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May 2010

Basics of Reading a Loom Knit Pattern

Yes, it is all very frustrating, it is like they are speaking a completely different language, and believe me, I know what that is like, I have been there! Try learning a whole new language at the age of 15. Talk about being thrown head first into a pool. Ahh! But I survived and I am pretty sure you will survive the pattern reading too. Let's tackle it!

Think of a pattern like a recipe. A recipe to create a knitted garment rather than a yummy treat.

First, your pattern will most likely have a photograph. The photograph will show you any special stitches or the beauty of the pattern. Sometimes the photo helps you in seeing how the item is constructed/finished/assembled.

After the photograph, there will typically be a block with Materials. In this section, you will find information about the type of knitting loom you will need. The gauge/sett of the loom--meaning how far apart the pegs are from center of peg to center of peg. It should mention how many pegs to use in the gauge specified. It should also mention the type of knitting loom that was used to create the sample. Another important material will be yarn/fiber used. It should say the weight of the yarn, the amount of yarn needed, and the yarn used for the sample is usually provided. Other important tools should be listed here, such as knitting tool, scissors, row counter, etc.

Sizes are usually provided. Some patterns have one size only, others have various. When the pattern provides various sizes, there will be one number outside of paranthesis and then a series of numbers within the parentheses, example: xs (s, m, l, xl).

Gauge, ah gauge, none of us like to do it, yet it is one of the most imporant parts of the pattern. We think of it as wasted time, yet, when the item doesn't turn out the size we want, we want to throw a fit because it is not the right size. However, all this can be avoided if a GAUGE SWATCH is done prior to working the piece. Gauge allows you to find out how many stitches and rows per inch you get with the yarn you want to use and the loom you want to use. Compare this gauge to the gauge provided in the pattern. Gauge is very important when you need an item to fit a specific size person.

Stitches or Patterns Notes or Both: certain patterns have a small block that include Stitches or Pattern notes. These sections contain important information for the completion of the project. I have seen some pattern notes that include "use two strands as one". Ah! Don't miss that one, because if you use onely one strand, your item will be the wrong size and the stitches will probably won't look the same as in the pattern.

Abbreviations this is the section that we need to focus throughout the pattern, especially if you are new to loom knitting or knitting in general. When I first started needle knitting cables, I would make a copy of the abbreviations and cut it and leave it next to my pattern so I could move it along with me as I knitted. At first, all the knitting abbreviations will drive you nuts, however, after awhile, you will see that they save you so much more time and space (especially when printing, hahaha). Think of the abbreviations as a KEY to a map. The map to your pattern. You want to study it, and try to learn the techniques called for in this area to make the "traveling" of your map a little easier.

Instructions/Directions, here is where the designer gives you the information to complete the project. Some patterns include charts only, some patterns include row by row instructions, some include both charts and row by row instructions, some even include schematics (especially those for sweaters).  BUT, here is where we enter a big BUMP. How about if you don't know how to read charts, how about if you prefer instructions row by row. Can you change it? Yes, yes, you can. If there is a chart, get your KEY (abbreviations) and you can re-write the pattern, row by row, in long hand writing out exactly what each symbol in that chart means and what each abbreviation means to you. If you prefer charts and only row by row instructions are given, you can create a chart or a graph to represent all the written instructions.

Finishing techniques are typically found at the end of a patern. They will tell you how to assemble or what to do to complete your project. Usually, this includes weaving ends, blocking, seaming, etc.

I hope the above helps you my loomy friends in your quest to conquer the loom knitting world. Don't be afraid to try out the patterns, and to conquer them! Fearless!!!


Ogden Marathon Splits and Picture

  Ogden Marathon

All for the sense of accomplishment!

All throughout the course we were together. Hubby always about 1/4 of a mile ahead of me. I would look for his shirt trying to keep me motivated. Each time an aid station came, I would look harder hoping that he would be closer and closer to me but his pace is just a few seconds faster than mine so I couldn't catch him. I love running with him. He pushes me. He makes me try harder. He is the reason I am now a runner. His enthusiasm for the sport and his support has seen me through my 12 minute miles to now. My very first run was with him, as we ran around the neighborhood and he would say "hurry, you can go faster than that" always believing in me and my strength. I so love him! At mile 23, when I finally reached him, I was so thrilled to see him but I knew that I couldn't stay by him. I had to either drop back or pick up the pace. Staying with him would have meant me opening my heart to him and letting him know that I was tired, that I wanted to quit 5 miles ago, that I wanted relief for my foot that was making me see stars from the pain. So instead of slowing down, I picked up the pace and forged ahead.

