Sunday, November 30, 2008

Scarf + RSC Nov 08

Here is my almost-finished Spectrum Scarf. It's the one-row lace scarf that I started a few days ago. The thing is addictive because it's almost mindless, and I love seeing the color changes in my handspun.

I also wanted to show off the final 2008 shipment of the BMFA Rockin' Sock Club. The colorway is called "Muddy Autumn Rainbow". I love these colors. I am tempted to order another skein of it, as well as the "Tidepooling" and "Incredible Shrinking Violet" colorways.

Thanksgiving 2008

I am thankful for flexible friends. :)

Earlier in the Thanksgiving week, it turned out that Daniel's schedule changed, again, so he would have to work over Thanksgiving (and not even a normal shift; he'd have overnight duty. Egh, the poor guy takes it really well, I am fairly certain it sucks).

So, I was still planning on having Kris and Randy, and maybe Joanna, over for Thanksgiving. Monday, I went and bought all the food I was going to need to cook - a large turkey breast, sausage, ham steak, prosciutto, sage, etcetera.

Tuesday, I received an email and call from Kris, that they were inviting me to come with them to her mom's boyfriend, Larry's, house in Auburn (south of Seattle). Since I was going to Daniel's Wednesday after working out, I hightailed it back to the grocery store, and was able to return everything I bought on Monday, except for the prosciutto, which I had ordered specially cut from the deli section. (This is what I call "customer service", by the way, although I had invented a great story that Boeing was sending me to England for testing on Thanksgiving morning, since the Brits didn't celebrate Thanksgiving...)

I ended up making flourless chocolate / ancho chile cupcakes. The only recipe modifications I made were to use curry powder in lieu of the ancho chile. Here is a shot of them, resting at Larry's pre-dinner. (I used plain whipped cream, to great success.) Note: the marbled cupcakes were just not thoroughly mixed with the melted chocolate that gets folded in. Beautiful, though!

I should mention that Larry is very into motorcycles, Harleys specifically. He currently owns five bikes. Here's a shot of the ones in the garage:

And here is a shot of the still-steaming turkey, fresh from the oven:

A delightful dinner was had, and we attempted to watch "Wall-E", since Larry and Ginger (Kris' mom) had just bought it, but his TV's sound was on the fritz. I think Kris and Randy got me home by 7 PM. A relatively restful, stress-free Thanksgiving! :)
Daniel came over on Friday morning, after he got off work, and we had a lovely time of it. Basically, we sat around, read a lot, watched some TV (disc 1 of "Tripping the Rift", a quasi-naughty CGI cartoon that was on the Sci-Fi channel late at night a few years ago), and I knit while he surfed the Interwebs or had a nap. :) Sometimes, that is the most fun of all - being lazy! (Especially since we don't indulge in it that often).
By Saturday evening, I was able to start the yoke of my Wisteria sweater. You can kind of see the bell shape the knitting is starting to take on in the following shot:

He did make me put it down while we watched "Iron Man" last night, though. :) (Although he was nice and let me finish the few stitches on the round I was working on before he turned the lights off).
I had a nice time knitting a few rounds on the ferry this morning (at 0620...since, yes, Daniel had duty again today). I love the early morning ferries on the weekend, only because they are so empty and quiet, other than the obligatory safety announcements. I can knit and I don't have to put on my iPod to drown out other passengers.
After I got home, I had pilates, then I came back (eventually) and got to work on making some pumpkin curry cupcakes for a second Thanksgiving dinner that started earlier tonight, and is hosted by my friends Chris & Melinda. I was only around for an hour, but they were gracious and let me take a "to-go" plate of food, so I could get home in time to wind down and wake up on time tomorrow. (The turkey is very good, by the way!)
I also decided to show progress on my cashmere sock. You can see I'm well up the leg, after having to rip it out to where the heel gusset ended. I would like to finish these before I go home for Christmas. :)
That's what I've got, for now! I hope everyone had an equally restful, or entertaining, weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

I am getting ready to make some flourless ancho chile / chocolate cupcakes.

In the meantime, here's some cute Sesame Street clips I came across. The star cameos were always my favorite, even when I was little.

