Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Not Quite There...

Natural Beauty Fair Isle Second Sleeve, take 2
click to enlarge

The sleeve didn't get finished yesterday, but I ripped back to the fair isle section and fixed the garter rib. I'll finish that sleeve today then I'll try to get all the ends woven in and the seaming done tomorrow, block it on Thursday, and it's ready for Friday!!!

However, it's a known fact that I am not a one project at a time person (even on deadline), so here's something else:

Diamond Fantasy Shawl
click to enlarge

An other shawl... seems like a good time of year for them, I guess (sweaters are too warm to work on). That's the Diamond Fantasy Shawl in one of Fearless Fiber's superwash sock yarn. I tried to do this shawl before in one of Deb's yarns, and while I loved the yarn and I loved the pattern, they weren't working together:

Diamond Fantasy Shawl, first try
click to enlarge

So as usual, I'm knitting on too many projects (and I'm still crocheting away on my crochet lace shawl), but must buckle down and get that fair isle sweater done.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Take the Skinheads Bowling

We have Direct TV and part of the package is a handful of XM radio stations. I happen to listen to "Lucy" most of the day. If you aren't familar with Lucy it's "the biggest hits in the history of alternative rock". One of the bands that gets very regular rotation is the Dead Milkmen.

Now, I realize that I went to college in Philadelphia and so I'm fairly familar with the Dead Milkmen. However, I'm curious.... when did they have one of the biggest hits in the history of alternative rock?

Anyway, let's do the weekend activity updates.

The Tour de France finished. Saturday's time trial was exciting and I really enjoyed this year's tour. Now, I know that main stream media picked up on all the "scandals" as that's what they love to do, but when it comes down to it, it was a fabulous race this year. I get very tired of the focus on "cheating"... and I got news for ya. People cheat. Every where, every day on anything. People cheat to get promotions. People cheat to make money. People cheat on their spouses (and we still will look up to them as role models if they're a good athlete- which says a lot about priorities to me). While having this "100% clean" ideal is noble... it'll never happen. There will always be people who will break the rules to get what they want. So just as I don't think 100% clean is possible, I also don't think 100% dirty is possible either. I simply enjoy it for what it is.

So how about the knitting? Well, the Natural Beauty Fair Isle is cruising along:

Natural Beauty Fair Isle sleeve
click to enlarge

I hope to have the second sleeve finished today. Fair isle is very odd for me. Sometimes I get the groove and I love doing it and other times it feels very awkward for me. The problem is that Matt loves the look of fair isle, and I'm a cable first girl. Cables are my comfort zone. I enjoy knitting them... it's why I started knitting in the first place. I think I just haven't done enough fair isle yet... or is it that I have to carry two yarns at a time... or maybe it's higher concentration (I usually can memorize cable patterns, but fair isle requires constant chart reading). All I know is that while I looove the look and I know Matt loves it, I'm just not in my comfort zone. Maybe that's a good thing? Pushing my knitting skills is always good!!!

The other project that I'm working on is the crochet lace shawl:

Crochet Lace Shawl
click to enlarge

This project isn't photographing well, which is a shame, as I'm thrilled with how it's turning out. The colors are subtle and stunning, the hand dyed lace merino wool has a fabulous drape. I'm thrilled with it. There will be a pattern for it once it's done.

So more of the same today... just sans Tour. I really want to get that sleeve finished up today and maybe even weave in a few ends. I need to have this sweater finished and blocked by Friday.

UPDATE: KRAP! I just noticed that my second sleeve garter rib is different than the first. Ya, maybe taking pictures ain't such a good idea???? I probably would never have noticed. (did I mention KRAP???)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Look! Pictures!!!

The first sleeve for Matt's fair isle is done... sorta. I accidently cut two yarns that I hadn't woven in yet, and they are currently unraveling. Nice, huh? (Note to self: don't get cocky... especially late at night just to get something done). I'm hoping I can fix it with a little duplicate stitch (and maybe a little spit splicing).

