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June 2007

Survival of the fittest....

TballThe cat is out of the bag! I let it slip that I am training for a small neighborhood triathlon, it is no ironman for sure, it is a no-pressure, non-competitive event among friends. But human nature stops me from being a complete slacker (and loser!) and showing up at the event and being dead last.

In trying the survival of the fittest technique, I have been diligently perfecting some techniques--like keeping my biking speed at 13mph...although a little faster wouldn't hurt, especially since half of the neighborhood gals bike at the 15-17mph range. The swimming has been a bit easier to perfect, I am no Michael Phelps (although we do share a last name), but I can definetely achieve the required 450 meters. Now the run is a completely different arena. I know I can survive the first two events: swim and bike but the run...I will probably cry during the entire 4mile run and arrive dead at the finish line or most likely Hubby will find me at the 1mile marker and carry me all the way to the finish line. I can already picture it...me, running Tball3_edited1 ragged, with my tongue hanging out and my cheeks bright red and hair sticking up one side and floppy on the other thanks to the bike helmet, knees raw from probably falling off the bike seat after climbing on it with a slick bathing suit...ahh, I shall be the picture of beauty....Hubby definitely won't be able to miss the roadkill laying by the side of the road.

An athlete I am not. I don't have the body for one...I am short and stubby but the past few weeks/months have been enjoyable trying out all different types of activities. Today, I even admitted to Hubby that if I had the money, I would hire someone to clean my house and cook for me just so I could spend more time at sporty pursuits. I am feeling ridiculous...maybe I am going through my midlife crisis....what do you think?

Pictures: My Wonderboy playing T-ball. He enjoys playing all sorts of sports and we are so glad that he is willing to try new things. At first he was reluctant of playing T-ball but after his first game, he was extremelly excited about going back and hitting the ball and catching the ball with his mitt.


Dreaming....

Fsr_xc_rim_wmn_baby_blue

Will knit socks for bike! I know, I know, I am becoming more outdoorsy the more time I live in this area. My NewYorkyness is leaving me and I am becoming an outdoorsy Utahn (I will be completely an outdoors person when I like camping). Over the weekend, I saw this beauty, Specialized FSRxc, at one of the local bike shops and it has constantly been in my mind ever since. Part of its attraction is the color another is the thought of the sweet ride down the dirt trails in this area. I want to feel the handle-bar vibrate and hear the squishy sound that the tires make when it goes over a patch of gravel, or see the cloud of dust when you rip a corner. Sigh....when does a want become a need? hehehe. It is calling my name...can you hear it? Aahh, it is inevitable! I have crossed over to the other side....I have become outdoorsy. The bike still at the local shop...it is the wrong size for me and if I wanted to try it out, I would have to special order one in my size, I am too darn short! So, I can't even take it for a test ride to satisfy the need to be on its saddle.

Kiddos_2While I dream of this off-road bike, I'll ride my road bike and keep working on my speed and getting comfortable on a bike. After three weeks off the saddle, this Saturday we went for a 26 mile ride, I am still slow (13mph) compared to the rest of the group but that is okay, it just gives me (lots) of room to grow.

After the bike ride, we went to the swimming pool and worked a bit on the swimming time to prepare forWalk  the triathlon. For a couple of weeks now, we have been sneaking a few lap times in our schedule--we take the kids with us and while one watches the kids, the other swims laps. I am slow at swimming too--I am quite slow when it comes to sports overall. Although I have always loved the water, I was always too afraid of drowning, but at age 23, I left my fear of drowning at the door and signed up for a swimming class, now, I swim like a fish (more like a whale, or picture a really sloooooow fish).  For the triathlon we need to swim 450 meters, 9 laps on the pool we frequent.  Two weeks ago when we started training, I was only able to swim 1 lap without stopping in about 2 minutes, as of today, I can swim 4 laps without stopping in about 4 min 20 sec. My goal is to be able to swim the entire 9 laps without stopping....preferably in 9 minutes. Dreaming? Yeah, I think so! If I were to trim down a bit, I could probably swim a little faster but I am reluctant to give up my tacos.

