Saturday, April 28, 2012

Florence + the Machine


Yesterday was a quick trip down to the cities to see one of my favorite bands, Florence + the Machine and the beautiful State Theater!  I don't get to concerts very often- it's mostly the occasional Charlie Parr Wednesday night at the local Brewhouse, so I've been pretty psyched for front row balcony to Florence for awhile.

I went with Scott and a couple of fellow climbers, including Pete, who broke his foot about a week ago and has been going insane with cabin fever.

I've been playing Florence non-stop in the climbing gym, and this band puts on a true PERFORMANCE!  Florence came out in a full cape, dancing around on the stage, twirling, then giving me chills when holding notes under a single spotlight.

I was singing and bouncing and jumping and I can't remember the last time I had so much fun at a concert- especially with such amazing seats!

I even got a quick photo of Pete wearing the hat I made for him awhile ago- knitting in action!! (Or non-action, since Pete's on crutches for the next two months.  Yuck.)

I guess the only bad that comes from going to something like this is how much fun I have... and how much it makes me want to go to things like this more... Ooooooh goodness... :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In which I try to be smarter than the pattern, and it proves to not work.

A couple nights ago, I sat down after dinner for some relaxing and to work on the Laurel.  I figured it'd be a great pattern to just mindlessly enjoy after a long day, a great meal (pad thai cooked by my guy!) and a glass of wine while we relaxed on the couch.
I knit the first row of the pattern after the ribbing, with the increases pretty much where they should have been. Well- they were close to where they should have been.  Close enough that I didn't think it was a big deal.  After all, increases in generally the right spot are fine, right?
Then I tried the next row in the chart, and things began to get off.
Knits and purls weren't where they were supposed to be.  I told myself, it's just the pattern changing, it's fine.
So instead of stopping and looking, I just knit faster.  Because we all know that makes things better.  And right again.
After an hour and a half of knitting, more rows into the chart than I care to admit, it looked like a mess compared to the sleek, elegant look that normally evolves from a Jared Flood pattern.
Since this is indeed a gift, and I didn't want it to look like crap, I did the only thing I could do at 11 pm.
I pulled the whole thing back to the brim to start over. 
This time, I'm going to follow the pattern- EXACTLY as written.  Which you'd think I would have done in the first place.
In other news, I quickly got past the raglan sleeves on my Lavender Cardigan, and thus commences the endless (especially with the large floppy fronts) stockinette stitch to the bottom.
I really love how this is turning out, with beautiful soft and light yarn that the kittens can't seem to get enough of.  It especially feels good on my fingers after a training day in the climbing gym- soft yarn is a great antidote to rough calluses!  I'm going to be taking this one with me when I need mindless knitting until it gets too large to pack.
I'm hoping that in the middle of the body I'll think back to this happy moment, when I enjoyed the pattern and all the promises it offered.
Oh- and another birthday for a friend has snuck up on me, so today commences a frantic search for a cute pattern that I know she'll like... and a week and a half to knit it...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Om Nom Cams

I was pretty excited to get a package in the mail on Friday- a set of Metolius Master Cams, shiny and new and ready for some crack climbing!

 When I was in Yosemite last year, I used Scott's Metolius cams any time that I had a small crack that I was a little unsure of.  I have a full set of Black Diamond cams, but the Metolius ones go in and out like butter, and I love how they feel.  When we got a special offer through our pro deals, I couldn't pass up adding some new ones to my own rack.  I got all small sizes- small fingers (fingerlocks for me) through rattly fingers and thin hands.  

See how the lobes of the cam are just a little bigger than my fingers?  That means when I pull them down to stick in a crack, they'll be perfect for finger-size cracks for me.  This is the size that I need to feel super secure in the gear I place, especially as I work the top half of Oz up on Palisade.  The entire last 65 feet is sequential finger crack, and requires the use of small gear.  At 5.12b, the whole route is going to push me to my absolute limit, both physically and mentally, so anything that can help my mental game is perfect.

