Tuesday, December 31, 2013

13 in 2013, and 2014 Goals

Last year I made an extensive list of the "13 in 2013", or 13 projects I wanted to complete in 2013.  Overall, I think I did a decent job of starting to whittle down some of the big projects I have.  I'll take them one by one...

  • Knit the Kleio Shawl (finished 1/25/13) and Snowflake Shawl (finished 2/3/13).  These were both huge projects, and I'm really happy that they were finished.

    The Snowflake Shawl in particular was one of the most ridiculous knitting projects I've ever done, and I'm very happy with how it turned out.  
  • Add to the Hat Brigade (5 finished).  I put this on my list because there's always someone that's asked for a hat, and I have to oblige.  Finishing 5 this year is not bad, and knowing myself, I probably forgot to add one or two in here!
  • Read 40 Books (34 done).  Even though I didn't exactly reach the 40-books goal, I don't feel that bad.  First, I originally had the bar set at 25 books and then raised it to 40 in the fall.  Second, a lot of those books were in the 500+ pages range, such as the Game of Thrones books and the Passage series by Justin Cronin. Last- and this is a big one- Between my five classes just this semester, I've probably read easily over 2,000 pages of student papers.  I think I can count that as the last few books. :)
  • Christmas 2013 (6 finished). Two were very close to the wire, but I got it!
  • Finish Dad's Dale of Norway- Ahem.  Well now.  This one, I hate to say, I didn't make much of an effort on.  I'll have to push this one to next year...
  • Scott's "The Dude" Sweater.  Started it on February 6th last year, knit the entire back and most of the left side front, and then summer came, and my crazy last semester.

    I'll definitely be picking this one up again this year, and
    finishing it, probably for the Ravelympics!
  • Dance Bag for Stacey- Big fat NOPE on this one.  
  • Art Piece for Apartment- Check!  There is a very nice piece above our bed that took me an afternoon to make.  BAM!
  • Lavender Cardigan- Hmmm..  didn't really get to that one..
  • Travel T-Shirt Quilt- oops... not that one either...
  • Run a Half Marathon- I signed up for the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, but due to more than a mildly large set back (the whole anemia leading to surgery thing and recovery thing) I wasn't able to run it this year.  I plan on putting my name in the pool again for the Half, and forcing myself to do cardio!
  • Academic Submission to Journal- Didn't happen.  Oops.
  • Trad Lead 5.10 at Palisade- I actually didn't spend a ton of time at Palisade this year, and when I did, I was usually with people that would not be comfortable following me on Trad Lead.  I did, however, Trad Lead at Devil's Tower out in Wyoming, so I think I can feel all right about this particular goal. :)

This was a pretty formidable list.  I think I need to simplify it for next year.  Focus on a few big craft goals, then focus on a couple areas that I want to improve on, taking specific steps to be better, get better, and improve or learn skills needed that I currently don't have.  
This year's list, then:

1- Finish my Dad's Dale of Norway and Scott's Dude Sweater.  These are leftovers from last year's list, and ones that definitely need to get off my to-do list.

2- Finish at least 3 projects for myself, including a sweater.  I'm pretty horrible at keeping my own knits, so this year I'm going to focus on knitting a few more things for myself.  This might be hard to do once the knits start piling up...

3- Read 40 books.  I'm only teaching 9 credits so far next semester, so between a little more time, less papers, and the entire summer off, I think I can finish this many books.  I almost did it this past year!

4- Bad Habit to Break: Procrastination.  This is my big goal for the year, to be as proactive as possible and stop avoiding the "hard" stuff.  This includes a myriad of things, including grading in a timely manner, putting off working out, and leaving hard or big decisions until it's too late or inconvenient.  

5- Truly Train for Climbing.  This is my other big goal for the semester- to create and follow an actual training schedule for Climbing.  When I'm lazy and not training, I can climb 5.10-5.11.  When I actually train and work on climbing, I think I'll be pushing the 5.12 range.  A good goal would be to comfortably climb 5.12 on sport lead, and climb 5.11 on trad.  Inside of this goal, I want to climb Mr. Lean (5.11d) on trad at Palisade Head.  This is going to require focus and dedication, so it's a great one to focus on.

