Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summer of Socks #4

It's amazing what you can accomplish knitting wise when you are feeling better! While I was out sick a couple of weeks ago I started my fourth pair of SOS08 socks. It took me about three days to complete the first sock. However, the second sock took about a week and a half. I was just feeling yucky and with the heatwave that hit us, I didn't want to even think about picking up my knitting needles. However, last night I prevailed and finished that second sock right up!

Here's the stats...

Express Lane by Diane Mulholland
Yarn: Dream In Color Smooshy; Colorway Happy Forest
Needles: Knit Picks Circs Size 1.5
Started: July 14th
Completed: July 28th

I made a couple of modifications to this pattern. Nothing major. These are a toe-up construction and I chose to do my own method using the Magic 8 cast-on (have yet to try the provisional). I like this cast-on because I already have both sides of the toe on my needles. No having to unravel a provisional, etc. I also cast-on the number of stitches for the larger sock. By doing this I didn't need to incorporate the calf shaping on the back of the leg. Finally I made the leg of the sock longer that written. I did a total of 10 repeats instead of the 7 or 8 written in the pattern.

I love this sock. The pattern itself was easy. One thing I love about the heel construction is that it is a short row heel, but it is completed without wraps. Super simple! The yarn was delicious to knit with and I didn't encounter any splittiness at all (I've read that some knitters have). The color choice is definitely different for me, but I can see myself wearing these alot this fall/winter!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Finish Line

Cloudy? Check. (When I left for the race it was thundering, lightening and a light rain. It stopped right when the race started at 7am.)
Cooler Temps? Check. (mid 70's)
Humid? Double Check! (90% - made for tough breathing)

So with all my troubles and woes from being sick and not being able to run as much as I wanted in preparation for this race, I did compete on Sunday.

This is a one of a kind race for NYC. Even though the NYC Half Marathon (13.1 miles) is only in it's third year, this race is considered to be the second premiere race for NYC, with the NYC ING Marathon being the first. Professional runners come out to run with the rest of us (10,000 to be exact) that comprise the heart of running this race.

The first 7 miles of the race was the toughest. If you haven't trained for hill running, you'll get into trouble here. Central Park is filled with them, especially the dreaded Harlem Hills. I knew I needed to go slow and save energy for the last half of the race. I paced myself nicely, a bit slower than I normally would have run.

I hit a mental block, or The Wall, as it's called in running, around mile 6.5. I totally wanted to quit. With having been sick and recently back to the doc for a diagnosed inner ear infection, I was considering bee-lining it for the nearest subway. I kept telling myself that I just had to get to mile 7 and I would be out of the park into a downhill flat course. I dug deep and kept on going.

Once we were out of the park we got to run through the heart of Times Square. This was completely awesome. Being able to run down the middle of the street with no traffic, no crowd trying to get here and there across the streets was definitely worth finding the mental energy to get to that point.

I managed to run through to mile 8. Once I got there, I had to run/walk the last 5 miles. This is something I haven't had to so since I started racing three years ago. I knew all the reasons it was hard for me to keep running straight through to the end, reasons that were out of my control. I also knew I wasn't going to stop until I reached that finish line!

And reaching that finish line I did. I had my worst time for running a half marathon, but I am extremely proud of myself for finishing. I crossed the finish in 2 hours and 43 minutes.

I totally earned this baby...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

So There Is Knitting

Since my last two posts had nothing to do with knitting, I thought this one should. When I visited my sis in June I had started this project. It's the Interweave Knits Clementine Shawlette. I fell in love with it when sis started hers and knew I'd want one also. At first I held off for a bit. Then I had to place an emergency yarn order for my Lacy Skirt so I went ahead and bought the yarn for my own shawlette to help justify the shipping costs. I used the same yarn used in the magazine and as sis. It's Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca/Silk blend. The colorway escapes my mind at the moment.

When I left the beach, this is what I had accomplished. I had only brought one skein with me, or else I probably could have had it almost done before the plane trip back to NYC.

