Monday, June 29, 2009

Aw, Crap.

I told myself that in order to start any other project that I really really want to, I absolutely have to finish all the big projects that are currently on my needles. There are really only three contenders that this covers.
Trident Lace Socks- It's amazing how much I can do on a slow Sunday at VE, especially when I only pack these as entertainment- no books, no magazines, not even other yarn to look at. It's still slow for me to work on lace, but I'm thinking perhaps as far as socks go I only have a mind block up. After all, I got a ton done and only have the foot left. Maybe I can finally finish these stupid things soon. I've only been working on them since flippin' January...
The Dale-Okay, so maybe it doesn't look like I'm much further. But you can bet that there's progress on this beast. Slowly but surely. I'll get it done before it snows. Probably. Of the three, this one is probably going to test me the most. Especially since I'm almost done with the other two.
And, of course,
Mosey Legwarmers for Jenelle-
Okay, here's where I ran into a slight... um... problem, if you will. I originally bought two skeins for this project, and needed three to finish. I bought another skein weeks after I got the first two (amateur mistake, I know), brought it home, realized it was waaaay too dark, brought my legwarmer to YH the next time I went, and got another skein that I thought matched all right. I noticed it wasn't exactly right with color at the shop, but it looked close enough that I thought it would be fine. I started knitting with it in the legwarmer, and only when I was much farther that I really looked and saw the difference. Unfortunately, this was the skein closest in color at the shop, so I had to go with it. Take a look at the finished product. That was with a flash. Still don't belive me?Without a flash in regular light.



Screw it.After these things dry completely (and they're close), I'll get a proper photo shoot and get them to the recipient. I won't say anything, and maybe she won't notice...Since these are pretty much done, once I finish the socks I'll only be working on the Dale. I may start some travel socks just to be working on something, but it's going to be all Dale all the time. ::gulp::.
This might be a bad idea...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

...well, chalk dust that is, since that's what this bag is meant to hold. I'm pretty excited though- the chalk bag is completely finished and on its first run as we speak!I decided to model the chalkbag myself since I wasn't going on the inaugural climb this weekend (working at VE- blasted responsibilities!), but hopefully I can get some "action" shots at some point to post. :)As far as chalk bags go, this one is humungous. Instead of the standard one, you could probably fit five chalk balls comfortably in there- not kidding at all.I'm really happy with the finished product- fleece on the inside, canvas rim to hold the shape, a drawstring with runners on the inside, and pretty pretty garter stitch wrapping around the entire bag.You better believe I'm going to make one similar for myself- once I alter the pattern so it's not for giganto. I'll post the pattern too once I get a solid one written up and not just scattered notes all over the place.
Time to make dinner after a long day at work... toaster strudel, perhaps?

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I had my birthday on Thursday, and it couldn't have been a more perfect day for going outside. I had a short shift at B&N in the morning, where my amazing co-workers were kind enough to sing "Happy Birthday" to me over the loudspeakers before we opened, and treated me to a fancy coffee (my preferred white chocolate mocha!) and lots of b-day hugs. Afterwards, I got to go to my favorite local breakfast place- Uncle Louis Cafe- for some french toast deliciousness before heading up the shore for some lovely climbing!We went to Palisade Head, since we didn't want to climb anything below a 5.9. Started off on one of my favorites- the beautiful 5.9 crack Phantom Crack- as a good warm up, then decided to try some stuff that was a little more out of the way that I haven't done yet. Above is me on Rapprochement, a tricky 5.10b where I got stuck on the move above the crux (hardest part), naturally. I did enjoy it though, a tricky little corner climb. My favorite of the day, however, was Laceration Jam- an incredible 5.10b beautiful hand crack that I can't wait to lead. Laceration has two parts- the bottom section that I cruised before it splits off into two different cracks- Laceration traverses over to the right for a lead-only section, while the left crack (the one I did) is a different crack called Christmas Tree Crack. I have to admit, after that gorgeous hand crack I thought Christmas Tree was a little on the dirtier side, with more loose gravel and the hand crack turned into more off-width (crack that you have to stick an arm or a leg in to get up- not nearly as nice), but it was still worth it just to do Laceration.The day was beautiful, and I'm so glad I got to go out to the cliffs! It was a little on the warm side for me- up to 80 degrees, uff-da!- but the breeze made it bearable for belaying, and the later it got the more it started to cool off. After my hands had properly been beaten like crazy, it was time to head back into town for BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!!This year the boys went all out- the guy I'm making the chalk bag for, Tyler, has a connection- his Mom professionally makes cakes. She made me this beautiful raspberry layered cake with home-made frosting- no sugar in the frosting at all, and it was light and fluffy and exactly what the best type of frosting tastes like! I was in heaven.
Overall, a grand birthday that made turning 24 not bad at all. A big thanks to Tyler for being my belay-buddy, although he probably loved going out there anyway. As climbers, we take what we can get...
Project update later...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chalkbag... er, pot...