However I confess that wool right now is NOT fun. The Shoalwater was such a perfect knit for this time of year. Light weight, fairly simple and practical for Right Now. So... let's try an other lace project:

Crochet Lace Shawl
click to enlarge

That's a simple rectangular crochet lace shawl that I'm designing. Oh, crochet is so much easier when there's no shaping. The yarn is absolutely stunning (photo doesn't even come close to doing it justice). I'm using Fearless Fibers merino laceweight yarn (ya, go buy some. Now. I'll wait). I love the way Deb does the rainbow dyed yarns... the colors are so subtle with a great impact. Perfect for this project. I've stocked up on most of her sock yarn colors (but Cindy, you don't knit soscks... ah true, but beautiful yarn is beautiful yarn.)

So I'm doing a little of this and a little of that... cycling thru projects.

Hey, speaking of cycling (heehee, nice segway, eh?), Matt's team decided not to do the Tour de 'Toona so they'll be doing the Grand View Crit tomorrow. Matt and Tim decided to do two races (3/4 and the 1/2/3), so I'm not going. That's a loooooooong day. They figure all the 1 and 2's are racing up in Altoona this weekend so they have a good shot! Here's Matt at last year's Grand View:

Grand View Crit 2006
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Looks like Health Net is having a great 'Toona, but Rite Aid is having a disappointing race. However, Rite Aid did make the cover of Bike Culture magazine!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Uh, Hi

In case you hadn't guessed... I'm still camera free. Well sorta. Somewhere there's another camera and our video camera takes stills. However, that smells like work... and we know how I feel about that.

So a quicky update. Ya, uh, Fawne is officially in a plastic bag and pointedly being ignored (I did refrain from flipping it off... which I think shows remarkable restrain on my part). However, I haven't given up hope... yet.

Instead I'm trying to finish a birthday gift for Matt. Um, do you remember this sweater?

Natural Beauty Fair Isle
click to enlarge

oh ya, I'm using a recycled photo for blog interest purposes!! That sweater has been in production for 8 years (if I were still a production coordinator, I would blame the author for not getting proofs back to me). I don't really dig knitting fair isle and someone went and lost a whole bunch of weight after I had cast it on. So it had to be restarted. I originally started with the 53" finished size, then I restarted it with the smallest size: 44". Ya, it's probably still too large, but he'll have to deal with it.

Anyway, we discussed his upcoming birthday, and this is all he asked for. He wants this sweater done (as he loves it). So the body is done (obviously) and I have one sleeve just about done. I'll finish that sleeve today. Maybe even get the second one cast on. However... it's going to be warm today and wool and hot muggy weather don't always mix.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paris by Sunday?

I don't think Fawne is going to make it to Paris by the end of the Tour de France. My KAL (or in my case CAL) is suffering and these mountains might just be too much for me.

I've now ripped back the "yoke" section several times and it's simply not working. I'm definitely not getting the directions and it just doesn't sit right on my body.

I've been sewing for 30 years and knitting for 15, so I understand garmet construction. Maybe that's the problem. I'm assuming a certain process for the shaping and maybe that's not what the pattern is supposed to do. However, I'm thinking instead of trying to figure out what the pattern wants, this might be a "do it my way" to see if I can salvage this project at all.

Part of it is that there's a lot of stitches on the "underarm" section that gets attatched... and I think that's where I'm running into a problem. I might not attatch as many then decrease more stitches on the raglan shaping? I don't know. I'm very very frustrated and as of right now, this project doesn't look very flattering on me.

I might need to work on something with cables today.... back to my comfort zone. Or I could do some housework. Ya, I'm still laughing about that one too!!!

Also if I don't have my camera back by tomorrow, I'll dig out the old one just so my blog looks a wee bit more interesting!

Monday, July 23, 2007

How to take pictures

So here's how we're doing with getting photos of bike races (if I don't go).

  • Step one: remember to give Matt the camera

  • Step two: remember to take the memory card out of the computer and put it into the camera before giving it to Matt

  • Step three: have Matt remember to actually give the camera to Chrissy so she can get pics at the race

  • Step four: have Matt remember to get the camera back from Chrissy

So we've progressed with each race... getting one step further as we went... so we're up to step four.

Meaning I don't have my camera. So that means everyone has already moved onto an other blog ('cause let's be honest... we don't actually "read" blogs, we look at pictures).

