Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 in Review

My Goodness. What a year it has been!

I thought last year was pretty darned spectacular. This past year flew by (seriously, can someone explain to me where all the time goes?) - and was even better than the last - I only hope to continue to be able to build on the accomplishments year after year.

Other than hitting ten loooong years of service, my normal career hasn't done much of interest - my "real life" though, has been more full than ever, and absolutely amazing. Friendships have strengthened, I've continued to be blessed with good health, and my business is slowly growing. While my weight has probably stayed about the same relative to this time last year, my clothes fit differently (in a good way) now that I'm running. Speaking of running, if any of you had told me that I would run a 5k race this year as a comment in my last year's roundup, I would have had myself a good long laugh. I am amazed I've been able to pick up running, even more so that I am still continuing with a training regimen with my eyes on a couple of longer races this spring. I'm still baffled as to what I'm going to do when I'm forced indoors, as treadmills and I simply don't get along - but I guess that hurdle will be crossed when the weather gets too hot to continue training outdoors.

I can only hope that next year brings more amazement, joy and sense of accomplishment - I've got plenty of things in mind - from fitness and health goals to knitting and crafting goals, to plans for continued expansion of Spritely Goods.

Anyhow, before I lose you, here's the Year in Review!
-I've progressed from dying with KoolAid to dying with professional acid dyes - I haven't done dyework since high school (where I learned batik and other vat dye processes). While I haven't yet had an opportunity to work with "natural" dyes yet, I hope to do so in the coming year.

-I started designing! I've a small menagerie of creatures I've designed - from a Sheep for Southwest Trading Company, to a turtle and poppy pillow for For the Love of Yarn, to a knit version of the poppy pillow, a cat, a bunny and a little lambkin (all available via my Shop).

-I learned how to knit Fair Isle Style with 3! They might be pirate hats. The first now lives with a friend's son, the second belongs to my DH and the 3rd was a holiday gift for another friend's son.

-A sweater was knit and reknit for the knitting olympics.

-the cats got a pair of pi beds

-Knitting slowed to a crawl while I worked on learning ecommerce software and moved the shop to its own domain - it was an interesting process, though I am very pleased and proud of the results, if I do say so myself ;)

-Gift knitting started up with a Log Cabin baby blanket.

-I churned off a couple pairs of socks

-and a few scarves (and a meathead) too.

-I've apparently made peace with lace - finishing a kiri, swallowtail and shetland triangle.

-Of course, there was lots of blending of fiber and spinning - and I'm getting better at that supercoil :)

It was definitely a good year.

Hope your year was wonderful - here's to a happy and healthy 2007!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Looking for New Homes

While it has been kinda chilly of late, it hasn't been cold enough for me to take advantage of either of these two knits. All of my relatives are kinda scarfed out (those that lived in scarf climates have all received a minimum of one handknit scarf already) - and I don't have a female friend or relative that the hat would here's an opportunity for some handknits :)

Clapotis inspired scarf, knit from handspun yarn. 7-inches wide, 56-inches long.

And Tatiana, my Meathead that I knit for the Meathead along.

I'm looking for swaps for these guys - believe it or not, I'm happy to accept yarn or fiber...and I'm always hunting for knitting books. If you're interested, send me a note via the contact link in the sidebar.

These are also listed in my "stash redistribution" blog

More Holiday Knits

I did not knit for very many folks this holiday season - mostly because I only want to knit for those who I know will find joy and appreciation in my handcrafted gifts. Two other lucky recipients of handknits this season were my Sister in Law, who received a scarf knit from handspun yarn (click that link to go to the finished objects blog).

I also knit my friend's (you know, the one that just got married) son a They Might be Pirates hat in his favorite colors. It was a special request by my friend who saw me diligently working on the 2 previous ones. Sadly, I appear to have forgotten to take a photo of the hat before it went to its new home. It too is well loved :)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Congratulations are in Order :)

My longtime friend got hitched over the holiday weekend! Doesn't she look great? The wedding was simple, and definitely a happy affair :)

Of course, I knitted for the event.

It looks great on the groom, and even better on the bride :)

Of course, the details (as well as larger photos) can all be found on the finished objects blog.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Twas a Happy Holiday

Hope you all had a wonderful Holiday! As you can see, we're plain tired out from all the excitement! Knitting content to resume shortly :D

Friday, December 22, 2006

Changing Seasons!