With rain coming down nice and dreary yesterday, I had ample time in the morning to really buckle down and work on finishing the sewing portion of the chalk bag.I got the inner felt lining sewed together and sewed on the felt and canvas bottom, plus the requested few inches of canvas at the opening at the top in order to help keep the shape. I also sewed on guides for the cinch, stuck a gromit in a hole in the knitting, and hand stitched the bottom of the knitting to the bag. I thought it was looking pretty good when I finally put it down last night to go to ballet and swing, only missing the canvas lip and canvas straps for hooks. I was actually a little excited about how well it all went together, and had aspirations for quick and easy chalk bag construction in the future. I was so excited that it rubbed off when I told the recipient how close I was to finishing at swing night, and he insisted on viewing it. He was pretty excited with it, but mentioned how much... ahem... larger it was compared to most chalk bags. I had to agree. I'll show the comparison when I finally finish it, but it's a bit larger then conventional chalk bags. It's not as big as a chalk pot, but it's pretty close. He also requested that the drawstring be further up on the bag, so last night and this morning I've been using the seam ripper to go to town on the drawstring guides, and I made another gromit about an inch higher (I have to admit, I agree with him on this one- it'll help the bag aesthetically, too). Once that's done and the knitting sewn down, I'll make quick work of the last few details before I have the finished chalkbag. Since the actual sewing part was really pretty fast and simple, I may make him a "real" sized chalk bag with just a canvas exterior for everyday use (he kept saying how much he loves this one, but he may not strap it on all the time. It's huge. I forgive him.). I am pretty excited with how well this one has turned out so far, though. I may have to make one for myself. After, of course, I finish everything on the rest of my checklist. ::gulp::
PS- Just a quick note- I am happy to report that Cheryl did fall victim to the Whisper Cardigan and was tempted by some Misti Alpaca in turquise- ha! I love helping other people be as doomed as me to the vortex of pretty knitting. :-D

