Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I'm alive!

Long break from the blog! Warning: long race recap followed by cute baby/knitting pic at the end.

The last post was made before I ran my half marathon, which I'm happy to say I ran and finished in the time I wanted to! It was slow, but I did it. About halfway through, it started raining, and that rain eventually turned to sleet... and then snow. It was a freak October snowstorm up here, which made finishing that race even better! The bad thing was the injury I limped away with. During training, I broke the cardinal rule of "Don't increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% per week". Toward the end of my training, I noticed my right knee hurting after my long runs. I would ice it and move on, not thinking much of it.

Around mile 6 of the race, it started to feel a little sore. I told my cousin/running buddy but said it would be ok... just a dull pain. At mile 8, I could tell she was dying to run faster, and the knee was hurting more, so I told her to go on without me. The rest of the race was excruciating. I stopped to walk thinking a rest would be good, but then when I tried to run again, it got worse. So I figured, no walking, just hurry up, run, and finish.

At mile 10, I felt a slight snapping sensation on the side of my right knee and stumbled a little. I had to limp over to the sidewalk and slow way down and take a break. And then... I started to cry. I had been waiting three years to run a half marathon. My legs felt great, I wasn't hungry, I had tons of energy. I ate properly in the days leading up to and the morning of the race and now... I really thought I wasn't going to finish. I think if there had been a first aid tent between miles 10 and 13, I wouldn't have finished, so I'm glad there wasn't one. I walked over the bridge I was on and took my last GU at the end of it.

The real weather (read:sleet) started around mile 11. I think I've mentioned before that I actually enjoy running in rain or snow... it motivates me to go faster and distracts me from any pain I may be in. So all my power went toward breathing and motoring along with my busted knee (probably not the smartest thing to do?) to finish the race. As I ran over the final bridge I started hearing the always-welcome "You can do it! Almost there!" and I thought wow, I really am almost there...

So I cross the bridge and the crowd petered out as I ran a quieter section of the race. I noticed that up ahead there was scaffolding and rails and what not, so I figured that must be the end and I was so relieved. I ran into the "chute" (for lack of a better word) and saw the arch up ahead that looked like the finish. I ran toward it and it dumped me out into a huge minor league BASEBALL FIELD that I had to run all the way around to finish at home plate. I thought... what a sick joke! I headed left and around the outside of the field and in my last 100 yards, I really did start to cry again. I'm not ashamed, many runners cry. This time, I cried out of a mix of sheer pain and pride and joy. With one final push I sprinted/hobbled across the finish line and ducked my head to receive the beautiful medal I had worked so hard for. It was one of my proudest moments, ever.

With my mylar blanket wrapped around me, I found my cousin and we set out to find our way back to my car... except I wasn't moving very quickly. Actually, if you have ever seen the show House, I was walking exactly like Dr. House. I could not bend my right leg at all. She went ahead with the keys and I eventually met up with her and we went back to stretch and ice. When I got home, I immediately hopped online to look up what the heck could have happened to my poor knee. Between my research and a personal trainer-friend, I found out that I was suffering from Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Its a common running injury and can be caused by improper training, or weak hip abductor muscles, or a handful of other things. For the next couple of days I had pain that ran from my right hip all the way down to my knee and crossed in front and down my shin. I thought we were going to have to amputate. Too scared to run or do anything else, I avoided all exercise... until today! I did a light speed interval workout for just 25 minutes on the treadmill. I felt good at first and then... the knee pain came back. I'm so sad! I can't give up running, its out of the question! So, I guess I will have to find out what exercises to do to strengthen up the rest of my leg so I can get that full marathon in before I hit my next major milestone... (forty).

I learned two very important things from this race...

