Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cowl to Me, Baby!



OH, man! What a nice knit!

Taking a wee break from the Presto Chango (just a day or so, really) to knit something fast and wonderful. A co-worker, Tonia Barry from the Yarn and Fiber Company, where I work, has THREE new designs in the new book, 101 Luxury One-Skein Wonders. And I'm making one of them right now!



It's called the "Sarena Cashmere Cowl" and uses only 1 skein of the Jade Sapphire 4 ply mongolian cashmere. Very, very lovely stuff- soft (though strangely enough not as soft as the Bebe Cotsoy...but I'm in a bit of an obsession with that at the moment, so it's hardly fair) and the colorway is perfect -roses and pinks. My favorite!



I started the cowl last night at knitting group and I'm more than halfway done with it. It's beautifully designed - practical AND luxurious!

I only found one tiny mistake with the pattern in the book -

Round 8 should read, "Round 8: *K1, drop next stitch down 7 rounds, k1, p2, k2, p2, repeat from * across round.

Right now, it has you knitting TWO stitches and then dropping one down, which makes for a bit of a mess since it takes you all the way down to the cast on -which is NOT what you want.

Other than that, I'm loving every minute of it and going to knit Tonia's second design, The Flirty Merino-Silk Scarf" after the Presto Chango is done. This one uses lovely Heather's yarn, Sereknity "Sweet". I've got this yarn in the Mystic Mountain colorway....oooooh. So soft, slightly fuzzy and w-a-r-m!

UPDATE ON DIET

I'm thrilled to say that I've lost another 3 pounds, for a total of 10.4 in two weeks. Still following all my "rules" and being a "good girl", as they say. Crossing my fingers that I will keep my motivation up through the holidays so I can make my first goal of 20 pounds. Wish me luck!

Have a Happy Halloween tomorrow, everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weight-ing for a Baby Sweater



Well, it's back again.

The weight, I mean.

I always think that, this time, I'm finally on the right track with my weight loss and then....wham!...something (usually emotional) comes along and throws my diet (and motivation) into the trash.

But, I'm not giving up. I've rejoined Weight Watchers for the third time. The first time, I got to within a few pounds of my goal weight and then...got pregnant with Ben. (I've heard that this happens often...) Second time, I joined with a close friend (not sure if she wants me announcing this on my blog, so I'll be discreet) and then I totally lost my motivation after a certain number of pounds. (It was over 25, which I was happy about, so I don't really know what happened....)

Julie and I have decided to cheer each other on with getting back in shape and check in regularly with each other so that we keep ourselves on the right path...and to be accountable to someone, which is always a good thing. If you can't be positively motivated for dieting, then at least you can be scared sh*tless into having the other person know you've gained weight - or didn't go to the gym when you were supposed to. Sometimes having a good dieting "fright" can be helpful. LOL!

And, as you can see from above, I'm also knitting something new this week. My husband's cousin just had a baby boy and I'm making him the Presto Chango cardigan/sweater with the most unusual yarn.

I found this yarn while in Vermont at the Northeast Fiber Arts Studio in Williston, which is literally down the street from Ian's grandparents. It's probably only 1/2 a mile. A great store (as I've said before) with lots of my favorite yarns, weaving, spinning, and felting supplies. Friendly people, too. I could shop there for h-o-u-r-s! Anyway, I was looking for a washable cotton yarn for the Presto Chango and, when I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, I happened upon this:

Queensland Collection's "Bebe CotSoy"

Now, it may not sound that impressive, but OMG...it's awesome! Everyone who touches it says, "Ohhhhhhhhh! So soft!" and makes that slightly obscene-partially orgasmic face...you know the one I mean, right?

I'm definitely not a fan of cotton yarn knitting, but this yarn takes exception. Truly. To me, it feels very close to cashmere and knits up almost like it. Some people have compared it to touching silk or a non-fuzzy angora. It comes in some really excellent colors and I love the bright blue I'm working with right now. The price is very reasonable for the 110 yards.