In the midst of all this, I started the Laurel beret for my friend that gave me her old 3G iPhone.  I'm making it out of a pretty lavender in the Plymouth Merino Superwash, and it's just busy enough to keep me occupied. It's a good knit as I start to make my way through Downton Abbey on Netflix.
After a full day at my girl's first dance competition of the year, I'm excited for a night under a blanket surrounded by kittens, knitting, and a mug of hot tea.  It's been alternating between drizzling and snowing all day with wind, so warmth and snuggling is a must.
Sometimes these gross spring evenings are the best for reminding me to slow down and relax once in awhile. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


It's been an interesting last week or so for me in regards to the little machines I have surrounding me. It started when I tried to update my iPod touch, which for some reason always is way more of a big deal than I think it should be.  Basically the iPod forgot how to work and do anything, so I told my in-house Tech and boyfriend to get me an external hard drive to back up all my music and documents and thesis papers so he could uninstall windows and reinstall it (or something like that) for the first time in my laptop's long life.
I can home to my poor old laptop having a huge struggle connecting to the internet, which iTunes apparently HAS to be connected to if you want to make it function or reboot an iPod. The iPod itself was not working (yet again), and I gave BF the green light to "do what you need to in order to fix it".  Since I teach dance 4 nights a week, having music is a must for me.
The next time I checked in, my iPod wasn't working, my old laptop now had linux on it, and I had no idea how to do anything with my music stuff.  Or anything on the computer in general.  This was a problem.
At the same time, I wrote a frustrated facebook post about my iPod pooping out on me, and an old co-worker and friend gave me her old 3G iPhone in exchange for me to knit her a beret!  Sweet trade, and now I was able to join the leagues of those with iPhones.
Now the problem is this- with only 8GB, I had to figure out how to pick and choose which of the 27 GB of music I wanted from my external hard drive, put it magically on my little laptop (which has iTunes), and transfer that to my new iPhone.
I left BF out of the loop on this so far, as he's happily converting old laptop into a linux supermachine (he's convinced I'm going to teach myself linux- ooooh boy that conversation will be fun), which means that thus far...
Nothing has been done.
I'm teaching with CDs I burned before the big computer/iPod fix, and I haven't been able to listen to any music for awhile now.
This morning I looked at all the technology around me, and realized that I was surrounded on all sides.  I should just give in and figure it all out and go with the flow.  After all, especially with a new iPhone (which I just figured out how to turn it on silent mode- go me!) and a Nook Tablet (which I've only used so far for Netflix), I seemed to be surrounded by tons of modern technological devices that I would have to figure out eventually... right?
Instead, I had another cup of coffee, jumped on Ravelry for a teeny bit, and read the new Ascent magazine about sport climbing in France (on the list of places to go).  

I'll deal with it... later.
Much later.
Like after the dance competition this weekend.
Or when I really really really need music.


How to this get so complicated so fast?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

FO: Bamboo Birthday Hat

About a week ago, one of my good friends mentioned her birthday being in two weeks.  I quickly realized two things- 1) I've never knit her anything for any holidays, and 2) I have to keep better track of these things!  Thus I knit furiously for a few days and cranked out the Bamboo Birthday Hat!

Pattern: Magenta Cable Hat by Meg White, available free on Ravelry.
Yarn: 1 skein of Meriboo from Frog Tree Yarns- 70% Alpaca and 30% Bamboo
Needles: size eight on bamboo
Mods: None- I knit it exactly as written (weird!)
Worst Part: I was pretty skeptical of what it would look like once on, considering when you're not wearing it the cabled section pulls the whole hat in and it looks like this:

Luckily it all stretched out. :)
Best Part: I really like the rolled hem on the bottom- it's not completely clean (it's my first knitted-rolled hem) but I love the end result!  I originally wasn't a huge fan of the yarn, but it's so squishy and soft when wearing that I completely changed my mind!  It was nice knitting with it while my fingers are a bit raw from climbing. :)

I finished the decrease section last night, and I'm excited to give it to her when she comes over tonight for movie night!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

FO: Mama Mitts

This morning I sat down with a cup of coffee and rocked the rest of the Mama Mitts for Mama Stacy!