Yesterday marked Winter Solstice - the first "official" day of winter, and also the shortest day of the year. My run today was magical - it was what seemed like an effortless five miles, with the sunlight filtering down through misty clouds - very rare for the desert. I saw a fair bit of wildlife - from the "regulars" - a variety of species of birds (and people out with their dogs :D) - to some very special spottings - a cottontail that didn't bolt at my approach, and even more special, a coyote - a rare treat indeed.

Speaking of running, I've discovered that just because some clothes work fine for certain fitness activities - like hiking or walking or yoga, doesn't mean they'll work for running - I had what felt like a constant wardrobe malfunction on a recent run (not today) - the dratted pants kept feeling like they were slithering down my hips - and every block or so I felt obliged to grab em and hitch em up. Not exactly the best for my gait....Upon my return home, I went straight to a mirror to see how indecent they were, and they were about 3 inches below my natural waistline...definitely Low Riding....way lower than any low rise jeans I might wear....Needless to say, the pants have been relegated to more sedate activities :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

She Doesn't Travel Well.

My wonderful Minstrel spins like a dream, but doesn't travel well.

I took her with me to the Holiday Bazaar, and it took some coaxing and cajoling to get her into the front seat of my small car - and even then, she was kinda shoe-horned in and didn't appear to be very happy about the situation.

If I ever take to wanting to travel a fair bit with a traditional wheel (vs an electric spinner) I'll have to save up some money. I have discovered that apparently, the only portable wheel with double drive is the Journey Wheel. I've never spun on one, but I do know that I definitely prefer double drive over scotch tension spinning!

Anyhow, heading into the holidays things are wrapping up nicely. A big thank you to all of you readers, it always amazes me when people leave comments offering support, praise or assistance and suggestions - especially when it is people who I've never had the pleasure of meeting! I wish you all a joyous holiday season and good wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year :D

Photos, by the way, will start appearing again next week - I've got some holiday knits that will finally be able to be revealed!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I got gauge. Yet I frogged.

I was happily on the home stretch of my Baudelaire Socks and I tried em on...only to decide they were too baggy and just not holding their shape properly. I shoulda known, seeing as the socks were toe up and I had tried em on thinking the foot was kinda soggy, if you know what I mean. They were so loose that it fit my DH's foot quite nicely, though the heel section was still not as tightly fitted as I would like. Can you imagine? Leaf Lace socks on a man??

Anyhow, I've ripped the socks back, and cast back on again - this time I'll knit the small size pattern and I've gone down 1 size in needles as well. Here's hoping they fit properly....or I'll have to rip back again (or switch midstream to smaller needles!)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New Favorite Cookie!

almond shortbread cookies by Trader Joes

Very very tasty. Terribly terribly addictive. Way easier the my baking the equivalent ;) Not only that, but they come dusted with sugar so they glisten and have a wonderfully satisfying crunch on the outside!

I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to jump in and do a bunch of traditional holiday baking - but while I'm deciding, these tasty cookies are keeping plenty happy :) *

* looks like I just may have to do some holiday baking - my local Trader Joes is out of these cookies for the season. *pout* though honestly, it's probably a good thing - at least that's what I'm telling my waistline :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Don't Forget!

Today is the day of the Holiday Gift Bazaar benefiting Fresh Start Womens Foundation I'll be there (the event is at the Embassy Suites at the Biltmore) from noon til 8pm - if you have a moment, please do stop on by! There's a great raffle that will also be going on along with the Bazaar, and the prizes include the following:
-Dinner for two at Sam's Cafe
-Ice Cream cones for two at Haagen Dazs
-a Classic Spa Package at Elizabeth Arden's Red Door
-a 1 night stay for two at the Embassy Suites hotel
-2 private Yoga Lessons and 1 yoga party for 6 from Peace in the City
-a pair of Bed Head PJ's and Fashion Purse from Elite Boutique
-a pair of handfelted soaps from yours truly ;)
and there's sure to be more!

Donations will also be accepted for Fresh Start Womens Foundation - the event is focusing on collecting new and gently used business attire.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Thank You!

