Tuesday, November 3, 2015

FO: Winter Winds Mittens

October blurred by in a mix of school, dance, climbing trips, reading, knitting, and rearranging my room and life around a bit.

Oh, and Halloween happened too. :)
Remember before, when I said I might have said "yes" to too many things this year?  I'm keeping my head above water, but some days are better or harder than others.  I'm learning to squeeze every last minute of the day, whether I'm waking up earlier to get to morning yoga (yoga and climbing have become my "me" destressing times) or staying up a little later to get either grading or knitting done.
We only have two months until Christmas, after all...
I have been trying to do more knitting for myself this year, and I finished my Winter Winds mittens just this last weekend!  I'm really excited- this is the first of part of a 3-piece matching knitted set I'm making for this winter!

Pattern: Striped Mittens according to Badagekk by Lena Gjerald (link goes to Ravelry page)
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock (Superwash Merino Wool) in Dewberry
Needles: Bamboo size 1 DPN's (love my bamboo needles)

Timeframe: October 14-25
Mods: None, really. I modified them from the first time I knit them; originally I made the cuff much shorter, but I did it as written this time.  It'll be nice to have them tucked under my coat against snow and wind.
Worst Part: None.  These knit up like a breeze.  I feel like I'm getting faster.
Best Part: Awesome and warm mittens.  :)  'Nuff said!

In between all the craziness, I did manage to find time for a little Halloween fun!
The kittens were in their Halloween best:

(Albert sticking his tongue out at the prospect of another Halloween costume)

(Maeby just rolled around in her attempts to get the costume off)
And I even managed to find time to carve a pumpkin, even if it was the night before Halloween.

My roommate Alex and I watched the obligatory The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Addams Family as we crafted and carved and drank hot apple cider squeezed fresh the weekend before!
I'm pretty happy with how my pumpkin turned out, and I feel like it captures the craziness and madness of my life right now.  :)

As the Cheshire Cat likes to say,
"We're all a little mad here... You must be, or you wouldn't have come here."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A World with Octobers

October is easily my favorite month.  I love Halloween, I love the leaves changing, I love drinking a few cups (pots?) of coffee in the morning because it's that much cooler outside.  Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books from growing up, and the incredible redhead summed it up perfectly:

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

I don't think I spent a single weekend inside through the first half of October.

I had a very chilly adventure up at Palisade...

where the wind kept trying to dampen our spirits, but we simply laughed and kept climbing.  I had a weekend climbing at our local Ely's Peak after a nasty bout with the flu, enjoying the incredible color show that MN is so good at.

Even on weekday mornings that were full of grading, I had the windows open just to feel the breeze and enjoy being chilly.
Just this last weekend was MEA, which means MN schools have Thursday and Friday off.  For the third year in a row, I wrangled a group of fellow lady climbers to head down to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky to climb.  It was all sorts of magical, with a great group of friends.

Emily has done the trip three years in a row with me, and I love having her energy every year.  Oh- and can you see the shirt that I had made for all the ladies that went this year? :)

Zay enjoyed taking a multitude of selfies while I was up climbing, and it was a fantastic surprise when I finally went through my phone.  Her excitement to get on everything was contagious!

Jamie was new to the group this year, and she rocked it.  Like, rocked it.  She was leading and having a blast, and won the snarky and sarcastic award for the trip.

I jumped on a lot, including a 5.12d called "Triple Sec" that was really fun to try!  Every time I come down to the Gorge, I always come back with a renewed energy to train even harder.  Once you start enjoying those fantastic and hard lines, you never want to stop!  Next year- go go go and send send send!

We had the obligatory night of pizza at Miguel's, where we inhaled an entire pizza in about 7 minutes and ended up buying an entire second pizza, which we also inhaled.  Apparently climbing makes you hungry...

I visited the Shire.  Bilbo says hi.
Oh- see that hat on my head?  That's my newly finished Winter Winds hat- I'm going to knit the cowl next, and have a complete winter set soon!  I'm also finishing up a pair of mittens to match, since le petite Godzilla cat ruined my old pair.

