Thursday, February 26, 2015

Le Petite Godzilla Ruins Things Again

Remember the picture I posted with the Onward Shawl laying on the bed, blocking in a single day, shut in the bedroom away from the cats?

Funny story.

I ran off that afternoon for 4 hours of dance after repositioning the fans one more time.  The shawl was probably just over halfway dry when I left, so I was excited to have a finished and dry product when I got home.
Halfway through dance, I received this series of text messages:

You know that deep down, gut feeling of utter dread and unhappiness?  Usually I associate it with horrendous problems with my car that will cost a lot of money, or immediately following my oral exams in grad school, feeling like I had failed.
That's what those texts from Scott felt like.
Scott had gone in the bedroom for something.  Albert had run in and hid under the bed, out of reach.  Scott put food in the cat dishes.  He couldn't get Albert out to feed him.  Maeby immediately strolled over to enjoy her dinner.  Here's the kicker- Scott left the door open to the bedroom so Albert could get out for dinner, then went downstairs to his Man Cave.  It's still uncertain how long he was gone.
He ran up when he heard our roommate Kim yelping that Maeby was in the bedroom and doing something to the shawl.
This something, to be exact:

Doesn't look that big?

Trust me, it's a lot.
Check it out compared to how much corner there should be (with the completed corner under the nommed one):

When I got home to contemplate the damage, I sat in shock for a good five minutes.  Scott was of course apologetic, but I was more than a bit mad.  She had eaten back to literally exactly where I had fixed the shawl the first time.  And fixing and re-knitting the first time took upwards of 30 hours.  Kendra comes to collect it on Saturday, and I suddenly had 30 hours of work to do on what was supposed to be a completed (for the second time!!!) shawl.  Not to mention that I was out of yarn if I wanted to rip back and do the entire thing correctly.  I had about 1/4 of the last skein from the project leftover after the first fix.
It took a couple of days for the anger (mostly at Scott) to wear off.  I know that I can blame Maeby for being stupid and eating it, but her brain is the size of a peanut and she spends half her day licking her butt.  I can't be that mad at her for long.
Scott, on the other hand, left Godzilla unattended and left the door open with access to the knitting.
So even though he didn't directly cause the damage, he takes an assist in the crime.
Don't worry- he knows that lots of yarn and extra nice date nights are only the beginning to making this up to me.
So now begs the question- do I find the yarn online, fix it correctly, and give it to her in another month?  Or do I darn the chewed-off section and pick up and knit a little corner so I can have this done for her by Saturday?
I'll be making a decision and working on it by this afternoon, because time's a-tickin'...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

VE Climbing Comp

It's been a busy week or so (though, to be honest, I can't remember when I haven't been busy).
Last weekend, besides having a ton of dance, I competed all day on Saturday in the North Shore Style Climbing Competition at Vertical Endeavors in Duluth!
It was a grand ol' time, mostly because there were a lot of awesome people that were climbing with me that I haven't either hung out with in awhile or haven't climbed with extensively.  A few were from the Twin Cities, which I barely ever get to see, so it was grand camaraderie overall!

One of them even brought me a sweet Tshirt to represent the climbing community here in MN!
The comp itself was a lot of fun- I made it to the finals round for the Women's Open category, which is the category for the hardest lady climbers, and even though I was super pooped after a full day of climbing, I managed to get a few holds up on the finals route before being kicked off by a sloper.

I ended up in 2nd place, being beat out by a girl that placed 3rd nationally last year, so I don't feel too upset that I didn't get 1st place. ;)

My prize was a sweet pair of hanging holds that will be fantastic for training in our basement of doom (coming soon- Spring 2015, hopefully!).  The best part now is that I get to go back and have fun on all the comp routes- working the sequences that I had trouble with during the flash-format (where you have to get the route the first or second time on it for the most amount of points).
Other big news?
Drumroll, please!

Isn't it pretty? :)
And isn't it big?
I was a little surprised how much this shawl stretched out, but it's gorgeous and dry and (finally!) ready to be handed over to the recipient.  Super glad I didn't go with a seventh repeat of the pattern- the shawl is already big enough.  I had to set up fans while blocking to make sure that I had a bed to sleep in that night.
Now to figure out my next big project... :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I Want to Knit ALL OF THE THINGS...

So, I might have a problem.
Things have been going super well, knitting-wise.  The big project that I wanted to fix and finish quickly, the Onward Shawl, is very close to done.

