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!!