Just incase you actually read my updates, here's where I'm at...

Fawne is completely stalled. I added the length to the body and sleeves and it fits much better... however, that row gauge issue is effecting the raglan style decreases so I'll have to play with that. I think I'll do a decrease row, then a plain row, etc for a total of 6 rows before I start the arm cap shaping. I'll play with it today.

Oh, and how did the race go? Well, it was a tough day for the guys in the Cat 3 race. Only 20-something riders finished (out of 80 riders) and I think only three guys from Iron Hill finished: Tim, Jim and Matt. Matt actually got dropped on the 7th lap and rode the last 30 miles by himself. Once you get unhitched from the field, it's so hard to get back on.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

There's a first for everything

The good news is that I didn't have to redo the sleeves on Fawne... basically I made them too short. So I've added 3 rows to both sleeves (and I'm adding length to the body).

So that means a rant. This pattern has no measurements apart from the bust. There's no schematic and no row gauge. So I went by what the directions say (and they're a little vague... this pattern uses a lot of "looking at the picture as a reference"). While my stitch gauge is good, I'm obviously not on row gauge.

I don't think I've ever had to length sleeves in my life... I am short, with short arms. So that's a direct indication that there's a need to show some kind of gauge or schematic.

Today is the first "real" individual time trial in the Tour (the prologue is so short that it's not considered a time trial specialist event) and I think we'll see a few changes on the GC at the end of the day. I will say that I really miss the team time trials. Watching a team do a paceline is just beautiful to watch.

Matt's off to this morning for his race. This is a big one, but I'm not going. The laps are 10 miles so that's a long wait between laps. Plus there's no shade and I'm not sure of the status of flush toilets (the course is thru the rolling hills of Amish farm country... so I'm not expecting to see a lot of indoor plumbing).
Cargas Crit 2007

However, I believe Chirssy is going, so I'm going to give Matt the camera so she can get pictures (if he remembers... as he didn't for the last race).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hors Categorie

Ah, those pesky mountains! I was productive on Fawne yesterday and got the sleeves attatched and even got several rows of decreases done, then I hit the final climb... the upper arm shaping.

click to enlarge

The directions aren't clicking in my head (oh why can't all crochet patterns be charted?). I'll rip back and try again, as I know that's not right. I might have to just simply play until something seems right. Again, this is Knitting Park, not Crochet Park for a reason, as I struggle a lot more with complex crochet.

I also was able to slip it on... and it's might not be as sexy as I thought. In typical body issues, the sleeves are tight. Really tight. Now, it's designed to be a snug fit on the arms (even mentions it in the directions) so I went with the largest size specifically for arm fitting, yet they look a bit like I squeezed two sausages into a bright red sweater. Hrumph. I'm holding judgement until it's done... and the sleeve shaping is done.

Shoalwater Shawl Beaded Cast Off Detail
click to enlarge

Kristen asked me in my comments for a detail of the beads on the Shoalwater Shawl.

UPDATE: Fawne will be frogged... at least partly. Matt and I agree that the sleeves look horrid, so I'm going to pull back to the elbow and redo it with a bigger hook to add a little more ease.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shoalwater Shawl

I'm officially done with the Shoalwater Shawl.
Shoalwater Shawl
click to enlarge

While I really liked the way it looked and draped before, blocking it turned it into a completley different finished project. I absolutely love it.

Project Stats:
Pattern: Shoalwater Shawl by Fiber Trends
Yarn: Joslyn's Fiber Farm Angel Hair yarn in the "Plumes" colorway
Problems with the pattern: didn't find any
Changes to the pattern: I added an extra repeat (the pattern called for 4.5 repeats for the laceweight version, but I did 5.5) and I used beads instead of doing the picot cast off edge. I also didn't bother with the attached I cord across the top.
Overall Impressissions: Love it! I'm not much of a lace knitter, but the Old Shale pattern was very simple to do, the long colors in the yarn (and the softness) made it a perfect choice. I am glad I added the extra repeat, there's no issue as how I wear it. There's plenty of room to scrunch it around my neck and it hits me wrist length. The bottom point hits lower than my butt (so it doesn't "point" to it"). The beads add a great drape and just a hint of "sparkle".

