Fair Isle knitting…maybe not so fair after all

Well, the good news is that I seem to finally get this whole fair isle knitting thing; that is to say, I can now knit with multiple colors in the same row, so as to make patterns and such.

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The bad news is, due to my color choices I’m “fairly” certain that I’m creating the ugliest hat known to man.

Oh well, I guess if I’m heading that way anyways, I may as well go whole hog. I think I still have some sparkly green left from this that I can work in somehow…

And my cats are cute 🙂 happy Sunday!

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…and did I just see a tumbleweed roll by?

Hi all.

Yeah, it’s April.

We’ll leave it at that.

Updates!

-Learning to play the cello. It’s always been on my “bucket list” as it were, and has long been my favorite instrument. I find myself in a position in my life time-wise and finance-wise where this is now a feasible dream, so I’ve grabbed it. It’s been only about 2 months but I am enjoying it immensely, and have slowly made progress. Boyfriend is encouraging but the kittehs peace out whenever I start playing, so I think they might be more honest about my abilities! 😉

-The 2013 CrossFit Opens came and went, and while unfortunately I did not do as well as I had hoped (and my team did not make regionals; sad-face McGee), I am overall content with my performance. I finished individually at 132nd out of roughly 2300 ladies in my region, which puts me in the top 6% of Open finishers this year in the Central East. I’ll take that, I guess!

I am stronger, faster, and have more explosive power than I ever have. I have been CrossFitting for over three years now, and an L1-Cert Coach for over 2. CrossFit sometimes feels to me like it takes up too much of my life, but at the same time I love all my friends and the camaraderie we have at the gym, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Also, my mom is still a BAMF and is going back to the Games in the 55-59 Masters Women’s category. Going for the gold this year, baby! 🙂

-Speaking of the gym, we’re currently in the middle of a Whole 30 Paleo challenge. Super strict, and I over one week in and I am feeling fantastic. Clean, not bloated, energetic (I even skipped the gym Monday to go for a 5K run in the sunshine. ON PURPOSE. I know, whaa??), and satisfied with my food. I’ve lost 3 pounds in 1 week without even trying, and I can’t wait to see how I feel at the end of the month.

-Knitting-wise I’ve made it past my annual holy-crap-that-was-a-lot-of-Christmas-knitting-I-need-like-three-months-off and am back in the swing of making things. My most awesomest thing to report on this front is that I finally sat down with a good friend of mine, Dana, and had her show me how to do Fair Isle knitting, which is the type of knitting with multiple colors that can make patterns like snowflakes and such. Success! All these years knitters in the know had told me that “OMG you can do lace knitting like it’s your job, color-work is SOOOOOOOOOOOO much easier than that!” but until I had some time and someone to sit down with me and show me how to do it, it always was right out of reach. Amazingly, there are some things even the interwebs can’t solve; you just need a friend sometimes!

Overall, reflecting where I am as of this date, I find myself able to do things that I would never have been able to do last year physically, I am in a healthy place both mind and body, and I am making more solid, constructive plans for my future. I’m not 100% content with everything in my life, but I am seeing a path forward to make changes to get to where I ultimately want to be.

Things are looking good from where I stand at the moment! How about you?

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At Year’s End

What a crazy, mixed up, nutso, hard and happy year it has been. Ups and downs….and more downs, and then ups…I am in many ways thankful that 2012 is drawing to a close, and a new year about to begin. I have some ideas of things that are hopefully going to happen in 2013, some things I am not sure about but wish to happen, and some bits that I am very apprehensive about. But overall, I feel a little like 2012 was a time for me to push forward through the fire, and see what was left when I came out on the other side. I am still here, and me, and loved, and content, and that, my friends, is something very special indeed.

Ian and I enjoyed the holidays here in our own home, just the two of us. Delicious rare treats were consumed…

Cinnamon buns

Nog
Ian Nog
Lissa Nog
…some consumed while also looking handsome…
Handsome
Our tree was trimmed with care, love, and all of the ornaments well out of kitteh-range…
Tree
…although it was fast evident that anything under the tree was fair game…
Chappy tree
The kitties were ballers, loving having their humans home for a good long while…
Chappy 2
Kitties
…and the humans each had the opportunity to spank each other at various board games.
Scrabble
(I got my ass handed to me in a game of Monopoly, but clearly Ian was feeling generous and so didn’t get a picture of me curled up in the fetal position on the living room floor, groaning and hitting the ground with my fists, crying, “Damn you Ventnor Ave, damn you all to hell!” into the night. Ah, Christmas.)