6- Run a Half-Marathon.  This will help me train for the climbing as well, but a regimented half-marathon training schedule will force me to get out and run on a schedule, which will be good for me.  I'm going to aim for the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon again, depending on whether I get picked in the lottery.  

7- Get comfortable with French.  I need to pull out my old French textbooks and really go after learning the language again.  Hopefully Scott and I will be going to Europe this summer to climb, and I would love to have at least a small grasp of the language.  This is practical as well as a good goal to chip away at.

8- Learn and become comfortable with a computer Photoshop-type software.  I'm good at the iPhone pics, but I still haven't really found a software for the photos I take on my regular camera.  I've downloaded a couple of programs in the past, but never really tried anything on them.  

9- Create my own personal website.  As an educator, this one is a no-brainer.  I have to have a platform to keep track of my information, keep my resume updated, and it's a good place for me to explore professional development.  There's so many easy tutorials on how to do this on the web, plus I have a guy in my life that can help me with the finer details. ;)

I truthfully only have 9 true goals this year, but I'm going to add one more to make it a nice even 10.

10- "Be Silly, Be Honest, Be Kind".  This mantra, coined by Ralph Waldo Emerson, is going to be what I live by this year.  It's a good quote to fall back on this year whenever I'm frustrated, unhappy, unmotivated, or need encouragement.  I actually was going to get this as a tattoo a month ago, and I should live it before I put it on myself permanently. :)

This type of list seems a lot more manageable than the one I made last year, and gives me so really solid goals that I know I need to chip away at.  I'm positive that 2014 is going to be a great year for me, both with work, school, and play! :)

Monday, December 30, 2013

FO: Cafe Du Monde Cowl

My other big Christmas knit was the Cafe Du Monde cowl for my brother's girlfriend, Kendra!

Pattern: The Stockholm Scarf, by knittedblissjc
Yarn: Two skeins of Three Irish Girls Kells Sport in the colorway "Petit Fours".  LOVE.
Timeframe: September 2-December 21.  At least half of this project was knit on the 16-hour drive down to the Red River Gorge for my climbing trip, and I definitely finished the last part of this project while sitting in on the finals I was giving at the end of the semester for my Comp I classes.
Needle: Size 10 on Addi Turbo Lace needles.  I finally caved and got these lovely needles when I realized how long this project was going to take me, and also since I know I'll (eventually) be knitting myself one of these cowls.  Someday.  Perhaps. :)

Mods: I cast on 252 stitches instead of 256, eliminating the extra K1P1s that were in there (or something to that effect- my notes are scattered around.  I definitely know I cast on a couple less stitches than the pattern calls for).
Worst Part: Honestly, the only bad part about this project was how long it took.  Did I mention it's huge?  As in, 13-14 inches across big?

And not just wide, but really long?  
Don't believe me?

Yes.  Crazy big yes.
Best Part: Oh my goodness, the yarn!  So squishy, such fun colors, and the way that they pooled was really cool.  Kendra said it's her favorite cowl, and that's high praise coming from an artist. :)

I originally began this cowl for myself, but I knew that Kendra would absolutely love it, so it turned in to a gift after about a week of knitting.  Maybe the next one I knit I'll be able to keep for myself... :)
Florida update- we did NASA on Saturday, dropped Scott at the airport to fly home yesterday morning, and enjoyed a 'lazy day' since it was raining.  This morning we're heading out to Daytona beach for two days of staying in a bungalow right on the ocean, thanks to my aunts and uncles and parents all pooling together to stay somewhere cool for the new year (and the willingness of some of us to sleep on blow-up mattresses on the floor).  I did a quick check- Duluth is at a temperature of -20 this morning, while I'm enjoying a balmy 65 this morning.  I love living in MN and the cold, but that's a little chilly.  Maybe this Florida vacation idea is nicer than I originally thought... :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

FO: Toasty for Tofte, and Florida!