So while it was very time consuming, the pattern was so simple to do and it was worth it.

So here's some hints if you decide to knit this. First, choose a yarn with long color repeats to show the waves of the old shale pattern. Use a coiless saftey pin to mark the center stitch... if you use a stitch marker, just be sure that the yarn overs don't shift on the wrong side of the marker. I used the saftey pin with a stitch marker hanging off it to also mark the right side. Make it bigger than you think. The problem with straight across the top shawls is that you must drape it with extra fabric at the neck to bring it around the body.

Heading into the Pyrenees

Okay, so today the Tour is a nice flat stage perfect for a bunch sprint at the end (however, a break will get away and spend most of the day out on their own, then the sprinter's teams will reel them in just before the finish so the big thighed sprinters can duke it out for a stage win and some green jersey points.)

However, here at chez Park, I'll be heading up my own Pyrenees... I've hit the tough part of Fawne. I'll be attaching the sleeves to the bodice then doing the shoulder shaping.
Fawne bodice and sleeves
click to enlarge

I'm pretty excited with how Fawne is turning out. While I'm using an inexpensive acrylic yarn, I have to say that the softness and drape is fabulous! The color is sharp and I think this is going to be one sexy little top when completed.

Matt and I had a little disagreement yesterday on how I should block the Shoalwater Shawl. Ya, like I would tell him to use tubulars or clinchers. Hrumph! When did he become a knitting expert? Oh, I guess about the same time I became a cycling coach (heehee)!

Either way, I think I'll try doing a pin out on Shoalwater today... finding someplace dog free and large enough to pin out this huge shawl is the challenge (especially when we have hardwood floors).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Knitting with Beads Rocks!

The Shoalwater Shawl is off the needles and ends are woven in.
Shoalwater Shawl
click to enlarge

It's not a great pictures, as the sun is now hiding behind nasty storm clouds. Plus I still need to figure out how the hell I'm going to block it.

Casting off using beads rather than the picot edge worked great. I love the way it adds drape to the bottom and just a hint of "sparkle". I'll do the project notes when it's blocked (as lace isn't done until it's blocked).

Now I can concentrate on Fawne for the Tour de France KAL!!!

Why yes, he IS freakishly small

I saw this book available on Etsy (which is much easier than ordering from Japan, FYI) and so I got it. It's written for men, sized M and L. Well, I had hoped that since the women's Japanese patterns are written so small, that the male versions would be too. So I didn't think I would have to worry about the sizing for Matt*. The mediums start around a 44" finished... so while these fit perfectly for me... they are too big for Matt.

No biggie, as the styling on the sweaters (and it's a great collection, by the way) is pretty straight forward so they should be easy to adjust.

I'm going to soley concentrate on Shoalwater today so I can finish up the last 5 rows. Then it's like 3 straight rows of garter (so theoritically, that's 8 rows to go) then the bind off (almost 600 stitches plus I'll be adding beads instead of picots). Then I've got figure out how I'm going to block this huge monster!!

*While cheering for Matt at the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium, some German spectators were standing behind me and asked me if I had someone in the race. I responded yes, my husband and they asked for me to point him out. If you've ever watched a cycling race live (especially a 30+ mph crit) you'll know that all the riders pretty much look alike. However, Matt stands out. I said, yes, he's the little rider with the beard. Works every time. Even if you've never seen Matt before... I bet you could pick him out of this lineup:
West Chester Cycling Club's Ride for Cancer

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mid day post

as I'm taking a short break from Shoalwater. As Matt says, I'm on the final lap and need to keep pedalling (7 more rows before the final sprint... which won't be very sprint-like, as I'll have almost 600 stitches to cast off while adding beads).

Fawne is waiting patiently for me, and I'll try to get some work done on it today.

I have to say that cycling is the main topic of conversation in our house right now. Between the Tour de France and peak racing season, it's all we talk about. Matt's getting ready for the PA State Road Race Championship to be held Saturday and our entire schedule is focused on that... food, rest, workouts, etc.

