Knitting Again

It has been an incredibly long time since I’ve posted. Life keeps throwing things my way and the blog has taken a back seat. I’m back, for good, I think.

Lately, all I’ve knit, and it hasn’t been much, are coasters for the ladies at the office. They really like them but I’ve really been wanting to jump into a blanket or make something I can wear.

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Only one sock was knit.

I found an abandoned sock I knit a while ago. The Pattern for the sock is Blackhearted: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/blackhearted and I used the ruffle from Ruffled Garden Sock: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ruffled-garden-socks

Besides needing to make an additional sock, I need to re-knit this one. There are a few areas I want to adapt and I think my foot may have been still swollen from the break and surgery when I knit it originally. Now, the sock is a bit on the loose side.

Right now, I’m just tossing around ideas but just want to really be able to dedicate some time to knitting. I made a commitment to myself before that I would find the time to knit but the more committed I was, the more obstacles seemed to come my way. Now, I’m trying again to carve out the time to do more of the things I enjoy. It would be really nice to actually see the number in my Ravelry queue go down once in a while.

I also had to take some time away from my Spanish language activities. I’m back in the saddle again and I’m hoping I can stay consistent.

I was reading something recently that talked about “really living life” rather than just “existing.” That’s a goal for me. I think for so long I’ve tried to just survive. I think it’s time I tried to really do things I’ve wanted to do as well as spend time with the people I love.

I can say that in my absence from the blog I have gotten a lot more reading done. As a teen and earlier in adulthood I was an avid reader. Somehow I had strayed from that. Fortunately for me, owning a Kindle has made accessing books so very simple. With the Kindle, I can carry thousands of reading options at one time. When I finish one book, another is literally at my fingertips.

Hoping to make a decision and get started on my next non-coaster project soon.

I’m looking forward to overcoming obstacles and adversity.

The past week has been filled with all sorts of surprises. Due to so many unexpected things, I haven’t practiced my Spanish as much as I would have liked nor have a knit a stitch. Of course, today is Wednesday, which means I’m going to Bible Study in Spanish. I really don’t feel like my mind is ready.

Last week at Bible Study, I felt like I understood more. I used more Spanish than I normally do and I understood quite a bit of the information given in class. When our instructor, the Pastor, was speaking, I was usually on track. Although I have plenty to learn, I was still happy with understanding things just from the context of the words I already knew.

I have to be able to carve out  more designated Spanish time each day. I fear that without committed time each day I’m going to regress. Since people in my Spanish Bible Study class are beginning to talk to me in Spanish, I cannot afford to lose the vocabulary I have gained. I need to keep learning so I’m not completely lost. I don’t want people to stop speaking to me in Spanish or I won’t get the practice I need.

Hopefully I’ll have a little time before class today to look over my vocabulary sheets.  I just really feel overwhelmingly unprepared today.

Unfortunately I only have a few days until the first baby shower. It doesn’t look I’m going to be able to knit anything in time for the shower. Fortunately, there is still time for me to make something before the baby is born.  I need to peek around in my patterns to see what to make. I love baby blankets but sometimes people receive a gazillion of them. I don’t want something I make to just get lost in the shuffle.

Being an adult is not as easy as I thought it would be…but one of these days, one of these days, I’m going to find a good balance for my life. That is my prayer.

¡Hasta la próxima!

The Spanish is coming along nicely. I’m understanding more and more on the Spanish television shows. The commercials are even helpful for vocabulary. I found a few more podcasts that I think could be helpful. Unfortunately, a few of them, while strong in grammar, the accents of the speakers are not that great. It’s quite obvious they are not native speakers. I’m hoping that I can absorb the lessons without absorbing the accents. I’ve worked very hard on my pronunciation and I don’t want it to regress.

I keep looking for ways to increase my vocabulary and I really must learn more about syntax. I have found that when reading some things, I sometimes run into sentences where I know the meaning of the individual words, but the structure of the sentence blurs the meaning for me. Google has come to my rescue but I want to improve my Spanish in all areas.

My regular practice session is on Sundays. I’m especially looking forward to this Sunday as I missed the Spanish Bible Study on Wednesday. This is my chance to ask questions about usage of words and phrases. This Sunday, there are supposed to be more native speakers attending the session, which is a golden opportunity for me. Even if I don’t interact extensively with anyone, I should hear authentic Spanish being used. I think the inflection of voice, and the rhythm of the language is important in communicating effectively. I need more practice and more exposure to “real, spoken” Spanish. I’ll be working a little bit on my verbs tomorrow so that I can try to make sense if I actually get up the courage to have a real conversation with someone.

