Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I started and restarted so many cable projects in the last few months, but only a couple of them made it past the potential stage.

Here's my one and only actual FO: a pair of Stulpen inspired by the ones Angelika posted at the Fall Cable 2006 KAL last fall. Hers were a variation on this pattern (scroll down for English instructions), she added the partial fingers. I made mine as armwarmers.
Actually this pair is spoken for - they're promised to my MIL, but I've worn them a couple of thimes to make sure they fit and function. I am now stash diving to choose more yarn for a quick pair of my very own. And I think I need a matching headband too to keep my ears warm when I go walking (it's still cold here for at least a month).

Speaking of cabled goodness, I am STILL undecided about the right yarn for that sexy curvy cabled cardigan . The assymetrical cables are gorgeous in almost everything, but the reverse st st background just doesn't appeal to me in many yarns. Actually, the reverse st st looked pretty good in my blue-grey worsted Misti alpaca, but then the cables lost definition. I might try it in my turquoise SWTC bamboo. I have lots of that. I'm pretty sure I don't have enough of the purple.

I'm also restarting my Stitch Diva dropped-stitch cabled cardi-wrap (the project formerly known as the Fall Cable Fiasco). I have a big bag of Berocco's Boho in the lovely Burgundy colourway that should work beautifully. The ribbon will give it the required drape and the subtle colour and texture variations will provide interest and depth without detracting from the cables.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Runagogo! Week number eight.
[18/2/07-24/2/07]: 9 miles.
37.5 miles down. 62.5 more to go.

I did WHAT?

That’s more like it! Nine miles this week. That might sound small to some, but it's a 50% increase over my previous weekly max. With only five weeks left, I'll need to average 12.5 miles per week to get up to 100 miles in time for April 1st. But if I keep increasing my weekly total at a reasonable rate, it’s still well within reasonable expectations that I will reach my 100 mile goal by walking and not have to use my bike to fill in some mileage.

And here's the punch-line (make sure you're sitting down when you read this): I jogged. Yep. That's what I said. I actually loped along at a steady respectable jog for one long block. In the middle of a long midnight walk with DH on Tuesday, I just felt an overwhelming desire to pick up the pace and run. His initial reaction to this urge of mine was to ask me for two pieces of I.D. (Lady, who are you and what have you done with MezzoDiva?). But when the impulse didn’t fade, I took off just to see what it would feel like. It was a very short, freakish thing, only 1/8 of a mile. And you know what? I liked it! I'm not sure what are the precise rate parameters dividing the forms of human tread motion, and I probably wasn't going fast enough to call it running, but it was definitely not walking.

If you knew me at all (42 years, most of them sedentary, size 24…) you'd know just how bizarre it was that I actually wanted to do anything like that. Impact activities are not my thing. There is no bra in the world sufficient to control the bouncing of my 42F++. I have a repeat history of severely sprained ankles and some back and joint issues (not a surprise given the excess baggage on my 5’3 frame). And then there was the aversion therapy: I had a gym teacher in high school who used to throw us all out for timed 1.5 mile runs around several city blocks – nothing but torture for a teen who went from plump to obese over the course of my secondary schooling. Not to mention that back then what passed for athletic shoes provided only slightly more support and cushioning than those flimsy paper slippers you wear when getting a pedicure.

So if you’d suggested to me, even earlier that same day, that I would choose to run of my own volition and what’s more I would like it, I’d probably have suggested you check the expiry date on your meds. Just goes to show: Never say “never”.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Ready for my nap.

Approximately 4 hours of sleep last night
(sometime after 2:30 to about 6:45 am)
+ Morning SynaGig
(not my usual temple choir gig, subbing as a soprano)
+ Afternoon rehearsal
(work through of a story-musical for children, with dance)
= One Very Tired MezzoDiva

Gonna go change into my jammies now,
cuddle up with DH and the teddy-bear.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Fair Isle Virgin Still paddling offshore.

I've been mustering up my courage to get the Fair Isle February factor in motion by the last week of the month (hey - it doesn't pay to rush these things). To that end I have spent a vast number of hours scouring the internet and books to find patterns that I like enough to make me want to follow through with this new skill acquisition. In that process I have discovered one thing to be inalienably true: I am extremely finicky about multi-coloured motifs. I have no trouble finding cables and laces and Aran stitches that appeal to me. But the quest for pleasing patterns with a plethora of colour has become rather like rummaging for a loose Chibi in a haystack (although how I came to lose my Chibi in a barn to begin with leads to interesting Harlequin-esque tangents, I will not use this as an excuse to digress further).

