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Sigh.  It’s official.  I’m not just a knitter anymore, but am now branching out into other crafty stuff.  In this case, I picked up embroidery yesterday.  This was not part of my plan for yesterday.  I went to JoAnn’s in Parkersburg looking for some yarn.  However, a trip down the needlecraft aisle led to a chance encounter with some Aunt Martha’s Hot Iron Transfers (used for embroidery, quilting, fabric painting, etc).  They had a number of cute vintage-type designs in stock as well as a some flour sack towels and all the other supplies that go with embroidery.  The transfers featured a number of different vintage-y designs, but I ended up deciding to get the “Java Break” set.

First Embroidery Project

Cute coffee themed patterns to embroider! I'm going for the bottom middle one next, I think.

Of course, I had to start on this last night, especially since I didn’t find the kind of yarn I was looking for in Parkersburg. Luckily, as with knitters, there are many people out there on the web who have shared instructions and tips for embroidery. You can see some of these in my delicious links over in the sidebar, but I think I’ll do a whole post on beginners embroidery sources sometime. So far, I’ve just been working on outlining the pattern in back stitch, which is ridiculously simple, and I’m pretty sure I’ve done it before. I’m still working on making my stitches more even in length, but I haven’t been having too much trouble with tension on the fabric, thankfully.

First Embroidery Project

My first efforts at embroidery. Not too terrible, actually.

Part of the reason I picked this sort of project up is that I’ve long been amused by the idea of retro style embroidered towels, pillowcases, napkins, and other domestic textiles. I’ve found links to patterns that focus on “days of the week” towels, usually depicting kittens or some other small animal doing chores. I don’t think I’ll be going that cutesy, but I like the vintage style idea.

Along with picking up a new craft endeavor, I also completed a 5k run/walk with Jake and the fraternity he advises yesterday. We only ran a small portion of the route, but did walk the whole thing quite quickly. Luckily the weather has been pretty nice around here, pushing into the 50s and giving us our first taste of spring. After the race, we went to a small restaurant for brunch. I got a not very exciting potato dish, but Jake opted for the Bananas Foster French Toast. Looks amazing doesn’t it? I had a bit, and it certainly was delicious.

Bananas Foster Pancakes

Yum!

Podcasts for Working Out

I believe I mentioned last month that Jake and I are participating in the Athens Takes it Off weight loss challenge with a few of my co-workers.  We’re about eight weeks into the ten week challenge, and while I wont be running out to buy a new wardrobe any time soon, I’ve seen a decent amount of movement on the scale.  I’ve been pretty good at making changes in my eating habits, but getting to the community center to work out has been a lot harder.  I’m definitely not a morning person, so a pre-work workout is definitely out.  I do try to go after work, but that means I don’t get home until 7:30 or 8 and that makes for a long day.  None of these are really good excuses, but that’s why I’ve been a bit remiss in the workout department.

This week, however, I’ve started to get back into the Couch to 5k running program that I started last fall.  I was actually up to week 8 in October and running over a mile.  I ran a couple times in January and skipped some of the days of the workout, so I finished week 4, workout 1 today, which involves two five minute runs.  It’s not been easy, but I find myself picking up the rhythm much faster than I did the first time around.

Running tends to be more rewarding for me than a simple workout on the elliptical machine because I’ve never been the type of person who runs, except for the flight part of the fight or flight response.  I do really like it though and just need my body to cooperate.  Last fall, I found myself running to some of my favorite tunes, especially those that were motivational in some way.  That did end up getting a little boring though once I got to the longer runs. If I’m going to run for a while, especially on the same track all the time, I need a bit more mental stimulation.  Thank goodness for podcasts.

This American Life is my favorite podcast ever and my first real foray into public radio.  I started listening to it my sophomore or junior year in college when I worked in a series of extremely boring office jobs that involved tedious data entry and filing.  Unfortunately, though, they only have one new episode a week.  Listening to the “Giant Pool of Money” episode of TAL lead me to start listening to some of the Planet Money podcasts.  It never ceases to amaze me that they can take really boring economic concepts and turn them into entertaining stories.  Plus, after listening to them, you feel much smarter.

I’ve started listening the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast recently.  If you’re a history buff at all, I highly recommend this one.  They usually spend about twenty minutes discussing some of the bits of history you either forgot about or just never heard of.  I’m super jealous of whoever makes these podcasts since it sounds like my dream job. History research, all the time, but not the same thing all the time to get boring.  What could be better for a history-loving librarian.  I doubt it’s their only job, but who cares?  It sounds awesome.  I wish I had thought of the idea first…and had enough time/money/tech skills/equipment to produce a professional sounding podcast.

I’ll end here before I get too far off on a tangent. I know there are lots of other great podcasts out there, including knitting podcasts.  I’ve never listened to a knitting podcast, because the idea feels a bit strange.  Knitting seems so visual that it’s hard to imagine just listening to a discussion about it.  I’ll have to check one of the podcasts to find out though, I suppose.  What are your favorite podcasts (knitting or non-knitting focused)?  Do you listen to them when you work out?  Or when you’re knitting?

This is the last one, I promise.  Bunny does this funny thing sometimes where he tries to grab at an object and then seems to get stuck doing that even when there’s nothing to grab on to.  It’s super cute.