As predicted, the last few days of the semester were a blur.  Between grading papers, packing for Florida, getting the cats up to Scott's Mom's house, and finishing all the end-of-semester chores I had, it was more than a little crazy.
I was luckily able to finish up these Christmas present mittens a few days before I had to wrap them up and present them to the recipient.  Scott's Mom was very excited to get them, and it seems like she really enjoyed them!  Behold, the Toasty for Tofte mittens!

Pattern: Northman Mittens by David Shulz.  Link goes to the Ravelry page.
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Blue Velvet and Cascade 220 Heathers in Natural (creamy white) for the colorwork outside, and the delicious Classic Elite Yarns Fresco in sport weight for the inside in a beautiful dark blue. I used about half the skein for each of the Cascade 220 colors, and was just short of one entire skein of the Fresco.

Timeframe: Started November 2, finished December 18!  Possibly one of the quickest pair of mittens I've ever knit for how much work I had to do.
Needles: size 4 for the outside, 3 for the lining.

Mods: For the Latvian braid on the edge, instead of repeating bringing the yarn under the second time around, I twisted the yarn over. This would unwind the twist put in by the first row of braid, and make my yarn much easier to deal with later.  

Worst Part: One mitten was slightly bigger than the other on the outside colorwork.  Slightly.  I noticed it, but Scott didn't, so maybe it seemed bigger in my head than what it really was.
Best Part: The last time I did Latvian braids was hell, so I was incredibly happy with how easy this particular jaunt with them was.  I also LOVE the construction of these mittens.  

So many awesome little details about them, such as the colors making a neat line up the side of the mitten.  SO cool how the pattern incorporates that!  It's details like that which really make me love these types of projects.  And, of course, Scott's Mom's face when she opened them up. :)

I also finished one more big Christmas knit that I can finally blog about, but I'll do that on the next post.
Scott and I got down to Florida on the 24th of December, and we've already had a bunch of exceedingly full days!
We got to walk around downtown Disney and meet some favorite characters (made out of legos):

We got to go on some nice long bike rides, while making sure to watch out for gators...

We got to go kayaking in mangroves, weaving through arches that we could barely squeeze through, and laughing when a baby manatee came right up to our kayak and pushed it around with its nose...

And, of course, we got to go to the beach.

After all, it's a trip to Florida.  No visit would be complete without at least one (or more) visits to the ocean!
Scott was dropped off at the airport this morning, since he works tomorrow.  I'll be down here for the rest of the week, and it's been a really nice break after a crazy semester.  
I've also been able to start two brand new knitting projects- the Narwhal mittens for my friend Brit, and a pair of striped mittens for myself!  Good projects for hanging out, and practical for when I travel from the lovely 70 degree weather back to -10.  
Such a good break. :)  More later...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Midst of Finals

It's been a flurry of activity as the semester closes up and Christmas looms a week away.

We've had a bit of a recent cold snap up here in the north.  After all the snow finally blew itself out, temperatures rarely crept above zero.  My goal to get out ice and mixed climbing before Christmas was quickly abandoned.

More often than not, they were so drastically below zero that I didn't mind staying indoors as the windchill often pushed the temp to bottom out around -35 to -45 degrees.  I guess our winter is going to be a little intense this year...
Scott and I had a lot of fun staging our Christmas last weekend!  I decided the theme was going to be "Torturing the Cats with Matching Festivities", and Scott was nice enough to play along.

The cats were forced to play, and I think their expressions captures their feelings about this photoshoot well. I'm holding the exceedingly reluctant Albert, and Scott has the not-happy Maeby.

There was also a lot of festivities at my local dance studio, and we celebrated with a Holiday Recital last Sunday!  My dancers all did the "Shim Sham Shimmy" onstage together, and you can see me on the far left in the red pants, white shirt, and Xmas tree hat!
Countering that Christmas cheer is the dread of finals.  I'm waist-deep in grading final papers, and as of this moment I am halfway through giving my exams.  Since I don't want to grade papers in front of my students, I'm spending the 4 2-hour test sessions finishing my Christmas knitting.