Sadly this is where the shawlette stands at the moment. I have about 20% more to complete on this half and then I'll cast on for the other half. The two halves get kitchener stitched together in the end when all is said and done. I'll pick it back up soon so I'll have it to wear in the fall weather. It really is a yummy knit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Heat Craze

So what does one do with themselves when a heatwave has come through the city? You run!?!? Many have called me crazy, but I've got a huge race coming up this weekend. This Sunday at 7am I will be joining thousands of runners here in NYC to run the 3rd Annual NYC Half Marathon. This is a huge race because we have the professionals coming to join us wee ones.

Two years ago when they first created this race, it sold out in 2 days. Who would have thought then that this was going to be a hot one to run? Well it is the only race here, besides the marathon, that gives you the opportunity to race through Manhattan. Anyway, that year was the last time it was a first-come-first-serve race. Last year they made it a lottery race and I didn't make it. So to my surprise, and happiness, my name got selected this year! Woo Hoo.

I've been training but as you all know I've had some setbacks lately with it. Being sick so close to the race has not helped. I completed a long-run this past weekend and only pumped out 7.5 miles as compared to the 10 I wanted to get in. Now I have run out of time and can only believe in myself to do the best that I can.

My first ever half marathon (13.1 miles for those non-runners out there) was completed in 2.5 hrs. My best ever time was 2 hours and 1 minute. That was my first long race right after the NYC marathon in 2006. I was so in shape and in great running form. I don't expect to beat my personal best this Sunday. My goal is just to finish within the 3 hour time limit.

I have studied the coarse map this past weekend. The toughest part of the race is at the beginning in Central Park. We will be running 1 and a quarter full loops of the park (the first seven miles) and then exiting the south end down 7th Avenue through Times Square (awesome to be able to run through there with no traffic) and then heading to West Side Highway to a finish at Battery Park. If I can get through the park portion (even those Harlem Hills we all dread running), I will not have a problem finishing (unless of course the heat issues strike again). While I was training for the NYC Marathon in 2006 I did all my long training runs along the Battery Park/West Side Highway area and I know this portion of the coarse is flat. Smooth sailing. It's just gonna be getting to that part. LOL

So my non-running knitting friends, I ask this of you all. Pray for cooler weather here in NYC on Sunday and even rain would be welcome like it did last year.

I'll be training for this race the rest of the week up through Friday, so the only knitting I will be doing is what I get accomplished at work. I did start my fourth pair of SOS08 socks last week while I was sick. I am almost done with the second sock and will report on it soon. With the heat though, it's been really hard to knit at home. Way too hot.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A-Z, All About Me

So after been sick and catching up on blog reading, I first head over to Shameka's blog and of course she tagged me with this Meme:

ACCENT: While I have lived all over with my father being an IBM'er, I predomintaley lived in North Carolina. I had a southern accent when I first moved to NYC 11 years ago. I never picked up a NY accent, with the exception of a couple of words, and I lost my real southern accent. However, when I go home and visit or talk to someone with a strong accent, mine tends to come back out.

BREAKFAST OR NO BREAKFAST: Gotta start the day with breakfast. If I don't, I don't want to be around me.

CHORE I DON'T CARE FOR: Laundry. I hate having to lug everything to a laundrymat every week, no matter the weather conditions.

DOG OR CAT: I grew up with both. When I was married we had a slew of dogs. I wouldn't mind having a cat now.

ESSENTIAL ELECTRONICS: Cell phone and computer.

FAVORITE COLOGNE: I'm allergic to most perfume's and cologne's.

GOLD OR SILVER: Grew up wearing gold jewelry but now prefer silver.

HANDBAG I CARRY MOST OFTEN: Well living in the city and having to take public transportation everywhere, I carry my backpack most often. It can carry my running gear and everthing else I need for the day. When I go out, I generally grab my little black shoulder bag.