It was a different Christmas for us, to be sure, but of course if I was be able to only spend it with one person in the whole world, I couldn’t do much better than boyfriend 🙂

On to Christmas knitting!

I made my father a pair of socks (plain vanilla YarnHarlot pattern, but I made it in a thick brown tweed, so they ended up more like slippers than socks. Also, one ended up a slightly different size than the other, but I think Papa wouldn’t mind ;))

For John, my badass B-I-L, a neck warmer was suggested, so here’s what I came up with (or, Attack of the Neckwarmer: A Play in Five Acts):
Warmer 1

Warmer 2

Warmer 3

Warmer 4

Warmer 5
This is a pattern of my own doing, just pulling from various ones I found around the interwebs. I made the neckhole opening at the “top” narrower by doing some extra rounds of ribbing, so hopefully it worked out ok for Johnny-boy.

And finally, my chef d’oeuvre, my Ms. Michel’s Opus, what I have been waiting to show you all these long, long months. My favorite and best thing I have ever made (and my sister Sara is lucky that I love her, since I reaaaaaaaalllllly wanted to keep it for myself): The Beatnik Sweater.
Sweater
Closeup
Floor
Pattern
Deets:
Yarn: Rowan Lima, in a beautiful goldenrod colorway. Merino, alpaca, and nylon, this soft lovely sweater ended up taking about half a ball shy of 10 balls.
Needles: US size #8, US Size #6 straights/US size #6 16″ circular.
I loved working this pattern. It was slow going but such a joy to make. I feel like once I’ve come down off the knitting high I might get around to banging out one of these for myself some day :).

Cables
Back

I still owe a few hats, a scarf, and a pair of arm warmers, but we knitters work our own timeframe, people! I was selfish and made myself a little ear warmer thingie last week, as I was so pooped from everything that I just wanted to do something easy. I’ll post a picture of it soon, but it’s not really anything to write home about.

Now as we finally kick 2012 the curb and welcome 2013 with open arms, I’ll leave you with what has become my year-end mantra, on this third New Year’s blog entry of mine.

“May your food be primal and delicious, your workouts be fulfilling and challenging, and your knit projects be snag-free!”

Cheers to you all!

Lissa Ian Christmas

Posted in cats, cooking, Knitting, LOVE | 1 Comment

Partners In Crime

“No road is long with good company.”
-Turkish proverb

(Thank you to Shannon for this lovely photo!)

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Where in the World is Lissa???

Happy November y’all!

Hooray! I did it! I went a whole month without posting.  And by hooray I actually mean, CRAP. Because that was not my intent, of course.

I am glad to say, however, that mostly it’s because I’ve been be-bopping around and my days have been full to the point when I get home and cook dinner and eat, well, I am usually bone-tired and don’t feel like sitting down and composing something for the blog that isn’t super boring. Like this post.

Anyhoo, I’ll use today as a quick updates post:

1. Food: STILL ON THE 9-WEEK PALEO CHALLENGE, oy, this is a long time. Boyfriend and I are doing pretty well, banging out the workouts as well as being very good with our cheats. And very good meaning not often, and when they do happen, they are yummy and not actually that bad. AKA a slice of cheese, and maybe an extra glass of wine. A latte with sugar-free syrup. Maybe even some butter on my sweet potatoes!

1a.   Full-disclosure: Halloween did happen. Candy was in my house. We had no trick or treaters. You do the math.

1b.  Tomorrow is my birthday, and I like wine and cheese. A Lot. Do more math.

1c.   Body composition: I have most definitely slimmed out a bit from this challenge. I am now comfortably in a size-four jean (first time EVER! Or maybe since I was 7 or something), when I was hovering on the 4/6 threshold when we started. I can see the outlines of my abs, and my arms are less massive and a little more ripped. The best part? The scale hasn’t changed, like, AT ALL. Still 135 lbs, even half a dress size later. So, I get to be more buff and lean, but just as powerful since my weight is the same? SCORE.

