Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wish I could get this picture uploaded....

Ran this morning on the Lakewalk. Around 10 degrees above with NW winds gusting up to 28 mph. We shall not discuss windchill. It wasn't too bad, except that first 1/4 - 1/2 mile into the wind! After that the wind was - mostly - blocked by the walls of the freeway or coming at us from the side.

By the time we thought about turning around we were close to the 2.5 mile mark, so kept going and got the full 5 miles in. Yesterday it rained briefly before snowing and there was ice under the snow, so the footing at times was "interesting". Nothing like black ice and a wind gust to make your feet go in different directions and your heart rate go up.

I was right though - they do plow the Lakewalk before they plow the roads!! As we were heading out around 8:10 or so we saw the plow trucks coming towards us and were later passed by them heading in the opposite direction. Nice to know that the Duluth Parks and Rec folk take access to the Lakewalk so seriously!

We were not alone in venturing out this blustery morning. We saw a total of three people (not counting the plow drivers): a couple walking towards Canal Park and a gentleman and his dachsund(?). No one else though. Pretty quiet overall.

By the time we got back to the cars I had quite the buildup of snow and ice on my lashes. When I got into the car and got a look at myself I realized that my eyebrows were also caked in snow and ice. Utilizing modern technology (in the form of a camera phone), and the review mirror, I was able to get a picture, but don't know how to upload it. Let your imaginations run wild.

It is hard to tell how much snow we are really getting. It is pretty fine-grained stuff and the wind is blowing it into some impressive drifts. Skiing should be a lot better once the winds die down. Wishing the driving was better as I would be tempted to head to Boulder for a skijor.

Blizzardy-type conditions are also good for reading and knitting. The star production line is in full force as we speak. It is hard to read much while producing these though. Lots of decreasing happens in just 5 rows to get from 55 sts down to 5. I realized today that none of my current knitting projects makes for good 'reading while knitting'. They all entail either two-color knitting, lace, or decreases on every row. I suppose I could start a fourth project and get some dishcloths done.....

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Finally got around to taking pictures of the "bird mittens" in progress. Really, I got around to coercing the intended recipient into taking pictures of the mittens.

Back of the hand:

Comparison to the original:

The palm:

At one point in time, while working on the thumb gusset, I had three color charts going! Just the kind of knitting you want to take along to a holiday party.

No pictures of the socks yet. Making good progress, past the heel and working my way down the foot. They did come along to the holiday party as the chart is fairly easy to follow.

Photos from a ski outing:

Try clicking the last photo to read the sign. The Piedmont Ski trail is unique in Duluth for it's handmade wooden signs. They are fun to read!

Sorry about the poor light but it was 7:15 am and a cloudy day. Of course the sunrise got really good when we were most of the way around the loop and no where near the overlook (center photo). I have been trying to get out for a ski at least 2 - 3 times per week and run at least 2 times a week.

I even got Porter out for a skijor at Boulder last Sunday. His initial reaction on seeing his harness was less than enthusiastic, but by the time we got near the ski trail he was "smiling". The first 3.8K he was running, with tail high and taking any breaks to roll in the snow and act like a puppy. The last 2+k he was much more subdued, but a lot of that had to do with a negative encounter with another dog while we took a break at the parking lot. People with dog aggressive dogs should not bring them to public places, especially if they do not know how to control them. Everyone was okay, just shook us up a bit.

I have been getting out for a couple of runs (long for me) and really enjoying it. Duluth seems to take great pride in keeping the Lakewalk plowed all winter long, and as much as I dislike running on paved surfaces, it is a nice, lit, alternative to slogging along on snowmobile trails. Some of the hiking trails get packed enough to make a great running surface, but I haven't tried them out yet. Though with today's temperatures the trails will be soft, and skiing is out until it is no longer "klister" weather.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No pictures

Sorry, keep meaning to get pictures of the current knitting projects but have not had camera, projects, and good light all together at the same time.

OTN: A pair of mittens for my daughter Sarah. and a pair of socks.

Years ago I knit a pair of mittens based on a color chart from Knitting in the Nordic Tradition. My pair is knit in a robin's egg blue and cream color. The pattern is of birds, so of course I call these my "bird mittens". So creative! I think I even entered them in the State Fair.

In the ensuing years, Sarah has started to wear them (they are like the mitten's from the Jan Brett book - accomodating many sizes of hands, Sarah is at least 6 inches taller than I am) and I have started to say on an almost daily basis "Don't lose those or let anything happen to them, they are special (irreplaceable, precious.... you get the idea)".

Sarah has a winter coat that is two shades of pink. About a week or so ago she asked me if I would knit her an identical pair of bird mittens to match her coat. Sure I said - if I can find the pattern. Off I went to look. Found the color chart for the hand and thumb in one folder. Kept searching.... found the color chart for the cuff in another notebook. Kept looking.... ah, there were some written directions.

The problem with my designing is that I often work on the item without really noting what I have done. Then, years later when I am trying to recreate a design I have - if I am lucky - some sketchy notes to work from and maybe, just maybe the actual item.

I had to reclaim the original pair from Sarah so that I could use them to help me figure out the missing gaps in the original writtten pattern. I am trying to be more disciplined this time around and, at each step, record what I am doing.

