Wednesday, October 6, 2010


It's been awhile since my last update.  Sorry about that--this yoga challenge is really kicking my butt.  I'm doing 90 minutes of hot yoga 5 times a week for 30 days, which comes out to 22 classes and a total of 33 hours of yoga this month.  Yikes!  I'm halfway through week 4 right now and have 5 more classes left until I finish the challenge. 

I didn't weigh or measure myself before I started but my pants are all fitting looser, I have some abdominal definition, and some serious guns  going on.  Not only that, but I feel more awake in the morning and more cheerful during the day (yes, working out all the time is making me more cheerful)!  I know this sounds like a plug for Hart Yoga (okay, it is a little bit), but I am loving this!  I thought I would get so sick of the bikram sequence, but I look forward to each class and the opportunity for improvement in each posture.

If you've never tried bikram or other hot yoga, seriously give it a try.  It'll be hot, you'll feel nauseous, and you definitely won't be able to do the full expression of every posture, but that is one of the things I love about it--there is always room for improvement, always something to keep you coming back.  Try it three times and I swear you'll love it!

/Advertisement (become a fan of Hart Yoga on Facebook!!)

Now some knitting.  These have been finished for a while, but here they are, the Mary Jane slippers:
I knit them in Knit Picks Swish Worsted (just in case I need to wash them).  It's a good staple yarn, soft, durable, nothing terribly exciting, but also not expensive. 

The pattern was so, so easy.  You just need to know how to pick up stitches from knitted fabric.  There's an awesome tutorial for applied i-cord included with the pattern and it's almost worth  making the slippers just for that tutorial.  The pattern can be found here.  I've been wearing mine a lot lately.  I even tossed out the old, ill-fitting slippers I had before, yay!

And now a finished object I am super excited about: the Pas de Valse Cardigan:
This is one of the few sweaters I've made that have turned out exactly the way I wanted them to.  I made absolutely no modifications to this cardigan, just knit it exactly the way it was written.  Even the length came out perfect--a rare feat for me.

The pattern is by Marnie MacLean and can be found on the Twist Collective's site here.  The pattern is a little expensive, but it is totally worth the money--it is so well written.  I thought I would get bored with all the stockinette, but there is enough shaping throughout that I was interested the whole time and blew through it in two weeks--that's a lot for ~1100 yards of sock-weight yarn! 

The best part: there are absolutely no seams.  None.  The only sewing you have to do is weaving in the ends and grafting the rest of the shawl collar.  That's it.  If I were to do it again, I would probably have knit the sleeves from the cuff  up and then sewn the cap into the shoulder because I just didn't get as nice a seam by picking up stitches from the shoulder, but I am still VERY happy with the way it came out.  I can definitely see this becoming one of my favorite cardigans.  Well done, Marnie, well done.  She's got some other lovely patterns at her website, here
The color is truer in this second picture.  Sorry the first one's so blurry.  I used Knit Picks's Gloss sock yarn in "dolphin."  I had originally bought that colorway for my first ill-fated attempt at Venezia (which I have picked up again, woo!), but decided I wanted to do something special in just that color.  This pattern was an excellent choice--the yarn is soft, but the silk makes it heavy and drapey enough for the elegant folds of this pattern.  The merino/silk blend gives it both a lovely sheen and just enough halo to pull off this rather loose gauge.  I just love it.

Next time, I'll have a very long overdue Etsy update.  I've had some new products ready for a while, but haven't gotten around to photographing them yet.  I promise I will get my act together and get the new things posted.  Stay tuned!


Katherine J Lee said...

yayy!! i'm starting hot yoga tomorrow!

also, do you have any suggestions for becoming a better/faster/less-absentminded knitter? i feel like i constantly make mistakes and have to frog every project i start! i want a peek into your process :)

Reine du Monde said...

That's exciting! Are you starting Bikram?

As far as becoming a faster knitter, the only thing I can say is to keep your movements as small as possible--keep the stitches close to the tip of the needle and practice, practice, practice. It's all muscle memory, so try casting on ~40 stitches and time yourself over and over.

Alternatively, give continental knitting a go. I'm pretty fast as a thrower, but you might really find speed as a picker!

And speaking of muscle memory, that is how you also become an absent-minded knitter. Really get to know how your knit stitch feels different from your purl stitch and how that feels different from a yarn over. Become a tactile knitter and you'll be able to feel right away, without looking, that you've made a mistake. Unless I'm knitting something complicated or with more than one color, I don't have to look at my knitting much anymore.

Katherine J Lee said...

I don't know if it's Bikram exactly-- the guy has his own special method, but I think it amounts to the same thing!

Thanks for the tips! I practiced over the weekend and I *think* I may have gotten a bit faster. Of course, I did end up making my hat a little too big, arghh :)

Your new products are awesome. I love the new colors. So perfect.

Reine du Monde said...

That's okay! With a hat, you can just call it "design feature" or "modification." You wanted it slouchy, right?

That's another thing that I love about knitting, there are so many opportunities to improvise and "fudge" things. I tried teaching myself sewing this weekend and I'm finding the level of precision tough!

Katherine J Lee said...

I did like the slouchiness, and I got used to wearing it around the house. But first time outside, it flew off my head! Ridiculous. It *was* the windiest day of the year, but it's not like it had even the hint of a brim.

I heard a good tip for beginner sewers is to sew straight lines without thread on paper. (I didn't hear that tip until after I sewed my way willy-nilly through several projects, of course.) What are you making?

Reine du Monde said...

Ah, that is a problem. Maybe frogging and trying again is the answer?

Eventually I would like to make slipcovers for our blah sofa, but I've been working on some project bags for knitting projects, as I don't care whether they stitching is wonky. Maybe this weekend I should practice on paper, as you said. That might help.

Either that or I'll soon be in the market to purchase some slipcovers :)