FO Parade

 

I am happy to say that the test was this past Friday and I believe it went well. I, however, won’t find out the results until early June. For those of you not familiar, I took my Professional Engineering (PE) license exam last Friday. It’s a rather long test that I had been studying for since February.  It is one reason the blog hasn’t been updated in a while, and posts were sporadic at best over the last few months.  Now that is behind me, I can get back to things like knitting!

I didn’t completely stop crafting while I was studying the last few months. In fact, knitting was a good mental break for me most times. Here are a few of the projects finished recently. There are a few more, but they are surprises and so they will not be discussed until later on.

Jane by Jane Richmond - Knit out of Handspun

Jane by Jane Richmond – Knit out of Handspun

This is a hat I knit up for a dear friend’s birthday. Made with some handspun I spun last year.  This is Jane by Jane Richmond. It is a fave hat of mine and works with almost any yarn.

I also knit up a couple gift things for my mom. She had pinned some Swiffer covers knit out of cotton on Pinterest and as I’ve been going through my cotton stash, I decided to knit her up a few.

Swiffer Cover #1

Swiffer Cover #1

Swiffer Cover #2

Swiffer Cover #2

In addition to the swiffer covers, I added another dishcloth or two to the bin. Those ended up going to my mom too! Gotta knit up quite a few more for quick gifts.

So far that is the completed knitting. I still have a few projects on the needles that I’m hoping to finish up shortly.

Until next time… (I promise it won’t be too long!)

-AMU

 

 

 

 

Weekend Recap

This weekend was a good one. There was a fair amount of knitting and a fair amount of studying and some bike riding tossed in.

I’ve been working on a design for a bit. It is a present for someone and I just couldn’t find what I wanted on Ravelry. I found a few suitable patterns, but in the end I would have been modifying them so much that it was easier to just write my own.

A knitted blob

A knitted blob

Besides knitting on the design, I make some excellent progress on my stripey socks. Since moving on from the heel, the foot and toe went by super quick. In fact, I was loving knitting on it so much that I knit right past where I should have started the toe.

That orange stitch marker is where I should have began the toe.

That orange stitch marker is where I should have began the toe.

So of course I ripped back. I now have a sock with a finished toe. The afterthought heel will be put on after I finish the 2nd sock.

We have a toe!

We have a toe!

Sunday came around and was 70 degrees! However with that 70 degrees came a pretty steady wind at 25mph! I still wanted to get a ride in and so I routed myself so that the majority of my ride would be with the wind and not against it. I tried a new route from the trail near my house, south and to the Keystone Trail. It was a good ride, however I will say I don’t like riding in traffic. I had to ride about 2 miles on surface streets. I got flipped off at least twice and heard a few more obscenities shouted my way. I’m not sure I will ride that way again by myself. I hit up the Keystone and rode it north to the end. I turned around and rode about halfway back and had someone come get me. I just about hit 20 miles for the day which was great. I don’t ride by myself very often, but it was very enjoyable. I needed away from people and I didn’t feel like I was slowing anyone else down. Quite nice.

So that was the weekend. This week will be filed with more studying as there is 12 days until the test. I’m feeling okay about it, but definitely need to do some more practice problems.

Until next time…

-AMU

 

 

 

 

 

RAGBRAI 2014

Registrar’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. RAGBRAI. This year it is July 20th – 26th and starts outside of Sioux City. The route is detailed here.

I have decided to participate in at least part of it this year. I have some friends who are planning on going and I decided, “Why not?”. It’s a good challenge for me and a good goal to shoot for. The first three days combined equal 188 miles if I don’t add the extra 25 or so miles to make a century ride on the 3rd day.

Right now those numbers sound daunting. Really daunting. However, I know that if I keep at it over the next few months it won’t be bad. It will be challenging and I’m expecting to have to grit my teeth and really dig in for parts of it, but I will make it.