2.  CrossFit: Making gains as far as most everything goes. I had plateau’ed a while back when my gym was structuring our workouts based around a lifting-heavy (or is that heavy lifting?) training philosophy called Outlaw, and for as strong and beefy as this made many folks, for me it was not the right thing. I didn’t get any gains for nearly six months in the heavy lifts, and I was bored bored bored. We’ve now switched to a blended style of CrossFit Mainsite, Outlaw, and CrossFit New England programming (the latter being lots and lots of bodyweight stuff). Finally I have started seeing improvements again, and I am having fun, too.  In just the last month I have performed a real muscle-up (yay!), mastered the chest to bar pull-up (still need to work on stringing together more than 5 in a row), and have felt I’ve made big strides in solidifying my toes-to-bar and handstand pushup work.  I think back to where I was at the Opens, and then Regionals last year, and now think about how far I’ve come and how content I feel with my abilities heading into this year. While I think making Regionals as an individual will always be a stretch (although I only missed it by 48 spots last year out of 2400!), I am feeling confident and excited as we roll towards Opens 2013. Goals: Muscle-ups, times 1,000. Need to have those solidly in the bag before February. I’ve got a little time.

3.  Mood: Better, much better than I was back a few months ago. I am still not 100% happy all the time, but who the hell is? Fall/Winter are definitely seasons in which I miss Maine the most, and so I’m still a grumpy gills sometimes, but it’s bummed out grumpiness, not life-consuming despair that I was stuck in up until recently.

Interestingly enough, the upcoming Presidential election has added a wee bit of funk to my mood. Not inasmuch due to all of the campaigning and tension and attack ads (another reason I am so thankful we don’t have TV: no commercials!!!), but mostly because for the first time in the 11 years I’ve been able to vote, I feel like my voice really doesn’t matter this time around. I’ve never been in the situation where I feel like my vote is pointless due to the local political climate. Electoral college, pah. I am done with you.

3a. (SPOILER ALERT: REFERENDUM RANT) I am also bummed that I am not in Maine to vote in an historical election to hopefully secure marriage equality for all Maine citizens. My Maine readers, if you are registered to vote and have a wonderful LGBTQ person in your life, believe in equality, or if you a just a fan of love and want to look back happily in 50 years about being on the right side of history, then please take time out of your busy day on Tuesday to go and vote Yes on Question 1. Even if that is the only reason you go to the polls; even if you don’t want to cast a vote for President because you are sickened by politics/indifferent/hungover/insert pithy reason here, this important issue affects us all. This is not about politics. This is not about religion (churches are still free of course to marry/not marry whomever they want). It is about extending the legal, Constitutionally-supported equal treatment to marry in the eyes of the State, a right that is currently being withheld from a subset of Mainers just because some people find gay marriage icky, and I think we all can agree that’s just a silly reason to base a law upon. I want my sister to be able to marry her wife in the state she where she grew up, and be afforded therein all the full and legal rights and benefits as a married couple that my other sisters have with their husbands. The time for marriage equality is now, Maine. Let’s DO THIS THING.

4.  Knitting: Ah yes, that lovely time of year where Christmas knitting goes into overdrive. OMG! Luckily I only have 4 presents to complete this time around, and I’m halfways done with two, so I’m in good shape. The only problem is that one of the “halfs” took me, like, 2 months, and dudes, I ain’ts gots 2 months left until Christmas. Le sigh. Sleep, I’ll see you in 2013. This also means of course that I can’t show any pictures of what I’m knitting, for fear of peeps seeing the surprise. You’ll just have to trust me 🙂

There we go! Happy November to all, dig out your mittens, and stay warm!