1. Listen to your body when it talks to you. It knows more about it than you do.

2. Research your race route! You don't want to think you're done only to be dumped into a huge baseball field!!!

In other news, I have no in-process knitting pictures today. Maybe tomorrow. What I DO have is a picture of the Super-Natural Stripes Sweater from the end of my last post. I was really nervous it wasn't going to fit! But... this picture tells a different story... Toren in my sweater, and his first time in jeans! So cute :) I was very happy to get these pictures!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Big hiatus = big post

I'm very into talking in equations today.
I can't believe its been almost two months since I posted! But, I've been quite busy. Here it is, in a nutshell.
I went to Italy with my husband and his family, to see his family. His Dad moved here from Italy to marry his mom, and all the aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother, etc are still over there. The family farm is still working! We went to Rome for a couple of days, then headed out to the country where we ate and ate and ate and ate. I also worked on the farm one day, pureeing tomatoes for sauce that was sold at the market the next day. It was a really cool trip. I loved Rome, but it was a great experience to be out in the country where the "real" Italians live. Here are some pics:

Me and Erm at the Fountain of Trevi

One of many statue people in Rome

St. Peter's Basilica

View from our hotel room in the country
Italian Family :)

Me and my father-in-law, getting the tomatoes ready

The open market

Me & Erm at the Amalfi Coast

Making friends at the horse farm

Cappucino... only 1 Euro!

I have hundreds of pictures! It was a great trip. I feel so lucky and blessed to have gone to Europe twice in the past year, and now we've caught the travel bug. But no more big trips on the horizon!

I also celebrated my 31st birthday, which I don't have any pictures of. I was spoiled this year. I was taken out to dinner by friends, Erm took me to a French restaurant the night of my birthday and then to Salem, MA the next day (which I've been wanting to do for awhile!). While in Salem I went to Seed Stitch Fine Yarn which is a MUST if you are ever in the area. The owner helped me patiently while I deliberated over yarn and a pattern, and they have a great selection!

We also went to Block Island with friends and rented a house for a couple of nights.

A pretty view from driving around the island

The girls

The guys (I feel like Cat Deely)

Me and Erm before leaving the house

I also have had more time to knit lately, believe it or not. In September I went to Fawn's baby shower and was able to give her this adorable sweater:

I completely forgot to take a good picture, so this was on my lap, in the car, outside the shower

Pattern: Super-Natural Stripes, courtesy of f.pea (f.pea is Fawn Pea... how perfect is that?)

Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, 1 ball each: Sand, Sky, and Expresso

Mods: None.

I could be having a gauge problem. Once again, this sweater came out very small. It may fit the baby when he's first born, but I don't think it will fit him for long. I think I'm going to start using a larger needle or knitting the next size up for baby things. Until I figure it out, I'll stick to baby blankets :)

And that's it... for now. I have many things on the needles, a poncho patiently waiting to be blocked, and new yarn waiting to be cast on. I am running the Lowell Sun Half Marathon tomorrow and its supposed to be 45 and rainy!!! Please pray for a dry day in Lowell tomorrow!!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coquette Lace Tube Top

I bring you... an FO:

Coquette Lace Tube Top from "Fitted Knits"(Ravelry link), by Stefanie Japel.

Used 3 skeins of Cascade Pima Tencel in black, and some of another yarn with tencel (can't find the ball band!)

Mods: Everyone who knits with this yarn points out that it stretches. I knitted the smallest size and went down a needle size. I used some white grosgrain ribbon through the top eyelets to help hold it up. May add straps.

I love the lace on this top, I love its cuteness, and its comfortable when I first put it on. However, even with the ribbon tied tight to help keep it up, I still had to change out of it after a few hours because it was falling down! This yarn stretches more than I would have imagined. I think this can be solved by adding straps, but I was really hoping to avoid that. However... I want to be able to wear it!

I ran my last race of the summer on Tuesday night. It was 94 degrees and humid and miserable. My cousin and I brought our tank tops in a bag of ice water and changed into them right before the race, which helped for the first mile and a half or so. But it was still so hot! However, it didn't stop me from this:

That's me, signing up for the Lowell Sun Half Marathon! I'm ready to take the next step in my racing. I'm a little nervous about finding time to train, but I think I'll be ok. Its only a half marathon, after all!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A week of firsts

This week was a week of firsts for me. I made my first project on a sewing machine (picture to come later).

I finished my first shawl, and also my first project with mohair! I cannot believe how warm this shawl is, its so light and airy that I was curious if it would just be for show, but its definitely warm!

Pattern is Aunt Phebe's Comfort Shawl. VERY easy. I wish I had made it a little bigger, but I have yarn left over and may make another one as a gift.

