Wednesday, February 3, 2016

FO: Winter Winds Set

I can finally retire Jared Flood's Scrollwork Pattern.  I used it to knit 4 hats for friends (my Venga Las Chicas series) as well as a matching set for myself, which I've dubbed the Winter Winds Cowl and Hat.  After 5 hats and a cowl, I'm done with this pattern for the time being.
Though, to be fair, I'm really really fast and good at it now... :)

Pattern: Jared Flood's Scrollwork from Wool People vol. 4 (link goes to Ravelry pattern page)
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in the adeptly named "Purple Mystery"
Needles: Both sizes 4 and 7 for the hat and the cowl, all bamboo.

Timeframe: Sept 24th, 2015-January 28th, 2016.  I actually finished the hat in like two weeks, then didn't cast on for the cowl until after Christmas knitting was finished.

Mods: I only did 8 pattern repeats on the cowl, so I cast on 112 stitches instead of what the pattern called for.  I like it better- it fits well under jackets, and I personally like having a cowl close to my face when it's not an infinity scarf.
Worst Part: By the time I got to knitting this hat for myself, I wasn't as psyched about doing the pattern yet again as I thought I would be.
Best Part: Finally finishing a matching winter set for myself!

(Weird lighting picture so you can see how pretty the pattern is!)
I'm really happy to FINALLY finish this set.  It's an involved enough knit that I can't bring it with me places easily, and it takes enough concentration that I can't just have a conversation while making it.
I officially only have a handful of items in my Ravelry queue now.  Two toys- a Sasquatch for a new baby and a Yeti for a baby who is due in the next month- need to be finished quickly.  Those are definitely at-home knits, as I don't feel like dragging a giant bag of stuffing everywhere.
Another at-home only knit is the Ivy League Vest that I would love to finish before the end of the school year.  I was chugging away so well before I got distracted with other knits... oops...
Those are the only real big ones I have currently on needles... weird...
I also started a pair of handwarmers for myself as spring approaches, mostly because I don't have any travel knitting right now.  I have some time in the car this weekend, so hopefully these will get a bit of mileage on them before next week.
I also really want to knit a quick Turn-a-Square hat for BF for Valentine's Day.  I can usually punch one of those out fairly fast, and I think it would be a nice gesture to have a hand-made present for him while it's still winter.
I should actually cast on for that today... right when I get home, especially since spring knitting is beckoning from around the corner...
I'm excited to clear some of these projects out so I can start on others. :)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Frosty Month of January

It's been a crazy month as Spring Semester takes off!
I can officially say that I'm pretty sure I've bitten off more than I can chew this semester.  Things have gotten insane between dance rehearsals 4 nights a week for up to 5 hours, to 12 credits of teaching at my local college, to being a board member of a local non-profit, to helping plan and execute a local ice climbing festival, to being the adviser for a local student honor chapter, to trying to fit a boyfriend, climbing, cross-country skiing, and even just time with friends or the occasional evening knitting and movie.  My planner is color-coded and filled out to within an inch of every available space, and every night I feel like I forgot to do something as I fall asleep.
And I'm only 3 weeks in to the semester...

(Albert looking how I feel most of the time...)
Luckily, I have a very deep supply of coffee, my love for my dancers and their awesomeness, and a strong support system in parents, friends, and boyfriend for encouragement.  I'm also making sure that I keep my weekends fairly open to keep up with grading, projects, cleaning and chores, and allowing myself to have some relaxing (knitting) time.
I've also had some wrenches thrown in to the craziness this past month.  For example, a couple of weeks ago, I got into a small car accident!

My car slid gently off of an icy road going only 20 mph, but a bunch of trees that stopped the slide in the ditch dented in my passenger door and smashed the window.  It was far too expensive to repair quickly, and since it's my parents' car in the first place, I'm going to have my college's auto department fix it when body work comes up in their syllabus.
This meant that I- for the first time ever- bought a new car!

It's a 2015 Subaru Outback, which is exactly what I've always wanted for a trip vehicle.  Climbing road trips just got that much more awesome!  After driving old and dying vehicles my whole life, having a new car feels like an insane luxury.  AC?  Amazing!  Heated Seats?  WHAT?!

Pretty nice. :)
I have managed to throw in a little friend time among the crazy!
My friend Heather stopped in from overseas.  She moved from Denmark to London recently, which of course means I need to plan a trip to one of the few European countries I haven't been!  I met her and my other old high school friend Sarah to meet Sarah's new little boy Carson.

Isn't he cute?
Just this last weekend I went shopping for bridesmaids dresses with my brother's fiance, and it was a rockin' good time with all 7 of the bridesmaids there!  We had breakfast, laughed at ugly dresses, drank coffee, and got our dresses ordered for the July wedding.

I also helped set climbing routes for the first time at a local climbing competition!  My boyfriend is a route setter, and when we got to a gym that I was supposed to try out the routes for the competition, we found out that there were no routes to climb.  So I got a crash-course in putting up routes, and it was tough but a lot of fun!