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Yesterday was Grandma's Marathon up here in Duluth, and for the first time I was able to go down and watch all the festivities- right up to cheering a native Minnesotan to win Grandma's for the first time since '82 and the first American since '95! It was abuzz with people, energy, and of course lots of tired runners (I would personally pass out at mile 3.4 if I ever tried to run something like that). I was able to be right at the finish line to watch the first place winner cross the line for the Men's and Women's marathon and the Wheelchair Marathon. Duluth pulled out all the stops- and Lake Superior decided to give us the first day above 60 degrees this summer- with sun! This morning is just as beautiful, prompting a cup of coffee as I clean up around the apartment and work on some projects with all the windows wide open.
All my projects right now are actually for other people. The Dale has come out of the corner, and I've started to do a row or two every single night before I head to bed. It's pretty thrilling that the progress is finally starting to show. I'll post a picture when it actually begins to look like I've made progress. In the meantime, I have plenty to work on besides that. I've finished knitting the outside of chalk bag, and it's making me a little nervous because of how big it is. I'm starting to second guess my calculations for how big it's going to be. I don't want to turn it into a chalk pot, but I don't want it to be shrunk too small, either. Tyler wanted it to be on the bigger side because his complaint was that his other chalk bags were too small for his hands, so maybe I'll just make it and hope for the best.
It still looks big to me... gulp...I only want to show a little bit of my other project- some Mosey Legwarmers for my dancer friend Jenelle, because I'm not sure if she reads this or not, and I want them to stay a surprise as to what they look like. I'm on the endless ribbing on the second legwarmers, and I'm looking forward to finishing them up this week some time- probably next weekend during my three-day stint at VE, especially if it's as nice out then as it is right now. The size of the needles and yarn is making it go by faster than I thought, and I'm trying to squeeze it in during breaks or bus rides, and it's growing slowly but surely. I have to say I'll probably be happy to get this one finished. It took a little over a skein to do the first one legwarmer, and since I only bought two skeins with high hopes I would only need that many, I'll have to make one more trip to Yarn Harbor to probably finish this project once and for all.
With all this gift project knitting, I decided that it was time to put something in the que for myself as my next project. Feel free to enjoy the yarn I picked for the project- buttery Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino, in a creamy white:Soft and thin, I plan on knitting the Whisper Cardigan from the spring '09 issue of Interweave Knits. It only requires 2 skeins of the lace, knitting up on size 7 needles- making this my least expensive sweater yet (cost-wise, the Dale to the Whisper Cardigan is like comparing a NYC Penthouse to my apartment). If it turns out as well as I hope, I may have to make more than one. The best part is that I got Cheryl addicted to the pattern as well, especially after she and I checked it out on Ravelry on my last trip to the shop. We've been planning on doing the Vivienne pattern as a KAL once we both finish our Dales, but she was right over at the luxery yarns with me, picking some yarn out and oogling the pattern. I'm pretty excited to start this project, but I won't until I'm done with the legwarmers- they're on my size 7's!!
Working later tonight, but with a whole day off tomorrow I've got plenty to do. Time to go enjoy some coffee and planning at my sewing table and feel the lovely breeze off Superior.
It's finally summer...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Check this out...

I don't know how often I've harped on here about Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but I've pushed it on as many people as I could since I read it. It's an incredible story written very simply in McCarthy's trademark style, and guess what-
The trailer for the movie has finally come out!
It looks pretty wicked and a little scary, and hopefully it puts up at least a good fight to be as good as the book. As always, I'm curious how they're going to do certain poignant scenes in the book, but that'll have to wait until October.
If that wasn't enough, another of my recent favorite books was made into a movie as well- Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife was a fantastic story, and after a lot of delays in filming was finally put to the screen. Check out the trailer for it- it's got one of my favorite actresses, Rachel McAdams as the key role!
Granted, I'll be the first to say that the movie is never as good as the book, but with two amazing ones coming out, at least one of them has to be good... right?
Ballet tonight with the hard teacher. My legs are going to be unhappy later. But as it's the only exercise I'm really getting today, I can't complain too much, right?
At least I have time for one more cup of coffee before biking down to the studio. Mmmmm, coffee... :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mail? For Moi?

I got the first half of my Roald Dahl swap package in the mail yesterday- huzzah! Pretty exciting stuff, as I've been waiting for this for awhile. I say 'half' because apparently the big knitted item that my partner was making for me met a sad and watery end when accidently thrown into the washing machine (by her boyfriend, which is completely understandable), so later on another package will be gracing my doorstep (which I'm okay with, because I LOVE mail!).
Many goodies bursting everywhere:Lots of Wonka candy goodness, cocoa mix in a few flavors (for visits to Miss Honey's cottage), a copy of Roald Dahl's Esio Trot (a lesser-known compared to his others, but one of my favorites!), and some growing sea creatures (Miss Trunchbull may find more than a newt in her next glass of water!). Also, in the spirit of Esio Trot, she included some amazing little turtle stitch markers she made herself, which are possibly some of my favorite stitch markers I have now.Of course wool was to be had, in the shape of two skeins of Frog Tree Meriboo- a combination of Merino wool and Bamboo, basically soft and delicious in a scrumdidlyumptious blue. I'll have to make plans for that one...
I finally had time to organize and clean around here, as well as make for myself a little craft table for my sewing stuff. It's sitting in our living room, at the corner window overlooking Lake Superior. After all, if I'm going to have a craft area, why not have an incredible view to look at for inspiration?