- 30 Rock(s)

- Jack Black defines an octagon

- Neil Patrick Harris has Telly's new shoes

- LL Cool J goes on an addition expedition

- Johnny Cash and Biff (the construction worker) sing "Five Feet High"

- Anderson Cooper on Grouch News Network

- Patrick Stewart "B or not a B" (my personal favorite...I love his random acting)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fitness: From Sao Paulo

Fran got an email from Guy (yes, that's his name), who is currently on study / vacation in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He met up with another dude who does CF in Vancouver, BC, and they came up with a workout to do in the hotel gym:

5 Rounds Of:

10 x burpees
50 x box jumps
5 x pullup
10 second L-Sit
10 x "clean, squat, push-press" (or you could do a thruster)

Guy says they finished in about 15 min and were dead.

This is the workout that I finished first on. I think partly because I gave up on box jumps after the first round and resorted to stepping up on the box (still damn tiring), although I did everything else. Oh yes, and after the second round, I went from 15 lb dumbbells to 10 lb dumbbells.

My time? 24:30.

A note: This is the first time that I recall doing burpees. Dawn's trainer, John, seems more fond of them. Burpees are when you squat, jump out to a pushup position, do a pushup, jump your legs back in, and jump up (and clap, of course). And Fran had us yelling "YAY BURPEES!"

I also learned what tabatas were. I think Fran just calls them something else, but tabatas are apparently when you do whatever it is you're doing for 20 sec as hard as you can (aka sprint), then rest for 10 sec. Repeat.


A note about my body: I seem to have gained a few pounds. But, ironically, Daniel says I look a tad thinner. Conclusion? Pints of cream make you skinny! (HAAHAA...wiping brow from laughing-induced-sweat).

Seriously... I do believe I be gainin' some muscles (not mussels...then I would be some sort of stationary ocean rock!). And that is F-I-N-E with me. My clothes don't fit any differently, so it's not fat that is encroaching (thank god; I think I'd cry). It's been about four months since I started CF, and Dave said to give it about 6 months to see real changes, so I expect to be seeing changes around the start of 2009.

What a great way to ring in the new year! With a shiny new body!

Oh yes - this week, I can't go 4x since they are only offering a 9 AM class on Thanksgiving day... but next week will be awesome!

What to Do, What to Do...

I got home from Crossfit tonight, showered, and drank some tea as I prepared part of my lunch for tomorrow. (We had an office potluck today, and even though I didn't bring anything, they encouraged me to come eat... so I got a free lunch. I was stuffed even though I didn't finish my plate of food. I got a piece of fudge and skedaddled out of the conference room, so I wouldn't be tempted by the mounds of desserts).

Crossfit was pretty amazing; our workout was so hard I really think one guy threw up somewhere (hopefully nowhere I'm going to be stepping!). And.... I was the first one done. Which is unsettling, because I am never the first one done. Fran said to "just be happy about it". I feel like I miscounted, but I was pretty sure I did the whole 5 rounds. I will detail it in the following post.

Anyway... so I am home and it's barely 6:30 PM. I am sitting, looking at my pile of yarn (I also just received my November Rockin' Sock Club shipment... the last of 2008. I will definitely be signing up for the 2009 club!) I am thinking about my current projects, and also about what I want to accomplish here.

Long Term:

- Wisteria sweater. Definitely long-term, although it is still holding my interest because of all the cabling.

Shorter Term:

- 2 at a time Magic Loop socks in STR "Fire on the Mountain"
- Entangled Gloves in Noro Kureyon Sock
- 2nd cashmere sock leg. My coworker, Marni, recently mocked me because "that sock is taking an unusually long time to knit!".... she is right. I am resisting and I should just finish it.

Easy-Peasy Mindless Term:

- one row lace scarf in my yellow handspun

But here is what's on the current To-Do List:

- socks for Daniel. He actually wears my last pair (the handspun / millspun combo socks) a surprising is awesome. I love him even more for that. And I even have a couple of skeins of yarn specifically for him. I really should knit him another pair. (I have the feeling he'll be getting lots of socks from me while he is in Japan...). One thing I need to do is make sure I have his "master numbers" handy. I am thinking something out of the "Knitting Vintage Socks" book, or maybe the IK "Favorite Socks" book... something with handsome cables, or clocks (cables up the sides). I bet even the Cat Bordhi diamond socks that I made for myself would work for him - the pattern is pretty asexual, and they might feel good on his arch. And I can do a short-row heel this time, since I won't be inserting an afterthought heel! Woot!