All I need is one solid movie night to finish this long-overdue behemoth.  I've been very dutiful in working almost exclusively on this, as the recipient is coming up to Duluth in a week or so and I wanted to be able to present it to her, finished, blocked, and pretty.
Then I went on Ravelry last night.
I don't have dance this week for February break, so my nights are pretty open.  That means last night I accidentally went online and started looking at all of the pretty things that I could make.
This was a deep, dark rabbit hole.
I mean, how can I resist the the gorgeous matching combo project of the Green Memories hat and handwarmers for myself?  Or starting a sweater such as the Agnes Pullover, which has been on my radar forever?  Or start the Carrie Handwarmers to keep at my chilly desk, or the Scrollwork hats (which I already have the yarn for) for all my awesome lady climber friends?  Or go into a whole new realm of crazy by beginning the Persian Dreams Blanket (mark my words, that's my next big project for myself)?
Like I said: deep dark hole.
The problem, for those that have been keeping track, is the size of my WIP list.
As of right now, I have 7 works in progress.
This morning, I had six.  Then I accidentally cast on the Police Box Handwarmers.

To be fair, those are going to one of my solo students, and I wanted to make sure I got one of the mildly fiddly presents started as soon as possible.  Totally legit.  Easy to justify (another) WIP.
Doesn't matter that I have the Onward Shawl, the Hipster Beanie for Jamie (xmas coupon being redeemed), the Adama cowl KAL, the Valentine's Day socks (that I started a few days ago), and the Studio socks to finish up.
Oh, and I brought my little honey quilt kit to school, so when I have down time I can yet again begin chipping away at the the little honeycombs.
I might have a problem.
I think actually having nights off this week has given me unrealistic expectations of my knitting time.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day

Pretty awesome Valentine's Day, thanks to Mr. S. :)

We went on a flashlight tour of the Fairlawn Mansion in Superior, which I've never done before.  I love the Victorian era (one of my Master's Thesis papers concerned childhood in the Victorian era!), so checking out an old restored Victorian house by flashlight was a fantastic surprise for me.  Major points to S on that one.  The guy knows me pretty darn well. :)
I got the obligatory flowers (which he even put in the vase for me), card, and my favorite:

a little time with some knitting.
Yes, that is a sock.  A regular, basic easy pattern, knit sock for me.  Because any knitter with any self respect must have her own knitted socks for her feet. ;)
And yes, that is the color of the yarn.  No, I didn't put it through filters.  It really is that ridiculous. :)
I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day. :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

3-Day Weekend Huzzah!

It's almost a 3-day weekend, and I couldn't be happier about it!
I got really ambitious this week, in a multitude of ways.
First and foremost, I tried my hand at adapting a baking recipe.
I'm a huge fan of gooey, soft cookies.  I heard from a source that if one were to add vanilla instant pudding mix to most any cookie recipe, achieving a soft cookie works well.  I gave it a shot, and it worked beautifully!
I did about 3 trays of regular-sized cookies, and also made a mega-cookie so I could cut shapes out.
Normally I cut shapes out before baking, but the dough was ridiculously sticky, so I tried it after.  Success!
I cooked dinner a couple of nights, which for me is a fairly big thing (S is the cook in our family).  I made a hearty sausage-potato-spinach soup on Wednesday night, but S put cayenne pepper in when I wasn't looking and I spent the whole meal with a bright red face and tears running down my cheeks.  He officially had a fair amount of leftover soup all to himself.
I've had conferences with most of my students all week, so besides dealing with a few problems with students, school was pretty chill this week.  While I do have a bunch of papers and daily work to grade this weekend, it's be kind of nice to have a slightly easier grading/lesson planning week.
I enjoyed the snow that has finally come to Minnesota!  I hate lame winters.  If it's going to be cold and white outside, at least make it worth it and have a real winter! :)  Tuesday was a great day of cleaning, chores, and errands in the morning, then climbing, coffee, and dance in the afternoon and evening.  The snow just made it that much better! 
On the knitting front, I finished the first in a pair of super-fuzzy socks!
I was originally going to make these for the head of my dance studio, but I did some measurement wrong somewhere, and they fit my size 7 1/2-8 foot comfortably instead of her size 6 1/2 feet.  Oops.  I guess not make socks very often takes its toll on my ability to churn out gifted goods. 
Oh darn.  Guess I'll just have to keep them. :)
I did complete the second Sweetheart coffee sleeve yesterday for my roommate's Valentine's Day gift, but I won't post any pics since it looks the same as the last one (minus the giant kitten-nommed part).
Fun anecdote- my roommate opened her present and set it on her desk.  Guess who picked it up and started carrying around the apartment in her mouth?
Can't trust that cat with anything...