I will probably crank out a Fake Isle Hat just to dip my toes into the stranded pool before month's end. A pile of beautiful Noro Kureyon showed up at my door recently, some of which was to be purposed for the aforementioned Imposter Atoll, but then my roving eyes got busy at SnB on Wednesday and I was seduced by another sexy self-striper with a long colourway and a sumptuous caress. I’ve been wanting an excuse to try Lang’s Mille Colori, and I think it will make a beautiful super soft FIH.

Of course, never one to shy away from a goal that's a bit beyond reasonable for a beginner, what I REALLY want to do in my first stranded colourwork is a pair of Priscilla Gibson-Roberts' fabulous Caspian Sea Socks. (If you sign up for the Knitting Daily newsletter, you can download the pattern for free.)

Okay, I'll be sensible (for a change) and start with a Fake Isle Hat. But I don't promise to do exactly the pattern design as given (see "finicky", above).

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Week number seven.
Need to build up momentum.
[11/1/07-17/2/07]: 6 miles.
28.5 miles down. 71.5 more to go.

Another week below my goal. Still, I have to say that those 6 miles (and most - maybe all - of the 28.5 so far) are more than I would have done without the extra incentive I get from participating in Run-a-Gogo. And I am being scrupulously honest in tracking my mileage - which is another victory for me. No corners cut, no rounding up - in fact often I am probably rounding down.

With just under six weeks left (yikes) I seriously might not make one hundred by April 1st. I’ll have to up the ante to 12 miles a week to get there. Hmmm. Well, that’s still doable. Especially given the improving weather. I still really want to make the hundred miles goal just by walking. I may have to change my plan and let my bike gobble up some of the remaining mileage for me.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Runagogo! Week number six.

Off again. On again.
[04/1/07-10/2/07]: 2.5 miles.
22.5 miles down. 77.5 more to go.

That was not a winning week, what with the lingering respiratory bug, monthly hormonal challenge, back problems and all. Ugh. But it wasn't all a washout: a couple of mile-and-a-quarter walks bring my total up a bit.

And though it's not in my weekly total above (because Sunday is part of a new week and I'm being scrupulously honest), there's another 2.25 miles I did today with ease, and we're off for another one tomorrow - aiming for 3 miles or more from now on.

With just under seven weeks left, I began to question whether or not I'll get to the hundred by April 1st. But I realized last night that's not the most important part of this for me. This has been a recommitment to activity for life and even though it's evolved as two steps (weeks) forward and one step (week) back, I probably wouldn't have made even this much progress if I hadn't truly resolved to use Runagogo to make movement a part of my life again after the last five years of sloth.

Of course, in a couple of weeks the weather should permit me to start biking again and then I could chew up the mileage. But I would really like to make the hundred miles goal just by walking (with my back and ankles running is not likely) - and that means just 11 miles a week which is still totally doable. The bike will just be my reward (wheeee!) for walking more.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What's that on my sidebar? Fair Isle February - another KAL?

I am a complete stranded-knitting neophyte. I don't do any multi-colour knitting unless it's been previously printed or painted onto a single continuous string. Multiple strands to carry? Yikes! Nope. Not me. Nuh-uh. I will gleefully tackle the most fearsome feats of complexity: cables and shaping and lace - oh, my! But this stuff scares me.

Still I am often tantalizingly mesmerized by this kind of intricate knitwork. I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Oooh - look at all the pretty colours!... (forlorn wistful sigh)... And during my recent duel with delirium housebound boredom I seem to have somehow convinced myself that I have to start doing some of this beautiful colour-work. Determined to lose my fair-isle virginity, I just decided to plunge right in.

Step one: join the KAL. Check.

Step two: YARN, baby. Check. Several balls of sportweight wool in eight or so nifty colours followed me home from SnB recently. I hope they are destined to become something stranded.

Step three: Uh oh. Screeching to a halt.

Now I'm looking for a simple yet interesting fair-isle project that will be suitable for a beginner. If you don't hear from me for several days, don't worry - it's just that I'm off on a pattern hunting webspedition. And if you have any good ideas for me - please let me know.

In other news, I've been informed that my gracious testknitter volunteers are happily knitting away on my lace sock design. They've been sending me their comments and questions, and even promising to post some pictures of their work. So (hopefully) I'll be ready to publish the pattern more openly for the rest of you soon. Keep that feedback coming, sockaristas!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Moving to the New Blogger has been a bit of a drag (pun intended).

Does anyone out there know an EASY way to get the buttons and links together in the sidebar? Thanks to Angela I fixed my sidebar using the hypertext heavy approach.

