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.  :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Adventure August: Part I

I just got back from about two weeks out in Colorado, doing the climbing and hiking thing, and it was incredible.  :)  It was exactly what I needed after a bit of a rough summer (minus some awesome patches).  The coolest part about this trip was going with two of my closest friends for an all-ladies trip.  We all seemed to need this trip for different reasons, and it was so cool to come together as a group before we all split off across the US once again.
Highlights of the trip include:

Seeing our old Duluth friend Peter!

He gave us a local's tour of Boulder Canyon in Colorado, and we had an incredible time climbing amazing rock and staying at his place!

Finding another Duluthian, Hannah, who did quite a few days of climbing with us even as she settled in to Boulder herself!

I jumped on my first V5 in Rocky Mountain National Park, and was literally one move away from finishing it successfully after only a handful of tries.  I left it as a project- guess I'll have to go back again!  Ooooh darn... ;)

We were in town for the Boulder farmer's market and craft show, where we got to try sample after sample of organic, non-GMO, natural, gluten-free everything.  It was a little crazy!

We ate so well on this trip!  My friend Amanda was an incredible cook, and every meal was full of delicious fresh veggies that she cooked up effortlessly, usually without a recipe.  It inspired me to begin eating wholly and well again now that I'm back home, especially since I felt incredible the entire time I was eating out there!

There were some fun little exciting bits, as well.  I mean, you can't have a climbing trip without some "huh" moments!  For instance, I did a very long moderate 5.9 that became slick and tough when it started raining on me mid-route.  I had to clean the draws, then when I was lowered, we realized exactly how long the route was when this was how much rope there was left!  At least I made it... :)

On our rest day walking around Fort Collins, we went to a chocolate shop similar to the one in the movie Chocolat and tried a flight of chocolate (similar to a flight of beer).  I've never really done anything like that before, and it was delicious!  We were all dissolving into giggle fits as we enjoyed the chocolate tasting, and each of us walked off with some truffles and hot chocolate to enjoy when the weather turns.

We ended the trip bouldering in Rocky Mountain National Park again.  I absolutely loved the hike in, and it only solidified how much I truly love the mountains.  And long approaches.  And climbing incredible rock.  And trips with friends.
This trip was exactly what I needed put my head and my thoughts back in order, and to gain back that positive and happy energy that I felt had dwindled after such a rough summer.
It's amazing how therapeutic climbing and friends can be when you need to heal your soul. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Adventure Augusts- Begin

I just got off the Superior Hiking Trail with my parents, I taught dance camp, and now I'm heading off to Colorado to hang out with a bunch of different friends for an awesome CLIMBING TRIP! :)
I'll regale part I of my August Adventure in just under 2 weeks.
For now, I'm off. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July Craziness

After climbing in Spearfish, it's been non-stop busy for me.  I decided that in order to keep my sanity, I would only really keep up on instagram (and occasionally facebook) and take a hiatus from writing on the blog.  This was partly because I was gone 4 days every weekend, and partly because I've been so busy that knitting has taken a back seat this summer.
Instead, here's what I've been up to this last month!

Almost every weekend, I've been trying to get down to the lake to enjoy time with family.  It's really cool that as I get older, I want to spend more time with my ridiculous family members.  And one really awesome thing- my brother got engaged!  We're adding a Kendra to my immediate family, and I couldn't be happier with my almost-sister-in-law!

(Myself, Brit, and Kendra hanging out on the lake!)
I spent my Mon-Thu teaching a summer term course at my college, which was really intense and really fast-paced.  Luckily, I had time in the afternoon to do a few awesome activities...

like picking strawberries with my friend Alex...

and passing the last navigation dive for my Advanced Diver Certification!  It feels SO cool to know that I've passed, and I have over a dozen dives under my belt- half of them in Lake Superior!  Diving scares the crap out of me, so getting to a point that I'm finally feeling a little more comfortable underwater is incredible!
My last two weekends have been filled with wedding related parties for one of my best college friends, Lady Lust!

Her rehearsal at Pizza Luce in downtown was delicious...

and I got to help assemble everything from bouquets to boutineers to drawing names and dates on hangers.

The wedding was fantastic, and one of the best parts was being able to hang out with all my old college friends that I haven't seen in far too long.  My old roommates Mark and Larissa attempted to coerce me to move down to the cities so I can hang out with them more often.  It was hard to say no!

I'm so glad I was part of Kate's special day, and it only fueled my desire to see them all more often!
I ended the weekend hanging out with my family, as my Dad flew up from Florida for a couple of weeks of MN summer awesomeness!  We did an entire day on Sunday on the water, touring the entire Lake Minnetonka area and jumping in whenever it got too hot out (which was just about every bay).  I've really missed having my dad around, and having all of the family together was fantastic.

I drove back to Duluth late Sunday, and last night was a special performance by my summer tap dance students down on the Duluth Boardwalk!