In knitting news, I found out that there is another baby expected in our family. My cousin and his wife are expecting a baby boy at the end of August. I’ve been debating about whether or not I can find the time to knit something for more than one baby. If I make small items, the knitting time will be shorter. However, if I make smaller items, like hats, socks, or booties, the babies will outgrow them quickly. I hate that idea. Of course, I still haven’t worked knitting back into my schedule yet. I dream about knitting beautiful items.  My dress by Kristina McGowan awaits…

I’m still having a rough time with my leg/ankle. Tomorrow I’ll be doing strength training exercises for it again. I had started the exercises previously but was having too much pain afterward. I’d given myself a little break but it’s time to start again. It’s time to get my life lined up to be able to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself.

It’s going to be a great weekend. Maybe I will knit a few stitches…maybe.

Well, I’m back…to blogging that is…

I haven’t knit a stitch in months. I don’t know what happened. I got focused on everything at the office, my son’s schooling, the pain in my leg/ankle, and the trials of life. Although I plan to start knitting again, it probably won’t be until the first of July. There’s just too much going on right now.

What I have been focusing on recently, though, is Spanish. I’ve committed myself to learning the language. I know that different areas of the world have different colloquialisms but I’d like to become as close to fluent as I possibly can with the tools available to me.  Although it’s highly unlikely that I will compose an entire blog post in Spanish, it’s possible that I’ll throw in a word or phrase now and then.

I miss the time I spent knitting. I know I’ll find my way back to it. I have projects I need to finish and at least one gift I really want to make for baby who will most likely be born at the end of August or beginning of September.

I’m enjoying the Spanish. I now attend a “Spanish Bible Study Class” on Wednesdays which is helping me gauge where I am in my vocabulary. I read the lesson, in Spanish. Read the Scripture in Spanish. Then I read the Scripture in English. Once I go to class, I hope to understand as much as possible from the teacher. I write down the words I don’t recognize in hopes of understanding more at the next session.

I haven’t gotten up the courage to talk at length with anyone in class, though I have introduced myself, made “small-talk,” and played with a baby. I think I probably understand about 25 – 30% of what is being said during class. During prayer time, I probably understand about 20 – 25% of what is being said. That’s not too bad for a beginner.

I did take the time to learn some knitting terminology. I love patterns from Katia and I’m guessing there are even more patterns in Spanish that I like. Combining Spanish and knitting could be kind of cool.

Once I feel pretty comfortable with Spanish, I hope to begin relearning French. I started learning French in the 7th grade. I studied for a couple of years in high school but remember very little of it now. The funny thing is, as I learn Spanish, a little of the French is coming back to me. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use Spanish and eventually French regularly so that I won’t lose them. I’ve always loved languages. Now is my time to persue them on my terms.

There are quite a few people who speak multiple languages fluently. Some day, I’m going to be one of them.

Life, so far, without the cast or boot on my leg/ankle, has been interesting. There is more pain than I thought there would be, even when I’m not moving. I guess my dreams of pain-free living so early in the healing process were a little unrealistic. Since doing anything in an upright position is uncomfortable, it’s been hard to exercise.  I’m doing some walking but I’d like to be able to do more.

I’m heading back to the gym tomorrow to get on one of the bikes.  That’s probably the easiest way for me to work-out right now.  Then, depending upon how it goes, I may  try the treadmill for a few minutes. Maybe the conveyor belt will give me a little help. It’s really important that I work through the pain. As frustrated as I am, I have to keep going.

Knitting Progress

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve begun knitting the sweater sampler. My knitting time has been limited but I think I’ll be able to get it finished by the end of the month, even with all I have going on right now. I got a little sidetracked by the call to knit a pair of socks. I’ve been wanting to start another pair since binding-off Dayflower but hadn’t come to a firm decision on which pattern. The Smoldering Hearts sock pattern was very appealing but I Instead chose (Black)hearted.

As much I wanted to start the socks, things kept getting in the way. Then, while waiting to get my hair cut, I clumsily cast-on for the socks in the lobby of the hair salon.

Sure, casting-on is normally a simple and quick process for me but I cast-on using the cable-on. I’m still incredibly slow but I think the more I do it the faster I will become. How slow am I? I think I could cast-on using the long-tail cast-on in probably about a tenth of the time it took me. Am I a glutton for punishment? Why am I using the cable cast-on when the long-tail would have probably sufficed? I will never know when and where something will work well for me unless I give it a real chance. Giving it a real chance means trying it more than once.

As I sat in the salon, executing each stitch a snail’s pace, different people asked me what I was making. They were all shocked when I said socks. I had to explain to most of them that normally it wouldn’t take so long for me to get started but that new techniques had a learning curve. There is a distinct possibility that my knitting in public Friday scared a few people away from knitting rather than drew them towards it.

