Tuesday, September 9, 2008

knitting for the monkey, part 1

so - v and i are at purl soho in nyc (knitter heaven pretty much) in june and talking to the girls that work there about random things such as my wish to knit the noro striped scarf (a la brooklyn tweed's too beautiful version). while they do not carry noro, they do carry alchemy migration, and they happened to have a sample scarf knit in this style out of this yarn, and i happened to think this would make a very beautiful scarf for the monkey and voila! turns out it's pretty cute :)

thank you purl soho girls for helping me choose the colour combo as it really rocks! i wasn't sure i was going to like all of the colorway combinations as i was knitting this but the end result is so pretty :) plus... the monkey loves it, which makes mommy so very happy. photo shoot of the scarf in action will have to wait for cooler weather.

as for the yarn, the colours are beautiful and it is super soft and squishy now that it is knit, however, i didn't particularly love knitting it as it doesn't have much 'stretch' and can be a bit splitty.

pattern: like brooklyn tweed's version of the noro striped scarf just... um... without the noro - 1x1 rib (49 stitches), 4 rows per 'stripe', slipping the first and last stitch on the return rows to make a lovely edge
yarn: alchemy migration (30% silk, 70% wool), colourway 1: cinnamon teal, colourway 2: purple martin
needles: 4.25mm (US size 6)

Monday, September 8, 2008

knitting update - ruffled jacket

it has been a while since i've blogged about knitting. since my last knitting post, i have amazingly enough finished all of the unfinished objects from that post! i guess that it is a good thing since that post was from APRIL!!!

now, i have a whole new list of unfinished objects :) the one i am currently swooning over is the ruffled jacket by james coviello in vogue knitting fall 2007. i wouldn't have looked twice at the pattern unless i had seen a few of the ravelry versions of this sweater: veronique's sweater is divine and kyrelee's is also delicious.

so, when i was in new york in june, dragging vincent around to visit yarnshops (yes, he is a dream - he not only visited with me, but fully engaged in the yarn shopping process AND carried the yarn purchases - i adore him), i picked up the yarn for this sweater at downtown yarns, which i think was my favorite yarn store in nyc if only for the wonderful lady behind the desk who helped me search through the piles of malabrigo for enough skeins of the colour i wanted :)

ah yes, the yarn. since i loved veronique's version of this sweater so much, i am completely following her knitting trails and knitting this in malabrigo pure merino worsted and am even using a similar red colour to hers - mine is called sealing wax (a lovely name for a colour, i think). i am loving the malabrigo (my first time knitting with this beautiful soft yarn) and am LOVING the cables on the back. i have a long way to go but the knitting feels luxurious and soft and with texture and i love the colour. swoon.*

* please remind me how much i love this sweater when i am doing the endless seaming that is coming up attaching the cable and ruffle around the edge of this jacket

bath time!

oh, how the monkey loves her bath time :) here, she is in her boat, rowing with her paddle, the back scrubber. those curls make me just want to eat her up.

and here, seriously studying the water dripping over the edge of the tub.

and here, with her favorite bath time hair, the 'mohawk' (looking suspiciously like hair from grease on this night), showing off for the camera.

Monday, April 14, 2008

my home is full of UFOs

UFO: unfinished object

i have a lot of them. for example...

my first pair of socks and my first 'lace' pattern. i love the yarn - the color and the softness (it is colinette jitterbug in colorway 'lagoon'). i love the pattern (monkey socks designed by cookie a, who designs beautiful socks and i want to knit ALL of them) it is SO much fun to knit. i've turned the heel and am heading toward the toe. seriously cool. who knew knitting socks would be so much fun. of course, the thing with socks is that there'll be a second one to finish after the first :)

my mom's clapotis shawl / scarf. i love this, too. very much. i love the silk / wool blend of the elsebeth lavold silky wool. the color is a rich reddish color. and the pattern - well, there's a reason it's one of the most popular knitting patterns on ravelry :) the clapotis pattern, designed by kate gilbert, is fun, and addicting. first time i've dropped stitches - at least, first time i've dropped them on purpose ;-) i am probably 65% done on this project and getting closer to the finish every day.

the 3/4 length bell sleeve shrug pattern by fickle fibre diva. i am knitting it in colinette point 5, colorway neptune. i have had this on the go for quite a long time and just can't seem to finish it (maybe because i keep starting other fun projects??!!) but at the same time i can't wait to wear it!