Pictures: We went on a little hike up one of the local trails. The kiddos had a ton of fun...even little Benny, who usually prefers the couch and a movie, enjoyed walking up and then she was having so much fun that she decided to run all the way back to the car....all the while saying "I am doing it Momma, I am fast".

How was your weekend?


Playing Hard to Get

Yarntini_2I have been searching diligently for the past four or five months for the elusive colorways of the Yarntini collection. Every time I tried to find some, it escaped my fingers by just micro-seconds. I had come to the conclusion that it wasn't meant for me.

I let go of the search and just concentrated my energies on a different sock yarn...but the Yarntini name came coming up and the gorgeous colourways kept taunting me. Finally, I spotted a skein on Ebay, but my puny brain forgot about the bidding and I missed it. Heartbroken, I contacted the seller and to my wonderful surprise, she had a couple of other skeins that she was willing to sell. I jumped for joy and the exhilaration was too much to contain. Without hesitation, I bought both skeins, not even knowing the colourways. I waited with bated breath for them to arrive at my doorstep. Mcdreamy

The mailman delivered the precious package this week...and as I opened  each wrapper, the suprise of the colorways was overwhelming! The intense deep colors of the McDreamy and the vibrant tones of the Fig&Plum were definitely worth the wait and I can see why other knitters have such a hard time giving up this gorgeous yarn.

The precious skeins now sit next to my hard-to-get Vesper and Sweet Georgia yarns. All of them waiting for the perfect pattern...and for the day when my stitches are perfectly even so I do justice to the yarn.

Figplum_2Like this Koigu that I am using for my Sockapalooza pal socks. It sat in my stash for about 2 years waiting for the perfect pattern and for the moment when I felt that my skillz will do justice to the yarn. Can you guess the pattern? Here is a hint: it has a 16 row and 16 stitch pattern repeat. It has been one of my favorite sock patterns for awhile and I finally found the perfect recipient for it. Although, the feel of the yarn is making me want to keep the pair of socks for myself...yummmmy koigu.

The Sockapalooza socks are a product of my time sitting at my Driver's Ed class. I have a few minutesKoigusocks_2   before the class starts and the 10min break....while the teenagers talk about their school crushes and their exciting time at the mall ganging out at the Orange Julius, I knit. The courageous ask what I am doing with so many pointy things and I tell them to which they respond "ooh, that is cool, like in a freaky kind of way" and to which I say "yeah, it is the way I have fun...malls don't do it for me anymore, so I have resorted to a more dangerous hobby--something with poky sticks" and then they just laugh and shake their heads :). And then there is the boy who sits next to me, he looks at my hands moving and doesn't ask a question, just observes and then when I put it away says "that is impressive the way you move your hands and the needles just fly as if my magic, is it hard to follow those little symbols where you have your post-it?" and then the conversation flows and I find out that he is homeschool and his Mom has taken a bit of time to share with him the joys of creating something with his own hands and while he admits that he doesn't have any interest in knitting socks, he can see how it can be a relaxing, non-freaky hobby. So while I learn how to drive, I am spreading the word about knitting and arousing the curiosity of the next generation--even if they think it is freaky :).


Adding Pizzazz to the Yard!

Bling, bling! We went from blah to wowzie!

Check out the before photos: It wasn't bad...it was just plain, no color, just brown and a little green. But Momma likes color! So this weekend we went in search of some beautifying flowers for the yard.

Yardbefore Frontyard

And what once was blah...now has some pizzazz!  Flowers all around! Some mini-roses, impatients, snapdragons, hydrangeas (not flowering yet), and the hybrid yellow calla lilies that I planted a couple of months (came up this year, although they were supposed to come up next year) add up to a snazzy yard.

Callas 

Our front flower area also went from boring to colourful.

Yardbefore2_2 Frontyard2  

It was a great Saturday for all of us. Going from store to store finding about flowers and the kids choosing their own little flower for the yard to finally deciding on the flowers/plants was a great family time. Work can be fun...when it is done with those you love :).

Flowers: $70

Bark: $17.50

Hose to water the flowers: $35

Beverages: $3

Memories made: Priceless!