Ruffled Socks, With Hearts, in Red, Started on National Wear Red Day, A Day of Awareness for Heart Disease in Women

I’m hoping to finish the heel today. Depending upon the knitting time I get this week, maybe I’ll be able to cast-on the second sock by Wednesday. Once I finish this pair of socks, I will probably immediately cast-on another. I’m enjoying knitting again, especially socks. This could work well for me while my leg/ankle is healing since I wear socks every day. Once I’m back to my normal shoes, I may be knitting more socks than I’m going to need. I am, willing, however, to take that chance.

I took a look at Cat Bordhi’s video tutorial of Judy’s Magic Cast-on. As happy as I am with cuff-down socks, the next thing I want to try is the toe-up method for socks. I’d also like to experiment with different heels and toes. Sock knitting looks better and better to me.

General Health and Awareness

Friday was National Wear Red Day. Heart disease is still the number one killer of women.  I’m trying to eat better and exercise to prevent heart disease. I wear red each year, sometimes wearing the cute little dress pin, in support of the cause. The American Heart Association has events to help educate the population. The Go Red For Women Campaign, in particular, targets women as many still believe breast cancer is the number one killer of women. While we need to what we can to sustain good health, many people, for whatever reason, are still unaware of risk factors. Please take a peek to see what you can do for a healthier you.

Super Bowl XLV

Now it’s time to watch the Super Bowl. I’ll be cheering for the Steelers. I’m not a big enough fan to knit Pittsburgh Steelers‘ accessories for myself. Then again, that might be a fun way to do a little color work.

Go Steelers!

I cast-on Saturday for the Sweater Sampler. Originally I had planned to use a different yarn. When I later discovered I had enough of it to make a project in my queue, I decided to use a yarn for which no project is designated.** Although the yarn is categorized as worsted, I think it’s a lighter worsted.

I’m using a size 7 circular, 16″. I had to cast-on 80 stitches rather than 64 to be able to knit comfortably and for the stitches to actually meet. Fewer stitches than this and I would not have been able to knit circularly.

So far, it’s going well.

Time for Short-Rows

At this point of the project, I haven’t done anything new, but I’m still learning things. I’ve got several stitch patterns together with one another to look at how they behave and how/if my knitting changes when I form those stitches. Although I had tried the cable cast-on before, this time I actually kept at it until I got it right. It was slow-going but now I can really see if I like the way it looks.

Coming up next are short-rows. I’ve used short rows in socks, coasters, a hat, and in swatches but I still feel like I need a little more experience with them to know how to place them on an item that might not necessarily have them in the pattern. When this project is finished, I may play with a few short row swatches again, depending upon what I learn.

I’m looking forward to raised stripe. I’ve never learned to work that type of stripe. Since I also have limited color work experience, I’m hoping this project will also give me a little more comfort in that area as well.

I have the red yarn for my socks in my knitting bag but have not yet started them. I think today is the day. It’s looking a little dreary outside and I need to work with something in a cheerful color.

In health news, I am now cast-free AND boot-free! The doctor says my x-rays look good and that I am healing well. Now, I have to build back the strength and flexibility. Exercising will resume today. I’m thrilled!

Happy February! 

**The yarn was originally a yarn I considered using to knit a project for a friend with cancer. I decided it wasn’t as soft as I would want for him, going through chemo. It’s been waiting to be used for over 4 years.

Of all of the things I’ve knit, not that the list is very long, this project is one of my favorites. Actually, other than the blanket I made for my mother, it is my favorite project  so far.

Finished on 01/27/2011. I decided to cover my non-cover-girl legs and other items from the picture.

Details

Yarn: Cascade Fixation

Needles: US Size 6

Modifications:

Knit two repeats of lace pattern for leg rather than 3

I did the toe a little differently

I wore the socks to work today. They were comfortable and my co-workers gave me lots of compliments on them. Unfortunately, the socks were mostly hidden under the legs of my jeans and the humongous boot I have to wear over my injured leg. I’m hoping the next time I wear them I will be boot-free.

Since I was so pleased with these socks, I think I will eventually knit this pattern again. I would be happy to have more of these socks in different colors.

Next up for knitting is the Sweater Sampler from Jacqueline Fee’s book. I’ve gathered all of my supplies except for the buttons which I hope to purchase tomorrow. This project covers quite a bit of knitting ground and I think I’ll be a more confident knitter when I’m finished.

I’m probably going to cast-on for a pair of socks too. I’ve had some red sock yarn for a while that I’ve been wanted to use and February seems like the perfect time. I’m thinking of knitting the Smoldering Hearts socks. Once those are finished, I’m planning to try to knit a pair of socks from the toe-up. It’s still to soon to decide which types of toes and heels I prefer but I’d like to try several of them.

I’m learning and I love it. It’s going to be a great year of knitting!

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