February 25, 2008

Monday's post

Must Have Cardigan Update
One sleeve is complete. This sleeve is also my test swatch. It is now pinned to a damp towel, working like the devil to live up to expectations by drying to the desired dimensions. I don’t have a picture of this. It is not visually stimulating.

Spring Training Update
Today was day two of week three of spring training 2008. I made some progress. I felt, for the first time this year, that today’s five mile run was no more strenuous than a sneeze. OK, two sneezes. Well, maybe three sneezes in rapid succession.

Training stats for the first three weeks
  1. Miles run: 53, give or take

  2. Non-running stuff: miscellaneous weights, yoga, and ab exercises. Ab exercises are totally ineffective for me, but I continue doing them out of pure lunacy.

  3. Injuries: Two blisters. Weird collapsing arch and weak ankle, both cured by an afternoon of knitting with raised feet.

  4. Disturbing incidents: discovered a hole in the seat of running pants—the day after wearing them. Gaggle of kids poking a stick into bushes next to running trail, one of them saying, “Don’t tell Mom.”

  5. Three episodes of breaking training during week two:

    a. While at Fred Meyer looking for the latest issue of Interweave Knits, purchased a bag of Cadbury chocolate eggs. The eggs were later consumed at my residence, while knitting something (I forget what).

    b. At the Hotel Oregon, a shared order of chips with spinach, artichoke, and sour cream dip.

    c. At the Red Fox Bakery, inhaled a large cinnamon snail. A cinnamon snail is a hybrid between a cinnamon roll and a croissant. A cinnamon snail is very delicious.

    d. Baked and ate some peanut butter cookies. This doesn’t count as the fourth breakdown. Cookies are part of my training regimen.

  6. Successes: met running goals despite being loaded down with chocolate and whatnot.

February 24, 2008

An Urban Aran in wine country

I took the Urban Aran for a test drive last week in McMinnville, Or.
It exceeded expectations in every area of performance. It looks great, fits great and is cozy and comfortable. It kept me warm while I enjoyed a class of Pinot Noir (or was it Black Rabbit Red?) on the rooftop bar of The Hotel Oregon.

Later, bolstered by its timeless, yet hip, diagonal cables, I remained stoic during a theatrical performance so atrocious that it seemed designed to suck out your soul, like dementors, and make you feel as though you’d never be cheerful again.

It's a great sweater pattern.

McMinnville is a casual, artsy town in the middle of the Willamette Valley American Vitacutural Area. Besides having many restaurants and stores offering “wine tastings,” the downtown has a great yarn store, The Knitting Basket.

I bought six skeins of Donegal Tweed Homespun. The rich green color doesn’t really show in this photo. You’ll just have to take my word that it is beautiful, and if I’d had a set of size 8 needles on me, I would’ve hung the “Privacy Please” sign up on the hotel room door. That’s how much I love it. (Thanks for buying it for me, Sweetie.)

February 19, 2008

Dazed spring approaches

Knitting doesn’t do a body good. It’s quite good for the brain and the soul, but months of satisfying winter knitting, along with the chocolate that fuels the knitting, has left me tipping toward the rotund. If one spends all one’s time playing with yarn, there just isn’t time for hours of fartleking over woodland trails, tempo runs, intervals, lsd’s, and all the other rot required to stay in peak physical condition.

So, last week, I put down the needles and began spring training.

The first week went fairly well (20 miles). This week has been tough, but today I was inspired by the sight of a bald eagle soaring low over the lake. It looked free and mighty. My spirits rose.

For awhile, all burdens fell away. I was light on my feet. Small birds twittered in the bush, and I remembered that spring rabbits would soon be hopping down the bunny trail. Ah, bunnies, birdies, and eagles soaring low…RUN, BUNNIES, RUN!!! Well, that’s the circle of life.

Today, I cast on the sleeve of the Must Have Cardigan (in Patons Street Smart booklet). I wouldn’t have thought of knitting it, but the stitches looked so great on Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee’s blog, that I decided to do a knit-along with her. I hope that’s not creepy, or anything, doing an unsolicited knit-along.

February 17, 2008

Mixed results

I’m moderately happy with how this turned out. In and of itself, it looks pretty good though not great. (Update 10/26/2010: this turned out to be my favorite sweater. It's warm and cozy.)

I’m much happier with the project I finished today: the coveted Urban Aran from Patons Street Smart book. This pattern is great. I first saw it on brooklyntweed, but I’ve seen it on many other blogs, too. The ribs and cables in the chunky yarn add a lot of structure, maybe that’s why it looks great on both the lean and the curvy.

I altered the sleeves and armholes a bit. They were a tad wide and short and seemed in danger of looking dumpy. I also knit the body back and forth on one long circular to avoid seaming. I used Elann’s Highland Chunky in Spiced Wine.

I plan to wear it on the rooftop bar of the Hotel Oregon when I travel to Oregon's wine country later this week.