Thursday, March 27, 2008

For A Good Cause and My 100th Post

I can't believe this is actually my 100th post! Wow. Never thought I would have so much to say in only 8 months since I started this blog. I knew this moment was coming and had everything planned out in my head how it was going to be a total knitting content post and what not. But as fate would have it, this post is going to be about something very close and dear to my heart.

Some of you may have already received an email from me in regards to the Need For Speed Relay Against Domestic Violence that I am participating in on June 8th. This is a 50 mile relay race begining in Bear Mountain and ending all the way in downtown New Rochelle. I am one of a six person team (3 guys and 3 gals). As far as I know I am the only Domestic Abuse Survivor on my team.

I am fundraising for this relay because of the cause. This is something that many people do not completely understand unless they have experienced it themselves. In casual conversations I have heard so many people say "Why doesn't she just leave?". There are so many answers to that simple question and to why she doesn't just up and leave. The biggest one is fear. Fear of what will happen. I faced that fear and got out. But I am lucky to have gotten out. I am a survivor of a 6 year abuse. I was lucky I had no children. I was lucky I had a family to turn to, even if they didn't know the whole story. Many are not so lucky. Many have children.

"It is estimated that each year up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence"

Back in 2005, I ran a Mother's Day race in Central Park that was a fundraiser for Domestic Violence. At that time I raised over $800. Now I am fundraising under a different race, but for the same cause. Specifically the money raised in this race will go to the Avon Foundation Helping Children of Domestic Violence program. It would be a dream for me to be able to raise at least that amount again.

If you can, I ask that you stop by my fundraising site and donate, even if it's only $5.00. Every little bit helps.

Thank you from the bottom to the top of my heart!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Busy Easter Weekend

Since Friday was a holiday, and I don't normally work Friday's, I received a Floating Holiday to take. So I scheduled it for Monday. It was very nice having a four day weekend. Now if I could just have it like that every weekend. Anyway, let me snap out of dreamland here and get back to business. This past weekend was very productive for me in the knitting department. I have 2 FO's to report.

First up is the Heart Baby Blanket. I completed it on Saturday and am happy with the end result. The finished dimensions are 29" wide by 32" long. I used about 3.5 skeins of the Classic Elite Provence yarn from my stash (believe it or not - after knitting 2 blankets I still have about 4 skeins still in the stash) and knitted the blanket on size 6 needles. Blanket was started on March 9th and completed March 22nd.

Last night I finished my Cable Rib Socks. I finished sock #1 on Saturday and immediately casted-on for the 2nd sock. I tried so hard to finish sockie #2 on Monday because I wanted to wear them so bad. Unfortunately, I couldn't finish them that night. But nothing was stopping me last night.

I used Knit Picks Risata yarn in colorway Ash - exactly 2 skeins (barely had any left on each sock). You start out with size 2 needles and then eventually go down to size 1 about midway in the leg. Socks were started March 15th and finished on March 25th.

I will definitely use the Risata yarn again for another pair of socks. I just wish Knit Picks would produce it a greater number of color choices.

I had so much fun knitting this sock that I definitely believe my sock mojo has returned. I am really impressed with the construction of this sock too. This is the first pair of socks that I have made that actually don't have any gussett holes. You know whenever I try my hardest not to have a hole there is usually one, even if it is the tiniest of a hole. I know it's there. Another thing about this pattern is the interesting heel flap. When working on the right side you slip a stitch and knit a stitch, slip a stitch, knit a stitch all the way across. Then on the wrong side you slip only the first stitch and purl all the way across. In my opinion this make a pretty sturdy heel.

The last thing I accomplished over the weekend was that I finished the collar on Thermal. The only thing I have left to do is sew in the sleeves and attach 2 buttons. It will be a FO this week sometime. I can't wait to wear it, but I also am allowing myself to cast-on for my Gathered Pullover.

Oh I almost forgot. Misa tagged me with this book meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 or more pages. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (Third book in the series).