I have been enjoying the riding so far this year. We’ve had a few good days for riding and quite a few more that weren’t the most ideal. The last few have fallen into that category. I was whining last week because I really wanted to go on a ride, but it was “too windy”. Now there is a limit on windy days for sure, but I’m talking like 10 mph. I should know by now that 10mph wind is a normal day. A buddy goes, it’s not bad out, maybe not a Top 10 day, but not bad. I asked what a “Top 10″ day was. He explained there are only about 10 days each year that are perfect for riding. Warm sun, no wind, 70ish degrees.

I thought on that for a few days. Then I realized if I keep waiting for the “perfect day” to ride then I would miss what spring we have and probably most of the riding season. So Monday, it was 40ish degrees, a wee bit windy (15mph), and definitely NOT a Top 10 day.  I grabbed Ryan and a friend and we went out for a short ride. It was only 11.3 miles, but it was good to get out. Especially if I am aiming to ride 2-3 times a week to get the seat time started for the year.

Wool socks make cold days a smidge better.

Wool socks make cold days a smidge better.

I’ve read, and heard, from many, that a lot of times it isn’t the miles you put in that is the most important, but really just getting your bum used to riding often. Right now that’s my focus. Get out there. Deal with the crummy weather winter/spring/whatever season this is throws at me. Try not to complain too much about it ; – )

I’m sure I’ll be posting about this off an on throughout the coming months, so any advice, links, etc. you think would be useful, put it in the comments or email me. I appreciate it.

Until next time…

-AMU

 

 

A Tale of Three Heels

So this post has been in the making for nearly 2 weeks. Life has been busy lately. Anyways, I was have been slowing working on my No Purl Monkey socks out of 716knits self-striping sock yarn. This yarn I purchased at last year’s Zombie Knitpocalypse retreat. I decided I should use of some of the yarn purchases I made before going again this year.

This sock has been my Achille’s heel (literally). I was going to go for the normal heel flap and gusset, but a few rows into the heel flap I changed my mind. I guess I was feeling indecisive that day. And there the snowball started rolling down the hill. I thought it would be an excellent time to try out the Fish Lips Kiss heel or a variation thereof that everyone (podcasters) was talking about. This is why I don’t like to learn new things. With the way that I knit, I have to reverse engineer most new techniques or stitch patterns so that they look right.

I gave up halfway through the heel because my mind wasn’t really in it.

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So what was a girl to do? I needed a heel and I needed it fast!  Short row heel it is! I grabbed out my Wendy Johnson book that had a good short row heel in it and set off.

I finished it in very little time (I believe it was over lunch one day.) And stared at it. I had a nice furrow in my brow and I stared some more. I shoved it back in it’s project bag. Once I got home and had a glass of wine while staring at it some more, I realized I hated it. I put it on my foot and hated it some more.

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So back it went. So that’s heel #3 right there. I put the sock away to sort it out another day.

Soon I needed a mindless project again, so I had to approach this sock that was driving me nuts. So I decided to skip the heel and deal with it later. Hello, afterthought heel! Nice to meet you.

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While it’s not my favorite heel, it allowed me to move on with the sock. I kept the patterning on the top of the foot and have plain stockinette on the bottom of the foot. It’s cruising right along. I think I have about 3 more inches before I start the toe. Hopefully the toes won’t be as cumbersome as that heel!

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Until next time…

-AMU

Distraction

 

I am hoping this cute photo of Rocco in the window will distract you from the fact that I haven’t posted in quite awhile.

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This is how I spent part of my Saturday

I haven’t had as much spinning time as I would like lately so I sat down Saturday and went through a little bit of fiber. I really need to site down and just do some prepping of this fiber for spinning. I think it got a bit compacted living in the stash.

I promise there will be a blog post or two this week!

Until next time…

-AMU

Weekend Recap

I’ve not fallen dead, or ill, or missing. I’ve just been so busy that writing here has taken a back seat.

20140310-053829.jpgSaturday started off with the usual trip to the coffee shop for an hour or so where I knit and Ryan studied. On the needles there is a Brickless for a friend. (Since I’m attempting to keep it a surprise, and doing a bad job of it, I won’t say anything else about it!)