- socks for Priscila. She asked for a pair, and I am tempted to use my Duets DK weight yarn - the main skein has variegated rosey tones, and then the solid heel/ toe skein is an olive green. I am thinking something with a nice lace pattern down the front? Maybe one of those with the central cable...

- hats out of Dale of Norway Hauk. I am intrigued by this yarn - it is coated in Teflon for waterproofness. I wonder how that stands up against the old-timey wool that is left full of lanolin. Probably leaves you less greasy. :)

- Dog's Paw shawl for my mom. I have three skeins of yarn ready; I could potentially start knitting it and see what happens. :) I love shawls because if it turns out too big, that's not a bad thing. :)

So, as you can see, I have plenty to keep me busy in the way of knitting!

Monday, November 24, 2008


I took a few spare moments today, and cleaned out some items.

A large Macy's-style sack of books to sell.

My model car paints.

A pilling acrylic knit scarf from Panama (of all places).

I also re-posted my printer on Craigslist again, for $60 instead of $100. I just want it out of here!

Turns out my Gotland fleece fits inside one of the boxes I removed from the top of my Murphy bed, which looks better than the shopping bags which previously housed it.

I spackled up the holes from the first attempt at installing a hidden-support shelf in my wall. I'll paint over it tomorrow, and also drill some more holes, lower down, and using a smaller bit so I can use the original wood screws that came with the kit.


I should mention that I am cleaning out slowly, with the eventual goal of being able to put this place up for sale with a minimum of effort (other than cleaning things like baseboards).


And now I am going to relax for my final hour of wakefulness, and knit some more on my one-row lace scarf. I am a good 8" into it. My coworker commented that my cashmere sock seemed to be taking "forever". :) haha.... I explained that I had to rip out over 3" of sock leg, and she said, "Yeah, but still..." She is not a knitter, and neither am I a fast knitter... I enjoy it, is all.


I hope everyone has a great night! I am vaguely sore from Crossfit today. I'll be doing a food post on my Thanksgiving feast. I am thinking of making a stuffed turkey breast. I found a sausage (grain-free!) stuffing recipe on Food Network. I'll also be making a ham steak. And some cupcakes. Possibly some roasted squash, since I have two small ones.... and I hope Daniel brings some wine to Seattle with him. I'll be excited to see him... I really can't wait till we live together..

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am Knitting, I swearz it!


Well, winter has crept up with a bang here in Seattle, and like many knitters, I have returned to the roots of why I knit (other than reasons like "I enjoy it / something to do / excuse to spin lots of yarn")... it's time to make things that keep me warm!

[I apologize for the lack of knitting content recently... I am considering making other offshoot-blogs in order to better organize my thoughts, but perhaps those who read this blog may find the occasional tangent somewhat refreshing...(?)...]

First off, an FO: Ms. Marigold vest, from ZephyrStyle. It only took me 10+ months to complete. It's, uhm, heavily modified.

In my defense, this is the first article of clothing (other than hats / scarves / mitts / socks) I've ever attempted, so there were bound to be oddities. The first one being that I let it languish for so long in the WIP pile that my knitting gauge got considerably smaller between the top and bottom of the vest. (It happens right under the boobs, or thereabouts).

Instead of the ribbed collar the pattern calls for, I substituted a really easy ruffle border from a Nicky Epstein book (I think I may have mentioned it in a previous post...). I also omitted the ruffle details on the tops of the armholes. you can tell, I knit the V-neck portion too now it really looks more like a Rennaissance Faire bustiere than a work-appropriate vest. Although here it is included in an otherwise entirely work-appropriate outfit (shirt from Express, skirt from Filene's Basement).