Seriously - thanks to everyone who has posted or emailed comments to me regarding my headache dilemma. I really really appreciate them all. Hopefully I'll have them under control soon - the good news is they rarely get out of hand into "someone please cut my head off and give it back later" levels of pain, it seems they are usually of the low grade, but annoying none the less variety.

I think it's time for happier stuff, don't you?

Every girl likes sparkly things, even better if they are handmade :)

I was the lucky recipient of these handmade glass bead earrings and pendant from Chris aren't they great? The earrings even have sparklies in the glass - and I can't get over the turtle - he even has a teeny tiny little tail. They're just perfect!

I also received this necklace from Amy - the chain is sterling silver and it has a turquoise bead, a mother of pearl bead and an Amyville original tekkamaki :) The turquoise bead with it's different coloring reminds me of the earth!

I think we'll all agree - handmade gifts trump a headache anyday ;)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Probably Not Funny.

So. I'm looking for advice here after I tell my little tale. No knitting or gifty content in this post, I'm afraid - though I do have some knitting fresh off the needles and blocking wires and I managed to get some photos of cool gifts that were recently stay tuned.

I've been having some issues with my head of late - not that I'm crazy or anything ;) well, aside from the running anyhow - it's more that I've been plagued by headaches. It seems they started as sinus headaches, which were treated by switching up my allergy medications along with a battery of antibiotics. Several other allergy prone folks suggested the use of a neti pot instead of adding on additional medications of the decongestant/mucus clearing variety. The good news is with the neti pot and the antibiotics, the sinus pressure appears to be under control though. The bad news is the headaches are still with me - though now they appear to be more of a migrane/tension headache nature. I'm getting rather tired of it - and I prefer to treat without drugs. One would think the natural endorphins from running would kick those headaches right quickly, but alas.

Anyhow, what's not funny? As a part of the whole diagnosis bit, I received a voicemail from my dr's office regarding a CT scan of my head (you know - just to make certain it isn't something more serious) went something like this:

Hello, this is a message from your dr's office regarding the recent CT scan of your brain...

...Nothing was found.


Uh. Hmm. That is, nothing Abnormal was found.


They really need to work on their message delivery. In any case, I laughed and laughed and just couldn't stop giggling over that voicemail.

Anyhow, if anyone has suggestions on what I might do to relieve these headaches, it would be appreciated. When I last had these problems I used to see an acupuncturist (yeah, me who is afraid of needles let someone stick em in my head...that goes to show how bad the headaches were). Sadly, my acupuncturist moved and I haven't found a new one. Thanks in advance for the suggestions!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Holiday Gift Bazaar

Alright, it looks like I'll be doing one more show :)

In addition to benefiting my own selected charities (as all sales from Spritely Goods do) this Holiday Gift Bazaar will be benefiting the Fresh Start Womens Foundation.

Come on out, say hello and do a little shopping!

When? Monday December 18th 2006 from Noon to 8pm (stop by after work!)
Where? in the ballrooms at the Embassy Suites at the Biltmore - 2360 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix.

In addition to the wide selection of goods, there will be a raffle benefiting the Fresh Start Womens Foundation. Donations of gently used or new business attire will also be accepted at the event.

I'd love to see you there!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Knitted & Spun Gifts

It was a wonderful weekend of holiday cheer :) with the weekend kicking off with the Luscious Gracious group and dinner at Cafe Carumba. Festivities wrapped on Sunday evening with a Holiday Get Together with good friends - what a treat to see everyone, and the dinner by Raquel was supurb.

At long last I can share some of the creations that I've had to hide away all this time!

Soas to spare mountains of knitted gifts and yarn (not necessarily a bad thing ;) ) the International Knit Circle did a "secret pal" style swap - and I knitted my first ever pair of gift socks that went to live with Jen. Click here for the details. There was much fretting on whether or not they'd fit, whether she'd like the colorway and whether she'd like the sock height or not...she appeared pleased, and she blogged about them, so I think I'm safe :) What a relief!

I was on the receiving end of Steve and the whole LG family in general - check out the mini sweater knit by Kiki, and the girls put together great games and gift bags for the evening! Anyhow, back to Steve - I have another original felted bag (it's so soft!) - it's designed to hold my sock knitting projects...

