Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cryptic Gift Breakdown

There's so much to think about these days, a list is the best way for me to omit confusion:

  • I casted on for Jess's object. I only have one skein and just realized I probably need two. Unless I make it shorter, she's not that tall after all ...
  • Finished Ana's object - I think it might be too short, she's a tall one. Needles and spare yarn already in the Seattle Box.
  • Haven't touched Francie's - I'm saving it for the plane and the weekend in Seattle. She doesn't arrive until after I leave so I am using that extra time.
  • Mom's is done but I think I'll make a matching piece for her.
  • Trying not to think about the three man gifts until Jess's is done.
  • No idea what to do for Dad.

Okay, it's laid out in front of me. I still think I have enough time to get all this done. Oops! Caleb's pants! Darn it! I'm pushing it now...

Yay! I just got an email telling me I won a Debbie Bliss book. (I panicked the instant the email came through. Ebay? I bought something? Oh no. How much did I spend?) Apparently there's a purse in there that looks like a new JCrew design. I can control myself. I will wait until after the gift knitting.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ravelry Time Warp

I'm on Ravelry a LOT more than I'm knitting. This has got to stop. I fear I'm getting behind on my Christmas knits. However I may be redeemed at tomorrow's track day - no internet connection.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lucy's Jacket

Here it is. Lucy's jacket is done. Purple ribbons because, as much as I want
to make stuff for her in exciting kid colors like magenta and pink and lime green,
I think of her and I just see purple. Peaceful, I guess.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Finishing Day

Yesterday I made another huge knitting step... for me. (The last was the swatch.) I finished two projects, both of which involve BLOCKING. As you might remember I had a blocking meltdown a few weeks ago when the WIP was found dislodged from its blocking towel. I wadded it up (gently/angry) and left it to sit on the table. And that's where it was when I finished another project, the baby jacket for Lucy.

Voila! Blocking in progress all of my own doing.

After 5 long years as a WIP the jacket came off the needles this past week and in one day I stitched all the finishing bits - besides the seaming under the arms, all edging was turned under and sewn in creating the lacy edge. The holes from the YOs were split, sewn in half. I credit this project with initiating my first blocking experience. The yarn is very sturdy, *very* sturdy so I used the dunk method or rather the drench method. I held it under the spigot in the shower until it was full of water then wrung it out semi-gently. Tools of my trade: Towel, ottoman, sewing pins and a note, "Do Not Touch."About 10 minutes later I left it to dry. After grumbling over this project for the past couple months, now that it's done I'm quite pleased. Now to see if it fits little Lucy...

Blocking piece #2: Surface Woven Tote

Notice only one piece is actually blocking. I need more pins. But this is a HUGE step for me. This piece is much more particular when it comes to blocking. Last time I tried to infuse the piece with water via rolling in a wet towel. Don't do that. Nashua wool felts very well and my newly trained eyes spotted felt beginnings. (Another reason it ended up a wad on the table.) So I found a spray bottle at Target for when the time came to try again. I carefully sprayed, pinned and measured. I'm not used to that last one (I'm not big on swatching and I feel measuring falls in the same category.) but I measured anyway. Glad I had the energy. Not that difficult anyway. And here I am - almost halfway through blocking. Still to come: surface weaving, lining and attaching handles.

And today I bought yarn for two more projects. Two My So Called Scarves for two sisters that don't read my blog:

Anastasia's scarf
Rio De La Plata Merino
Colorway: Vibrant Orange, Pink Lemonade, Crabapple

Francie's scarf
Rio De La Plata Lana del Artista
Colorway: Pale Blue, Sapphire, French Beige

Trader Joe's

I haven't been in forever but yesterday I finally went to Trader Joe's and FORGOT the granola!!! Kristen has talked it up and I was looking forward to trying it! I remembered everything else (and more.) A few bottles of wine in anticipation of "Two Wheel Tuesday." (We're hosting the racer's get together next week - I'll explain more next week.) I found three different blends of Rooibos tea that I'll have to try tomorrow because we also found a nice decaf coffee. I know, there's decaf coffee everywhere but we were looking for organic. The doctor said if I'm going to drink any coffee I can make decaf organic but only every once in a while.

Thankfully we'll be going back more regularly. As a San Diego native, my bf likes the store. I just don't go because it's off the regular route. Within a couple miles but off the freeway. Okay, ridiculously close. My excuse is lame.

Hoping to make it to my LYS today to find yarn for the My So-Called Scarf. I have two sisters that would appreciate the warmth and/or design. They don't read my blog so I'm safe as far as Christmas gifts are concerned.

Yesterday was a big finishing day - I'll post pics later today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Zuma Zuma Zuma

No racing this weekend so this is it - My sweetie's race poster. He designs these for other racers too. (I suppose they're kind of like advertising/promotion for them and their sponsors.) Along with the posters advertising the actual races, he'll also design logos, stickers, t-shirts for other vendors and now a t-shirt for the upcoming Zuma race.

