I did not do very well in my stated goal of finishing Anais before Sunday.  I did however, finish my cardigan instead.  It was so hard to stick to the darn thing that I just couldn’t stop!  Therefore to date I have only completed the back almost to the top of the shoulder shaping.  And apparently I’m in an imaginary, virtual knitting race on this thing, so I’d better get cracking now eh?

It is very nice to be humming along on stocking stitch however!  The Berrocco Ultra Light Alpaca knits up beautifully, with wonderful depth to the colour.  So far so good!  I hope it fits okay, it should be snug, but not circulation cutting off.  If it is too baggy it will look strange.  I had to go down 1/4 mm needle size to get tension, but it also stretches on blocking.  Another nailbiter I’m afraid!

And another reason why I’m glad I moved back to Canada?

Crumpets available at the local grocery store!  All that butter melting into the holes, all toasty warm.  Yum!

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And in the beautiful colour of “periwinkle” as its been dubbed, instead of the name given by Debbie Bliss “8476”. 

It feels like this sweater took me forever, and I was reminded that I did cast on for it in May.  That’s kind of forever right?  But on the good side, I now have another month to wear it, and it will probably stretch into September and maybe October due to the wool content with the bamboo.  It is very nice and warm to wear around the air conditioned office.  (Yesterday they sent out a big e-mail to everyone in the building that the air-con would be off for 10 minutes.  All I could think was “Good, now I can finally be comfortable in my own office!). 

The pattern is from “Vintage Knits”.  I would not call it an incredibly well written pattern, or a beginner knit by any means as you had to know where the gaps in the instructions were, and fill them in yourself.  The sweater does however fit me well, I just find the arms a bit baggy.  Another downfall of the pattern is there is only one size written up, which it says will be bust sizes 32-38.  I think if you need a 38 bust size you are going to have to up size your needles, loosen your gauge, and pull like hell when you block it! 

The yarn is Debbie Bliss Primo, 70% bamboo, 30% wool.  The colours are lovely, and a wide selection.  So far I like how it knitted up, and the sheen the yarn has.  Wearing the sweater I find it warm, so not really totally a summerweight sweater.  I don’t really like cotton however, and find it “dry” if that makes any sense.  Hence the substitution.  The lace pattern was very nice, but I’m thoughly sick of it after ten million repeats. Now I just need buttons, I’m thinking something “vintagey”. 

No Spills, just fun!

July 28, 2008

As Mum as already been duly informed, I had a great weekend that did not involve any spills off my bike, and no blood.  The boys on our team, being boys, did have a spill or two, but nothing too critical.  And I did get to meet up with Heather from Salt Lake, who got to take in the start of the race.  So where to start?  Picture hundreds of riders, over 150 soloists (who rode mostly non-stop for 24 hours), and 1400 people on teams.  Hundreds of bikes on the course, hundreds of people camping, cooking, partying, having a grand old time.  Picture kids running around on their tiny bikes, helmets bigger than the rest of their bodies competing in the 24 minutes of Adrenaline.  At night, lines of lights going up, and up, and up the trails, snaking through the woods, racing by on the course.  Seeing the soloists in the morning on the trail, in a coma-daze, not responding, not even there really.  Falling over, getting back on, and pedaling, pedaling, pedaling.  Covered in mud, blood, sweat, and more mud. 

I wasn’t worried about Phil the bear (I named him to make him less scary) as he was seen quite close in to our campsite.  So I slept with him only 100 ft away, but I knew on the trail he was far away.  Make sense?  Plus it was difficult enough at night to keep my bike upright, going forwards, without worrying about anything else.  You couldn’t do anything but concentrate on what was coming up.  At night your world is reduced to a small spot of light, only 4 ft ahead of you, and you have to react instantly to dips, rocks, roots, and whatever is there.  You can’t lose focus for an instant.  It started to rain heavily around 6 pm, stopped, and started again a few times.  I did my first lap just after 9 pm, and the course was already a mud pit.  Most of the trail I had to walk over, it was unridable for me.  My calves cramped from pushing the bike uphill.  Here is the before shot:

Unfortunately my light went out just before Checkpoint #2, so I rode quickly to where my teammates were waiting on the course and got new ones put on.  You can ride so much faster when you can see!  Here is the after shot:

I kinda felt a bit like this as well, but no nearly as muddy as other people.  Like Mike here:

Mike should be a mud poster boy!  Here are some more photos on Flickr if you are interested!  I got to do a second lap in the morning, which was much better as the trail had dried out a bit.  Instead of giant bog mud pits, there was a hard packed trail through it instead.  It was still wet roots that are so slick to navigate, but wonderful daylight to see them in!  I’m signing up for next year!

I do it for 24 Hours!

