Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Oh, Mummy...

... may I have a spot of tea?

If Hayden didn't have such a silly expression on his face (trust me - he's normally WAY cuter than this, but I wasn't having much luck getting a good picture before school) and he had pants on rather than shorts, he'd look straight out of a Rowan pattern book. I had to put shorts on him because it was almost 90 degrees. And as soon as the school picture was taken, we changed his top to a short sleeved t-shirt.

This is Hamish out of Rowan Junior. I used Rowanspun 4ply. I liked knitting with the yarn, and I like the tweediness of it, but sewing up with it is a pain. You have to be REALLY careful or it'll break. The pattern is extremely easy and very cute, but one major thing of note: I have had problems, which I've mentioned in an earlier post, with making the neckhole (for lack of a better word) fit over the poor child's head. I started out making the neckhole deeper, but that didn't work, so what I eventually ended up doing is just picking up stitches around the neck, knitting one row, then binding off, all with a size 6 needle. (The pattern tells you to pick up stitches and do 3x3 ribbing for 5 rows with a size 3 needle. No freaking way.) So, to anyone thinking of doing this vest, MAKE SURE IT CAN FIT OVER THE RECIPIENT'S HEAD. Someone told me in the past that a child's head is not too different than our heads, so if you're making this as a gift, try it over your head. Yeah, you might look stupid with this little vest hanging around your neck, but at least you're making sure that the vest can be put to good use.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

English mothers out there... your child's head smaller than the average American child's head? Because I think Rowan thinks so. I am in the process of doing the neckline on Hayden's vest (pattern is Hamish out of Rowan Junior), and I cannot make it go over his head. During one of the several trying on processes today, I actually made him cry. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. I am making the size for a child 8-9 years old, and Hayden is only 5 1/2. You'd think the neckhole would be big enough. This is actually the second time I've used this pattern, and having remembered what a pain in the neck it was trying to make it work the first time around, I made the hole deeper from the beginning. I've picked up stitches 4 times already - once I did the edging the way the patterns calls for and bound off loosely with a needle one size bigger; the next time I did only 3 rounds of edging then bound off; the next time I did 2 rounds of edging then bound off; the last time I just picked up stitches and immediately bound them off. NOTHING IS WORKING. I can get it over his head without any edging just fine, but I can't leave it like that (my husband seems to think I can, but what does he know about finishing a knitted garment?). And this isn't the only Rowan pattern I've done for Hayden that I've had this same problem with. The year after I did Hamish the first time, I did a v-neck sweater vest. V-necks, you'd think, would be no problem getting over his head. Not if it's a Rowan pattern! So do English kids have smaller heads? My child does not have an abnormally large head, so he's not the one at fault here. This is really annoying. After we eat dinner (and I have a beer), I'm going to try one more thing. If it doesn't work, I'll have to go up to my LYS tomorrow to get them to work their magic.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Some pictures

Here are the pictures promised on an eariler post (and on Craftster):

This is the start of the Ironman triathlon in Madison 2 weeks ago. There are 2,076 people swimming in that lake! Can you spot me?

This is me (far left) with some of my friends whom I trained with over the summer. Most everyone else is in normal, non-racing clothes b/c most everyone in that group finished WAAAAY ahead of me. The guy with his arm around me finished around 11 1/2 hours - my time was 14:42. But you know what? It was still light outside when he finished, so he never got to experience the pleasure of wearing a glow in the dark necklace. I feel so sorry for him. (Okay, not really. I'd love to be good enough to have a finishing time of 11:30.)

This is proof that I'm actually working on something from one of my KALs - the Union Square Market Pullover. It seems to be going so slowly, probably b/c a)the needles are size 3, and b) I keep working on other things during this sweater. My hope is to have it done by mid-October.

This is the back of a sweater vest for Hayden. I like to knit him something new for his class pictures every year, and since those happen sometime in September and I live in Nashville, a full-blown sweater is usually way too hot. Hence the decision for a sweater vest. I'm using the Hamish pattern out of Rowan Junior. The front of the sweater is going to have navy ribbing, then that wonderful orange stripe for 4 rows, navy for 4 rows, then the rest of it orange. I'll take a picture of the finished product when it's available - which, if everything works out the way I've planned, will be this coming Tuesday night. Pictures are Wednesday.