All in all, I am glad to be done with it. I almost considered ripping it out at several points, but after a while I was reduced to thinking "Fuck it" and wanted to get it off my Addi #5's so I could put something else on there. Or at least get it out of the WIP basket. I finished it when Daniel and I were up in the cabin with Tori & Crew for Canadian Thanksgiving.

(Embarassing note: my eyes are pretty messed up in this picture - think "possessed-looking rolled back into my head" - so I took creative license to crop 'em out!)

Other Relevant Pattern Information for "Ms. Marigold"

Yarn: KnitPicks Elegance ( 70% alpaca /30% silk) in Barn Red
Needles: Addi US 5, circular (24", I think)


Next up: Wisteria, from the Fall 08 Twist Collective.

Yarn: Malabrigo merino worsted, in Cuarzo (bought mine at WEBS)
Needles: KnitPicks Options US 9, cable needle

I cast this sweater on pretty much immediately after weaving in the ends to my Ms. Marigold vest (yes, on the same day, up in the mountains near Mt. Rainier). I quickly figured out that I needed tons of stitch markers - which is no shame, mind you. It helps me actually keep track of repeats and when the stitches shift - the cables travel back and forth, and you have to pay attention to the chart to make sure you are shifting stitches back and forth between the beginning of rounds as appropriate.

I love working with the Malabrigo yarn - it is soo soft! This is my "on the ferry" project, or when I am sitting on a couch with Daniel and/or TV going. I can't actually watch TV while I'm knitting this - the cables take a little more concentration than that - but I can listen to my iPod or an equivalent background noise.

I had a Mexican woman come up to me at the laundromat last night, and tell me how pretty the knitting looked. Good thing I speak Spanish! :) She asked if the yarn was from "orro"... I don't know what that means. She stroked her hair as she said "orro" to indicate something hair-like; I ended up replying that the yarn was lambs' wool, essentially (since I forgot the Spanish word for "adult sheep". You would think I would have paid more attention to my mom teaching me Spanish, since I do speak it fluently, despite reports to the contrary...)


Winter Gloves

Here is the progress on the Entangled Stitches gloves (Ravelry link). Yep. Not much progress 'tall. I think I only like one fingering-weight project at a time... right now I have three (these, the leg of the second cashmere sock, and the two-at-a-time-magic-loop socks which have been sitting around for a month or so now, lounging in the Basket).

I am using Noro Kureyon Sock for these gloves. I don't mind Kureyon's less-than-perfect softness on my hands, for some reason. I bet the tougher wool would make good socks, too. (I also seem to remember that the Kureyon Sock has nylon in it? I originally meant to grab the Silk Garden Sock yarn, but the colors in this one must have swept me away...).

One thing I still don't understand: how in the heck are you supposed to accomplish a "ktbl" [knit through back loop]. I keep Googling and Googling, but no video or tutorial really explains it. It's ridiculous; one of those super-basic things I should know, but I don't, and everyone assumes you already know what the hell it is so they don't bother to explain it to you. Oh sure, there are bazillions of videos on cabling, and colorwork, and other things that seem to merit explanation...but I want someone to show me what the heck the action of KTBL Looks Like!!!

If I figure it out, I think I'll rip them out and start again. Right now, I've been sort of...knitting through the front loop. (Which I am just doing as the first half of a "kf&b" increase...the "kf" part...)

A picture of some 100% cashmere I bought from Colourmart. It feels like it still has sizing in it (the mill ends sold at Colourmart were originally destined for weaving mills and knitting factories, so they generally have sizing to keep the yarn a little stiff and easier for the machines to handle.) Thankfully, sizing washes out - if you order from Colourmart, you have the option to pay a few bucks more and have them wind off the cone into a skein and wash it for you, or to "spin up" yarns and ply them with other yarns on the site, a la Yarnia. This color was "green-black". It is pretty accurate to the picture, actually. The great thing about Colourmart is the price - $35 for 300+ yards of cashmere, fingering weight, including shipping from the UK or China or wherever they hold these skeins (I think it's the UK).
I think this might be for something for Daniel... it is a good color for him.

