Sunday, May 29, 2011

Weekend in Mound

It's been a really fun weekend at my parent's house! Besides hanging out, watching some movies, it's been fantastic to see my Dad while he's up from Florida! My parents found a house they really like in Florida, and hopefully their bid will be accepted in the next couple of months here so they can start setting themselves up down where they will be enjoy the warmth.
I was able to finish knitting the Owl Mittens for Stacey, and I'll be sewing the beads in for eyes when I get back to Duluth. I also finished the shoulders on the Vivian sweater, and have been scouring Ravelry for beta on making the hood bigger.
Looks like I'll be doing a few more rows of increases to make the hood deeper, as well as a lot of extra rows for the height. One person in particular mentioned that they added up to 30 extra rows to the hood in the pattern, and I really like how big it ended up on her sweater so I might do the same. I'm really excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel for this project- I promised myself I'm not casting on for any more sweaters until I finish this one since it's so ridiculously close!
Today my good friend Heather and I ventured to a local yarn store called Yarn Garage. It was really cool, with yarn spilling all over the place. I picked up two skeins of Sublime Merino organic yarn in pink and two in a pretty natural brownish- one color for myself for a cowl and the others for a possible present. Om nom!
My Mom and I going to start season one of Glee- I'm a little nervous I'm going to get completely hooked. Going to keep trucking on the Vivian hood- hopefully I'll finish it soon... too much to hope for to get it done by Monday... perhaps?? :)

Friday, May 27, 2011


I'm in the cities this weekend to hang out with my whole family for the Memorial Day weekend, and this morning I filled up my coffee mug and drove from Duluth to the Twin Cities area early in the morning. When down at my parent's house, I helped out with a few chores and cleaned my car out a bit.

These brief experiences brought to light how much of a Duluthian I have become.
You know you're from Duluth (or even northern MN for that matter)...
... when you get two hours south and the first thing you say is, "Wow, all the trees have leaves down here!" at the end of May...
... you think about changing the "winter" windshield wipers off your car, but hesitate because you know there's the occasional May snowstorm (or even hesitate at all)...
... You have three mostly broken ice scrapers in the back of your car- one you keep because the brush handle works, one you keep because the ice scraper still works, and one that hasn't worked at all for two winters but is still there "just in case"...
... you leave the jumper cables and avalanche shovel in the trunk because it's too much work to take them out and store for the three months of summer we have...
... your parents are in pants and sweatshirts doing yardwork, and you're comfortable in chacos, a t-shirt and cutoffs to help out...
... you're more surprised when the forecast includes high 70's and low 80's than 50's and 60's...
... and you don't pack a single pair of shorts for a Memorial Day weekend visit to your parents house.

Gotta love Minnesota. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Morning Cuppa

Alongside my coffee this morning, I had a couple of other hot cups brewing.
This weekend is the birthday of a good friend, and I have a little project I'm finishing up to give to her (hopefully) on my trip down to the twin cities. This particular project is (in my humble opinion) really adorable, and I might have to knit myself some down the road!
After a nice bath, I did some pretty intense blocking.
Can you tell what they are? ;)
They're sitting in the sun, and will stay there today as I run off to my shift at the climbing gym. Hopefully when I get home tonight, they'll be ready to go! It's a little on the chilly side in my apartment since the heat has been turned off, but the sunny forecast more than makes up for it.
One nice thing about the weather is being able to bike to work again consistently. There's so much construction in downtown Duluth it's frustrating to drive around, and coupled with no parking and getting stuck when the Canal Park bridge is up... you can see why I'm excited it's not raining as much.
Off for now. Maybe I can get a little more knitting done at work... sneak it in... ;)

