Incremental 5K: Week 3

Last week was full of the usual routines - walking, trying to run, knit night, wasting time on the internet, etc - and one brand new thing. Bright and early on Saturday morning, I headed into Birmingham for the Komen Race for the Cure 5K.

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I joined Team Boobapalooza with a few friends from knit night and it was the first time I’ve walked in any kind of organized 5K. Wasn’t really sure what to expect but the place was packed and covered in pink. I arrived early enough to find a parking space which meant I spent a lot of time waiting for the walk to start. Thankfully, Team Boobapalooza was pleasant company.

To be honest, I’ve never really understood the whole “let’s walk in a big circle to support X” concept until now. How is my walking going to cure breast cancer, or stop ALS, or fund a library? It wasn’t until  I was walking down 20th and saw the thousands of people ahead of me and the thousands behind me that I began to understand. There is strength in numbers and power in a common cause. Walking isn’t medical research or the cure for breast cancer but it shows strength, camaraderie, and influence.  It is a celebration of the people who are still with us and a remembrance of those that we’ve lost. When people join together there is hope and movement towards a better future where people don’t die from cancer.

To Adventure

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Last weekend was filled with adventure. On Friday, I took a trip up to Springville, AL for the Homestead Hollow Harvest Festival. I indulged in meat on stick (which is always a good decision) and funnel cake. I bought some awesome soap from Earthstone Soap Company which I can’t wait to try out. I fell prey to adorable pottery and took some home. I heard about spinning demonstrations but saw none. Made me wish I’d brought my spindle and acted as an unofficial, walking demonstration.

On Saturday I headed over to Atlanta for food, fun, and general goodness but not before stopping by the fiber guild meeting. The fiber guild cannot be denied, after all, and October’s program was all about rug hooking. The first thing that came to mind when I heard “rug hooking” at last month’s meeting were those fuzzy latch hook kits I’ve seen in craft stores and usually with kittens, or lighthouses, or Homer Simpson (not that I don’t love The Simpsons) on the box. Turns out, latch hooking and rug hooking are not the same thing. When I saw some of the amazing rugs the teacher had made, I signed up for the class.

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When I arrived on Saturday with an embroidery hoop, I got a cute, little kit to make a pumpkin coaster. The teacher showed us how to move our hands, start the loops, turn corners, and follow curves. Then she set us loose with strips of wool and hooks. I managed to finish the pumpkin’s outline before I left and added a bit more over the weekend. Eventually, I’ll fill in the pumpkin, surround it with black loops and turn the whole thing into a coaster.

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Even after years of knitting, months of spinning, and a burgeoning crush on cross-stitch, I am still amazed at the possibilities created by yarn, fabric, needles, hooks, thread, and a little bit of patience. I want to try out and learn about as many of these “possibilities” - like rug hooking - as I can, even if just for a few minutes each. I’ve got to expand my post-apocalyptic skill-set, you know. Seriously, it’s easy to joke about but this urge I have to learn and make stuff is hard describe. What I can say is that I never want to lose it. So, I wish you all the best while you learn, and experiment, and adventure and make stuff, and try new things.  

In Atlanta

Adventure time in Atlanta is officially over since I’m driving back to Chez Strategos today. Atlanta was great even if The Bearded One and I didn’t make it to DragonCon after all. We spent the long weekend driving, inspecting potential future residences, eating all of the food, and playing Diablo in our down time. We also took a break to watch the latest episode of Doctor Who. I’ve been waiting for the Daleks to show their metallic appendages again.

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It seems like the two of us spent most of the weekend in the car which is probably true based on how much sock is on the needles. Over 8” worth, all told. I’m letting the self striping yarn - discontinued Cascade Sassy Stripes - do all the work and knitting a simple 3x1 rib. Not even worrying about the heel, afterthought all the way, until I get I get home.

