Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Halloween is by far my favorite holiday, and I always make sure to do it up in style!
On Sunday we went to the Glensheen Mansion, our local haunted historic turn-of-the-century spooky place, for their "Glensheen Spooktacular".

Paths around the mansion were lined with hundreds of pumpkins, and guests are led through the house where there are musicians screeching on violins and actors hacking at pumpkins and being creepy.  You end up in front of the mansion, where fires are lit and smores are passed out by the workers.

Scott and I both grabbed Pumpkin coffees before checking it out, and it was really fun to spend time with each other while we got to check it out!
Last night Scott and I took some time to carve pumpkins, putting on "Sleepy Hallow" in the background as our scary movie of choice.
Albert really wanted to help the entire time:

and he displayed a new love for pumpkin when he ate all the little bits that fell his way!  Silly kitten.
I forgot to grab all the special little pumpkin-carving knives when I left Berkshire for the new place, so our designs had to be simple enough to carve with a giant kitchen knife and a butter knife.

I think we did fairly well! :)
I'm about to head off to LSC dressed in a black skirt, knee-high black and orange striped socks, T-strap black heels, and an orange pumpkin shirt.  You better believe I'm excited to be decked out for class and meetings today!
Tonight will be handing out candy, grading, and then knitting to "The Nightmare Before Christmas".  I know I'm pretty excited. :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

First Snow and an FO!

It started yesterday morning, and continued heavily through the rest of the afternoon.

The wind was cold and unforgiving, and the ground isn't frozen yet for accumulation, but the flakes were big and fluffy and beautiful and perfect for a (quick) dance outside!
It's been pretty disgusting the last week or so outside, so having the cold rain turn to snow was a relief.  The snow has stopped for now, but if it starts up this weekend, I'll happily look up from grading these:
and refill my coffee mug to warm my hands!
I finally took some time to grab pictures with my latest Christmas present conquest- the Jamaican Me Crazy Mittens!
I love how these turned out- the colors are bright and perfect for the recipient, and the fair isle allows for extra warmth.
Pattern: Pearl Chain Mittens (free) from handepande
Yarn: Dale of Norway's Dalegorn Falk in Black, Yellow, and Green
Needles: Size 1 bamboo
Modifications:  I took out one row of "pearls" in the cuff, and instead of having all of the pearls connect, I made them separate little circles.  I thought this was a little more reminiscent of the Jamaican flag, which is the recipient's home country!
Worst Part: Definitely keeping all three colors from tangling numerous times.  I almost had second mitten syndrome with these, but one long drive in the car fixed that. 
Best Part:  This one is easy- I know it's going to be her face when she opens them up!  She has the same type of loud laugh as me, which will hopefully come out when she opens these up.  I'm excited to give them to her!
Besides a large pile of papers to grade, I'm heading down to the cities this weekend for a family Celebration of Life.  It'll be nice to see the family again, despite the circumstances.  I'm hoping to get a fair ways on the Kleio shawl, since that's much more transportable than Kim's wedding shawl.  I'll have to start reserving a night a week (at least) to knit a snowflake background, since that particular deadline is creeping up on me...

Monday, October 22, 2012

A2 Tendon Tweak = Snowflakes!

I was happily climbing hard on Friday, trying a 5.11c out on top rope before leading it, when halfway up the route something in my left hand twinged.
I finished the route, was lowered, and flexed my hand open and closed a few times.  I knew instantly what was wrong- I had tweaked my tendon.  It didn't swell up much, but there was enough residual pain that I knew it was more than just a one-day event.
For a climber, tweaking your tendon is one of those hard-to-avoid injuries.  In order to fully recover, I'm going to take a solid 2-3 weeks off of climbing (ALL climbing) before doing a careful rehab, including free weights, rice workouts, and a specific climbing regiment once I get back on the wall.  I've been going pretty hard for awhile now, so this is probably my body's way of telling me to give it a small break for a little bit.  (Just from climbing- still running 3 days a week and teaching dance!)
Therefore, this weekend was filled with some much-needed knitting time.
I finished the mittens for my friend's Christmas gift, and they're drying on my radiator as we speak after a much-needed blocking.