Pocket Knitter Tutorial (Video)

Loomyqa_3 Q: How do you use a pocket knitter?

The Pocket Knitter resembles a large plastic comb with extra thick/wide teeth that they call Fins. At first glance, you may think it is just a toy but once you give it a try, you will see that the knitting goes really fast and like a knitting loom it becomes addicting!

Pocketknitter

My favorite part about this gadget: the main stitch is the knit stitch, not the twisted knit stitch (TKS) like on a knitting loom. We can create the knit stitch on a loom but it takes a few extra steps (unless you do the flat stitch which at times can become very tight and difficult to knit) than the TKS but on this gadget the Knit Stitch is as simple as running the yarn from the back fins to the front fins and the back small fins keep the loops from getting too tight, producing a nice easy knit stitch. Definitely a plus in my book! The purl stitch though it is still as difficult as on a knitting loom.

Just like on a knitting loom, on your first knitting try on the PK you will have nice even stitches--no tension problems at all. A beautiful plus!

And here is a bigger plus: kids can do it too! The technique is actually a lot easier than using a knitting loom. It is summer time, if you have kids, run to the near craft store and pick one up and let them knit their own winter scarf.

For the tutorial, you will need the following items:

  • Pocket Knitter and the tool included or any loom knitting pick 
  • Yarn: Preferably a non-trendy yarn, a simply 4 ply yarn will be perfect for the job. I used Caron Simply Soft Quick

The tutorial is in video form below. It is about 10 minutes long and it shows the following:

  • Overview of the Pocket Knitter
  • Cast on
  • Knit Stitch
  • Purl Stitch
  • Bind off
Buy the Tutorial on DVD and view it on your DVD player or at computer. Video is exactly like the one you are viewing here. Price: $15.99 includes shipping within the US.


Knitters Alert! A new chart maker :)

While browsing around, I came upon a new chart maker! Knitting Chart Maker by Jacquie. The best part, it is free! I haven't tried it extensively but so far what I see me likes. Go check it out.

Chartmaker_2

I have a charting software in my computer but this one you can access from anywhere as long as you have internet access, perfect for those times when you go on a trip and can't take your desktop with you. Thank you Jacquie for providing this program for all of us. 


Loom Knitting Tutorial: 2 stitch I-cord: for Arellis Bracelet

I received a couple of requests asking me to show how to knit a two stitch I-cord on the knitting loom. The pictures below were taken when I was knitting the bracelet. I hope you find them helpful. The mini-video was shot with bad lighting but I hope it helps too (I need to get some good taping lights).

Basically, what you are doing is creating a figure 8 on two pegs, knitting over, then creating the same figure 8 and knitting over...continue until you have reached the length desired. Let's break it down with some pictures (click on all the pictures to view them larger).

2pegs_2

Step 1: Place the slip knot on peg 1

Step1_2   

Step 2: Grab the working yarn (or in this case the beaded elastic), and you will wrap the peg to the left. Take the working yarn to the outside of the loom and wrap the peg in a clockwise direction (the working yarn should end up towards the inside of the loom).

Step2

Step 3: Take the working yarn between peg 2 and 1 and wrap peg 1 in a counterclockwise direction.

Step 4: Working yarn should be towards the inside of the loom, take it between peg 1 and 2 and wrap peg 2 in clockwise direction.

At this point, peg 1 and 2 should have 2 loops on it.

2loopson

Step 5: With your knitting tool, lift the bottommost loop off peg 1 and peg 2.

Liftingover Lifting2

Repeat Steps 3-5 until item has reached the desired length. 

Bind off: Move loop from peg 1 to peg 2. Peg 2 should have 2 loops on it. Peg 1 should be empty. Lift the bottommost loop off peg 2. Take loop off the peg and pass the remaining yarn end through it, pull gently on the end to tighten that last stitch.

The method shown here can also be done by wrapping the pegs in the opposite direction. As long as you are wrapping the pegs in a figure 8, the I-cord will come out okay.

Hope this helps you in creating the Arellis Bracelet. If you need further assistance, just let me know by dropping me a line in the comments section.