While the Bearded One and I were still driving around town, I couldn’t help but wonder about local yarn shops. I had Tuesday mostly to myself and decided to visit a shop or two since seeking yarn is a large part of any adventure, you know. I ended up at Eat Sleep Knit and had to wait for my mind to reboot after seeing the walls of Madelinetosh along with enough hand dyed yarn to happily bury myself in. Somehow, I walked out with just 2 skeins of Malabrigo Worsted - Sunset which might turn into the Arroyo Shawl from D’oh!mestic.

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Time to hit the road. There’s a 2.5 hour drive ahead of me but I’ve got podcasts, chocolate, and pretty yarn to keep me company.

Adventure!

I’m in Atlanta this weekend to go on the great, geeky, sci-fi adventure that is DragonCon. The pre-pre-parties last night were a awesome start. I dressed up and headed out for a night on the town with The Bearded One and friends. Of course, I brought knitting - the in progress Cotty Socks - because my hands care not if I’m sitting at my desk or in a bar. The fingers get bored even if the conversation is interesting. So, I knit and bound off even though I was certain that I’d be ripping it out in the day time. 

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The pattern, which is written from the cuff down, starts with a picot edge; however, I’m knitting up from the toe and have absolutely no interest in making or wearing a picot edge. I decided to improvise the last few inches of the cuff by knitting 5 repeats of the lace chart, 1 row of 1x1 rib and finishing every thing off with Jenny’s Super Stretchy Bind Off. Not one of my better ideas. I’m blaming the Gin Gin Mule. The top edge, while stretchy, rolls and doesn’t look all that great. 

I knew the edge probably wasn’t going to work but I did it anyway because it was something to keep my hands busy. Something to knit for the sake of knitting. Usually, I can hold off and wait but I really wanted to finish this sock. What if my crazy idea worked? No such luck there. If you’re out and about, do you stop knitting if you don’t know how it will turn out or do you chug along and rip out the problem later?

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In a few days I’ll rip out that sock and make everything right but, in the mean time, I need sock knitting for standing in line at DragonCon. A simple rib and self-striping yarn will do the job just fine.

Shadow, My Shadow

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This is Shadow, the resident cat here at Chez Strategos. He is a complete the task master and fancies himself quite the creative director. He’s talkative, friendly, and quite fluffy. One could even say that he’s quite a handsome cat. Never mind the extra fluff on his head. If he looks a bit freaked, that’s because...

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...when I went out to feed him this morning, he was on the roof!

This is a cat that generally comes when called and meows at your feet when he arrives. He meowed when I called his name alright. I didn’t find him though until I looked up and behind me. After I got the expletives and required photographs out of the way, it was time to get him down. 

Next to the backdoor, Shadow has a little house of his own with wobbly, uneven legs and a wide flat roof. I climbed on top and could get my hands over the gutter. He wouldn’t come close enough for me to grab him. The next step up was the porch railing. (Note to self: get a step ladder.) Running through my mind at this point was that scene in Dead Like Me where the woman is trying to coax a cat out of a tree with a can of food while standing on a fence post. Spoiler Alert, she slips and she dies. She was also dressed far better than I was in my hoodie, pajama pants and sock monkey slippers. All I could think was:

Oh God, I’m going to fall and die or be horribly injured and they’re going to find me hours from now wearing sock monkey slippers.

Then I climbed up on to the railing. I could actually reach Shadow now and he came over. Happy as he was too see me, he wasn’t particularly pleased when I grabbed him and lifted him over the edge. There was plaintive meowing and mad scrabble to latch his claws onto the gutters. You’d think he didn’t want to get down. After my third attempt to unhook him, I succeeded and stepped back down to the porch. Once Shadow was within a few inches of solid ground, he started purring instead of crying for his life. 

Then we both had breakfast and all was right in our little corner of the world. Still, I can’t help thinking that I could’ve died while wearing sock monkey slippers. Truth be told, I’m still wearing them. They’re comfy, warm, and rather cute. So it wouldn’t have been all bad, you know, except for the dying part. That would suck.