A certain pair of mittens are completely done and ready to be wrapped (official pictures later!).  I'm frantically knitting the rest of the Cafe Cowl today, and hopefully it'll be finished by Sunday so I can get some nice outside pictures before wrapping it up!
I'm looking forward to Florida with my parents tremendously.  The chance to sit back for over a week and not worry about grading, classes, lesson planning, or choreographing?
Yes, please.
A good time to rest and prep to knock spring semester out of the park!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Planning Trip Knitting

It's hard to believe that Scott and I are leaving for Florida in just a little over a week.  I haven't made any lists, done any packing, or really done much more then wrap my parent's presents so I can mail them down to Florida either today or Monday.  The end of the semester kind of snuck up on me, taking over all my time and thought space.  Proof?  I've climbed twice in the last two weeks.  Not okay.
One thing I have to sort out in advance are my knitting projects.  Ideally, I'm going to finish my two Christmas knitting projects before I leave, which means I'll have a week and a half with buckets of glorious knitting time on new projects!  This kind of treat deserves serious deliberation.
Trip knitting will for sure be two projects.  They have to be small enough to pack and not take up a ton of space in my bag, yet take long enough to knit that the 7 hours on the plane, numerous drives, evenings relaxing, and sitting on the golf cart for the day while the rest of the family golfs will all be filled.
I don't want to have to bring any books along- it has to be portable, easy to put down and pick up, and keep my attention while allowing me to participate in whats going on around me.
This takes planning.
The first project is my "pay attention" project.  This will be for the golf cart rides and a good chunk of the plane rides.  I decided on the Narwhal mittens for my friend Brit.

The fair isle keeps me practicing before I go back to tackling my Dad's Dale of Norway sweater, and the picot edging is a fun (but welcome) change from the Latvian braid I did for the Toasty in Tofte mittens.  I know Brit will really appreciate these, and since she's coming with on the trip, I know she'll really enjoy watching their creation.
My only dilemma is deciding whether or not I should line them.  I'm thinking "yes", since that would cover the messy inside knitting and keep her hands warm in the sub-zero Minnesota temps when we're back home.  I'll probably only bring the yarn to knit the outsides, but I'm thinking lining would be a good idea.
Other than that, I need a project that I can work on while chatting with people at the same time.  Last year, I knit the Kleio shawl, which was big enough to keep me busy the whole time, yet small enough that it didn't take up a gargantuous amount of space in my carry-on.  I need to find something similar.  Honestly, I would love to take The Dude Sweater down with me to finish, but since the sweater is HUGE and the skeins of yarn are about the size of a dinner plate each, it's not feasibly a good travel project. :)
I love the Fjordland hat from the latest Pom Pom Quarterly.  It's got some fantastic colorwork sections, but they're repetitive and would require very little effort to concentrate on my part.

It's something that I would love to both knit and wear, which can sometimes be hard to pair together.  I haven't knit myself something in so long that a project like this would be fun.
Another thought was a simple pair of mittens for myself.  I already have yarn for a pair of striped mittens, so that's definitely a contender!

There's no real pattern to worry about, so it would be mindless knitting in circles, which is a perfect travel knit.  Part of me doesn't want to bring two pairs of mittens to knit, but another part of me says "I'll make what I want to make!"
Hard to argue with that logic.
I suppose I can't bring three projects, can I?  That would probably be too much. :)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Finals: the Calm Before the Storm

It's that time of year again.
The last week of class.

Next week, I have class on Monday and Tuesday to collect the final papers from all my students.  Wednesday through Sunday are my days of giving finals, or to describe it accurately, watching the panicked looks on the faces of my students as they attempt to write some semblance of a non-shitty essay in one hour and 55 minutes.

Finals week as a teacher is just as stressful if not more so than my student days long ago.  Yes, instead of studying like crazy and writing papers I'm simply grading.  But my grades are due December 23rd, and I have 125 final papers and 100 finals to grade between Monday the 16th and Monday the 23rd.  Huzzah?
On top of that, students have been bombarding my email and office hours with excuses, pleads, late work with no explanation attached, and promises that they'll get it in "as soon as possible".