2. Open the book to page 123 and find the 5th sentence. 'I snickered.'

3. Post the next 3 sentences. 'Jacob wasn't smiling. His dark eyes were critical of my reaction. "It's a little bit more powerful than that.".'

Friday, March 21, 2008

~Stab Me With Your Best Shot~

So who remembers the artist that sings the non-modified song lyric of "Hit me with your best shot"? This was running through my mind last night while I was knitting on my latest sock. You'll understand further down in this post.

Sock knitting has struck me again! After I washed, and hung, all my socks last Thursday night, I realized I needed more socks. I pulled the Knit Picks Risata sock yarn (colorway Ahe) out of my stash. I think it's been hibernating there since last August. I had purchased this yarn to make the "Cable Rib Socks" from the Favorite Socks book. After the New Jersey yarn crawl last Saturday, I sat down and casted-on for this sock before I went to bed.

Saturday, March 15th - Cast-on and knitted about an inch

Tuesday, March 18th - Good progress made.
Not too much further until the heel.

Thursday, March 19th - Heel flap done. Pick up stitches for the gussett.

Really getting to this part was no problem. The problem arose when I had to pick the stitches up on the sides of the heel flap and work them. Now, I have done this on 2 circs before, and while working the stitches before has been a little awkward, I was able to stick with the 2 circs only. This sock is another story. It was impossible to work the stitches with only 2 circs, at least for me (I'm not quite sure how my sis Mary Beth did it).

What was my solution? Well, I looked at my needle supply for size 1 dpns. Nope, didn't have any. Then I looked in my interchangeable needle case for size 1 needle tips. Nope, the smallest needle was a 2. At this point, I wanted to scream, but was afraid my upstairs landlord would think I was being attacked since it was 10:30pm. I refrained. My last option was to see what circs I had in my stash. Thank goodness I had another size 1 circ. It wasn't another Knit Picks circ (which I love using even more after last night). It was an Addi Turbo (now hate these needles with a passion compared to Knit Picks - yarn just doesn't slide smoothly over the needle - it was a bit of a struggle and just reaffirmed my love affair with Knit Picks needles). So for right now I am working with 3 circs to get past working the pick up stitches. It's just like 3 dpns.

So why did I have "Stab me with your best shot" running through my head at 11pm? Have you ever worked with 3 circs at once? I think this picture says it all.

At least at the tip of the sock, the 2 circs form a heart!

**Editor Note: After resuming work on the sock, I realize that the heel flap is a bit long. Hmmmm. After further investigation I have determined that I doubled the number of completed rows for the heel flap length. A big OOPS! This is most likely the reason for the difficulty I was experiencing. I have successfully frogged back to the end of my heel flap. Now I need to remove 32 rows and I will be back on track.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Every Inch Counts

I firmly believe that every inch does indeed count! The last I spoke of Juno Regina I was only 13 inches into the "42 inches of the same 2 rows". As of last night I was at 24.5 inches. Woo Hoo! I know I added a couple more inches on it today at work.

This has been my travel knitting because the Heart Baby Blanket got too bulky to bring to the office. Plus I have a thumb sprain (right hand) from knitting on it. I kid you not. The blanket got heavy to work with, and since I was working on it so much, a spot in my thumb joint (the part where the thumb connects to the side of your hand) hurts when I knit on it for too long. Hopefully I won't have to go through physical therapy. LOL Anyway, the baby blanket will be completed this holiday weekend. I am very close to making it a FO.

Juno Regina has been referred to "guacamole" and "...looks like you are knitting salad..."

