Archive for February, 2007

Bad runner…

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

… no yarn for me! I didn’t go to Stitches West this weekend.

Not that I “deserved” to go. I sign up for Runagogo, and then I never run. Or post. Or cheer. For most of this month! I have a lot of miles to get through in the next five or six weeks. I think I’ll have to bust out the bike for some big distance. My knees won’t be able to handle the sudden increase in mileage. The runs will have to be walk/runs to ease me back into activity. If I get to 100 miles, I’ll reward myself with some cashmere yarn from that sweater.

However, there was plenty of swimming this weekend. Too bad I’m not counting that yardage. I was at the pool on Saturday from 8:30 until 3:00; four of those hours in the water. Due to missing mid-week practices (thank you, work stress), I considered dropping my solo for the Paris competition, if not Nationals. I was feeling all kinds of behind and my free routine barely has an opening hybrid. Saturday’s afternoon swim boosted my confidence, as I locked down my tech routine. I practiced more today, during our five hours of land and water time.

Only other interesting highlights of this weekend were seeing The Lives of Others (which I just read wonthe Oscar for best foriegn film), more jeans shopping (that deserves a post or two) and completing the first Lisa Souza sock. Oh, there was another first… right after I turned the heel earlier this week, I decided to start up another sock—different yarn, needles and pattern—just so I don’t get bored. We’ll see if I can avoid second sock syndrome. So far, with all of the socks I’ve made, so good.

Sunday morning

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Pardon the poor camera phone resolution. Math4Knitters podcast is playing in the background.

Saturday afternoon

Saturday, February 17th, 2007
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Here we are, three tired puppies. That’s me on the left, Janie Sparkles next to me on the couch, and Tank, an English bulldog who’s spending the weekend with us. Three hours of synchro practice this morning, brunch with Mr. Man (who took the photo) and his two friends, a whole lot of dog ruff-housing and subsequent vacuuming (thank you, Mr. Dyson). I was tuckered out.

You can’t see it very well, but right next to me is a Know Knits Go Mobile pouch. Before yesterday, I had never heard of it. Before yesterday, I had never owned a skein of Socks that Rock (in a fabulous gay-ass rainbow colorway). Last, before yesterday, I never owned fancy, handcrafted sock blockers!

Scout's Swag

In Friday’s mail, a box arrived from Ms. Scout. It’s a very early birthday surprise from her Scout’s Swag shop. I cannot thank her enough. Her kindness and generousity have been evident since we started emailing back in November. She’s one quality lady, and someday she’s going to find a little surprise in her mailbox (no promises when). She’s got me as a customer, but more importantly, a friend for life.

As a follow-up to my last post, I haven’t run out and bought the cashmere sweater to rip. It’s been crazier and crazier at work and I’ve got more than enough yarn in my life, not to mention three sweaters and one zipper behind. Besides, I hate spending money. But, I may swing by tomorrow to see if there are any more left.

For more doggy photo goodness, there are more in my photos and Dead Slow’s photos on flickr.com.

Does this make me look ripped?

Monday, February 12th, 2007

I’m finally wearing this weekend’s cashmere purchase, and I’m in heaven. I never knew goats could feel so lovely! It’s warm. It’s light. It’s soft. It’s dreamy. And I only paid $62 (after discount and gift certificate) for it. Cheaper than 3.5 balls of sock yarn!

Do you want to see a picture? Go here. I’ve got the chocolate one, two pictures down, only I don’t look like the lonely, pouty, skinny boy sitting on the wooden walkway. He’s probably starving… since he spent all his lunch money on the sweater.

Now, here’s my conundrum. In looking over the construction, this machine-knit baby was made like we make sweaters. The pieces are seamed together and you can easily see the selvage. This means, one could easily rip it out and re-use the yarn. The 100% cashmere worsted-weight yarn. I could buy a large or extra-large for $150. A lot of money, yes, but cheaper than buying the yarn from Jilly Knitwear or any LYS. Then, I’d design my own sweater. Or make baby objects. Or knit who knows what.

Waste of money? Fashion sacrilege? Saavy shopper? Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow my stash with couture yarn chosen by a friend? What would you do?

Brussel Sprouts

Sunday, February 11th, 2007
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I just lost a much wittier version of this post, detail my weekend’s cooking with a side of shopping. I’m too tired to rewrite it all, so you’re just going to have to deal with the abridged version.

In addition to the carmelized goodness you see pictured, I roasted some leeks. Never has something so vegan melted in my mouth in such a buttery way. It makes me want to put olive oil, salt and pepper on everything in my life. Inspired by Mel I made a loaf of the no-knead bread to take to brunch this morning. Why I’m not baking every weekend is a mystery to me.

While I don’t believe in retail therapy and I hate spending money, I played my role in the economic drama and took away a cashmere sweater and some Japanese dungarees. Could I sound any more pretentious and gay? If you only knew me.

Sure, I could have made myself a sweater, but I couldn’t even buy half the yarn required for the price I paid. It was half-off and I had a gift certificate left over from the holidays. It helped that it’s from a friend’s new-ish company Loden Dager. (His day job is technical director for Marc by Marc Jacobs.) I love his work, and although machine-knit, the diagonal cabling is made from a similar increase/decrease pairing as the Jaywalker socks.

