Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sock Update

I have been having an interesting time with these socks!

First I had some issues with my cast-on, so that got done twice. Then I had knit up the ribbed cuff and was well on my way on the first part of the charted pattern for the leg when I realized that the pattern blocks were not the same, indeed they were mirror images of each other. Sigh! Ripped back the 13 or so rounds I had knit, picked up the stitches (so much fun with dark, dark, dark green on Sz 1/2.5 mm needles at night). I reknit the leg only to realize that I was not going to be able to live with the puckered stitches that were occurring at the "corners" (transition area between each of the needles - these are being knitted on 5 dpns). So, I ripped back again (this time 18 rounds).

I was also having trouble reversing the colors in the charts. My main color is Motherboard which is a dark green, almost black. The contrast color is Circuitry, a lime green shade. As you can see in the photo below, the chart is written such that the main color is represented by white blocks and the contrast color as dark blocks. Sometimes I can handle the reversal, other times.... not so much.

While socks are simple knitting (in my experience) these ones are kicking my a**! Hopefully by marking up the chart I will stay a bit more on track and not have another trip to the frog pond in my future (rip it, rip it).

Today was a bump up in mileage. Headed out for an 18 mile run on various roads in my neighborhood. I met a friend along Skyline Boulevard and then we headed east for a bit, circumnavigating Enger Park before heading up hill to run by one of the most unique, and little known, features in town. On a back street in a wooded neighborhood is the "ice volcano". Attributed to a water main that is opened in the winter to keep water flowing to the neighborhood (flow rate reported to be a gallon a minute). It currently towers over 20 feet and the ice is a really lovely shade of blue. You can often see the water spraying from the top of the mound.

This route incorporated plenty of hills! My goal on road runs is to actually run all of the inclines. To add to the fun there was often a headwind. The combination had me smiling (or was that grimacing) more than once. I finished with a long downhill into my neighborhood and then the steep little uphill onto my block. Total running time: 2:53.

Tomorrow the plan calls for 10 miles, route is yet to be determined. Trails are turning to mush in the warm temperatures (currently 53F) so it may be another road run.

Next Sunday is my first race of 2012 - St. Patrick's Day Human Race. This is part of the USATF - MN Team Circuit and I will be sporting my Northwoods jersey for this event. I will probably run one other road race this spring before turning my attention 100% to trails and preparing for the ultra events I plan on running this year.

Other Stuff
Work has been hectic and I have taken on some additional duties - hopefully for the short-term - to fill a staffing gap.

I was also recently diagnosed with autoimmune thyroiditis. It came as a bit of a shock as I was not exhibiting the classic signs of hypothyroidism (other than cold intolerance, which has been a constant for me my whole life, even when my TSH levels were fine). I have a great doctor who took the time to listen to me, consider my questions, do the extra testing to check not only thyroid hormone levels but also antibody levels, and was willing to let me walk away and "think about it" when I was initially diagnosed. I have been learning from others about how they incorporate this diagnosis into a running lifestyle, with Alene at Ultrahypo being a great resource.

I have been enjoying the lengthening days and the extra light that brings, as well as the increased bird activity in the area. If this warm spell keeps up I may have to bring the feeder inside soon to keep the "varmints" (aka raccoons and bears) from destroying it. The feeder is on our front porch, just outside our doors which is great for viewing but feels a bit too close when needing to chase a large mammal away.

The Righteous Real Ale has turned out quite nice and we recently purchased the supplies for a bock-style beer. I am sure this means at some time in the future I will be told to "finish up" the Ale so we can keg the bock. We did the math on this last purchase, brewing your own is not necessarily cheaper than purchasing the already bottled stuff. It can be tastier though!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Circuitry Socks

Upon seeing the pattern for the Microprocessor Socks in the Deep Fall Issue of Knitty I knew these were something I was going to have to knit. Lucky for me I know a few folks who would also be intrigued by this pattern, and who I felt were worthy, or should I say deserving, of a pair of handknit socks.

The recipient and I negotiated colors (neither of us impressed with the model socks pictured with the pattern) and then I set about trying to find the right colors locally. I thought I had done well, cast on the socks as I drove to Grand Forks over Christmas, only to learn that the colors weren't quite right.

Hmph.... oh well, that yarn got repurposed into the Cross-Country Chullo.

I started to look online for commercial yarns that would fit the bill, no luck. I then thought about a local business - Three Irish Girls. They will do custom dying and their yarns are a delight to work with and hold up well to daily wear. I worked with the owner of the business and with the intended recipient of the finished items to come up with just the right shades of green for this project. Due to the nature of custom dying I had to purchase two skeins of each colorway (I will only need one of each for the project). Just a little something extra to add to the stash.

A week or so ago a package arrived. Whoo hooo!! I was so excited to see how the yarn had turned out.

It took me quite a few days until I had the time to wind these skeins into cakes of yarn and then another day or so until I was ready to cast on. Oh, what a delight the Adorn Sock yarn is to knit with (80% merino/20% nylon). So soft!

Today I cast on, knit a few rows, ripped it out and recast on. I wanted the corrugated ribbing to have just the right look (it's all about the cast-on method and how you hold the two yarns).

I am almost done with the first cuff and will soon move onto the leg and it's pattern. I am excited to work on this project for several reasons:
1. The yarn is so nice.
2. I will be learning a new heel technique.
3. Seeing the recipient's reaction when they first try the socks on.

ORC(Obligatory Running Content)
I have started training in earnest and am even following a plan in order to give some kind of structure to my runs. The last few weeks have seen mileage in the 40's (which is high for me). So far, so good. I am enjoying the longer runs and even doing some informal speedwork - aka Wednesday runs at the Lakewalk.

Duluth has received additional snow over the last few days, reports say up to 23 inches, matching our seasonal snow fall amount. This has meant a bit of slogging through snow and mush on the roads as the trails are buried in fluff (and I do not have a set of running snowshoes). Temperatures have been quite mild though, never straying lower than the 20's and with highs in the mid 30's.

Speaking of snow, the plow finally came by so it is time to dig the vehicles out.