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Finished Object: Honey Cowl

So I raced home after the gym because I had juuuuuust enough sunlight where I knew we could get some good shots of a finished knit piece! (Thank you Ian for taking pictures, even though I am too “editorial” with your shots, apparently).  Those of you from the gym may recognize this. It’s what I’ve been calling my “purse knitting,” since you know, I carry it around in my purse. Clever, huh?! 😛

The pattern is Honey Cowl, a quintessential “purse” pattern in that it’s easy memorize and hard to get lost. I would do a few rows here (waiting for the WOD to start), a few rows there (BBQs, pub trivia, Mythbusters marathons), and after lots of time and delicious, mindless knitting, poof, it was done! The pattern is so easy, and its simple alternating slip-stitch rhythm makes for a lovely texture and design with minimal effort.

Plus you can look like you’re coming to America, check:

Deets:

Pattern: Honey Cowl

Needle: 26″ Bamboo circular, US size 8

Yarn: Manos Del Uruguay, Silk/Merino blend, in the inspiringly-named colorway “3110.”
This yarn kicks butt. (Fair trade AND artisanal! The woman who dyed/wove my yarn is named Rosa. Yes, she signed the label 🙂 )

I ended up using 3 skeins, which is kind of a lot (read: expensive) but the overall effect is that this cowl is strong, supremely warm, and nice and squooshy due to the silk.

It’s also wicked fierce.

Next stop, the runways of Paris! 😛

Honey Cowl

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NA-NA-na-na-NA-NA-na-na-NANER BREAD!

Hi there.

What, you really thought I’d make it the whole month of September without one post? Ok, well you were almost correct but I made the most SCRUMPTIOUS, no sugar added, paleo ‘naner bread last night that I had to share.

I am not sharing a picture, because even though it tasted amazingly good, it looked amazingly like poop. True story.

I will be remaking this shortly for a little dinner party next week I’m hosting (read: inviting friends to my house so can I force myself to tidy up the place a bit/finish some curtains) and I think that they’re going to turn into ‘naner muffins for that, so stay tuned for some photos!

Paleo ‘Naner Bread/Muffins (yes, yes, BANANA)

Ingredients:

4 overripe bananas, mashed

4 eggs

2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup olive oil (regular and not extra virgin, otherwise your ‘naner bread will taste like a salad)

1 pinch salt

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (whoa, spell check. Hold up. Um, am I the only one who didn’t know that “Fahrenheit” had a frickin’ H three letters in? Like, now I have to pronounce it ‘FAAAAAAH-ren-heit” until the end of time. Darn it.)
  2. In a bowl, mash the bananas with a fork (it’s ok if they’re still lumpy, they’ll smooth out in the cooking a bit). Add the eggs, oil, and spices, and stir to combine.
  3. Dump in almond and coconut flours, and mix like a crazy person. Maybe have some high-tempo muffin-stirring music on in the background to keep you going; I won’t judge*. Don’t worry about overdoing it, as there’s no gluten in either flour so you can’t mix it too much. It’s baking, without the science! 🙂
  4. If you’re making muffins, fill up your muffin cups until there’s nothing left (I imagine this will fill probably 16). If you’re making a loaf, this will make one loaf in a WELL, WELL-greased loaf pan (I used coconut oil).
  5. Throw in the oven for 45-50 minutes for the loaf, or 35-40 for the muffins. If you can press down on the surface of the loaf/muffin and it’s lightly brown and fairly resistant to your finger, it’s done.
  6. Take out, let cool, and enjoy!

In other news:

-Ian, myself, and 18 other peeps are doing this 9-week Paleo Challenge. For fun. Yeah.

But seriously, we get prizes, there’s competition involved, I get to still drink wine, and well, just go here and read for yourself.  http://www.lurongliving.com/challenge I will say though, that I am going to sugar-town on my birthday, which falls near the end of this 9 week period. So look for a post about upset tummy and amazing Technicolor GI issues the next day 😛

-Fall is here in the ‘Noogs, it’s quite nice, and I am glad we don’t have frost yet.

I still miss Maine’s leaves though.

-I did the benchmark “Randy” the other day for the first time RX (75 Snatches for time at 55 lbs). I am super pumped with my time of 4:01. I finished, however, and then proceeded to sneeze for about 30 minutes straight, and now two days later, I have a cold. I am a tissue-dominating machine right now. Ah well. Next time, sub-four!

*You’re welcome.

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