Homemade sock blockers

Speaking of which, I washed them and a bunch of other socks. Not having my own fancy oak and birch sock blokers a la Scout, I made my own Christina Crawford-inspired ones from these instructions.

Very little fiber object making happened, but I’m OK with that. I’m in the homestretch of the too-popular scarf (no link until it’s done, I’m so ashamed). I wound a ball of Lisa Souza sock yarn to dive into before STR starts arriving. Heck, I’m one glove and bunch of embroidery short of my own pair of Knucks. I have tomorrow night to knit… if I’m not hanging around the office.

My day job

Friday, February 9th, 2007

My boss just sent this to me. While we don’t do TV commercials, I can see web design work echo’ed here. That said, I do love my job, and our marketing issues aren’t this bad. Warning: naughty words are said.

That’s just a snippet. The entire twelve-minute video can be viewed here.

Roasted Turnips

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

What’s there to say about these round guys? I would never have thought that y’all would express so much interest in my off-handed remark about a root vegetable that my 1950s-minded man calls “poor people’s food.” (I don’t know when he got all high and mighty… and he loves a good baked potato. His favorite meal of jarred spaghetti sauce, angel hair and frozen meatballs doesn’t sound too high falutin to me.)

When I included my turnips in Sunday’s list of weekend productivity, it was partially about the dish, partially about me. Food-wise, roasting turnips was a simple process of peeling, quartering and chopping down to bite-sized pieces, 15 minutes of parboiling (putting them in boiling water), then tossing the drained chunks with oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. The oven was pre-heated to 375º and then I ignored them for 30-40 minutes. I wish I had put them in longer and raised the temperature to get them more brown, but I feared making them too mushy. Roasting, in general, is something that fascinates me. I don’t nearly roast enough. The magical combination of salt, oil and heat continues to delight and surprise me.

The flavor of a turnip is somewhere between the tang of a parsnip or a radish mixed with the consitency of a potato. The ones I cooked were purple-topped white fleshy bulbous roots with one or two golden turnips thrown in for good measure. They came from the Riverdog Farm organic veggie box I get each week at work. Beyond supporting locally-grown agriculture, I love not having to shop and trying out things that I wouldn’t normally buy.

On occasion, the box adds to my stress—if i’m not cooking from it and letting it go to waste. I hate throwing any of it away. Just the act of preparing food (regardless of the delicious results) grounds me in the same way as does knitting a few stitches. It connects me to my life, it brings me great joy to make yumminess, and I get to use my hands to start, prepare and complete a project.

Now, after 7pm and still at the office, I just popped a few leftovers in my mouth and they still get me. But not too much. I’m going to Kirala for my swim coach’s big 32nd. Perhaps next time I’ll “cut” the turnips with some potatoes and let ‘em get all crispy. But that will have to wait… there ain’t no turnips in the box this week. I’ve got leeks, spinach, oranges and mei qing choi to deal with.

Handpainted Footwear

Wednesday, February 7th, 2007
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At last, the saga of the Jaywalkers is over. Surgery was successful and the toe grafted at the breakfast table on Tuesday morning. Thank you all for the well wishes (and I’ll explain roasted turnips at a later time). My Monday was not a pleasure at work, so I really needed these happy socks to uplift my Tuesday.

While the pattern was mildly interesting to knit, these wouldn’t be my favorite socks to wear—too slouchy; I need me some ribbing. They sit on your legs like an oldfashioned stocking.

The only redeeming quality is the LOVELY Scout’s Swag yarn. Keep in mind, this photo is a washed-out blue of a dim San Francisco morning sun. In real life, the socks (and my pallid legs) are even brighter. I adore the colors and the wool itself feels fabulous, especially in comparison to the commercially made bike socks I’m wearing today.

I cannot thank Scout enough for making this yarn for me. She went with the colors in the photo in my header and introduced me to the joys of well-dyed handpainted yarn. Happy blog birthday, lady! I owe you (yet another) drink when we finally meet in person!

Sunday p.m.

Sunday, February 4th, 2007
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It’s that time, just before bed on Sunday when you’re ready to go to bed, but dread it at the same time. It was a rather productive weekend: reknitting the sock and starting on the toe decreases, a website redesign meeting for the swim team, not one, but two practices, roasted turnips, a new restaurant with an old friend, groceries and a visit to the dog park (followed by a long overdue bath).

But heading off to bed means the week starts anew: long days at work, the stress an ever-growing to-do list, not enough down time with my man. Luckily, I get to cuddle up next to the above mug and the guy who took the picture.

Sock surgery

Friday, February 2nd, 2007
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Here’s my new six needle technique… two circulars and four DPN’s. Don’t you just hate when you’re ready to begin the toe of a sock, only to read the pattern and realize you f’ed up about four inches back? And I thought I was going to finish this guy today.

I ASS-umed that I could just plow ahead once the gusset decreases had the same number of stitches on the sole as the instep. Nope. Due to the angularity of the zig-zag pattern, it’s 6 less stiches on the sock’s under belly. It wouldn’t have been a problem had I not already knit the first sock correctly. No wonder this one was striping nicely while its partner had a rotating pooling.

I’m ready to rip… say good-bye to this Dune-inspired monstrosity.