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.


Londell said...

I love winter photo's, just seem to dislike the cold more each year, but not the images...

So is knitting a sweater in 17 days like breaking 24 hours in a 100?

wildknits said...

;-> - I understand the dislike of cold. I find being out and active helps me be more tolerant. It helps that I like to ski and snowshoe as well. Plus - years ago I bought this great book "Nature in Winter", learning more about what is going on helps.

Not sure if you saw the sweater the Yarn Harlot is talking about, but it is indeed like finishing a 100, Hardrock doe example, under 24 hours. A Dale of Norway pattern - one of their Olympic sweaters. My project is more on the level of finishing Wild Duluth 50K in 6:30. Not sure I can do it.

Chris said...

Good luck! I'm a spectator this time.

Helen said...

And I thought planning for ultras was complex... :)

wildknits said...

Sometimes I wonder about my choice of hobbies!

Now that the socks are cast on things should go smoothly. Tip - do not try this in a darkened coffee shop/bar while listening to bands and trying to hold multiple conversations and drink a beer[Surly Furious btw] - it raised the difficulty level immensely!

Rick said...

I see the socks even get more press time than the hat!

wildknits said...

It is kind of like the biathalon - only gets press during the olympics ;->

The hat is giving me 'looks' and I may have to hide it away so as not to feel too guilty for neglecting it in favor of the Black Hole Socks.