Monday, February 28, 2011


I've been taking periodical breaks to finish certain crafty projects that were promised and have due dates on them, and one for sure is finished!
A "Veggiesaurus" shirt for a certain vegetarian is colored, dried, and has finally been delivered as promised, and I couldn't be happier with the result.
I figure one run through the wash should take out all the pencil marks- trying to draw a dinosaur on a shirt is harder than you'd think...
Another project with a deadline is finally coming along- the Alice mittens have sprouted the first roses on the colorwork portion, and I was able to sort through my many post-it notes to write out my modifications to the pattern to make it work. I posted all the changes on my Ravelry page for them, and hopefully it'll help when I make the second mitten. I really like them so far, despite the fiddly-ness of the pattern.
As I run off to work on my thesis paper, I leave you with a short video on the trials of ballet... because when you're a 5 year old, first position can be tricky... :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Time Management

It's been feeling a little lately like I'm a tiny bit over my head. Reading and homework for my classes is extensive every night, I'm trying to finalize my final thesis paper while making my book lists for my exams, and my tap dancing girls participate in their first competition in less than a month.
All of this means I've become a list-making machine, planning every minute that I possibly can to help incorporate homework or working on something I need to get done. 15-minute bus ride to school? Time to read Lady Audley's Secret for Victorian lit.
Get to class 7 minutes early? Headphones are on, and I'm listening to "Jump, Jive 'an Wail", tapping out a section that might be unclear to make sure it works.
Knitting has fallen in to this pattern as well. I have a couple of projects I keep switching out in my bag, and I've made progress on some important time-sensitive ones.
I finished the Incognito for my Hawaiian friend, just in time for his birthday today!
I really had fun making this one- super fast, and the embroidery was a good activity while watching movies. :)
Specs: Made out of good ol' Cascade 220 in a chocolate-brown, on size 8 needles. Embroidery is in black Cascade 220.
Modifications: The recipient was curious if there was a way to keep the cowl up around his face without being too tight, so I made a super-long I-cord and strung it through the folded-down hem, coming out through the back of the cowl to be tied. He really enjoyed it, and I'm glad it worked as well as I wanted it to!
Besides the cowl, I also took the Alice in Wonderland mittens for my advisor back out of hiding and re-cast on in size crazy-small needles, working on the cuff during a climbing-movie night at a friend's house.
It looks a lot better, and hopefully I'll be done with the cuff and into the colorwork by the end of the week!
Last but not least is a Veggiesaurus shirt I'm making for a certain Vegetarian/Vegan!
I'm really excited with how well this one is turning out, and I'm doing one color every time I stand up to take a stretch break from homework.
Speaking of homework... probably should get back... :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The last couple of days have been ridiculously warm up here in Duluth. We set a record high yesterday at 52 degrees F, which made perfect weather for a beautiful walk around Duluth!
The ice in the harbor was breaking up all over the place, and I made sure to do some iceberg-jumping while out (though in retrospect, I really should have fallen in)...
In between tearing off bits of tasty cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest, a local bakery, I made sure to let my knitting get some air- my pair of crazy-colored socks, which I finally frogged the heel and lengthened the heel flap to what it needed to be.
I love knitting with the bright colors in the midst of white, gray, and ice, and these socks really fit the ticket!
It's supposed to get cold again soon, but it was nice to pull out my rainboots, stretch my legs, and get knitting pictures outside for once. Gives me the itch to finish that one sweater that's been lingering in the background for a long time... get some (finished!) pictures of it against the snowy background...
Yay progress!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bits and Pieces

