Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blocking and a Turkey

Sorry about the long time lapses of silence- it's been crazy busy for me lately as I try to balance end-of-semester load with working. This weekend I was planning on working hard on my Victorian literature paper, so with family Easter tomorrow I packed up everything from Duluth....
and set up shop in the kitchen at my parent's house down in the Twin Cities! It's nice to be home for a bit, as it always is, though my Mom gets so excited for us to come home that she makes huge Minnesotan meals... for every meal. We just finished a stroganoff lunch- enough to keep me happy the whole day- and she informed us that we were having a big lasagna dinner, too. Uff da! So much food!
Last night I was really burnt out from the long week of staying up late working on papers and reading and writing assignments, so my Mom and I crashed on the couch when we got into town and watched "Chocolat", since it perfectly worked with Easter weekend. I was able to (finally!) get the time to finish my Brit Lit Vest! This morning it took a little bit of a bath...
And now it's lying in the porch, trying to catch some of the gloomy afternoon rays and dry out.
It's definitely got some bulk to it, but we'll see what it looks like once it's done blocking and has the buttons sewed on. Maybe I should have used a lighter weight yarn than the Cascade 220?
So even though it's the bunny holiday, we had a little bit of a surprise this morning when we looked out into our backyard...
we noticed a giant turkey lurking around! The best part about this is my parent's house is situated on an island with only two bridges to get over the channels, meaning that in order to get to my parent's house, this giant turkey had to at one point walk over a bridge, then walk up and down lots of hills in order to finally make its way to my parent's backyard. Ridiculous! My mom and brother and I got a kick out of it. :)
Back to the grind... now I only have one bigger project on the needles, and I need to get that finished before the summer comes. Maybe that'll be my May project... once school is done... and all these papers...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FO: Spring Shawl

I took some time off from studying yesterday to break out the chacos for a walk outside, enjoy the beautiful 60 degree weather, and get some pictures of my first-ever shawl, just in time for the change in weather!
Yarn: Mirasol Yarn Nuna, in a pretty turquoise-blue (Colorway 1025, Dye Lot 93514)
Needles: Size 8
Modifications: They weren't necessarily modifications, but my stitch count kept getting off and I kept...kind of... making things... up. Oops. I stuck as close to the pattern as possible, but I kept not getting the right amount of stitches in the end, which drove me crazy. I finally just went with it and figured things out as I went. There's a couple of places where you can tell I deviated from the pattern a little, but overall it's not bad.
Best Part: Really enjoying the flexibility of the yarn, and how light it feels when I wear it!
Worst Part: Not knowing if it was me doing so badly on the lace part or if I had an old version of the pattern with the wrong stitch count. Oops...
I really enjoy how the shawl looks just draped around my shoulders, and I'm pretty sure I'll start hunting around for another pattern soon. It'll be a good piece to add to my "teacher" wardrobe, and helps brighten up any outfit!
Plus, I have a project in mind that requires good practice with lace shawls, so I want to feel comfortable with lace shawl patterns before taking on an advanced pattern.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


It's that time of year here at my house- studying. The end of the semester approaches, along with paper deadlines, proposals, and a new one for me this year- job-hunting for a teaching position for next year. I'm spending a lot of time doing this:
just me and my little laptop and a large pile of books and articles and notes and outlines.
I was able to take a small study break to watch my UMD BULLDOGS win their very first NCAA National Championship! Having been brainwashed to be a hockey fan from birth, this was a really exciting event, resulting in much cheering and screaming and nail-biting. It was a close game the entire time, with UMD scoring the winning goal in overtime! I think I typed about three sentences on my paper during the game before setting my laptop aside to avoid it flying off my lap from excitement. :)
When my brain needs a shift, I transfer from one type of studying over to another:
I've never done big wall climbing before, and I'm reading up on all the techniques and tricks that I'll be practicing all through May (after graduation) and June before I leave for Yosemite for my big summer climbing trip. On top of that, I'm training in some way, shape or form everyday for climbing this summer.
The only difficult thing about all this studying I need to get done is how nice the weather has gotten in the last few days. It's been up to 60 degrees, sunny, light breeze... perfect outdoor climbing weather, or really outdoor-anything weather. I'm bike-commuting everywhere now- only my once-a-week trip to B&N warrant use of the car. It's helping with my grocery buying (harder to buy big boxes of processed stuff, easier to get a few fruits and veggies for a few days, keep things fresh) plus getting me back in cardio shape (yaaaay Duluth hills!). Unfortunately, it's not nearly enough time outside for me. I keep telling myself... after May 12th graduation, I can be outside as much as I want... :)
I finished the amoeba that was my spring shawl, and it's currently pinned and blocking on my living room floor!
I noticed right away where I got "creative" with the eyelet pattern, but overall I'm really happy with how it turned out. More pictures once it's done drying, but hopefully this is the first of numerous shawls!
Back to studying.
One more month... I graduate in one month... then I can live outside and on the cliffs for awhile...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Madness

As the spring semester has picked up speed, I'm barely keeping my head above water as I try to juggle everything at once. Two classes means two big papers, plus finishing my final thesis draft as I near graduation and studying for comprehensive exams, the big kahuna of the Master's Degree. I'll be graduating and walking in May, but because my thesis paper is taking awhile to finish I won't be taking my exams till the second week of September. Helps alleviate a little of the stress, but not a lot as papers and Ballet are taking up a lot of time.
To combat this, I have a lot of stress-knitting going on. I finished a pair of mittlets for a friend which really helped put me in the spring spirit!
Pattern: Cupcake Mittlets by shantha rose, available for free as a Ravelry download.
Yarn: Sidar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK weight- 1 skein and a little bit into the 2nd.
Needles: Size 3, as suggested
Time: March 31-April 6, though truthfully I knit one mittlet per day and left the thumbs till the 6th, which I got done in about a half hour. Really fast, fun knit!
Modifications: I used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off for the tops of the mitts and the thumbs, to make sure they were nice and stretchy. Worked beautifully with the bamboo yarn. Pretty sure that's my go-to bind off now for almost everything...
Best Part: Probably how fast they knit up, with really soft and light yarn. Put me in a spring mood!
Worst Part: There really was none. The yarn split occasionally on the purls, but that was it.
Other than those, I've been working on my pretty turquoise spring shawl, which looks less like a shawl and more like an amoeba right now.
I have to admit, I don't know if it's because this is my first shawl, or because it's a lace shawl and I have issues with lace, but I'm having a really rough time with the pattern. I do exactly what it asks, then end up with wrong stitch count all over the place. At first I tried to fix it every time, but I was literally knitting two rows and ripping one. Not great for the morale. I finally gave up, figuring if I stayed in the ballpark and kept the pattern where it was supposed to be, then it was fine. I'll worry more about exact stitch count when I get to having to do the border.
It's almost near the end, and I'm excited to get it off the needles and block it.
I'm going to use the excuse that it's my first lace shawl if it really looks bad...
Besides, I want this one to be a warm up for other pretty things.... :)