Pattern: Fingerless Pomatomus Gloves by Tobi Beck, available free on Ravelry
Yarn: Adorn Sock in Eadan by Three Irish Girls, leftover from the Poseidon Adventure Shawl
Needles: Teeny size 1, on bamboo of course!

Gift/Barter: Gift!  Originally just out of the blue, because Stacy knits so much for her 4 kids that I never see her wearing anything of her own, but I found out her birthday was a few days ago so this works perfectly!
Worst Part: Maaaaybe giving them away.  :)  I FELL IN LOVE with this pattern, and I'm definitely going to have to make a pair for myself, out of whatever leftovers come my way. :)
Best Part: I have to pick?  The pattern?  The yarn?  Knowing it's going to someone who's really going to enjoy them?  So many things!

I'm probably going to steal the method of turning socks into fingerless mittens with a few other awesome sock patterns, since I wear fingerless mittens WAAAAAY more than knit socks (or maybe that's because I've only knit like 2 pairs of socks for myself.  Can't really tell).
It feels really good to just punch out project after project right now, before I either keep working hard on my Dad's Dale or start one of the sweaters I've been meaning to.

I'm kind of putting off my sweaters- I wanted SO BAD to add some awesome cabling to the sleeves and back of the Effortless Cardigan, but after lots of math and looking through a ridiculous amount of pattern for exactly what I wanted, I realized that I didn't actually like any cabling added in with this particular pattern, and reverted back to doing the plain old stockinette cardigan.
le sigh.
I'll just find smaller projects that are nice and complicated to offset the boring sweater. :)
(and you know it's a good sign for the sweater when I'm talking about it like this before I even start it...)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dancer Presents

I was a bit confounded this year as to what I should get my dancers for their end-of-year gift, and finally thought of something I knew I would like- bookmarks!

I worked with the amazing Jessica from Jack & Ella Paper Press, a small Etsy shop that I've ordered from before, and she created these adorable bookmarks with little tap shoes, "Competition Tap 2012" on the bottom, and a quote from Maya Angelou:
"Everything in the universe has rhythm.  Everything dances."
They turned out perfect, and I'm super excited to give them to my dancers!
In addition, I ordered personalized notecards for a couple of my solo students whom I know would appreciate it:

They turned out just as adorable as I would hope, and I'm excited to give them to the girls!!
I may have to include a little bit of chocolate, since these are ladies, after all... ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter and Pomatomus

Despite the odd warm weather this year, Easter weekend was windy, cold, and even a little snowy up here in the north!

I went on a long, beautiful hike, pretending the wind wasn't causing the temps to dip below freezing, and ended up supremely chilly and trying to hide inside my raincoat the entire time.  Good thing the Easter bunny brought me just the thing to help warm up once I was back inside!
I love that in this day and age, ridiculous things like this awesome mug exist.  My coffee (and afternoon tea and nightly hot chocolate if this weather keeps up) will be supremely happy in this sweet little mug, and looking up from knitting at it makes me super happy!
I had a relaxing Easter weekend, going on hikes, going climbing with new climbers up at Shovel Point (despite the crazy wind), and warming up in a hot tub before drifting off to movies.  I was able to squeeze some knitting in there- I got one of the Mama Mitts done for a fellow climber, and I FELL IN LOVE with this pattern:
The fingerless mitten pattern is based off of the Pomatomus sock pattern, from the amazing Cookie A.  I never made the socks, since I usually take forever to finish any pair of sock, but have always loved the way it looks.  Instead, I tackled it with the fingerless mitts, and even though I knew from oogles of pictures exactly how it was going to look, I was still super excited when the little shell-waves began to emerge.  The boyfriend looked at me shaking his head when I kept showing him after EVERY ROW how AWESOME it was looking, and he asked, "didn't you know it was going to look like this?" to which I would say excitedly, "YES, but not like THIS!".  
Because, really- it's SO COOL that knitting can make patterns like this!!!