I only have two issues with it (and those issues are very small):

1. It says that the gauge is 5 stitches per inch on size US 7 needles. I'm a loose knitter and I'm getting 5 stitches per inch on size 4 needles. Not sure how they're getting this figure, but I think, as long as you do your own swatch, you should be fine. It's more of a sportweight yarn than a dk weight, in my opinion.

2. The yarn has a bit of a fluff problem. Not an overall fuzzy situation like angora, mohair or some cashmeres, but more of ann occasional "fluffy fart". After about an hour of knitting, there'll be a few farts puffs of fiber here and there on me or on the knitting. They come off easily and not very irritating, but still there. I don't mind, but some others might.

Other than those, I'm in love, with this yarn and the pattern is pretty great. Can't wait to finish so I can see how it all fits together.

I'd love to have a blanket (or panties) made with this yarn. Mmmmmmmmm..................

Before I go, I wanted to leave a few tips that I've used this week (I lost 7.4 pounds in one week!) that I incorporated into my Weight Watcher points that I found on the Prevention/Flat Belly Diet website: (for anyone who cares to try them)

These rules are supposed to be for the first 4 days of the diet only, I believe.
1. Make sure to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
2. Do not add additional salt to any meal.
3. Do not drink any carbonated beverages (including seltzer, diet and plain soda)
4. Eat cooked rather than bulk, raw vegetables
5. Stay away from gassy vegetables and fruits like broccoli, peppers, cauliflower and citrus fruits.
6. Use their Sassy Water recipe for your water (I didn't like this recipe, so I made my own by adding 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cranberry juice and 1 tbs. fresh lemon juice to 64 oz of filtered water to drink per day).
7. Don't chew gum - this adds more air to your stomach.
8. Reduce your carbs, but eat whole grain ones when you do have them.

These are general eating rules for this diet, though I haven't read the book fully yet, so please read the book first yourself and consult your doctor before trying anything here....I want you to be safe and informed!

- Eat (4), 400 calorie meals per day.
- Eat 1 serving of a MUFA with each meal.
- Movement is good throughout the day.

MUFA Serving:

1. 2 Tbs. of nuts/seeds - like almonds, sunflower, macademia, flax, pistachio and walnut and/or peanut butter
2. 1/4 cup of Hass Avocado/guacamole
3. 2 Tbs. oils - like olive, flax, canola
4. 10 large olives
5. 1/4 cup of dark or semi sweet chocolate chips

I followed these rules for the week and I did pretty good for weight loss. (I'm upping my yoga routine and walking, as well.) I wasn't hungry as long as I made sure to eat every 4 hours and all the foods I picked were so tasty. I hope this works for you, too ; )

Friday, October 10, 2008

FO Friday: Kismet Clapotis



Lovely, LovELY, LOVELY Project!!!

The three reasons why I LOVED knitting this shawl are:

1. The design is genius and so fun to knit.

2. Since I was able to download the spreadsheet for this pattern, keeping track of where I was and how many stitches should be on my needles at the end of ANY row was extremely easy and helpful.

3. The beautiful yarn that I used was special, not only because it's very vibrant, colorful and oh-so-soft, but because it was given to me by such a special friend, Heather, for my birthday this year.



DETAILS:

Pattern: Kate Gilbert's Clapotis from Knitty.com.
Yarn: Sereknity's DK Merino/Tussah Silk, colorway Kismet. Approx. 800-850 yards.
Needle: Addi Natura circular, size US 8.
Dimensions: Unblocked: 20" by 75"
Alterations: I knitted the stitches somewhat loosely and I also added two extra repeats in the straight section, Section 3. Other than that, I followed the pattern exactly.
Time: Started September 19th. Finished October 10, 2008.
Fun Level: A! I would start another one immediately if I had the yarn I wanted. My next one will be in a finer yarn- in black with either some mohair, angora or silk in it. I loved knitting this and I was able to bring it anywhere to work on it. It's really easy to follow with the chart.



Not much more to say, because the whole project was just simply wonderful from start to finish.

Do you like it as much as I do???