It's been rather stressful this last week or so, but one major accomplishment has been ticked off my list- I passed my written French translation exam, woohoo! Two nerve-wracking hours of translating some pages from Albert Camus's L'Estranger before sitting down and reading my translation back to one of the French professors resulted in (I felt) one of my bigger accomplishments so far. I was honestly worried that this translation exam was going to hold me back from my Master's degree, but lo and behold I managed to do it!
To celebrate, I gave myself a couple of hours off to watch Wall-E and work on the toe increase for my Pointe socks.
After a couple of hair raising moments (including a potentially dangerous moment where I somehow yanked an entire needle out and had to pick up the stitches again) I had the two all done for the first sock! It was finicky work, but I really like how it looks and how seamless the top of the toe is with this method.
I've also been doing a row or two on the bus or in the five minutes before class on these fun and easy ribbed socks, though I'm such a tight knitter that the slip 1-knit or slip-1 purl heel flap was suuuuuper short, which you can really see in the picture and is obvious after I knit the gusset. Just because I really want to like these socks and wear them a lot, and there's no specific time line on them, I might tear back the heel and make the heel flap longer. Just to make it right. :)
In other news, my ballet class has really started to kick my butt. Being back in pointe shoes resulted in a nice big blister, and I've been limping around willing it to heal super fast, since half my life right now is in dance shoes (tap and ballet) or climbing shoes. Tomorrow in class is going to be fun. I'm half tempted to knit a pair of those toe-less socks to walk around in, just so my feet stay warm while letting it heal. Yay for dance! :)
Off to work more on my paper. It's kind of nice that it's been so ridiculously cold out lately up here in the north, as I don't feel terribly guilty for being unable to go outside and enjoy our beautiful winter days. Hopefully a couple more edits and this thing is in the bag. Until then, research, research, research!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Keep on Learning...

I've been spending a lot of my time here lately:
studying hard, trying to finish my last thesis paper in order to have it ready to go before all my paperwork is due. It's tedious work, but it's a lot of fun when I'm really in the thick of it, and feeds my excitement to keep researching and finding new things.
Speaking of learning, I started a project today that's going to be a whole new learning experience for me!
I'm making a pair of Manolo socks for myself, and they're made using a few things that are new to me as a sock knitter. First and foremost, they're done toe-up using a special cast where the toe of the sock is immediately closed. They're also knit on two circular needles, whereas I've always been a double-point needle kind of lady. I'm making them in some very pretty soft pink yarn. Normally I'm not a pink sort of person, but the pattern reminds me so much of pointe shoes that there really seemed to be no choice in the matter. This pattern will probably challenge me, and I'm excited to really dive in!
Besides, if nothing else, I have a pair of easy ribbed socks I can fall back on, in super bright colors to ward off the winter blues... :)
Back to the studying!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Something Cozy

Things have been crazy since the semester started, with reading piling up and paperwork to be filled out so I can graduate and a thesis paper I'm revising and a french translation test to study for on top of teaching dance and working at the climbing gym. I'm going to be really glad when week five passes and I can breathe a little sigh of relief at getting papers in before more studying.
In between all the insanity, I managed to knit a little something to keep my coffee warm during the many late-night study sessions I've been having.It's a mug cozy, knit with a very brilliant little pattern that was fast and easy to remember. I've never done "smocking" before, so learning a new technique in the process was an extra bonus!
Specs: The pattern is the Mug and French Press Jacket, with the link to the blog sight here and the Ravelry link here. I made it with some extra Cascade 220 that I found while stash-diving, in a really pretty red/orange mix that was a great splash of color for the middle of winter, not to mention as Valentine's Day approaches! The button is another one from my Grandma's stash- big and brown and fun.I did modify it a little- the bottom increases called for making one by lifting the bar from the previous round, but it was getting really tight and didn't look the way I wanted, so I simply increased by k1 and increase through the back loop, creating the pretty swirl pattern I thought would add a nice detail to the bottom of the cozy.
I'll probably make more for last-minute presents since it was such a fast, fun knit. There might even be one more for me since I'll be drinking a lot of coffee in the months to come!
As my study schedule gets crazier, it'll be nice to have a warm cup of something next to me. :)
Stay warm today, everyone! (especially fellow northerners: -2 F out right now, so waiting at the bus stop is going to be chilly this morning!)