Thursday, May 18, 2006

Somewhat Cowl... somewhat ugly. At least mine is. What a bummer. Not even deserving of a picture. I should've followed my gut instinct and not attempted this pattern. Not to offend anyone, but the SWCs I've seen on the Internet (with the exception of Wendy's) aren't really all that appealing to me. But nooo, I thought that if I splurged on the Alpaca & Silk, I'd end up with the same sexy sweater that Wendy has. I didn't think about the fact that my boobs are probably smaller than hers. The cowl diminishes my small rack even more, and the back is bunchy, like there's too much fabric. If the yarn weren't so damn expensive, I'd save this for a birthday present for a bigger, more bustier friend, but I just can't do that at $9.50 a skein. I already have plans for its reincarnation, though: the Fairy Net Blouse from the Summer IK.

I actually got back to my Sampler Stole last night - woo hoo! I was watching the first part of the "Top Chef" finale, though, so I didn't get too much done. I was sad to see Dave pack his knives and go. I want to find him and eat his food. It sounds delicious. (Joe from my Baltimore plane ride thought so too. He's in culinary school and watches "Top Chef" as religiously as I do. Girls in the Providence, RI area, take note: Joe is REALLY cute, has a great New York accent, loves to cook, has a brother who knits socks, and is not gay! Go for it!!!)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Whirlwind weekend #2: brought to you by the letter F

Florida. Fun. Flat. Fast. Fantastic!

We left on Thursday afternoon for Panama City Beach, an 8+ hour drive. Saturday morning I competed in the Gulf Coast Triathlon, a half Ironman race. (Actually, I should say half Iron distance race because Gulf Coast isn't an Ironman sanctioned event. But you get the idea.) 1.2 mile swim in the ocean, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. Florida is very flat, so I was excited to see how fast I could go. My previous PR (personal record) for this distance was 5 hours, 59 minutes, 58 seconds. My goal was to break that, but hearing about how the wind and the heat can really make this race a doozie, I wasn't sure I could do it. Friday morning I awoke to no wind and a pleasant high 70 degrees. I ran a little with a friend of mine, and we kept praying to the triathlon gods that we get the same weather the next day. Fortunately, someone up there heard us, and we had awesome conditions. Here's how my race went:

1.2 mile swim: 41:39 (goal was 47:00)
T1 (swim to bike transition): 3:47 (goal was 4:00)
56 mile bike: 2:49:58 (goal was 2:57:00)
T2 (bike to run): 1:43 (goal was 3:00)
13.1 mile run: 2:03:25 (goal was 2:00)
Total: 5:40:31 (goal was 5:51:00)

I came in 18th out of 63 women in my age group - top 30%. I was very pleased. The ocean swim wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, and the bike was really fun and really fast. The run even went well for me - at least up until mile 10. I lost my focus after that and struggled a little the rest of the way. I'll blame it on seeing a fellow Nashvillian pull over to the side of the road to puke, and another walking in pain just 2 hours after happily blowing by me on the bike. Overall, it was a great race for me. Today I am very sore and tired, but happy.

Unfortunately, I wasn't very productive with my road trip knitting. Last week I decided that my Somewhat Cowl was somewhat short, so I ripped out all of the ribbing on the bottom. I didn't have a chance to steam the kinks out of that used yarn before we left, though, so I just had to work with what was in the bag. I have about 15 rows of ribbing left to do, the neckline to whipstitch down, and ends to weave in. And it needs to be blocked. This yarn, as nice as it is, shows little inconsistencies in my stitches very well. I'm counting on a good blocking smoothing things out. Last week on my way to Maryland I started the back of a Rowan sweater vest. I finished the back of it in the car on Friday night, but I have to rip the whole thing out and start again on smaller needles. That's what I get for not doing a gauge swatch. I'm going to blame that on my plane companion Joe - had it not been for a great view and good conversation, I would've paid more attention to what I was doing. Joe - you're killing me.

I'll leave you with some pictures from the weekend:

Saturday afternoon delight.

This is what the ocean looked like on Sunday. Good thing the race was the day before! I don't know if I could've made it through those waves.

He looks like he's grimacing, but it's just the sun. That's his normal "Cheese!" face. He had a absolute blast on the beach.

Sunday's car ride back home was not the highlight of the weekend, that's for sure!

Hanging out on the beach drinking beer all afternoon isn't the right way to recover from a race, but it sure was fun!

The only true race injury I had: a gash on the inside of my right knee.

I have a Bento Box that I strap on the top tube of my bike to hold snacks. It makes it really easy to ensure you're fueling correctly during the race and won't bonk. However, it wasn't strapped on tightly enough to stay in place and kept leaning to the right. Every once in a while, the hard piece of plastic in it (that later I found out I could've removed - d'oh!) would stab me and cause me to mutter curse words that would've caused me to get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty had the officials heard. Note to self: keep my box nice and tight. It'll make everyone happy in the end.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Whirlwind Weekend #1 (and some socks!)