Here is a picture of the little man who is going to be the recipient of said vest. Adorable, ain't he? I tend to think so - but then again, I'm biased.

And this, my friends, is the most beautimous Butterfly. Isn't she stunning? Before my husband took this picture, I had run outside, so that's why I'm not all dolled up. I should've gotten him to take a picture Saturday night before I went out dancing b/c I looked really hot that night.

This is a closeup shot of no, not my boobs, but of the Butterfly detail. I took it by myself and couldn't manage to aim the camera at anything other than my chest. Sorry they're not anything spectular to look at - but isn't the lacy mohair???

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Thank you Compa Secreta!

I got my first SP6 package today, and it was chock-full of great things! Unfortunately something is wrong with the upload image on Blogger right now (or else I'm just being stupid - I'd like to think it's Blogger's fault) so I can't show you the contents, but I can tell you about them! There's a bar of handmade oat and lavendar soap; dog treats for Rudy and Gracie (so thoughtful!); little toys for Hayden to play with (even more thoughtful!); a book called "Chi Running" which I'm anxious to read b/c I've heard about this new style of running that sounds similar to this, and it's supposed to be great for keeping you injury-free; a CD of songs that she likes to run to (yay!); and the Loop D Loop book that I've drooled over for several months now. Yippee! Thank you very much Compa Secreta!!!

Speaking of running, I tried to run for the first time since Ironman last night - what a joke! I took last week completely off from working out, and I felt great. Monday night I swam, and that felt great. Last night I ran 3.5 miles in my neighborhood - not so great. In fact, as far from great as you can get. I made it the whole way without walking, but my time was 5 minutes slower than it normally is, and my legs hurt so badly that I felt like I had run 20 miles. Guess my legs haven't forgotten about the hell I put them through in Madison just yet. I had been planning on running again tomorrow, but I've obviously rethought that. I'll be on the Spin bike, listening to my SP CD.

Speaking of knitting (well, I really wasn't, but this is my knitting blog, so I can just pretend I was), I feel like I need to go to Knitalongs Anonymous. Have you noticed the KAL buttons on my sidebar? Have I talked about working on any of those projects lately? The problem is that I get bored at work and read other people's blogs and find KALs that I want to join. I am working on the Union Square Market Pullover, though, I promise. I just keep putting it down for other non-KAL projects, like Butterfly and Hayden's vest. I took a picture of my USM progress and will post it once I'm able to. I have yarn for the Weasley KAL, but I want to finish other things first before I start that. I haven't bought the yarn for the Greek Pullover KAL, but I've promised the hostess that I will soon. I must stop joining KALs - I must!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Can someone bring me some lunch?

Because I am so tired and can't muster up the energy to go out and get any. Friday was my birthday, so Mike, Hayden and I went to my favorite sushi restaurant for dinner then to the Gap to buy some jeans that I can't pull off without unbuttoning. (Of course, now that I'm not Ironman-training, that might change!). Yesterday I got up at 5:30am and went to a local triathlon and worked out on the bike course. That's always fun and should be done by anyone who's ever participated in a race. When I got home a little before noon, I started knitting feverishly on my Butterfly, trying to get it done before I went out that night. I had sewn her up, but I needed to graft the ends of the hem together (the biggest pain in the butt EVER), do the armholes and neck edging, do the straps, and weave in ends. I got it done, and it's lurvely. I'll post pictures at a later date. I made some changes to the pattern, simply b/c I wanted to wear it last night. I didn't do the picot cast off that the pattern calls for on the armholes and neck. I also knitted the straps with size 6 needles rather than 3s, and I did the straps the dress calls for rather than the top (the top/vest/whatever they call it has straps that tie up on the shoulders). I figured that straps are straps and if I used 3s, I'd never get it done in time. Looking back on it, however, I hope that I didn't make a bad decision. Kidsilk Haze is very stretchy, and I wonder if using the 3s would've made it less stretchy. I just don't want the straps to get all stretched out and make the top not fit correctly. It worked fine last night, but I could tell they did stretch out some. Maybe they've done all the stretching they're gonna do. Plus, maybe I can block them back down to their original length. Anyway, after I ate dinner last night, I went to Victoria's Secret and bought a purple bra and a purple camisole. I took Butterfly with me to make sure the ensemble looked good. Then later I went dancing with my hairdresser and my best friend. I don't mean to brag, but I was a vision of beauty in all my purple-ness. I was very pleased with how everything turned out. We went dancing at this really fun gay bar until 2am, then Dee (my friend) and I made a late night snack stop at Wendy's. (I had watched "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle" earlier, so we called our adventure "Dee and IronNakedie go to Wendy's." It was funny at the time, and still is, a little bit.) I didn't go to bed until after 3am. This has been the second weekend in a row that I have stayed up for almost 24 hours. Yikes! Man, I need some sleep. Back to normal life starting tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Secret Pal 6

