A quick trip report

I'd mentioned a few times that I was off to China for a few days on business. The good news is that my time was in no way "wasted". Before I get to that, here's some photos. First of all, the pool.

Note the bank of windows to the left - that's the gym. I spent some quality time there every morning. Heck, I was up at 3:30a anyway. You'd be surprised how popular the treadmills are at 6a. I didn't bother with the pool. First off, no swimsuit. Second, it was so darned humid that I doubt I would have known if I was in the pool or just standing on the deck.

Now there's the view from the window:

That's the train station all the way to the right, just above that line of manicured trees. Interestingly enough, that train station was the best thing I'd ever seen the first time I was in China. (but that's another story)

And in the other direction:

Shenzhen is growing so quickly! Much of this stuff wasn't around 10 years ago. Heck, they're *renovating* stuff now.

Ok, the obligatory "harlot shot". How I wish I could have spent more quality time here:

I guess the sock likes the view:

And here's the upside of it all. They're finished. 1.5 of these socks were done on the plane ride out. Yes, the ride out. 13 hours goes a long way toward a pair of socks (ok, 3/4 of the way, to be exact.)

I love these socks. The yarn is great (STR Firebird, a RSC exclusive) - a lightweight 100% superwash. Shows off the pattern beautifully and these are my best fitting pair *EVER*. Anyway, that's that.

Oh, and one more thing. This guy cracked me up all week.

He and I go quite a ways back and I'm so happy to be working with him again. Doesn't he look just like Tin Tin?

Bizz Johnson Week 8

As mentioned in the previous post, we're hiking in Yosemite for most of this week. I'll be logging between 10 and 15 miles of walking (some w/pack and some without) rather than running through Thursday, but then it'll be time to do some make-up. I should be able to squeeze a few miles out of Thursday - Saturday, but to try and get the full 31 will be a challenge. The only bit of good news is that this is meant to be a "rest" week and the walking should give my ankle more time to heal-up.

(yes, it's still giving me trouble ...)

Monday - Cross Training actual: 8.6

Hiked 8.6 miles today, from 10,000' down to 7200'. The last three miles were hiking on the equivalent of cobblestones! We were WIPED. Absolutely wiped.

Tuesday - Run 4 miles actual: 0

Nothing today except lounging by the stream, a brief walk to the end of the lake and a nice, long nap. Merced Lake is a beautiful place.

Wednesday - Run 5 miles actual: 7.6

Hiked back up to Vogelsang via the Fletcher Creek trail today. It wasn't nearly as difficult as either of us expected and the views were incredible.

Thursday - Run 4 miles actual: 7

Back to Tuolomne Meadows via Rafferty Creek (same as the way in). Back down from 10,000' to 8,000'. Definitely warm (on, hot!) but it's always easier to walk down the hill than up it. :-)

Friday - Rest actual: 0

Oh, sweet lounging. Lazy, lazy, lounging. And the first good night's sleep since we left for High Camp!

Saturday - Run 7 miles actual: 0

Drove home. Knit. Ate a really good dinner. This is what vacations are all about.

Sunday - Run 11 miles actual: 0

More knitting and more sleeping. Wierd weather made it very difficult to leave the house. Make-up tomorrow ..

Total Scheduled Mileage: 31
Actual Mileage: 23.2 miles of hiking

Catching up a bit ...

Ok, so I've been remiss. I'd been doing such a good job of keeping my running log up to date, posting about knitting projects and even thinking about other stuff. Then, along came China.

Wierd things started to occur when I was logging in from Shenzhen - characters turned from English to Chinese (now *that* was wierd) and in some cases I couldn't even connect. Was this a symptom of the benevolent local authority "helping" me out? Was I really THAT jetlagged? Regardless, it kinda threw me off the bandwagon there for a while. I also impacted my running a bit, but things seem to be getting straightened out.

And now comes vacation! We're off to go hiking in Yosemite next week and that means no internet access (ergo, no blogging). I plan to bring along some knitting, but we'll see how that goes. No, the Mystery Stole is *not* the thing, but a pair of socks *is* the thing.

Before I go, here's some insight as to where everything is.

1) Mystery Stole - parked at the end of Clue 3. Haven't even started Clue 4, mainly due to Harry Potter and getting ready for this trip. Hope to pick it up again Thursday or Friday of next week.

2) Fawkes socks - done. Completed 1.5 socks on the plane TO Hong Kong, got a little more done on the way back, finished this past Monday. Pix in the camera, download pending.

3. The Bag - materials acquired, knitted up to the join of the CC, I'm unhappy. I think this puppy will get frogged back and restarted; there's a mistake in the CC row (missed a stitch somewhere) so it needs to be "addressed" anyway.