 It's been a crazy semester with five classes, and I'm going to relish every minute of my Florida break the minute I step on to that airplane on the 24th.
In the meantime, my Christmas knitting is down to 2 projects.
The Toasty in Tofte mittens have to be finished by next weekend, when Scott and I head up to do Christmas with his family.  I'm completely finished with one of the mittens, and the other mitten simply needs the (entire) lining.  I'm thinking if I don't get a lot of knitting done on these over the weekend, I can bring them to my finals.  I don't like grading papers in front of the students, and it would mean I could just sit in the front of the room and keep an eye on them while getting some solid knitting finished.  This one shouldn't be too difficult to finish on time.
I'm a little worried about the Cafe Cowl.  Not bite-my-nails worried, but at least the little tiny bird in the pit of my stomach going, "When are you going to do this?  You have a million papers to grade and an entire frickin' mitten lining to do.  You're mildly screwed."  I honestly have no idea when I'm going to plug away at this, but luckily it's simple enough that I can also bring it to my finals if the mittens are done this weekend.
No problem.
It's fine. :)


This weekend, it's all about knitting, finishing grading late work, and getting organized for next week.  Then, come Monday it's time to buckle down and get my coffee maker ready.

Bring it on, finals.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Turkeys, Pies, and a Snowstorm!

I think I have to just accept that I'll be posting slightly less as the end of the semester winds up.  I only have one full week of classes left before finals week, which feels really fast after just having Thanksgiving.
Speaking of...

my Thanksgiving was a good mix of fast-paced family fun and a little bit of relaxing.
Scott and I decided to attempt to hit up both of our family Thanksgivings this year.  We stayed with my aunt and uncle Wednesday night, and on Thursday morning I was trusted to help make some of the delicious pumpkin pies for the day!

I've never been successful getting the pie crust to cooperate, so it was awesome to have my aunt Sherri give me a first-hand tutorial and let me prep two of the pie crusts.  I'll probably make a couple more pies now that I feel comfortable with it, and who knows- maybe I'll even get good at it! :)
People began arriving around 11, and the house quickly descended into a chaotic, fun mess- lots of good cheer, good food, and a fantastic lay of food!
We always have around 30 people for my family Thanksgiving, so it's anything but "small" and "quaint".

My uncle Brent and I have a running tradition of doing a tequila shot together on Thanksgiving.  This has been a thing since I was 18, when his goal was to teach me the importance of knowing your booze (and knowing what to stay away from, perhaps).  All I know is it turned me off to tequila shots.  Somehow, that one lesson turned into a yearly tradition, and the family always gives us a cheer as we down them!  Talk about supportive...

Scott and I had our late lunch/dinner, then headed over to his aunt and uncle's house to do his side's Thanksgiving.  We had a second dinner, played a few games, and enjoyed the company of his relatives.  By the time we picked up my brother , we were all exhausted and ready to crash.
I spent the rest of the weekend alternating between relaxing with my brother and his girlfriend at their new house and getting grading and school stuff done.

I did get to help them set up their tree and some of the Christmas decorations, which was really nice!  Kyle and I also made sure to watch at least a couple of the Charlie Brown specials, including Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown!, a couple of favorites from when we were kids.
I got back home Sunday night with just enough time to throw in a load of laundry before launching into another week.
My week, however, quickly became very short.

It started snowing here in Duluth on Monday night and didn't let up until Thursday morning.  I had school on Tuesday, but there were very few students in my class.  All the public, private, and charter schools were closed Tuesday, so I didn't have dance Tuesday night.  Instead, I watched the storm move in!

It was the snowstorm that didn't stop.  All the schools, including the colleges, closed both Wednesday and Thursday.  In the course of a few days, we got over 2 feet of snow.

I went out on Wednesday night to do some shoveling (the snow hadn't let up by this point, and wouldn't for another few hours), and the snow was just past my knee in depth.

When the snow finally stopped in the middle of the night on Wednesday, the temperature plummeted.  All the heavy, wet, and piled snow turned into 2-3 foot high banks that were like concrete to shovel.  The city was a mess.  The plows had barely been able to keep up with getting the snow off the emergency snow routes, and now they had oodles of frozen blocks of snow to push... on the sidewalks?  There was just so much snow everywhere.
Scott and I did a little grocery shopping on Thursday, but otherwise just stayed inside.  We amused ourselves by dressing each of the cats in a little kitten Christmas sweater, and laughing at how ridiculous they looked and acted in it!

