Sunday, February 28, 2010

Just under the wire

"Black Hole" socks

These were completed (ends worked in and everything) during the closing ceremonies. I had finished the first sock at about the halfway point of the games, yet most of the knitting on the second sock was accomplished in the last few days around work (and even at work - thank you hour long meetings!!), some socializing, and a lot of running and other recreating.

It has been incredibly warm (for February) and sunny here which almost resulted in a career ending setback when I finished up a nice easy 4 mile run today by laying down in the back of the car in a nice sunny spot out of the wind... I had my knitting along and had intended on working on the sock while I waited for Wayne to finish up his longer run but rather than knitting I dozed off for about an hour.

Sundays are for soccer and due to lack of players I managed to be on the pitch from 4:45 pm - 7:00 pm, another potential setback to winning the gold. Fortunately I had reached the toe decreases by the time I headed out for the games. Arrived home to discover that the closing ceremonies were still on and the torch was still lit!

Quick meal and then it was time to finish those socks! Now I have the leisure to go back and eat a bit more heartily ;->

And get back to the hat I am knitting for a very patient runner out there.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spruce Trail Ski- Jay Cooke State Park

How I spent my Sunday afternoon - in pictures:

At the trail junction with the High Trail

Looking back along the access trail

Looking in the direction we will be traveling

Who's been at work here???

Mr. Wildknits entering a spruce/cedar tunnel

Contemplating a big climb... for those of you who have ever run the NMTC Bull Run this ought to look familiar

Above and Below: View from atop the ridge we had just climbed

Birch on it's tip toes ;->

I am not normally a fan of big/steep hills while cross-country skiing and had forgotten about some of the hills out here! Only had to sit once on my way down a hill. One fall, after successfully navigating a steep descent and then ascent with a 90 degree turn at the top. No good explanation for it - was at a bit of an angle and simply went over - kind of like a tree - too bad no one was there to yell "timber". Took me a bit to sort out skis and poles and the angle of the trail in order to get back up. Luckily we were the only people out there so I didn't have to worry about blocking someone else's access to the trail while I floundered around.

Yesterday I joined Rick in Moose Lake for a hilly 15 mile run. Later today it is off to the YMCA for 1-3 games of indoor soccer (depending on if other teams need an additional player, how many players show up on my team, and how much energy I have).

Knitting Olympic update:
Bit behind where I should be at. Almost finished with sock one, but already past the halfway point of the Olympics so need to get a move on! I am finding that a headlamp worn around the neck and angled 'just so' makes it possible to see the stitches well enough for decreases. This is the most light absorbing yarn I have used it years - or my eyes are getting old.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Knitting Challenge and another use for a headlamp

Scoot on over to the Yarn Harlot for a moment. Interesting idea, isn't it. Stephanie is going to knit a sweater in 17 days. Me? I am knitting socks. Some would wonder why I consider this an olympic effort, after all I have the basic pattern memorized and consider socks pretty mindless (perfect for knitting while reading, socializing, riding the bus, etc).

Here is the challenge:

Notice the color? Yup. Black. Not shiny black either. More like 'black-hole' black. Pretty flat and very hard to see (especially later in the day when my older eyes are tired). Embiggen the photo and look at the recommended needle size. I always have to drop down two sizes to get a fabric I like, and a gauge that will hold up in socks. Yes, that does mean I will be knitting these on size 0 (2 mm) needles. Oh, did I mention the size of foot I am knitting these for? 10.5 inches (approx. US mens 9.5). Not much to complain about there really.

By the way guys, just a little comment here: there is a whole rainbow of colors out there. Consider branching out why don't you (for a funny take on that subject I refer you back to the Yarn Harlot's Feb. 5, 2004 post entitled Manly Men, scroll down a bit).

As with the real Olympics "training" is allowed. Since I purchased this yarn in skeins tonight I took the time to wind them into balls:

I invested in an umbrella swift and ball winder years ago and it has paid for itself many times over. Plus I no longer have to force family members to sit still and hold yarn for me, improving those relationships immensely.

Due to the yarn color and lateness in the day I pulled out my Petzl Tikka XP headlamp to aid in seeing and untying the knots and removing the small pieces of yarn that were holding the skein together ( I am yarn frugal and avoid cutting yarn - never know if you might need that last little bit to finish a project).

Now I just need to finish up the hat I have been working on before tomorrow at 6:30 pm CT (need the needles from that to work on the socks).

Added challenges that make completing a pair of socks in this time span a bit of a stretch: my work schedule and my running schedule. Full-time employment really cuts into knitting time (and I do not have the kind of job where I can knit at work - though socks are portable and will travel with me for those 'in-between' times), not that I am complaining about having a job (or two). And until I can figure out how to knit and run those two hobbies are mutually exclusive (though knitting has been pulled out while waiting for running buddies). So, seeing as I am training to run my first 50 mile this summer and building mileage for a 25k in April and a 50k in May along the way, there goes another (big) chunk of knitting time. Add in soccer on Sundays and skiing two days a week (gotta take advantage of the snow while we have it) and all of a sudden a pair of socks in 17 days does become worthy of an olympic medal.

Other knitting
The Runner's Hat (take 2) is almost completed. Just need to finish up the crown decreases and give it a good washing to clean the yarn and it will be ready for gifting. Pictures will be posted once it is finished. I have been trying to follow the pattern as written and have only had to make one minor change to adjust for a larger row gauge with the yarn I am using. Seems like the pattern is accurate as written. Anyone else out there print it out and give it a try?

ORC(obligatory running content)
Attempted to get in a 15 mile run this past Saturday on snowmobile trails in the Moose Lake area, managed 13.5. The trails were soft, it was tough going and at almost 3 hours I had had enough. Ran with Rick B. who was kind enough to send along some photos from the day.
Running up the only hill on the course

Rick B. and Wildknits - on the bridge over the Kettle River

Looking down on the Kettle River

We ran on the Munger and Soo Line trails. Both are Rail to Trail conversions which means very little elevation change and, in the winter, snowmobile traffic. It was a busy day on the trail but almost all of the snowmobilers were very polite while passing. Had a great time hanging out with Rick during and after the run.

In addition to weekend long runs I have been doing a pretty good job of keeping the mileage up during the week. Even managed to double up last week and ran not only to work on Thursday but then after work ran to the library. I am far ahead of where I was last year at this time.