My "finished" post with them will air once they dry and I have some time to grab pictures.  Through this project, I've realized that I'm not very consistent at fair isle.  This realization is kind of a bummer since it's a really cool knitting style that works well for gifts.  I'll keep trying, but even in this project my second mitten was a lot looser than the first, and I had to do some stretching of the mitten to get them to be (mostly) the same size.
I also finally started the backgrounds to the snowflakes!  Within an evening and a morning, snowflake number one went from this:

to this:

I LOVE it so far, but it's a pretty tedious project that requires full attention.  Working with 7 needles requires a large amount of patience and picking up dropped stitches without losing it too much.  The fragile Malabrigo lace has broken on me twice already, but I've resolved to stay completely Zen about it or I might lose my mind.
After all, I have 12 more to do.  Then grafting them all together (somehow).
Perhaps the biggest problem is that having wine while trying to do this particular project is a bad idea...

Friday, October 19, 2012


When you're a student, MEA is usually associated with studying for Midterms, parent-teacher conferences, and a chance to spend the two days off working furiously on projects and homework and catching up (or getting ahead) on studying and reading.
Now, on the other side of the spectrum, I'm finally enjoying my first MEA break as a teacher.  While my students have the time off to work on a paper due next week, I'm going to truly enjoy at least one of my days off of classes with some relaxation, climbing, coffee, and me-time.

I spent yesterday in my office, getting ahead in lesson planning and copying all the handouts I'll need for all of next week.  My desk is clean, my papers are (finally) in order, and I'm ready for a exceedingly busy week next week.
For today, though, I'm going to make some pumpkin-chai cookies, go for a long relaxing run outside, bike down to VE and climb hard for a few hours, then hang out with guests staying at our little apartment this weekend.  It's my first full day not worrying about choreographing, grading, or whether I finished lesson planning for Monday and Tuesday.
For this teacher, MEA really is a break.  :)

I'm hoping to finish the pair of mittens for a friend today.  All it needs is the top to be closed, a thumb, and a little blocking love to ease the fair isle into place.  My Christmas knitting list is still pretty big (including Kim's Wedding Shawl, which I'll hopefully start the backgrounds for the snowflakes this weekend) but these mittens will be my third of 6 total Christmas presents- well on my way.  It helps to start in August, I suppose...

I also am working steadily on the Kleio shawl for another Christmas present.  I made the recipient the Eleanor cowl last year, and I know that she liked the lace stuff, so I figured a warm shawl with pretty lace details would be perfect.  It'll be great project knitting for riding in the car down to the cities next weekend, and I'll hopefully be to the Latvian braid and lace section for my awesome girl's weekend with H and S the first weekend in November.  That project is my travel-only project, since I need my home time to work on the Snowflake Shawl.
My coffee mug is empty, so I'm off to fill up and start getting some stuff DONE around this apartment.  I LOVE MEA!! :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall Wedding

I feel like fall is just slipping by.  In a couple of weeks, the tree in our front yard went from full foliage to almost completely bare.  I've been pumpkin-flavoring every coffee drink possible, and my morning runs require not just a long sleeve but a softshell jacket to protect me from the wind.
Fall is also the time for beautiful and amazing weddings!
One of my oldest friends from grade school tied the knot a couple weekends ago in a very low-key but classy way.

Heather and I have known each other since probably kindergarten, and we have so many inside jokes and stories and good times together that being there for her wedding was nothing but a fun ride from beginning to end.

Heather and Thomas were legally married a few days before the "reception", and instead of a flowery ceremony, they opted for their dads to say some words before they each exchanged a heartfelt and intimate vow on what the other person meant to them.  For these two, it was perfect!
For me, it was a break from work, dance, and climbing to spend time with my two favorite ladies.

These two have seen me through thick and thin, and I can't wait for a girl's weekend in a few weeks to spend some quality time knitting, eating, gossiping, watching classic movies and just enjoying ourselves!

I did bring that one guy with me, even though he spent most of the weekend and the car ride back reading about computer processors (I think).  I was happy to score at least one dance with him- we definitely confused people when we slow-danced to a fast song, but we like to break the mold. ;)
I was able to finish the first mitten for a Christmas present on the ride down, and hopefully today I'll cast on for the second.  It's hard not to write too much about my knitting projects, as most of them are gifts for possible readers of the blog.  I'm still having trouble finding time for knitting with everything else I have going on, but as the first snowflakes fall from the sky (since we get snow sporadically during October this far north) I'm feeling the pressure that Christmas brings on... and too many commitment projects... oops...