INSOMNIA: Only have insomia when I have something pressing on my mind or I am really hot.

JOB TITLE: Presentation Specialist Lead

KIDS: No kids but 10 nieces and nephews.

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: I have been renting a basement apartment for the past 2.5 years.

MOST ADMIRABLE TRAIT: I will always be there for you.


OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAY: Had my gall bladder removed in 2002. Not fun.

PHOBIAS: Growing old alone.

QUOTE: "To Have Loved and Lost Is Better Than To Not Have Loved At All"

REASON TO SMILE: I am alive and healthy.

SIBLINGS: 4 sisters and 1 brother. All older.

TIME I WAKE UP: Alarm goes off at 4:30am. Got to be at work for 6am.

UNUSUAL SKILL OR TALENT: Fast Reader, Fast Knitter. Do those count as talents? Don't have any unusual skills that I can think of. I am just me!


WORST HABIT: Biting my fingernails when one is snagged and I don't have a clipper or nail file on hand.

YUMMY STUFF: Mint chocolate chip ice cream. Can eat it 365 days a year. Also love cheese pizza.

ZOO ANIMAL I LIKE MOST: Seals. So cute and adorable.

That's it folks! Who to tag, who to tag? I tag Kim.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Being Sick

There is nothing like being sick in the summer. I am actually home today nursing a summer cold. Yuck. Don't ask me how this came about, but maybe it has something to do with living in a hot apartment with only fans to cool off and scrubbing away all the nasty icky yuckies over the weekend from said apartment. I was battling a mild ickiness in my throat last week. It went away on Saturday, but then on Sunday night the ickiness settled into my sinuses. I was feeling so bad I left work early yesterday and am out today.

After drugging myself up on some Tylenol Cold last night and today, my head feels a bit clearer and I know I'll be back at work tomorrow. Hopefully getting a run in too. So what does one do when they are out sick? Knit of course!

I didn't really do any knitting over the weekend and yesterday I wasn't feeling like doing too much when I got home from work. After a nap and some medicine, I felt a tiny bit better to where I could finish my Summer of Socks Pair #3.

The stats are as follows:

Pattern: Beatrix by Monkey Toes (Socktopia)
Yarn: Scarlet Fleece - It's Tubular x 2!; Colorway: Antique Watermelon
Needles: Knit Picks Fixed Circs Size 1.5
Started: July 5th
Finished: July 14th

I love love love the colors in this yarn. It was a total joy to see it knit up. You can even see the little watermelon seeds. The Beatrix pattern was simple, quick and fun to knit. I added two additional pattern repeats in the leg. When I make them again I plan on knitting the leg on size 2 needles and add probably 2 additional repeats to make the leg even a little longer.

What can I say about the yarn itself? Well when I first started with it I wasn't too sure how I felt. The feel of it was a little different/weird to me. I can't really describe it. The yarn also tends to be a little splitty. However, as I continued to knit with the yarn, the feel of it didn't bother me as much as it did at first and it actually makes a nice comfy sock. I dealt with the splittiness of it because it wasn't every time I stuck my needle into the yarn. Bottom line, I would most likely knit with this yarn again if I fell in love with another color!

I now must return to my couch when there is a marathon running of "The First 48" all day today on A&E. Woo Hoo. I love this show. I also started my next SOS08 sock. So my friends this is how I'll be spending the rest of my day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Stuff

Here is some new stuff on my needles. I do think there is one other thing I haven't told ya'll about but it will have to wait for another post.

First up is the Diamond Lace Top in the new
Verena magazine published by Burda. Mary Beth told me about it and we struck gold when we found the premier English issue in Barnes & Noble. This magazine is awesome. There are so many things I want to knit. My first choice was of course this top.

I bought the yarn at Knit N Purl in Myrtle Beach at Knit Night. It is Lyndon Hill by Bristol Yarn Gallery in a pretty cream color. The yarn is super yummy with it being a pima cotton/silk blend. I have only done the first pattern repeat as the picture shows.

