Extra Curriculars

You know how when you’re in school and they call sports and clubs “extra curricular activities”? Well, I work in academia, so I’ve taken to calling my non-work life my extra curriculars. And when I start doing them, I often throw myself info it full steam ahead. Over the past decade, here are the things that I’ve gotten waaaaaay into:

Knitting – I learned in 2004 – it was one of the reasons I started this very blog! And even though I’m lucky to finish one or two things a year now, I have so much yarn. I’ve made a ton of hats over the years thanks to favorite my Ravelry group’s January knit-alongs called the Puck This Hat Trick. If you knit three hats in January you earn yourself bragging rights! Maybe I’ll try that again this year, since it’s been a couple of years since I made any new hats.

Megan in a hand-knit hat
Pretty in pink and cables (my favorite hat!)

Ice hockey – I started playing when we lived in Philadelphia, but moving to Boston threw it into high gear. For a couple of summers I played in 3 leagues, averaging 4-5 games/week. For goodness sake, Amy and I, along with our friend Libby, actually went to adult women’s hockey camp at Dartmouth for 3 summers running! Now I limit myself to one league at at a time – one game per week.  Except that I haven’t been able to play since April. Hoping to get back on the ice in 2015 though.

Megan in hockey gear
In full protective gear!

CrossFit – I started CrossFit in 2008, when I realized that 40 was breathing down my neck and I was only getting less fit and healthy. Like many folks who tend to throw themselves into CrossFit, I annoyed and bored the living daylights out of everyone around me for at least a year, maybe more.  But I got into great shape, got strong, and felt great! When I can, I still go to CrossFit several times a week. (If you’ve ever seen a video of “annoying CrossFitters doing annoying things”, that’s what I was like. Sorry everyone who I subjected to that kind of thing. I’m much more self-aware now.)

Chest-to-bar pullups
Chest-to-bar pullups

Weightlifting – After doing CrossFit for a couple of years, one of my coaches started getting into competitive Olympic weightlifting. I managed to catch his enthusiasm and spent almost a year training solely for that. I participated in a few meets, and had a total blast! If it weren’t for a rather unfortunate ski incident and the realization that training 2-3 hours/day was taking over my life, I’d probably still be doing it. Alas!

Bay State Games - Snatch
In the setup for the snatch.

Downhill skiing – When I was a kid, my folks learned to ski along with my brother and me. I skied regularly (in the midwest – sigh) until I was 18, and then pretty much stopped until I met Amy. Her family all are skiers, so I got back into it. And it’s like riding a bike! I completely remembered how to do it after just a run or two! We ski a lot now, mostly in Maine and New Hampshire. That said, my favorite ski resort is one of the first places I ever skied as a kid: Big Sky in Montana. I hope to get back there next year!

On the chairlift at Big Sky
On the chairlift at Big Sky

So there you have my extra curricular life in a nutshell. I’ve tried a lot of things that haven’t stuck over the years, like yoga, indoor soccer, drawing, running, biking. I’m kind of adrift right now – we’re not yet in ski season, and my ice hockey and CrossFit is severely curtailed thanks to the post-concussive headaches. So I’m trying to figure out where to throw my energies… maybe it’s this blog!

19. Knit a pair of socks? NOT. Lace instead!

So this is my list of 40 in 40, right? That means I get to sub out items if I want to. And I want to.

The impetus behind item #19 – knitting a pair of socks – was to force myself to do something I hadn’t done before in knitting, something that I found daunting, and something that I’d be really happy I knew how to do once I finished and would want to do again. Socks fit that bill. But you know what else fits that bill? LACE!

As Christmas approached, I realized that I wanted to make something for my niece, Celeste. I’d received a skein of Malabrigo Silky Merino in a swap earlier in the year, with the colorway name of “Celeste”, which meant that of course it was destined to be made into something for her. She’s a teenager, so I knew a hat was probably not going to work (what teenager do you know who would willingly wear a handknit hat and risk crushing her hair?) So I poked around on Ravelry and found a really awesome scarf that several people had made from this yarn and decided to give it a whirl.