Even my knitting has become cycling focused, as the TdF KAL is one of the best run KAL's I've ever joined. Meg and Debby (who's in middle of a move to boot!) are doing a great job keeping the KAL blog up to date and keeping up with all 117 KALer's! It's great to see how many other knitting/cycling people are out there.

I also have to say that I'm truely enjoying this year's Tour... more so than most other years. I think it's because I'm not actually rooting for anyone this year. I'm just enjoying all the moves and the new young aggressive riders racing.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rest Day... Sorta

Today is a rest day for the rider's in the Tour de France... however that's actually quite misleading. In fact, it's really just a "non race day", as the riders will still put in a 3-4 hour ride. It's too much of a shock to the system to go from riding every day for 100 miles, then do nothing, then do 100 miles tomorrow (and it's not unusual to see a few riders withdrawl tomorrow, as their bodies rebel against the change).

So even tho' it's a rest day, I'll still put some rows into Fawne:


I'm done on the waist shaping and have moved onto the bust increases. So far, so good and I'm quite happy with the drape and feel of my fabric. I think I'll have a decent fit on it as well.

As I posted yesterday, I'm almost done with the 5th repeat on the Shoalwater... so just an other half repeat to go. I finished the beer working on just one row (however, it was the "lace" row, which takes me longer). So one beer per row might not be such a great idea... since I have about 23 more rows to go.

Matt's race team had an excellent race on Saturday, with Tim finishing 2nd (he was beat by about an inch at the line) and Matt finished high enough to get a payout (oh, and just as an FYI: when Tim wins money, he takes his fiance' out for dinner... let's see if that still happens when they've been married 15 years... heehee. So no, we didn't go out for dinner).

So Red Rose Races was kind enough to give a tour of the upcoming race (this is the race that replaces Mt. Nebo... which we are very sad is no longer being done. This was Matt's favorite race with a really hard nasty climb, but I think too many people threw up last year, so they changed the course). Here's a video of what the guys will be racing. Not sure if the horse drawn plow will be there for the race, but that's always the risk in Lancaster County:

(plus I love the soundtrack... heehee).

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Taking Risks on the Decent

Shoalwater and Friend
click to enlarge

Oh ya, I'll take the risk... it's worth it (only 4 more rows to go on this repeat). Who says you can't mix lace knitting with beer???

(oh, and before Susan gets all excited, the beer is not actually from Victory, however, it is a quite yummy ale).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Stage 6... or rather Row 6

Yesterday was full of crashes at the Tour, and I survived mine. Surgery was performed last night (meaning I went a head and just cut that skein off and started a new skein). That skein will just sit in the peleton until I need it, allowing it time to recover.

Fawne Body Started
click to enlarge

I have 6 rows done on the body of Fawne and I'm about to start the waist shaping. It's moving along well and I love the way the fabric is coming out. I'm very particular about my crochet projects... it's hard to find things that I like (I blame the beer can crochet hats from my youth) and I needed something next to skin soft (which is why I didn't use the kid mohair as called for in the pattern... I knew that wouldn't be comfortable for me).

However, I'm still on a roll with the Shoalwater Shawl:

Shoalwater Shawl... getting close
click to enlarge

I have less than 35 rows to go before I do the final border. I'm trying not to think about the blocking... as I have absolutely no idea where I'm going to be able to block it.

So I'll be working on both projects today and finish up class prep for tomorrow.

As usual, Matt will be racing tomorrow (Millport, near the Lancaster, PA airport), but I can't go due to teaching. So don't expect pictures. The team will have a good representation in the race. Best of luck guys!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Yarn Vomit
click to enlarge

I had a minor little crash with Fawne. A huge nasty yarn vomit. It's a mess and it's going to take some work to untangle the mess. One of those nasty little crashes you see in the first week of the Tour... hopefully this skein won't have to withdrawl, as I hope to get to Paris with my entire team intact.

So to soothe myself, I'm plugging away on the Shoalwater Shawl. Less than 40 rows to go!!! However, it's taking me almost 30 minutes to get thru one row (40 minutes for the lace row)... I'll have a photo tomorrow of progress... and hopefully that will include some progress on Fawne.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Arm Warmers Done!

