Friday, November 14, 2014

Stephen West MKAL (SPOILERS!!!)

Oh my! Last week really got away from me! How did that happen you ask? Well, I was busy OBSESSING over color choices for the Stephen West mystery knit along pattern – Exploration Station. I’ve talked before about my love of mystery knit alongs, but am always sure to do my due diligence regarding a designer to makes sure I like other patterns as well. I think that Stephen West is a BRILLIANT knitwear designer but that being said; I’m not always totally enamored with all his patterns or design choices. And that is okay! So, I had no real plans to participate in his (Fall) mystery knit along that is until I saw the beginnings of the pattern. 

I totally fell in love with the pattern. I immediately bought the pattern and began what shall now be known as “the week I lost trying to figure out 4 colors to use together in a pattern”. Seriously, if you have ever been around me when I’m indecisive, well I will just apologize right now and might as well apologize for any future times. I just can’t let it go! Usually it gets bad enough that I even get sick of myself. It also didn’t help that the pattern involves cutting your yarn because there is no good way to carry along the sides of the shawl.

Luckily, most of my obsessing took place on the phone with my mom and through a group text with my mom and sister. I’m not sure they would see it as being “lucky”, but that’s how I’m looking at it! I also did some slight obsessing in the Plucky Knitters Ravelry group, which I’m sure was slightly annoying as I was week behind everyone who had spent the previous weeks obsessing over color. I won’t lie. I really tried to keep my obsessing under control in the forum, I mean, I didn’t want to be that person (except I kind of do want to be that person from time to time ;o) ). 

I ended up posting what colors of yarn I had available and a very lovely Plucky Knitter named Chantel put together two collages with color suggestions. Essentially I hemmed and hawed over this color collage along with all my yarn in person and in the end I went with one of her combinations. She really does have an eye for color! Then I was sort of mad at myself for wasting a week agonizing over colors, but c’est la vie.
**All photos are copyright of The Plucky Knitter**
So! What did I end up with for colors?? I went with the following, all Plucky Knitter yarn: A – Big Sky (Bello), B – Breakfast on 5th (Bello), C – Tiny Bubbles (Primo), and D – Old Lace (Primo). I even did a collage of these colors with my newfound collage making skills (yes, this extravaganza even motivated me to learn how to make collages!!). 

I’m really enjoying the pattern so far. I finished Clue 1 yesterday and even got started on Clue 2. Clue 3 came out today, so I’m still a bit behind. However! Clue 3 looks short, so I’m hoping I can be caught up by next Friday when the next clue comes out. Wish me luck! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A metaphor for knitting?

I’ve recently gotten back into running. This is a HUGE deal for me. I was first exposed to running when I was a little kid, I don’t even know what age. I just remember my dad would go out running and I always wanted to go running with him. Well, of course I was way to young to run the distances he was running, but he would finish his run and then come back and pick me up for our run. I’m sure these mini runs were nothing but cool downs for my dad, but they were everything to me. I loved these runs with my dad and I think this is what instilled a need to be healthy. I remember once when my dad was out of town I attempted one of our mini runs by myself, except I had no idea where I was going and just remember sort of getting lost and quite frankly, it was scary. I really don’t remember much else of it (I have a seriously terribly memory of my childhood), but clearly I made it home and everything was okay. 

Fast forward to high school and one day I just decide that I’m going to start running for exercise. My dad was still running at this point, so my goal was to work up to what he did every week, which was running 4 miles 4 to 5 days a week and 6 miles one day a week. It took some time, but I did manage to work up to the 4 miles routes. Now, at this point the wise thing would be to keep with the 4 mile routes until I was totally in sync with them, however I thought I was ready for the 6 mile weekend route with my dad. The weekend rolled around and my dad and I headed out on the 6-mile run. I won’t go into detail, but the run was not the glorious run I envisioned in my head. But! I did survive it and my poor dad stuck with me the whole time even though I’m pretty sure it made it into the longest 6-mile run of his life. 

Let me be clear. I was not good aka fast at running. I was very slow. However, despite all of this, I decided to join the track team in high school. I’m not going to lie; I might have joined because I didn’t have to try out. I was terrible at running track. The only race I ran was the 2-mile and I came in last in every race. I am not exaggerating. I loved running and being part of the team and it never bothered me that I was terrible at it (for high school standards). I did much better at cross-country where I was more of a middle of the pack finisher. 

In my early 20s I trained for a marathon and within a year completed 3 marathons, one of which was part of the Goofy challenge at Disney World. Marathon training was like a drug for me. I LOVED following a schedule for running. I LOVED the challenge of running further than the week before. This started my downfall with running. You see, running long distances finally took me out of the ranks of being a 10 min/miler. I was regularly running shorter distance runs (anything between 4 and 6 miles) at an 8-9 min/mile. I didn’t even run this fast in high school!

I would have been fine if I had just stuck with one marathon, but I was young and dumb and just couldn’t stop. It seemed from that point on, running and I just weren’t going to get along anymore. I’d been through various injuries and physical therapy stints, eventually getting to the point of just being done with running. It was just too much to bear how terrible I was at it, especially after the high long distance running had given me.

Fast forward to the summer of 2014 and I’ve decided that I am going to run again. I committed myself to going to go back to the beginning and slowly work my way up to it. My latest injury, which I went to physical therapy for, was a knee injury. I decided I was not going to let this beat me. So I made a plan and I stuck with it. Today was the first time where I finally felt my hard work had paid off. I’m officially running again! I don’t think I’ll ever do long distance running again, but I’m not totally discounting it as a possibility. I don’t even love running like I once did, but there is something powerful about being able to step out your front door and move your body from my place to the next and eventually make it home.

How does all of this relate to knitting? I think it all ties into knitting. I think it's the building blocks for why I haven't given up on knitting and for why I've stuck with it despite the mistakes I've made in my knitting & crocheting.  How many knitted or crocheted pieces have you wondering if you’ll ever finish? Or what about that technique that you never thought you’d never master that you now do with ease? I think that running set the tone for my knitting/crocheting/crafting. It’s not an instant gratification hobby. Knitting takes time, patience, and planning. It takes seeing the whole picture while working on a small piece of it. It takes not giving up. Knitting and crocheting is like training for and running a marathon. It takes dedication and practice. Each stitch adds up like all those miles on the course, eventually you have a beautiful handmade piece that you can wear (or gift) with pride.