Friday, September 10, 2010

Sock Deconstruction

I redesigned and finished knitting sock one of "Rudy's Sock - Take 2" yesterday and today it was time to harvest the yarn from the first version to use for the second sock of RST2. Why yes, this means I will have knit three knee high socks in order to come out with a pair. I try not too think to hard about that, after all designing and knitting is something I love to do.

Rudy's Sock - Take 2 on the top with the first version underneath - notice the difference in the calf shaping?

Side by side view...
in addition to redesigning the leg to fit his calves and not mine,
I made a few other pattern modifications. Can you pick them out?

Calf shaping - back view. Trust me, they look pretty good on the leg.

Undoing kitchner stitch is... well... not fun.

Toe is open and the ripping out has begun. I ended up using my umbrella
swift for the grey yarn (at first) and hand winding the gold yarn.

The yarn is quite wavy from being knit up.

Early on in the deconstruction process.

I have reached the heel. This was the only spot where there is a break in either
of the yarns. The heel was added after finishing the leg and foot (Peasant Heel).

Almost there!

One socks worth of gold yarn. The umbrella swift made it easier to wind off the yarn from the sock and then to make it into a center pull ball (took a few trips through the ball winder and swift to ensure it wasn't wound too tight - never good for yarn, or humans).

One socks worth of yarn, ready to be knit up again.

I am not going to bother washing and weighting the yarn to get rid of the "kink" left over from it's recent incarnation as a sock. I don't think it will matter too much as I am re-knitting it right away.

Pattern Details:
  • Wildknits original with inspiration from knee high socks designed by Nancy Bush and Elizabeth Zimmerman.
  • Stripe pattern is based on the numerical value of e.
  • Yarn is Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, Colours: 425 (mustard) and 103 (sholmit)
  • Gauge is 8.875 sts/inch
  • 2x2 ribbing for 4 inches, followed by about 14.5" of knitting for the leg and then the appropriate amount of knitting for a Rudy sized foot.
  • Peasant Heel (this link takes you to an amusing description of an Afterthought Heel - same concept really, though mine was not an afterthought, but instead a way to maintain stripe integrity).
  • My usual toe decrease, which looks exactly like the heel. So really, these socks have two toes, or is that two heels??
I may get around to writing up the pattern in a format that is usable by others, depending on demand and how quickly I get distracted by other knitting projects (there are two babies on the way and a shawls' worth of lovely variegated merino awaiting their turn in the knitting line-up).

Tonight I head up the north shore to cheer on runners in the Superior Sawtooth 100 and then pace a friend for a bit during the night and early morning. The socks will come along.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Vacation plans...

...have changed.

First my backpacking partner canceled due to illness (heading to a wilderness island in the middle of Lake Superior with a bad virus is not a good idea). So, after determining that no other friend could join me with less than 48 hours notice I switched to Plan B: Solo trip.

The big question when backpacking solo is "Can I fit the gear I need into my pack?". Tent, water pump, stove - those all still need to go and don't change size based on whether one or two people are in the party. I could cut back on food, cook kit, & fuel. Clothing is another issue. The forecast is for wet and cool, which means warm stuff for the non-hiking hours, which tend to be bulky (relatively speaking). I had things laid out and was fitting them into the pack with the plan to finalize things this morning, run some last minute errands and head north by early to mid afternoon with the intent of spending the night in Grand Marais and then catching the ferry early Wednesday morning.

Early this morning I called the ferry line (Grand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Line Inc) to cancel one of the reservations only to learn that the Voyageur II was still out at Rock Harbor and was not able to leave the dock due to high seas. Their best guess was that the ferry would get back to Grand Portage Wednesday night and then maybe head out at 5:00 am Thursday morning for a round trip run.

As I listened to Don (one of the owners) I thought about my planned itinerary and realized that I would be pushing it to make the trip I had planned - assuming the boat went out Thursday morning. I ended up canceling the trip. There were too many questions and in all reality they weren't even sure they could get out Thursday - all depended on what the Lake had in store.

That leaves me with a week of vacation and the majority of my friends off at races. So... what to do with my time?

Here are the list of options generated so far:
  • Go into work. Ummm... NO! I need a break in order to go back and be a good nurse, co-worker, wife and human being.
  • Help Mr. Wildknits with some work projects. (yesterday I was "opening an airplane" ie: taking out screws and sliding inspection panels open). Hmmm... seems like work to me.
  • Finish the socks I have been working on for months (and at the same time get caught up on my reading).
  • Ride the motorcycle (assuming it stops raining and the gale force winds die down).
My bike and I at Oldenburg Point in Jay Cooke State Park.
(helmet is in my hand - just behind the gas tank in case you are wondering)

  • The Superior Fall Races are this weekend and as I said above I know lots of people running in the various events so multiple opportunities abound there to join one of the races, crew, volunteer or just go from aid station to aid station and cheer.
  • Stay home and do nothing unless I really feel motivated, including running.
So - if faced with a week of unstructured time what would you do!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Where did I go???