Sunday, June 14, 2009


We finally got internet Saturday morning, but due to work I've only just been able to really get on it tonight. I never enjoy when work takes more time that I want it to, but rent and bills must be paid, so unfortunately it has to go forth.
It would be nice to be able to spend more time doing this:This is from climbing up the north shore on Palisade Head- this route is called Urge to Mate, an incredible 5.10c hand crack all the way up to a top crux. I love crack climbing with every bit of me, and this one was a beautiful one. I've added a few more lines to my rep at Palisade, including possibly my favorite climb up the shore so far- a gorgeous straight hand crack called Phantom Crack. No pics on that one, we were all too busy enjoying a good climb.
I'm hoping the weather will hold out a bit later this week and I can get some outside bouldering in after some morning shelving shifts, but it's not looking promising. I may have to stay inside and work on my knitting- that blasted Dale sweater is moaning and whining over in the corner, and every time it thinks I'm looking at it it starts to whine louder. It's getting annoying but the only way to stop it is to actually work on it. Blast.
I went and saw Disney/Pixar's Up yesterday in 3-D. It was really cute, with some fantastic fun scenes and great graphics. It isn't my favorite Pixar movie, but they still did a really good job. The 3-D was cool, but I'm not sure you absolutely need it.
Off to get some dinner for my stomach. The nice thing about never having time to grocery shop is that picking what I want to eat is simple- I have a choice between pasta, pasta, and dry cereal. It keeps things simple. :)
Knitting update later...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tomorrow! :)

I'm very excited to say that apparently I'm going to have internet capabilities in my apartment starting tomorrow. This is super exciting, because that means I can start blogging regularly again (with pictures!) as well as stay somewhat up-to-date on everything that's going on around me. Not that I'm fantastic at that anyway, but you know how it goes.
Updates lately: visited home, found out my cousin got engaged, saw the growing belly of my other cousin that warned me of the imminent deadline for another Elijah, forgot my computer cable at home (resulting in all this week not using my computer), signed up to swim .8 of a mile in the Brewhouse Triathlon August 2nd, had my first ballet classes with the MN ballet (and got my butt handed to me), and swam for training for the tri. Did laundry. Read a lot. Took some naps. Worked way too early in the morning. Didn't drink enough coffee. And listened to french verb conjugations on my iPod while shelving. Still haven't decided anything on next year yet, but Cheryl got me some of the book titles that I should order while I still have my extra employee discount through tomorrow. I have about a month yet to decide what I'm going to do before I absolutely have to sign up for classes, so I'm going to take that time to look around at as many options as possible.
Oh, and I managed to buy a tub of little cherry tomatoes because they're ridiculously tasty, and somewhere between the check-out at the grocery store and my fridge they disappeared. Not sure how. But now I have no little cherry tomatoes, and when you want something delicious to eat and they're not there, it's a little saddening...

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Last night I sucked it up, sat next to the window with a mug of hot chocolate, and finished Slaughterhouse-5. Maybe I've read too many war books the past few months (okay, only 2 or 3, but it feels like more). Or maybe I just have something against Vonnegut's way of writing. Or perhaps I just didn't like the tone. Whatever the reason, I just didn't like that book. I got through it because, well, I started it and wanted to finish it, but that didn't mean that I enjoyed the ride.
I partly don't understand, because even on other books that made me super depressed (Revolutionary Road comes to mind) I still enjoyed them and looked forward to reading them.
This one I really had to push through hard to get to the end. I haven't had to do that kind of pushing since Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury for my American Lit class (that one required a special trip to Cold Stone for good ice cream to get through), and even that one wasn't as bad as this.
I feel a little bad going on a tirade about this little book, especially since it's critically acclaimed and yadda yadda, and I should be enjoying the allusions and parallels and literary meanings sprinkled throughout. And I could see how a book like this could be paper-writing gold. But for right now, when it's sunny out and I want to just be in a good mood, this just didn't hit the right chord for me this time.
Yikes. This almost makes me nervous to start Catch-22. Maybe I should stick a different book in between the two war novels.
Hopefully onwards and upwards...