St. Nicholas Food Festival

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Today’s cold, grey, and rainy and I’m going just a tiny bit stir crazy being coped up inside. So, I’m remembering Saturday’s adventure up to the Russian food festival at St. Nickolas Church in Brookside, AL. There was sausage, sauerkraut, stuffed grape leaves, meat pastries, and much more that I can’t remember the names of. It was all amazing food and worth the 45 minute drive. Just the baked goods alone would have been worth the trip.  

I was going to say that it’s a good thing I can only get Pecan Kolach once a year but that’s not exactly true. You see, I got the church’s cookbook which just happens to have a recipe for Pecan Kolach and lots of other tasty stuff. It does not, however, have a recipe for anise cookies which were another favorite. Anyone have a tried and true recipe?

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Another souvenir, these small hand painted owl ornaments. Can’t wait to hang them up.

Savannah, GA

Besides from several inches of rain on Labor Day weekend, Tropical Storm Lee also brought along cooler temperatures. It’s nice going outside and not stewing in my own juices. In fact, it’s been cool enough to start drinking hot tea in the evenings and occasionally wear hand knit socks. These things suit me just fine. The cooler weather also makes it easier to look back on my visit to hot and humid Savannah, GA. So, a few things that caught my eye.

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All of these shots were taken on and around River Street. I’m looking forward to exploring more of the city when it isn’t the end of July. Maybe next year.

On the Road and the Beach

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This was what last Wednesday looked like. The dashboard and miles and miles of open road as the Bearded One and I took a much needed vacation to Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia. Sock knitting and colorful yarn also played a large part.

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After awhile all the miles and trees and exits started to look the same.  The sock-in-progress did too but it was much more interesting than the ever repeating mile. The humble little sock, if anything that bright could be called humble, also taught me a neat trick. When the light was just right, I could see my reflection and my knitting in the passenger side window. I got to keep an eye on my knitting and the outside world without having to choose between the two when something interesting - that river for one - came by.* So long as the pattern is simple and repetitive, such as stockinette or ribbing, knitting by reflection shouldn’t be too hard. I wouldn’t want to try it with fair isle though.

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Eventually, we made our way to Tybee Island and the beach. The waves were small but there were dolphins, shells, and nice weather. Also, painful, stinging jellyfish but they were few and far between. 

I also managed to avoid my traditional beach sunburn.  85 SPF sun block is apparently the way to go.

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I’d also recommend watching the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean if you get the chance. It was a nice start to a day spent wandering Savannah and local yarn shops. More on that later.

At Stitches South

Friday was a fun bit of adventure. I woke up early, got ready, and headed out the door. By 6:00 AM, I was on a bus headed for Atlanta and Stitches South. My purse had traveling knitting, cash, my camera, and a list of yarns to buy. I thought I was prepared. As it turned out, not so much.

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Once I figured out the lay of the land, I headed off to the Sanguine Griffin for 2 skeins of Bugga! Everything after that is a bit of blur. There was so much color, so much variety, and so many yarn fumes that everything just tangles up in my mind when I try to recall it. I can vaguely remember wandering the aisles, picking up yarn, sometimes sniffing yarn, and then buying yarn. If you sniff yarn, you have to buy said yarn, right? I think it’s an unwritten rule.

I do remember meeting a few really cool people in the midst of the yarn fumes. First off, I met Liz, the dyer behind MacKintosh Yarns. I’ve been using her yarn and reading her blog for years now. It was great to finally meet her in person.

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I also had the opportunity to meet Ysolda Teague at a book signing. This was pretty great too since I really admire her patterns. Book signings rock!

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Stormy weather cut the trip short and bus headed for home in the early afternoon. The ride turned into show and tell based on one question: “What was your favorite purchase?” I didn’t have to think about that one at all.

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One skein of MacKintosh Yarns Chubby Sock in the appropriately named color, Sex Kitten. A cluster of colors so outside of my normal palate that I can only wear it on my feet. Also, totally awesome. I’ve only wanted a skein since it first showed up ages ago on her site. This yarn is going to a great pair of socks.

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I’m definitely looking forward to Stitches South 2012. Maybe I’ll have knit up all the yarn I bought by then.