Secret Pal 6 has started, and I've heard from my spoiler and I've gotten in touch with the one I'm spoiling. Her blog looks very interesting, and she's got some patterns that she's written that I may have to add to my list. Fun! Anyway, for my spoiler, here are some updated answers to the questionnaire. Some of these answers are the same as when I first answered them back in May, but some have changed.

1. Am I a yarn snob? Yes, I have to admit I am. I'll knit with some non-yarn snob yarn from time to time, but I really prefer the snobby stuff.

2. Do I spin or crochet? I don't spin, and I know how to crochet but don't do it much.

3. Any allergies? No.

4. How long have I been knitting? I learned 5 years ago but took a break for about a year. I've really been going strong for about 2 years.

5. Do I have an Amazon wish list? No.

6. What's my favorite scent? I'm not really big on scents, but I do like lavender.

7. Do I have a sweet tooth? YES YES YES!!! I especially love dark chocolate.

8. What other crafts or DIY projects do I do? I've done a lot - sewing, smocking, cross-stitching, scrapbooking, jewelry making - but knitting is my favorite.

9. What type of music do I like? Can my computer/stereo play MP3s? I like a lot of different stuff - southern rock, plain old rock, disco, dance music - there isn't much I don't like. My all-time favorites are Lenny Kravitz and Lynyrd Skynyrd (no, I'm not a redneck, but they're really fun to take your shoes off and dance in the grass to), but right now I can't stop listening to the latest Duran Duran CD.

10. What's my favorite color? Are there any colors I hate? Purple is the absolute best color in the world. I am knitting so many purple things right now it's scary. I really like green as well, and other bright colors: pink, orange. I don't like earthy tones like brown (although I bought some brown suede knee-high, high-heeled boots recently and they're HOT!)

11. What's my family situation? Do I have any pets? I've been married since 1998 and we have a 5 1/2 year old son who's autistic. We also have 2 dogs, a Jack Russell named Rudy and a German Shorthaired Pointer named Gracie.

12. What are my life dreams? Well, I just realized a 10-year old dream of mine when I completed the Ironman Wisconsin triathlon this past Sunday, so I don't really know. If I wanted to be totally serious, it'd have to be that a cure for autism would be found and it'd work on my son.

13. What are my favorite yarns? Lately I've been having a love affair with merino wool and with mohair. I can't go with anything too bulky b/c Nashville doesn't typically get really cold. I also love handpainted yarns like Koigu and Artyarns.

14. Are there any fibers I don't like? I don't like acrylic or chenille.

15. What are my current knitting obsessions? I always love knitting sweaters, and right now I'm in love with lacy mohair.

16. What are my favorite items to knit? Sweaters for me or my son.

17. What am I knitting right now? Where do I start??? I am working on the Union Square Market Pullover from Interweave Knits, the Butterfly camisole from the summer issue of Rowan, a vest for my son from a Rowan kids book, and will soon add to that list a fuzzy halter top for my best friend.

18. What are my thoughts on ponchos? I don't hate them, but I dont' see myself making any more in the future. I have a couple, and that's enough.

19. Straight needles or circulars? Circulars.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, or plastic? Bamboo.

21. Am I a sock knitter? I know how, but I don't make them very often.

22. How did I learn to knit? I took a class at my LYS with a group of friends.

23. How old is my oldest UFO? Almost a year now - I started a crochet scarf in a workshop last October and got so bored with it that I put it down. I tend not to have UFOs, though, b/c I'm very anal. I have a good reason for all of my UFOs.

