Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Catching Up

I'm back! I made it!! I didn't drop as soon as I crossed the finish line (or even *gulp* before I crossed it, like some unfortunate runners). I trained hard, stayed focused, and achieved my goal of running the entire 21.1 km course without stopping or walking. It took me 2:08.12, placing me right dab in the middle of the 9333 runners-strong pack. Yay!

So! Now that's done I can focus on stuff I've been letting slide over the past few weeks. Looking over my (depressingly long) To-Do list yesterday, "Blog at least ONE of my recent FOs!!!" was glaring me in the face, right between "Make Hair Appointment" and "Buy Thread for Quilt".

I haven't done those yet (Do I put the "Pro" in procrastinator or what?), but I DO have some pictures of the oldest of my Yet-to-be-Blogged FOs, my lovely Java Java socks.

Right! So... according to my Rav notes, I knit these back in March. Hmmm.... that's some pretty poor blogging on my part! Don't let their unsung-ness fool you though, I absolutely adore these socks. They're incredibly soft without sacrificing substance, making them quite possibly the cushiest ride I've been on lately.

Now, I'm not going to lie. Knitting these bad boys was a wee bit of a pain in the arse. Achieving gauge with this yarn (String Theory Caper Sock - can I get an Amen?) was difficult, and the wee cables, while charming, really slowed me down, despite the fact that I was cabling without a cable needle. Plus, they ate a LOT of yarn. I generally knit a longer leg on my socks, especially if I think I'm knitting man socks, as was the case here. I wound up running out of yarn shortly before the toe on the second sock and had a b**ch of a time finding another skein (apparently people are catching on to the awesomeness that is String Theory. Drat!). The one I found was a little darker than my first skein, but I don't think it shows that much, do you?

I used what was left of the second skein to knit Chadwick, which will be the next old FO to be blogged. Just as soon as I cross "Go to Bank" and "Bake Zuchini Bread" off my list.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ready, set...

I’ve been refreshing my inbox like mad over the past few days, sulking that my bloggy friends haven’t been keeping in touch and feeling like nobody loves me (aaaaw!) and then I remembered that I’ve been a bad, bad blogger and haven’t really come up with a good proper post in a few weeks. Whoopsee!

So what’ve I been doing that’s kept me away? In a word: running. I’ve been getting ready to run a half-marathon on Sunday, and it feels like pretty much ALL of my free time is spent pounding the pavement. I’m feeling nervous, overwhelmed, and cautiously optimistic at this point. Usually all at once.

Will I be able to do it? Will running 21.1 km (roughly 13.1 miles for my American friends) make me a "For-Real Runner"? Will it be a one-time thing, or will I want to do it again?

When I ran my first race in 2009, I had 3 goals:

  • Finish the race

  • Run it the whole way, without stopping or walking

  • Run it in less than an hour (it was a 10 km event)

I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be for Sunday’s race. I’ve yet to run the entire distance once (the most I’ve run is about 15 km), and I’m definitely not as fast as I used to be. So I’m not sure I want to set a time goal for myself… But those first 2 goals still ring true.

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wordless Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend*? Mine looked like this:

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

* We're coming off a long weekend here in Canada (Victoria Day or Journée des Patriotes, depending on where you live).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Years in the making

So, if you've been reading for a little while, you know that I've recently started sewing. Like most of the "Things That Are New" that I take up, sewing was something I thought about a LOT before actually getting to the DOING IT part. My usual pattern has me waxing romantic about whatever it is I'm obsessing about at any given moment - making jam, planting a vegetable garden, running, steeking (still haven't done that one)... -, alternately sighing about how I'd love to be able to do "that" and hemming and hawing about how "I-don't-have-the-time-It-looks-too-complicated-I-can't-really-handle-another-obsession-anyway", stalking researching people who actually DO do "that", making the - ahem - occasional discreet purchase to prepare for when I actually DO do "that", and then... FINALLY... doing it.

When it comes to sewing, the thing I've really, really, REALLY wanted to do is make a quilt. Really. I've been thinking about making a quilt for... oh... YEARS. And I haven't. First because it involved sewing (big Duh moment right there, I know). And even if I DID know how to sew, it looked hard. I would look at all these beautiful quilts people were churning out (the blogosphere is FILLED with quilters, y'all!), and I'd feel overwhelmed. So I stalkedresearched-sighed-hemmed-and-hawed some more, and that was pretty much it.

This weekend I'd had enough of that, and decided to "Just Do It" already. Sure, I'm only "just" learning to sew. Sure, I have no idea what I'm doing... But guess what? I'm a reasonably intelligent woman, my sewing teacher lives right across the street from me, and if all else fails, I've got some pretty impressive Google-Fu skills to fall back on. My imaginary quilt wasn't going to make itself.