Arellis Bracelet Pattern:Beads, Beads, Beads!

Bracelet

The memories of my childhood are rare, memories with my sisters are scarce and spotty. The recent contact with my little Sis has made me a bit melancholic and has me reaching back for every speck of memory of them.

I remember one afternoon when Mom was washing clothes in the backyard. Mom was washing the clothes by hand on the lavadero (washing sink) and she kept throwing water at us with the jicara (a small plastic dish), and the four of us kept running around the yard trying to not get wet. Our hair was long and I remember my 2nd to youngest sister's hair flying around and she just looked so pretty--she had dirty blond hair that shined beautiful under the sun. I loved her hair, being a brunnette her hair always fascinated me and I remember going to the front yard and picking red flowers to put by our ears. Soon the water was forgotten and we ended up playing with the flowers and decorating our hair. Bracelet5_2

I don't remember much more than just the above, but I do  remember the flowers and the colors around the  house. Mom had bugambilia trees that climbed up on one of the sides of the house, by the front steps we had purple/blue Hydrangeas (Hortensias), and around the house we had a hibiscus hedge that gave us beautiful and huge, red trumpet shaped flowers (the ones that I used for our hair decoration).

Since my reunion with my little Sister, my knitting times are usually spent reliving memories and thinking of the day that we finally meet each other again. The bracelet above is named after my 2nd to youngest sister...it is her middle name and the one that she prefers to be known as, Arellis.

I hope you enjoy loom knitting it as much as I enjoyed knitting mine...threading the beads will definitely give a couple of hours of contemplation time :).

Pattern is loom knitted but it can most definitely be needle knit by using size 11 needles (details on the PDF file). It is not knitted with wire but with elastic which feels more comfortable than the wire :). I hope you really enjoy it!

Download PDF file.

When you click on the link it will download the PDF directly to your computer. If you have any problems downloading it, drop me a quick note below and I'll send it out to you (I am using a new service to store my pdf files).

Also, drop me a comment if you have any questions about the pattern, I know it reads more like a guide than a pattern.

Although it uses a lot of beads, the beads are quite inexpensive. I think I was able to create the bracelet with about $3 (all materials for it).


A weekend full of happenings...

Gotta love long weekends...especially extra long ones! My weekend started last Wednesday...I bet you didn't even noticed I was gone. I was tricksy and left posts ready to be posted daily in my absence, gotta love that feature!.

Anyways, I left Wednesday with a bunch of gals (church related) on a little camping trip to the Uinta Mountains.

Girlsknitting2_edited1_2My mission on the campting trip: to teach a group of 20 young women/girls to loom knit!

The weather was completely in my favor for this type of activity: snow and temperatures of 10 degrees (and sometimes below-it definitely felt colder!) made the girls eager to sit by the fire and learn the craft.

Although I went thinking that the girls' interest in learning to loom was small (or non-existent) to my surprise, they were all looking forward to learning. Some of them kept asking me about the hat and mitts I was wearing and if I could teach them to knit those items!Girlsknitting_edited1

My mission was a complete success! The girls learned to loom knit and they all finished a child size hat  (which will be donated to a local charity group). I feel soooo proud of them! Look at them....they are even smiling on some of the pictures.

After my class with the girls, I came home to get ready for Saturday's big day: Cache Valley's biathlon. Hubby was participating in it and I definitely didn't want to miss this special event.

HubbyatbiathlonThis was the first time that the kids and I saw hubby (dad) participate in any event of this kind. Back in high school he was big into this type of things...being part of the cross country team the guy was used to running 10 miles a day or more (crazy kid!). Seeing him in the event was one of the neatest experiences, the children just kept cheering him on and saying little things like "when I grow up, I am going to run like Dad" or "I am going to beat Dad one day".

Hubby did great in the event and he is already thinking Top of Utah Marathon in September and possibly the St. George Marathon in October (but the entries are closed and we will have to do some extra work for him to get in), me, well, I will be there to support him :) and to cheer for him.