(Another local hard climber, Sean, stopped in too to set some routes.  He helped me finish one of my last routes before BF and I signed out for the night)
I haven't been able to get in a ton of knitting lately, but I have finished one big project that I'll blog about later this week, as well as start on a pair of handwarmers for myself for chilly days at the climbing gym!  The Pomatomus gloves are a pattern that I've made twice for friends already, and I'm finally making myself a pair.  These are my travel knitting, as the rest of my projects don't really lend themselves to being tucked in a bag...
In the meantime, I'm trying to focus on little things that can help keep me stress-free and are a little bit of self-care since my schedule is so insane right now.  Little things like eating healthy, making vegetarian crock-pot dishes that I can eat at school all week, or trying to maintain schedule of getting to bed by 11 and up at 7 to get things done right away in the morning.  Starting my day with 5-10 minutes of yoga while my coffee brews, and being thankful for all of the awesome things happening in my life.
It's busy, but I'm definitely enjoying it. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

FO: Snowflake Paws

The New Year has been rung in and I'm really excited to make 2016 fun, exciting, productive, and adventurous!  
Before I get into exactly what that entails as far as my 2016 plans are concerned, I need to finish off the year with a FO that I (finally!) gave to the recipient for a Christmas present.  My roommate has been slyly hinting at getting a pair of mittens in the several years that we've been friends, and now that we're actually living together, it was time that I make her a pair of Snowflake Paws!
Pattern: Kate Davies' Snawpaws (link to Ravelry page)
Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift in Granite and Gentian
Needles: DPN's size 1 in bamboo
Timeframe: I accidentally forgot to put in Ravelry when I started, but I know it was super late, so I'm tentatively saying December 1-28th, 2015.  We gifted things to each other late, so finishing them after Xmas was okay... :)

Mods: Alex has small hands, so I eliminated the last repeat of snowflakes to make them shorter.  I also didn't go up a needle size as the pattern suggests, and only stuck with size 1's the whole time.  If I were to make these again, I would probably lengthen the cuffs, but that's mostly personal preference.
Worst Part: Not much, honestly.  It was a great small project, easy enough to follow and memorize that I could do it while chatting with friends, and I love the way it turned out.  Yarn was a little scratchy for my personal taste, but I think Alex likes them, so that's what matters!
Best Part: I love the way this wool looks and works with colorwork.  Again, a bit scratchy for my taste, but I could be persuaded into making some mittens for myself with it...
(They look really nice when cross-country skiing...)
I have a few Works In Progress that I need to get working on and get out of my queue, because there's so many pretty things to make this year... :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Closing out 2015

The last two months have been a blur of school, dance, lesson planning and prep, grading, climbing board meetings, climbing, weekends in the cities, and new things happening; hence, the long absence from writing on here.  I have a day at home right now where I'm cleaning, organizing, purging, and reflecting before I head to the cities to celebrate the new year with friends and a new guy, but right now it's quiet in the house and I have a cup of coffee in front of me to fuel the changes.

2015 was a really rough year for me.  I started out excited for possibilities and prospects, then got thrown for a major loop just before my 30th birthday in the summer with a very nasty and horrible breakup with my long-term boyfriend.  After years of being in a great, stable relationship that I thought was going somewhere, I was hurt, betrayed, and suddenly on my own with my long-term plans dashed.

I had to take a few trips, learn how to be completely happy with myself and my choices, and I became stronger in my own ideas, thoughts and convictions.

I learned the value of unwavering friendship as people reached out to me, climbed with me, traveled with me, and supported me in so many ways.

I embraced the idea of time with my family, who are ridiculous and awesome all at the same time.
And I realized that while grieving for what could have been is important, it feels so good to say, "All right, it's time to move on to the next adventure." :)

I look at my ambitious goal list that I made about a year ago, and realize that I didn't quite get everything done that I wanted to.  In fact, I only achieved a handful of things on there.  But I learned and experienced and enjoyed so much more than what was on my to-do list that I consider this year to be one full of incredible growth personally, professionally, spiritually, physically, (grammatically?), that I'm not too worried about not putting a check mark next to the things on that list.
While I do believe that thinking one can change just because it's the new year is a little silly, I truly want to embrace that idea this year.  I know that I've changed.  I have scars that are still healing, I'm a little older (turned the big 30!), and the future is still open and scary.

But I also found out that even when things go terrible, I learned that I can still be incredibly positive.  Even when people do horrible things to me, I can still be excited and kind and happy and supportive to those around me that love me.  I have an incredible network of family and friends that will support me when I'm having trouble smiling.
And I'm almost relieved to be back to my excited and happy self at the end of a really rough year.  It took awhile to get that back.  My main goal this year is to keep that happy, even when things are tough. :)
Oh, and to KNIT AND CLIMB ALL OF THE THINGS.  But that's for another post... ;)

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. :)