Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2 Down...

After an evening of The Two Towers and some morning Gilmore Girls, the second snowflake background is checked off and the third was immediately cast on to prevent any procrastination.  The knitting itself isn't actually that hard, it's just crazy fiddly with 7 needles (6 on each of the snowflake sides) and trying to decipher exactly where I'm supposed to pick up what stitches when.

Albert approves of the progress (and he didn't even try to eat the yarn- just play with the needles)!
After hot yoga this evening, I'll put in The Return of the King and begin pounding on the third snowflake.  This gives me hope that I just might finish this beast by Christmas...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Break

It was fantastic to get a 4-day break over Thanksgiving.  I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with both school and dance, and taking few days to play catch-up helped a lot.  I got to see a lot of awesome family members:

eat some pumpkin pie:

play some very intense bingo:

and watch the first snow of the year start to blanket the ground!

We stayed in the cities through Friday evening before heading back to Duluth.  Right away I made a giant to-do list, filled with grading, knitting, cleaning, decorating, and choreographing.
As always, my eyes were bigger than my stomach.  Just this morning I finished the last of my latest round of paper grading:

That was a huge weight on my shoulders, as I wanted to get these papers back ASAP to help my students with their final paper re-writes.  Plus it leaves more time to knit in the evenings.
Unfortunately, my knitting did not fare as well as I had hoped.  I was aiming to complete one snowflake background per day over break, in order to stay ahead of the schedule I'd given myself.  That was far-fetched crazy hopeful of me.  In reality, I was only able to work on the background for snowflake 2 last night after I had graded papers until my eyes felt crossed all day.

I'm hoping to finish it up tonight... in between class and dance... or... when I'm supposed to be sleeping?  Tis the season for more coffee...
I attempted to work on the Kleio shawl's braid section on the drive down to the cities since the snowflake shawl is not travel-friendly, and got mildly disgruntled frustrated with the 200-something stitches of twisting and untwisting.

I can't believe that over two hours of knitting equates to barely a 1/4 an inch with this braid.  What's disheartening is that it's not the only time I have to make a braid on this shawl- I believe it's on there a total of 3 times- BAH!  This isn't even taking into account the fact that the second purple color had some ::ahem:: kitten chew points when Maeby got in to my yarn.  She chewed through at least one part of the yarn I hit while twisting, which didn't help the process.  Maybe this particular knit should be saved for my trip to Florida...
I'm close to halfway through untwisting it, and I'm going to take it to work to be part of my "lunch knitting" for when my brain needs a break.  This is also a Christmas present.  I need to not schedule knitting two giant shawl projects to be due right around the same time if I want to keep my sanity...
I'll be squeezing in choreographing this morning before heading in to work.  I'm not going to think about when I can get the snowflake knitting in today.  I'll just assume it's going to happen, mostly because it needs to.  Urgh...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wait... When?

Last weekend, I traveled down to the cities to hang out with college friends for a tea party-themed Bridal Shower.  Specifically, the Bridal Shower for my good friend Kim.

Yes, the Kim I'm making the Snowflake Shawl for.
We had a great time hanging out, talking, and playing the traditional ridiculous bridal shower games.  When cleaning up the house after it was over, I got to hear some wedding details about the wedding coming up in just over a month.

It wasn't until the drive home that I realized exactly what this meant.
The wedding is on January 5th.  That means I have just about 6 weeks to finish the backgrounds for all the snowflakes, graft them together, and knit the border around the whole shebang.  I have to knit 3-4 backgrounds a week to give myself enough time to do the finishing details around Christmas, especially since I'll be traveling down to visit my parents in Florida for a week at Christmas.
This is, of course, ignoring the fact that I have papers to grade, choreographing to do, not to mention climbing, yoga, and running.
I have one snowflake done:

but got a little stuck on the second one.
Sometimes I keep knitting, because I think it'll be fine, but actually it's more like an amoeba and looks stupid and then... and then...

then I finally had to pull it all out to start over.

This makes it a little more difficult to be efficient.
That may be an (empty) glass of wine next to my knitting.
Let the snowflake craziness begin.
Uffda... what have I got myself into?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rainy Adventures

I feel like time has been speeding up as Thanksgiving looms its head next week.  On the school front, I'm trying to be weeks ahead in lesson planning, leaving more time for grading during my office hours to empty evenings for choreographing and knitting.  I know Christmas is still over a month away, but the Snowflake Shawl for Kim's wedding is proving to be more ::ahem:: difficult than I anticipated, and if I want to get that AND the Kleio shawl done in the next month with my sanity intact, extreme planning must be executed.  Good thing I'm ridiculously Type-A in my planning (and drink a lot of coffee to boot).  I had a fight with the background of the second snowflake on Tuesday.  We had a night to cool off, and we're hopefully going to reconcile tonight over hot chocolate and a movie.  Hopefully.  :)
In between grading, grading, and more grading last weekend, I was able to take a small field trip to one of our tourist attractions along the North Shore for a friend's birthday celebration!

Once a year, Split Rock Lighthouse is lit up to commemorate the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  The sailor's names are read, the bell tolls, and visitors can go up in the lighthouse and check it out while it's lit.

The night we went was gross- chilly, gusty, raining, and not the best time to take tours.  When we walked around, however, the bad weather added to the ambiance of the event, and seeing the lighthouse beam lighting up the sheets of blowing rain was actually really spectacular!

Unfortunately, it was difficult to capture the awesomeness with my camera, so these shots will have to suffice.  This is a situation where I can say I was glad I saw it in person vs. a video or in a picture. :)

We were able to wander around the site for awhile before heading to the campground for vegetarian chili (NOM!), cake, and good talk.  It was a nice break from the grading, and a great chance to relax with friends.
On the home front, my tiny pushes towards actually "decorating" my apartment have taken a step forward!  Awhile back, I used 4 canvases to explode some paint all over, and after weeks of thinking Scott would put them up, I scrounged up a hammer and nails, did a bunch of measurements and calculations, and we now have my own original artwork hanging above our bed!

I used black and maroon/purple acrylic paint, gobbed and strewn around the canvas.  I like it, and it helps to fill the giant wall space above our bed.
All right, back to the grind.  Until later...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gross November Weekend

As the slog to the end of the semester begins, I'm actually pretty happy that the weather outside has turned gross.  This weekend is supposed to be rain, temps barely above freezing, and snow is supposed to start tomorrow when the temp drops.

I think Albert has the right idea!
As the wind rattles my old windows, I've taken over our kitchen table to grade all weekend.

It's a little slow going so far, but I'm hoping to get through this entire batch of papers by tomorrow.  There's no class on Monday for Veteran's Day, so I'd love a day on Monday to relax, catch up on Big Bang Theory, do some choreographing, and get some hardcore knitting time in.

I've (finally) finished the garter part of the Kleio shawl, and I'm on to the lace and braids.  I've never done estonian braids on a knitting project, so this will be a learning experience.  A good one- right?
I'm also hoping to get at least one more background of the Snowflake Shawl done this weekend.  I had a startling realization when I looked at the calender and saw Kim's wedding was barely two months away.  Two months to finish this monstrous shawl- uffda!  I'm pretending it's fine.  It'll get done- plenty of time.  Right?
Goal: to blog on Monday with pictures of tons of knitting done, all the grading done, and still have all my sanity.
We'll see how that goes...