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Maeby is THE. WORST.

I was really excited about this knit.
It was super cute, fast to make, on large needles (which is glorious after working on size 000), and I know the recipient will absolutely love it.
It's the Sweetheart Coffee Cup Sleeve, which I originally found on Pinterest before looking it up on Ravelry. (PS- free and adorable pattern, knitters!) :)
It was nice- yesterday afternoon, I sat down with a few episodes of New Girl and some skeins of Cascade 220 that I found in the basement.
Before I knew it, it was time to bind off.

It was super cute, looked great, and will be well received.  I may have been more than a little smitten with it.

I took a few pictures with my Starbuck's Chai Tea before throwing the sleeve in a coffee cup to soak before blocking.  I normally wouldn't block something that already looked that good, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  It needed to be blocked to just even out the fair isle a little bit.  No bit deal.
I lay it out to dry on the heater in our bedroom, and went about making dinner.  I completely forgot about it last night.
I woke up this morning, and found this on the floor next to my slippers:

She didn't just chew on it.  She nommed straight through it like the snowplow from hell.
The craigslist ad will be going up shortly for said cat.
Name: Maeby
Age: 3 1/2 years
Talents: Eating anything that has value or meaning.

Friday, February 6, 2015

FO: Armadillo Ornament

Another FO bites the dust. :)
Granted, this one was supposed to be finished for Christmas, but... yeah.  The recipient is just over 1 years old, so I feel like I can get a little bit of a reprieve this year.  We'll move on from that. Next year I'll be on the ball!
Checked off the list- the Armadillo Ornament!

Pattern: Don the Dillo by Gabrielle Theriault
Yarn: Mirasol's Sulka Legato in Light Brown and Dark Brown
Needles: Susan Bates metal DPN's, size 000 for the light brown/body, and size 2 for the shell.
Timeframe: November 22, 2014-February 4, 2015

Recipient: Honorary nephew, little baby Ben!
Mods: The big one is that this is normally a bigger armadillo, but I used both smaller yarn and needles to make him able to hang on the Christmas tree.  Original pattern calls for size 2 and 8 needles to make the body and worsted weight yarn; I used size 000 and size 2 needles and light fingering weight yarn.  I also followed the suggestions of other Ravelry users and knit the tail and body as one continuous piece, which worked really well.  I also picked up the stitches for the legs straight from the body instead of knitting them and attaching them later, which is my usual method with stuffed animals (and works much better when there's a chance of small children grabbing and pulling).

Worst Part: Not finishing it for Christmas.  Boo.
Best Part: He's kinda cute. :)
I mean, he made friends with Albert.  And Albert is pretty picky about who he likes. :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Days off are for Repair Work

Yesterday was amazing.
Between the craziness of Christmas, moving and unpacking, dance jumping into hyper-mode, getting in the climbing gym as much as possible, and maintaining a healthy dose of relationship time with S, my life has been more than a little hectic.  One look at my highlighted and color-coded planner would convince one of that.  But yesterday I had (with the exception of an hour of tap) the whole day off.
It was glorious.  I had coffee in the morning, cleaned up the kitchen, did two very large loads of laundry, and made myself not feel rushed in any of my tasks.
I put away a bunch of the small random piles in the living room, so it feels a little more lived-in and less like we're still unpacking, and added things to the now fairly sizable donation pile.
And I finally tackled fixing the Onward Shawl.

(My first attempt at fixing it, with the problem child watching.  Notice how she doesn't have an ounce of regret in her little eyes...)
I cut back the entire edge that seemed damaged, figuring that I could just pull back as far as needed (hoping it wasn't much) and pick up the live stitches on the needle.
I didn't realize how much damage there was until I was pulling, pulling, pulling... and the yarn kept coming in nommed-off chunks.  I finally just picked up the stitches right before the fourth repeat section, far below any chew marks, cut the piece down to just above the needles, and pulled back to that.  Two CSI episodes later, I finally had it fixed and ready to work again.

It was a little sad to see how much yarn I had to cut out and pull back, but I know that it's going to be worth it in the end.  It's going to take a couple of rows to figure out if I accidentally dropped any stitches, or need to do any other small repairs, but it feels good to have a handle on this thing and get it finished.  This has been on the needles way to long, and it needs to get to the recipient before the cold weather is over.
Speaking of cold weather, I finished my amazing day by going on a night cross-country ski with my friend Alex!

