Sunday, March 28, 2010

How Do People Stand All That Sun?

Spring Training

I've been back from Spring Training for almost a week, but it seems like a lot longer ago than that! We had great seats for most of the games we went to, and the weather was very pleasant (as long as I was mostly in the shade). We saw Milton Bradley get thrown out twice for arguing balls and strikes, and were close enough to hear the terrible name he called the umpire. Awesome. The baseball was bad at times, good at times, as is normal in Spring Training. This year, we visited two parks that we haven't been to before, which means that we've covered almost all the Phoenix parks. We haven't been to see the Cubs, but I think that's about it. The home opener is in a few weeks (sandwiched between two trips to Boston), and I can't wait! Although right now, I'm really spending my time thinking through the logistics of the first Boston trip, because I've got a tightish schedule on Friday (but can't leave on Thursday morning), and Frieda is travelling with me. Frieda has been to the east coast twice, and she should be fine on the plane, but there are still details to think through--health certificate from the vet, how to pack so that I can still carry everything on, how she cope with flying without rawhide (verboten now that she has pancreatitis).

Back to Spring Training, the non-baseball activities. I snuck in a little running, and we managed to hit a yarn store, a quilt store, and a bead store, in addition to trips to multiple Target stores in search of Liberty of London items. I didn't have the benefit of a whole Liberty of London Target Store, but picked up a shirt, a hat, and an XL child's maxi-dress that I'm going to turn into a skirt. I visited a local Target yesterday to make sure there wasn't anything I'd missed (there was more), and I may make a trip to another local one to check out their selection of lampshades.

In knitting news, I made a little progress on both Iris Waves, and Kernal, but not as much as I might have liked--there just wasn't a lot of downtime on this trip, and our seats were too close to the action to facilitate knitting. Also, at the last minute I snuck an "opposite of Spring" project into my bag, and worked on that on the plane instead of the bright, springy projects. More details to come--I may finish it this week, and if not it will almost certainly come with me to Boston (along with Iris Waves and Kernal, I would bet).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spring Has Sprung (Baseball-Wise, anyway)


I'm leaving for Spring Training tomorrow, and have a couple of new projects on the needles to take with me. It just didn't feel right to take the subdued, blue-grey Carrieline, or the wintry grey Peak's Island Hood to a place where it's supposed to be 75 - 85 degrees & sunny all week. Plus, I'm trying to keep room in my bags for running shoes & clothes, so a sweater and a bulky scarf are not the best choices. A little simple lace in a bright aqua, and a pair of summer-striped socks? Those seem just right for knitting at the ballpark, don't they?

The blue scarf pattern is Kernel from the Fall 2009 issue of Knitty. I picked the yarn (Spud & Chloƫ Fine, purchased @ Renaissance Yarns) solely for it's color, and frankly I think it's a little scratchy. The stitch definition is great, though. I soaked and blocked it after the edging and first repeat to see if it would soften up and hold the pattern, which is why it lays so nicely now. The yarn didn't soften up very much, but it was too pretty to start looking for new yarn. I really wanted that color, because I was thinking of making Anne Hanson's Coral Gables scarf, and because it screams "Spring is HERE!". I was worried I'd end up glued to the chart, though, which doesn't make it a great pattern for the baseball park. Kernel may end up having the same problem, which is why I also started a new pair of socks.

Even though I just ripped out six different socks, and have at least that many more socks started, I really wanted a new, bright pair to take to Peoria. The pattern is Waves and Piers (Rav Link) from The Little Box of Socks by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott. I'm using Yarntini Striped Sock in Iris from the Yarntini club I joined last summer, with a coordinating Dale Baby Ull for the cuff, heel, and toe. The pattern is just two rows (one plain, one patterned), and should be easy to follow along. If not, I know a couple of places not too far from the ballpark with yarn on offer . . . and I still have time to cast on one more thing!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Appetite for Destruction

Man, has it really been almost a month since I posted?

After the February whirlwind, I caught the worst cold I've had since December of 2001. In fact, the cold of 2010 may have been worse than the cold of 2001, and after hitting hard the last week of February, I'm just getting back into my regular routine (and still have a little bit of a cough).

The cold hit during the Olympics, and prevented me from finishing any WIPs or new projects. My initial plans were not overly ambitious--finish the Black Diamond cardigan (I started a few rows into the raglan decreases), start & finish the Komi Hat, and rip out a bunch of projects I haven't worked on in ages.

The Black Diamond is really, really close to being done now, but at the end of the Olympics I still had some work in pattern to do and it was more energy than I had. There's been zero work on the hat. I always think that if I am stuck home sick, I should be able to get a lot of knitting done, but I couldn't even pull something plain out to work on--I was too busy napping in between violent coughing fits. I've put the Komi hat in time-out for now (I don't love it, and now it's spring so no pressing need to finish it), and I'll most likely finish the Black Diamond after returning from my annual trip to Spring Training, which starts on Wednesday. I had hoped to finish it this weekend, but had a LOT of other things to get done since I've been neglecting all but the essentials for the past three weeks.

The Ravelympics weren't a total loss, however--I did summon the strength to rip out SIX works-in-progress that I was unlikely to ever finish. Here's the proof:

Mystery Socks

Mystery Socks, Started January 2008.


Kiila Greens, started May 2009

Purple Grafitti Cables\

Purple Graffiti Cables, started April 2009


Leyburn, started January 2009

Sockgate Socks

Sockgate Socks, Started July 2009

Blue Hawaiian

Blue Hawaiian, started July 2009

All that ripping earned me a medal, which is good, and now there are six fewer projects I have to worry about finishing, which is even better. I think that the main thing I've learned by ripping these out is that I don't love toe-up socks when it comes time to figure out the heel. For the Blue Hawaiian and the Sockgate socks, I didn't like how the heels interrupted the pattern. For the Leyburn socks, I tried to make some heel adjustments and it just didn't work. For wonky fits or stripes, top down is probably the best way for me to go!