Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Week 5/52

I ought to have my head examined!

Got a kitty this weekend! Here she is -


She was born last July, and we got her through Love-A-Stray. Very shy – she loves to be petted, but so far will not approach us. We’ve had to extract her from under the TV cabinet to see her at all. Yet, once in my lap, she makes no effort to leave. And purrs like a motorboat! Her whole body vibrates when she purrs.

Not a complete surprise, we have been promising Audrey we would get a cat for a while now. I just expected we would spend more time looking before picking one. It’s hard though, because at any given time there may be only one or two cats that fit our criteria at the adoption center to look at. Do you pull the trigger, or wait another week? And of course Audrey fell deeply in love with EVERY cat she petted.

Now we have to cat-proof the house. Already one plant has been earmarked to be moved to my office at work. Zoey used to love to chew on it too, but when Zoey was alive, this plant was small enough to put on top of the bookcase. It’s over three feet tall now, and that is not an option anymore. What is it about plants with blade-shaped leaves and cats? I doubt it actually tastes like grass.

In knitting: done with Chart B of my Argus Shawl. Just one chart left – yay! I think I’ve pretty much abandoned the goal of finishing the thumbs on the mittens right away. I mean, it’s going to be in the mid-50’s today. I don’t think I am going to need warm mittens this winter. Next year, for sure.

In exercise/weight loss. Moved to Workout 2 of the 30-Day Shred. More ouchies. Some interesting new exercises I have not done before – plank jumping jacks? So you do jumping jacks with your legs while your body is in plank position and you try not to fall forward on your face while wondering if the neighbors can see that your shirt is slipping up around your shoulders through the curtains you forgot to close. Exercises legs, abs, arms, and mind! Weight: Goal + 8 lbs. Not budging. Love handles not disappearing either, but pants feel a smidge looser. Legs are feeling rock hard, between these exercises and the ice skating.

Successful recipe – not really a recipe, but a method. Nothing new and innovative either, just a first for me: tender pork chops. Thick cut pork chops (about 1”), sprinkled with dry rub (salt and spice only, no sugars). Preheat iron pan on front left burner, dial #7.5, spray with Grilling Pam. Sear both sides of chops, insert thermometer and put in 400F oven until reads 155F. Total time ~30 minutes. Yay me! Even Audrey ate her portion.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Week 4/52

Winter? Well, we’ve had plenty of snow. And rain (which melted the snow). And wind (which removed a 4 ft. section of gutter from our house). Crazy weather! It just hasn’t gotten cold enough to motivate me to put the thumbs on the Bird in Hand mittens I started last year. They are thick and dense and probably wind-proof as well, but they are going to be crazy warm and best suited for going to the sledding hill. Which is just a rain-soaked, mud-covered grassy hill at this point.

Finally got my Winter 2011 issue of Interweave Knits! They said they mailed it November 21st. After a month, when everybody else on Rav said they had gotten theirs, I emailed and asked them to send it again. Another 20 business days go by, it comes in a manila envelope. Yay! Then a couple days later, the original shows up. WTF? Really post office? 2 months? According to the Interweave site, they are mailing the Spring 2012 issue today. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Work in Progress: the Argus Shawl, in alpaca laceweight. DH gave me this yarn for our 13th anniversary (traditional gift: lace – I asked for the DIY kit!). It’s lovely, but quite slippery. Still, I’m on chart C and getting about 3-4 rows done every night.

Work finished: Vellamo socks.


Pattern: Vellamo

Designer: Taina Anttila

Yarn: Cascade Heritage sock yarn

Needles: US 1

Modifications: I wish I'd gone up a needle size in the colorwork areas. Also, made the stripes 5 R MC/3 R CC due to having much more of the brown available than the red.

