Thursday, December 28, 2006

Mom's Birthday

I made this neck warmer for mom for her birthday. This was SG#1 in my gift count and I was glad to have it done early before any Christmas presents ... I'm still not done with everything I had hoped to finish by this point. It turned out a lot higher than I thought it would, but I just love the little leaf ties and baby cables. This also can be a hat if you pull the ties tight to close the top, but doubt Mom will ever wear it that way. It doesn't get that cold in Huntington Beach :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas aftermath

even though we had a four-day weekend, hosting 10 for Christmas dinner didn't leave me much time for knitting and sewing on my remaining three gifts (all clutches, two Cleo and one "Sushi") that need to be finished by New Year's Eve (blue Cleo and Sushi) and the weekend following (purple Cleo). I did get a little work done on the Sushi last night after a hard interval workout (5x1600! we are tough girls!!) and dinner with Wes at work ... I am still not sure how to do lining on these clutches and tonight is dinner in SCV with all the Johnsons again + Grandpa Jim and MaryLyn, so I won't be able to prep for a lunch-time AFY run tomorrow. Wes will be working Saturday night, so I guess I will plan to run over there after Tia and I finish 11 miles and get help with one so I can do the other two and have them ready to gift on New Year's Eve Sunday night. wow ... even with Christmas over things are still too busy!
Christmas was wonderful though - Wes and I had a good celebration on Saturday night and were both real happy with our gifts, I think. I know I am (new video iPod and stereo to play it on + cookbooks, Benefit makeup samples and candy galore!) and the look on Wes' face when he opened his hard-to-find present made it all worth it too! Cash is King - thanks to Wes' family - and will be spent on a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and a new dress (or this one?)! Mom and Dad also got me, among other thoughtful gifts, a great book that I admit took away from my working more on Sushi last night ... my fingers hurt and it is much easier to read about knitting in bed, than to actually knit in bed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jet Setter


I spent most of last weekend in Orange County after working two days in our Carson office. I brought along plenty of yarn anticipating that I could only play so many games of Uno with cousin Andrew while I planned to stay with them on Thursday and Friday nights. I didn't need to escape to knitting on Thursday because cousin had to go to bed early and I enjoyed some grown-up conversation with Aunt and Uncle before falling asleep. I was glad for my knitting on Friday though, when I decided spur-of-the-moment to fly to Seattle for Luke and Kristen's Christmas party. I started a new project in the airport while being delayed for an hour (power outages all over the Seattle area caused back-up at SeaTac) and also for the entire two hour flight. I almost completed one Fetching in that time (one glove, not one whole pair). I was also very grateful for my new head-warming Calorimetry ... it was dang cold in Washington!!

Especially when I had to wait for Luke to pick me up after falling asleep in the cell phone waiting lot. Flying home Saturday morning my fingers needed a rest, so I borrowed a book from Kristen then spent the rest of the weekend running around trying to catch up with everyone I wanted to see - so no more knitting! Last night after a quick jog with Tia, I came home to my empty house (boo!) and put Elf on again ... I started on my last present that I should be able to finish knitting tonight, then will add some special embroidery touches. In my head this is going to be the cutest thing ever, so I will be sure to post pictures if it turns out well. I also need to line one other bag I made a long time ago, and have been putting off lining because I don't really know how.
p.s. my baby brother has a very heavy hand when it comes to pouring booze! this is obvious because in this picture I am TOUCHING a DOG. ew. I would never have done that if I had stuck to plain old diet Coke. ha ha.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

one for me

I've been in gift mode for over a month now and needed something quick and fun for me. I started Calorimetry from the new Knitty last Friday while relaxing at home with Elf and Rudolph in anticpation of Saturday morning's 10-mile run and Saturday night's venture to the Channel Island Boat Parade. I didn't finish it before I had to get to bed Friday, and when it started raining Saturday afternoon, I didn't worry about finishing it in time for the boat parade, because we decided not to go and this project got put to the side ... tonight with Wes at work and time running out to ship Christmas gifts to Luke and Kristen, I had to finish Kristen's gift fast. But once that was done and wrapped, I still needed to knit so just finished up my warm head-wrap. I love the army-green, teal and bright pink color blend from Noro Kuereyon (originally yarn I had bought for SG#4 before I turned it into WW) and can't wait for another outside event to wear it ... I need to get a button to fasten it though, I'd love to find an abalone shell button to go with the colors of the yarn.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Long-Legged Knitting Country-Music Fan

I knit a little more on SG#4 (WW) on Tuesday night while Wes was at work, but mostly used the opportunity to wrap up some of his gifts and put them under our teeny tree. SG#3 isn't a Christmas gift, it will need to be finished just after New Year's so that isn't as much a priority.
Last night had a reprieve from knitting and also from our regular date night routine as we drove to Universal Citywalk to see Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert rock the Gibson Amphitheater. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen, and definitely the best Dierks show I've seen (third time!). He played for two hours and covered all my old favorites and made me anxious for his new album, which I haven't bought yet (maybe I'll get it for Christmas?). Miranda Lambert opened for him and also played all my most favorites ("New Strings" and "Kerosene" specifically), but the highlight of her set was when she busted out CCR's "Traveling Band" - my favorite Creedence song! I was ready to jump up on stage and sing along with them!!
Dierks also did a cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" to close out his encore and brought out Miranda (and the other opening act Randy Rodgers, who I had never really heard of, but he sounded pretty good too) to sing along, so this morning I was ready for some more Johnny Cash, but my iPod was out of juice! :( on a whim I pulled up JohnnyCash.com and plugged in my headphones to the computer and have been enjoying a great mix of the man in black ever since! What a great discovery!

P.S

Monday, December 04, 2006

officially ready for Santa!!