I’m continuing to work on my Vine Yoke Cardigan, and am about 1/3 of the way through the back. I’ve pinned the sleeve together and tried it on a couple of times.  It feels a little short, but I’m sure it will grow in length once it’s complete and been blocked.  The sleeves do feel a bit long and a tad bulky, but I’m hoping that’s just because they’ve only been pinned and not seamed.  I can’t wait to see it done and am already deciding what to wear with it.

This is turning into a kind of random things post, but I forgot to post this photo the other day.  At the Farmer’s Market last Saturday there was actually a vendor selling cheese curds, which I haven’t seen much since moving to Ohio from Wisconsin.  It seems to be a bit of a regional thing. So we had to get them and take pictures!  I also got some Havarti cheese from the same vendor that I mixed with a pasta/tomatoes/spinach/swiss chard dish.  It was delicious.

Cheese Curds!

Cheese curds!

My digital camera can take videos along with still videos.  They’re not great quality or anything, but it’s good for capturing some of the random stuff…or random cat stuff.  This video is from last fall, when Bunny and Walter still looked more like kittens than cats. I found the video recently and learned how to use iMovie so I could edit out Jake and I talking about Kanye West being a jerk in the background. I’ve got another video that I took this morning, but I’m holding off on posting that one so I don’t expose the full extent of my crazy cat lady-dom right away.

WIP: Vine Yoke Cardigan

When I went to the Sticks and Stitches even last month I won a door prize of a free pattern from the Twist Collective.  After some deliberation, I decided to go go with the Vine Yoke Cardigan (Ravelry) by Ysolda Teague.  I’d recently stalled out working on my February Lady Pullover – I was having some serious gauge and size issues, so I decided to use the Galway Worsted that I got on sale at the Spinning Turtle in December.  I cast on for the Vine Yoke cardigan last weekend, but it took me several tries to get started due to my lack of ability to ready the directions for the one-row buttonhole.  Since then, however, it’s been smooth sailing.  The pattern is very original, using short rows to shape the collar and is a perfect combination of easy garter stitch and an easy-to-remember 8 row pattern.  The pictures below aren’t great, but the whole thing is kind of a blob right now.  I can’t wait to see it finished!

Vine Yoke Cardigan

The entire sweater, spread out on my desk

Vine Yoke Cardigan

A closeup of the yoke vine pattern.

Vine Yoke Cardigan

Closeup of the vine edging, which I love.

Snowpocolypse(!)…

Since about Wednesday, I’ve been hearing about the terrible storm that we were supposed to get this weekend.  The weather predictions were pretty bad up to a foot of snow, with some ice mixed in to top it off.

I think it turned out that we were along the edge of the storm and weren’t hit quite so severely.  It rained here until after dark before turning to snow.  It doesn’t look like we got much ice either and not even six inches of snow.  It’s gotten pretty cold, but we’re not really snowbound.  Either way, it’s been nice to stay curled up inside with some knitting and episodes of The Office on Netflix.

Just before sunset, I went out to take a few pictures:

Snowpocolypes 2010

Out the front door.

Snowpocolypes 2010

One of the neighbors made a snow person.

Snowpocolypes 2010

The branches of the tree behind the house.

Snowpocolypes 2010

More tree branches.

Ishbel

I even took Ishbel outside for a fun "knits in the snow" picture.

FO: Ishbel

It’s a bit of a knitting blog cliche at this point to gush about how great the Ishbel pattern is, but I can’t help myself.  This is the most amazing looking thing that I’ve knit so far, and it was easy enough to be finished in a week.

Ishbel

Pretty!

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague (Ravelry link for pattern)

Yarn: Marisol Tupa (50% wool, 50% silk) in color 801, Gold

Needle: size 3/3.25mm 24 inch Addi circs

This isn’t as lacy as most of the Ishbel’s that I’ve seen on Ravelry, since the yarn is a DK weight and I didn’t use a very large needle.  I wanted something that would be a bit warmer for wearing around my neck in the cold, since I’ve never really worn a shawl.

I love how this turned out, and I do hope to make another one soon, probably more like the lacier versions.  I have two weddings to attend next summer/fall, and something like this would be great over a summery dress.

I got the yarn in the sale bin at the Sow’s Ear, probably because the color is not for everyone.  I like the color, especially in contrast with my black winter coat, though now that I think about it, the color is dangerously close to one of the colors of my high school.  Blech. I’m just trying to forget that association and enjoy the bright colors.  We’re in the midst of a snowstorm now that has already caused mass panic in Southeastern Ohio.

P2050327

I didn't want to actually go outside for the picture - we're in the midst of a snowpocalypse right now.

Ishbel

I don't see myself wearing it like this, but it surely does look amazing.

Many thanks to Jake for the photo shoot.  We had a bit of fun with Bunny and Walter who get very excited by the wrist cord that is attached to the camera:

Cat Photos 2/5/10

I'm not sure if she just got stuck in the cord or really wanted to hold onto it.

Cat Photos 2/5/10

Walter really enjoyed Ishbel too - she wanted to eat/claw it.

Cat Photos 2/5/10

I just love this expression.

Cat Photos 2/5/10

This expression, however, shows Walter at her angriest.

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