a baby sweater for my friend vicky's new beautiful baby boy. it is the five fruits sweater designed by amanda kerr (i can't find the link to the pattern unfortunately). this is my first baby project and my first completed sweater and it was fun. it is finished except for blocking, sewing in the ends, and putting the buttons in the neckline. i think finding the buttons would help speed me along to finishing this project. mmm.... button shopping!!

so, a lot of UFOs. i am not allowed to start anything new until i get at least one of these projects off the needles :) this desire to continually start new things is called 'startitis' in the knitters world. i seem to have it bad.

btw... while writing this post, i have been listening to johnny cash 'the legend of johnny cash'. i love his cover of 'one' by u2. what a beautiful song. i have also been smelling the glorious smell of my favorite tomato sauce in the world cooking in my kitchen. spaghetti and meatballs tomorrow night. yummy.

les traine-savates

the race: les traine - savates; cheseaux - sur - lausanne
date: saturday 12 april
distance: 10.4km
time: actual; 59 min 11 seconds (official; 59 min, 35 seconds)

it was my first race of the season last weekend. i had originally planned to run this race when i planned out my 'season' but i had planned to run it under different circumstance - specifically, with a lot more training under my belt!

between the knee problems and the achilles problems, i really haven't done much training at all this year. in fact, this race was the first time i've run 10km since 2007. i had for a moment thought that there was no reason to run the race but i am very glad that i did. there is something about the atmosphere of a race that is really wonderful - the festivity, being surrounded by the camaraderie of other runners, the extra motivation to push just a little bit harder. i *needed* to run this race.

the race itself did not actually go that well for me. a few poor nutrition choices leading up to the race (what was i thinking eating fish for lunch?!?) left me with some indigestion on the race course, and i started out a little too quickly which was fun for the first 3 km but not so much fun for the last 7km :)

the race was somewhat hilly and mostly trail running through wooded areas. it was very beautiful but this was somewhat difficult to concentrate on given the distraction of trying to avoid the massive puddles and mud pits on the trails - it has rained a lot here in the past week and this was evidenced on the race course! despite my best efforts to avoid the mud, my shoes (and legs, and backside) were covered in mud by the end of the race. (of course, the super swiss race planners had thought of the mud situation and outside the door of the building with the change rooms, there were bowls of soapy water and scrub brushes so that people could clean their shoes - the picture of my shoe above is after cleaning - it worked surprisingly well!) the mud and water on the paths was good in some respects though. while strategically planning my running path among the puddles, it took my mind off my pain ;-)

i was very happy to see the finish line looming on this race, and sprinted the last 500m of the race. i maybe pushed a little too hard as i was pretty sure i was going to upchuck the questionable fish choice after the race. i haven't felt that bad after a race since high school (remember that race at provincials, mom?) in the end, i was able to keep all my cookies and eventually bask in that post-race euphoria. it was wonderful. plus, i had set myself a goal at the beginning of the race of running it in less than an hour and i was very happy to achieve this!

if you are so inclined, my results are here. i am number 156.

the monkey was not there to watch the race but was very excited by the idea of it when i told her about it afterward. she wants to run 'just like mommy' and proceeded to run run run to show me. she is fast, too - it won't be long before i'm asking her to wait up for me!

there are, of course, children's races at these events, and i was curious to see what ages the children start to race at. at this race, the youngest category was 'under 9' and it was a distance of 1.7km. of course, there were lots of 7 and 8 year olds in this category but amazingly, there was also a 3 year old!!! look at number 88 here - born in 2005. incredible!! maybe the monkey will get her wish next year and get to run her first race :)

by the way, the 9 year old that ran that race ran it at a pace of 3:41 per km, and i ran my race at a pace of 5:43. totally kicked my butt.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

happy easter

it is days like today that i really miss being closer to family. i miss being together with v, my parents and my brothers and their families - especially during the holidays. next year...

for the first time ever, the monkey and i decorated an easter tree. simple, just some budding branches with a few butterflies and dragonflies hanging from it, but it was fun and it is a beautiful reminder of the spring which is on its way!

the monkey is now at an age (nearly 3) where hunting for easter eggs is fun... bordering on frustrating when she doesn't find one, but overall fun. she loves the chocolate, of course, but the little giggle and look of surprise when she actually uncovers an egg, shows me that there's more to it than just yummy chocolate. she was hiding and 'refinding' eggs all morning.