Last night I finished up Wes' stocking and hung it next to mine under our little tree. Now we are officially ready for Santa to come :) and I feel like my decorating is complete (almost, planning to make a stop at Pier1 on my way home from work today for some delicious Cinnamon-Cranberry candles ... then I'll be done).
Here are some closeups of some of the patterns: these snowmen are on the upper portion of Wes' stocking. The pattern called for buttons all the way around, but I had an idea to create a little scarf that would stick out - I think Aunt Alice did something similar on the stocking she made for Luke when we were kids, so I am not totally original, but it was fun to figure out how to make it. This is the toe of Wes' stocking ... and this is the toe of mine. I just love the holly. After I made the mini-stocking, I knew I wanted to put holly on my big one too.
Now I am officially back to Christmas present knitting - I haven't made any more progress on SG#4 (WW) or SG#3 since last week, so those are on my list to get done while Wes is working tonight and tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

progress

no pictures to share, but I have been knitting! SG#4 (earthy tones) was giving me problems, so I figured out something new ... SG#4 is now coded WW ... and it is 50% done. I gifted SG#1 this weekend; it was actually a birthday present for mom, so once she sends me a picture I'll post it. I was distracted from taking the picture myself this weekend. I have also made good progress on Wes' stocking ... I have finished the top and two of the five patterns. He is back on night shift so there is lots of time for knitting and staying up way too late, which is how I have gotten this much done already. I'm going to try and take some pictures tonight to post, then this will be a lot more interesting. Work has gotten busy too, so that is keeping me from regular updates as well and the holiday weekend was so fun, but I didn't get much knitting done at all except Sunday night while Wes was at work.
Wes, me, Kristen, Luke, Dad and Mom at the Anaheim Ducks vs. New Jersey Devils game on Friday, Nov. 24

Friday, November 17, 2006

break in the action

I finished my stocking on Tuesday night (it is enormous ... oh my gosh) and have been taking a little break since then. Wednesday night Wes and I went out to see The Guardian for date night and last night just relaxed and watched another movie at home that was a little too complex to be knitting through it. Though we did take a break in the middle to make a run to Marble Slab for peppermint ice cream with Oreos. Love at first bite ... anyway, plan to get back on track this weekend and start on Wes' green stocking and some more gifties. Will share pictures of my giant stocking soon ...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

hurray for me!

I'm giving myself a gold star because I just did something that made me scared and nervous and I passed with flying colors!
Today has been really busy at work, and I didn't have time to take lunch until 3pm. So I planned to take a half-hour and knit on SG#3, but when I pulled it out, I was suprised to find out that I had forgotten to turn the cables on row 3 of the pattern repeat. This wouldn't usually be a problem because I have taken out one row stitch-by-stitch at a time, but the real problem was that I had also knit row 4, which means I had to pull out two rows. I knew I didnt' have the patience to take out 100 stitches one at a time so I held my breath and pulled out the needles, leaving all those stitches flying free in the breeze. Then I slowly ripped out the two rows and started placing stitches back on the needles. I was quite relieved when I reached the end of the row because I thought I got them all, but a quick count revealed only 49 stitches instead of 50! I turned my work over and found that stitch 7 out of 50 - one lone P stitch - had fallen to the back. I stuck an extra cable needle through it so it wouldn't drop until I could knit the first 42 stitches on the row and my brain performed a miracle in that I remembered to pick it up when I got to that stitch! So, since I only had a half-hour, I didn't really make any progress as far as my little record keeper to the right is concerned, but at least now all the rows are right and when I pick it up again tomorrow (not tonight - have to finish the stocking!) I will be able to keep moving forward! But for now ... back to work!

fill 'er up, Santa!

Last night while Wes was playing basketball I took the opportunity to make really good progress on my stocking. I finished the row of hearts, completed the row of holly and bound off the toe before I went to bed. This morning I was up early enough to weave in all the ends (lots of ends in fair isle!) and start on the heel. The heel on this pattern is an "after-thought heel" which means the heel stitches are knit initially with scrap yarn, then picked back up after the rest of the stocking is completed. It looks a little funny now - a big hole in the middle of my stocking - but it will turn out great. Once the heel is finished all I have left to do is duplicate stitch my name on top, then I can start on Wes' stocking!
I wanted to do mine first in case I messed up. I did mess up, but I didnt' realize it until I was more than half-way finished so I didn't go back. But in order to keep the stockings similar in size, I will have to make the same "mistake" on Wes' stocking. It's not a big deal - I just read the pattern wrong and where it said to knit rows 5-15, I thought it ment knit 15 new rows, so there are five extra rows in the top portion of the stocking (where the name will go). It's not a big deal, it just makes this large stocking even larger. Santa will have to come prepared when he comes to our house this year!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

I could make this, right?

I think this is so freakin' cute ... I could figure out how to make it, don't you think? and for a lot less than $36!! I have never designed anything before, so it might take a while ... I'll have to hang on to this idea until after Christmas knitting is finished, I'm afraid ...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

i knit to save money

although knitting is an expensive hobby, today it actually saved me money ... instead of going out at lunch and buying these boots, I just knitted knitted knitted!! It's not as hot out today, so I made some more good progress on SG#3 without sweating through my clothes after two rows.
last night I worked some more on the Christmas stocking while catching up on two TiVoed episodes of "Justice." Because of the fair isle I have four balls of yarn attached to the stocking all the time, so it is a little hard to bring with me anywhere. SG#3 is perfect for lunch breaks and other short bursts of time during the day because it is small enough to fit in my bag.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

November in California

It's almost 4pm in the 11th month of the year and outside it is 75 degrees (yesterday the high was a record-setting 90!) which is way too hot to sit in the car and knit on lunch break. Too bad because that was my plan, I even attempted making some progress on SG#3 (after my frustration with SG#4, I wanted to go back to something I knew I was good at), but although I initially found a spot in the shade, it didn't last long and I was sweating too much to continue knitting. So I came back to the air conditioned office and read of other people's knitting success ... Knit and Tonic and Pie Knits are two new favorites.
Anyway, I was anxious to get some knitting done after last night too ... I used the time I would normally be running to buy groceries for me and my handsome starving husband. Then I went home and whipped up some mac and cheese (perhaps the culprit behind my nausea later that night?) and started knitting my ass off on the first Christmas stocking. By the time the CMAs started I was finished with the top panel and ready to start on my first pattern - 19 rows that would result in green trees on a white background. Wes got home shortly after and polished off the rest of the cheesiest while I kept knitting like Christmas Eve was tomorrow and I wouldn't' get any presents without a stocking for Santa to put them in. When Wes (who gets up at 4am to go to work) starting making sleepy noises, I still had about six rows to go on the trees and wasn't tired yet, but since I had made "I miss you" whining earlier in the evening before he went to basketball, I felt like I should stay by his side so I turned off the TV and settled into bed with my latest amazing book. I was a little reluctant to go to bed for a couple reasons ... I hoped that sitting upright would keep my nausea in my stomach and not all over the bathroom, I wanted to keep knitting (I guess that little quiz was right, knitting is taking over the rest of my life) and had I stayed up, I wouldn't have first heard about Faith's freak-out on PopCandy ... but this book is so good and I do love my husband, even when he is sleeping, so i didn't really mind. Plus, Wes goes back to nights in a couple weeks ... then I will have plenty of opportunities to stay up too late knitting to the television. For now I am just worrying about how I will make it through tonight's mile repeats in this hotness ...

