Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lacy Ribs Socks

The free Koigu is all grown up into a soft pair of socks. This is the Lacy Ribs pattern from Wendy Johnson's book, Socks From the Toe Up.

The yarn has a nice tight twist and has worn well over the last year. The variegation in color was interesting to knit with, and I like that the color didn't pool or flash.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reversible Cabled Brioche Stitch Scarf

I love this scarf! I knit my first scarf in this plush and pretty pattern from FireFlower Knits last June (green), and did another scarf in the pattern in November (purple).

Pattern: Cast on 26 stitches. Your first row is a foundation row that you knit only once: K1 (sl1, yo, K1) across until you K the last stitch. You should now have 38 stitches on your needle. For rows 1-10 and 12-22, you will knit the first and last stitches and (sl1, yo, K2tog) across the middle. Row 11 has two cables: K1, CF, (sl1, yo, K2tog) four times, CF, K1. Row 23 has one cable: K1 (sl1, yo, K2tog) four times, CF, (sl1, yo, K2tog) four times, K1. You repeat rows 1-23 to create the pattern.

Do the cable front (CF) like this: slip 6 stitches (yarn overs do count as a stitch) on the cable needle and hold in front, (sl1, yo, K2tog) twice from left needle, then put the six stitches you slipped onto the cable needle back on the left needle and (sl1, yo, K2tog) twice. You could just finish the CF from the cable needle, but it is much easier to do when you slip it back onto the needle.

This pattern is fun to knit, although it can be tricky to cable--don't cable too tightly, especially the double cable on row 11! Slip stitches purlwise with yarn in front. The yarn over will cross over the slipped stitch--don't worry because you will knit the slipped stitch and the yarn over together in the next row.

For the green scarf, I used size 7 needles and four skeins (a little less than 400 yards) of Knit Picks Andean Silk in Lettuce, a soft worsted weight yarn.

For the purple scarf, I used size 7 needles, and 2 skeins (a little under 400 yards) of Naturally Caron Country yarn in Berry Frappe.

Brioche stitch is thick, warm, and soft. If you've never knitted brioche stitch, there is a great explanation on Cloudy Crochet.

Once you get the hang of it, brioche stitch has a nice rhythm to it: bring yarn under the right needle to the front and slip one stitch purl-wise, then bring yarn over the right needle to back (this is the yarn over) to knit 2 together. After you knit 2 together, you bring the yarn in front, slip a stitch, bring the yarn in back (or "yarn over") and knit 2 together. You are essentially winding the yarn around the right needle as you alternately slip 1 and then knit 2 together.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Free Yarn!

I won free yarn from Traveller's Yarn! Ingrid King writes the Traveller's Yarn blog and owns a Hong Kong-based undyed yarn store called Yarn Workshop. I love that she describes herself as an "escaped lawyer." I also love that she has free yarn giveaways!

It's two skeins of Painter's Pallette Premium Merino yarn from Koigu. The yarn is 100% merino, and each skein is 50 grams and 175 yards. I can't wait to knit up a pair of socks and post the photos here!

Thanks, Ingrid!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Race Report: Lawrence Half Marathon

Hooray! Even with blustery north winds and a challenging hilly course, it's always a good race when you run a new personal best! I finished the Lynn Electric Kansas Half Marathon in just under 2:25 by my watch--2:25:12 official gun time.

Although it threatened rain the entire race, it only drizzled off and on for the first few miles. It was 50-55 degrees with 20 mph winds from the north, but at least we didn't need to worry about sunburn!

This course was more challenging (read that as much more hilly) than the Kansas City half marathon in October or the Hospital Hill run in Kansas City will be in June. It was point-to-point with three major (longer than a mile) uphill sections around miles 2, 7, and 12.

I didn't carry my camera with me on the course, but sections of the race were beautiful. Spring is just starting to show in Lawrence, so there were trees in bloom and green, green grass. Here are some generic shots from the race:

Near the start on Massachusetts Street

On KU's fraternity row

The finish line

This race isn't for everyone. Pros: varied terrain (hilly!), friendly volunteers, not too crowded, and a beautiful time of year. Cons: some support issues (no toilets along the race course, several aid stations were out of sports drink), little crowd support (with some deserted stretches), unpredictable weather, and a brutal up-hill finish.

