Monday, December 27, 2010

Books and "Regaining Power"

I just finished reading Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. I really enjoyed this book, and am anxiously awaiting the second of the series. It has also made me curious about history during this period (Word War I), and I'm sure I will be reading more about this fascinating time in world history
I started reading another of Patrick Taylor's books, "An Irish Country Girl". Taylor's booksare so easy to read, enjoyable, and are just the kind of book to warm your heart.
Finally, I am reading "Regaining the Power of Youth at Any Age" by Kenneth Cooper. I've had this book on my radar for a while, and just haven't purchased it. I received it for a Christmas present (thanks Anne and Justin) and I will try to summarize each chapter as I read it.
And since I have finished the first chapter, here are the highlights as I see them--

Cooper begins by talking of all the things that can drain your vigor--stress, recurrent health problems, travel, financial problems, menopause (men and women) information overload, frustrations with family and raising children, misinformation about the aging process. He proposes a process called targeting. Targeting, he says, "is a scientifically proven strategy of self-assessment and self-treatment that features the application of specific fitness, diet, and psychological techniques to particular health concerns.
The first targeting technique he defines is "Stamina Strategies". It involves "eight to ten minute of exercises designed to produce specific kinds of endurance and staying power". They are low-intensity and high-repetition.
The next one is called the "Quick Fix". It is four or five minutes of calisthenics or stretches. They are targeted to ease stiff muscles or brainfog from prolonged concentration or work.
The third targeting technique is called a "Pick-Me-Up". It is "four or five minutes of light but continuous activity designed to provide a lift during those periods of the day when your energy begins to flag".
"Eye-Openers" are just that--done in the morning, they are static stretches followed by a stamina and strength routine.
"Stopgaps" are designed to fill a need for those times when you can't do your regular workout at the gym. It can be five to twenty minutes of strength and aerobic work.
"Energy Packs" are nutritional strategies, and Cooper encourages you to eat foods that are low on the glycemic index.
Lastly, but something I harp on all the time is "Fluid Factoring". It stresses the importance of staying hydrated. Yeah. I will definitely evaluate my fluid intake.

Next, Cooper suggests a simple plan of action. First, stretching as soon as you arise. Start with the Williams exercises, and add static achilles tendon stretches, static hamstring stretches, upper arm and shoulder stretches, groin stretches and lunge stretches. Add in some bent-leg sit ups and modified push-ups and you're finished. I will probably do a yoga workout as this encompasses the same exercises. Besides, I like watching Rodney Yee's A.M. Yoga. The scenery and Rodney are beau-ti-ful.

Actions for me:
1) Evaluate my fluid intake. Measure out a gallon of filtered water and drink it by the end of the day. Find and make available a water bottle, keep it filled throughout the day.
2) I will find a set of low handweights and set them near the TV with my 12x12 workout cheater card. (I'll scan that and load it up so you can see it too.) The goal is to do, not 12 reps of each 12 exercises, but maybe 25 or so. Not too many to start. Enough to complete the whole thing in eight to ten minutes, as prescribed.
3) I will make sure to take several "pick-me-up" or "quick-fix" breaks throughout the day, maybe just a quick walk or running in place or dancing or a yoga workout for a few minutes.
4) I will study the low glycemic index foods list this week, and see if I can't do some substitutes.

More on what I should knit 2011

#1: Fairisle yoke sweater made entirely on circular needles
Circular Seamless "Brooks Sweater

#3: Aran Cap: this was done as a swatching for the Aran Cardigan, so see book
#4: Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket
#5: Headband
#6: Very Warm Hat
#7: Fast Cap
#8: V-necked Aran Cardigan
#9: Three & One Sweater
#10: Surprise Jacket
#11: 36-stitch mittens

So, now. There. All the links I could find. Next I think I'll go through the stash and see if I can't bag up some of the smaller projects. I'll take pics.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thinking about what to knit for the New Year

There has been discussion about a knit-along for the book "Opinionated Knitter" by Elizabeth Zimmerman. It is a compilation of the first twenty or so newsletters she wrote, starting in 1958.

I thought I'd put my thoughts down on paper.

First, the projects in the book. I'm sure I missed some, but here it is as I see it now.

#1: Fairisle yoke sweater made entirely on circular needles
#2: Scandinavian Ski-Sweater
#3: Circular Seamless "Brooks Sweater"
#4: Cowichan Sweater
#5: Prime Rib Sweater
#6: Aran Coat
#7: Norse Sweater
#8: Watch Cap
#9: Circular Aran Sweater
#10: Aran Cap
#11: Tomten
#12: Circular Seamless Raglan Sweater
#13: Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket
#14: Woodsman's Socks
#15: Pillbox Hat
#16: Ski-Bonnet
#17: Headband
#18: Very Warm Hat
#19: Fast Cap
#20: V-necked Aran Cardigan
#21: Three & One Sweater
#22: Icelandic Yoke Sweater
#23: Mittens
#24: Baby Leggings
#25: Lady Leggings
#26: Stockings
#27: Spiral Hat (Three or Five Spiral)
#28: Kangaroo Pouch Sweater
#29: Surprise Jacket
#30: Baby Bonnet
#31: Baby bootees
#32: Baby Bunting