silly little quiz







What kind of knitting needles are you?




You are bamboo.Warm, cozy, and thoughtful, you take your time and enjoy how things feel, smell, and taste. You love the craft and beauty of traditional things, and you value the comfort and experience of knitting as much as the results. But while you are reveling in your warm cozies, don't get stuck. Warm is wonderful, but so is the whole wide world!
Take this quiz!


funny because bamboo is my prefered needle ... and also because when I get going on a project, I tend to forget about other stuff (nope, I didn't do the dishes last night!). Don't know how this result came from the answers I gave (what I order at Starbucks and the best kinds of secrets?) but it is suprisingly accurate!

Monday, November 06, 2006

I run so I can knit

sooo ... yesterday Tia and I ran a grueling eight miles. Part of the problem was that we went a little later than usual - Wes got to go into work later than usual so we had the opportunity to attend church together, a rarity on his current schedule, so I didn't want to pass that up. So Tia and I didn't' start our run until closer to 10 (when we're usually finishing) and it has been really hot the last few days. but, we finished strong and are looking forward to possibly running in Sycamore Canyon this weekend for something different and a little more challenging than running along the beach path. Anyway, the nice thing about getting up and running eight miles, is that I don't feel guilty about sitting around for a lot of the day knitting. On Saturday while Wes was watching football, I made good progress on SG#4 until I held it out and realized I didn't really like the intricate pattern on one side of it. So I pulled out the needles and sort of re-wrote the pattern to my liking. When I sat down on Sunday to follow my own pattern, I didn't plan exactly right, so now my own pattern isn't making me too happy either. I almost gave up knitting for the rest of the day and went into the kitchen to do dishes (yes, that's how frustrated I was ... I was almost cleaning). But instead I realized that I would have the whole month of December to work on Christmas presents and would love to be able to display homemade Christmas stockings for more than just Christmas Eve. So I pulled out the pattern book and red, green, cream and grey yarn and cast on for my Christmas stocking. I didn't get too far along before I had to start dinner for Wes, but I have a good start. I am glad I practiced on the tiny stocking last week so i am confident in my fair isle skills now and know I will have no problem "turning the heel" on the larger stockings. Since we ran so hard yesterday and have another hard run (mile repeats) planned for tomorrow, Tia and I are taking today off. Wes will be out playing basketball so I have another Monday night ahead of me for knitting ... but maybe I'll do the dishes first ...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

extra Christmas-y Halloween

so I spent Halloween night knitting Christmas stockings. Well, a mini-Christmas stocking. I wanted to do a small sample before I took on the larger stocking with all the color swaping and heel turning. It took me most of the evening to knit this smaller one, but I was pleased with the way it turned out! I am excited to make the bigger ones now!
Tonight the Halloween/Christmas will continue - Wes and I are going to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D! I only saw this movie once, a long time ago at home so I am excited to see it in a theater and with the new special effects.
I also cast on for SG#4 last night and got a few rows in, probably won't get any more of that done tonight, but at least it is started ... I was having trouble attempting to knit in the round with two circular needles instead of dpns and eventually decided to go with what I am comforatable with. I think it was a good decision for this pattern anyway because it is broken into three parts, with each having specific instructions and to knit in the round on two circulars, the work is split only in two, so it would be harder to keep track of the three separate pattern repeats.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Made a run to Anacapa Fine Yarns on my lunch break to pick up some size 8 dpns. While I was there I mentioned to Lois that I was hoping to make Christmas stockings for Wes and I this year ... she pulled out "Knit Christmas Stockings!" by Gwen Steege and I was hooked (so much for a quick stop!). There are so many cute patterns to choose from ... even an argyle one that I considered and then realized that if I have never done color blocking, argyle is not the place to start. I finally decided to knit the Mix and Match Socks because it uses a needle size I already own (saved a few bucks there!) and because it is very customizable. Instead of a set guide, you choose five mini patterns (from a selection of 16) to create your own pattern repeats. I have my eye on the holly chain, candy canes and snowflakes ... but don't know what the other two will be. This will be nice because Wes can pick the ones that he likes too. I bought red, green, cream and grey yarn so either way it will be very Christmas-y! I was planning to start on SG#4 tonight (Wes is working OT in Isla Vista), but I think I might start on Christmas stockings! They are knitted on a circular needle, which I used on SG#1, but I will have to learn how to carry different colors of yarn behind my work, which could be a challenge.
p.s. Happy Halloween!! If you are VERY brave, click here for a scare ... he he ... even though today is the 31st, it feels like Halloween was Friday ... I am so confused!

SG#2 completed!

Don't want to show the whole thing, but here is a little taste of SG#2 ... I learned a lot of new skills with this project, how to use double-pointed needles, a new bind-off method called the Picot Bind-Off that resulted in the scalloped edges. I also worked with waste yarn for the first time and figured out what the pattern meant by "six stitches above and seven stitches below" ... I really really like this little project and might actually keep it for myself, depending on how my other holiday knitting goes. The person I had originally meant this to be for, I have found something else that suits her a little better. It is a little more challenging, so if I can't get it done, I know she will like this as well. I finished these off last night in between walking off the effects of yesterday's insane Muddy Buddy and cooking dinner. I'm planning to go to AFY on my lunch break today to get some new needles so I can start on SG#4 ... I bought the yarn for it last week and thought I had the right size needles, but got home to discover that I was mistaken.