Yes, my pit scooter is going to be pushed to its little limits racing its heart out against the other pit scooters all with racers on them, dragging their knees and tradin' paint. They only go about 45mph unless they've been modified which is likely given the mechanical nature of their owners. G got really excited when he started to ponder his own mods, "I wonder if I can find slicks for a Zuma..." Oh boy ... but this will be FUN to watch!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

FFBE Package Received!

So emails went back and forth and we finally figured out that the package was sent to the wrong house number. And it was coming from Finland - Yikes! Don't go back!

I was waiting at the counter at the post office after determining that it hadn't gone back yet and the lady at the counter returns with the cutest box I have ever received!

And stuffed inside was LOTS of wool! Ahhh heaven :) Anna has used it quite successfully for felting. I can't wait! Orange, magenta and a darker royal blue. The chocolate is from her recent trip to Estonia - she liked it and so did I ... before I even got my camera out. Rich and creamy mmmm. The pattern she sent is for a modular tote - looks fun and cute! I'm already considering a mod with the handle to make it more mod LOL

Now here's a funny tidbit of note on the bag - she posted some WIP pics and I actually commented on how cute it was! Colors and style... and now it's here with me! How funny is that? Anna ran into some problems with the ORIGINAL bag - yes, this is #2, errr not a fun time to run into problems. Even with that she's going to knit another for herself! What determination - if I were in that position I'd probably burn the pattern lol.

I think I'll use it as a fun, sassy knitting bag. I noticed today that every project I'm working on has it's own bag... and I'm running out!

A closeup of the soft pink stitch markers. Love em!
I'm in the middle of a project using my generic stitch markers. Totally switching over.

Thank you Anna for such an awesome bag and package! It was definitely worth the wait.

And thank you Anne for helping out! It was a wonderful swap :)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Race Report (weeks late)

I totally spaced and thought I had posted after the first race weekend! Where was my head?

After every race weekend and track day weekend all the racers post a few paragraphs to their community forum on how the weekend went, who helped, what they learned, yada yada. Here's mine :) and I'll keep it short cuz I've forgotten some details.

Friday night kicked off the race weekend. We loaded his bike and my scooter onto the trailer, loaded up his Volvo wagon and trucked on down to the track. All was great until we hit ridiculous traffic and inched along as the sun set. Finally at the track we unloaded and then helped the guys set up the trailers where we would be pitting. Without instructions and very little light we erected an awning the size of a circus tent. Parked all the bikes and tools underneath, zipped the sides on and left for a good night's sleep.

Selling shirts early in the morning. Shirts are just outside of the frame.
This pic is actually from the weekend before the race.

Saturday was an early morning as they always are. G barely gets 5 hours of sleep on a regular night but on the eve of a race OR track day - almost none. So we were up about 4:30am, at the track by 6am. Most of the time on track days I don't get up into the stands to watch. I'll wear myself out too quickly with the back and forth, up and down. So I sit in the pits and knit and sell shirts. The project of the weekend was the Picot Felted Vase. Easy and small. No significant events to speak of - just an average track day. Well... Donny crashed, Wil crashed and Joey crashed twice but still they all got up and raced the same bike on Sunday.

View of the pits. Christy and I are in our team shirts in the background.

Race day - The pits are a lot more tense than track days but still fun to be a part of. (No chance to pull out my knitting but I thankfully got a much needed nap in the trailer.) My job in the pits is tire warmers off and on, rear stands off and on, water, food, and generally being there to help G and the rest of the guys. Basically anything to make it easier for them. I thoroughly enjoy it. G did very well on his first race weekend in almost a year - a 2nd, 6th and 7th. Every race he tallied points and has 37 going into the last race of the year. Coincidentally, his race number is 37.

OH. MY. GOSH. I totally forgot to tell you about my ride on the track! End of October. I think I was waiting for pics which I still don't have but I loved it! They call it 2-up because I rode on the back of an instructor's bike. Wow! Exhilarating! I borrowed leathers, boots, helmet and gloves and got on the bike. The trainer's bike has an extra seat like street bikes but also has handles welded onto the tank. Thank goodness. On the straight we were going so fast - 145mph!!! For comparison, my bf gets up to 190mph on the straight. Unimaginable. Braking at the end of the straight was the only scary part. That includes the hard lean angle (remember they drag their knees) and the "pancaking" which is going quickly from a right-hand to left-hand turn. I took about 5 laps, 3 of which were on an empty track. Just before we got off the track we got lapped. Weird to feel them whoosh by. G would have lapped us too but he ran into a helmet problem. A piece on the side of the helmet was duct taped on (felt loose) but was partially blown off on the first straight. He had to pull off the track and tuck it in his leathers because it was in front of his eyes. At 190mph he couldn't see. Out of breath and sweaty, the first thing I did when I got back to the pits was call my mom. Poor thing. I'm not a bad daughter but I still think I put her through hell.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Racing and Knitting