I've made the Tomten, and probably won't make it again.
I've made the Watch Cap, Woodsman's Socks, Headband, Three & One Sweater, Stockings, and Kangaroo Pouch Sweater, and I will make those again at some point.
There are several others that I am not interested in making for the knit-a-long--Cowichan Sweater, Scandinavian Ski Sweater, Aran Coat, Norse sweater, Prime Rib Sweater, Watch Cap, Circular Aran Sweater, Circular Seamless Raglan Sweater, Woodsman's Socks, Pillbox hat, Ski Bonnet, Icelandic Yoke Sweater, Baby Leggings, Lady Leggings, Stockings, Icelandic Yoke Sweater, Kangaroo Pouch Sweater, Baby Bonnet, Bootees, or Bunting, or a Spiral Hat.

So that leaves the possibilities of knitting these in the upcoming year:

#1: Fairisle yoke sweater made entirely on circular needles
#2: Circular Seamless "Brooks Sweater"
#3: Aran Cap
#4: Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket
#5: Headband
#6: Very Warm Hat
#7: Fast Cap
#8: V-necked Aran Cardigan
#9: Three & One Sweater
#10: Surprise Jacket

Now, as far as knitting all of these things, well, I just don't see it happening. Especially with all the other things I would like to knit soon. I do have knitting for many new babies this year, and that means that the Knitted Garter Stitch Blanket (which has intrigued me for years and MUST be knit), the Fast Cap, and the Surprise Jacket will be knitted. I'm sure I will be knitting up headbands, and soon, as most everyone in the family has committed to increasing their running in the next year. Maybe I should add the 36 stitch mittens to that list for the runners. And any of the sweaters may be knitted in baby size instead of adult size, but I have had a hankering to knit the fairisle yoke sweater in a cardigan for me, the Brooks sweater, the V-necked Aran Cardigan for my sweet hubby, and another Three & One Sweater for quite a while now. At the rate I knit, these four sweaters would take up my entire year.

Oh, if only I had more time to knit. And sew. And craft.

I do have enough yarn in my stash to make the Surprise Jacket, and many hats, headbands and mittens.

If I made any of the sweaters, though, I would need to purchase yarn for those.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pizza--I love it, too!

Anthony Falco, aka Tony Calzone--

My favorite type of pizza is free. My second favorite type is hot. After that I'll start getting particular.

Link to the article.

I need to make pizza tonight.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Papers by lisa minor
Button from child care emergency kit
"That's what summer is about" by kz's thoughts of summer kit

Eye Candy

Look at these beautifully crafted opera costumes. There is some serious eye candy there.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Knitting Projects for 2010

I saw a thread on Ravelry that had everyone listing all the knitting projects they completed in 2009. I was pretty disappointed at how little I had completed. Here is my list:

A Turn the Square Hat (200 yards)
A Supernatural Stripes Sweater (200 yards)
A Yellow Vest, inspired by Seigfried Farnon (1000 yards)
Socks (400 yards)
Carseat Blanket (800 yards)
Adult Tomten (3000 yards)
Summerlin Dress (100 yards)
Dishcloths—4-6 (600 yards)
Animal Cracker Hat (200 yards)
Celtic Braid Blanket (1000 yards)
Xmas Stocking (400 yards)

All in all, about 8000 yards. That's pretty wimpy. But considering all the stuff that happened this year--the wedding, babysitting Gbuddy, numerous family meals, working full-time, etc., well, I shouldn't be so hard on myself.

This year I will make the obligatory wish list of things to knit. There will be some stash busting, some knitting for Gbuddy and other family members, some holiday knitting, some new baby knitting, and hopefully, some knitting for charity (still wanting to use my knitting machine to knit up hats.)

I'm currently working on some cream snowman mittens for Joe.

I have yarn in my stash for:
Annemor #4 mittens, the dog mittens, probably in cream and tan Nature Spun fingering.
Sitcom Chic cardigan, in tan cotton.
Winter Cottage Mittens, of garnet and cream Palette.
Ice Queen, a cowl, of pale blue Lacette.
Koolhaas, a hat, of Patons Espresso. (Note to self: look and see if it's still in stash.)
Egeblad doily--have yarn, maybe will, maybe won't knit this.
Rosy Fingered Dawn shawl. Bugs got to this one. Need to look at yarn and see if it's still viable.
Logan River Wrap in some ancient purple Nature Spun worsted. I may make the Everyday Wrap instead.
Lily of the Valley Stole of some ancient pale green cotton fingering.
Celtic Knot Stole in laceweight cream merino.
Highlander, a cardigan of blue variegated dk weight.

All of this adds up to less than the amount I knitted this year. Some of the projects are questionable for various reasons.

I need to buy yarn for many more of my projects that are in my queue, oddly enough, most of it is fingering yarn in white or cream. I will keep my eyes open for it!