August seems to have flown by and here we are in September. In just a few days it will be time to head north for my fall trip to Isle Royale. Of course this means I will miss the Fall Superior Races and won't know how all of my friends did until I return from the island. (While it may seem odd that I would leave town over that particular weekend, I am only half joking when I say it is in self-preservation. I believe there are those who would try to talk me into running one of those races, and not the shorter ones! Maybe some day, but I am not ready yet - and may never be).

Running has been... well... mixed. I had a few good runs after Voyageur, then some truly crappy ones, and then... well I decided I was not recovering as well as I had hoped and nixed the idea of heading to Marquette, MI for that 50 miler. This freed me up to answer the request for a blood donation and off I went to Memorial Blood Centers. Apparently one benefit of donating rarely (and running ultras?!?) is a hemoglobin value that was the highest I can ever remember it being.

Two days later I had a really good "long run", followed by a decent week of running. Then it was back to crappy runs. What the heck!?!

I have been mixing in some time on my mountain bike on the local trails, but the frequent rains have put a stop to that (trails were too muddy). Although, being an optimist, the bike is still in my car, hoping to be taken out for a ride.

With running not going so well and no real desire to spend hours on the trail I have been freed up to play around on my BMW (1984 R65). On decent weather days I have been using it to commute to work and to make small trips around the area. Last weekend Mr. Wildknits and I hopped on the motorcycles (he also has a BMW - 1975 R75/6) and headed north to Embarrass to visit friends, check out the fair and the Finnish homestead, and run the Flying Finn 10K.

I had thought, based on past runs, that I might be capable of a 48 minute 10K. Sunday morning dawned warm - 70+ degrees at 7:00 am - and windy. Very windy!! After arriving at the race start and registering I headed out on the race course for a short warm-up jog. As I turned back to head up the hill to the start/finish the heat really hit! Without the headwind it was toasty out there.

Back at the start I spied a young girl doing her warmup. I commented to my friend "she is going to kick my ass!" And she did, as well as every other woman in the race. This girl was amazing! From what I hear she looked good the whole time (this was mostly a loop course with only two, short, out and back sections). It was fun to watch her skip back with her prize money at the awards ceremony. Oh yeah - this was her second year winning the women's race. It turns out she is 12 years old. I think in a few years one of the Range schools will be dominating the high school running circuit with her help.

I did not hit my goal pace, finishing in 51.25. The heat, wind, and overall fatigue (or is it lack of desire to push hard?) got in the way. I remember coming to a hill and having to tell myself that I didn't get to walk - this was not an ultra! I am not overly disappointed though as I finished 4th woman overall, first in my age group (40 - 49) and set a new road PR for that distance.

After lunch with our friends we loaded up the bikes for the ride home. We decided to take a route via Hoyt Lakes and onto Forest Rd 11 (aka Co Rds 15/16) over to Co. Rd 2 and into Two Harbors. What a lovely ride!! I was reminded what a beautiful part of the state I live in. We encountered very few vehicles, no mega-fauna (deer/moose/bear) and a handful of grouse waiting to cross the road.

All of that riding had me feeling much more comfortable on the bike and ready to take my motorcycle skills test this morning. The forecast was not auspicious and I was on the telephone early to see if it would be canceled ( they are not offered if the roads are wet). Per the DMV staff the decision would depend on the road conditions at the actual time I was scheduled to take the test. The rain held off, the skies even cleared for a bit, so I left and took the leisurely route to the testing location. I was a bit shocked to see how small the course was, and that there were cars parked very near by. After some moments to regroup and calm down (I get a bit anxious before tests which I blame on the torture device known as the NCLEX-RN and its computerized adaptive testing) I proceeded to get on the bike and pass the test. I now have my motorcycle endorsement! Perfect timing as my license is about to expire.

I have managed to get some knitting done, though progress has been slow on the socks. I am not sure they are small enough to go along on the backpacking trip, so may have to resurrect the hat I started last May while on the island. Or maybe come up with something new (there are two babies on the way this winter and all babies in northern climates should have a handknit woolen item to wear or be wrapped in).

As far as future races go, the NMTC series has begun and there are a few shorter races I am considering before Wild Duluth 50K. But what I really need to do is get back to some long runs. I seem to be stuck at 13 miles right now and that just isn't going to cut it in 6 weeks. It is time to get a 20 miler in I think, then off to the island for 5 days of cross-island backpacking fun before I head into some serious training.

One year ago I had NEVER run an ultra. Wild Duluth was my first and led to a string of races that has me up to 5 ultras so far. If all goes well I will add another 1 or 2 to that list by the end of 2010.