Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stuck At 60%

I worked on my brother's Vest this morning, reaching the underarms and finally putting stitches on holders so I can work on just one section at a time.

It felt really good to reach this point on the vest, because I'm starting to get very bored of this pattern.
I mean, I've already done one hat with it, and I'm in the midst of another hat, so can you blame me?

Don't get me wrong- funny pattern, yep, great, but I'm at the 60% finished point for both this vest and the two hats as a collective that I'm working on.
Normally, when I get to the 60% finished part of a project, I start to get antsy and want to start another one.  I know that I don't have very far to go on this project- honestly, a little dedication and I'm going to see some really cool progress as I only work on one section of the chart at a time.  Unfortunately, I just want to see something else on my needles right now.
The only problem is, I'm at about the 60% completed portion for all the projects I'm working on right now.
Check out my Ravelry queue:

All four of my projects are at the point that I don't want to do much with them.  And some of them I haven't touched for ages.  For instance, Brit's Pangolin Cowl.

I started that back at the end of April, happy to be working with bright colors.  Unfortunately, I didn't really touch it that much with the end of school and dance coming around, and it's simple and small enough that it's demoted to "travel knit" only, which unfortunately I haven't done a ton of lately.

The Everlasting Gobstopper handwarmers were amazing when I started them- bright colors were exactly what I needed to combat the lousy spring we've had.  With those, I don't really like how the fit my hand.  I like a snug fit that decreases for the wrist, and these are just a little too loose.  I mildly ignored that they were going to do that while making them, and now I'm going to just finish them and figure out who to gift them to.
If I actually sat down and dedicated some time, I could easily finish most of these projects in no time at all.
But that means I actually have to sit down and dedicate time to them.
And all I want to do is start something new.
Something fun.
Something that is not a current project.
Apparently my knitting sense can see that it's summer and is becoming flightly and unfocused.  I probably shouldn't be terribly surprised.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


I'm slowly but surely coming back from the 1/2 Marathon.  After a couple days, my muscles are finally staring to feel fine, but my left foot is still sore from the constant pounding of 13 miles.  I'm hoping I'll be able to go out for a short jog tomorrow if I don't mildly destroy my foot again at tap rehearsal tonight.   More on my little tap project later... ;)

(Albert enjoys the top floor of his kitty condo, as well as my purple heat pad.  He was a pretty awesome snuggler the last couple of days!)
The down time at home has allowed me to blast through a couple of books and get some solid knitting time in.  I finished the bottom half of Kyle's Vest, and even got through the bottom section of the color chart!

I really like how it's turning out, and I'm even getting a little faster at knitting the wrong side of the vest with two colors.  I have to split soon for the underarms and the back, which means I have to do a little manual charting for the back.

Instead of just repeating the pattern twice on the back, I decided to have the deer in the center of the back surrounded by different sizes of pine trees.  Nice and classy. :)  I'll repeat the bottom section of colorwork after I'm done with the deer and trees to give the deer a nice border.  I'm happy that so far it's going quickly- I kind of want to get this project done and off the table.
Because it's ridiculous.
And mildly ugly.
what in the world am I thinking?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon- Check!

One of my goals for 2014 was to run a half-marathon, so back in February I put my name in the pool for the one that takes place during Grandma's Marathon weekend here in Duluth.  My name was picked, and yesterday I laced up my running shoes at 4:30 in the morning to catch a bus to the starting line of the Garry Bjorklund 1/2 marathon!
Gonna be honest- I was not really prepared for the race.  Sure, for a few weeks in May I was dutifully running 3-4 times a week.  I was working on controlling my breathing to avoid a massive side-ache, on telling my body that pain is fine, and running at a pace that I could keep up for more miles than a 5K.  A little over 2 weeks ago, I did a 5 mile training run with Scott.  I felt good.  I was optimistic that I was almost training to half the distance I would have to run in the big race.
Then life kind of got in the way.
I had dance.  Then I was in the cities helping with a garage sale.  Then I came back to Duluth and had competition tryouts.  I mean, really, I definitely could have thrown on my shoes for an hour or more of running here and there, but... I didn't.