We did the Piedmont trail which overlooks the city.  I wanted to get a pic of my new skis, but the whole night-ski thing made that difficult.  I'll just have to do it next time instead. :)
One of the nicest things about a whole day off?
I feel completely refreshed and energized to continue my week!
Huzzah and upward!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

FO: Everlasting Gobstopper Mitts

They're blocked and finished and gifted to the right person- they're the Everlasting Gobstopper Mitts!

Pattern: Colorblock Handwarmers by Purl Soho
Yarn: Three Irish Girls made a little mini-skein pack called "Everlasting Gobstopper" that grabbed my attention immediately in the middle of a dark cold winter last year.
Needles: Bamboo DPN's, size 2 for the ribbing on the edge and size 3 for the body
Time: May 30, 2014 to January 31, 2015 (waaaaaay too long for such an easy knit!)

Size: Small/Medium
Made for: My roommate, Kim!
Mods: Instead of doing a regular quick color switch, I did a couple rows of gradient for a gradual switch.  Rows for the gradient go as such:
R1- K 2 w/color 1, K 1 w/color 2 to end of round 
R2- Alternate every other color per stitch 
R3- K 2 w/ color 2, K 1 w/color 1 to end of round 
I also changed the size up a teeny bit- I knit 3" of the first color before doing the gradient change to the second, 5 1/2" from the bottom before switching to the third color, 5 rounds of color 3 before knitting 8 in stockinette for the thumb opening, 3 rounds to close the thumb, then the gradient switch to color 4.  I knit an inch of just color four before doing the ribbing as written in the pattern.  I didn't want the handwarmers to be as long, and I'm happy with the finished effect!

Worst Part: Losing the motivation to finish them once I realized I wasn't a huge fan of how they were turning out.  I was already a full handwarmer in, so I figured that I could finish them at some point and give them to someone.  Luckily, I found someone!
Best Part: The colors!  I love TIG yarn, and these colors are so bright and cheerful, they make any gross winter day better!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Already February?

I sat down at my computer to sort out some pictures, and was blown away by the fact that we're already entering the second month in 2015.  Where did the time go?
Oh, wait... I know.

The kittens had their yearly vet visit, where Albert was great (he just goes into "frozen kitten" mode to deal with the scary outside world) and Maeby was a pill; she jumped all over the counters, whined a bunch, but made up for it by licking the vet's fingers between pokes and needles.

Her yarn obsession is getting better.  I'm to the point that I'll allow her near it when I'm sitting next to her, but I definitely don't leave her alone in a room with it.
Baby steps. :)
I've been spending almost all of my time either training at the climbing gym, or at the dance studio.
Competition season is coming up fast for both, and I want to feel really prepared!
Case in point- I went to my first climbing competition of 2015 yesterday!

It was over at University of Wisconsin-Superior, and is generally a little smaller crowd, but still a lot of fun!

My good friend Alex climbed as well, and we had a good time sharing beta and meeting a lot of climbing ladies from all over Wisconsin, since this competition was part of a series of comps run throughout the University of Wisconsin system.  I doubt I'll travel to any other Wisconsin comps, but since this was right next to me, I gave it a shot!

Super glad I went- I ended up taking 1st place overall for women!  Felt really good to feel solid on so many problems, though the places that I had trouble (DYNOS!!!) were glaringly obvious.  Back to the training wall this week with a focus on using the campus board...

I won a super sweet solar charger setup from Goal Zero- perfect for charging a phone/camera battery while backcountry backpacking!

Scott and I went to the Duluth Grill after to celebrate, and I indulged in a little post-climbing comp hot chocolate.  Probably a zillion calories, but WHO CARES! :)
While at the comp, I was able to squeeze in a little knitting during down time and raffle announcements.  The brim of the Hipster Beanie is about halfway done, and I'm loving the color so far!

I can't pull off mustard with my blond hair, but knitting it for someone who can means I get to spend at least a little time with the color. :)
I also finished knitting the Gobstopper Mitts yesterday (FINALLY), so after they're done drying I'll take some pictures and get an FO post up about them.
Today is lots of dance time, some yoga to stretch out tired and sore muscles, and perhaps a little more knitting to end out the week.  I'm aiming to keep this motivated streak going, and I feel like I'm starting off February on the right foot. :)