Monday, October 30, 2006

fun and muddy weekend!

group pic at Friday's Halloween partythis weekend was really busy, with hardly time for knitting ... Friday night I met Amanda in Thousand Oaks and we headed over to Matt's house for a Halloween party. There were some crazy costumes ... the boys in the house and their girlfriends even dressed up as the Gilligan's Island crew, Becky S. was Mr. T (go to her myspace to see what she looks like in real life!), Holly was Dora the Explorer, Isaiah and Sara were Joe Dirt and the girl from that movie ... some really funny costumes. Amanda and I were living the thug life ... we were real tough (ha!).
Saturday Amanda was still with me and we met up with Tia and Shannon for lunch before Tia, her fiance, Omar, and I headed east to Pasadena and Pomona for Sunday's Muddy Buddy. The race was like nothing I had expected ... I don't know if I would have signed up if I knew how hard it was going to be. But now that it is behind me, I am really glad we did it. Tia and I after the mud pitThe course was very very hilly and challenging - I was glad Tia had bike duty for most of the race, I would not have been able to get the bike up all those hills. I had a hard enough time running them! The other teams we knew (Matt & Sven, Marge & Charlie and Josh & Lindsey) were also a little shocked by the difficulty of the course as well, but everyone finished with a celebratory crawl through the mud pit! Tia is already talking training strategy for next year, but I would just like to get through this week's workouts without my legs falling off :)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

moving right along

SG#2 has two parts ... I had done all I knew how to do on the first part so stopped by AFY on my way home from work last night to review the next couple of steps with Lois. It really helped to talk through them with her and do some quick review of skills I hadn't used since the class in May. I didn't think I would have time to put my relearned lessons to the test, but after a late birthday dinner for TJ, we got home and I was a little hyper from the diet pepsi, so while Wes fell asleep in front of this week's episode of Studio 60, I kept knitting and even watched the results show for Dancing With the Stars (hurray TiVo!) and then went to bed and read a whole bunch of Flags of our Fathers (so far ... AMAZING ... don't know if I even want to see the movie). I was a little worried when I turned out the light at midnight because I had felt a cold coming on yesterday, but this morning when I woke up I felt great, so I am not sorry I stayed up late to finish part one of SG#2. Wes is working an overtime shift tonight, so I am hoping to make good progress on the second half of SG#2. I probably won't get much knitting in this weekend between the Halloween party tomorrow night, the Muddy Buddy and Halloween snack baking, but I still have almost two months to go ...

Monday, October 23, 2006

E-bar Madness

this weekend was completely insane - Friday was Lissa's birthday dinner, Saturday Wes and I both got up early to run 7 miles with Tia, then drove out to Canyon Country for lunch with in-laws, then to a Thrivent customer appreciation event also in Santa Clarita, then to Simi Valley for a CLU alumni homecoming event at Elephant Bar. E-bar was especially busy and fun and wonderfully filled with fun people so I was very grateful for a relaxing Sunday at home (poor Wes had to go to work though!). Spent most of Sunday cooking and knitting and I completed Secret Gift #1! I don't want to post a picture of the whole thing because you never know who could be reading this, but here is a little teaser.
Wes is making Monday-night basketball part of his regular routine which is fine with me because that means Monday-night knitting and catching up on TiVo is part of my routine now too :) right now I'm thinking I'd like to get some good progress on SG#2 tonight ... but we'll see what I feel like working on after the run.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Jury Duty

yesterday my almost daily dream to sit and knit and not have to do any work came true in the form of jury duty. I didn't get called for a trial and other than a break for lunch, I didn't get up all day so I had plenty of time to cast on and knit my butt off on Secret Gift #3 (purple). I chose to start this new project rather than bring along something I had already started for a couple of reasons.
  1. I have made this project once before and knew I could do it with no assistance; unlike the other projects I have going.

  2. the pattern is fairly intricate so I hoped it would keep me interested the whole day; something a K (RS) P (WS) pattern wouldn't do

  3. even though I really want to get more work done on my hoodie, and could have made significant progress on the front of the sweater, I really need to keep going on the gifts. especially because I remembered on Tuesday that I want to knit Christmas stockings for Wes and I and I have no idea how to knit a sock.

So now Secret Gift #3 is more than half-finished (five of nine pattern repeats completed). I am pretty sick of looking at it so I am going to put it away until I finish SG#1 and SG#2. I probably won't get much knitting done the next couple of days; tonight Tia and I are running then Wes and I are headed down to Thousand Oaks to help out at the CLU Homecoming Carnival. Friday night is Lissa's birthday and we are meeting her and some friends for dinner at Buca (still not ready for that since the Run Hit Remix port-o-potties are still fresh in my mind!) and Saturday is another busy day with a trip to SCV to visit in-laws and attend a reception for Thrivent, then to Elephant Bar that night for another CLU homecoming alumni event. But I am feeling ahead of the game now ...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

good use of time

yesterday I got out of work a little early because I had to drop off a package at FedEx (we'd missed the deadline for the truck to pick it up at the office), and the FedEx/Kinkos is very close to our house. I went home and figured out what yarn I needed for my little projects and headed out to AFY before it closed. I got yarn for two more projects, both of which shouldn't' take me too long. Once I got home, I cast on right away for Secret Gift #1 and started knitting. The pattern required what the patter-writer called a "baby cable" and it involved k2tog and then k again into the front of the first stitch and I was a little confused by this, so I just c1 instead and it looked the same in my hands as the picture of the finished product. I think using the cable needle slows down the process a little bit, but I would rather have nice, neat cables and not be frustrated. I have had a problem with knitting back into the front and backs of stitches before, so I might need to have Lois help me in a little while on this project, because there is an eyelet row and an i-cord/tassel-type embellishment that calls for some interesting stitches and I am a little apprehensive about them! But for now I am on the part of the project that is easy and quick so hopefully I can have the majority of this project done in a day or so, it is very small compared to my big sweater and no weird shaping yet so it is going fast. (picture is of my gauge swatch for Secret Gift #1 (white/green) which I did while watching the new Keith Urban video on CMT)


