Sunday, February 26, 2006

I'm done!!!

Knitting Olympics 2006

I have a lot to say about the Olympics and what it meant to me to watch the Games this year. But tonight, I'm treating myself to some merlot and sitting back with toasty feet.

The last day

All I'm going to say is that I will be done by the end of closing ceremonies today. It's going to be tight, but I'll finish. If I spent anymore time writing about how the progress is going, I'd be wasting valuable knitting time. My final game day strategy: knit.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I'm going to be just fine

There are less than five days left. I did the math and there are approximately 13,816 stitches in the completed sock (I say approximately because I fudged a bit with the math around the gusset and toe decreases). So far, I have knitted 2,924 stitches, which is 21% of sock #2. Considering I have the whole rest of today free to knit still, I will be just fine. I can knock out another 4,170 stitches today. No problem. Maybe more.


Please tell me I'm right...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Now the race is on

I finished sock one last night in a marathon 4 hour knitting session.

I'm pretty sure this is the best sock I've ever produced. I wonder if that's because I'm more experienced or because I followed a pattern exactly as written. I think it's both. My gusset stitches are smooth and even and look identical on both sides. I've used this same technique for gusset stitches on previous socks and not gotten the same results.

Could be the yarn too. Anyway, it all came together and I'm quite pleased with myself. Inspired enough (hopefully) that the second sock won't be a drag.

I'm casting on during my lunch break today...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Day Eight - Half Way

I WILL finish the first sock today.

I've been watching the Olympics all day and knitting (that was the point of this challenge, right?) and the most inspiring event I've seen since the start of this year's Games was the women's biathalon (sp?). They had to cross-country ski and shoot targets, which, honestly, seemed like a strange combination of talents at first. It's actually a very compelling sport. Kind of like when I watch a dance-related movie, I want to go out and dance -- well, I watched these women tough out a grueling 10km cross-country race with pitstops to shoot at silver dollar-sized targets and literally felt the need to move to Colorado so that I could give this sport a try.

Yeah, right, right? But that's how I felt while watching. When I was younger I watched the ice skating events with such anticipation. It was a sport that my mom and I followed and I knew how to be excited when someone was going to do a triple axle or some other difficult jump. Of course, I never did figure out how to tell the difference between the jumps -- I could only be impressed by the number of rotations they did. This biathalon was different though. Without knowing how to shoot a gun or any of the techniques involved in cross-country skiing, I could totally imagine the challenge of this event. It was endurance and strength. I am totally impressed.

My event requires endurance too. I WILL finish the sock today...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Yarn Harlot says "9 days, 19 hours left"

Oh my god! While, for me, the progress I'm making on the sock(s) is fantastic, I'm running behind. As of Tuesday (day 5) I was working on the leg and was just about ready to start the heel flap...

Today, I am done picking up the stitches around the heel flap and am about to watch a movie and begin decreasing for the gusset stitches. Relatively speaking I'm being speedy, but technically, I am supposed to finish this sock tomorrow and begin the second on Saturday. eek!

However, as I was describing my knitting progress to my best friend Jaime, I realized that the major hurdle for me with this project has already passed. Just the sticking to my plan and not getting tempted away by other projects was a major challenge. After knitting with my KnitLawrence friends on Saturday, I came home and started thinking about all of the other kinds of knitting projects I could have chosen for the Olympics. I even have all of the materials I need to make this lace shawl which would certainly be a challenge as I've never done a truly 'lace' project yet. And as I sat on the couch working on the sock and stewing over the idea of dropping it and starting the shawl instead, I realized just by sticking with the socks, I was completing a part of my personal challenge. Just sticking with my project and not setting it aside for a different project or whim was huge. And it's not like I'm bored with the sock by any means. It's just that I'm constantly wanting to move on to more seemingly interesting things.