B1_2 After the biathlon, we went to a small city celebration where they had hot air balloons (we saw these taking off before heading to the biathlon)games and activities for the children. Wonderboy climbed a rock wall all by himself (half way up :) ). And my Little Benny gave a smile to a football player in one of the booths and she got a little team t-shirt...she wore it today and she kept saying "I look so cool Momma".

Overall, it was a great weekend, full of activities for everyone...I even finished a pattern-a needle knit pattern (so exciting!)

Balloon2_2

And just in case you missed seeing these beauties (I did, but I have been living under a rock for hte past few days!), go check them out: Knit Night Cupcakes. The tutuorials on how-to are posted too! I am going to have to try this for sure this coming weekend!


A begging call to my Sockret Pal

I was trying really hard not to feel rejected and to wait patiently but I am afraid the waiting is killing me and I am also so terrible at waiting. I feel lonely and rejected...sniff, sniff...dear sockret pal, if you are out there...drop me a note....I don't mind receiving my socks late...I just want to know that they are out there, coming to me, sometime in the near future (even the blog for the swap has been taken down...sniff, sniff, I have been forgotten for real).

Pussinboots

Sniff, sniff, sniff. I shall go and pet some sock yarn now to make me feel better....yeah, I shall pet the new skein of Yarn Pirate that arrived in the mail a day or two ago.


KIP: Knit in Public Date Coming Up

Who wants to have a date with me? I am looking for any eligible knitter/loom knitter to come have a date with me this Saturday around 2pm, it could be either man or woman, and the more the merrier!

Wwkipd

It is once again, Knit in Public Date. When? June 9th! That is this coming Saturday. I know there are a few needle knitters and loom knitters here in the area. If you want to get together, drop me a note. We could go to Borders and have a great time. Promise that I am a good date....a cheap one too :).

C'mon, let's have a knitting date!


Knitting e-zine...Tejemanejes

Hay una nueva revista electronica para tejedoras/tejedores! Es en Espanol! Es la primera de este tipo en la internet. Contiene patrones bellisimos como las calcetas Thirassia y divertidos como el Monstrito (mi hijo ya puso una orden para uno en color verde!).

Tejemanejes_botone40e3

There is a new e-zine for knitters! It is all in Spanish. It is the first of its kind available right now on the Internet. There are some great looking patterns, like the Thirassia socks and even some fun ones too, like the little Monstruo (my son already put in an order for a green one!).


Summer issue is live!

I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who came to celebrate the momentous 78 mile occasion with me. Saturday was a wonderful day that I will remember forever. Thank you for being a part of this important day with me :).

The happy days continue with the release of the Summer issue of Loom Knitters Circle. Come check it out. It is packed-full of fun articles, patterns and a couple of tutorials (check out the new design that this section has--I am so tickled pink by the way it looks! Yep, I did it :) ).

Dsc05089

I have a pattern in there and some other tutorial tidbits...and if you find a broken link, drop me a note and I'll fix it right away.

Now, off I go to ice my wrist which is suffering from some ulnar nerve damage (a side-effect from my bad posture on the bike), that is causing regular activities like typing, knitting, and even buttoning my pants a tremendous effort!   Oh well, the hand should be better soon....hopefully!


78 Miles!

Bymysel

Saturday was the day! The day started off at 7am when 10 neighborhood ladies got together for one single purpose: to bike for the cause.  Helmets, bikes, and water packed we were ready to kick some asphalt! Some of us were going for 38 miles, and others for 68.

Kickasphaltgirls

The Little Red Ridinghood tour is one of two nationwide all women ride and Saturday I was able to see the most amazing thing ever--over 1500 women gathered together to bike for the cause! I felt honored to be a part of it.

Threeofus

Women encouraging one another, supporting one another and coming to the aid of each other. I will never forget the sights and the feelings in my heart from this one experience.