4. Meida's Socks - started and through 1st pattern repeat. This is what's going along on the hike. Totally portable and very simple.

That's it. Updated run info in a separate post and then I'm on hiatus until next Saturday, at the earliest.

Man ... I really need to get started on the Kauni ...

Bizz Johnston Week 7

Monday - Cross Training actual: flying

13 hours in coach to Hong Kong. The good news is that I finished 1.5 socks!

Tuesday - Run 4 miles actual: 0

Now is this US time or HK time? If US, then I ran. If HK, then no. We'll leave it as "no".

Wednesday - Run 7 miles actual: 7

Treadmill! Oh, the humidity (or is that humanity?). Jet lag got me up at 3a to watch the World Series of Carrom and that meant running at 6a. Lovely view of the pool, though ...

Thursday - Run 4 miles actual: 4

Managed to sleep until 4:30a today! Definitely a step forward ...

Friday - Rest actual: Rest.

Saturday - Run 7 pace miles actual: 6

and boy was that difficult!

Sunday - Run 14 miles actual: 0

Zzzzzzz ... and Harry Potter ...

Total Scheduled Mileage: 36
Actual Mileage: 17 (boy, that's not good ...)

25 years and still going strong ...

Ever wonder what 25 years of marriage looks like? Well, here it is:

These are two of my most favorite people in the world - and last Wednesday we were lucky enough to be invited to the party. Ralph and Carol treated us (and 12 other close friends and relatives) to a cruise on the San Francisco Bay - just like their wedding! The Blue and Gold fleet hosted the ceremony while Hornblower hosted the party. Food, drinks and fireworks were on the menu for the evening and the weather cooperated by keeping the fog at bay until after the pyrotechnics were done. By the way - that white number she's wearing - that was her "going away dress" from 1982. It still fits!

Ralph was also the officiant at our wedding - and he did a darn good job. Only one problem .. he neglected to tell us that he cries a weddings. Who knew?

Oh, and here's my other favorite couple:

These two just make me want to smile. Generally, if Chris and I are doing as well as these four when we hit our dotage (which is a hell of a lot closer than I like to think), I'll be pretty darned satisfied. What a wonderful way to celebrate the 4th of July. (and did I mention, that was our 18th anniversary?)

Independence day - feh. Here's to a little de-pendence. :-)

Catching Up on the Pix

Yeah, yeah. I've been meaning to do this for a while, so here are some pix (with more to come).

First FO is the Squatty Sidekick from the Knitting Daily website. I did this with KnitPicks Alpaca worsted weight. It knitted up SO fast and then I waited another week before I got around to felting it. The lucky recipient was gifted this past Friday while we all enjoyed Belgian beers at the Toronado. Little did I know that this purse also works as a hat! Harlot style, here's the bag in the front hedge:

Also, here's a set of pix of my progress with the Mystery Stole 3. The pattern called for either white or black/dark colors and I had this in stash:
This is my first time using the yarn from this supplier and let me tell you - it was a NIGHTMARE to wind the yarn. It had felted slightly as part of the dying process (I assume) which meant that the threads were stuck together and did NOT want to come apart from the rest of the skein. What should have taken about 20 minutes took more than an hour - and required the patience of my husband who did a FABULOUS job turning the winder slooooooowly while keeping tension on the yarn. I've got one more skein in a different colorway, but I'm not entirely sure I'll have the patience to use it soon! Regardless, doesn't it look scrummy? The colors are pretty remarkable and so far are knitting up nicely with the pattern.

Next pic is the stole after finishing the first half of "Clue 1". We're getting a clue every week (except week of 7/23 as Harry Potter is coming out) and the first clue was broken up in to two charts. The pic gives you an idea of the general pattern around the edge and also shows the level of stitch definition. Believe it or not, there are beads in there. I went with 8/0's and I think they're just too small for this stole. If (when) I knit another one, I'll definitely go up in size to 6/0's. So here it is after about 1d of knitting:

And here's what it looks like 4 days later, after finishing Clue 2. We're at 99 stitches wide (finished width) and have worked through 150 rows. I've no idea what the final pattern is supposed to be. Any guesses?

Next clue comes out on Friday but I'm off to Asia for a business trip and this is NOT NOT NOT airplane knitting. What with turbulence spilling the beads all over the place and losing stitches because I'm half asleep - I don't see forward progress being made. I'll just see what (if anything) I manage to get done over the weekend and then pick up again after I get back. Remember, it's not a race.

Stay tuned for the Breeze socks (need a wash already!) and the Wick socks that should be done tonight. Kauni remains properly locked up in it's bag. I just can't bring myself to open it yet ....