I guess I do deserve that mug.  Knit-wit, right here.
At least I'm pretty sure I'm in good company. :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Crochet is for the Reluctant

Any of you that know me (or read my blog enough) know that I'm completely fine knitting pretty much anything.  Sure, there are certain facets of knitting that I occasionally quarrel with (ahem FAIRISLE) or certain projects that seem to take me a long time to finish (DALE!!!) but overall, knitting and I have a pretty decent give-and-take relationship.
Not so with crochet.
I will even go so far as to say that crocheting and I- well, we were that person that you knew because they were your Mom's friend's kid, so you had to be polite, but you really didn't have much in common and usually avoided at all costs when possible to avoid empty-air conversations.
I was finished making the basic shape for my cupcake hat yesterday, and realized that the only thing I had left to do was the picot crochet edging to make the hat look like it had frosting on it.  I knew that if I ignored it, this finishing detail would banish this poor, cute hat to the bottom of a frightening black hole pile of a few projects that I don't work on as much as I should.  So I gathered my things and headed up to Yarn Harbor, where I knew I would find reinforcements, help, and chocolate treats to ease the pain.
I got the proper crochet hook and sat down, grumbling and unhappy to learn a new technique.  Remember- this is crocheting.  I love learning new knitting techniques, but I basically have to re-learn how to crochet every single time I need to do it.  Luckily, one of the awesome staff members guided me through exactly how to loop, schwoop, and pull- and even told me I was pretty decent at it (which I'm certain that she was just being nice.  Crochet and I will never get along.  NEVER!).  With a lot of help and encouragement from the staff and some new friends (plus a lot of counting and a lot little bit of swearing) I ended up with this:
My little cupcake had a swirly frosting edge!  I was so elated with my success that my fellow knitters at the table (the lovely S and another nice lady I can't remember her name) were able to talk me into adding some "sprinkles", which I have to admit were a really good idea and perfect for this project.  We picked out some adorable star-shaped buttons, and I easily got them all sewed on at home!
I LOVE how this project turned out- it's SUPER adorable and absolutely perfect for its little 3-year old recipient!  SCORE ONE for Katie attempting to crochet!!
You can see that Maeby shares my enthusiasm:
This pattern is adorable enough that I might attempt to remember how I did the crochet edge.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Planning Stage- Check

I've been itching to start a new sweater for myself as part of my "12 in 2012", and I'm excited to finally swatch this weekend after a long wait!
I'm going to be making the Effortless Cardigan with this beautiful stuff:

which some of you may remember from its run-in with my little kitten Maeby:

I haven't untangled the second skein (yet), but I decided on the patterns I'm going to integrate to make this cardigan not quite as effortless as it should be.  I have knitting through the entire first skein before I have to deal with untangling, so hopefully sometime between now and then I'll sit down and work on it.  :)
On the back, I'm going to integrate the cable pattern from the Effervesce socks, starting on the left shoulder and opening up as the back goes down to the hem.  On the sleeves, I'll have the cable pattern from the Fredrika socks running down the arm.  That way I'll have a really fun amount of cable to keep this otherwise pretty simple cardigan entertaining, plus it gives me a chance to work on modifying patterns!  I'll be swatching tomorrow on my day off, and during my Easter break I'll hopefully cast on for this beautiful sweater (provided all goes well)!
I know I have a lot of other projects I need to work on/finish, but I'm pretending for the next couple days that it's totally fine... that I can get going on this with no repercussions... that other large projects are supposed to be in time out for things they've done... :)