I am working in Jamieson's 2 ply Shetland Spindrift on size 0 needles. I cast on 72 stitches so it is (was) moving along pretty quickly. That was until I hit the hand and the two seperate patterns (three if you count the thumb gusset) that I am working at the same time. One for the palm of the hand and one for the back. I am still trying to remember how I handled the charts for this one. Needless to say it does not make for good travel knitting.

A week or so ago the Yarn Harlot posted pictures of her sock in progress - Embossed Leaves I believe is the name. Anyway, I searched the Interweave Knits archive to find the pattern. It is in the Winter 2005 issue. I decided these would be my travel knitting. Not 100% sure who they are for. Maybe a Holiday gift, maybe not, we shall see.

Today we drove to the Twin Cities (just for the day) to visit my in-laws. Miracles of miracles I did not have to drive so spent the time on the way down casting on (learned a new cast-on) and working the ribbing and part of the pattern. Well-prepared knitter that I am I had packed my headlamp and was able to knit on the way back also (strapped the headlamp to the back of the front seat headrest and aimed it down). Got almost two repeats done.

Porter was very happy when we got back and greeted us with quite the vocalizations. He spent the day hanging out in his house which is located in a nice sunny spot of the yard, though it is currently overhung by some pretty spectacular icicles on my neighbors house (need to get some photos of those, too). His reward for being left: a big hunk of venison, a carrot and dog food soup.

Stay warm. Get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Running - and walking - at 11 below (air temperature, windchill rumoured to be minus 24)

A before the run shot as we gathered:

What we looked like 45 minutes later:

Photos of a long-time UFO that was completed last night. Perfect timing as the temps are plummeting.

And the finished mittens of my own design. Realized that the contrast between the two yarns isn't quite enough. Guess I will have to make another pair :->

And the two projects together:

Note the snow - yup, we have about 3 feet of the lovely white stuff in the yard. Still have a barely plowed out road. But the skiing is awesome!!

For those wondering how you dress for these temps see my previous post but add: long-sleeved lightweight fleece over the sporthill running top, subtract the vest, add some Warm Skin applied to face and hands. I was toasty warm for the whole run without being too warm.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

17 plus inches of snow!!!

Wish I had my camera out the last few days. West Duluth got over 17 inches of snow!! Got my car home the next day once they got around to plowing out my street. Today we got another 1 - 2 inches of snow.

So far I have not been back on my skis since Tuesday night. Yesterday was a running day. Met a friend down at the Lakewalk (original plan was to run trails, but too much snow) and we ran 4.7 miles. Temperature was around 5 degrees F (or so) with a bit of a breeze which we didn't notice until we turned around. The Lake is still open and there was a ship anchored out, lit up. Today was a rest day. Hoping to get out tomorrow for a ski after work.

Sunsets and sunrises have been quite spectacular the last couple of days - again wish I had my camera near by.

Not much on the knitting front to report.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

13 inches of snow and still accumulating!!!

Yeah for a real winter! Yesterday I skied before work (early enough to catch the sunrise - so unlike me). Today I skied before work - 8K (two loops around the Piedmont Ski Trails in Duluth). As I was skiing it began to snow and by the time I headed out for the second loop signs of my first pass were already gone.

Headed to work on roads that were getting a bit slick but still okay. I arrived to work at 11:00 am, ready to stay until 8:30 pm. By 2:00 pm my car had snow halfway up the tires. By 4:00 pm a co-worker noted that the snow on top was so high it looked like two of my cars stacked up! Glad I had my skis in my car today as they became a necessary part of my commute home.

Bridges were closing by 4:00pm, Duluth Transit Authority announced they were shutting down service at 6:00pm. Staff started heading home and, per our policy, we closed at 6:00. Well, no one could get to the clinic by 4ish, so most of the rest of my time was spent returning patient calls and digging out my co-workers. I left my car at work as there was no way I would get it near my house. Hills are too steep, roads are the last to be plowed.

Nothing like skiing on the streets of Duluth! Especially through 13+ inches of fluffy light snow. Bonus: got home and the shoveling had already been done. The dogs' house is disappearing under the drifts as we speak. They are predicting up to another 7 inches of snow before this ends, but sunshine for tomorrow.

Thank you Lake Superior for the snow (apparently this is pretty localized to the Downtown, East Hillside and West Duluth areas). Thanks also for coming at a time of year that is cold and will keep the snow around for awhile.

OKC: the Celtic Cable Mittens are done and went for their first ski today, as well as some snow shoveling and pushing cars. Looking for the right yarn and pattern to start a pair for Sarah.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Yeah, it is really snowing!

The bummer is that it is snowing so much that there have had to be cancellations of a few events, one of which my daughter worked very hard at organizing (World AIDs Day - Harbor City International School).

The city of Duluth has far fewer plow drivers than they did 10 years ago. Guess what the roads are like?

On the bright side this means my cross-country skis may get some use this year. Today though, I think I will work on the "celtic cable" mittens. One done, one to go. I have already had a request for a pair of pink and white mittens - preferably in some type of colorwork pattern.

Stay safe and warm wherever you are!