July 24, 2008

This weekend is the big 24 hr mountain biking race in Canmore that I’m participating in.  And I”ve been told they sell socks that do say “I do it for 24 Hours”, and I’m buying a few pairs cause that is funny!  Now some people ride this race “Solo” which means that whoever wins has ridden the most laps in 24 hours.  And the top people ride it non-stop, at full speed the whole time, as a lot of money is up for grabs, this is the World Championship race.  Other teams are two people, four people, five people, and our team is ten people.  Or a recreational team.  That means that I’ll probably two do laps, maybe three if we are fast (ha!).  All together that will be 3-4.5 hours of riding, which shouldn’t be too hard now should it?  The rest of the time I’ll be hanging out, knitting, eating, drinking (mostly water, sigh) and sleeping.  I think coffee consumption will be extremely high! 

As you know, I’ve been a bit worried after our bear encounter, and specifically during a night lap when I’m out there with just a headlamp.  Will there be a bear hiding behind every tree?  I now have it on good authority that bears sleep all night!  I repeat: bears sleep all night!.  Probably because they are tired from chasing bikers around all day, but I digress.  That means we, all the thousands of participants this weekend, will be perfectly safe!  No need to worry! 

And Mum and Dad:  I promise to be really, really, careful, and ride safely.  I can’t guarantee there won’t be any phone calls that start “Umm, Mum?”, but I will really, really, try to make it not happen. 

And I also promise to come back next week with a race report, which will most likely include photos of cute men in spandex shorts.  And maybe some ladies as well…  Until then, this is where I’ll be:

Me and Buck all the Way!!!

Actual WIP Wednesday!

July 23, 2008

And by actual I mean here are pictures of myself actually working on stuff in progress.  It was Tuesday night, but I think it will be alright? 

First off, something not pictured, but you can see it in the background is the lace cardigan.  I just need to set in the sleeves and sew up the underarms and I’m done.  Then the great button hunt begins.  And since I live in the buttonless tundra that is Calgary, it may take awhile…  I’m not sure if I will get to this soon, as its not coming with me to the race this weekend.  Maybe next week it will be done? 

My Potamus sock is coming along, and I have high hopes sock #2 will be done this weekend. 

There is Piper, proudly surveying her territory from my lap.  If you asked her, I’m sure she would claim it was her lap, and then loudly state that her lap should be horizontal much more often then it has been lately.  Most nights, when I claim to be at home drooling on the couch, I look like this!  I was inspired last night by those people taking a photo of themselves everyday on Flickr for the 365 day project.  I have no urge to join that project, its just fun to play!

I did cast on for Anais, and its almost up to the armpits on the back.  I will be taking this with me this weekend in case I finish the sock.  I don’t think I finish it in time for the Sunday finish of the Tour, but it won’t take me much longer after that as its going quickly.  Its been awhile since I’ve only had stocking stitch to do and no pattern.  Woo hoo!

I am so talented that I can knit, watch tv, pat a cat, take a photo, and not be ashamed to show my double chin online!  Note the bad posture as well, I think its time for a new sofa!

 

Now if some of you are bored, and looking for a quick summertime project that won’t make you too warm, how about knitting a dictator?  Ha!  And please note, someone sent me that link, I don’t read that blog!  Knitting blogs only, and PG-13!

We finally had two hot days here in Calgary, and it was nice.  I think everyone got too much sun on Sunday!  I tried to have a conversation on the telephone, and had to follow it up with an e-mail to explain a few things that were kind of spacey!  We’re doing okay in the new house, the ceiling fan in my room makes a huge difference, but I have noticed that I don’t have a cat glued to me constantly.  They are sleeping a little further away these days.  But with the hot weather comes the urge for a good gin and tonic! 

Personally I’m partial to Bombay Sapphire, and only seem to really want one of these on hot, hot days.  And well I should, as this is a very important drink, and essential to my health and well being!  As both my parents now have had malaria, I don’t think we should take this issue lightly!  I don’t care how far north you live, a single mosquito carrying the malaria virus could fly all the way up and bite you!  The quinine in the tonic, activated by the gin I’m sure, is extremely important in warding off this deadly disease.  Way back when the British had a hard time getting their troops in India to take their daily dose of quinine, they added it to the tonic, and God Save the Queen they had fewer casualties.  So, please remember to take your medicine and cool off!

Sunday was a beautiful day in Cowtown, and what would Sunday be without a trip to the Farmer’s Market?  Bella was sporting her new basket, and in quite a good mood.

Once again she brought happiness to all those who were around her.  That lady in the giant pick-up truck who honked at us?  She was just saying “Ciao Bella!”.  Again, the Farmer’s Market, although small, was filled with treasures.  For some reason these were labelled “Baskets” instead of the correct “Knitting Baskets”:

And a likely looking tea with the biggest name to live up to:

 

But what made it into the basket?

Walnut, and Sunnyboy bread (3 types of seeds including flax and sesame) from the jolly German baker, green beans, and nectarines.  Nectarines that tasted of sunshine I might add!

