Thursday, June 28, 2007

All Hers.

Any time a knitted item is placed on the floor, be it for photography, blocking, temporary storage or a time out, my cat is there to claim it as her own :)

As you can see, she was happy to claim this scarf as her own. Incidentally, it's done (and all the gory details are over here as usual) and I'm now contemplating the next project to cast on for while still working on the lace and Avast. I'm thinking it may be time for me to brave the Twisted Flower Socks by Cookie A. The only thing that's kept me from them so far is the fact that they are knit top down...Top down socks always unnerve me - I always worry that I'll run out of yarn before I finish the toes!

I was thinking of knitting them out of this yarn:

But now I'm wondering if this yarn may be more interesting...

but then again, I worry about the color variegation...what say you?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Projects on the Needles

This is what the couch looks like...poor cats, there's no room for them! I guess this would probably be why they typically sit in my lap while I'm knitting...

The blue is my Noro Lotus - as you can see, the simple dropped stitch pattern shows the yarn off very well. It's simple and soothing to work on, and it's going really fast, as dropped stitch scarves typically do :)

The bright orange mass is a lace project :) You might be able to pick out leaves in there...The yarn isn't really quite that just looks that way in the photo.

The gray is Avast - I'm over halfway done with the yoke - I'm loving this part of the knitting because with each row, the knitting goes faster and faster! Once I get the collar done, I plan to kitchner up the underarm stitches (I left them live) and I'll get a preliminary try-on done. I sure hope it fits...I figure if there is length that needs to be added to the body, I can get away with adding a bit at the bottom since I have to pick up for the bottom hem still...the sleeves though, will be the clincher. I sure hope I wasn't too hasty in joining them up with the body!

Monday, June 25, 2007


My cat, apparently, wishes to be a writer one day. He's not too good at it, but he sure tries. Heck, I'm sure I'd have problems too if I had to hold onto the pen with both hands!

I aspire to not have to be my own tech-support for web issues. A move to a new webhost was averted at the last moment, though plenty of comparison shopping occurred and a new host has been identified should my web hosting shenanigans persist.

I also aspire to be able to happily run my 2 races scheduled later this year. I'm continuing with my indoor training and cross training, and while I am still slightly frustrated at my slow pace, I do believe that things are settling - it certainly seems like my heart rate doesn't fluctuate quite as much as it did when I first started this adventure. Time will tell. I've officially cleared myself into Week 6 of the C25k program, and my feet and legs appear to have adjusted to the new orthotic devices. Hooray!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Take 5...

It seems like somethings are just destined to be difficult, but once they settle, it's smooooooth sailing (kind of like what's going with my host right now. But lets not talk about that...I'd rather talk about my knitting, wouldn't you?)

Anyhow, I had hoped to find a glorious pattern that would be suitable to showing off that fantastic blue yarn....things were proving difficult though, and as I mentioned previously, there was much trial and error knitting going on. The yarn survived numerous rippings beautifully (thank goodness) and has proven to be very soothing for me to work on these last several days as I agonized over the fate of my poor shop. As you may notice, I wound up settling for a simple drop stitch to 1) make the most of the yardage and 2) show of the yarn to its best advantage. It's coming out great. I shoulda known to just keep it simple ;)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Happy Summer Solstice :)

I'm slightly preoccupied right now because my shop is currently exeperiencing technical difficulties. While it is processing orders just fine, it is having various outgoing email pains. I've spent the last 2 days troubleshooting it with my web host and it's still not yet resolved. If any of you know anything about SMTP and email setup and think you can lend a hand, let me know - for some reason it seems that my shop is unable to connect properly to the SMTP host (though no settings have changed recently!) your help is appreciated :)

If for some miracle, you are reading this and you have been trying to subscribe to the newsletter or have been trying to contact me the last few days via the contact form, please email me directly (there is a link in the sidebar) and I will take care of things.

In other frustrations, I continue to crosstrain while limiting myself to my designated heart rate window - I have always had a hard time hiking up hill and now I know why! I was working out on the Step Mill (more torturous than the treadmill, and a much more challenging workout than the stairmaster) - and I wasn't able to go up past level 1! Runningwise, I'm still building a base, and I'm still plodding along at 3.4/3.4 mph. Yep, you read that right - I can walk faster than that, but the idea is to build sport-specific training in the target heart rate window. I'm hanging in there - and am certainly hoping things pay off down the road and I can at least get back into the 4mph speed range at some point before the end of the year!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Feeling Blue.