Soooo you can imagine my mild trepidation while standing at the starting line yesterday.  I tried to throw it off, thinking, "Aaaah, it'll be fiiiine...", and "You've hiked this far before with 45 pounds of gear, and it wasn't a problem!" I handed in my swag bag and shivered in the early morning mist until the gun went off.
It was time!
The first 6 miles were actually great- I warmed up quickly during the first couple of miles, enjoying the fog and slight drizzle and breeze, and rocked hard to musicals in my headphones.  My left foot was sore right at mile 2, but I just told myself I would be fine and ignored it.  I was so pumped that I even had a moment during "For the First Time in Forever" from Frozen that I sang a little out loud (much to the confused looks from fellow runners).
Around mile 6, we get to the edge of Duluth, and the change in scenery to the city was really nice.  Onlookers were cheering us on, and when I started to feel sore or unhappy, I would see people I knew: An old college friend ran out on the road and gave me a hug, and a line of dancers from my dance studio actually gave me high fives and starting shouting "My tap teacher is sick!" at mile 8, which cheered me up considerably.
Just before mile 10, at the only real hill in the run, I started to feel like I was going to die.  My foot was throbbing, my legs felt like jello, and my breathing was ragged and uncoordinated.
Luckily, that's when I saw my biggest supporter standing on the side of the road, cheering me on!
Scott was hanging out in front of a Taco John's, holding a big cardboard sign that read "Oh. My. GOODNESS." on one side and "GOOOO KATIE!" on the other.  He gave me a huge hug, told me how proud he was, and took a couple of pictures.
I'm pretty positive that getting that boost was what got me through the end of the race.  :)
The last 3 miles through town were full of cheering people, signs cheering us on, and lots of positive energy.  By then my legs were just one big mass of pain (maybe I should have trained more... oops), and I was so emotional about being close to finishing that when "Let it Go" came on my headphones, I had tears clouding my eyes and I had to pull my headphones off so I wouldn't start bawling right there on the course.
Luckily I pulled it together for the end, and when I saw the balloons and Scott right next to the finish ready to give me a high five, I was only smiles!

It was a huge personal victory to know that I could do this run, especially with barely any very sporadic training.  I just told myself I was going to do it, and I did!

I definitely couldn't have done it without the support of friends and Scott along the course- now I know how important it is to have onlookers cheering you on.  I don't think I could have finished without that positive supporting energy!

My official finishing time was 2 hours, 42 minutes, but I had "Map My Run" on during my run, which I paused while waiting in line for 10 minutes for the bathroom halfway through the race, so my "Map My Run" time was 2:32:27.  Not bad for my first (and possibly only) half-marathon!
About 20 minutes after I crossed the finish line, the adrenaline wore off and the pain began.

Scott and I stopped at Burrito Union, where I scarfed down a breakfast burrito, and then came home and proceeded to lie on the couch with hot pads on my knees and feet.  Two naps, half a season of New Girl, a box of Mac & Cheese and an order of Thai food later, I finally passed out for the night.
I'm still sore today, so I'm going to take it easy with ibuprofen and knitting time.  I've only got an inch left before starting the colorwork on Kyle's vest, so I'll keep going on that while moving the heat pads around and taking more ibuprofen.

I have to admit, I'm pretty proud that I finished that race.  A lot of is was mental for me, being able to push through pain and doubt in order to finish something I set out to do.  I like to think that it's Grit training- learning how to suffer in order to achieve something or succeed at something.
I'm definitely excited to get back to training hardcore for climbing...
though my cousin did send me an email about another 1/2 marathon at the end of August I could do with her... hmmm... :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's been awhile...

Sorry about the long delay between posts.  I have a good excuse- last week I took a trip down to the cities to hang out with my parents (up visiting from Florida) and helping my aunts put on a large garage sale!