I found a one-row lace pattern in an older Knitting Daily (I think it's by Eunny Jang). The pattern for the lace is thus:
Over 27 stitches:
k3, *p1, yo, k2tog* rep from * to last 3 st, k3
Just keep doing that over and over. To start and end the scarf you knit a few rows in garter stitch.
I decided this would be a nice easy pattern to show off some handspun. This is from my Travelling Rhinos fiber club batts. It's got all sorts of stuff in it - different wools, Tencel, silk noil probably some white icicle...
The resulting fabric so far is really "sproingy". I like it! :)

So that's my knitting news for now. I am hoping maybe I can finish the leg of the second cashmere sock in teleconferences at work, by the time Winter Break rolls around. I want something different to take on the plane ride to Louisiana for Xmas. (I am pretty sad that Daniel can't come with me... sigh...)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Twist Collective Winter 08 Issue

I love the new Twist Collective issue.

I even succumbed and bought three patterns, this time.

- Lotus Leaf mittens, with their intriguing modern pattern

- Sylvi overcoat, with it's beautiful huge flowers overlaid on the cables winding up the back

- Vivian zip-up cardigan, with the gorgeous all-over cablework

Oh man! So much eye candy! I also appreciate that, this time, they included their free pattern as a PDF download the first time. (It's the "Fourth Grade Hat", in case you haven't found it, yet).

I kind of liked the "Rebecca" sweater and "Harika" socks, but I figured I'd spent enough for now. Plus, they seem to be leaving all their patterns available in the shop. I wonder if they will organize them into categories later, or just leave them as a giant listing with pictures.

I wasn't too impressed with the "Winter White" design story. The lace sweater was impressive, but otherwise the other two patterns were kind of "blah".

Overall, I am very impressed with the quality that has gone into Twist Collective so far.

Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fitness: Workout Updates

04 NOV 2008:

Workout: weights day

Backsquats, sets of 5 (using a barbell)

- 20 kg
- 30 kg *20 kg + 20 lb*
- 35 kg
- 40 kg
- 45 kg
- 50 kg max
- 45 kg - 2 additional sets of 5

Military Press, sets of 5 (using a barbell)

- 15 kg
- 20 kg
- 22 kg push press x 3 sets of 5


05 NOV 2008

Workout: "Cindy, Part 2"

As Many Reps As Possible in 20 Minutes:

- 5 x wall-ball
- 10 x box jump
- 5 x KB swing

10 Reps Done

KB weights:

- 20 kg x 1 set
- 16 kg x next 5 sets
- 12 kg x last 4 sets


10 NOV 2008

Workout: "Helen"

3 Rounds of:

- Run 400 m
- 21 KB swings
- 12 pullups

For time.

Time: 13:14 (5 sec slower than October)

KB weight: 12 kg

I should mention that Scott taught this class, and our warmup was pretty intense. One half of the class would hold a squat while the other half did 10 squats in time, then they would hold the squat while our half did 10 squats, then we alternated with 9, 8.

Same deal with pushups, except you held a plank while the other side was working. 10, 9, 8...

Then we ran 400 m before starting the workout. We paired up for the workout, and I volunteered to go first! I hate waiting to be tortured!


11 NOV 2008

For Veteran's Day, we did a special "Veteran's Day" workout known as "Josh", to honor a fallen soldier who was a Crossfit-er, too.

For time, do:

- 42 pullups
- 21 OHS (overhead squats)
- 24 pullups
- 12 (?) OHS
- 18 pullups
- 9 OHS

Time: 7:04 (I did jumping pullups, which Fran said she preferred to rubber band-assisted pullups).

Happy Veteran's Day

Take a moment today to honor anyone who has served our country.

officers from the SSN 711

I know I'm proud of them all, even those who were never in any danger because they are behind a desk or a music stand all day:
Daniel - USN
The other guys at Bangor / Bremerton I know - USN
Sonja Mathena - USAF (Iraq / Afghanistan)
Adam Bienas - USMC (Iraq / Afghanistan)
Dad - USN (Guantamo Bay)
Mike Bravin- USN / US Army
Dan Williams - US Army (Korean War)
Mike Moran - USAF
Carrie New - USAF

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dentist v 2.0 + Random Updates

First off, a link to a natural humidifier: an Areca palm


This morning, I went to a new, quasi-randomly selected dentist who is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. He is semi-retired. He basically said that I was NORMAL, and everything was in normal limits, and come back and see him in 6 months. Woot!