UPDATE (2:40pm): things are pretty busy at work today so I had planned to just take a quick half-hour and do as much knitting as I could in that time. I made really good progress in my shortened lunch ... so good that I was almost to the end of my ball of yarn, so I decided to hang out a little longer and finish off the ball before I went back to my desk. Here's a picture of one full ball of yarn on Secret Gift #1. I am loving the baby cables ... I want to find new ways to incorporate them into other patterns when a 2x2 rib is included. I am now more than half-way finished with this project (good because I bought the last two balls of yarn in this color and don't' know what I would have done if I needed to buy an additional ball!) so hopefully after a good run and some dinner tonight I can settle down and get all the easy parts done, then I can make a lunchtime visit to Lois at AFY and get some help on the harder stuff.

Monday, October 16, 2006

switching gears

Wes and I had a great long weekend in Palm Springs with mom and dad at their timeshare. I always love going to Palm Springs; it is so nice to just relax all day and eat good food and drink good booze at night. There isn't much socially to do in the area for people of our age and orientation, but in all the years we have been traveling there, I never miss going out after dinner and the times I've been with people who did want to go out, the experience has often been less than wonderful, which makes me even more happy for the quieter nights.
anyway, despite all the relaxing time, I got no knitting done until we got back in the car on Saturday evening to drive home. We left early enough that even with the impending rain and ominous clouds, there was enough light for me to knit for about two hours. I almost finished the back of my sweater in the car - just had to finish up a couple more rows yesterday morning. The hoodie is now officially on hold until I can get a few smaller projects completed so I am not stressed out as Christmas draws closer. As a knitter, I almost appreciate the way-too-early Christmas decorations in the retail world. Yesterday I went to pick up some things at Pier 1 and was bombarded by Christmas decorations, dishes, barware, etc ... while on the one hand it is annoying since I was there to buy orange spice-scented candles and not silvery angels and red cranberry candles, it was a good reminder to get started on hand-made Christmas presents. Tonight Wes will be at basketball, so I will be able to get a good start on a new little project ...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

vacation and a reality check

despite the good progress I have made on the hoodie so far, I think I might have to set it aside and get cracking on a couple of birthday/bridal shower/Christmas presents that need to be finished in the next two months. Just a few small projects, but even the little Cleo Clutch took me almost a month due to the intricate pattern and busy schedule, and my small present projects are all a little more difficult than 100 stitches back and forth with an occasional cabled row. I am going to bring the hoodie along on our trip to Palm Springs (leaving tonight ... this day is going by soooo slow!)

but when I get back, I think I'll need to start seriously on the knits for other people. Hopefully I can get the back finished this weekend (only a few more inches to go!) so I am at a comfortable stopping point that will be easy to figure out where I need to start again.
That being said, it is also the last chance to put in any "gift orders" ... if you want me to knit you a present, let me know ASAP before I get distracted by my hoodie again :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

must be getting old

so, when we first moved into this apartment, I could sit on the couch and read the digital clock on top of the stove in the kitchen. This was very handy when the batteries on our other two clocks in the living area ran out. A few months ago the digital readout was pretty blurry and I started to worry a little bit. Then while driving in an unfamiliar area a while later, I had trouble reading the street signs from far away. So yesterday I went to the eye doctor and got a prescription for my nearsightedness. It is pretty mild and I will only have to wear the glasses while driving and maybe while at the movies (I'm going to test them out at date night next week). So I think my eye strain is from 1) staring at this damn computer all day, and 2) looking at up-close knitting all evening. I am a little sad because I used to pride myself on my 20/15 vision, but I am glad I caught it before it got any worse and I will just have to be smarter about taking work breaks (okay!) during the day.
anyway, last night Wes played basketball again and Tia and I were both real tired, so didn't run for too long. I came home and had the house to myself like last week, so I got caught up on some TiVoed girl shows that Wes doesn't want anything to do with (Desperate Houswives - what is up with this show now, it is almost too weird for me - and Dancing with the Stars - whew! Sara just squeeked by this week!) and knitted up a storm until he got home. It was a very productive night. I am about 90 percent done with the back and looking forward to starting on the front! Don't know when my next big knitting time will be ... have a good-bye lunch today, then after-work plans before we have to come home and pack for Palm Springs. Tomorrow Tia and I will try to get a quick, good tempo run in before Wes and I drive out to Palm Springs for a fun weekend with Mom and Dad ... golf, spa massages, margaritas by the pool, farmer's market, Mexican dinner, casinos and tequila tasting are all on the menu for our 2.5 day trip! Don't think I'll have much time for knitting ... maybe Wes will drive and I can knit on the way out ...

Monday, October 09, 2006

another busy weekend

had a surprisingly good amount of knitting done this weekend. Friday night was a big family dinner at Grandma's for everyone to have the chance to hang out with Luke. He had the playoffs on all night though (then the Ducks/Kings season opener after baseball was over), so even after dinner I had a chance to get in a couple of rows while everyone was sitting around talking and watching the games. I did stop in the middle of a row to say goodbye to Alicia, Kerry and Andrew (the last to leave) and when I went to pick it back up before I went to bed, I started purling, when I had been knitting, so I got to the end of the row and was so confused! Luckily, it was a cable row AND a decrease row, so when I got to the end I noticed immediately that something was wrong because I had one cable that didn't twist and an uneven decrease edge. I was too sleepy to fix it then, but on Saturday after an awesome 10K (48:50, a PR by five minutes and third in my age group), visiting with Grandma and an amazing lunch and afternoon of fun and shopping with Amanda, I went to pick up Mom so we could meet up with the boys after their golf tournament. She wasn't ready yet, so I picked up my knitting and fixed my mistake and even got in a couple more rows. After the golf banquet, we came back to the coach to watch the conclusion of the Dodgers 2006 season. Not the happiest way to end the evening, but at least I got in some more rows during the sad game. Didn't have any time to knit yesterday, was too busy going through and getting rid of the bajillions of magazines in, under, around the coffee table and doing lots of other chores around the house. Tia just called and is not feeling like a long run today, which is fine with me because my calves are still aching from Saturday so after a short jog, hopefully I'll have some time to knit this evening while Wes is at basketball.