Since I haven't seen my folks since Christmas break, it was fantastic to hang out with them again.  I had a good dose of it, as we had a lot of catching up to do.
We spent last week down in Long Lake, helping with the garage sale, going kayaking, playing games, and going out a couple of times.  On Friday, they drove up to Duluth with me once we wrapped the garage sale up.  We picked up Scott and drove up the shore for some good ol' North Shore time for the weekend!  One of the highlights was finally showing my parents Palisade Head, my local climbing haunt, in person.  Now they can picture it better when I send them pics of me climbing up there. :)  It definitely wasn't ideal conditions, as the temp never even hit 50 degrees and the winds gusted up to 20 mph.

While Scott and I were rather unfazed by the gale winds blowing off of Lake Superior...

my parents were a little shocked at the 47 degree temps with winds and drizzle.  They left Florida at 90 degrees and humid, so "summer" in Duluth weren't temps they had seen for a long time.  It didn't shake their spirits at all, and we enjoyed some hiking...

me winning in Bananagrams (sorry, Dad.  You didn't have a chance)...

and then a beautiful hike on the lakewalk today back in town!

We also celebrated my birthday a little early, since they'll be back down in Florida next week on my actual birthday.
Banana cream pie, all for me?

Why yes, thank you. :)
In the midst of all the parent-time, garage-sale readying, driving back and forth, and time up north, I was able to work on the boring stockinette section of Kyle's Vest.

I figure I'll do about 10 inches before starting on the deer pattern, since I want to make sure the decreases on the front of the vest don't accidentally cut off a deer.  I should actually check my gauge and see where I'm at; I never did that once I was a few inches in on this size needle.
I probably should do that at some point... Hmmm...
The next few nights here are dedicated to teaching the competition tap dance for Thursday night's try-outs, and if last night is an indicator, I'm hoping that I'll have lots of awesome young ladies auditioning for tap next year!
Oh... and that 1/2 marathon is on Saturday morning.
Which I've only lazily trained for.  As in my longest run so far is a little over 5 miles.
Hahaha... Friday might be interesting.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Christmas Deer Hats... and Vest?

Last night I finished the first of two Fornicating Deer Hats that I'll be gifting to my cousins this year for Christmas!

I knit most of this hat on the drive through South Dakota for my climbing trip, and it went really fast.  I made some mild modifications to close the top of the hat, and made the black and orange multi-colored poof for the top while watching Ender's Game with my friend Alex last night (poof not pictured).
Then I sent a picture of it to my brother- you know, for fun.
Mistake #1.
He loved it.  And I really mean loved it.  Enough so that he requested that his birthday and Christmas gift combo this year be for me to knit him his own version of it.  Not just a hat, mind you.
He wants a vest.
And I agreed.
Mistake #2.
I went to Yarn Harbor to find a pattern, and settled on Knitting Pure & Simple's Basic Cardigan Vest as my base.

Classy, button-up, and easy to throw over any shirt for any occasion, minus the fact that there are deer on it doing things you probably wouldn't wear to an office Christmas party.  At least it's an easy pattern that will (hopefully) be easy to modify to put this motive in...
I immediately started looking through yarn, knowing that if I didn't get this project off the ground now, I'll realize how ridiculous this project is and make a third hat instead.  I texted him to ask about his color preference, thinking I'd get black and red, or green and red to go with the Christmas theme.
Mistake #3.

He wanted dark navy blue for the base and burnt orange for the deer.  Why?  Because he wears a lot of stuff from the 70's, specifically my dad's old Ski Patrol hat and sweaters, which are all in the old Ski Patrol colors of navy blue and burnt orange.  Classy dresser, my brother.
Now I'm committed.  I have the pattern, the yarn, and a very excited brother that will no doubt ask about progress as the summer goes on.  All I have to do is figure out where I'll input the pattern in the vest, do some math, and get this puppy off the ground.
I feel like this knit goes beyond the biological obligation I have to give a family member well-done and nice knits.  He better be getting me something super cool for my own birthday present.
Why do I keep knitting ridiculous things because people ask me?
I think I have a problem...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Mid Week BAM

The first half of my week was spent pretty much at the dance studio.  Our show is this Saturday with an all-day rehearsal on Friday, so I spent a good portion of Monday and after my classes on Tuesday making dressing room door signs, throwing out old papers to help clean out the office, and teaching my last classes for the year.