Just like le Tour, my Tour de France KAL project the first week has been for the sprinters... however, the mountains still loom and that's where I expect to run into trouble.

Fawne Sleeves
click to enlarge

The sleeves were pretty straight forward, yes I did have a lot of errors, but the nice thing about crochet is that it's much easier to rip back and fix. I'll start the body today and I think that's going to be pretty straight forward. It's shaping in crochet that I struggle with, and I'm concerned about the part where the sleeves get attatched to the body.

I also started blocking the swatches for my Yarn 101 class:

Swatches Blocking
click to enlarge

Of course I had said they weren't picture worthy, but I thought it was interesting on the difference is sizes of the swatches just by changing one needle size. I'm using Cascade 220 and starting with a US size 4 (3.5 mm), then a 5 (3.75 mm) then a 6 (4.0 mm) even I was surprised at how much difference there was between swatches. I have swatches up to a size 8 (5.0 mm).

The Shoalwater is still in progress and I'm on my final run... I'm past the 4.5 repeats so I've completely committed to the 5.5 repeats.

Well, the live Tour coverage is about to start (tho' Matt's watching yesterdays stage... and apart from the very exciting fabulous finish yesterday, it's a bit like watching a B Club ride...) so I'm off to work on Fawne.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Just Swatches

Okay, if that naked butt picture of Tom Boonen (linked again just in case you missed it yesterday) didn't get you interested in cycling, then nothing will. Let's face it: cyclist have great butts (and amazing calves. While the guys will say they shave their legs for "practical reasons"... it makes road rash less painful and massage much easier... I think it's purely to show off their calf muscles).

I did my blog yesterday while watching the TdF, and I pretty much called it right, but I forgot to add that there's always a lot of crashes in the first week, too. I'm not a fan of the crashes. I know that some NASCAR fans watch just for crashes and that it adds excitement to the race. However, anyone that has a loved one who races and has heard that scraping of metal on pavement absolutely cringes at the sound. Its a very distinct sound.

We'll find out this morning if there was any fallouts from yesterday's crash... it's always amazing how many will still be on their bike today... even with injuries.

Today's tour will be thru the northern part of France... known more for the one day "classics". This is where the strong hardy riders do well (even if they aren't going over cobblestones). Keep on eye out for Thor Hushvold (yes, he DOES have the coolest name in the peleton), Tom Boonan and even George Hincapie. They know these roads and love the spring classics. It's an other day for the sprinters, so the strategy will be the same: an early break that will get caught with in site of the finish for a bunch sprint at the end.

I didn't get much interesting knitting/crocheting done yesterday. I am on the second sleeve on Fawne, but I've got the Yarn 101 class on Saturday and I want a lot of samples for class. So I spent yesterday basically swatching. No photos of a bunch of 20 X 28 knit sqaures (ooooh, it's just too exciting for pictures!!!). I'll do a few more today and block them, but I really really want to work a few rows on Shoalwater and do a few more rounds on the sleeve for Fawne.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Beer, Chocolate and Biking!

Oh, the Tour de France must be in Belgium.

I must admit that I traditionaly find the first week of the tour a little... um... boring? It's pretty straight forward: a long stage with an early break that stays away most of the day, then the sprinter's teams work near the end to bring them back, then it's a bunch sprint to the finish. I find it gets much more exciting in the mountains.

However, Belgium is the only European country I've been to, and it's got all the things we love... the best beer, chocolate and biking in the world. Oh, and it's the home country of Tom Boonen (ya, did ya come back to my blog after viewing that? that's okay, take a minute, I'll wait)

So I'm working on two projects right now: my TdF KAL project Fawne:

Fawne's First Sleeve
click to enlarge

Matt and I decided that this full fills a lot of things for the TdF KAL... it's a French Girl pattern, the yarn color is called "rouge" and the sleeves look like arm warmers. I'm trying to convince him that I could make the team matching crochet armwarmers and he's not buying it yet (however, he does like the cotton crochet headwarmer I crocheted him over the winter).