Trying something new: Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred program. I’m on Workout 1, easy modifications. Oh my aching muscles! Holy crap this is tough. My goal is to finish all 30 days in under 5 weeks – so far I have only missed 2 days – day 2 because I couldn’t flipping move my arms and legs when I woke up, and Sunday because I was too darned busy with other things. I’ll probably miss Tuesday too because I’ve got a skating lesson, but I’m not sure if I should count that. It is still a good workout (thighs, calves) although not quite as cardio as it could be.

Weight: goal + 8 lbs. Was briefly goal + 7 lbs, but splurged too much over the weekend.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Finally Winter!

Week 3/52

Can't believe it's the third week of January and I'm finally saying that, but we have snow! Enough to bring our plow guy out here three times since Friday! And the drifts on the deck are probably knee deep, so I guess that counts. Of course, tomorrow is supposed to be 45F; it will all melt. Then snow again on Wednesday. Of course.

Weight: Goal + 8 lbs. As of this morning. After the slab of chocolate cake my Mom bought after dinner, probably not so much any more.

Knitting: finished a couple of projects! Photography lagging behind (surprised?) but this week - I bring you Vitamin D!

Pattern: Vitamin D
Designer: Heidi Kirmaier
Yarn: Briar Rose Fibers Polwarth, handspun

This sweater has been a long time coming. I won a "stage" of the 2010 Tour de Fleece, and chose a shop credit at Briar Rose Fibers as my prize. I added some extra and ended up with 9.5 oz. of beautiful dyed Polwarth fiber, which I spun up on my Golding spindle to 1310 yds. of laceweight/light fingering 2-ply. That took about 6 months, then I set it aside until last Fall. Started knitting last October, and finally seamed it up just after New Years. Phew!

Will I spindle-spin an entire sweater again? I don't know. But it was a major accomplishment and I'm glad to have tackled it once.

Cooking: nothing too fancy this week - it was a busy week with two skating lessons, a swimming lesson and a Brownie meeting. Made a nice Asian vegetable/tofu stir fry with noodles instead of rice, and an awesome pot roast with mushrooms and balsamic vinegar on Saturday once my folks got here.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Week 2/52: January 8th

Weight: Goal + 8.5 lbs
Knitting: the Vitamin D sweater is done and blocking! One Vellamo sock is done, the other is up to the gusset.

Cooking: the Moroccan Lentil Soup last week - delicious! I'll make that ohttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifne again, for sure.

Something new: back crossovers. I'm taking ice skating lessons. I've been skating since ...I don't know... kindergarten? I remember my Dad taking me to a frozen pond on double runner skates. After that we went as a family to the RIT rink, later they would drop me off with my friends on a weekend afternoon. But I never had lessons. Over the years, I've taught myself how to skate forwards and backwards, front crossovers and to turn around while moving. I want to learn more though, and also how to do things "properly". This session, the Rocky River rec center is offering adult lessons, so there I am!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Well, another year over, another year begun.

Goals for 2012: blog more often. Try more new things. Plan ahead to avoid last minute scrambles. Lose 10 pounds. Eat more vegetables.

Week 1/52: January 1.
Weight: Goal + 10 pounds
Projects in progress: Bird in Hand mittens (just need thumbs).
Vitamin D sweater (just needs sleeve seams).
Argus Shawlette
about half done.
Vellamo socks about half done.

Something new I'm trying this week: Moroccan Lentil Soup. Recipe scaled for 6 servings makes six ~8 oz containers + one 1 pint container. Per recommendation of co-worker: make a healthy soup at the beginning of the week. When you get home from work, have a bowl of soup to prevent you from inhaling a box of Triscuits as you make dinner. The experiment starts tonight.

Knitting progress this week so far: a sleeve seam on Vitamin D! Only one more to go, then I can block it. I hope the drape is good on this sweater - my handspun seems pretty bouncy, less drapey. Also, I hope the yarn is sturdy enough to hold up to wear. It came out sort of underspun, and being thin, I can easily snap a single strand with my hands. Does not bode well for durability.

Household organization/improvement: sorted natural fibers out of stash, started new box for cottons/hemps/linens. Ugh! Too much yarn. It is getting away from me.