Sunday brought us 70 degree weather and plenty of sunshine. In the spirit of enjoying this lovely weather, some friends and I took the bikes out for a spin. It’s been a long cold winter with not enough nice days for it.

We decided to do the North Riverfront Trail here in Omaha. It starts at NP Dodge Park and heads south until you get towards north downtown. It snakes around a bit and ends up back by the river.  We rode past Carter Lake which is thawing out (though there was one brave ice fisherman still out there.)

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Panoramic shot of Carter Lake.

The ride took a break at Ted & Wally’s ice cream shop in Old Market. Halfway was 10.5 miles and that first 10.5 miles was in a total headwind. It took us about 1 hour 15 minutes to go the 10.5 miles due to the wind.

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The Ted & Wally’s made riding into the wind worth it!

The ride back only took us 45 min if you want some perspective on the wind. I really got use to my new shoes and pedals on this ride. I still need to do a little bit of adjustment to the cleats to get them just right, but I’m loving them. Hills were a smidge easier than they were a few months ago.

Following the ride, we cleaned up and headed over to some friends’ house and helped them bottle up the beer that we helped “cook” a few months ago.

IMG_2746I learned how to wash bottles, and then fill them.

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The delicious brew.

Ryan was the capper and got to cap all the bottles! He did a great job. Now we just wait a few weeks for it to carbonate!

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Waiting

It was a great way to spend the weekend. Friends, riding, and a new adventure bottling home brew beer. Hoping for more days like this!

Until next time…

-AMU

 

 

Cold Sheeping

Cold sheeping. It’s the term Megan Williams coined a little while ago on the Stockinette Zombies podcast.  It means not buying yarn. It’s knitting from the stash you have created over time. I thought I’d join her in her solidarity because while I don’t have a large stash, I do have a stash and I should show the stash some love.

On the whole I don’t typically buy very much yarn. I will buy a skein here or there for a specific project. I’m not a person that goes out and stalks the latest indie dyer update to buy all the pretty yarns. For one, I suck at stalking those sites. I’m always late, and I take far too long to make a decision on what I want to buy and end up getting cart-jacked. So really cold sheeping is nearly irrelevant to me.

However, I will say I made it from mid-December to last week not buying any yarn. I ended up needing a special skein for a special project that my stash just didn’t have. I visited the LYS and purchased that skein. I also picked up another skein of sock yarn because it called out to me. It was quite lovely. And frankly, I’ve been burning through the sock yarn this year. Operation Sock Drawer (#operationsockdrawer on Instagram, Twitter, etc) has really driven me to add to my hand knit socks.

This purchase really made me think about what “Cold Sheeping” means to me. I’m not sure it is exactly straight up not buying yarn. For me I discovered it is being happy with what is in your stash. Everything I’ve knit since December has been from the stash. I even specifically cast on a few projects with stash yarn just to use up the stash yarn. The “not buying yarn” bit has helped me find inspiration in the stash.

When I do buy yarn at a retreat, or festival, or LYS sale, I try to buy with a project in mind. This helps curb the purchases to things I actually do need/want. I tend to keep my Ravelry queue fairly up to date with what projects I want to knit over the year, yardage requirements, and if I have suitable yarn or not. Of course the occasional surprise project, or gift knitting creeps up during the year that I didn’t plan for and I need to make a yarn purchase to complete it. This strategy really helps me curb the “oooh shiney” feeling you get when browsing at all of your favorite yarn shops.

So I’m going to continue to knit from the stash this year, and I’m sure it will get supplemented here and there for gift knitting, and maybe a special project for me here or there. I plan to buy a few more sweater quantities over the year, and adding to the sock stash that seems to be dwindling a little bit.

I do have to say that I am also very proud of those individuals who are truly “cold sheeping” and not spending a lick on yarn. Congrats Megan on 56 days of no yarn purchases!

How do you knit from stash, or add to stash?? Are you planning a “cold sheeping” experiment?

Until next time….

-AMU