Sheesh. You’d think New Blogger would have come up with a layout widget or something for adding link-enabled pix as buttons since practically everyone uses them. But NO (That would be too much like right).

Yay! We have functional buttons.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Runagogo! Week number five.
[28/1/07-03/2/07]: 5 miles.
20 miles down. 80 more to go.

[PSST!...Knitting content below]

This brings my total mileage to a nice round twenty. I will get out and celebrate with a 2.5 to 3 mile walk just as soon as I get over this lovely combo of cough, cold and cramps. I was doing very well until Wednesday, when I must have started incubating this bug, just in time for Thursday.

Thursday afternoon I had a music theatre audition (and to add icing on the cake, my period arrived) but I was still keeping the bug at bay by strength of will. On the way home, however, I started to really feel it. Friday it settled in, though I’m proud to say that before it did I went out for a slow and gentle 1.25 miles to the local plaza and back. Saturday and Sunday were spent mostly in bed or on the sofa, sleeping a lot, knitting a little, and guzzling several pots of herbal tea while contemplating the alien creature that seems to have crawled into my sinuses to die. Tonight I feel as if I might just be up for getting out a little tomorrow. Actually, I’ll be out tomorrow either way - for a walk, if I feel better, or to the doctor if the sinuses haven’t yet haven’t cleared, since I am prone to sinus and ear infections.

Last week was supposed to be my week to break past the five miles a week average, but all things considered I should be grateful that I actually did get five miles done. The spirit is willing and eager, but the body - well, right now not so much. I really want to start lengthening the distance of my walks to between 3.5 and 5 miles in the next couple of weeks. By the end of February I’d like to build that up to at least 5 miles four times a week or more and then longer distances in March, not just in order to get to my 100 Run-a-go-go miles by April 1st, but more importantly to get ready for the real distance training that should start in April in preparation for the Toronto Weekend to End Breast Cancer, which is 60 km (37.5 miles) over two days in early September.

I know, I know. I promised there would be knitting news. I may have been remiss in reporting it, but there truly has been a lot of knitting related activity around here in the last couple of weeks.

First and foremost I want to thank my fabulous (and evil) SP Laura for just spoiling me silly.
I received my second package two weeks ago, gleefully opened it up and drooled all over it, and then I packed it back in the box because I had so much other stuff going on. The box was eyeing me reproachfully from it's corner until a few days ago because I hadn't even sent her a note of thanks or anything. Aaack! Bad Secret Pal!! Rude Secret Pal!!! Fifty lashes with a wet skein of cheap acrylic!!!!

Now that we have our handy-dandy digital camera, I can finally show you pictures of all my SP9 loot! Well, almost all of it... The only remaining physical evidence of the incredible chocolate truffles in my first package last fall is on my buddha-belly and I will spare you the sight of that. YES, I did share them with DH (well, the split was about 80-20). But the rest of my haul will be right here very soon (please try not to drool over the keyboard). Unfortunately, my currently horizontal physical condition precludes much activity, which means you'll have to wait another day or two for details and pix.

I neglected to mention that I was unmasked by my own spoilee Angela, a knitter-extraordinaire of whom I will remain forever in awe. She caught me about 3 weeks ago and commented here, and I am delighted that I will finally be able to tell you all about her, but this too will have to wait until I'm less vertically challenged. Until then I'll leave you with a small taste of her magnificence: this woman has knitted not one, not two, but several Hyrna Herborgar shawls. Yup. She just whips them off like I might do with a plain vanilla garter stitch scarf. Sheesh.

I 'll tantalize you with more hints of future posts: I've started scheming and plotting for my Project-Spectrum/Stash-Knitting projects... I have more sock news (as well as my first ever commission!)...and, hmmm, what (else) have I been knitting?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Big Audition Today. A new Broadway gems revue in development.
It's a pretty good gig for late next summer up near lake Simcoe, gorgeous location and should be lots of fun. Kind of like a paid holiday, really.

I haven't auditioned for music theatre in a very long time. Lately I've been performing (professionally) in classical material, operas and concerts mostly, with a little jazz on the side. Meanwhile, I've been satisfying my musical theatre urges with several pastiche cabaret-style revues developed and produced collaboratively with an ensemble of like-minded classically trained singers. But I haven't had to actually audition for these. In fact, it's probably 15 years since I did a music theatre audition. So this is a bit strange.

Oh, yeah. Audition + PMS = tough days for the DH.

Think good thoughts for me! Maybe for him too.
MezzoDiva will return tomorrow. Or soon, anyway.