Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tour de France KAL

It's time to join the first ever Tour de France KAL and select a jersey! I've chosen yellow and the hosts, Debby and Meg, have kindly added me to the list.

A few months ago, I fell in love with RYC Silk Wool DK yarn and started to keep an eye out for a chance to use it! How appropriate is it that my new yarn love will be used for a summery pattern titled 'Holiday Romance'! It was published in Simply Knitting, Issue 20. (You can read the magazine blog here.) The pattern calls for RYC Cashcotton DK, so I should have no trouble with the substitution as far as gauge. The cashcotton is a little softer and 'fluffier' than the silk wool.

It's a fairly simple off the shoulder top with lace ribbing at the waist, neckline and sleeves. I've chosen a golden tan shade, unglamorously named 'cord' like something you'd use in the garden to tie up tomatoes! It's much prettier than the name suggests! I am pairing this yarn and pattern because I think the silk and wool blend will have good stitch definition to really show off the lace ribbing. The silky sheen will make the top a bit special.

I think it's perfect for my armchair Tour de France holiday! I can imagine wearing this to an outdoor cafe for my morning latte and croissant. Since this is an imaginary holiday, that croissant is filled with the most decadent, high calorie, dark chocolate...Ummmm...where was I? Well, assuming I haven't grown too fat from my croissant, I can also imagine wearing this as a beach cover up as I stroll along the sands of the Mediterranean shore. And, undoubtedly, I could wear it while cheering for the awesome cyclists of the Tour!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Show & Tell: Old Knitting Patterns

I have a couple of stacks of old knitting patterns on my bookshelf and I've selected a dozen to show you today. My grandmother gave them to me a couple of years ago when she was going through her stuff and clearing things out. There aren't many items I would actually make, but they are very fun to look through! My grandmother started knitting while living in NYC in the 1930's. The first pattern books she had are just too worn out to photograph well, but this may be one of her early ones. It's Vogue's Third Book of Knitting and Crochet. Since it's missing the cover, I don't know the publication date. If you know, please leave it in a comment for me! Most of the images are black and white photos, but there are a few of these color plates.

There are a couple Minerva books and you can see the patterns inside are very dated looking.

Here are three more from the collection including Hand Knits for Men. Some of the patterns I would never get a modern guy to wear (well, not Jeff anyway!), like the one on the left, but the one on the right looks like a classic.

College Knits is full of happy looking, sweet girls in their knits.

Cable Knits.

The cardigan actually looks like some I saw in knitting magazines last fall!

This one is entertaining! No, I'll *never* knit those pants (lower right)!

There is a startled looking cat in one picture! I don't think it liked the camera at all and probably ran off and hid somewhere after this picture. Notice how it has its claws hooked in the skirt!

I've actually thought about knitting this cardigan, but doesn't the model look tortured? Perhaps she had a migraine?

The general needlework mags are fun to look through. The advertisements are as interesting as the articles/patterns! There are some Vogue Knitting mags in the stacks too.

I hope you've had fun seeing these patterns from 'way back in the 1900's'! Do you have old patterns too? Do you have any of the ones I pictured?

(The afghan in the background of the pics is one my grandmother made!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today's Blooms & Doggie Antics

The 'lollipop' lillies are in bloom!

Ooh! A smell! Did a turkey walk through the yard?

We'd better roll in it, whatever it is!

Ox-eye daisy blooms.

Crazy daisy blooms.

A detail of Apple Blossom Grass. Looks a bit like an orchid, don't you think?
Apple Blossom Grass. This is one of my all time favorite blooms.

The dogs found a stick that had fallen from a tree and started 'limbing' it for me.

Then, they tried to play tug-o-war with it.

I had to hang onto an end of the stick so they wouldn't run into me with it! They ran around me in circles, holding onto the stick.

Birthday Meme

I’ve been tagged by Squidknits for the Birthday Meme!

The rules: You go to Wikipedia and type in your birthday (day and month). Then share 3 events, two births and one holiday.

August 2

3 Events:

1610 - Henry Hudson sails into what it is now known as Hudson Bay, thinking he had made it through the Northwest Passage and reached the Pacific Ocean.

1776 - Delegates to the Continental Congress begin signing the United States Declaration of Independence.

1870 - Tower Subway, the world's first underground tube railway, opens in London.