24. What's my favorite animated character and my favorite animal? The Fraggles are coming back, and I'm finding I get excited when my son wants to watch them on DVD. I don't really have a favorite animal, but I have a totally UNfavorite animal: frogs. I'm so scared of frogs it's sad. I'm not responsible for anything I say or do when I see a frog.

25. What's my favorite holiday? Christmas. I usually knit my son a special sweater, and I love to see him in it. I also love giving knitted gifts.

26. Do I collect anything? No.

27. Do I have any magazine subscriptions? No.

28. Are there any books I want? Does any knitter ever answer no to this? I want Loop D Loop, the new Rebecca Soft Kid book and any book Rowan has ever put out. My birthday is coming up (this Friday!), so I may get some of these.

29. Are there any patterns I've been coveting? I'd say no to covet b/c that carries such a strong connotation, but I've been eyeing the new Rebecca magazine and the new Vogue knitting. If I had more time and less projects on my To Do list, I'd make the Koigu skirt in there, but just a little bit shorter. I also keep looking at Rogue.

30. What are my foot measurements, and what kind of socks do I like? I wear a size 8 shoe, but I typically don't wear socks. If it's warm enough, I'm in flip flops. If it's cold enough, I'm in boots that are too high to see a sock. If I'm exercising, I'm in running or cycling socks.

Monday, September 12, 2005

As Black Sabbath says...

I AM IRONMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yay! I did it! I did it! I did it! I swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles, and then ran freakin' 26.2 miles! And I wanna do it again! How sick is that???

Honestly, it was awesome. Truly awesome. We got into Madison Thursday night and we stayed at the hotel where a lot of my training buddies were, so it was easy to hang out with friends. I think that played a major factor in my not being nervous. I almost felt like I was on vacation - except this vacation ended with some self-induced torture. I didn't get nervous until yesterday morning when I had to leave my husband and get into the water with 2,000 other people. The swim wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I started pretty far back in the pack and I stayed to the far right (which probably added some distance to my swim, but I preferred going further to getting pummeled in the water). I didn't really get clobbered until about 3/4 of the way when this guy tried to rip my left ear off. In the process he smashed my goggles into my eye sockets. Not comfortable at all. Then as we made our last turn in the water and started heading for the shore, this other guy somehow wrapped his arm around my neck and pulled me underwater. That's not comfortable either. But I survived, and I got out of the water 7 minutes faster than the time that I was really hoping for but didn't feel like I could pull off. So that was really exciting. The bike course was hellacious. I read somewhere that the loop I had to ride twice had 30-40 hills in it, so that meant I climbed 60-80 hills over the course of 112 miles. 2 of the hills were very Tour de France-ish in that people lined the streets and cheered you on like crazy. That was super fun. The run was really nice and probably would've been more enjoyable had I not just ridden 112 miles and swam 2.4 miles. The spectators were incredible. They lined the streets and encouraged all of us. Our race numbers had our names on them, so I had all these strangers yelling, "You're doing so great, Stephanie!" or "Way to go, Stephanie!" That kept me running when I really didn't want to. And when I finally got to the finish line after 14 hours and 42 minutes, all the pain and the tiredness that I had been experiencing for hours vanished, and I ran through that tape with fresh legs and the most humongous smile on my face. I was tired and sore, but I was sooooo happy and proud of myself that I actually did it. It was so amazing.

