Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's All Good in the 'Hood

It's been a rather fun week, one that was filled with surprises. Where to start?

Last week, Susan from Y2Knit sent me an email asking if I would like to do a podcast for their ECOnnection program. How cool is that? Today was the day for the interview and it should be up on the ECOnnection blog in about a month or so. I just hope I don't sound too dorky.

Then, on Friday I received an email from Sheri at The Loopy Ewe letting me know that I was one of the lucky winners of her most recent contest. And lucky I am! The prize package includes one skein of Wollmeise, one skein of yarn from another one of their indie dyers, one Loopy Red Canvas Sock Bag, one sock pattern, and a Loopy Ewe pin. I've heard such good things about Wollmeise yarn, as well as the yarn from the indies. I can't wait to receive my prize package and dive into it!

But the diving has to wait because I'm furiously knitting away on the Gumdrop socks for the sockput event in the Ravelympics. I managed to cast on during the opening ceremonies (Beijing time, no less), only to have it be a false start. Even though I counted 70 stitches in the cast on a couple of times, I found that there were only 68 when I completed rnd 1. I managed to get it right the second time. I've finished the first repeat of the gumdrop transition pattern (16 rows) and need to repeat that at least one more time. The pattern isn't as difficult as I thought it would be, but it does require a bit ofconcentration. The sock looks pretty good at this point and I love the Socks That Rock yarn. Very smooth and smooshy. If I can finish them, they'll be perfect socks for wearing after my ultra marathon next month.

Speaking of which, my training is still going well. I completed a 14-mile run on the Appalachian Trail today. It was very challenging. The section of trail that we ran is known as The Roller Coaster; there were lots of steep hills and switchbacks. Add to that lots of rocks and tree roots. Ooof! Which is exactly what I said (okay, well maybe not exactly) when I tripped and became one with the trail. My elbow is nicely scraped and I managed to scrape my ribs as well. This damage is not as bad as the last fall I took, which left me with a lump the size of a grapefruit on my quad and bruised from hip to knee. That was about a month ago and I'm still sporting the bruise!

I think part of what made this run so hard was that I didn't take enough water with me. I had one 20-oz. bottle and figured that it was only 14 miles. I didn't count on those miles being as difficult as they were or the run taking four hours to complete. I'm definitely going to have to improve my hydration and fueling, especially if I want to finish the GEER 50K in somewhat good shape. The run today is making me question the wisdom of upgrading from the half marathon to the 50K. Perhaps I bit off more that I can chew. Ah, well...isn't that what mid-life crises are for?

That's all for now! Happy knitting!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

What Was I Thinking?!

Now I've gone and done it. You'd think that I'd have learned from past experience, but nooooooo. I let myself get caught up in the heat of the moment and didn't think about the consequences of my actions. But now I'm committed and there's nothing left to do but train and do the best I can.

And no, I'm not talking about signing up to run a 100-mile race. That would be sheer stupidity at this point.

I'm talking about the Ravelympics. What with work and running and stuff, it's been months since I've logged on to Ravelry. I finally logged on today and saw the announcement about the Ravelympics. "Gee, that sounds like a lot of fun," thought I. "And I know just what I want to knit! It will be a stretch, but if I work really hard, I should be able to finish the project in 17 days."

Hahahahahahaha! I crack myself up. When I participated in the Knitting Olympics a couple of years ago, I managed to finish only one Norwegian mitten. Of course, I had never knit a Norwegian mitten before and I don't think I had ever done any stranded colorwork. Clearly I hadn't trained well for the event.

So what in the world made me think that I could complete a pair of socks in 17 days? Especially socks that have a 9-page pattern (and two charts). Even a pair of simple stockinette socks take me months to finish. Add to that the need to continue running long on weekends (that easily shoots half a day) and a major upgrade project at work that has me working long hours. And the fact that I don't do well on knitalongs (although this isn't technically a knitalong, but it's the same concept).

I suppose I could withdraw, citing dopiness. But I'm rather enamored of the sock pattern I chose (Gumdrop Socks, from the most recent Rockin' Sock Club offering) and will forge ahead. To save time, I will train swatch, at least so I have an understanding of the stitch pattern. There's a slight problem, though. I promised myself that before I started knitting this pattern, I needed to finish the Monkey socks. And I'm closing in on that goal, even though I didn't get that much knitting done while we were at the beach. However, I cranked through a great deal of the second sock on the drive home today and have only the foot and toe left. I'm hoping that will go rather quickly. Perhaps I'll have another FO by the end of tomorrow!

If you'll excuse me now, I have a date with a monkey...