Finally tonight, a new project. This is 2 skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Glitter Alpaca Yarn, colorway Old Rose that I purchased from the Yarn Market. I have been eyeing this Hat and Scarf in the Vogue Knitting Winter 2004/05 issue ever since I got the magazine. So why haven't I made it? Very simple. It is a crochet pattern. I do not crochet. What is a girl to do? Well I found someone who does crochet and she has agreed to make it for me. I am super excited. This person will get a lovely special gift in return for her awesomeness for taking time out of her knitting life to make this for me. So who is this special person you ask? Well you can find out here.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yarn Haul

Today Shameka and I traveled to Montclair, New Jersey to meet up with Kim for an afternoon of knitting, yarn crawling and eating yummy treats! First I have to say, "Thank God for GPS systems". Not only did Shameka have Ms. GPS telling her where to go, but she had backup GPS woman sitting next to her in the car. Ms. GPS just wasn't telling us where to go fast enough so I had to read it on the screen. Ya'll know how fast NY/Jersey drivers are. By the time the GPS tell you to turn you've already missed it. Ok enough about that.

We met up with Kim at her local LYS, Modern Yarn. I was in heaven when I walked through the door and saw all the yummy yarn waiting for me to drool and fondle it. Mmmmm Malabrigo. The funny thing is I didn't buy any Malabrigo. I would have if they had another skein of the color Kim picked up. That's ok though. I found other yarn that wanted to come home with me.

Before we got too comfortable shopping and knitting for the afternoon, we had brunch next door at Raymond's. Ya know, we had to get the fuel in us for the long haul. It was yummy.

After eating and purchasing our yarn, we all settled around the table for some knitting fun. There were a few other Modern Yarner's with us. I have to apologize in advance if I misspell anyone's name. I believe Eileen was seaming her sweater, which I think was a total shocker to those who know her. Blog-free Kelly appeared and she gave me the most memorable moment of the day. She looked at Shameka and said, "You don't know me but I I know you. I read your blog." It was like Miss Shameka was a celebrity. Then we have Gabriel who refused to have her picture taken. I believe Kim got a great picture of the group with her holding a book in front of her face. It was funny. Kim worked on a very colorful sock and Shameka knitted furiously on her reworked sweater vest. She is determined to finish it this weekend.
So on our yarn crawl we bought from Modern Yarn and Stix-n-Stitches. Here's my booty: 2 skeins Lorna Laces Shephard Sock yarn in colorway Tickled Pink (Just love that); 2 skeins Koigu and 1 skein Colinette Jitterbug colorway Summer Berries. Yes, I am on my pinks/reds phase.
My booty from Stix-n-Stitches is: Berroco Ultra Alpaca in Oceanic Mix. This yarn is designated for the Interweave Knits Gathered Pullover in the Winter 2007 issue. Then I have 2 skeins of Claudia Hand Painted Yarns in colorway Chocolate Cherry. Yummy!

I had a fantastic day with my girlz and came home exhausted!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mail Call and a FO

On Wednesday, Mr. Postman delivered me a nice little package from overseas! I had purchased a yarn kit from Yarnissima over the weekend and couldn't believe how fast I received it all the way from the Netherlands. Look how nicely packaged everything was! She even included some Easter candy and a little pink chickie! The sock pattern and yarn were individually wrapped in tissue. I was extremely impressed with the presentation of everything.

So what was inside all the wrapping? A beautiful color printed la digitessa sock pattern (15 pages in total). A skein of Rohrspatz & Wollmeise yarn (574 yds). A mini laminated card containing the chart for the "Digitessa Central Upper Foot Pattern", Toblerone candy attached to the yarn and a notecard containing a handwritten thank you for my purchase! I am in love with this yarn. The color is so me and it is super silky soft to the touch.

I had never heard of Yarnissima's yarn and sock patterns before and I stumbled across a blog post of someome who had purchased and started the sock. Because of Knitting Therapy, I have a new longing for Yarnissima's items. I can't wait to get started!
Now for another FO. After work yesterday I was full of energy and decided to organize my table that contains a basket full of my current yarn, my current UFOs and misc knitting items. Resulting from my organization is another Binary Cabled Hat (pattern used for Hat Attack) and the beginning of another linen washcloth (no pics to show of it because I am only 12 rows into it). After I hit the gym this afternoon I finished my hat. I used leftover Patton's Classic Wool from when I made the slippers back in December. I only had 2 small bunches left and wasn't sure if I would have enough to finish the hat. Of course I did and even with a little bit to spare. Whew! I am really happy how this hat turned out for me. It fits very nicely and even comes down over my ears (unlike the one my assassin knitted for me - I wore it the other day and am not in love with it at all. The color is NOT me. Anyone want a hat? LOL). I'll be sporting this hat tomorrow on my field trip with Shameka as we venture into NJ to meet up with Kim. Modern Yarn here I come!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Baby Blue

Here is my latest knitting project. I am knitting the Heart Baby Blanket that I found on Ravelry, but the pattern is free on the internet at Knitting on the Net.