I made sure to rock some super awesome Halloween tights to show my love for my favorite holiday.  They also helped keep back the chill, besides just making my large calves look fantastic and festive. ;)

Other knits were abound, which made my little knitter heart happy!  Both Zay and Emily brought and wore their Venga Las Chicas hats that I knit for them over the summer.  Huzzah for seeing people actually wearing things I made! :)

Overall it was an amazing trip with some incredible ladies, and I came home rejuvenated spiritually and emotionally (physically I was pretty spent!).  It's a good thing, too- I have a lot of grading to do this week, a lot of lesson planning, a lot of choreographing, and a lot of catching up to do in general "life" things.
Though sneaking in a hike and an outdoor climbing day here and there might definitely happen, especially this weekend... :)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rolling in the Deep

Last weekend, my brother came up to finish his 4 open water dives in a lake to get his PADI open water dive certificate.  I, of course, tagged along, but this time with a camera!
My cousin Ben has one of those GoPro cameras, and I found out that despite the slightly fuzzy pics, it works great for diving!  I'm not sure how deep these cameras are supposed to go, but I brought it down to around 50 feet and it worked very well.
Kyle did his course in Lake Orebegon, which is one of my favorite places to dive because of all of the stuff to see down there!

There were two train cabooses..

A helicopter (hey, that's me swimming through it!)...

A school bus (Kyle waving hi)...

An old '57 chevy... (I think a hose sprung a leak, maybe...)

Another bigger helicopter...

And I'm saying hi from inside an old WWII fighter plane!

(Kyle has the bright yellow fins, I'm in black fins with the yellow mask)
We had a blast all weekend, and I couldn't have been more excited for Kyle to finish his cert so we can go out wreck diving in Lake Superior now (if we ever find a free weekend together... that's going to be the big challenge!).
I'm pretty lucky that my family loves adventures, and are willing to do the crazy stuff with me. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

FO: Late Night Grading Handwarmers

Wow, it's been awhile, hasn't it?
It's amazing how fast September blew by.  After the engagement party, things kind of took off.

I started back at the dance studio, which is 3 nights a week (before I schedule my solos/duos/trios).  I'm loving being back, though it's a hard thought to know that I have half a dozen or so seniors graduating this year.  I'm firmly ignoring that thought until at least May, though I have to start planning senior gifts now (lotta knitting this year- uffda!).
One of my old college friends got married a week after the engagement party.  My house that weekend became a gathering place for old college roommates, and it was amazing!

I haven't seen a lot of those awesome folks in awhile, and it was a ton of dancing, movies, talking, laughing, and late nights.  I loved every minute of it!

I spent the following weekend at the Sandstone Climber's Festival, hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones!  It felt really good to stretch my muscles, sleep in a tent under the stars, and find some new projects to thrash myself on!

(Pic is of my friend Katie working Sigma, a 5.12 line that I haven't touched in 3 years, but I'm going to jump on it first thing next week!)
I'm going to be heading to Sandstone next week a few times to hopefully project some routes, and I couldn't be more excited to actually work hard and push myself!
I also was appointed to be the faculty adviser for my school's honor society, which is great- more face-time with students!  I'm also now going to start teaching 4 credits at my old University in October, so my schedule is about to get super crazy!
Throughout all of this, I've been trying to keep up my knitting, and been mildly successful.
Case in point- a long-standing project that's been idling at the bottom of my knitting drawer finally got finished a week ago- my Late Night Grading handwarmers for my chilly office!

Pattern: Carrie Handwarmers by Doris Chang
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in Archangel
Needles: Size 6 DPN's, bamboo
Timeframe: March 3-Sept 23

Mods: I knit in the round instead of flat, and to get a thumb, I added a 12-stitch thumb gusset.  I kept the gusset in the moss-stitch that the rest of the pattern asked for.
Worst Part: This took way too long to make.  I shouldn't have let them languish.  Also, when I finished, because I was eyeballing the entire thing, I knit one slightly shorter than the other.  It's only visible when you lay the handwarmers side by side, but it'll still both me just a little.
Best Part: I love that I finished these in time to wear with fall colors, and I love the way they look when stretched out on my hands!

I'm actually really excited about the next post- I finally have some underwater pictures to share from my recent diving adventures! :)
Until then... more knitting, lots of grading, lots of choreographing, and lots of snuggling with these guys... :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