I had been trying to figure out just what to do with a pair of skeins of Noro Lotus - the yarn itself is quite lovely, though the yardage is quite short - and I didn't want to knit it up into something that would show off the yarn...

Noro Lotus
With that in mind, I started pouring through both of my newly acquired treasuries in search of a stitch pattern that might work. For better contemplation, I wound the yarn into cakes...

Of course, finding a suitable pattern was a challenge seeing as I had limited yardage to work with, and the gauge of the yarn isn't fine by any stretch of the imagination.

After casting on and ripping out several times (yes, several - so anyone who is wondering if the yarn takes to ripping, the answer is yes, it does so beautifully!), we seem to be getting along and this knit is proving to be a welcome respite from more challenging lace knitting and the sweater...which is looking more and more like a sweater as progress continues on the yoke!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Berry Season!

You know it's summer when all the berries start making an appearance at the market...

One of my favorites are raspberries - growing up, we had a bunch of raspberry brambles growing in our backyard. Between us kids and the birds, the brambles would be picked clean!

I also love cherries - I lament the fact that I don't live in the Pacific Northwest anymore - what with the varieties of cherries up there! I have to settle for Rainiers and Bings down here now....unless I want to mail order them in.

And finally, the wonderful Strawberry - speaking of which, I love my local Trader Joes. They have gorgeous organic Strawberries in stock now for a very reasonable price...especially good seeing as Strawberries are typically listed as among the top fruits to be laden with pesticides.

Incidentally, perfect for Project Spectrum, I also had a bunch of blackberries on hand too - they just wouldn't photograph well....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stash Enhancement of a different sort

Since I'm trying to take a break from Stash Enhancing as it seems I have more than enough yarn, I decided I needed to reward myself with some books to help me use up said stash. While I have several generic Knitting Books, including Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book, and by way of a recent gift from Erika: The Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Three: Color Knitting, I was still struggling to find inspiration for a particular yarn. The yarn has sat in my stash for some time, and I don't have much in the way of yardage (no, it isn't the Sinful - that, I'm afraid, is still sitting quietly in the stash)...anyhow, as a early celebration Spritely Goods' moving to its own domain (and a belated celebration of its inception), I decided to treat myself to three inspirational books.

I've heard no rebellious and creative knitter should be without a full library of Zimmermann and I have enriched my book collection to include:
Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns and A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I have it on good authority that the red book is the best.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cultivating Patience

I'm back training, with my eyes on a couple of races that are slated for this an attempt to do things right, I'm still working on my balance and ankle strength (even though everyone at the gym thinks I'm nuts I'm sure, what with all the one-legged exercises I've been doing) - I'm also trying to work in aerobic cross training on various devices in addition to trying to get myself to train using the Maffetone Low Heart Rate method...I say trying because it seems I am still trying to determine what pace I can run slowly at while still successfully staying within the designated training zone. At first I thought this would be a piece of cake...unfortunately, it seems my love of cake and lack of conditioning is making this much more challenging than originally anticipated :P I've been told that it can take several weeks to settle into a rhythm doing this type of training...and that it can take up to 12 weeks to see progress...

In other news, I've joined the Spun Stitches along...I keep meaning to spin myself a bunch of Arizona Sycamore colored yarn for knitting into a shawl or some other accessory - I have even had the bowl of fiber prepped for quite some time - I just keep getting distracted by other things (apparently I have a short attention span). I haven't decided if I'm going to ply it yet....and if I do, if I will ply it with itself, with sparkly iridescent thread....or both. Stay tuned, hopefully I'll get the wheel turning again soon and will have something to show :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Everybody loves Cake

Yarn Cake Portraits. Get yours at
A while back, Janet started a new flickr group dedicated to yarn cake portraits... and it's been growing every day! Almost as fun as Ravelry, the various yarn cakes have been a delight to look at. If you have a fascination with yarn cakes, pop on over and request an invite :)

Of course...if photos of yarn make you want to Stash Enhance....then perhaps it may not be the wisest group to join ;) All I can say is don't blame me if you get a hankering to acquire any yarns after having a good look at all the go over warned ;)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Together, at last!

Finally, after breaking free from the Knitting Black Hole, I have attached the sleeves to the body of the sweater and am cruising along on the yoke!

You may notice some strange quantity of needles in that photo - I am knitting the sweater back and forth on one long Denise needle (because the plastic tips are kinda bendy and cause my hands less distress - though it seems like the yarn sticks on the cable :( making moving stitches around a little bit of a pain). You might spy some plastic DPNs with needle protectors or even some other long circulars.....those are all there to hold onto the few live stitches at the underarm. Yes, I realize I was supposed to bind those off...but this is one of the modifications i have made - I am knitting the entire sweater seamlessly. The arms were knit in the round, the underarm stitches with be grafted together....