Made with about 1 1/2 skeins of Marvelous Mohair in the Dead Squirrel Color

Mods: None. This pattern is so easy and quick as it is, I didn't have time to think about making changes to it.

Another first, I ran in my first bikini race! I did NOT run in a full bikini. Charlotte and I ran in bathing suit tops and running shorts, and even then, my bathing suit top was a very sporty top and actually felt like a sports bra, so it wasn't too bad for me. There were people who were in full bikinis though, and some guys in speedos! I ran an awful time, which was a letdown after my incredible race a few weeks ago, but it was fun... despite being 86 degrees and humid. It was one of those runs where I pray for rain. I won't flash a bunch of pictures for you, except this one, which I laugh at every time I look at it. I think I was fixing my shuffle, but it looks like someone slapped me in the face!

Yesterday I finished my Coquette Tube Top, but it needs to be blocked before I'm ready to show it off. I knitted a bunch of it at the lake on Saturday with Erm's family. So I leave you with another first... my first time knitting on the water.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My first love

Other than my husband and family and friends, my first love is animals. A few weeks ago, you can imagine how happy I was to pick these two up to babysit for a few days

You may recognize Cody from earlier posts. We babysit him all the time and he always settles right in. Our new guest was his sister, Roxie. Her usual babysitter was off with Mom and Dad, so we offered to take her. I'm not sure there could be two more different dogs. Cody is mellow, snuggly and obedient. Roxie is spirited and always the first in line for attention or anything that may fall on the floor. We had lots of laughs with these two for three nights and were sad to see them go!

Joey getting in the mix

Best friends

Octavious is safe if he stays in the office

Roxie enjoys sunning herself

We returned them to their Mom and Dad a short few days later, but Cody will be back in just two weeks!! Can't wait!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mozarthuys Cowl

When I was on my honeymoon, I was determined to buy yarn from overseas. When we were in Bruges, I found a yarn store that was a little cramped, but the lady who worked there was very sweet. The yarn I bought was actually from Spain, but... still from overseas. I only bought one hank of it and it was super bulky and I knew it would be a scarf or a cowl. After knitting one cowl that didn't work out so well, I found the pattern for it. This is Marian (Ravelry link). But since I bought the yarn in Bruges and it will always remind me of Bruges, I'm calling it my Mozarthuys Cowl, after our favorite restaurant there.

Pattern: Marian by Jane Richmond

Yarn: Katia Nordic Print
Mods: The directions say to cast on 45 stitches and use size 19 needles. I cast on 40 stitches and used 15s. The result is a much smaller cowl than what its supposed to be... but I think I like it better this way. Also, you're supposed to twist the first stitch after you cast on to create the twist in the cowl. I think I twisted it twice instead of just once. No biggie.

This yarn was great to work with, not too splitty. Its very soft and will definitely keep me warm under my coats this winter!

The short sleeved polo goes well with the cowl

Its my first cowl and I'm very excited about it!

This was Erm's idea

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not enough time!

Where have I been?? I don't even know!

Real quick, because we're busy getting ready for a wedding this weekend. This past weekend we went on our annual sailing trip.

We sailed from Salem to Gloucester for lunch and back! Best sailing day we've ever had. Perfect weather, perfect lunch, and perfect company.

I also tried my hand at a minted pea soup:

which was not very good. Those onions and peas are from our CSA and are delicious! And the mint is from our mint plant that Farmer Erm takes care of and is also delicious! But... the soup wasn't minty enough for me. And I think that to get me out of the mindset that pea soup is supposed to be warm and comforting it should be pretty minty and summery. So this soup... not a hit. Back to the drawing board.

I also ran a PR (personal record) this week! Running in the rain agrees with me, I guess. Between that and some tips I got from my personal-trainer-friend, I shaved 13 seconds off of my time and finally passed a milestone I've been trying to reach since I started running two years ago!!!

The good news is that in all my busy-ness, I am finding time to start AND finish small projects. The bad news is that I don't have a picture of the cowl I finished on Wednesday. Next post shall be about the cowl!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I love quick hits

I didn't win the contest. So sad.

However, nothing picks me up like a quick FO, even if its just a baby hat! My third Baby Cables hat!