If you open it up, you'll see an original flower print and check out the dpns! I've already moved my latest sock knitting project into it, and it works great :)

In the way of other fiber gifts, I have had some time to do some special spinning - first, a birthday skein for Raquel (you know, the one that has enabled my poor feeble mind into all kinds of madness ;) ) It's a special run of Arizona Sycamore.

And for Amy, I did a custom dye & spin job to match her favorite and signature colors....mmm mmm, merino :) btw, if you click the pic of the yarn below, you'll get a closeup of it...I couldn't resist.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Off the wires!

Less than a week in knitting, the Shetland Triangle Shawl (also by Evelyn Clark) is fresh off the blocking wires!

As usual, all the details and commentary are stored over on the Finished Objects Blog.

In the meantime, my Swallow Tail matching Baudelaire Socks are making some level of progress, they are going much slower than the rapid fire lace shawls - sadly they might have to be temporarily set aside for a last minute crazily knitted gift - a friend is getting married, and I think she needs something special, don't you?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Local with Nothing to do on Saturday?

Well, come visit me :)

I've got my last Craft Fair of the Holiday Season out in Goodyear!
it's running from 9am to 3pm, I'd welcome the company :)

The Details: First Annual Holiday Faire
Sponsored by: The Arizona Enlightenment Center
Location: 13984 W Van Buren; Goodyear AZ

There will be door prizes, plenty of holiday shopping, and holiday cheer!

I'll be there with a slew of scarves, bowls of handmade flower accessories, felted soaps, SOAK, perhaps some stitch markers, and of handpainted yarns.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Pinky" Reports: Iron Girl 2006

Yes, there is Knitting Content in this post....but hardly any, and it's at the very end...So Scroll Way Down if you want to skip past the Race Report and the *sigh* numerous photos of me in pink and a Tiara.

For a review on what's up with all the pink:
I decided if I was going to start running, I'd run for a good cause! I wound up raising money for the Ulman Cancer Fund. An original target of $500 was set to get me into a pink head-to-toe outfit, and once that goal was met, a stretch goal of $750 was created for the addition of a tiara. With that goal met, I stopped raising the bar in fear of having to do something like running in a pink Tutu or some other ridiculousness. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of my supporters, a total of $800 was raised.

When we last heard from our little Pink Running Princess (that would be Me), I had just finished a super fantastic last training run (that was the Wednesday before the Saturday Race). I "tapered" by not running on Thursday or Friday. Oddly enough, for even a relatively short race (5k or 3.1 miles for non-metric friendly folk), I apparently got what is affectionately known as "taper crazies". I started feeling slightly sore, yet oddly hyper and energized. It was a very very strange feeling indeed. Anyhow, Saturday finally arrived, with the weather cool (40 F / 4 C) and just a touch windy before the sun managed to get up higher. I got up, and had a light breakfast and tried to prehydrate with a quart or so of water. I then dashed upstairs to get dressed. This was the first time I actually had the *entire* race ensemble on at the same time (I wore bits and pieces of it while training to make sure there were no chafing or other fit/performance issues). Needless to say, I was a bit overwhelmed by the Pinkness.

Pink and Calm Before the Race

Here I am, in my Pink Glory - note, I'm about as pink as possible from head to toe - I'm wearing a Pink Tank, Pink GymGirl Skirt and Pink Socks, all from SkirtSports - The accessories include the sparkly princess tiara and specially handknit cuffs - in pink of course. The watch, I'm afraid, is blue, but I wasn't about to go buy another watch just for this :P The shoes conveniently matched - bonus!

For those wondering, the bib number would have matched as well (pink) except with my special status as a over $500 fundraiser (thanks again to all who donated!) my bib was specially colored Yellow. One of the nice touches of this race was the personalized race bibs, though unfortunately they somehow misprinted mine - luckily I picked up my race packet early, and was able to remedy the situation - I didn't quite manage to match the yellow, but the font face and type size were matched perfectly ;)

Pre-race preparation involved waiting in the lines for the Port-a-Potties, and then ditching the jacket to bounce around near the starting line waiting for the start. As start time approached, I positioned myself towards the middle-rear of the pack, along the side after consulting with my dear Photographer :) Just before the "gun" (I never heard the crack of a starting pistol...but that doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't one), the crowd packed into the chute.