As you may note, there is slight striping on this sweater - this is due to the yarn I am knitting with - it has fairly broad stripes; however, since I find the broad stripes objectionable - so I have been knitting from two ends of a ball, or from two separate balls in some cases. I'm still getting a little bit of striping, but I think it looks much happier this way.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Freshened up.

Well, kind of. My blog finally migrated to the New and Improved Blogger a while back...and there were some features I really liked - my archive was getting rather lengthy (apparently, I've been blogging for quite a while!) and I do like having the ability to pull up posts by subject/tag. I decided I'd have a go at trying to "upgrade" the template and streamline/consolidate some items to make them easier to manage and update. I'm trying to decide if I'm going to keep all the old KALs...they are still there for now, and I've tried to check the links to ensure they are all going to functioning pages. The good news, I guess, is they can be deleted in one quick click - the bad news is this blog template is much harder to keep a solid backup of. Or it seems that way anyhow since when I look at the code, I can't figure out where Blogger is keeping the content of the "widgets". I will admit though, that once I figured it out, it wasn't too bad! So...if you're on blogger, and you're trying to decide if the overhaul is worth it, give it a try - I bobbled back and forth several times and the good news is it is a piece of cake to switch back to your old-style customized template :)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Yarn. Everywhere.

Before I get too far into should know that:

The shop updated over the weekend - most of the regular colorways are all back in stock, plus 10 limited edition colorways that will never be repeated!

One would presume that if I have just updated the shop, that yarn would no longer be all over the house. That would only be logical. However, it seems that as I keep trying to decide on projects, I wind up making small piles of my personal stash in various locations in the house.

Right now, there is a ball of Globe Mallow on the couch, attached to some secret is snuggled up next to a couple of balls of Karaoke, which happen to be attached to several pieces of Avast....which is actually seeing some progress after the sleeves miraculously reached escape velocity of the knitting black hole. It seemed for quite some time these last few weeks that no amount of knitting on the sleeves was resulting in any sort of measurable length - though last night, before I put it down, I took a measurement and it looks like I may only have an inch or so to go before joining the sleeves to the body....just in time for the summer ;)

Also lingering around the house are several balls of red SWTC Bamboo - the same yarn I knit my Shetland Triangle Shawl out of - it is trying to decide if it wants to be knit into another Swallowtail...Apparently I'm in the mood for Lace.

I've got several other skeins laying around the house in states of dishabille trying to decide what they want to be - one of them has me actually thinking of trying to design a pair of semi-lacy socks...the base stitch pattern is 6 stitches (I think). I think it should be fairly straight forward - though most socks seem to have 64 stitches in the leg...and 6 does not smoothly go into 64. It does go smoothly into 60 and 66 - though 66 is no good for splitting the pattern for the foot....ah well, I guess I'll start my scribblings and see. Right now I'm feeling the tug between attempting my first sock design and knitting on someone else's design...namely Cookie A's Twisted Flower...arguably, I could do both...though that may not be the smart thing for me to do...

Friday, June 01, 2007

June, already?!

Welcome to the summer :) In true summer fashion, we're welcoming it in with soaring temperatures. Happily for me, summer is a time with wonderful fruit - several of which fall wonderfully into the Project Spectrum Colors this month. Sadly I completely forgot to take a photo of the delicious watermelon that I chopped up earlier - but I'm sure I'll chop another one before this color triad passes!

In other news, I seem to have slumped in the running training - life got in the way (as it is wont to do at times) and I finally got my new orthotic devices. I slipped em in the shoes the other day and went to have a chat with Mr. Dreadmill - and the feet were not so happy. Since the new devices are rigid, and built specifically for running, it seems I need to introduce my feet slowly to them, so there will be no more running until I get my feet well acquainted with the new orthotics. I figure I've been off the program since February due to injury, so I may as well do things right and take it slow - I certainly don't want another injury any time soon. In any case, I suspect I'll be stuck on W5D1 and W5D2 of the C25k program for a little bit while I get back into things. Sadly, the time away has certainly let my fitness slide a bit. MAF max speed on my last "run" was 3.8 or 3.9 mph. *sigh* The goal for now is consistency of training - I'll worry about performance later :) The races on the books for this winter include a 10miler and a half marathon - I've still got plenty of time to rebuild my base!