We performed the song we'd been working on the last few weeks, and the girls performed amazingly!  None of them seemed nervous, it looked like they had fun, and we even had a good size crowd!
Tonight is my last night of summer dance, and tomorrow I'll be taking my Mom, Dad, brother, and Kendra out on the Superior Hiking Trail for a couple of days of backpacking.  From there, back to the lake for the weekend, then a day of dance camp, then on Tuesday I'm off for a 10-day climbing trip in Colorado with two of my best friends!
Things don't seem like they're going to slow down until school starts at the end of August, but I'll attempt to do a better job of shorter posts with pics more often.
And maybe- just maybe- some finished knitting projects. ;)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

FO: U of M Socks

I'm heading down to visit family this weekend in the Twin Cities, but I wanted to squeak in a quick post about an FO that I've had done for awhile- a pair of University of Minnesota colored-socks for one of my graduating dancers!

Pattern: #9728 Beginner Socks from Knitting Pure and Simple
Yarn: Cascade 220 worsted-weight in Maroon and Gold :)
Needles: Size 6 bamboo DPN's

Mods: Lots, but mostly minor ones for color and to get the colored short-row heel that I wanted.  To get the color sequence to look like old-school athletic socks, here's my notes:
5 rounds of K1P1 
K5 rounds in base color 
K3 rounds of color 2 
K2 rounds of base color 
K5 rounds of color 2 
K2 rounds of base color 
K3 rounds of color 2 
Then back to base color for the remainder of the leg. 
I did a short-row heel instead of the heel asked for in the pattern in color 2, and also used color 2 when I began the toe decreases.
Worst Part: Not finishing these in time for the special performance.
Best Part: This is one of those fun times when I'm pretty sure she'll enjoy these the most when she's hanging out in her dorm room, and hopefully a glance at her feet brings back happy tap-dancing memories. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Keeping Busy

This summer has really taken off- I can't believe it's already July!  I've been doing everything from diving to friend time to my 30th birthday party to a trip to Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota for climbing!
Some of the highlights:

I ran the bridal shower for one of my best college friends- it was a field day, and with my Mom's help, it went fantastically!  Ridiculous games from elementary school are the best type of games for an event like this. :)

I went to a bachelorette party for one of my Duluth friends, Sarah.  It was one of those wine-and-paint events that I've seen on social media, and it was an incredible amount of fun to finally try something like this out!

I now have a fun painting hanging in my bedroom, and it spurred me to pull out my watercolors to start doing a little art on my off-days this summer!

Here's another big event- I turned 30!  I sent an invite out to Duluth friends, and had a get-together at Mexico Lindo.  After such a difficult week, having around 30 people stop by and hug me and do toasts with me and let me know how much they care was nothing short of incredible, not even counting the number of messages, texts, phone calls, and facebook posts.  It was exactly the sort of outpouring of love that I needed, and it warms my heart to know how many people care about me.

One of the most amazing parts?  These ladies drove up 2 1/2 hours from the Twin Cities just to be at my birthday party.  I definitely lost it when they came in the door, and again when there were hugs and support from them.  I'm so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people that care about me.  It's good to feel that love when I'm needing a little more support right now. :)
This past weekend, I got a last-minute opportunity to climb in Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota for a last-minute climbing trip over the 4th of July!

It was so much fun- I met a ton of new climbers, saw some old friends that I haven't seen for a long time, and got totally thrashed after 3 days of trying hard!

I worked a 5.12a called The Juvenile that was a fantastic climb, and if I was in endurance shape, I could have bagged my first 5.12a outside.  I actually got the difficult climbing portion, and just couldn't hold on to the bigger holds on top.  That's okay- project for next trip! :)

I didn't even know the people I was driving out with until I drove up to the apartment we were leaving from in Northeast Minneapolis.  That's okay- a 10 hour drive meant plenty of time to make friends!

All in all, it was an amazing trip that reminded me how much I love getting outdoors, going camping, and trying hard with fantastic friends.
It feels really good to enjoy so many positive experiences after some difficult changes. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Hello and happy June, everyone!
After all the end-of-year mayhem took place, I decided to take a little break from the internet and blogging to focus on getting back to being present in the everyday, plus cleaning both physically and mentally.
One of the big changes that presented itself in the last few days is that my longtime boyfriend Scott and I separated.  It was a less-than-ideal situation, and I was completely devastated for a few days.  I'm honestly still reeling from it all, but I've decided that the time to be sad is over, and I'm going to take a deliberate step forward to being happy again.  After all, I'm going to be turning 30 this coming Thursday, and I'm determined to start my 30's off strong, excited, and ready for adventures!
That big life event allowed me to really look at everything going on, and question things a little.  I recently read a bit of the popular book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo, and she really focuses on questioning everything that surrounds you and asking, "Does this give me Joy?".  The cool thing is that this translates to so many aspects of life.  I look at all things I do, the people I surround myself with, and the activities I choose to pursue, and I can truly say that almost all of them give me real joy.  And in order to really pursue the things that give me joy, I'm going to make plans to really pursue them.
For instance, I've been looking up trips for the next year or so already!  One will hopefully be visiting my friend Heather when she and her husband move to London.  I also want to take a long vacation to Thailand, where I can possibly plan to do a week of scuba diving and a week (or longer?) of climbing!
I also want to (at some point) take some master classes at a tap dance or tap teacher dance convention.  I've started research into this, and there's a lot of possibilities- I just have to find one that's affordable. ;)
I've moved my room around, put up some new pictures, and despite the heartache, I'm going to blaze ahead with joy and excitement as this new chapter opens up for me.

Good vibes. :)
(Regularly scheduled knitting, books, things Maeby has destroyed, and other posts will commence in the next few days, I promise!)