Monday, May 23, 2011

FO: British Novel Vest

This particular project has actually been finished for a bit. I completed the knitting portion probably three weeks ago, then didn't get around to sewing on the single button until probably a week ago. It sat again for awhile to wait for a decent day to take pictures, which didn't happen until today due to Duluth's awesome streak of rainy weather.
Luckily, when I finally got outside in all of the green, it worked really well and was worth the wait. Presenting the British Novel Vest!
Pattern: The Grandfather Vest from Veronik Avery's book Knitting 24/7 (love this book!)
Yarn: Cascade 220, in a pretty light purple.
Needles: Size 7 (the pattern called for a change in size a couple of times, but I stayed with 7 the whole time)
Time Frame: December 11th, 2010-May 17th, 2011
Modifications: Due to staying on the same sized needles for the neck and arm bands, I made significant modifications for both, picking up a lot less stitches than the pattern called for. I also threw this project in the dryer at the end instead of just blocking it, in order to attempt a more "fitted" look with it. I only sewed on one button instead of two. Full details on the modifications are on my ravelry page for the project.
Best Part: It was a great knit for mindless knitting during movies, and it's going to be a nice addition to my "teacher" wardrobe. I'm a huge fan of the color! It'll be nice and warm for those chilly Minnesota winters.
Worst Part: I'm not terribly happy with how loose and big it ended up being. Part of that is being knit with worsted weight wool on big needles- next time I make a vest, I'm probably going to opt for a thinner yarn on smaller needles to achieve a better fitted look. You can also see where I switched from knitting in the round to knitting back and forth- I really need to address that problem one of these days.
Overall I'm pretty happy with the result- it's not one of my favorite knit pieces to date, but it's a good classic staple to have in my closet. Plus the light purple is likely to cheer me up any day. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

FOs: Tapping Penguin and Grad Hat

I had two knitting projects with ticking clocks on them for this last week. The first was a hat for a friend who was having a Grad Party on Friday night. He's a friend that climbs often at the gym, and has never asked once for a hat before. He's also a debonair type of guy, so I wanted to knit him a hat that wasn't just a simple beanie with stripes out of heathered yarn. I used a pattern that has worked before, and was able to knit it up in two days! Hence, the Grad Hat:
Pattern: Frequency by Donna Arney, available through Ravelry
Yarn: Cascade 220 Paints/Hand dyed, in a pretty dark blackish/purplish with flecks of brown in it. I've had this skein for awhile, waiting for the right project.
Time Frame: May 17-May 18
Needles: Size 9 (Pattern calls for 8, but Zach has a bigger head)
Best Part: I really do love this yarn- it's so pretty when it comes out, and it works really well with the cables.
Worst Part: This hat pattern still knits up a little on the short side. I added two rows before starting the cable pattern and I'm still worried it won't fit his Scandinavian head. No word yet on the fit...

Besides the Grad Hat, I had a present for my solo tap student I wanted to finish up. She danced the tap dance to the final song from the movie "Happy Feet", so naturally I had to knit a little stuffed penguin for her as a "Congrats" and "Thank you" for all the hard work she put in!
Pattern: Penguin by Susan B. Anderson, from her book Itty-Bitty Toys
Yarn: A complete mish-mash of randoms I had leftover from other projects, including lots of different Cascade 220's, and the Plymouth Worsted Merino for the wings and bow tie.
Needles: size 5
Time Frame: May 11-May 19, 2011
Best Part: I added little "taps" to the bottom of the feet, made with thumbtacks. I folded over the pin part of the tack and used pliers to blunt the end and make sure it wouldn't come off- a toe tap and a heel tap for each little penguin foot!
Worst Part: I'm not terribly happy with how the head turned out- it's a little boxier than I wanted.
She really liked him, and I'm really happy with how he turned out!

Next project with a deadline- some owl mittens I'm making for the owner of the dance studio, Stacey, before our June 11th recital. The way it's going, I should be okay with timing, though, and makes me feel comfortable to pull out the ol' Vivian sweater to finally finish up the last bits of it! I've been listening to the foghorn rolling across the Duluth harbor all morning, which makes this a perfect day to stay inside and get some crafty projects done... :)