A friend who has a baby boy who looks dangerously like Adam Lambert is the recipient of this hat. I need to come up with a baby hat pattern of my own that I can make and sell. I started this one on Sunday afternoon and finished it Monday night. I showed it to Erm this morning, his reaction was "you finished that already?". Ahhhh...

And my longer term project is a shawl for me. I bought this yarn awhile ago, its one of the only yarns I've ever bought with no idea for what I'd do with it, just because I loved it. I thought it looked like a dead squirrel, Erm thought it looked like potatoes. Anyway... I went nuts looking for a shawl to knit with it and came up with this pattern... I can't remember where it is to link it, but it strikes me as pretty basic. Funny coincidence, now that its knitting up, I think a friend of mine has this shawl someone knit for her in a greenish/blueish/brownish yarn. Mine is just brown. I'm SUPER excited, as this pattern is easy and I can tell this shawl is going to be the right balance of warm and not too warm and go with a lot of my fall clothes, because I wear a lot of browns.

I think I finally found the perfect pattern for this yarn!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


As I was browsing my blogs this morning I came across another contest! Wandering Cat Studio is having a contest with awesome prizes here!

It ends tomorrow so hurry up!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Excitement and confusuion in knitting land...

First of all… I am only 6 inches of ribbing away from being done with my Coquette Lace Tube Top! As exciting as that is… its more exciting that I tried it on, and it fits! I can’t wait for it to be done. No pictures yet, I don’t want to jinx it.

Secondly, I used the gift card that Erm gave me for Christmas (can you believe that I’ve had it for 6 months and not used it yet?) and went to Knit Pickings and bought the pattern and some of the yarn to start the Great American Afghan. I pretty much copied the colors from the pattern, but they didn’t have the exact colorways, so I matched the best I could. I love them all, especially all together.
Each square measures 12” x 12” and highlights a different technique, stitch, etc. I’m really excited to learn some new things and have a great afghan.

Lastly, I am at a loss. The yarn I bought to finish Erm’s socks is very pretty, but not what I normally buy. It’s a variegated tealish color. I thought I knew what I was going to make with it, but after one pattern repeat, I don’t think I want to do the whole sock in that pattern. The yarn isn’t quite as light as in the picture, but gives a good idea.
I am looking for a cuff-down, non-lace pattern that will look good with this yarn. I’ve been looking since I got it. Its my new quest. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll make something up.

Monday, July 6, 2009


First of all, my new camera is here!!! We came back from a cookout on Friday and it was waiting at my door. I got the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8. I love it! It was quite reasonably priced on Amazon and while I was a bit nervous about dull pictures, I'm pretty happy with it so far.
Another thing that finally arrived is SUMMER in the Northeast. We only had 2 days that it was above 80 in June, and it was the second rainiest June on record! The forecast had more bad weather this weekend, but it was beautiful on Saturday and Sunday!!!

Saturday we spent a bunch of time weeding in our front yard. Yes, I was weeding on a national holiday. Just like our forefathers wanted. Then we decided to get our CSA vegetables. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is pretty cool. You sign up at the beginning of the season for your "shares" of the farm's vegetables, fruits, eggs, livestock, dairy, etc. Some farms have more options than others. This was our first year, so we just did the vegetable share, and the herb and fresh flower share. Every week you go to the farm and pick up your share from whatever they've harvested that week/day. I love it so far. We're actually having a tough time eating all of our vegetables, we get a LOT. And most of the time, its been harvested within 25 minutes of us getting there... doesn't get much fresher than that!

So we walk into the farm and look at the board:

YES. Pick your own peas!

Farmer Erm picking peas

Really, really fresh peas

And then we went to visit the farm animals.

Just call me the Goat Whisperer

And then we got our harvested vegetables and went home and had a relaxing night. With salad, of course.

Yesterday we visited two more farms. This was totally not planned to be a farm filled weekend, it just ended up that way. After our adventures with the in-laws, we went to buy some patio furniture! We have been in our house for almost 4 years and have no patio furniture. It was time to bite the bullet. No pictures of said furniture, because what the furniture sits on is embarrassingly in need of a power washing. But we set it up and put out some snacks and ended the weekend relaxing and enjoying our backyard in the beautiful weather...