Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gotta Get a Gotland

Tour de Fleece starts this weekend and I'm trying to wrap up 12 ounces of natural Gotland.
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Two skeins are finished.  One is soaking, here's the other hiding out in our garden.
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This is the last bit of fleece, and a final bit of two ply before the Julia and I are ready for the big event!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crazy Weekend Fun!

It's Tuesday, and we are recovering from a crazy weekend of fun!

We kicked it off on Thursday with a visit from an old friend.  Tika, of Largely Unrepeatable, managed to squeeze in a visit to Philly!  In addition to being a great knitter and spinner, she also happens to be an old friend from high school.
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In addition to the requisite cheesesteak, we visited the Tangled Web.  There was a bit of stash enhancement (lace weight!  Whee!), a nice walk in the sun, and a bit if Hershey's ice cream at the market.

Saturday was Little Dude's birthday party, and much fun was had by all.  The house was awash with preschoolers.  They enjoyed making noise, making English muffin pizzas, and eating cake (in no particular order).  Sunday was another birthday party, this time for another friend, which involved just as much noise, pizza, and cake.  While it was all terrific fun, I don't mind telling you all...
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This was me within five minutes of coming in the door Sunday night!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bulky Montague Camping Vest

Last month we went on our first family camping trip. We spent a weekend in Hershey, PA and had a blast.  Before we left, I had just enough time to toss my copy of New England knits, random balls from my Palette stash, and size 11 needles into a bag.  I had my eye on the Bulky Montague Lace vest.  In the 'roughing it' spirit of the weekend, I passed on anything resembling a swatch and just had fun.  And... it was a fun knit!
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Does it fit me?  Not especially!  But, it fits Sweet Pea and she loves it.

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This is 513 yards of Palette, which was help tripled. I'd love to tell you the colors, but the ball bands have been gone for while. I think one might be celadon heather, and another edamame? Who knows? :) 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Running Break

I am now 2 weeks into my new running schedule and I have a worrying ache in my right foot, ankle, and shin, as well as slightly strained adductor muscles.  Awesome, right?

I may have started out with too much enthusiasm when I jumped from no treadmill running to 12 miles a week on the treadmill.  I'm going to spend a week back on my normal exercise routine (now with more yoga!) then try a slower incorporation of treadmill running next week.  To ensure that I'm not just giving up, I've picked out a present for myself once I get back on the treadmill.  If I do get back on after a week and stick with it, I'm getting myself this super-pretty yoga mat!  Or maybe this one.  I'll let you know :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Favorites

Here's a list of some of the fun things on my radar these days:
  • Sweet Pea just got her ears pierced and it excited about all the associated accoutrements.  Though she only has one pair of earrings, she's pretty sure she needs an earring holder.  Some time on Craftster brought this one to my attention.  Easy, and super cute :)  Though I might cover the felt with cute quilting prints. 
  • I have become addicted to Starbucks Via.  I never liked the taste of instant coffee before, but this is fantastic.  I avoid the flavored once because they come preloaded with sugar, but the Columbian is a fantastic, every day alternative to mucking about with coffee grouns.
  • Sweet Pea and I now have matching workout shorts, thanks to a sale at Old Navy.  They're $5 each, and the girls' XL was big enough for me (though I couldn't bring myself to get the hot pink Zebra...).  Matching might be a bit corny, but she loves it and they're only little once :)
  • Apples and peanut butter.  Hardly a recipe, but a great snack.  
  • For another fruit based snack, we're planning on fresh strawberries with creme fraiche.  Dorie Greenspan's Creme Fraiche (you can find the recipe here) has been on my to-do list for awhile, and I finally have heavy cream in the fridge!  Yippee!
That's all I've got today.  Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Languishing Scarf

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This scarf languished in the WIP bin for a ridiculously long time. Ridiculously.  The yarn is Casbah Sock (in Woodland colorway), which was a present from my mom (Hi Mom!).  It has enough cashmere content that I was a little intimidated at first.  I mean, what if I screwed it up?  So, it languished (and was petted) for nearly a year before I settled on a simple pattern that highlighted its pretty color changes without a distracting pattern.
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So, by the end of 2009, I had cast on as per The Commuter Scarf pattern.  The pattern is simple, and really great for variegated or handpainted yarns.

Then, I was whisked into the 10 Shawls in 2010, and this scarf languished in a drawer for an entire year!  I got it out in January, only to realize that a single skein would make a scarf that was a bit too short for my tastes... Luckily, I tracked the colorway down again, didn't bother with the dyelot, and managed to get 134 yards into a luscious scarf.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fruit Fun!

We just finished a crazy busy weekend, which involved a fun party on Saturday night.  Since much of the earlier part of the day was taken up with family-goodness, I knew I wouldn't have time to make anything elaborate.  I opted, instead, to make a quick fruit tower  (which I'd seen in this month's issue of Food Network magazine).

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Less than ten bucks at the local produce store got us melons, strawberries, and grapes.  I dug the skewers out of the grilling bin, and we were good to go.  I cut off a bit of the bottom of the watermelon (enough so it sat flat), then halved it to make a nice, stable base for the skewers.  The one in the magazine had perfectly round melon balls, but that was a bit fussy for me.  I opted for cubed melons, halved strawberries, and good old grapes.  I think the different shapes gave it visual interest (and were waaay easier than messing with perfect spheres).

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Need two other bonuses to this project?  If you use a paper plate under the base, it's entirely disposable/recyclable.  So, if you're planning on heading to a party elsewhere, you don't have to worry about packing back your dishes.  Also, if you've got older kids (who can be trusted with skewers) it's a great project for making patterns!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Half a plan

Running a marathon is always one of those things I've wanted to do, but not been sure I had it in me.  Last week a friend asked if I wanted to run a half-marathon with her next fall, and I tentatively accepted.  Part of me was squeeing with delight, and part was utterly convinced that I could never pull it off (that's the self-doubting part).  I spent a week yoyoing between the two, and have dedicated this week to a feasibility study...

I grabbed several portable electronics, fired up the treadmill, and spent about an hour on the Runner's World training page.  I've run on the treadmill both Tuesday (3.65 miles in 31 minutes) and Thursday (2.58 miles in 24 minutes).  Today I also did a bit of Wii jogging as a warm up and cool down.  It's been years since I did regular, actual running and now I have that familiar tightness in my legs and am scrambling to remember all my old stretches!

I'm planning on a Saturday treadmill run, then next week I might look into some interval training  After a few weeks I'm hoping to get pretty comfortable doing 4 miles.  Then I might commit to a race.   After all, half a marathon is only half a commitment.  It should be half as intimidating, right?  Right??

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bark of the Spruce

I've dabbled in dyeing both my own yarn and fiber. Just after I got my wheel, I dyed and spun up this, my Spruce Sky Merino from Jan 2010.
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 I recently got a copy of Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece and wanted to dabble with a way of doing multiple colors in the oven.
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I used the fleeve leftover from my Spruce Sky superwash merino because it didn't have quite enough color to suit my tastes. The finished yarn was a little washed out, so I added more to these braids.
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Then I took one of those braids and overdyed it brown.
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I spun the singles up,
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... then plied the overdyed brown with the brighter orange and green. There's a bit more color, not too much of the orange.

There's a bit of barber-poling in the finished yarn, but I'm hoping it mellows as I knit. Now... what to knit?

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