The Call of the Kauni

Since I saw the Harlot knitting it up back in June, I knew I needed to try this sucker. It's a really wonderful cardigan (what?!?! a cardigan!?!?) that uses a Danish yarn with looooooooooooooong color repeats to make the stranded knitting go much easier. Honestly, there are only eight rows of stranding for every twenty rows of pattern. Should be a hoot, right?

There's an excellent work in progress blog here that shows all kinds of wonderful things - like the color repeat possibilities, the way to deal with the steeks and associated openings, picking up stitches for the button band, the whole she-bang. We've also got a KAL going (see the sidebar for the button) and a source for all the different colorways up in Canada. I think all the versions are represented - but the rainbow is by far the most popular. Maybe the green would have been better ...

The yarn finally showed up yesterday - and I even managed to resist (RESIST!) opening the package mainly because I have no idea how I'm going to explain this to my husband. "What's that?" Oh, some more cool yarn. "What's it for? I mean, did you have a plan or are you still 'just buying' yarn?" A cardigan. "Cardigan!?!? What about my sweater that's been totally knit and has been sitting in a bag since Christmas and we're about to go on a long camping trip where it'll be cold and I might want it? What about that, huh?!?!"

No, I didn't open the bag.

Trying to figure out where to start the colors is what's really getting me. There are essentially three possibilities and I think that they're going to result in varying degrees of contrast. Less is likely to be more for me when it comes to this cardigan, but I'm not really sure. Maybe a look at a color wheel will help.

Any suggestions?

What a weekend ...

I think it's time to go see my optometrist. I spent a good chunk of the weekend working on my Mystery Shawl 3 and I think that's knocked off a good 10 years from my "eyeball life". Whew! I love the colors of the laceweight that I'm knitting with but I'd forgotten how hard it is to deal with dark colors. Shoulda remembered from my cross stitch days.

I also frogged back the Clapotis and I'm debating what I should do with the Sea Silk. I think I may do a Tuscany shawl (from the No Sheep For You book - Amy seems to like this yarn for that pattern), but I'm not sure. For now, it's sitting with my STR cotton/rayon blend.

The new Clapotis incarnation will be with KnitPicks Gossamer in the Caribbean colorway. Yes, it's a laceweight rather than a worsted weight, but I'm really falling in love with these tiny yarns. I also think that the scarf will be lighter and more wearable. Knitting on Addi #3's ... we'll see how that goes.

Also gave away the Squatty Sidekick to my knitting victim. Turns out she's going on a cruise with her boyfriend and his mom - and she wants to teach her how to knit! I'm hoping that a week of uninterrupted knitting goodness from a patient "old hand" will get Bethany started. If so, then I'll pounce. Oh, and continuing to wear my hand-knitted socks, of course.

Yes, I need to post pix. I have lots. There's just so much going on. And I have yet to get my collective sh*t together for me to get on a plane next week! Man, what knitting will I bring? I think socks ...

BIzz Johnston Week 6

Monday - Cross Training actual: knitting

yup - still on track with this stuff. Finished Clue 2 of the Mystery Shawl and then got to the heel of the Wick sock.

Tuesday - Run 3 miles actual: 4

Hash night - I'll chalk this up to about 4 miles. Lots of hills!

Wednesday - Run 5 miles actual: 6

6 miles on the good ol' Sawyer Camp Trail. Nice day for it, albeit a bit windy. Regardless, I'm doing well this week! Fitness test on Saturday morning ... blech.

Thursday - Run 3 miles actual: rest

nice afternoon off before the fitness exam ...

Friday - Rest actual: 4

Chris and I took a spin at Pulgas Ridge. A nice hilly loop on a GORGEOUS afternoon.

Saturday - Run 6 pace miles actual: 3

Fitness test. Actual mileage was about 3, but it felt like 7!

Sunday - Run 9 miles actual: 14

Getting ahead of the ballgame since I'm getting on a plane tomorrow. It was hot and difficult, but I git it done. Whew!

Total Scheduled Mileage: 26
Actual Mileage: 32

Lace kitting - away!

I've jumped on another bandwagon this week - the Mystery Stole 3 KAL closes signups tomorrow afternoon (there are more than 4000 of us already!) and it looked too good to resist. Basically, we get a new section of the chart every Friday (except Harry Potter Friday) so that we'll have a stole knitted up by the end of the summer.

I'm using a skein of Zen Yarn Garden laceweight in the Captain's Choice colorway. It's a cool mixture of dark and light blues that I hope will do the pattern justice. I also managed to pick up a nice set of 8/0 seed beads at the local bead store today so I'm ready to start knitting.

