Monday, January 26, 2009

two FOs

FO: Old Shale scarf

Pattern: Old Shale Scarf (rav link to my project)
Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill supersock in Burgundy (less than one skein, because I got frazzled by a huge knot with about 20% of the skein left and just cast off instead of untangling it!)
Knit between Dec. 18 and Jan. 21

FO: Old Shale scarf

This is my *final* Christmas gift. I know, it's kind of embarrassing. To be fair, I had many other things to make. I just heard from the recipient and she loves it. Yay!

Aaaand I finally finished something for myself! I stopped by my favorite LYS because, sadly, they are likely going out of business very soon. I picked up a beautiful skein of yarn and improvised some fingerless mitts:

FO: Handspunnish mitts

I am calling them "Handspunnish Mitts" because the yarn looks just like handspun.

Yarn: Mountain Colors River Twist (colorway: Firehole River)
Knit between Jan. 22 and 24

Handspunnish Mitts

This starts me off with one of my resolutions - knitting more for myself.

I'm wearing them at work when my fingers are cold. I thought I'd need them on my trip this week, but it's going to be 60+ degrees at Fort Benning, Georgia. (My brother graduates from basic training this week.) Yay for warm weather!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm a running fool ...

... and it feels great! Today was my long run - 8 miles - and it went swimmingly. The first mile or two, my quads felt really heavy, and they haven't felt like that before. But they loosened up, thank goodness.

Normally I do my runs in a big loop in order to avoid repeating turf. However, as my mileage has increased, I've had to do some ridiculous up-and-down running of street blocks to avoid doubling back. I decided today to switch it up and do an out-and-back routine, especially because 8 miles is a nice, easy number to cut in half. I was aiming to finish the first four miles in under an hour, and I did, with a time of 58:30 (a 14:38 minute/mile pace). And my goal was to finish it all in under two hours, and I did, with 57 seconds to spare (a 14:53 pace). The first six and a half miles were so easy, and I absolutely stuck to my routine of running 3 minutes and walking a minute. It got a little harder for the last mile and a half, so I interspersed the 3:1 run/walk with a 2:1 run/walk.

I felt so good I got a shower and immediately went to Target for a few things. Now I'm crashing and I think I'm home for the night, which is unfortunate, because I had wanted to go to SnB for the first time since November.

Friday, January 9, 2009

resolutions: 2009

To recap, here's a link to my post for 2008's resolutions. I think I did OK overall - I didn't blow them away or anything, but I did a good job of sticking to them.

Resolution no. 1 was about running year-round and not stopping after the Shamrock Half Marathon. I did a slightly better job this year - running through May, joining the Norfolk Fitness Center around Memorial Day, and resuming whole-heartedly in October. I went to the fitness center between May and October, but not as often as I should have. *And* I ran my second half marathon in March (about 26 minutes slower than the year before, but I can deal with that).

My second goal was to pay more attention to my body when it comes to eating better, sleeping enough, etc. This isn't really a measurable goal, but I think I've started to do a better job of it. We've instituted "project 1:30" at our house, which means we're in bed by 1:30 a.m. on the nights we're working. I think that's a pretty good goal considering we work till midnight most nights. (On the nights I work til 1 a.m., it's more like "project 2 a.m." ...) I also think I have done better about eating healthfully in general - lots of improvements to make still, but I know how much better I feel when I'm eating more healthfully, and I'm sloooowly eating less of everything.

My third goal was to watch my spending habits. I'm still putting 10% of my paycheck into my savings account, and I'm still paying well more than the minimum on my credit card statements. Unfortunately, I'm still occasionally putting big-ticket purchases (a plane ticket or hotel room) on a credit card, and occasionally I dip into my savings to pay for those things right away. It's a bad cycle to get into, but I don't know how else I can afford these things. I've signed up for an account at Mint, which tracks your spending habits, and that's already made a difference in my habits. (Do I really want to see three purchases at Yorgo's in a two-week span? Noooo.)

I'm going to keep these goals for 2009. I'm already building momentum from last year. I'm planning on two half marathons this year, I'm eating more healthfully (especially with bringing my packed dinners to work more often and drinking less diet pop late at night), and I'm being ever vigilant with my spending.

As for my yarn habits ... well, I had set some guidelines for that last year, too, but I only kind of stuck to the goal. I really made my purchases more meaningful - such as setting a budget (and not even meeting that amount) at Maryland Sheep and Wool, and I didn't really spend much at LYSes (except for a 40% off sale dangled in front of me, so I bought a sweater's worth of Cascade 220). But yeah - my goal for finishing a pair of socks before I can buy sock yarn? I totally come close to sticking to that.

This brings me to my goal for 2009: slow stashing. I read this post from Clara Parkes at Knitter's Review and it was a wake-up call to me. She says, "At its core, slow stashing involves being mindful of every skein we own, and only bringing in new skeins that are truly deserving of our time, our attention, and our resources." I think I've done this in the past, but I could do a much, much better job of it. So, I'll be very mindful of this in the coming year.

I immediately followed her recommendation of slowly going through your yarn stash and seeing what speaks to you and what doesn't. The what doesn't pile should leave your home somehow. I culled about 10% of my stash on Ravelry *just by going through sock yarn.* I have several bins of other yarn, too, that I probably should go through but haven't yet. (To be fair, I went through those several months ago and culled a garbage bag full of random yarn for Goodwill.) I've listed the yarns on my sale/trade page so, uh, check it out, knitterly friends. =)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

hello again.

I'm back from my second trip to Ohio in two weeks. It was a lovely visit, full of yummy homemade meals and well-received presents and football and knitting. Now I can reveal some knitted gifts!

First up, my mom's Old Shale scarf:

FO: Old Shale scarf

FO: Old Shale scarf

Old Shale scarf

Rav link here.

I used a skein of Noro Silk Garden sock yarn. It took me about a month, off and on, to finish this beauty. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and the colors are to die for. Noro, I can't wait to knit with you again.

I also knit my mom a cowl out of Koigu. There was a scary moment where I ran short on yarn, but thanks to Ravelry, I bought some more from someone else. Rav link.

Mom's Koigu cowl

I made my dad and brother mittens in their respective alma mater's colors (blue and gold and red and gray). I think they liked them:

mittens high-five!

Here are the Rav links for each project.

I know mittens aren't as useful as gloves but I hope they get some use out of 'em. I also made the boys basic watchmen caps - no real pattern. My dad wore his the rest of the week, woohoo!

Dad loves his hat!

My family exchanges ornaments each year, and I couldn't find a good one for my brother, so I knitted him a wee sock out of Koigu scraps.

FO: ornament for my brother

I got some yarn money to WEBS (already spent it!) and BMFA, a couple DVDs ("Wall-E" and "Sense and Sensibility"), money for new running shoes, and an awesome book from my brother. And, of course, my new camera from my honey.

Next post - a recap of my yarn purchases while in Ohio and a look back at my 2008 resolutions ...