And they're off!

Once the official start happened, there was much shuffling to the official starting line, at which point most everyone broke into a trot. There was a fair bit of navigating around slower runners and walkers at first - it seemed it took almost a full mile to me to settle into a group that was paced similarly to myself. (mile one split: 11:08 - oops, out the gate a little faster than anticipated)

Running in a pack of people was certainly different - even though I told myself to "start slow" I think my innate claustrophobia and competitiveness made me head out to try to get into some "free space". The course was practically flat, and on pavement or packed dirt the entire way. A few small "hills" were encountered as we came close to "on ramps" to the various bridges - a surprising number of individuals slowed to a walk on these portions.

Not far after the mile one marker was the first aid station offering water and Gatorade - I attempted to see if I could successfully get a sip in, but re-discovered the reason why I much prefer to hike with a hydration reservoir rather than bottles - I haven't the ability to drink and move at the same time. Thankfully I didn't wind up wearing any of my experimental drink. Around this time, I had settled into what I thought was a reasonable groove after having adjusted my pace - though I honestly will admit that I missed the company of Artemis, my happy pink iPod.

Mile two came and went with a pace that was more in line with what I was expecting (11:21). So far, so good, and the tiara was staying put remarkably well! I felt I fit in with the people staffing Aid Station #2 as they all had tiaras on :) Well into the homeward stretch, it was interesting running across the Mill Avenue bridge with glimpses of the finish line below - as I was rounding the final stretch, I kicked in with all the energy I had (probably not the smartest thing to do as I was probably at a full tilt sprint while crossing the finish line).

A photo finish!

The photos of the finish cracked me up - somehow my foot strikes matched exactly with those of the young lady right next to me. With ages ranging from 6-68 the field was absolutely remarkable. My poor Photographer felt out of place - there just weren't a whole lot of men around!

Still Crowned, with finisher's medal

All finishers of the race receive a very nice finisher's medal - which matched nicely with my outfit ;)

Final statistics:

My personal goals for this race were 1) have a good time of it (yes, I did - I think I'm hooked) , 2) to run the entire thing (done :D) and 3) complete the race with a sub 35 minute finish (in that order)

Of course, like a true noob, I forgot to press stop on my watch until after I had cleared the finishing chute and turned in my chip. Here's where the official race results step in :)

Gun Time: 35:19 - but remember, I placed myself fairly far back in the starting pack...
Chip Time: 34:18 (wahoo!) with a pace of 11:03 - so I must have picked things back up again in mile three. This trimmed 24 seconds off my best training pace - not bad - hooray for adrenaline.

Out of a field of 638, I placed ~292 - about as expected, I didn't expect to place near the top as the early finishers were coming in with 6.5 minute miles - and with this being a run/walk, I figured I wouldn't come in at the back of the pack - more importantly I did hit my personal goal.

In my age group with a field of 88 contenders, I placed 48th according to gun time, but was 45th according to chip time ;)

On stage for all to see, helping with the Awards Ceremony

Would I do it again? Yes :) as a matter of fact, I've eyeballed my next races (oh yes, it's races - plural!), and I'm still training.

If you'd like to give it a try, I do recommend the Couch to 5k training plan from Cool Running. It was an easy program that took me from walking to running 30 minutes at a time. I then started training by adding distance to eventually get myself to cover the 5k distance, since am still not yet running 10 minute miles. I also recommend if you're a nerd like me and take great pleasure in seeing your training graphed up all nice and prettily.

Now then. The knitting :) Guess what I finished? And in less than a week!

It's on blocking wires now - I should have thrown something in there for scale, it looks ridiculously small freshly bound off. Preliminary measurements have it staked out to about 70 inches across the top and 28 inches down to the lower point.

And a closeup for good measure. Stay tuned...the finished object post will be done soon :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I'm an Irongirl!

No, this isn't the official race report. I'm waiting for the official results to be posted - and I have some holiday baking I'm supposed to be doing.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Whee! Happy Holidays!

I'm so excited, Spritely Goods made it into the Lime & Violet Holiday Gift guide! (you can download it from this entry on their blog)