I've settled on Red Pepper Quilt's Alice pattern, which seems to be fairly doable, at least to my newbie eyes. I made my first block last night, and tempted as I might be to just shrug it off with a "Oh, it's nothing fancy, just a simple Log Cabin block after all, no biggie", I'm not going to do that.

This block, this first wee step on the way to my very first quilt, is the result of YEARS of anticipation, not to mention 2 hours of cutting and sewing last night (I know, I'm learning...), and that makes it pretty frickin' awesome, if you ask me.

Oh, and for those of you who come here for the knitting, I'm working on a sock too :)

Happy Crafting, Everyone!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wordless Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend? Mine looked like this:

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Random's all I got

I feel so scattered today that I can't even come up with a decent intro to a post about how scattered I feel. I like to set up each blog post just so, and I think I usually do a pretty good job of writing an intro for my posts, but today I just don't have it in me. All I keep coming up with are random tidbits that "could be fun to talk about", so I'm giving up on any pretense of a storyline or whatever and just jumping right in. Let's embrace the random, shall we?

  1. I didn't get to take pictures of me wearing Chadwick this week. First there was the bad camera day, then we fell victim to the dreaded "Lost Memory Card" syndrome. I wore it on Wednesday though, and it's pretty fabulous. Perfect accessory for my brown leather jacket. Yum.

  2. I'm fighting a pretty devastating urge to drastically enhance the stash. Specifically, I want to buy enough Tanis to make Calligraphy, and enough Quince & Co Tern to make Akoya.

  3. I even know which colourways I want for each sweater. That's a bad sign.

  4. I'm trying to quell the urge to buy yarn by buying fabric instead. I realize that's still technically stash enhancement, but since my fabric stash is still comparatively wee, I'm choosing to congratulate myself for my maturity and personal growth and leaving it at that.

  5. Sewing feels like a daytime activity to me, whereas knitting is totally an evening thing. Weird, eh?

  6. I've amped up my training for the half-marathon at the end of the month. I'm up to 60 consecutive minutes at this point.

  7. I'd be all "Booyah!" about that, except that the half-marathon will likely take me 120 minutes to run. That makes me want to cry a little bit.

  8. Asking yourself "What the f**k was I f***ing thinking, f***ing signing up for a f***ing half-f***ing-marathon, anyway????" isn't actually a great motivator when you're trying to get through a 60-minute run.

  9. It's Maxime's birthday tomorrow. Little dude is going to be FOUR. How did that happen?

  10. I've got the gifts wrapped, I'm baking the cake tonight, I think that's everything, right?

  11. Right?

  12. In keeping with the New Rule, after completing Chadwick I immediately cast on a pair of socks (Gentleman's Sock in Railway Stitch, from Knitting Vintage Socks). At first I thought this might be one of those patterns that just flies off the needles, but progress has been super slow lately, so maybe not.

  13. It's just dawned on me that progress has been slow because I've been running/wrapping/stressing instead of knitting this week. Maybe those über-fast projects are über-fast because we actually knit on them??

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


In the last fortnight I seem to have given birth to a sneaky FO. This is rather unbelievable to me, mostly because I really wasn't trying to get all stealthy on y'all. I always intended to talk about the fervid relationship I was having with Chadwick, my current WIP. Other blogable stuff seemed to (happily) get in the way, and before I knew it, my time with Stephen West's lovely pattern was at an end.

Tell you the truth, the whole thing was rather serendipitous. I was still high on the success of my finished Cleopatra's stockings and was ignoring the green scarf thinking forward to my next project, and these 2 skeins of String Theory Caper Sock (Java and Lacuna) sort of jumped out at me and begged to be used together in one project.

The colour combo is sophisticated and modern (well, to me it is anyway), which always makes me think of Stephen West, even though I'd yet to knit any of his patterns. I've had Daybreak in my Rav queue forever, but for some reason, I felt pretty sure that this yarn wanted to be knit up into a Chadwick.

Now - I'm a fairly quick knitter, but this project just flew right off my needles. The yarn was fabulous, as always - you'd think I'd have developed some kind of an immunity by now, but nope! I'm still helpless every time I come into contact with this stuff. The pattern was simple yet interesting - those clever purl ridges thrown into the mix had me positively giddy. And do let's not underestimate the powerful mojo of the stripe - Ooh! It's blue! Now it's brown! Now it's blue again! - which still entertains me to no end.