On Saturday night I casted on for my next pair of SOS socks. I did take some time off between finishing my last pair and this one to really think about what I wanted to knit next.

I decided upon the Beatrix sock from Socktopia. I incorporated the pattern corrections/clarifications from
here. The yarn is Scarlet Fleece in colorway Antique Watermelon purchased from The Loopy Ewe. As of last night the heel has been completed and I am now venturing on the foot.

Front View...

Back View....
The only modification I have made was to repeat the leg lace pattern 2 more times that suggested. I wanted a more length in the leg, plus I know I have enough yarn. I love the colors in this sock. The jury is still out on the yarn itself. I'll let ya'll know what I think once I finished both socks!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Summer of Socks #2

When I signed up for Summer of Socks my goal was to try and knit 1 pair of socks every 2 weeks. I really wanted to get through my sock yarn stash. Little did I think I would have 2 pairs done in 2 weeks. After finishing my first pair on Sunday, I was anxious to cast on for a new pattern. After pouring over the yarns in my stash and selecting one to match the pattern I wanted to do next, I was set. Here's the stats...

Spring Forward (Knitty Summer '08)
Yarn: Tess' Designer Yarns (no colorway listed; just purplish blue)
Needles: Knit Picks size 1.5
Started: June 29th
Finished: July 4th

I absolutely loved knitting this pattern. It was fun and super easy to remember. Will definitely knit it again. The only modification I made was to knit the leg longer than suggested. I wanted the leg to come up a bit higher but also a little slouchy. I knitted 4 full pattern repeats instead of the 2.5 suggested.

The yarn was wonderful to knit with and it was the one
Kim picked up for me at MDSW this year. My only issue with it is that my fingers turned blue. LOL Also a side note in regards to the pictures. The yarn is actually more purple than blue. It's an awfully dreary day outside and had to take the pics inside. So the flash did a little number on the color.

What's next? Not sure.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Juno Salad Soup

Remember back in April when I finished my Juno Regina Wrap? Well I (with lots of help from Mary Beth) finally blocked it while I was in Myrtle Beach. I'm telling ya. A lot was accomplished during my vacation.

MmmMMMmmmm. Juno Regina Salad Soup. Doesn't it look yummy? Here she is taking her bath. Couldn't resist adding the whisk.

Almost finished with the stretching/pulling/pinning/re-pinning...

Hanging off the back of the chaise lounge in all her glory....

Me, the knitter, modeling it....

...but it looks so much better on the recipient....

I knew all along while I was knitting Juno that Mary Beth would be the proud owner of it. I was so cool and casual about gifting it to her. I tried it on first and then I said, "Let's see it on you". Snapped the picture and told her it was hers. This was one way of saying thank you to her for helping me out with the t-shirt quilt I am going to be making. A few months ago she kindly offered to cut the t-shirts down into squares and press interfacing to them for me (she has this awesome press). I love my sis and was so happy to give her this wrap. Now I need to make one for myself!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peddling Along

Isn't this blob of yarn beautiful? It is Dream In Color Baby Lace - Colorway Lipstick Lava. What it is knitting up to be is the Wool Peddler's Shawl from Folk Shawls. I started it while I was in Myrtle Beach because I had finished one project I brought and used up the 1 skein of yarn I brought for another project I started. So thus the Peddler's Shawl was born.

I believe everyone else that has done this shawl has used at least a fingering weight yarn. Since I wasn't sure what weight the yarn was done in the book, I just forged ahead with a laceweight.

I finished all the increases in the garter rows (now have 231 purty stitches; started with 7) and just began the lace pattern over the weekend. Since I am using lace I believe this is going to be smaller than the original. How much smaller I am not sure since it's just a blob on needles. I'm probably going to increase the number of lace pattern repeats, but will make the final decision once I finish the first lace pattern set. I'm a newbie shawl knitter and am just winging it as I go.

Whatever size it turns out to be I know I will love it!