Friday, October 06, 2006

knitting away the blues

... Dodger blues that is ... looks like another year out in the first round for Los Angeles. and the Twins are losing their third game as I type this so my dream of a Dodgers/Twins World Series is fading away. and if the Dodgers don't pull it together, we won't get a 1988 rematch. I was hoping the A's would feel nostalgic and grow out hair and mustaches in tribue to Dennis Eckersley if they played the Dodgers.
anyway, at least I got in a ton of knitting last night after a good pre-race workout. Thought I was ready to start armhole shaping, but had Wes help me measure for length and decided to do one more pattern repeat (10 rows) to add some length. The only fit problem with the pink shell was that I got anxious and made it too short, so I don't want to do the same thing again, Mom doesn't have enough closet room in the RV for all my knitting mistakes. Thursday is Grey's too, so kept on knitting after the game too. Four more rows to go until I can start shaping, though I might measure one more time to make sure it's long enough. Probably won't get much done this weekend, big family dinner/open house for Luke being in town tonight and tomorrow is another 10k, lunch and shopping with Amanda, then a banquet for the golf tournament Wes, Luke and Dad are all playing in. Maybe I can get Wes to drive home tomorrow so I can get in my last few rows and be ready to shape on Sunday in between cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen and vacuuming and packing for Palm Springs.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

"Invincible" Sweater


so I got out to see Lois on Tuesday and she helped get me back on track for the sweater. I didn't have too much time to knit that night since Tia and I had speed drills planned, then had to cook dinner and do other housewife-y stuff at home but I got in a couple of rows while we were watching baseball. Yesterday I didn't knit at all because it was date night! Wes and I went to see Invincible. I was mostly just going because Wes wanted to see it and there wasn't a whole lot of other choices at the cheap theater, but I really really liked it. I pay a lot more attention now to how women support their men in situations such as what was presented in the movie and I thought both female leads were really strong and fun, too. The head coach's wife seemed to be where a lot of his strength came from and the main female character, played by Elizabeth Banks, was pretty sassy and knew her sports trivia! Anyway, the story and even the football were entertaining too. Definitely better than what we sat through on Friday. So, have to run after work tonight, but then should have time to knit some more since the Dodgers will be on! Maybe they can actually score this time if they send two guys home on a outfield double. dang!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

hit a rough patch

last night Tia and I had a fast run (loooooove my new shoes) and Wes was playing basketball so I had a couple hours to myself when I got home. I was prepared to take full advantage of my time and hoped to get to the armhole shaping on the back of my brown hoodie. However, yesterday at lunch I miscounted my rows and knit two extra rows before cabling which threw off the pattern. It probably wouldn't have been noticeable to anyone but me, so I was tempted to leave it, until I realized that my row count would be off for the front of the sweater as well. I started to un-knit the rows and got through the two I had done last night before I decided to go backwards, but had some trouble taking out the row with the cabling. So after fighting with it for a while, I laid it aside with plans to visit AFY this afternoon and hope Lois can make more sense out of what I did. I still had some time before Wes was due home so I pulled out a new project that I had wanted to start, but haven't because I have been a little preoccupied with the hoodie. The new project uses double-pointed needles which I haven't ever used before. I had hoped to take a class a few weeks ago to help me get started, but it got canceled so I am on my own! I started doing 2x2 ribbing on accident instead of the 4x1 the pattern calls for so I will have to pull this out and start over, which is fine because I am still getting used to keeping track of all these needles!! The beginning of the round is a little loose, but the rest looks okay, I think. I will do a few more rows of practice before I start on these cute gloves for real. (also, I feel like these needles look like something from the Blair Witch Project ... lets hurry up and get my hoodie back to normal!)

Monday, October 02, 2006

new running shoes!

did a fair amount of knitting this weekend, got in some rows during baseball games (yay Dodgers, making the playoffs!) and while waiting for food to simmer or cook on Sunday. I am only a couple inches away from the shaping on the back and even got six or seven rows completed on my lunch break this afternoon. However, I am most excited today about an easy three-miler with Tia after work because I got new running shoes!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

two nights in a row

had another good knitting night yesterday. Had to forego Date Night to help Wes get his video together for his reality TV audition (my husband is doing what?). He did really good, I think, but it took longer than expected ... who knew it would take an hour to put together a 5-minute tape? After the taping and leftover ziti for dinner, we had missed the movie, but had a TiVoed episode of Justice (one of our new favorite shows this fall) saved from last week so out came the knitting again. I was on such a roll, I even kept knitting after Wes fell asleep in the middle of Settlers. Poor guy.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

knitting with the stars

last night was the best knitting night I've had in a while. I knew the dinner I wanted to make (baked ziti) would take a while to assemble, and then needed to cook for 40 minutes so I came home at lunch to put it all together. Had a total June Cleaver moment when I found myself simmering tomato sauce in my super cute dress, wedge heels and apron in the middle of the day. Anyway, since all I had to do for dinner when I got home from work was preheat the oven, pop the dish in and set the timer, I settled down to relax while Wes was working OT booking a late arrest. We went to Howl at the Moon last Thursday for a CLU GOLD Alumni event so I missed the season premier of Grey's Anatomy so I pulled up the season 2 recap on TiVo and took out the knitting. Wes got home right as it ended and right as the ziti was finished (maybe yesterday we were in Beaver Cleaver land ... honey, I'm home!). After dinner Wes sat down to work on his latest project and I took the knitting back out. We had the Angels game on (Dodgers had already destroyed the Rockies) but the A's were winning and the Halos were losing, so when TiVo automatically switched over to Dancing with the Stars, we didn't change it back. I never watched this show before, but I love Sara Evans so started watching to see how she would do. She isn't the best one out there, but I have really enjoyed seeing Emmit Smith and the other "stars" (some who are clinging to this last bit of fame, I'm afraid!) try new dances each week. So, in front of the TV I got lots of knitting done last night. I am as far along now as I was before I realized I would have to rip out the first try ... so I am more encouraged now to keep it going! Tonight will either be Date Night or running around town helping Wes and Thursday is running with Tia, but hopefully I'll have more time to knit this week and keep my good progress going.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Nike Run Hit Remix five-mile race