2 Births:

1932 - Peter O'Toole, Irish-born actor

1964 - Mary-Louise Parker, American actress

1 Holiday:

Day of Airborne Forces in Russia

If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged ;-)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Blogger Meet Up, Yarn Shopping

Saturday we had the second knitting blogger meet up in the Ocean State! We all enjoyed the extensive yarn selection at Sakonnet Purls and worked on our projects in their craft room.

Cindy, Kimberly, Erika, Debby

Erika, Debby, Kristen, Heather
Heather, Greeley, Carol

I purchased yarn for the upcoming Tour de France KAL. It's RYC Wool Silk DK in shade 304/cord. I am really obsessed with the RYC line lately!

This yarn was on sale by the front door. It's Classic Elite Wings in shade 2321 and is so light and soft. It was half price and they had 8 skeins. It's been discontinued, but I hope to find a pattern that I can do with the eight skeins. I have one idea already! If I do need more yarn, I'll just work another color into the pattern somehow. There was a plum that looked really lovely alongside the green!

I also purchased circular Addi needles and transferred the beginnings of my lace shawl onto them.

Believe me, there were at least four other kinds of yarn I 'desperately' wanted for other projects, but I did my best to remain composed and sensible!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Longest Day!

Yay! It's officially summer now! We celebrated with a bike ride put on by a local cycle shop. It was free and they even gave us nice t-shirts! Here's the logo on the back of the shirt. (The flash photo isn't very good, the shirt is a nice light blue color.)

You can see the route in red on this detail from a Google map.

Distance: 42 miles
Average speed: 18.3 mph
No rest stops.
Here is a graph showing elevation in green and speed in blue.

You can see the Garmin data here, but it didn't record all the cadence.

We had police escorts on motorcycles with sirens ahead and behind which was quite exciting! As we rode through Newport, we got to run all the red lights and people were watching and taking pictures of us! It was great to have safety in numbers on the big roads. When we got back to the finish, there were drinks and pizza!

What a fun way to kick off the summer!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

FO: Christmas Stockings

I have 4 stockings ready for holiday gift giving! These are my Project Spectrum projects for red and metallic.

This was a very quick project and fun too. After the first one, I did not need to consult the pattern, so I could carry my work around. I even knit in bed at night, holding it over me while resting on my back!! That was a nice break for my neck and shoulders.

Here is a detail of the heel flap construction. For fun, I put an interesting Christmas figurine into the shot.

I found this Santa and sled dogs in the unfinished basement when we moved into our house. It was in some floor sweepings and trash in a corner. I'm glad it hadn't yet been tossed in a bin as I think it's cute! Judging by the weight, it must be lead and it says 'Germany' on the bottom of the sled.

Once again, I am taking pictures on a rainy day, so the lighting isn't the best! The pattern and yarn details are listed on the sidebar.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Blooms, Buds and Butterflies

While many of the flowers in my garden are diminutive and look best planted in masses, the peonies are impressive individually. Each bloom is larger than my hand!

A tiny pink rosebud on a plant my grandmother gave me.

I was able to take some pictures of this butterfly today. Usually they are much more timid and flit away when I get close to take a picture, but this one didn't mind my presence. It was really enjoying the Knautia blooms. Isn't it a beautiful coppery color?

Here is another view showing the flower a little better.

Weekend Biking

It was another biking filled weekend for us! Saturday, Jeff and I rode around Newport on the freshly paved Ocean Drive. Part of that route is so close to the Atlantic Ocean, that we could feel the sea spray misting us as we pedaled past the crashing waves!

Sunday, we had a club ride. There was a big turnout and we biked along some of the most scenic lanes of southern New England in the towns of Little Compton and Tiverton. There are many old buildings, farms and ocean views.

It was another strong ride for us:
Distance: 50.58 miles
Average Speed: 18.2 mph
No rest stops. We only had to stop once, at a road crossing for a total of 45 seconds before the light turned green!
You can see the map and data here.

We had sundae’s at Gray’s Ice Cream as a treat afterwards. I think the calories just vaporize after a workout like that, right? Hee hee!

It was the second time Jeff and I have ridden this route and it is fun to compare the stats from both rides and see the changes. Last time, in April, we did 51.45 miles at an average speed of 16.7 mph. We did stop a few times to take pictures, so we had 17 minutes of rest during the ride.