(Why yes, I am the one in the giant shark hat.  Why?)
The last part is bittersweet; I absolutely love teaching the crazy array of ladies in my classes, but I'm at the point where I'm ready to be done with my dances for the year.  We've performed all of my competition songs and dances a million times now, and as much as I like the ones I choreographed this year, I'm already excited and listening to songs for next year.
One thing I do plan on doing this summer with some of my senior-line tappers is putting together a small group to perform down in Duluth's Canal Park for fun.  I plan on choreographing a couple of small bits for them to perform, and depending on how the group progresses, I'm hoping that they'll take the reigns and do their own bits of choreography.  That's my hope, at least, especially since I'll be gone most of August, and I think it would be a cool learning experience for them to do a bit of their own tap choreography and impromptu performance in front of our scads of summer tourists. :)

Since I've spent so much time at the studio, I only have a cool picture of the cookies that two sisters from two different tap lines brought in for me- spelling out my name!  Pretty awesome, if you ask me.  :)
Other than that, on this particular Wednesday...
Listening: to the Pitch Perfect second album (one song in particular), and the 2012 New Broadway Cast recording of Annie for next year's competition inspiration...
Enjoying: Scott and I put together this awesome dish tonight, and it was a perfect summer dinner salad!
Sporting: Clothes from a recent clothing exchange with some friends.  Never done one?  They're amazing.  I invite 8-10 ladies over, we throw all our clothes we don't want or wear much in a pile (things you'd normally put in a garage sale or a Goodwill bag), then just go through them together and grab what we like!  I get almost a new wardrobe for absolutely nothing- which currently fits my no-salary budget! ;)  It's perfect for anyone, and works great paired with food and/or wine. :)
More later this week, and hopefully I'll be (finally) putting together my list of things I need to accomplish this summer...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wedding and Gobstoppers

One of Scott's cousins got married this weekend in a really fun wedding, and she asked me to do a reading from John Green's book The Fault in Our Stars during the ceremony!

It was really fun to dress up and go dancing with my guy, especially since we haven't really had a chance to have some time together since school ended (definitely my fault, since I took off on a climbing trip.  Oops!).
We did get a lot of questions and fun poking about when we were going to possibly get engaged and married...

and it didn't help when I caught the bouquet thrown by the bride!  Oops.  ;)
Since I'm completely finished knitting for dance presents, I decided to cast on something fun for myself and ignore all the gift knitting I'm doing right now.  While at Yarn Harbor a couple of weeks ago, I oogled the mini-skeins from Three Irish Girls that were in groupings of fantastically fun colors.
I succumbed to two different groupings, one of which was called "Everlasting Gobstopper"- perfect bright colors for some gloomy rainy days!

To show off all the colors, I cast on for the Colorblock Handwarmers, and a few hours in the car back and forth from the cities let me finish one of the handwarmers!

I love the colors, and even though I have absolutely no idea when I'll wear these (yet!), the colors and the feel of the yarn are just the best.  They'll definitely need a blocking, but maybe I can even finish them in time to wear to our long dress rehearsal on Friday this week...
This is our last week of dance for the year, and while I'm at the point where I'm ready to be done with my dances and move on to new ones, it's always sad to see everything wrap up.  I'll see my dancers one more time- at auditions for competition line for next year, then nothing until September since I'm not doing summer dance.  Sadness!!  To commemorate the end of the yar, I'm putting together little "thank you for being awesome" gifts for all my dancers- tokens of appreciation for all of their hard work!
Speaking of, I better get to that... especially since that's only one of the many things on my to-do list today... :)