Does the yarn look familiar? It should. It's the same Classic Elite Provence yarn that I used for the Provence Throw that I finished in December. I think I had about 8 skeins still sitting in my stash. So when I found out on Saturday that a daughter of a friend of mine recently had a baby boy (first grandson of the family), I thought knitting a baby blanket in this yarn was going to be perfect (plus I am stash busting).

This was my knitting project on Sunday. By the end of day, I had completed 13" on the blanket. I have been working on it all week and right now I have completed five rows of hearts.

I'm not sure how long I am going to make it. The pattern says knit until desired length. I think I'll shoot for 40", but we'll see what happens. I am almost at the end of my third skein of yarn and it's not long enough yet for my liking. I am getting roughly two rows of hearts, including the 8 rows of garter stitch in between, per skein. I'll see where it stands at the end of the fourth skein.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Do You Think...

Second time is the charm? I say Yes, Yes, YES! I have successfully completed my Boxy Bag tonight. I am thrilled and could jump over the moon. Well ok, jump over the couch. This is how my *other* bag was suppose to turn out but silly me made a teensy mistake on which end to sew the zipper on and therefore my result was a smaller bag. Which is totally ok because I love my makeup bag.

Just like my sister, Mary Beth, I used the Drago[knit]fly: Box Bag Tutorial for the basics of putting this baby together. I did however use a 14" zipper instead of the 12" and I cut out my fabric with the dimensions of 15.5" x 16". The finished dimensions are roughly 9" long, 4" wide and 4.5" tall. I also *sewlifted* the idea of using the grosgrain ribbon on both zipper ends of the bag to assist in opening and closing of the bag from my sis. I asked and she didn't mind. I thought it was a brilliant addition.

With the sewing of this bag I bonded even more with my lovely new toy (Uhhh Sophanne, if you are reading this, take your fingers out of your ears and stop LA LA LA LA'ing and get on the sewing bandwagon with us!). I finished the edges of the inside of my bag with the stitch that gets me as close to a serger finish as I possibly can. The inside is very neat and tidy if I do say so myself! I'll be adding a decorative zipper pull as soon as I get some beads to match the colors of the bag.

Well I promise ya'll that my next post will contain some knitting content. I started a new knitting project on Sunday. It's actually a gift so it's ok that I have five projects going on right now.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Made This

Well here is my first completed sewing project in over 13 years! And let me tell you....this little bag took all afternoon. I finished it just about 30 minutes ago. Whew!

So my sis, Mary Beth, was right when she said in her comment to my last post about making a boxy bag. That's what this is, however, it turned out a bit smaller than I thought. I even forgot to put in the handle. I had done so much ripping out on this little thing, there was no way I was going to rip out some more just to put in the handle. I'm just gonna save it for the next one I make.

Since this bag can't really hold any knitting projects, maybe knitting notions, I found another use for it. It's my new makeup bag! Everything fits in it perfectly. Including my full size MAC brushes.

While this finished bag is far (way far) from perfect, I am happy and proud how it turned out. Why did I really think putting in a zipper was a good first sewing project after all these years?!?! I'm still pondering that one. Regardless, the bag is solid. It may flare out at the bottom and the box shape heights may not be exact, but I like it because I made it.