I'm also 3 rows short of the 4.5 repeats I would've needed on the Shoalwater Shawl (if I wasn't adding a repeat).

Shoalwater Shawl
click to enlarge

So I'm on the final run at this point. Basically just one more repeat (well and those last 3 rows before the half way point). Then the final border and the beads then the joy of blocking (and I've got space issues with that... I have not idea how I'm going to block this).

So off to watch the peleton catch the 3 man break just in time to have a mad sprint to the finish! (hmmm, and maybe google for more pics of Tom Boonen?)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Iron Hill Twilight Crit Updates

I updated Matt's racing blog (since he never does) with a video and some photos from the Iron Hill Twilight Crit. Pop over and look at a bunch of guys who shave their legs and wear spandex (oh, and can ride a bike over 30 mph)!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Saturday is for Racing

It's a busy day here at Knitting Park... I'm off to teach a class this morning. Sadly, that means I miss the start of the Tour de France. I do have my TdF KAL project started and I'll have pictures on Monday.

This afternoon is the Iron Hill Twilight Crit, Matt's race team's title sponsor's race. It's in downtown West Chester and the races will start 5:15, with the cat 3/4 race (which Matt and his team mates will be in) with other races following. The start/finish is right in front of the Iron Hill Brewery, which is where I will probably be.

It's going to be a great day for racing and hopefully I'll get some good pictures.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Shoalwater Update

Shoalwater Shawl
click to enlarge

The Shoalwater Shawl is zipping along as fast I can work on it at this point. I'm still dealing with the left arm problems (overuse, I'm sure... and I suck at resting it). If I were to do the 4.5 repeats, I would have ten more rows to go. However, I'm sticking with the 5.5 repeats.

It's really hard to get a picture of it at this point... the stitches really bunch up on the needles, and of course, it's not blocked. I am bunching the neck to make sure I'm including that in my measurements. (if you look at the pattern photo, you'll see the model does that... it's one of the problems with the straight topped shawls, you need to create a fake neck shaping.... and one of the reasons I want to make sure that I have the additional length).

Jackie asked me in comments the other day about my yarn choice. I'm making this in Josyln's Fiber Farm lace weight yarn (Angel Hair) and the colorway is Plumes.

I have to say that I really debated if I wanted to do this shawl in lace weight yarn (I swatched A LOT of yarn for it). The pattern itself is very easy (and quite frankly, it's mostly garter stitch) and I knew that I would be needing a lot of repeats. I think in the back of my mind that I would start it and it would eventually get moved to the UFO closet with me thinking "oh I should work on that... it's going to be a nice shawl" then move onto something else. Basically I didn't think I would have the fortitude to finish it. However, the lace is so easy to do (again, it's mostly garter) and once the pattern waves were noticable, I was hooked. I'm having problems NOT working on it (when I have other things to knit and when I shouldn't be knitting at for a little bit).

I think the key in choosing yarn for this is making sure that you have really long color repeats in your hand dyed yarn. The pattern gets lost if the yarn is either a subtle color change or if they are so short you don't see the waves.

Meanwhile, I'm teaching the Taste of Aran Afghan block of the month class tomorrow, and while my June block is done, I need to get my July block on the needle so I can demonstrate the block (but I would rather be knitting my Shoalwater).

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Positively False

Matt and I are simultaneously reading Positively False by Floyd Landis. This is always a challenge when you only have one copy of the book. I got better than halfway thru yesterday while Matt was out on his bike ride, and he's reading it in spurts last night and this morning while I knit and watch baseball (however, beer and lace knitting might not be the best combination).

Quite frankly, it's an engaging book. Written in a friendly, conversational way. If you went out with Floyd and asked him to tell you about his life, I'm guessing it would be presented in a similar way.

As I've said, I'm just a little better than halfway thru reading it, and the problem is that I know what's coming... and I actually put it down yesterday, even tho' I still had an other hour or two before Matt was back from his ride (and my turn was up).

I've said this before, but I'm constantly amazed at the focus and the sacrifice that cyclists are willing to do. I see how hard Matt works for his amateur bike races and we can afford that kind of sacrifice: both financially and time management wise. To be a professional boggles my mind (more so for the semi-pro athletes like a Stephan who trains like a pro while keeping a day job).