haven't gotten much farther on my sweater this week. I have gotten far enough along to hold it up and see if it will fit my hips and I am happy to announce that this time the sweater will fit! Hopefully it will fit the top half of my body too, once I get up to that part of the shaping. My best knitting day this whole week was last night after dinner while Wes was watching football. But I still have a long ways to go.
The focus of this weekend was on the race on Sunday morning ... but the festivities started on Saturday evening when six of us (Ashlee, Marge, Casey, Courtney, Lissa and me) met at Lissa's to carpool down to LA. We stopped for dinner at Buca di Beppo thinking that pasta and other italian goodies would be excellent running fuel for the race in the morning. Unfortunately, most of us had rumbly stomachs all night and we all were grateful for one last port-o-pottie stop before crossing the start line. The moral of that story is: homecooked pasta (or Olive Garden, which must use way less greasy ingredients) is the way to go before a race. Although we wouldn't get the serving and storytelling talents of Phil (or was it Dan?) with a homecooked meal.
Anyway, sorry for the gross-out ... the run was pretty good. There were over 10,000 runners at the event, all running five miles. All the previous years I had run this event they offered a 10K and a 5K, which helped to spread out the particpants. Due to insane traffic (despite staying at a nearby hotel the night before), we still crossed the start line about 10 minutes after the official gun. We weren't the only ones who were late, or just slower racers and we all had to dodge slower runners and walkers for the duration of the race. I crossed the finish at about 52 minutes, minus 10 for the late start and I was right where I wanted to be (my goal was between 40 and 45 minutes). *UPDATE: The results are posted and my Official Chip Time was 42:24. That is 8:28 pace* I am very interested to see what I could have run with less grease and fewer obsticals. There were more than a few times that I tried to sneak past a slow group and had to come to a complete stop to avoid mowing anyone down. That probably didn't help my pacing either ... so I am on the look out for the next (less crowded) race and plan to be there on time so I can start with people in my pace group.

Monday, September 18, 2006

back on the right track!

had a very un-relaxing weekend ... our apartment was tented for termites (gross) so spent most of Friday night bagging up food in the kitchen and making sure we didn't have any plants in the house (we do, but I already killed 'em, so figured they were okay to stay). Saturday we got up early and showered creatively (the gas was turned off Friday night, so I took the fastest and coldest shower of my life while Wes decided to use the showers down at the pool) and got out of there before the circus tent went up. Spent most of Saturday in Thousand Oaks running errands and killing time before heading back to Ventura and imposing ourselves on Matt & Casey for the night. The boys settled down to watch football and I got most of the bottom ribbing done before we went to dinner. The larger needles are making a big difference. It took me 28 rows on the first attempt of this sweater to get the 4" of ribbing at the bottom. This time it only took 18. So, Maybe there is a chance I can wear the sweater this fall, despite my setbacks. Sunday I got up early to run with Tia and try to dodge ashes (impossible, so cut our planned 8-miles to just 6) then headed down to LA with Casey, Lissa and Courtney to pick up race packets for the Nike Run Hit Remix next weekend. **SIDE NOTE: I can't believe it came so soon! Training has been way-laid by sickness and traveling in the last couple of weeks, but I think I should still do pretty good. In our track workout on Wednesday, Tia and I did all the repeats faster than a month ago and our last 800 was faster by 20 seconds, even though we did four last week and only three the month before. The ash is still in the air, so we'll see how many quality workouts I can get in this week, but I am still really excited for the race. END OF SIDE NOTE** After picking up the packets and grabbing some lunch with those girls, it was back to Ventura, but we still couldn't get into our apartment so I checked in at the Ventura Beach Marriott and settled down with my knitting and basic cable until Wes got back from work. I finished up the ribbing and got the first pattern repeat done before dinner ... so things are going good again with this previously problematic project. When we can get back to the apartment tonight, I am going to compare my knitted-on-size-10.5 sweater to the knitted-on-size-8 sweater and make sure I like the way the fabric is turning out, but so far it is looking good to me!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Problem solved!!

Ran to AFY real fast at lunch to have Lois check my gauge and my math before I cast on again for the cabled hoodie. Hurray! It looks like this one might work out :) I got a new pair of Crystal Palace 10.5 circulars and will hopefully have time to knit up a quick gauge on those needles in between a track workout with Tia after work and passing out from exhaustion (haven't run too hard since I was sick last week, though Monday was a solid, quick four miles so 4x800 shouldn't be tooooo bad, I hope!). I want to make sure that I knit the same gauge on these new needles as I do on my old pink ones (which I am saving for quicker projects), then I can cast on and knit my butt off on the drive to Lake San Antonio on Friday. Whooo! Road trip!

what is my problem?

Here are my three separate swatches I have made for the cabled hoodie. The one on the orange holder was my first one that I did on size 8 needles before I case on the whole back before Seattle. The one to the right is on size 9 needles and produced the exact same gauge (5 stitches per inch) as the size 8 needles ... what? how is that possible? The bottom swatch is on 10.5 needles and I am getting 9.5 stitches per two inches, which is about 4.75 per inch ... not much better! what the heck is wrong with me? I did the math with my gauge from the 10.5 needles and think it will work out, but I wasn't really planning on using those needles for this project, since I need those needles to finish a scarf I am half-way done with and to make more felted bags. I don't really want to give up those needles to a long-term project like my cabled hoodie. It looks like I'll have to make another run to AFY at lunch to pick up some 10.5 circulars (which I prefer to use for larger pieces like the backs of sweaters anyway) and do one more gauge swatch with the new needles before casting on. At this point all my yarn is going to be gone before I even get the right-sized sweater started!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

upping my coolness quotient


Nothing to do with knitting (a little pouty still, but trying to get over it and do new gague swatches), just something fun to share! You already know that my favorite hobbies are the extra-trendy running, knitting, reading and cooking ... but did you also know that I prefer a night at home playing board games over a night in a club? Now that you know, check out this new version of Monopoly! It's what the board might look like if the game was invented today. All new game pieces (I would have a hard time choosing between the Razr phone and New Balance running shoe) and properties to buy (Fenway Park and NYC's Times Square replace Park Place and Boardwalk). The cost of everything has also gone way up, which could make the game longer due to all the extra math. I still think a part of me decided to marry Wes because his family rule was to do away with $1 bills in the original Monopoly ... saves so much time and counting!

