Friday, August 20, 2010

Adventures in hiking, and mishaps in knitting

As I mentioned on Wednesday, I went hiking with Mike yesterday. It was a really nice day, and I'm so glad that I seized the opportunity to take a day off from work and re-charge my batteries. Hank was in school, so it was just the two of us, it was like a date! Hank has been home with Mike for most of the summer, but he specifically requested that he still be allowed to go to school sometimes to see his friends, so he's been going just 2 days per week. Yesterday was one of those days, so we grabbed the option of an inexpensive outing for the two of us.

The weather was gorgeous, and it was really fun, along with being a good workout. I'm now within 3.5 lbs. of my weight loss goal. *beams* It'll probably take 6 months to lose that piddly 3 lbs, but never mind about that now. Our only glitch was that we chose a hiking trail that was listed as "most difficult." Never being one to shy away from a challenge, no matter how stupidly, I thought this was the way to go. I wanted to walk at least 4 miles, so I was game.

Well. I quickly figured out that "most difficult" means "lots of inclines." I like what inclines do for my legs, but I don't necessarily like the way they feel. I don't like feeling like I may fall. Mike kept turning around to keep track of me to find me clinging to exposed tree roots and branches in an effort to anchor myself. But I hung in there, gamely stepping ahead. Until, that is, we figured out that those little guide icons leading the way along the trail? Right, we hadn't seen one of those in awhile. Despite our diligence, we had lost the trail. I'm avoiding writing it, but what this really means is that we were LOST. We tried to find the trail a few times, but eventually figured it was safer to turn back, since we knew the way we had come. Sure enough, we got back on the trail quickly that way, but somewhere, and we couldn't figure out where, we kept going astray. They didn't have enough of those icons, in my opinion. But the important thing was that we got back without becoming hopelessly mired in the woods and eventually eaten by wolves. And, we still got in 4 miles of hiking, so bonus.

Afterward, we went out to lunch. By ourselves. Everyone with small children knows what a treat it is to be able to eat and actually TALK TO EACH OTHER, without any interruptions or thrown food. Bliss.

So, then we got home, and I picked up my knitting. Sigh. Yet another of those humbling moments wherein one realizes that they're not quite as experienced as they thought. I made this same hat for Mike, and it's a ribbed pattern, so real stretchy. I figured I'd make Hank one in the same size. I knew it would be a bit big this winter, but this way he could grow into it and have it for several years, and the ribbing would make it still palatable for this year.

Well. I used the exact same size needles (a size smaller than recommended, because I have a loose gauge) and the exact same size yarn, worsted weight. The only difference was that Mike's yarn was a cotton/acrylic blend, and this yarn was 100% acrylic.

Somehow, disaster. I know the yarn was cheap (Red Heart Super Saver from my stash) but hey, I don't eschew cheap yarn. I have many an afghan crocheted out of Red Heart, and those things are warm and durable enough to to sustain a nuclear attack. I figured it would be just fine for a child's winter hat, since it can be machine washed and dried. Alas. The thing is huge. HUGE, as in, Mike tried it on and it looked like a helmet. On Hank, it swallows his whole head.

I was very discouraged, until I took a quick measurement and figured that I can make Hank another hat. I'll cast on 20 less stitches and it should be ok. Plus, I'm going to make it in real wool. I've been a bit more into natural fibers lately. KnitPicks makes this possible for me, since their yarn is SO reasonably priced. I mean, seriously. 100% wool for $2 a skein? It's awesome! If you knit, you simply must check them out, if you have not already. This is the yarn I ordered for Hank, Wool of the Andes, in worsted weight. I also picked up a set of their beautiful Harmony double pointed needles in the size I need, since the hat won't stretch around my circular needles anymore, given its smaller size. I love DPN's. I know some knitters hate them, but they've revolutionized my knitting. I adore them. You can knit small things, like socks or baby hats, on these small straight needles. In fact, I have a brand new pair of socks started, for my mom, and I'm beaming with pride. Please God, do not let them turn out gargantuan.

Anybody out there need a freakishly large hat?

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