Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I Ran A Marathon

I ran the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City on May 23rd, 2015!
It's been a journey.  I remember thinking that running a marathon was something I just couldn't do.  When I started running, I couldn't make it to the end of the block.  Each time I ran I tried to go a little bit further, one more house.  Once you get to two miles adding more distance becomes easier.
Yes, this marathon was hard, and I have room for improvement, but that first 5k is still the hardest race I've done.
Why do they start races so early?  With a 7:15 start time, getting the kiddo up and out wasn't the most fun, but we did it.  She and my husband saw me off at the start.  I tried to keep an even pace around 10:30 min per mile.  Things started off great.  It was a beautiful day, sunny and chillier than I liked, but it warmed up.  I snacked on dates that I brought and a few chews they handed out.  I avoided the caramel GU as that did NOT agree with me in my half marathon.  Maybe I ate too much of their handouts.  I felt like I had plenty of energy the whole race, even a bit of a sugar high.
Things were going well, I chatted with a few people as I went.  I looked for friends as I approached the half way turn around.  It is such a great feeling when people cheer you on specifically!  Thank you!

Here I am somewhere around mile 9, before I saw the camera.

Around mile 20 I really started feeling it in my legs and feet.  After another mile I had to take more walk breaks.  That last 6 miles was really hard.
I have to say, the other runners were great.  I love how people encourage each other and look out for each other.  I must have looked pretty beat up.  People offered me extra water.  The people around me that went ahead when I slowed way down cheered as I approached the finish line.  I had a lot of fun even though I could barely walk afterward.  Now I have a new PR that I look forward to crushing.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Men's Sock Toe Up With Gusset

I made a Men's sock similar to the pair I made for myself. It is toe up again, yay, and I adjusted the heel with for a better fit.  They are knit in a very comfortable alpaca, superwash wool, and nylon sock yarn.  This pattern is available for free at RainyDayArtShop.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Short Rows Videos

Sometimes watching something in action makes it so much easier to understand than trying to figure it out from still pictures, or better yet, trying it out while watching the video.

This video demonstrates how to do the gusset, and wrap & turn.

This one shows how to pick up the wraps.

There are a few different ways to do these, so I'm showing what has worked for me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Introducing Knitting How to Videos

I'm starting a collection of how to videos on my website and I'm excited to announce that I have two videos up!  Do you have a favorite cast on or bind off for socks?  These are my favorites.

Judy's Magic Cast On

Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off

In these videos I'm making a basic men's sock.  I will be posting the pattern soon!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Finished Object: A Sweater

As I was finishing this sweater, my kiddo kept saying "I like your sweater Mom".  She was so happy when I gave it to her!  It's a little big on her, but this way it will last a while.  This sweater pattern lets you make it almost any size, you just have to do some math.  The pattern has you measure a sweater that fits and you fill out a chart that guides you through the math to get to how many stitches to cast on, how to place the center pattern, etc.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Braving Steeks

This sweater project is the first time I have done steeks.  Steeks are scary.  Who would want to cut their knitting!?  There are some lovely patterns that use steeks though, so I think they are worth it to overcome that fear.  Plus you can check that box on your knitting accomplishments list!

This sweater has steeks at the armholes and in the front for the neckline.  The most important thing is preparation.  After you have your pieces knit, block them.  You want the fibers to relax and stick to each other a little.

Use a contrasting color to out line the steek, pierce the stitches as you go (like a split stitch) to lock them in place.  The outline will not show, use any color you like.

Use a sewing maching to trace over your outlined steek.  The pattern didn't call for this so when I started picking up stitches for the sleeve, I had a few threads coming loose and immediately got out the sewing machine.  Go over your outline several times.  In this picture you can see the sewing stitches and that I've cut the neckline steek!

After that it's not that bad.  Pick up stitches for the arms, and you're on to the next step in the pattern.

 Here I've cut the arm hole steek, and am ready to pick up stitches.
Here the sweaters right arm is complete, on to the left.

I don't love steeks, but they aren't something to be dreaded either.  For writing a pattern I think I would make arm holes in the pattern, but steeks would not stop me from knitting a pattern I liked.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Large Gauge Cowl

My sister asked me to knit her a cowl/scarf.  You know people take your knitting skillz seriously when they ask you to make things they want to wear, you know, in public.  The cowl/scarf she had in mind was very large gauge, and long, long enough to be wrapped around three or four times.

We picked out yarn together and I was left to figure out how to make it.  The gauge is big, bigger than any of my needles.  My first thought was to use my biggest needles and an elongated stitch.  That would have worked, but I knew there was an easier way.  Her friend said she used her arms to make a similar scarf.  It sounded easy enough.  The tricky part is that you can't turn your "needle" when you get to the end of the row.  You have to knit backwards, mirroring what you normally do.  This scarf is 12 stitches wide and uses 2 skeins of Knit Picks Swish Bulky, with 2 strands held together.  To finish it off, I first tried a giant Kitchener stitch, which did not turn out that even, so I crocheted the ends together.  Before being looped, this scarf is about 8 feet long, but was a fun and very quick knit.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A reversible hooded fleece poncho

On the way home today I thought I'd stop at the fabric store and buy some cute fleece to make a poncho for my kiddo.  It's getting cold here and we were running errands, and in and out the car a bunch.  Well, carseats and big fluffy coats don't play nice with each other.  (Seriously, you don't want your kiddo wearing a fluffy coat in their carseat.  Not just because it is difficult to buckle, but not wearing the coat is safer if there were an accident.)  So, I bought a yard each of some cute fabric, thinking I'd make a no sew one like I made for myself last year.  Last night I added a seam and snaps to the neck hole for the baby, since I'd like to be able to wear it and not have my back get cold if I'm not wearing a baby.  I was thinking about that poncho and that it is made with 2 big rectangles.  Surfing on my phone for patterns in the parking lot didn't work, so I just bought the yard of each and called it good.

Then I found this reversible hooded poncho, which is super adorable!  The only problem was that I didn't have enough fabric to make that big, 23 inch radius, circle.  So I made 2, 19 by 30 inch rectangles in each fabric.

I folded my fleece long ways, not the usual way, and that gave me enough space to cut out the hood pieces.  I followed the hood directions as is, including making sure my bird pattern was upright on the hood.

Sew the short end of one rectangle to the long end of the other.

Then, with right sides together, I sewed the short end of one rectangle to the long end of the other, and repeated for the other side of the neck hole.  I did it again for the second layer.  You have to do them separately.  Then I put the rights sides of both body pieces together.  The seams of the rectangles will not line up, but the whole pieces will.  Line up the two corners.  I decided I didn't want fringe, so I sewed the two sides of the bottom edge together, turned it right side out through the neck hole and stitched around the edge again, just like on the hood.

Then I jumped to step 5 and put the hood between the body pieces.

My finished measurements are neck to point: 25 inches, neck to side (along short edge seam) 18 inches.

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