In short, there's nothing I didn't like about this project, and I highly recommend it.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Official photoshoot to come soonish. All attempts made yesterday were either out of focus, underexposed, or had me looking like a bloated sausage. Trust me: Chadwick deserves better than that!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wordless Weekend Wrap-up

How was your weekend? Mine looked like this:

No, I didn't put her up to that last shot!

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's in my bag

I consider myself to be a resonably eco-friendly gal. I'm a dedicated recycler, I don't leave my engine running idly if I'm not in the car, I do my best not to litter, and I have many, MANY re-usable shopping bags (like, tons of them). I love them, and use them religiously for my weekly grocery run. "Do you have your bags?" asks the pissy judgmental hussy of a check-out girl? Hah! I smirk. Not ONLY do I have SEVERAL of them, they have their own dedicated peg in the foyer and everything. How do you like dem apples?

The trouble with the dedicated peg in the foyer is that it's in the foyer - aka in the house - and not readily available to me when I'm out running spur-of-the-moment errands (I wish I could call them "Dash-to-buy-crusty-bread-and-Chablis" errands, but more often than not they're "Crap-I-forgot-to-buy-cat-litter-and-toothpaste-sh*t-sh*t-sh*t!!!" kind of errands...).

Now, before you tell me to just keep some in the car, stop right there. I've tried that. It works great for precisely ONE errand. I get to the store, grab my bag, awesome. The trouble is that when I get home, I unpack my litter and toothpaste and put the bag back on the dedicated peg, because that's where shopping bags GO. Does anyone go BACK to their car just to put a shopping bag away?? No. Of course not. That way lies madness.

Enter my latest sewing project: a pretty, foldable shopping bag that I can keep IN MY PURSE at all times. Brilliant stuff.

Pattern: Eco-Friendly Shopping Bag
Exterior: Echino (by Etsuko Furuya) Perch Turquoise (Fall 2010)
Lining: MoMo It's a Hoot Dots Marshmallow
Pouch: Echino (by Etsuko Furuya) Basic Dots Cerise Creamds
(all purchased at Pink Chalk Fabrics)
Button: vintage, from my grandmother's bin o' buttons
Mods: Ultimately made the pouch larger to make folding the bag easier

I really enjoyed making this bag, even though I ultimately wound up modifying it a wee bit, once on purpose and once by accident.

The first incarnation (seen in the orange picture above) had a much smaller pouch, which made folding up the bag a right beatch, and didn't even do it well at that. I would have left it alone and just lived with it, but the goal for this bag is for me to be able to carry it in my purse, and real estate in said accessory is both rare and extremely valuable (call me Ally Sheedy because Yes, I always have *this much* sh*t in my bag). Twenty minutes with a seam ripper later, and I was back in business.

As to the second modification, I only just realized I made it. Seems I sewed the handles wrong - they should connect front to front instead of front to back. Fixing that mistake implies ripping out a fair whack of topstitching and other fussiness and guess what? I'm SO not going to do it. I wanted a shopping bag, I've got one. Yay me.

Happy Sewing, Everyone!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Insert picture here

Normally I'd have posted a Wordless Weekend Wrap-up for y'all, but I seem to have contracted a pretty severe case of camnesia this weekend. Not that there wasn't anything camera worthy going on, there was plenty. I have no excuse for my bad bloggy behaviour, other than to plead temporary gobsmacking by the absolutely magnificent weather we enjoyed. I wore capris and sandals. It was awesome.

So here's a random weekend wrap-up instead, because a wordless weekend wrap-up post without pictures is a pretty sucky excuse for a blog post indeed (but maybe I could say I was making a statement on consumerism or something...)

This weekend I:

  • attended my very first Roller Derby Match. Bout. Thing. Not too clear on the proper terminology, but all evening, my mind was buzzing with terms like Jammers, Packs and Blockers. It was a good deal of fun, and I hope my friend Louise didn't think I was a total dweeb and will consent to taking me again.

  • cleaned out the flower bed in the front yard. Despite the fact that it's a really a teensy bed, cleaning it out necessitated about 2 hours and 2 garbage bags. This ought to tell you something about the sorry-ass state I've let things get.

  • brifely considered doing an interpretive dance of joy about that big job being done, except that there's another huuuuge bed that needs to be cleaned/stripped in the back yard, and it's in even worse shape. Insert Le Sigh here.

  • pulled my daughters' first tooth out. I'm happy to report that the old thread around the wobbly tooth technique - when applied like you really mean it! - still works.

  • got a little sewing done, which I'll share with you next post (tomorrow? Wednesday? We'll see)

  • realized that there's less than a month before the Run Ottawa half-marathon. I further realized that the whole "There's plenty of time to train!" argument probaby wasn't going to cut it anymore.

  • went out for a run.

How was your weekend?

Happy Knitting, Everyone!