I'm pretty sure Maeby was more than a little unhappy with it on.  We're going to attempt to incorporate the cats wearing Christmas sweaters in our Christmas card, which I need to make and send out in the next week here.
In between all the grading...
I've been doing a bunch of knitting, but I'll leave those for another post.  At least I feel caught up now!  There's still ten tons of snow outside, the streets still suck to drive on, and I'm ecstatic that I have my parent's truck to drive this winter.
I just hope it doesn't snow any more this winter, because we really don't have anywhere else to put it now...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Broken Internet

I came back from my weekend away on Sunday night to a quiet house, since Scott was in the Twin Cities until Tuesday night.  Monday I woke up and attempted to check my school email during breakfast, and noticed the internet was having issues.  As in it didn't want to connect.
Since Scott makes our internet all sorts of complicated, I didn't touch anything, and simply told him on Tuesday night when he was back that it hadn't been working.  He spent the rest of the night Tuesday trying to troubleshoot all the layers of security and whatnot that he has for our internet. 
By Wednesday, he figured out that our modem blew, and ordered a new modem.  It won't get here until (hopefully) tomorrow, so I've been without internet at home for almost a week now.  It's been surprisingly not a big deal, as my job has internet.  The only downfall is that it slows my ability to do fun things like watch Netflix or update my blog.  
Surprise surprise. :)
It has allowed me to focus a little on the important stuff, like grading.
I collected about 125 papers last week from all of my classes.  This was the one week that all five of my classes handed in papers at the same time, and I didn't realize it back in August when I was originally planning out the schedules for all my classes.  Horrendous idea.  I have to make sure to never do this again.
It has helped out that I'm not the only stressed individual in the English department.  One of my colleagues and I had a long discussion about how we snack non-stop all day when we grade, and she shared a favorite cereal name with me.  I came in to work the next day, and found this on my desk:
I love where I work. :)
Despite the craziness at work (and in the dance studio), I've found time to work more on the Tofte Mittens!
They're coming along quite nicely, and hopefully I can finish the outside of both mittens by the end of the week.  With Thanksgiving break looming, I'm pretty optimistic. All that they'll need then is the fuzzy alpaca interior, which should knit up nice and fast without the colorwork.
Perhaps I can start my own pair of mittens then...
especially since I finally got the yarn in the colors that I want. :)  Oh, and especially since we've already had a handful of nights in the single digits up here.  Mittens would be nice...
More grading until I head down to the cities on Wednesday.  Hopefully I'll have at least a little relaxing time over this Thanksgiving break.  I need to take a leaf out of Maeby's book and follow her lead...
because if anyone knows how to relax and take it easy, it's my lazy kitten. :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

FO: Milo Armadillo

This weekend was a whirlwind.
I made a trip down to the cities for a baby shower, and ended up seeing a whole bunch of my friends in the process.
I was very excited to see one of my oldest best friends for some quality girl time, partially because she's going to have a little boy attached to her hip in a few months!

It was really crazy to hear about all her pregnancy stories- problems, happy parts, weird parts, and the "you really don't want to know this, but I'm going to tell you anyway" parts.  :)  The picture above shows a moment that I was pretty excited about.  She had a large enough belly to be able to hold things up on it.  BAM!  Awesome mama-to-be right there. :)
As a celebration, I knit her (and her baby and husband) Milo Armadillo, to go along with a book I found!
Sarah is a HUGE armadillo fan.  It's surprisingly difficult to find armadillo "things", so when I found a book about a knit armadillo, I knew that it was perfect.  I had to get the book, as well as knit the Milo that went along with it.
If you noticed in previous posts, I was really gunning for the deadline.  I definitely drove down to the cities on Friday night with an unfinished Milo, intending on finishing his arms and legs in the guest bedroom in the dead of night, since the shower wasn't until Sunday.
My excitement, however, got the better of me, and I showed Sarah the almost-finished Milo on Friday night.  She freaked, exclaimed that she loved it, and proceeded to laugh over Milo's ridiculously good looks.  So instead of knitting deep into the night, I was able to knit while watching stupid girl movies and laughing along with my very-pregnant friend.  When she opened it at the shower, she let it be known that she had seen me knitting the legs, which made it even better to know the work and love (and a few swear words) that had gone in to it.