Addi #4 Lace needles are on order from Colorsong Yarns (free shipping, don't ya know!) but I'll probably start on my #4 bamboos. I sure don't want to have to wait until the actual Addis show up! Horrors! I'll be WEEKS behind! :-)

One of the two Wick socks is done, both finished by the weekend. The Kauni wool is on the way and now it's just a matter of what goes in the project basket for the trip to China.

Did I mention I'm going to China? :-)

Isn't that *cute*?

After many years of dealing with the insanity that is the Bay Area as well as it's progeny, the High Tech Industry, I've finally gotten content enough with my life to be able to NOT WORK through lunch every day. That doesn't mean I don't like to bring my lunch with me (see the post about the couscous salad and you'll know what my staple diet looks like) and enjoy a little bit of down-time between noon and 1p, but I also like to put that time to good use. Generally, that means I knit over lunch.

Small projects without intricate patterns are the best candidates for lunchtime knitting - socks, scarves (small ones, not the Clapotis! No, no ... NOT the Clapotis), simple bags - generally anything allowing between 5 and 20 rounds to be completed in a 45 minute period. The pattern should be easily "readable" and allow me to stop almost anywhere without causing a serious brain cramp when I return to it in the evening. I've not gone so far as to have a work-only knitting project, but that's coming. Sorry, I digress.

So there I was in my cube yesterday, knitting over lunch and feverishly trying to finish the clasp on the Squatty Sidekick before the start of a 1p meeting when one of my colleagues breezed past. He gave me the obligatory "hey there" nod and then kept going when his mental emergency brake got pulled. The reverse lights came on, he backed-up to my cube, and then said, "Oh wow. Knitting. No one does that anymore. How cute. Good for you!"


Why is it that knitting (and most other handicrafts, by the way) are no longer considered to be noteworthy? I find myself mentally unmaking sweaters, cables, mittens and other knitted items seen on the street to figure out how they were made and if it was human or mechanical hands that did the deed. However, for the unspun masses out there, it's a NiceGirl hobby that's outlived it's usefulness. It's cute. I think knitting gets brushed aside because the amount of skill and talent that goes in to the making of a Thing is not readily apparent to the uninitiated. Because it's an ancient and (relatively) simple craft, and the doing of it has been generally given over to metal contraptions that generate miles of fabric every day, the human version is perhaps seen as a "waste of time". Something we could ... well, outsource. What a shame.

What if we all pledged to teach one person to knit this year? I've got my mark already picked out (and she wants to learn), it's simply a matter of getting schedules to line up. What about everyone else? Are you with me?

If only knitters got the same respect that chefs do nowadays. You think Bourdain would be willing to learn to knit?

July SKL Sock ...

Wow-ee! Take a look at this pattern:

It's absolutely stunning. No idea what colors I want to use yet - and I certainly need another excuse to buy sock wool (NOT!). Seriously, it's gorgeous.

It' goes firmly on the "to do" list ... we'll see about when. Maybe during the hiking trip at the end of the month!

Bizz Johnson Week 5

Monday - Cross Training actual: knitting

Ok, so I almost finished the Breeze socks today. I'll for sure finish tomorrow.

Tuesday - Run 3 miles actual: 3

Today will be some speed work/training for my WCISOA fitness exam next week. Given that I've really got only about 6 training days to sort all this, I need to get serious. I don't expect to make HUGE headway in my times, but certainly prevent myself from failing. Two rounds each of the short events plus the 12 minute run and I should easily get my 3 miles in. I'll do a mile of warmup on the track before actually taking on the speed work (laps - ICKY!) but that's what I need to do. Thursday will be the same. Run, agility, then run.

Wednesday - Run 6 miles actual: 6

Oh. My. Goodness! It was ridiculously hot today, but I ran anyway. Stupid. I'm taking tomorrow off.

Thursday - Run 3 miles actual: 0

Yup. Farmers' Market and rest. And lots of water.

Friday - Rest actual: 4

Making up for yesterday ...

Saturday - Run 6 miles actual: 4.5

Ran the hash today - what a disaster. I got some distance but also spent a goodly amount of time apologizing to everyone for a poorly-laid trail. Geez. I had a great time regardless. Nice to be out in the sunshine with good friends!

Sunday - Run 12 miles actual: 12

Gorgeous day by the reservoir. I used to really *hate* this run (paved, lots of people) but now that I'm training on my own, I'm liking it much more. There's water at the 3.5 mile and 6 mile marks (which means also at 8.5 on the way back) and it's shaded most of the way. It's also further north so generally cooler. Anyhow, this was the best 12 miles I've run in a long time. Maybe the training is starting to "take".

Total Scheduled Mileage: 30
Actual Mileage: 29.5