One thing that would've made the race better was the weather. We had the absolute worst weather you could have - it was over 90 degrees and VERY windy. I've never ridden my bike in such horrible wind. Wind just sucks the life out of you on the bike. I was riding downhill, pedaling, and going only 13 miles per hour. (For you non-cyclists, I should be able to go downhill without pedaling over 20mph.) The weather forced tons of people to drop out of the race (something no triathlete doing an Ironman wants to do - no matter how much you are hurting or how many times you've puked, you do everything in your power to stay in the race - you didn't put in all the crazy training hours over the summer and pay the over $400 race fee for nothing!). During the ride, I saw tons of men laying in the grass or in the bushes. There were ambulances everywhere - you either were seeing one or hearing one just about the whole time you were out there. It was quite scary. Because of the heat and the extra work we were having to do on our bikes due to the wind, people were getting dehydrated. It was like a war zone. I was so grateful to make it out okay and get off my bike to start that run. The run was harder than it should've been b/c it was still hot when I started and I had to work extra hard on the bike due to the wind. I walked a lot, but I had fun talking to other people, so I was okay with the walking. A girl I trained with started out on the run at the same time I did and I would've really liked to have finished before her, but she was on a rampage and ran every step of the marathon, so she finished almost 20 minutes ahead of me. I wasn't mad, though - I guarantee I had more fun than she did. I met some new people and got to walk a lot with another one of my friends who wasn't really having that great of a day. We had a blast together. And that's what it's all about - achieving such a huge accomplishment and having fun in the process.

So now I'm home and have to figure out a way to get back to normal life. I am very tired (there's not much sleep going on the night before an Ironman, and when I tried to go to bed after the race my legs and lower back were so sore that I had trouble getting comfortable enough to fall asleep) and extremely sore, but very happy. And I want to say thank you to everyone who cheered me on: Kel, Michelle, Stacie and Beth. It was really fun to check my blog on Saturday while in Madison and see the well wishes you guys left for me!

One more thing: I did, of course, go to a yarn shop while in Madison: The Knitting Tree. I met the shop owner, Melissa Mathay, bought one of her books, and had her autograph it. She was a lot of fun. I'd totally hang out in that store if I lived there. I bought some wonderfully yummy kettle dyed merino wool in purple (of course!) and green to make a shrug. She designed the pattern for the shrug and they had a model in the store, so I got to try it on and see how cute it was on me. And the yarn is TO DIE FOR. It's one of those yarns that you want to spread out on the floor and roll around naked in. Of course I have 3 projects on the needles right now and a fourth one that is just about to jump on some more needles, so it'll have to wait. It's not cool here yet anyway, so it's okay.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

We're on our way!

My husband just pulled out of the driveway with my bike and all the rest of my stuff to head up north for Madison. Yipes! With every passing minute, this thing is becoming more real. Last week I got assigned a race number. 2 days ago I swam in the pool in my wetsuit, just b/c I haven't swam in it all year long. Yesterday I got my final pre-race massage. This morning I went out for an easy 30 minute run and came home to finish packing. At 5pm today I'll be on a plane headed towards Chicago, where my husband will pick me up on route to Madison. And Sunday is the race! The race that I've been dreaming of for 10 years. The race that I have put myself through long, hot, tiring training hours for. And hopefully, it'll be the race that I'll hear the words, "Stephanie Honeycutt, you ARE an Ironman!" at the end of. A training partner recently forwarded a copy of an essay written by another triathlete titled "140.6 Reasons To Do an Ironman". (140.6 is the number of miles an Ironman covers: 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run.) Here are some of my favorites:

For everyone who has ever asked you "Why?"

For the teachers in school who told you you'd amount to nothing.
To silence the one voice inside your head that still believes that bunk.

I want to laugh at the former cool (now fat) kids at my 20th high school reunion.

Knowing that as you step in the water on race day - YOU MADE IT THIS FAR! Now just get home.

Knowing that after the gun goes off, you don't have to worry anymore.

Because Winston Churchill said I can't ever give up.

Knowing that when you wake up at 4am, the next time you go to bed you'll be a VERY different person.

Finding yourself in the middle of your doubts...finding a new meaning of being scared.
Finding out that you're far stronger than those doubts a few miles later.

To see if it really feels as good to do as it does to dream.

That moment when you know you're going to make it for the first time all day.

The Finish Line.
The first step after you cross the line and think "Oh...My...God...!"
The Medal.

Because they said I can't.

Because I say I can.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I've never been so excited to be a number!

I'm number 1914!!!

They just assigned race numbers to all the participants of Ironman Wisconsin, and I'm #1914. Aack! This is becoming more real!!!

And for a double "aack!", here you go:

Final Countdown

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The waiting is over...

My secret pal is Michelle! She was such a great secret pal, especially after I started out with a not-so-great one. She made my first Secret Pal experience very fun, and I signed up for SP6.

So thanks, Michelle!