In the month that hubby trained, he logged with me his longest miles for training. He has always put my training first and this time around was no different, he trained for about 6 weeks for a marathon. Yes, he ran a marathon with 6 weeks of training and with his longest run being a 16 miler and he still finished strong! We laugh all the time about his training (or lack thereof) and we just imagine how he would perform if he actually trained. I know that with training I wouldn't stand a chance next to him and that is just perfectly okay with me. He is my role model in more ways than one! I am glad I married my best friend and running partner.

So with this in mind, we have both registered for our next marathon. Our 3rd!!! Top of Utah Marathon in September! We both want to go for our Boston Qualifying time :)!  Granted, chances are that we can't afford to go to Boston but we can at least say that we qualified.

Logo_v2 

My Ogden marathon splits:

Mile 1: 7:49

Mile 2: 7: 52

Mile 3: 7:33

Mile 4: 7:32

Mile 5: 7:40

Mile 6: 7:46

Mile 7: 7:49

Mile 8: 7:51

Mile 9: 8:17

Mile 10: 8:16

Mile 11: 8: 35

Mile 12: 8:23

Mile 13: 8:48

Mile 14: 8:35

Mile 15: 9:23

Mile 16: 8:41

Mile 17: 8:39

Mile 18: 8:06

Mile 19: 8: 28

Mile 20: 8:53

Mile 21: 8:58

Mile 22: 8:33

Mile 23: 7:53

Mile 24: 8:42

Mile 25: 8:59

Mile 26: 9:19

Mile .2 (My garmin says it was .44): 8:54

I seriously believe that if my foot had been pain free, I would have been able to push myself a little more in miles 7 and on, instead, the pain slowed me down and made me walk a few times, more than I had planned. It is okay though, I am excited about my 3rd marathon, I am excited that I get to try again.


Ogden Marathon--New PR!!!

  OgdenMarathonTime

Finished in 3:41:11

I beat my first marathon time by about 11 minutes, definitely a big difference. I am very  happy with the results. Having said that, I am a little bummed that I missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by a mere 12 seconds :(. However, there is always next time and I believe that I can qualify on my next marathon for sure! I just need to train and train and train.

The Ogden Marathon tested every single fiber in my body. At mile 3, I started to develop a blister on my right foot, I think it was a combo of my shoes  the socks and the slanted course. By mile 5, they were getting painful, bDSC07820y mile seven they were hurting and making me think of only the pain, the next miles were nothing but excruciating. At mile 13 when the biggest hill came, I walked and wanted to cry. By mile 17, all I wanted to do was finish and get it done but then another runner came by my side and told me that she knew I could do it and as I closed my eyes and prayed for help for the pain to go away, a numbing sensation came to my toes along with a tingling feeling all on my foot and the pain went away momentarily, I took advantage and took off. My foot still hurt but not as much as before. I gave it my all. I truly can say that I left my heart and blood on that course.

 The next few miles were painful but I knew that if I kept going that I could make my goal of 3:45 and if I really couDSC07823ld push it I could qualify for Boston. I tried but I had to walk a few times to relieve the pain on my foot. As I neared the end, I looked down at my Garmin and it said 3:39 and I still had a quarter mile to go, I knew I couldn't do it. But, I still closed my eyes and I put everything I had left to the very end. As I crossed the finish line I wanted to cry. Cry from the pain, cry because I reached my goal of 3:45, cry because I missed Boston by just a minute or so (just to find out later that I missed it by just 12 seconds!). As I panted and tried to regain my breath, I bent over just to see my right shoe covered in blood on the right side. I got wobbly and wanted to faint (can't stand blood) but then I saw hubby coming through the finish line and I got the little bit of courage left that I had and cheered for him. He had made it too! He who only trained for about a month had finished his second marathon in less than 3:45 too! I am so proud of him.

We both hobbled to the finishers corral where we ate a little and sat down and nursed our tired legs. I took off my shoes because I just couldn't stand the pain any longer and I walked around without shoes for the next hour or two. My little toe is bruised like nothing else, all the skin was rubbed off, the little toe nail will mostly like fall off :(.

More story to come...have pictures of my kiddos doing a Kids' K at the end of the marathon :). They were so awesome and such great little runners.


1 day til Ogden marathon

  OgdenMarathon2

Bib Number: 3503--hope it brings me good luck :)

I have to admit that I am super excited. I am also scared. Random thoughts going through my head:

Excited

Pay day:  I will see if I trained well enough

Scared

Did I train hard enough?

Excited

Seeing all the runners and getting pumped with adrenaline

Scared

That I may fall down and twist an ankle and get injured

Excited

That I may reach my goal of 3:40

Scared

That I may miss my goal by a very long shot

Excited

About running the race with my hubby (he is my knight in shining armor)

Scared

That I will forget to take something essential for the race (such as my watch--I forgot it on my first half marathon. Hubby gave me his watch (like I said, he is my knight in shining armor).