Celestial Branches
Finished scarf

Celestial Branches
Getting ready to block

As you might imagine, I’m really excited about how it turned out! The yarn was a dream to work with. The new knitting needles I was using were wonderful (the interchangeable set from WEBS). The pattern was relatively simple to learn – only 5 rows. I did most of the stitches one might need in any other lace pattern. I threw in lifelines here and there (thank goodness, because I had one major goof during a weird power outage that I had to recover from). I blocked the daylights out of the thing – it grew from 37″ to 50″ after blocking! And you know what? It was so fun to do that I turned around and made another one for my mom out of a completely different kind of yarn. I haven’t mailed that to her quite yet (sorry Mom!) but I’m equally happy with how that one turned out.

Cast On: Basic Gloves

I cast on this weekend for a pair of basic gloves, recipe from the Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns (which, by the way, definitely needs to go on my “to-buy” list!). Knitting for me seems to happen in spurts – the last time I knit anything seriously was last January when I made a bunch of hats for a knit-along over on Ravelry.com. Yes, it was for the January Hat Trick in the hockey group… no one should be the least bit surprised by that!

These gloves are going to be hockey-themed, thanks to Brynna, who recently opened a shop on Etsy called Draygone Yarnes. I bought a skein of fingering-weight wool in the “Boston Bruins” colorway.

Draygone Yarnes: Boston Bruins Draygone Yarnes: Boston Bruins

I’ve never knit with such fine yarn, but now have about 2 inches of ribbing done on the first glove. So far, so good!

Basic Gloves (Bruins Edition)

Stay tuned for more progress photos next week.

A Hat Trick of Hats

Guess who started knitting again? That’s right, yours truly. After …mumble.grumble.shuffle.the.feet… a while, I was finally inspired to pick up the sticks and string again after reading about a knit-along over on the Puck This forum on Ravelry (requires login).

The goal of the knit-along? Knit three hats in the month of January. Since I’ve made a few hats, I know the amount of work that most of them would take and it seemed like a reasonable commitment. Besides, looking over all the other fantastic hats was pretty inspiring!

So without further ado, here are my three (so far) hats for the month of January.

Goal 1: Not the Carolina Hurricanes Hat, finished between two hockey games at a tournament we played in a couple of weeks ago. I’m a little nervous about taking photos of myself in hockey gear and a knitted hat, in case you can’t tell. AKA the Hurricane Hat.

Self-Portrait in a Knitted Hat and Hockey Gear

Me, vaguely thuggish, in my extremely large shoulder pads, before playing a game

Amy + Megan

Amy and me, at dinner with the team on Saturday night

Goal 2: SCORE! Turn a Square – finished last weekend, knit on needles that were a little too small for the yarn (but the hat is thick, so it did what I wanted it to do). AKA Turn a Square.

Turn a Square Hat Turn a Square Hat

Me, modeling the slightly-too-small-for-me hat

Turn a Square in action

Amy, hat recipient, shoveling and not knowing I was taking her photo (aside: we’ve gotten a LOAD of snow this year!)

Goal 3: Kind of an Avs Hat (But Not Quite) – finished today, right before I headed to hockey practice. This yarn was a gift from my mom a few years ago and it’s 95% cashmere/5% lycra. I LOVE it! Of all three hats, this one is my favorite. AKA Robin’s Egg Blue Hat.

Kind of an Avs Hat (But Not Quite) Kind of an Avs Hat (But Not Quite)

Traditional hat modeling self-portraits

Kind of an Avs Hat (But Not Quite)

Post-practice photo, no longer feeling as awkward about posing in hockey gear with knitting

Why did I do this? Well, given the way I play, combined with the position I play, it’s unlikely that I’ll get a HOCKEY hat trick anytime soon! I’m getting my hat tricks any way I can, and if I’m wearing hockey gear to get some laughs from the knitters when I take photos of the hats, I’m going to do it. It was fun and accomplishable. And it got me knitting again. Who can argue with that?