Today I have a new thing to add to my list of scariest things to happen to me ever.  Did this happen just because of the blog post yesterday?  Am I manifesting these things with my blog?  Hmmm…

Today I went for a bike ride at the Canmore Nordic Center, we were following the race course to the 24 hours of Adreniline, the race I’m in next weekend.  My friend Mrs. C. is extremely friendly and befriended two nice gentlemen out for a ride, and also convinced one of them to be on our team as we are one short.  This woman can work it!  The four of us were chatting away, Mrs. C. got their phone number in order to sign them up, then we went up a hilly section of single track, eventually one of the guys got about 30 ft ahead of us.  We heard him say “Bear” but it didn’t really register, then he said it again.  We turned out bikes around, and he came down the trail, saying “Bear” “Get out of here!”.  Mrs. C. was extremely upset, so I went ahead of her and made sure we rode down the trail at a nice controlled pace, so there were no crashes.  The bear turned out to be an almost full grown grizzly that was sitting almost on the trail, about 10 minutes away from the main center, 30 ft away from us!.  I’m really glad Mrs. C. and I didn’t see it, we were scared enough!  You see, if we hadn’t stopped to chat with our Saviors, as we now call them, we would have continued riding just the two of us, and we would have been the ones running into the bear!  Gulp! 

We went back to the Nordic Center, informed the people there, who immediately called a Ranger to help scare the bear off.  Mrs. C. discussed it, and have no worries for the race next weekend.  The bear will be long gone by the time of the race, and there will be thousands of riders on these trails, plus music blasting full out from the main area.  But my goodness that was scary!!!

I was recently asked this question (online dating, don’t ask) and have been pondering it for a few days.  What really is the scariest thing I”ve ever done? 

I think the stock answer would be in about 2003 when I went to do start up a juice filter for Dole in the Southern Philippines, during the height of the terrorist problems there.  The week before I went, two bodies showed up on the Dole plantation, fairly close to the Lodge where the guests stayed.  The police called them terrorists, others called them drug dealers the police had killed and dumped.  US Troops were in the area “helping” and the terrorists still had American hostages in custody.  The Lodge area is basically where the executives stay with their families in company housing, and a little Lodge where people like me stay.  Its surrounded by a golf course and pineapple plantations, a little fence, and a guard that drives around on a motorcycle once an hour.  So not really secure if you really want to get in.  Plus who would you kidnap, a giant American man or me?  I’m smaller, but more ornery!  My boss and I had long discussions about this before I left, and we ended up deciding I would go, but I would require a 24 hour guard outside my door.  The rooms were nice, but one wall was all screens with wooden louvred coverings, again, easy to kick in if you really want.  (Plus ghosts live there, another story.  Filipinos have a lot of ghost stories!)  I spent a month and a half with my guard and his huge machine gun, being driven back and forth to the pineapple plant followed by a truck filled with more guards.  When  I finally left Dole, it felt so good to be back in the world again!  But was it bad, it was scary, but also good.  I turned 29 there, went through a huge break-up on the phone, and on my birthday had two parties, and two cakes.  I was told I wasn’t married  because I traveled too much, not something you want to hear when you are now 1 year away from 30, and brought on a huge panic attack!  I experienced a 6.5 earthquake, which was truly scary, and I never want to to through that again.  Due to the low population, and relative low level of buildings only 15 people were killed, and half of those from bullets falling back to the ground after people fired their guns to scare away the evil earthquake spirits.

What is truly scary to me I think is entering a new social situation.  The first time I show up on a new construction site, have to meet tons of people, immediately take stock of the situation, make a plan, and execute.  I always get extremely nervous.  Going on a blind date.  The first time I screwed my courage up and went to an SNB.  Deciding what to do with your life, to quit your job, to move, to start again somewhere else.  To have a baby!  All these things are scary. 

But those aren’t the cool answers.  I think I’ll tell him about the earthquake, that will sound pretty good huh?

Have a great weekend ya’ll, and don’t do anything tooo scary!

2nd Quarter Report

July 17, 2008

It is a  bit late as it is already the middle of July (where does the time go!) and I have to admit, I’ve been avoiding the issue.  The main reason being is that I have 3 projects that could be almost done if I just had another week or two.  But the books must be closed, the tally must be reported or the stockholders will lose confidence, and we cannot have that! 

The final 2nd quarter results, audited and everything, are a 28% completion!  Now that is very good, and above projections made last quarter.  It is obvious that the pact is having a positive effect, and the reduction in yarn stashing is good. 

The sleeves of the cardigan are finished, and I’m working on the neckband.  Two seams have even been sewn up, Woohoo!  I’m hoping to wear this to SNB next Tuesday night!  Unfortunately Anais has not been cast on yet, but it is imminent, let me tell you.  Like maybe tonight.  My exciting plans for tonight are to go home and sit on the couch, which is why I think it may be imminent.  There is only so much of rib 7, turn, rib 7 turn a girl can take.  And I realize this would be the perfect time to learn how to knit backwards, but that is too much effort!  Besides, when I sit on the couch I’m very busy admiring mens backsides in their spandex shorts in the Tour.  Oh, and their legs!