It's hard for me to wrap my mind around physically working that hard. Even with Matt's part time training (I still don't get that he can ride his bike for 100 miles, but bitches if he has to drive 50), I recognize that we all have things that we constantly push ourselves to achieve perfection. I'll rip out hours/days worth of work in my knitting because of a mistake and not think twice about it. It's just knitting. I want it to be right and I'll sacrifice the time so that I'm happy with the results. I enjoy the process of knitting and I want it RIGHT. Matt feels that way about riding his bike. There's a certain pleasure in pushing himself to the limit... to see how long his body can take that kind of punishment.

So if you're looking for a good summer read, I suggest picking up Positively False. Even if you're not a cycling fan, you'll be entertained. The sad part is that it's not a fictional book, but someone's actual life.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

No Knitting To Show

Still have an achy arm/hand, even after taking yesterday off, so I'll probably be taking it easy today as well.

So the only update is that Matt did make it to the Chester County Bookstore to the Floyd Landis book signing. He got there nice and early, got to hear the Q&A section and was early getting his book signed.

Matt did want to ask for advice for what an almost 40 year old Cat 3 rider should do to make it to the pros, but didn't get a chance.

2006 Iron Hill Twilight Crit Amateur Start
click to enlarge

Matt's race team title sponsor is sponsoring a crit this weekend: The Iron Hill Twilight Criterium. The amatuer race is for Cat 3/4 only (no cat 5 catagory) as it's a technically tough coarse. Lot's of crashes last year. There's a woman's elite race and a men's pro race. They'll also have some fun (and free) kid races. This is one of the best spectator races in the area. It's right downtown in beautiful West Chester and the riders come around often (the amateur race is probably at speeds of 30 mph with the pros averaging a little faster than that...). It's a great day of racing, so if you're in the area, bring the kids and enjoy some great bike racing!

Monday, July 02, 2007

I Need A Day Off

I'm having some arm/hand fatigue, so I'll be taking today off (a lot of knitting was done over the weekend).

Matt and I ran up to Lancaster on Friday for the Floyd Landis book signing, but our directions had us get off the wrong exit (and we foolishly took 30) and we got there much later than we wanted. By then, the line was just way too long. Tonight's signing is right around the corner, so Matt's going to try again tonight.

Speaking of cycling, and the Tour de France, I got a TUE (Therapeutic Usage Exception) from Meg in my comments on Friday to start my TdF KAL project and I did get some work done on Fawne.

However, the big project is still the Shoalwater:

Shoalwater Vs Landscape
click to enlarge

I officially have 4 repeats done (however, the photo was taken a few rows short of that). Since I've decided to add an other repeat, that only gives me 68 more rows to go!!! I realized that the only way it can be too big is if it hits the floor, and I don't think that's going to happen. I know I won't be happy if it's too small, so bigger is better!!

I'm hoping the aching arm/hand thing clears up quickly and I can get back to work on it. Resting my hands is hard for me... almost everything I enjoy doing works them. I'm playing thru Okami again and I only have one stray bead to get. Yet, I think even a game controller might not be a good idea (let's just hope that it isn't the shingles again... tho' that's not likely, eh?)

I'm thinking that running the vacuum cleaner would be too much on my arm/hand too... right?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Natural Born Killer

This is Gena. Gena is a rescue dog that we adopted several years ago. She came to us underweight, dirty and very skittish (we tried to play fetch with her and it scared her to death).

Gena is now a healthy weight, fairly clean and full of energy. She's a hound mix... probably coonhound or foxhound. She's a bundle of love and affection. She loves mealtime and goes into full howl if she hears sirens.

She's also a killer. She does not like small furry rodents. To her credit is one squirrel (with a special notation to the Yarn Harlot) and two moles. (we don't mention the "parts" she's found).

However, it takes a lot of water to wash the taste of mole out of her mouth.

There is satisfaction with a job well done (however, we still have a serious mole problem).

ed: I thought it best to not get a photo of the kill. Somethings are not blog appropriate. Special thanks to Matt for the dead mole clean up duty.