Went to Canadian Thanksgiving with Daniel, Tori & Igor, Chris & Melinda, Greg & Rachel, Dave & Chiako, and Ryan over the weekend. Tori found (another) great cabin near Mt. Rainier, down in Ashford... we were 11 but had food for 30! :-)

Pictures to follow.


During the trip, I finished my Ms. Marigold vest! (FINALLY!) and I cast on for my Wisteria sweater! I am so excited. Pics also to follow. The Malabrigo is really nice to work with, although the pattern up at the neck is very involved - there are travelling cables on every row!

I have to weave in ends for the vest, but everyone seemed to like it. I'll wear it to work soon! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thank You, Library

Dear Library,

Thank you for being within walking distance, and preventing my purchase of many inane books over the last several months. I will continue to exploit your services in times to come.

I have a newfound love for the library. The Seattle Public Library is amazing and has a vast array of books I never would have expected.

Their knitting selection is especially broad! :)

I think my new project will be to transfer my entire Amazon "wish list" of books over to the SPL's "hold list", and that will probably weed out 90% of the books I thought I wanted. :)

I also think I am going to sell my Harry Potter hardcover collection. I am going to keep the last two, since I haven't read them yet, but collectively they consume almost half of one of my bookshelves.


On another unrelated-yet-related note: Daniel is mulling over selling a bunch of his material possessions before he leaves for Japan. I am sooo proud of him for doing this! Plus this means we can get better, fewer items upon his return! :)

CrossFit: 04 NOV 08

Election Night workout:

Backsquats & presses.

I will have to update this when I get my note paper from CF today. Hopefully Fran saved it.

I maxed out at 50 kg for the backsquat, but we had to do multiple sets at that weight, so I backed it off to 45 kg.

I think I switched from press to push press at around 20 kg, but I maxed out there around 27 or 30 kg - will have to check my notes! :)

Then I went home and got cupcakes, beer, and went to the election night party for a couple of hours. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President Obama

Years from now, people may ask where I was when I learned that Barack Obama became President of the United States on 4 Nov 2008.

I was in my old apartment building's common room with my friends Kris, Randy, Jeanelle, and Ken when we saw CNN tallying up more and more blue states, from East to West coast.

I was driving home from the party after stopping at the grocery store when I heard that McCain had called Obama to concede the election.

I turned on my TV when I came in the door around 8:30 PM, and caught McCain's concession speech on PBS.

And now, I am blogging on my laptop, listening to the PBS feed and Obama's acceptance speech, talking about a 106 year old black woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta today.

Thank you to everyone who VOTED. Since you voted, now that elected officials don't do what you want, NOW you can bitch about it. ;-)

I am very excited that America decided that a young, intelligent, progressive mixed-race black Democrat was the right choice to lead us for the next term.

Vote Today!

Please go and Cast Your Ballot today!

Make yourselves heard!

And, if you're in CA, please VOTE NO ON PROP 8 (if you vote YES you repeal the law that allows gay marriages).

And now, for some fun links:


Yes We Carve (Obama pumpkin carving)

Knitters for Obama (link to

Knitters for Obama (Ravelry link)

Democratic Stuff (you can buy weird ..Democratic...stuff :) )


Yesterday, while listening to NPR on the drive to pilates, they were talking about voting. In many other countries (Latin America, for example - Argentina being one of the countries I remember) voting is mandatory, and you face a fine if you don't do it. Other places do not have a fine, but people feel compelled to vote, "just like Americans feel compelled to pay taxes" ( a direct quote from the show).

And some people CAN'T vote!

So please feel lucky, even if you have to go through the annoying step of registering to vote, and go make yourselves heard!

(A side note: A lot of countries with compulsory voting, or with higher voting rates in general, have simplifed voting schemes. In a lot of places, apparently you just show up with your National ID card and you are eligible to vote. Personally, in the US, I would amend that to "if you have a SSN and a valid form of picture ID - e.g. military ID, drivers license, state-issued ID card - you can vote."