Pattern: Milo Armadillo by Jan Fearnley
Yarn: The main blue body was knit with Debbie Bliss Eco Baby, a soft 100% cotton yarn just in case baby boy is allergic to wool.  The shell was knit with mostly leftover Cascade 220 from other projects.

Timeframe: September 14th-November 16th.
Needles: Bamboo size 3

Modifications: A LOT.  The entire pattern was written up to have everything knit flat, then seamed, stuffed, and assembled together after all the limbs were finished.  I really don't like seaming, and I know for a fact that babies like to pull on things, so after knitting the head flat (very much did NOT enjoy), I picked up all the rest of the limbs straight off the body.  That meant that I had to turn some of the directions around, which wormed all right.  Check the Ravelry page for Milo to get all of my notes and modifications.

Worst Part: Trying to figure out how to convert the entire pattern to picking up the stitches, and the time crunch.  I definitely knit other things when I should have been knitting Milo... oops...
Best Part: Seeing Sarah's face when she saw the completed Milo for the first time.  Worth all of the converting and figuring stuff out on the go, FOR SURE.

I'm so glad Milo is finished.  This means I only have a few major Christmas knits left, and most of them have been at least started.  One only needs a little glue and it's done.  I'll update later on that.
I also promised a certain guy to have his sweater finished by Thanksgiving, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen at this point.  Maybe Christmas?
This week is going to be crazy full.  Over the next three days, I'm collecting 125 papers from my students for their third round of long assignments to grade.  In order to stay sane and not spend my entire Thanksgiving break grading, I'm going to grade at least 10-15 per day to stay on schedule.  This is on top of daily work, quizzes, tests, and conferences.
I might go take a nap.  Gotta be well-rested to focus, right? :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Oh, Crap

So the last two evenings were supposed to be filled with limbs for armadillos, and I was supposed to be dancing around the living room with my glass of wine held high in victory tonight, singing happy songs of being done with presents early and my moments between teaching dance tomorrow night filled with simply grading things and packing for a weekend in the Twin Cities with friends.

Instead, other things happened.
Like Scott's Mom took Scott and I out to dinner last night, which lasted until ten.
Like Scott's brother and his girlfriend Kim were in town tonight, so we went out for dinner with them.
Like I had to research health insurance so I could apply for it this week through my work.
Like I had a Skype chat with a friend three states away about her assignment progression for her freshman writing class that I might integrate in to my classes next semester.
Like a million other little things that I didn't think about, and they just got in the way.

So now it's 10 pm on Wednesday night, and I have class tomorrow until 3:30, I'm subbing at dance at the studio from 4:30-5:30, I have to choreograph a bit for my duet, pack, grade, and back to the studio to teach said choreography to my duet ladies from 8:30-9.
Somewhere in there I have to finish both arms and both legs of the armadillo.

Tomorrow night might be a late one.
Ooooh boy...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Shell? CHECK.

I was a little nervous last night about how much I still had to go on the armadillo.  I wasn't sure how long the shell would take, or the embroidery, or getting it sewed on Milo correctly, so I was a little nervous about the outcome and the time crunch.
Having no school today meant I could tackle the shell during the day between chores, hopefully leaving time for me to start a limb this evening after dance if everything went well.
After breakfast, I had the shell done.

Between vacuuming and my second load of laundry, I did the embroidery.

After making a grocery list, I had time to sew the shell on to Milo, no problem.

It's a little lopsided on his body, but his body is mildly lopsided, so I think it's okay.  I stuffed underneath the shell as well, so Milo now has a much fuller body.  And- I wasn't going to mention this worry earlier- he looks more like an armadillo now.
Only 4 limbs to go and eyes to sew on.  4 more evenings.
No problem. :)