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's Love

Today I finally had the chance to get aquainted with my new sewing machine! I am totally in love with it. I didn't know what I had been missing with a computerized sewing machine. I think it's awesome that I don't even have to use to foot peddle. I am going to have so much fun!
I ended up placing a fabric order over at the other day because I had a little project in mind that I wanted to do. Something to jump start me back into sewing after all these years. is awesome. I got my order in 3 days. I ordered 2 fabrics. One is just a simple burgandy cotton broadcloth and the other is Amy Butler's Lotus Temple Garland Clay. I'm not going to tell ya'll what I am making. You will just have to pop on back by and see for yourself what it is.

When I posted about geting my new baby, Kim had commented that she had bought something and wasn't sure why she did at the time. Then when she saw my post She realized why, and gifted it to me.

At lunch on Thursday she gave me the Amy Butler Gum Drop Pillows pattern. This was something I had been considering purchasing the other day, but decided to hold off at the time.

Thank you so much Kim. I am so thrilled to have this pattern. I had been wanting to get an ottoman so I could prop my feet up when I am knitting on my couch. Now I can! The Gum Drop Ottoman is definitely on my sewing list now.

So besides my over excitement of getting ready to sew a project any day now, I did devote time to my knitting projects. Since I currently don't need any of the chart patterns for Juno Regina right now, I have been brining it to work this week. I've made excellent progress as this picture shows. Believe it or not I am over 13 inches into the 42 inches.

Tilted Duster has the back and both front pieces completed. I started the sleeves Wednesday night. I am happy that I will be able to knit both at the same time since they aren't in the round. I be devoting some of my knitting time this weekend to finishing up my Thermal sleeve. I am so close to finishing that baby!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

4 Years of Running

I am amazed that I have been running races now for three full years and have entered my 4th this year.

Back in the Fall of 2004 I never thought I would ever run a race. Earlier in that year I took a terrible fall down my apartment steps. Saw the doctor three days later and he said it was just a really bad sprain. Well in the Fall of 2004 this injury came back to haunt me. It got to the point where I couldn't even run for the bus without being in terrible pain. I saw a specialist and endured six months of physical therapy for the tendonitis in my ankle.

During a three month checkup in the middle of my treatment, my doctor asked me how important it was to me to be able to run again. I immediately answered, "Very important!". Three months later after all the hardwork I was given the go ahead to run. I was terrified. I was scared I was going to feel the pain and would never be able to run, neverless fulfill my dream of running a marathon. Well fortunately the therapy paid off and I was able to look forward to running my very first race ever in 2005.

The above picture shows almost all of my racing t-shirt's that I have accumulated during these years of racing. There are a couple missing from the pile because some of my favorites I train in and they are currently in the laundry pile. So which one am I the most proud of? It, of course, is my 2006 ING NYC Marathon t-shirt. I worked so hard during 2005 to fulfill the race requirement to get guaranteed entry into the marathon. Then I put in five months of long, hard and sometimes lonely training (think about running a 20 mile long run all by yourself). All the sweat and tears was so worth it and whenever I wear this t-shirt, I wear it proudly. I can't wait to run the marathon again this year.

So with all of these t-shirt's what am I to do with them? Well, these t-shirt's here are from my first year of racing. I have always wanted to have them made into a quilt. However, this is not a task I am going to attempt myself. I am way to inexperienced in quilting and I don't want to screw up these shirts that mean more to me than I think anyone would believe.

Maybe one day I can find someone who has the talent to create this for me. I would much rather pay someone who I trust and believe in their work. I know I can always get a company to do it for me, and I will if I have to, but I rather give the cash to someone close to me than a complete stranger that is just a company name. We'll see what happens.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Weekend Knitting

This is what my weekend knitting amounted to for me. I finished the back of the Tilted Duster and have started the right front (not in picture). Juno Regina is now in the "Lets knit the same two rows for 42 inches" stage. I stuck to my 10 rows a night (some nights I did a little more) and am 4" into the 42. Lastly I made huge progress on my Thermal sleeve. I finished the increases and am just now knitting to my desired 18.5". Almost there with it. It should be done in the next few days.

No, I didn't play with my new toy this weekend. Soon though!