Another race day today. I should say track day. They only race about once a month and practice on the rest of the weekends so this weekend was all practice. Saturday my bf and I actually worked on the track as corner workers. (He'll get free track days for working, I get a tan. Fair enough.) The track is separated into sections and we were stationed at corner 3. Our job was to watch our section of the track for downed riders and debris and also to wave the checkered flag at the end of each session. No, not the finish line flag, they weren't racing. Our corner happened to be the busiest - a number of riders went off the track and one guy left his foot peg on the track. For those instances I was waving the caution flag. While not waving a flag I was SWATCHING. I don't usually swatch, but more on that later.

Riders can go off the track and it's no big deal. Sometimes they even manage to keep the bike upright and get back on the track to continue racing. Other times they crash and just need to dust off or maybe their bike got mangled enough not to roll away but they are still fine. Then there's the times they don't get up right away and that's when it can be more serious. That happened three times this weekend which is almost three times more than usual. The ambulance took the first guy just to be checked out. First-time falls are scary for new riders because they just don't know how it feels yet - good hurt vs. bad hurt. The second one was actually air lifted. Not good. He was unconscious after his crash, maybe longer than the EMTs liked and they called in the helicopter. The last one was a young girl, intermediate skill, and the word is she may lose her thumb. Crashes happen, you just always hope for the best. My thoughts and prayers go out to these riders.

I've been knitting at the track for about a month now. This weekend the comments started rolling. Some were even engaging conversations. Odd since it's mostly guys. Sometimes I had to explain my project: "I'm making a vase." Huh? "It's going to be felted." What's felted? "It'll make it look like thick fabric." Is it going to hold water? "No, just decorative. I'm going to put my needles in it." Ohhh okay. One guy even called me out on a UFO! "Did you finish that blanket?" Uh, no. "Wha...?" He was flabbergasted as only a non-knitter would be. Only once did I correct someone that picked the wrong craft (needlepoint). The funniest comment so far was, "That's hot." Given that the pits are like testosterone on crack, the comment went further. Not appropriate to repeat here but hilarious.

SWATCHING - I made a breakthrough this week. I reasoned with myself: I'm making two pairs of baby bell bottoms so if I swatch once (light bulb) it's good for both! And guess what happened? My gauge was spot on perfect :) I'm making 3 Ribbed Beanies for Christmas, one swatch. Improving swatch efficiency two+ projects at a time.

Pics another day, I'm tired.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Reprodepot to the Rescue

Awaiting me on my kitchen counter tonight was my fabric from Reprodepot! (They're giving free shipping right now!) What a knitting pick-me-up. I needed that. This morning I was pretty pissed off at my felted vase. The picot cast off is not casting off. Grr. But all is right now that I'm once again excited about my tote! Funny how that rubs off on the vase and I have renewed interest to finish it tonight :) Ahhh a knitting roller coaster. This post is pic heavy - stark contrast to my ambivalence this morning.

Cute cute fabric from Reprodepot. The brown one is for the tote and since I was paying shipping anyway ...

Dark brown leather handles for the tote from Somerset Designs. Arrived Thursday but I wasn't in the mood to get all excited and share. Now I am:

Blocking status of the tote:

Yes, I threw a mini tantrum when I found it askew on the floor. Now it's a heap on the table. (I don't have much energy for tantrums these days but my original blocking technique wasn't working so I was incredibly frustrated. I got all mad and then had to go lay down because my kidneys hurt. I am so done with this illness.)

On to happier things... Look what Sweetie did for me!

It's my #4 "hardwood" needle that broke. He fixed it!!!

Newly CO shrug #1 from One Skein Wonders:

Newly purchased yarn for shrug #2:

And more newly purchased yarn for a Fake Isle hat I found on Ravelry. We'll see if it looks as cute as pictured with Noro yarn. Color 2 will be a white/natural:

Felted vase that's sans needles out of frustration. It looks like I may have to frog another row so that the top flares out some:

I was seriously in a slump this morning. Okay, okay - last week, too. But I think my homeopathics kicked in today and I feel back to normal. Yay! Excited to knit for Christmas although Mom instructed me not to put too much pressure on myself. A nice trait that invariably lead to this wonderful little illness.

Contest Contest

I've started some new projects but darnit if I'm too lazy to take pics. I will eventually. Maybe in 10 minutes, maybe in 2 days. Meh. Actually, I'm a bit surprised I'm posting, but ... I am. This little contest over here on Megan's blog propelled me to come out of lurkdom. It's a simple, fun contest so get on over there and mention my name if you're so inclined (extra entry :)