Friday, September 08, 2006

pouting ...

haven't posted for a week (even though I finally felted my blue project and love it) because I am pouting ... I took my glorious cabled hoodie into Anacapa Fine Yarns last week when I went to get yarn for a smaller, easier project. Lois checked my math and measured the completed knit a hundred times and the verdict was not in my favor! So I bought the next needle size up and have been casually re-knitting a gauge swatch for this cardigan that I still love to try and get it the right. And it is because I am so anxious to wear it that I am telling my non-patient-self to chill out and make sure this goes right! Otherwise it would just get sent back to the knitting bin with other not-so-great-fitting items.
Also, I have been catching up on some reading and spending time with my darling husband to celebrate his birthday and our first wedding anniversary! So knitting hasn't been a priority since we stepped off the plane from Seattle anyway. But the weather is starting to turn and I will be ready to wear this sweater soon! Wes has big plans to get reacquainted with college football this weekend so maybe I can make some progress ... will put up pictures of blue project when I am done pouting :)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Seattle is for lovers (of knitting)


by Wednesday I had knit enough on my gauge swatch to figure out parameters for this brown hoodie. I cast on that evening so that once I got on the plane on Thursday afternoon, all I had to do was start knitting and the plan worked great. The pattern called for four inches of 2x2 ribbing to start and I got about halfway through that in the 2-hour flight with a break for complimentary beer, chips and salsa (way better than a tiny cup of Pepsi and dry-roasted peanuts!). I was a little discouraged that it seemed to be taking so long, but ribbing is slow, like seed stitch. I finished up the ribbing on Friday while hanging around with Grandpa and the rest of the family and by the time we settled down to watch the Angels demolish the Yankees after lunch on Saturday, I was rarin' to go and I made incredible progress that afternoon. When we left for Pike's Market (closed at 5pm! what?) I was feeling very satisfied with the day's knitting. Sunday we got to the airport early (thanks to the complimentary with a scary-ass driver shuttle service from our hotel) and I got in a few more rows before settling down for two solid hours of knitting on the plane. By the time we got home, I had all this completed (see picture at left). I haven't measured it yet to see how much more I have to do before starting to shape for arm-holes, but this is the most productive knitting weekend I've had in a long time.
Add in visiting with Luke (home from Iraq), Mom, Dad and Grandpa, plus a fun traveling adventure with my sweet husband, PLUS a Mariners game and I'd say that measures up to a really fun weekend too.
We arrived at Santa Barbara Airport at 10:30 on Sunday morning and by the time we got back to Ventura after dropping off our ride, picking up cars and checking in with Wes' squad (they were all working!) we got home around noon and started making up for the time away: checking mail, making grocery lists, etc. We watched a fun movie last night after dinner and I was able to knit a little more, but mostly was paying attention to make sure I got the jokes :)

Mom modeling the pink sweater

I got all the beads sewn on in time to bring this with me to Seattle so I could make Mom real comfortable and take pictures of her (ha). The length on her is perfect, so I am glad it worked out! I was sad when I realized I had knit this top too short for myself (anxious to get to the next step, I guess, since this was a big learning piece for me), but Mom had her eye on it while I was still knitting :) and now she can hang on to old homework of mine, like she did when I was a kid. And now we can officially retire the big head picture!

Taylor modeling her jumper

This morning Kristina sent over this picture of Taylor wearing her cute jumper! It looks like it's a little too long for her, but it is also a million degrees in Arizona right now. By the time the weather cools off, it should fit her just fine!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

good news/bad news

so, the bad news first ... on Monday night I had the front shaping done on my x-back tank and only a few inches of straps to complete the project. I connected the front straps together with a stitch holder so it resembled a halter top and tried it on ... in the month or so that I have been sporadically working on this project, my running mileage has more than doubled so I have dropped a couple of pounds (most noticably in my cans, unfortunately! and pooch, fortunately! my hips are ample as ever). I also realized that when calculating gague, I did not take into account the amount of give that seed-stitched ribbon yarn has and when I put on the top, it was far too big. My choices are now to rip it all out and start over, or hang onto it until I gain 15 pounds. I am hoping the former never happens, so I will have to rip this project apart and start over. This could be good, since my two other projects I currently have are quite challenging and I would probably welcome the chance to mindlessly seed stitch in front of the television some days. However, it is disheartening to rip out six balls worth of knitting, so I will most likely put this away for a while.
GOOD NEWS: my brown cabled hoodie is going to be sooooo cute. I have knitted up a swatch to figure out my gague (smaller than called for! but I think that's because I am using a blended yarn, instead of 100% wool, so the yarn is a bit thinner) and also to test out knitting cables from a chart, instead of written directions like I had for the blue project. So far, so good. I just need to take some new measurements and make sure I don't make this too big so I look like a bag lady, or too small so I can't lift my arms while wearing it. I don't know if you can tell from the picture (camera phones aren't known for their attention to detail) but there is some nice pink fleck action going on in the swatch too. I have quite a few pink warm-weather tops that I can wear with this hoodie when the weather turns colder. It has been hot in Ventura this week, but Brian mentioned feeling a "fall chill" in the air this morning while surfing.
Tonight Wes is golfing with Matt and Andrew, so I have the apartment to myself to pack for Seattle (leaving tomorrow right from work) and then watch the season finale of House (I missed it in May, but TiVo came through for me last night when it re-ran) while I cast on for the back of this sweater and knit a few rows to start it off. Once I get in my seat on the plane (next to a stranger, most likely ... note to self: charge iPod tonight) I want to be ready to take off knitting right away!