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Last Thursday, I walked happily across the stage for my Masters Degree in English at Graduation!
It was especially cool, because I got to have all the people there that mattered to me most, including fellow graduate and knitting pal Cheryl,
the always supportive BF,
and my Mom and my Brother, with my Dad there in spirit.
Afterwards, a trip to Green Mill for celebration was necessary, along with a cake only English Graduates would love and margaritas all around. :)
Since classes ended, I've been taking a bit of a break from the "real world", and have already ventured to one of my favorite places to slow down- back on the cliffs.
Ran up to Palisade yesterday for the first time this season, and was not disappointed. Got on some favorites, including Bluebells and Mack the Knife, and to top it off I flashed (translation- no falls) one of last summer's headaches, Hidden Treasure. Despite the wind, it was a great day, and the perfect way to test out my new climbing hat!
Pattern: Mary Jane's Pithy Hat from little turtle knits (Also called the "Elizabethtown Hat"- Ravelry Links)
Yarn: Leftover red Cascade 220 from the Ski Patrol hats for my brother and my Dad
Needles- size 5 for the brim, 7 for the pattern
Best Part: It stays on my head, even 80 feet up on a climb. Plus I love the Elizabethtown reference!
Worst Part: I'm not a huge fan of the length of the hat when it doesn't fall down in back- if I made another one (which I probably will, cause it knit up fast enough for a gift knit) I might make it 8'' instead of 10'' before closing the top. Maybe shorter if I made myself another one.

This hat wasn't the only thing I finished in the last few days. I've been a knitting fiend with all my gift projects, which I'll show more of later.
For now, it's been nice relaxing as the semester closes and summer settles in. I have a lot of climbing projects and knitting projects to work on, but it feels good to take a deep breath as my summer truly begins...

Thursday, May 12, 2011


It's been a long few weeks, with a lot of deadlines and stress and late nights with white cheddar popcorn. I still have exams in the second week of September, but all the papers are turned in, all my finals are taken, and tonight, after all the craziness the last two years, all the worry, all the papers, and all the studying...
tonight, I will be walking for my Master's Degree.
That feels pretty darn nice. :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Awesome Mom

In the middle of all my crazy end-of-school things, I'm going to take a second and point out someone who's been there for me through everything, always trying to point me in the right direction while at the same time let me discover my own path.
My Mom is pretty much one of the coolest Moms around. She's always willing to try new adventures, always happy when I come home (her cooking especially makes me believe that), and is constantly supporting me. She came to countless performances of theater, dance, softball games, and even curling matches.
She'll be the one watching me walk this Thursday for my Master's Degree, cheering as she did when I graduated from high school and undergraduate. She's the one that only slightly begrudgingly accepted my decision to spend a month in Yosemite this summer, climbing thousands of feet in the air above the valley floor.
I know that no matter what I do, she's always there to support me and cheer me on. And for that, I'm incredibly grateful.
Thanks for everything, Mom. You're the epitome of awesomeness when it comes to being a Mom, and I wouldn't be who I am today without you! :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Alive and Still Going

This last week has been crazy for me. I had a paper due on Wednesday, lots more research and studying, plus a trip down to the cities for a dance competition for my tap girls. Our studio did superb- we got a lot of awards, including one for Best Precision, most prepared, and all of our dances did well! The rankings start at Bronze, then go Silver Star, Gold, High Gold, and Platinum (only given to a few of the dances from the almost 300 entered in the 2-day period). My youngest middle school tappers got "High Gold", my young high school tappers got "Gold", my tap soloist got "High Gold", and my oldest and most advanced line got "Platinum"! I'm ridiculously excited, and couldn't be prouder of the amazing dancing by my ladies.
Today it's back to the world of finals, research, papers, and stress as the last week of classes begins for me. At least it's gross outside so I don't feel too guilty about being inside all the time.
Minnesota is delivering a beautiful, snowy May thus far. Woohoo?
I haven't been able to get a lot accomplished knitting-wise. My pointe socks are slowly but surely coming along. I took a minute before ballet last week to model them.
I'm really enjoying the pattern- it's a little slow and finicky, but it looks really pretty. I think they'll fit my feet really well after a good block.
I was able to get through a few stripes as well on my Victorian Lit Legwarmers.
Until this weekend I was knitting them exclusively during my Victorian Literature class, more as a stashbusting project as well as mindless class knitting than anything (I already have lots of legwarmers- these will probably replace a pair or two of old ones). I'm almost to the top of the first one, and then onward to the second probably more as bus knitting than anything.
This is my last week of classes- next week I have a final on Monday, a paper and my ballet recreation final due on Wednesday, and finally Graduation on Thursday, where I will walk and receive my master's hood.
Right now I'm not thinking past Wednesday. Final push to get things done starts today- wish me luck!