There could have been more post-race food and drink options (where was the sports drink?), but I loved the chocolate milk. And the band did a great job, especially considering the cold and windy conditions!

Here were my splits (my Garmin recorded a short race of only 12.85 miles):
Mile 1 - 10:49
Mile 2 - 12:01
Mile 3 - 11:05
Mile 4 - 10:10
Mile 5 - 11:02
Mile 6 - 11:19
Mile 7 - 11:09
Mile 8 - 11:58
Mile 9 - 11:32
Mile 10 - 10:37
Mile 11 - 11:15
Mile 12 - 11:53
Mile 13.1 - 10:05

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Race Report: Disney Marathon

I'm thrilled to report that I finished my very first marathon in Disney World on January 11, 2009!

The expo was huge--in two separate buildings in the Wild World of Sports complex. We arrived around 7 p.m. on Friday night and did not have to wait in any lines.

Ben and I stayed at the Polynesian Resort on Disney property (hence the lei in the picture above). Upon check-in, they upgraded us to concierge level--we had a lounge just outside our room with drinks and snacks available from 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. each day and our own concierge staff on the first floor for easy access to park tickets and dinner reservations. I appreciated the banana and bottle of Evian from the lounge--it was perfect for race morning nutrition and hydration!

We had a good time spotting "hidden Mickeys" around the resort and in the parks. This particular Mickey wasn't so hidden, but it (and the bed!) were a welcome sight upon check-in.

On race morning, I woke up at 2:30 a.m. to eat, dress, and board the first of two monorails. The Polynesian monorail conductor proudly announced that I was the resort's first monorail passenger of the day (at 3:15 a.m.). You can see for yourself how crowded my monorail car was. The race started at 5:50 a.m., but we had to board the monorail for transportation to the start line before 4 a.m.

An official countdown by Mickey, Minnie, and the gang plus fireworks started the race. (Fireworks, I suppose, are the one advantage to the pre-dawn start time!)

Sarah and Ben were fantastic cheerleaders along the course. They cheered for me at miles 9, 13, and 26.2. I gave them big, sweaty hugs and kisses--Eww!

Running through the Magic Kingdom, specifically up Main Street and through Cinderella's Castle, was the highlight of the run. Even though the park wasn't yet open to the public, there were lots of supporters all along main street cheering us on. At around mile 10, it was a great motivational lift.

Splash Mountain was closed for renovations the week of the marathon, but it was still great fun to run by my favorite Magic Kingdom ride. This photo also gives you a good view of a typical mile marker sign.

A petting zoo just outside Animal Kingdom. Really, you could stop, pet a goat, and get your picture taken. Talk about distractions on the race course...

Expedition Everest! My favorite Disney World ride! Even though I rode it three times the day before, I was still happy to see that snow-capped peak at around mile 16. Only 10 miles to go.

One of the things that made me choose the Disney World marathon for my first marathon was the fun, laid-back attitude of most racers. This is not the race to make your "PR" or try to qualify for Boston. People stopped running to get their pictures taken with characters all along the course. Here I am, around mile 23, in Hollywood Studios.

Crossing the finish line was an amazing experience. About a half mile before the finish, there was a gospel choir singing and clapping, and then I saw Sarah and Ben cheering for me just before I took off for the finish. The crowds were great, and the post-race volunteers were all efficient and supportive--perhaps even too efficient. Mylar blanket, shoe chip removal, medal, finisher photo, drinks and snacks, then thrust out into the meeting area for friends and family. It was such a blur that I didn't think to take any pictures after the finish (until I had showered, swam, and ordered a glow-in-the-dark celebratory drink at dinner, that is).

Ben and I went to Magic Kingdom the day after the race. I was proud to show off my race shirt and Mickey medal!

Ben said he might run the half marathon with me next year. Here we are, posing with Donald, dreaming about Donald medals in 2010.