But overall, just excited! I wish all my running friends a great time! See ya at the finish line! :)


Baby Hats

I have been busy these past few days, taper around here usually means extra time for knitting. I mean, what is a girl to do if she can't be outside running or biking or swimming, the only alternative left is knitting (yeah, I could clean the house too but I am not going to).

Two babies were born in the neighborhood on May 5th and I just had to knit a little something for them. One of the hats is not pictured as I gave it away before I could snap a picture (actually, I took a picture but it was with my phone and it turned out craptastic--the picture, not the hat).

My favorite little model is wearing the little hats--they are supposed to fit a newborn, baby C is now two months getting close to three so they fit a little snug around his little noggin.

First up: the Two by Twos stripes:

  Straightstripes
Baby C is such a good baby model! He just sleeps and covers his little face :). I made two of this pattern, one of them has brown and blue the other has gray and blue stripes.

Next: the Slanted Stripes: 

  SlantedStripes

Patterns: They are my own patterns. I would need to sit down and write them down exactly, I have a vague idea of what I did...so just give me a couple of days...years...centuries and I'll get them done. :). For my loomy friends, these were needle knitted but I'll try to write something similar for the looms.

  SlantedStripes2
One last picture...he was waking up....he is so blooming adorable! I love you baby C.

  SlantedStripes3


Smithfield Health Days 10K

I finished my very first 10K!!!! The day was super cold, so cold that during the first half of the race all I could think about was how cold the air felt going in through my nostrils. Before the race, I met Mel, she just came over to me and asked if I was Purling Sprite, I said yep, well, it turns out she lives in the neighboring town and she reads my blog---how cool is that!!! I thought it was really cool! She blogs over at AchillesMe :). She was so nice and friendly. It is neat to meet other blogger runners. I used to meet a lot of other blogger knitters and now I am starting to meet blogger runners and triathletes, the world is so small :).

Hubby was with me to run the 10K too. Note: he was with me, that didn't mean he was running with me. As soon as the "gun went off" he left me in the dust! I find it amazing that although I have been training my butt off for the past year, he can just start running a week prior and just pick up where he left off a year before. All I saw of the guy was his back, my only saving grace is that Mel kept up with him to the very end! 

I wish I had photos, but I don't :(. It is hard to put a camera in your pocket when running...I guess I could do it, but I need the least amount of weight on me so I can run my fastest.

The course was an out and back up Smithfield Canyon. Half way all uphill and then all downhill we were told, however around mile 4.5 there was a short killer uphill that I wasn't expecting. The first half went without a hitch, I was waiting for the uphill to come, just reserving my legs and I couldn't see the uphill coming then I reached the half way point and to my amazement realized that I *had* run the uphill, obviously it was just a gradual uphill that didn't kill me. After the turn around point, I knew that I had to give it all I had so I ran downhill as fast as I could only to be presented with the "short" killer uphill at mile 4.5. The hill wasn't long, maybe 300 yards but steep as hell! I remember just looking at the ground and saying to myself, it is flat, it is flat! My quads were burning when I reached the top of the hill. Once at the top there was a flat area and then the course went back down. At the last little downhill, I just gave it all I had going down the hill like a little goat. Once I saw the Finish Chute, I just cranked it out and pumped the arms to the end.

Stats: 

48:07:3 (7:44min/Mil)

14th place overall

9th in Women 30-39

A friend over at DailyMile mentioned to me that he doesn't know very many people who have completed a Marathon without completing a 10K first...I guess I am a little nutty that way. :)


An FO & QOW!

Baby Cory with his little sweater

It took me a little while to finish this beauty but it is finally done. I started it the week before baby C was born and now two months later, I finished it. It fits him perfectly! I just hope he doesn't outgrow it too soon.

The pattern is Get Ziggy by Anny Rail. I used Sublime yarn in a dark charcoal color--it makes a very soft garment for baby :). This is my second Get Ziggy and just like the first time, I loved it!

Today's quote is something that I needed to read and keep in my head for a little bit: "A goal without a plan is just a wish".

I am working on something right now, basically getting certified in all sorts of fitness training so I can one day become a superb instructor, like my mentor Michelle (she is the fitness director at Golds). There are a lot of certifications that I need to get and I am going to have to get my ducks in a row if I want to get it all done before the end of the year.

But first, my to-dos for this year: Ogden Marathon, Boise 70.3, Top of Utah Marathon, and crossing fingers if I get in, St. George Marathon, plus all the tiny little races I entered.

The quote of today is helping me focus on my goal, it is telling me--"keep your eye on the goal and work towards it. Kick the ball and go after it and don't stop until it hits that net!"