miles were awesome - probably a combination of the gel and the stunning scenery - runners stretched out down the straightaway ahead of me, water to my left, the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Man, I wish I had a photo of that. I saw my husband around mile 9, which was great. He snapped some photos of me.

Interesting side note - I've worn the same top in my 10K last August, my half last October, and this race. I really like that top.

Shortly after seeing hubby, I headed up the next set of hills. I jogged up the first long hill, walking through the water station and eating another gel (I’d been walking through water stations since about mile 7 - a good break). After that point, I walked up all the hills, running the more or less flats and down hills. The last 2 miles were mostly downhill, which was great! Except I suddenly got this new stabbing pain in my abdomen on my left side a couple of times. I had to either slow to a walk or run with one hand pressing the spot for a while before it went away. Not sure what that was about. Could be a side stitch, but I'm used to side stitches being on the other side near my ribs. In the final half mile I was running out of steam and bargaining with myself. I really really wanted to walk a little bit, but I knew that I could keep going and my internal monologue was all about not stopping and not giving in to the pain. So I kept going and finished strong!

Down the finishing chute! Final time: 2:19:45 - That’s a 10 minute PR from my first race six months ago! My next race is in 2 weeks on a flat flat flat course, so I’m hoping to more or less match this time. I wouldn’t mind improving it slightly…
Post race with a proper medal, half a banana, and a smile.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Recapping the week

I had a heck of a week. Easily the craziest week I've ever worked. I work for a museum and we were changing over the gallery. One show came down on the 21st, and two more were up by the 28th. Including one that required us to produce all of the text panels. I worked at least 9 hours every day, full tilt.

I did manage to get a little bit of knitting in. A few times I just knit on my plain jane stockinette sock, but once in a while I got up the energy to work on my Evenstar shawl. I don't have a recent photo, so this will have to do.

I'm now on chart three - one round is 560 stitches. Tiny stitches. In Alpaca with a Twist Fino, which is one of my absolutely favorite yarns. Still, it will be a while before this shawl gets finished.

And I started half marathon training this week. Here's what the week ended up looking like:
Monday - 4 miles, speed intervals
Tuesday - full body strength circuit (x3), 17 minutes of cardio
Wednesday - 2 miles running, 2 miles on the AMT (like an elliptical, but better), followed by an hour of power yoga. (Should have been 4 miles running, but I ended up on the corner treadmill at the busiest time - that treadmill had its own climate. The air was completely still and humidity was high. I swear there was condensation on the machine. It was awful.)
Thursday - Rest day (okay, I was actually on my feet all day assembling exhibits, but no additional exercise.)
Friday - 30 minutes recumbent biking, 15 minutes incline walking
Saturday - 6 mile long run. Ran the first three in Yaktrax on snow and ice. But it was outside, which was awesome.
Sunday - Upper body strength (x3), 15 minutes recumbent biking, 34 minutes brisk walking.

Looks like a lot when I write it out like that! Here's the schedule for the upcoming week:

M- 5 miles, hills
T- Strength, 30 min interval cardio
W - 4 miles easy
Th- Strength, 30 min interval cardio
Sa-7 mile long run
Su - Rest

Let's see how it goes!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A lace scarf and the start of training

A couple of weeks before Christmas, I started a Falling Water scarf. I originally meant it to be a Christmas gift, but since it had to go by mail, after about 4 inches, I decided to make a hat to gift instead.

But since I had already knit 4 inches, I figured why not go ahead and finish the rest of the five feet or so I prefer from a scarf. And let's finish it before January so it's not hanging over my head, unfinished. So I did. It's a beautiful lace pattern, but I was bored to near tears knitting it. And since I didn't really have an emotional investment in it, my arbitrary deadline was the only thing that kept me working on it.

It is lovely though.
Falling water scarf

Yes, I was very lazy blocking it, so it has faux points instead of being straight along the edges. I think it looks nice, and I guess that's what counts.
Falling water scarf

I knit this scarf using a cashmere yarn from the fine folks at Keystone Art and Craft. The yarn is recycled from sweaters, and it's very very fine, so I held it doubled. The yarn broke once, because I was yanking at a knot. I'm very pleased with how soft and airy this scarf is.

On the running front, tomorrow marks the start of my training cycle for my April 15th half marathon! I've got four miles with speed intervals on the calendar. And, as the car is covered with about a foot of snow, I may be doing this outside, in the dark, in the snow. Should be a heck of an adventure.

My training plan has me running three times a week, strength training twice, and doing cardio cross training two or three times a week (strength and cardio cross are on the same days). In addition, I'm hoping to keep going to my Yoga Fit class once a week (on my easy run day) because I adore how yoga makes me feel. I'm excited to be training again. I love having a goal.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A little bit of knitting

I've had the book Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi for a while now. A couple weeks ago, I asked my husband to pick out something for me to knit. So he picked the tiny Easter bunny, and asked that it be an albino rabbit. Okay. I can do that.
Teeny tiny

Except that an albino rabbit would have a pink nose... We both think that this tiny rabbit might be the tiniest bit evil and, you know, plotting our demise. Luckily the cat seems to keep the rabbit at bay. Even his tiny fluffy tail.
Teeny tiny

For myself, I knit a tiny gnome. Love those gnomes. I knit this little guy up in a couple hours of watching this and that on Hulu one morning. Both he and the rabbit are knit out of scraps of sock yarn that I had in the stash.
Teeny tiny

The gnome mostly lives on the bookshelf. The rest of the world is dangerous. It's quite easy to fall into a box of yarn and lace and never be heard from again.
Teeny tiny

Or to be suddenly snatched and eaten by a creature many times your size with claws and sharp pointy teeth.
Teeny tiny

Best to stay in the bookshelf, safe and sound, navigating the great crevasses and chasms of science fiction with a friend.
Teeny tiny