Sunday night was the conclusion of Whirlwind Weekend #1 (the first in a 3-part series). Friday night I flew up to Baltimore and the wonderful Eunny picked me up. We spent the weekend running, eating (me more than her, as noted in Monday's post on her blog!), getting lost, and enjoying the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. I bought some glorious merino/mohair at the Brooks Farm booth, a kit for a really intricate shawl at the Morehouse booth, a drop spindle, and some roving. Eunny showed me how to use the spindle Saturday night, but I still suck at it. Fortunately she gave me some roving to practice on so that I wouldn't waste the Bunny Balls or the pretty silvery grey wool top that I got. I need a LOT of practice before I can produce something worthy of being called yarn. Since others have already posted pictures, I won't bore you with many, but here are some of my favorites:

He looks like a punk rocker to me. Maybe he's got an iPod underneath all that hair and he's listening to the Sex Pistols or the Cramps.

So cute! Such a funny face!

Pixie Purls, Eunny and me enjoying the sun and the company during the knitbloggers meetup.

This weekend will be Whirlwind Weekend #2 - we're leaving on Thursday after Hayden gets out of school for Panama City Beach, Florida, where I will be competing in the Gulf Coast Triathlon on Saturday. It's a half Ironman distance race - 1.2 mile ocean swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. Hopefully I won't melt in that Florida sun!

And before I forget, the next part of this post should've happened last week. Bad blogger! Wednesday I got home and found my Sockapaloooza package in the mailbox! Sandra sent me some great socks:

Simply Lovely Lack Socks from the Spring 2006 IK. She used some Brooklyn Handspun in gorgeous purples, greens, and pinks. They fit me like a dream, and they're sooo soft. I just love them! Also in the package were some other goodies:

Pocky, roasted wasabi peas, a postcard from New York, and some cosmetic bags for holding my notions. (The bags are not in this picture b/c they're being put to use and have found their spot in one of my current project bags.) The Pocky and the peas are so so yummy, and the bags were much needed - I had been storing all of my notions in an old Ziploc bag. Anyway, thank you Sandra! She was at the Sheep & Wool Festival also, but unfortunately, we didn't get to meet.

And did I finish my Somewhat Cowl by last Friday, you ask? Nope. I was really close on Thursday night, but then I tried it on and decided that I may need to do some frogging. I had measured the body of the sweater last week before doing the ribbing on the bottom, but somehow the measurement was different when I tried it on and I need to add length. So I have to rip out the ribbing, do about 2 more inches of stockinette, then redo the ribbing. And I'm not quite sure the neckline is going to look exactly the way I'm hoping it will, so that may require some fiddling with. I'm doing just what the pattern says to do, but for some reason it's not turning out quite as sexy as I want it to. Of course, it doesn't help when you're trying it on with your unsexy pajamas, no makeup and helmet hair from the bike ride you took earlier in the day.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Should I...

...bust my butt over the next 48 hours to get my Somewhat Cowl done so I can wear it on Friday when I travel up to Baltimore for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, or put that aside until next week and start my Fad-Classic so I can be working on it this weekend? I've got the bottom ribbing and neckline left on the SWC, but I also have to do a 2 hour and 45 minute workout this afternoon. I REALLY want to finish it because I REALLY want to wear it because I think I'm REALLY going to like it. However, I can't drive myself crazy over it. I guess if I can get through the bottom ribbing and start the neckline today, then I'll forge on, but if I don't get that far, I'll wind the yarn for the Fad-Classic tonight and start swatching in the morning. And what color might my Fad-Classic be, you ask? I got the happiest color of orange - not obnoxious orange, not University of Tennessee orange (Heaven forbid anyone think that I'm a Vols fan!), but a bright, summery, happy tangerine orange. I've got a pair of white cargo capris and a tight white short sleeved top that I think the orange vest will look smashing with.

In non-knitting news, I've started taking Hot Yoga classes. Hot Yoga is essentially bikram yoga, a series of poses done in a 100-degree room. (Actually, our room is 99 degrees. I looked at the thermostat on Monday night.) A friend and I decided to try it out because we both have half Ironman triathlons coming up in hot weather climates (mine in Florida next weekend, and hers in Georgia in the beginning of June) and need to get somewhat acclimated to the heat. Man, it's HOT!!! The sweat just pours off of me - in certain poses, I look like I'm peeing and it's just running down my leg. (I promise I'm not peeing. It really is sweat.) When I get home, I peel my clothes off and hang them up to dry in the bathroom - that usually takes 2 days. But I do love it, though. (Except for when the woman ran out of the class Monday night and barely made it to the bathroom before throwing up. I was near the door, so that could've been an incredibly disgusting disaster.) And hopefully it'll pay off when I run a half marathon that is not in the shade at any point after swimming in the ocean 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles next Saturday.