I did break my rule a bit by reading a novel (gasp!) this week. The Center of Everything is the Read Across Lawrence 2006 book. It's a smart book I would have enjoyed as a teenager, but which still engaged me as an adult. The author lives in Lawrence and the book takes place in Kansas so, while I didn't grow up here, I felt very close to the story. It was like reading A Moveable Feast by Hemingway while living in Paris. I love being able to tie books and movies and music to a place or experience.

I feel slightly overwhelmed by all of the books I want to read right now so I think I will go sit back down on the couch and knit and watch a movie.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Today it's mind on yoga

This is the first Wednesday I've had off in over a month. I've been working overtime a lot and I really feel like I'm playing hooky today - even though it is a scheduled day off. I did yoga this morning -- maybe because I've been reading lots of back issues of Yoga Journal this week, but I felt really inspired to just make up whatever I want to do and not worry about the order of the poses or how long I stay in them or how many repititions I do. I challenged myself this week to do five repetitions of surya namaskar, sun salutations, which is important to maintain (In the past, I would tell myself I would do them and would get through one cycle and quit), but other than that, I was pleased to do one set of Trikonasana, Warrior I and II and a couple of other standing poses. I usually feel inordinately challenged by these poses in class, as if the length of the hold and number of repetitions of one pose will push me beyond my endurance and strength. But doing it on my own for the length of time I decided felt invigorating. It was funny because as I was trying to sink into supta virasana I realized there were a couple of other poses I wanted to do that would normally be done earlier in a class. For a minute I felt like I shouldn't do them, but then I realized this really was my practice and I could do them in whatever order I felt like doing them. I know there are extra benefits to practicing certain poses or types of poses in specific orders, but there has to be some benefit as well to just doing what your body seems to be wanting.

Also, I tested something out today when I got through all of the poses and was ready for savasana. It occurred to me recently that the benefits I feel from this pose could be more related to it being a kind of "still point" a la cranio-sacral therapy than an opportunity for me to focus on my breathing. At least, in my case, I've never been terribly successful at pushing out extraneous thoughts during savasana, but I definitely would argue that I feel the benefits of this pose. So I used my makeshift sacro-wedgie (SW) to create a still point for my sacrum and laid in corpse pose until my pelvis released the tension and I was able to sink around the SW. After awhile I removed it and lay in savasana for who knows how long. I definitely think it helps -- I was actually able to focus on my breath for a longer period of time, and when my mind drifted back to "regular" thoughts, I felt they were more focused, less chaotic.

Anyway, I want to explore this connection between savasana and CST still points. I definitely think there is a link.

In knitting news, I'm so excited about starting my socks I can hardly stand it. I don't think there has been a time since I began knitting when I wanted to do a project and couldn't. I've never felt this sort of anticipation for my knitting before. I think its a totally exciting new way of looking at my projects. And I'm competitive enough to get a real charge from having this deadline and challenge ahead of me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Knitting Olympics

When the Yarn Harlot announced her plan to start the Knitting Olympics - a challenge to knitters to choose a project that stretches their abilities and complete it within the 10 day Olympics run - I was, of course, skeptical. Not one to really enjoy joining the mad rush after some latest fad, I sat back and watched. And then one day, Stephanie announced that more than 2400 knitters had joined herparty. 2400, eh? I consider that something more than a bandwagon. It's a movement.

So I took stock of my stash and found the perfect personal challenge - fingering weight sock yarn by Cherry Tree Hill. As outlined in the rules of the game, we could swatch beforehand but no casting on until the opening ceremony. Good thing I did too or my finished socks would have been lacier than intended. The gauge was awful. So I dropped down to size ONE needles. ONE. My 'challenge' in this game is 1) complete a pair of socks in 10 days (remember, the last pair took nearly a year) - i.e. not get distracted by other projects, and 2)use the smallest DPNs I've worked with so far. Of course, the second part shouldn't be too bad. In general I like DPNs and if they give me great gauge without fretting over keeping the yarn really tight, all the better.

Now that I've joined, I'm in 100% and getting excited. I'm looking forward to the real Olympics with a zeal I'm not sure I would have had otherwise.