FO: Gift Hats

So one of the big events that kind of ended my summer was my brother's surprise Fiesta Engagement Party last weekend!
It was a ton of fun, and we had about 70 people show up to wish my brother and his betrothed their well wishes.  My dad flew up from Florida for the festivities, a keg was tapped, tequila was passed around, and eventually...
a conga line was set up.  
My family is kind of amazing at partying- festivities went on well into the night.
Another cool thing that happened?
I was asked to be a Bridesmaid in the wedding!  SOOOOO excited!  I'm kind of a professional bridesmaid by now.  I can bridesmaid the crap out of a wedding. :)
The next day, despite some headaches, the partying continued on the golf course!
I don't golf.  I feel like I've explained this before.  Me golfing is like a two-year-old who's had too many juice boxes swinging a pinata stick around their head.  It just doesn't work.  
So what do I do instead?
Hang out on the golf cart and get in 4 hours of quality knitting time!
18 holes of golf means that I started and finished an entire hat- the second of two gift hats I knit for people over the last couple of weeks!  Really happy to get these done, because Christmas knitting is beginning to loom...
Pattern: Turn-a-Square by Jared Flood
Yarn: Leftover Cascade 220 in a forest green and a dark blue (the tags are long gone) and Noro in Worsted.  I'm not actually sure what kind- Maeby may have run off with the tag...
Timeframe: August 25-September 6 for both hats!  Woowoo!
Worst Part: None.
Best Part: Knowing that I have this pattern MEMORIZED, since I've knit this hat so many times... uffda! 
Onward to a barter knit, and some knits for myself to wear as the weather begins to turn!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

FO: Camping Socks

My August Adventures have concluded for now, and it's back to school and work (and next week- dance!) for at least a month or so for me.  That's not to say I'm going to stop doing all of my activities- if anything, I feel like I barely have time to sit down and relax, between school, dance, training for climbing, diving, and hanging out with friends (one last wedding this weekend!).  It's okay, though- I need to be busy right now.  I'm good at busy. :)
I'll wrap up my August Adventures in another post, but for today, I want to share an FO that I had originally finished at the end of my climbing trip to Colorado.  Unfortunately, the Chubbs-monster got her little face in it and... well, you probably know the rest of the story.

Not surprised.
I ended up finishing these camping socks right at the end of August, and I'm excited to wear them to keep my toes cozy when I go climbing up the shore this fall!

Pattern: Climb by Jane Richmond (I own her incredible book Journey, and can't wait to make more patterns from it!)
Yarn: Wildefoote Sock Yarn in gray, red, and cream-white

Needles: Size 2 DPN (I used bamboo)
Timeframe: May 18th-August 25th
Mods: Only a small one- Increased 2 stitches about every inch or so above the heel (only 3 times, so 9 stitches total increase) to take into account my big tap-dancer calves).

Worst Part: Leaving them out for five minutes- which is all it took for the kitten-monster to destroy them.
Best Part: I love the heel on these!  I might use this heel when doing toe-up from now on.

Friday, August 21, 2015

FO: Venga Las Chicas Hats

For the past two years, I've spent my MEA break (which is mid-October for you non-MN readers) heading down to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky to climb with a group of incredible lady climbers!
I've been increasingly drawn to do all-lady climbing trips.  It's very empowering, very supportive, and the dynamic is different than going with just guys or even a mixed group.  Numerous female climbers have written great essays about this, Instagram has the awesome #climblikeagirl, and pros have posted fantastic videos about the importance of climbing with just ladies.
To move on.
I wanted to commemorate the incredible women that I was climbing with by doing something special for them.  When I found the Malabrigo Rios yarn in the colorway of Jupiter, all I could think about was how much it looked like the deep red rock of the Gorge.  I bought three skeins, and what resulted were four hats for my amazing climbing partners: Val, Amanda, Zay, and Emily!

I call them the Venga Las Chicas Hats; "Venga" is the phrase often shouted at Spanish crags to encourage a climber up the wall, so hopefully these hats will encourage my lady friends! :)

Pattern: Scrollwork by Irina Dmitrieva, part of the Wool People 4 catalogue from BrooklynTweed (both links go to Ravelry pages)
Yarn: 3 skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Jupiter

Needles: size 4 for the brim, size 7 for the body, all bamboo.
Timeframe: May 17th-August 11th, 2015.  I finished about a hat a month, though it could have been done a little sooner if I had focused on it. :)

Mods: None until the final hat- I was definitely running out of yarn on hat #4, so on the crown decrease, I skipped the row where I didn't decrease for probably 8 rows.  I was super close to running out of yarn just as I was finishing the hat, as you can see:

and I'm very very glad that I did those quicker decreases.  I feel like it's kind of hard to tell that it happened!
Worst Part: There were points where knitting the same hat pattern so many times in a row got a little bit repetitive, but the pattern was interesting enough that I didn't really mind too much.  To be fair, I've knit a billion Turn a Square hats, so at least these had a little more variety with the cables.

Best Part: Giving them to the ladies and having them wear them out to climb.  :)