Eating

When we took off at 8:30am, there was laughter and excitement all around. 10 miles into the ride, I knew that I was going to change my mind about the 38 mile ride. My knew was feeling great, I was averaging 17 mph and my heart was full of joy. When the first stop came at 21 miles, we found out that we got routed to the wrong direction, adding an extra 10 miles to the ride, so instead of 68, we were in for 78! But, I was still feeling quite well so I made the decision to go for the 68 miles rather than thet 38. Since is much more fun when you have someone with you, I convinced C, one of my neighbors (she is the picture above), to go for it with me, she agreed without much coercing. We rode together for the rest of the miles, cheering each other on, encouraging each other when the path got tough, drafting off each other when it got just too hard.

Christie

At the 40 mile marker, we were still feeling quite good. Our hands started to get numb and our bottom was starting to get a bit sore but our hearts were happy and full of energy, so we kept going. At 55 miles, we stopped for lunch....my favorite was being served, Subways! It was the perfect lunch! I wolfed down that sandwich in about three bites and off we went for the rest of our trip....the hardest part of it of it all.

The next leg of our tour was the toughest of it all...everything was uphill and our legs were feeling it. Our arms started to get numb and our legs just wanted to give out. We were getting tired and the only thing that kept us going was each other. With words of "you can do it", "just one more pedal", "think how far we have come, we can't give up now". We climbed to the summit....it is not really big but to us it seemed like Mt. Everest!

On our last stop, we were met by smiling faces of our loved ones! Sam, Wonderboy and Little Benny were there and they just ran to meet us....little Benny just crashed into me like a little football player. They were so happy to see us and my heart was overwhelmed by the reception.

After a quick rest stop, we climbed on the saddle again for our last leg of the ride. We were tired and the Aleve I took that morning was starting to wear off. It was almost 3pm, almost 8 hours since we started off! We climbed on the bikes and off we went for our last 17 miles. At mile point 65 my Aleve wore off completely and my knee started hurting. Our left arms were going completely numb and we decided to make quick stops to stretch our legs and give our arms a rest.

Climbingthesummit

When at the beginning we saw a downhill as a break, we started realizing that after them came a hill and our enthusiasm for the downhills wore off. At this point we started concentrating more on gaining momentum and speed just to make the uphill climb. It is amazing how a little ant hill can seem like Mt. Olympus when you are tired! On the last hill of the trip, we joined the ranks of a bunch of raiders, slowly we pedal our way up. Then, we were cheered on by Sam and the kiddos who caught up to us in the car...with words of "you can do it Mom", I was able to climb that last ant hill. Once at the summit, we were told the wonderful news that we were only 2 miles away from the finished line. Those words were enough to give us both a burst of energy and our legs got a little faster.

At the finished line we were met by all of our friends and families who happily cheered for us. We had made it! 78 miles!

20milesintoit

With tears in my eyes and a full heart I can truly say that I would not have made this journey without the support of my new friend C....we started this journey as neighbors and we ended up as friends. They say that misery loves company...well, I can say that misery does love company and makes the misery bearable but success, when you achieve success, it tastes so much sweeter when you have company! We did it girls! We truly are the kick asphalt club :)!


Contest Winner Announcement...

Shhhh.....I am working. On what? I am playing at being publisher-webdesigner-guru for the next issue of Loom Knitters Circle Magazine.....it will be up shortly. So exciting! Shh...don't make too much noise or I'll get distracted/sidetracked.

Mombryant_2But, to distract you from the lack of content, I have some news about my loomy-knitty-gritty episode. Yep! It is going to air...I had my doubts of it airing (knowing fully well that I completely sucked at the taping!). Anyways, DIY is airing the episode in July and the topic is: Loom Knitting--colourwork on a hat.

And today is the first day of June and this brings us to our contest winner.Our contest winner was chosen by our friendly and ever-so-popular Random number generator. We received 62 entries into the contest, so I gave each entry name a number and the number chosen was....number 18 and this goes toooooooooo....Lori from Yarn Beans. She receives a beautiful skein of STR.

But wait, my contest was way too much fun and you guys not only made me reach 3600 comments but 3700! Yep, 3700, and thus I made the executive decision to give the 3700 commenter a little something! Our 3700 commenter was Marisol. Marisol, check your email for a wee little surprise.

Thank you everyone for participating. I am still getting a kick out of reading all the entries....some of them are juicy indeed!