this morning, we made some egg nests to give to our neighbours as a little easter gift. they are fun and cute and are actually very yummy even though it is really hard to bite into the cuteness of them (one had to be a taste test, right?!)

i got the idea for little egg nests from a blog that made meringue nests cradling little easter eggs (i'm sorry i can't remember which blog). considering my lack of skill in making meringue (i think i don't have the patience for it), i decided that 'haystacks' were more my style, and they do look adorable with these brightly covered eggs! i was hoping to use my mom's haystacks recipe that i grew up with (childhood memories with those!) but wasn't able to get a hold of the recipe in time, so used this one off of allrecipes, minus the peanuts. a hit to be sure, but not a good as my mom's :)

this year, i wanted to make the monkey a doll as an easter gift. i decided this quite a long time ago, and had found the doll i wanted to make for her - olive from the wee wonderfuls 'make-a-long story' (if you go to this website and see the little make-a-long story you will smile and smile and smile at the cuteness of it - at least i did and still do). of course, being me, i left the actual making of the doll until the night before.

i think she's rather beautiful, actually. blond hair and blue eyes just like the monkey. plus, she was SO much fun to make. i smiled all evening at the cuteness of the creation - well, almost all evening - there was the moment of attaching the bottom of the body to the dress and legs where the smile made for way for something less *ahem* lady-like. but in the end, i finished the little sweetheart and she was ready and waiting for the monkey this morning.

now i can't stop. i have already started doll number 2.

lastly, one of my favorite images of the day - the monkey completely enjoying her easter chocolate - you can see the first bite was of the ear, bite number two which followed shortly after this picture was the chicken's head.

two things the monkey said today that made my heart warm:

1. 'mommy have some chocolate, too?' as she holds out her chocolate to share with me - she has such a beautiful generosity within her.

2. 'is it my birthday?' this came this afternoon - she had clearly been thinking about it since the morning when she opened her easter presents (she had some presents from grandma and grandpa, nanny, me, and a friend from her dayhome). it is beautiful how she tries to reconcile the idea of receiving presents to something that is familiar to her.

she takes my breath away.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

to warm hands and my first frog

i often have cold hands. at work, at home, in general. i have tried to solve this by wearing gloves but there are a lot of things you can't do while wearing gloves - like typing on a keyboard - which i've tried many times at work and reluctantly decided that cold hands were better than one finger typing. this is why the idea of fingerless gloves excites me. my hands can be warm and i can still use my fingers? genius!

i don't know why i hadn't thought of it before and just bought some, but for some reason it didn't click until i saw this knitting pattern - 'fetching' - and i knew i had to learn to knit well enough to make them :) i know that most every knitter in the world has probably made these already but i hadn't and a lot of this was new to me... first ever cables, first ever gloves (even if there are no fingers they still intimidated me!)

so... i tried it out - i found some lovely turquoise-y yarn, figured out my gauge and cast on. turns out the cables were really fun, and i enjoyed the project immensely until i bound off and tried on the glove. this is what it looked like:

now, it's not awful, and the cables are really very pretty (i am still ridiculously proud of them), but overall, it just didn't work for me. the biggest problem was that the yarn was just too fine, so the glove was too thin, too small, and the shape didn't hold up very well (you can see it pulling all over and the top bind off is painful to look at).

i wasn't quite sure what to do. i knew i wouldn't wear it but i wasn't quite ready to *gasp* frog it. i've never undone anything i've knit before - the effort to get it to the point of existence has always been too high to even consider it. plus, with this one, the cables were so pretty, and they were my first ones!!

what i ended up doing was falling in love with another fingerless glove pattern: 'evangeline'. i decided to knit double stranded, got myself close to gauge, and cast on. immediately, it felt better. they were thicker, they held their shape better. in progress:

at this point, i am already in love. new, pretty cables start to emerge and i start to feel like i might be able to frog my fetching. but i don't, not yet.

i had to finish and make sure that this would turn out ok. not sure why - if it didn't turn out, what would i do? have two unhappy, unmatched gloves?

in any case, evangeline did not disappoint. i bound off glove #1 this morning and am oh so happy. i love it! it is pretty, the cables look like real cables, it fits, it feels nice, minimal weird pulling - yay!

as i type, i have one warm hand, and can't wait to finish this post so that i can cast on for glove #2... and frog fetching. what seemed so wrong before now seems necessary. sometimes you need to start over to get to a happy place. i do love my evangeline.