I know the difference between 16.7 mph and 18.2 mph doesn’t seem like much to read about, but believe me, it really feels like a big jump!

While just pedaling lots of miles results in better speeds, another thing that helps me is riding with experienced, fast cyclists. When I ride with these stronger cyclists, I unconsciously find myself matching their pedaling cadence. I end up going the speed they are going, to a point, without feeling the strain because it is exciting to be part of the pack. I find that these rides sort of ‘recalibrate’ me, keep me from settling into a pattern and show me what I'm capable of. My rides that follow, even if they are solos, are faster and stronger.

At the club rides, the racers ride fast out front. Sunday, we managed to ride at the back of the pack of racers for 8 miles, averaging over 20 mph, before settling back to a pace we knew we could sustain for the entire ride. It was pretty exciting to be able to do that much! One of our friends rides with the racers and told us that was how he started out, so maybe one day we will be able to do an entire ride with them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More Garden Blooms

I just have to post lots of flower pics this time of year. The gardens are growing so fast and changing everyday.

Here is the Rocky Mtn Penstemon. I love the blend of blue and purple in the blooms. I'd like to get a couple of skeins of yarn in this colorway! The pink color in the background is a type of Salvia.

Here's another shot of the Penstemon and you can see a little bit of my house and barn in the background. There is a little pink and white Centranthus in this view as well.

This is such a petite flower, but abundant. I think it's a Dianthus called Sonata (I lose track of some of the names of things!).

Mother Nature has been getting creative and altering my original layout, but I don't mind the mish-mash of plants as long as things are thriving! Here are some foxgloves, lupines, and knautia. I wish you could smell the green leaves in the foreground. They are Anise hyssop and smell like lemons and mint when you brush past them. They will have purple flowers soon that the bees will love.

Here's the arbor bed. I like the way it is an 'island' in the lawn. The dogs love to orbit it at high speed!

The dogs had a long session of tug-o-war with the rope while I took pics. They move so fast it's hard to capture a pic, but here's a snapshot.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Personal Best

All afternoon, I've been enjoying the glowy happy feeling of endorphins! Today, Jeff and I biked a 67 mile route at nearly the same rate of speed we ride our 20 mile routes! The ride was the NBW Scramble Metric starting in Seekonk, MA. Unfortunately, my Garmin mysteriously shut off during the ride (this happened to Mr. Suitcase last weekend!), but we had Jeff's Cateye computer for backup.

The Stats
Time: 3:47
Distance: 67 Miles
Average Speed: 17.7 mph
Note: *No Stops!* Well, we had to put a foot down at a couple of road crossings, but that was it!

The ride was wonderful! It felt like we were always going just the right speed. The temperature was about 70 degrees and we had some stretches in sun and some in shade. The terrain was mostly flat to rolling hills with a few steeper hills here and there. There were horse farms all along the route.

Sometimes I wonder if my obsession with cycling is a little weird, but when I show up to a club ride and see 100-150 other people there on bikes, I may be weird, but I know I have a lot of company!

My favorite thing about cycling is setting goals and challenging myself to ride harder, faster and longer. It's so rewarding to be able to see improvements from month to month, sometimes even from one week to the next. Sure, like with any sport, there is some pain involved, but there is definitely more gain than pain!

Saturday, June 09, 2007


I'm doing a little less with the veggie garden this year, planting the same area, but with more spacing and fewer varieties. I'm focusing on the things we use the most and making those things easier to take care of by leaving lots of room for tilling to minimize the amount of hand weeding. So, things look a lot less impressive this year, but it's coming along! Among the weeds in this pic, there are tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cukes. Thank goodness we have a long growing season here as I still have a bunch of seeds to sow! In the background to the right you can just make out a bunch of greenness that is the butterfly garden. At the corner of the veggie garden is a clump of weigala shrubs (two are small ones that I rooted from cuttings) and to the left is the arbor bed in the shade. I need to mow and do yardwork, but it's been too wet lately, so things are getting wild!

Here's a poppy in the color I expected to, not orange like I showed you in the last post! I think it is a Princess Victoria Louise.

Will I get these blueberries before the birds do this year? Last year I did and they were delicious!