Friday, August 21, 2015

FO: Venga Las Chicas Hats

For the past two years, I've spent my MEA break (which is mid-October for you non-MN readers) heading down to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky to climb with a group of incredible lady climbers!
I've been increasingly drawn to do all-lady climbing trips.  It's very empowering, very supportive, and the dynamic is different than going with just guys or even a mixed group.  Numerous female climbers have written great essays about this, Instagram has the awesome #climblikeagirl, and pros have posted fantastic videos about the importance of climbing with just ladies.
To move on.
I wanted to commemorate the incredible women that I was climbing with by doing something special for them.  When I found the Malabrigo Rios yarn in the colorway of Jupiter, all I could think about was how much it looked like the deep red rock of the Gorge.  I bought three skeins, and what resulted were four hats for my amazing climbing partners: Val, Amanda, Zay, and Emily!

I call them the Venga Las Chicas Hats; "Venga" is the phrase often shouted at Spanish crags to encourage a climber up the wall, so hopefully these hats will encourage my lady friends! :)

Pattern: Scrollwork by Irina Dmitrieva, part of the Wool People 4 catalogue from BrooklynTweed (both links go to Ravelry pages)
Yarn: 3 skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Jupiter

Needles: size 4 for the brim, size 7 for the body, all bamboo.
Timeframe: May 17th-August 11th, 2015.  I finished about a hat a month, though it could have been done a little sooner if I had focused on it. :)

Mods: None until the final hat- I was definitely running out of yarn on hat #4, so on the crown decrease, I skipped the row where I didn't decrease for probably 8 rows.  I was super close to running out of yarn just as I was finishing the hat, as you can see:

and I'm very very glad that I did those quicker decreases.  I feel like it's kind of hard to tell that it happened!
Worst Part: There were points where knitting the same hat pattern so many times in a row got a little bit repetitive, but the pattern was interesting enough that I didn't really mind too much.  To be fair, I've knit a billion Turn a Square hats, so at least these had a little more variety with the cables.

Best Part: Giving them to the ladies and having them wear them out to climb.  :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Adventure August: Part I

I just got back from about two weeks out in Colorado, doing the climbing and hiking thing, and it was incredible.  :)  It was exactly what I needed after a bit of a rough summer (minus some awesome patches).  The coolest part about this trip was going with two of my closest friends for an all-ladies trip.  We all seemed to need this trip for different reasons, and it was so cool to come together as a group before we all split off across the US once again.
Highlights of the trip include:

Seeing our old Duluth friend Peter!

He gave us a local's tour of Boulder Canyon in Colorado, and we had an incredible time climbing amazing rock and staying at his place!

Finding another Duluthian, Hannah, who did quite a few days of climbing with us even as she settled in to Boulder herself!

I jumped on my first V5 in Rocky Mountain National Park, and was literally one move away from finishing it successfully after only a handful of tries.  I left it as a project- guess I'll have to go back again!  Ooooh darn... ;)

We were in town for the Boulder farmer's market and craft show, where we got to try sample after sample of organic, non-GMO, natural, gluten-free everything.  It was a little crazy!

We ate so well on this trip!  My friend Amanda was an incredible cook, and every meal was full of delicious fresh veggies that she cooked up effortlessly, usually without a recipe.  It inspired me to begin eating wholly and well again now that I'm back home, especially since I felt incredible the entire time I was eating out there!

There were some fun little exciting bits, as well.  I mean, you can't have a climbing trip without some "huh" moments!  For instance, I did a very long moderate 5.9 that became slick and tough when it started raining on me mid-route.  I had to clean the draws, then when I was lowered, we realized exactly how long the route was when this was how much rope there was left!  At least I made it... :)

On our rest day walking around Fort Collins, we went to a chocolate shop similar to the one in the movie Chocolat and tried a flight of chocolate (similar to a flight of beer).  I've never really done anything like that before, and it was delicious!  We were all dissolving into giggle fits as we enjoyed the chocolate tasting, and each of us walked off with some truffles and hot chocolate to enjoy when the weather turns.

We ended the trip bouldering in Rocky Mountain National Park again.  I absolutely loved the hike in, and it only solidified how much I truly love the mountains.  And long approaches.  And climbing incredible rock.  And trips with friends.
This trip was exactly what I needed put my head and my thoughts back in order, and to gain back that positive and happy energy that I felt had dwindled after such a rough summer.
It's amazing how therapeutic climbing and friends can be when you need to heal your soul. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Adventure Augusts- Begin

I just got off the Superior Hiking Trail with my parents, I taught dance camp, and now I'm heading off to Colorado to hang out with a bunch of different friends for an awesome CLIMBING TRIP! :)
I'll regale part I of my August Adventure in just under 2 weeks.
For now, I'm off. :)