The Art of Active Rest

I caught the plague; this horrible, icky, chest racking, cough laden, sinus pressure plague that I tried to ignore all weekend so I could go out and explore on my precious days off. Come Monday morning, I was wrecked. I had absolutely no energy and could not rally to accomplish anything, but could not sleep either. So, I knit.

I spent the entire day laying around, drinking hot ginger tea, and knitting until I lost the energy to move my hands.

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My project is the Daisy Stitch Tunic in Cascade 220. I promised my friend this top last summer. Let’s not count how many months have passed since then, shall we?

This was the perfect sick day project, alongside the proof that I need to knit as mental recuperation after an intensely physical week.

This morning I woke feeling much better, relaxed mentally, emotionally, physically. My sinus are clear and my cough isn’t painful anymore (though it lingers).

Active resting, it’s a thing.

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Tied In Knots

It’s been awhile since I’ve released any sort of knitting anything, so I’m fixing that today!  I’ve had a few things sitting around, totally finished, tested, and proofed, ready to be published, except that I was missing something – pictures!  When I went home to Wisconsin last month for the funeral, I set aside some time for a photo shoot with Dark Moon Photography, one of my favorite people to work with behind a lens.

We have a few things we’re working on to be released soon.  I’ve also got a couple more patterns in the works that need to be tested before I can do anything more with them.  I’m so excited to be releasing this one, since it’s been sitting on the back burner, lonely, dusty, forgotten for the past 8 months or so (yikes….)  I’m wearing it right now as I write this post.

DSC_6733It’s like being wrapped in a hug all day.  I first saw a rib warmer in my lyra class a few years ago.  It seemed like the strangest thing to me.  The one my instructor was wearing was white, and looked more like a medical bandage than anything.  She wore it every class.  After a few classes, I had one mapped out in my head and immediately put it on the needles.

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I wanted something a little more interesting though – twisted and intricate.  Thus, the Silk Knot rib warmer was devised.  I called it Silk Knot because the cables reminded me of the knots I would tie in the silks I was teaching with.  Since this was the first of my circus-inspired patterns, I felt it very appropriate.

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This is the second of many circus and dance inspired patterns (the first released was the Lyra Legwarmers).  There are more in the works, and I finally have some space here to take pictures in, so hopefully it’s not months between releases.

Find the Silk Knot Ribwarmer by going to the Patterns page of this blog, or by going to Ravelry directly.  Remember to link your project to the pattern page so we can see how it goes!

NaKniSweMo Finish Line

You guys, I’m so busy that when I don’t need to be working on something important, my brain shuts off.  At that point, I need to zone out and work on something frivolous, or sleep like the dead, to wake up and do it all again.  Luckily, one of the mindless activities I was engaged in was this sweater, which was finished well before the deadline, and then forgotten about as soon as these photos were snapped for the forum.

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It’s big and cushy, and the colors are the right level of crazy for me.

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We had a week “off” of training, but I was still working as many hours as I could and doing training I don’t normally get to do.  At least following this sweater, I’ve got a good case of Finish-it-up-itis and other projects are starting to fall off the needles.

NaKniSweMo Day 22: Blocking and Bleeding

My back has been hurting for a couple weeks now, and the pain has only been getting worse.  At first, it was fairly manageable and easy to dismiss.  I’m always sore – this program is hard.  Over the last few days, it felt like something was sliding around a bit, and the pain became sharper.  I needed to slow down.  I’ve been pushing myself so hard, hell bent on taking advantage of every opportunity presented to me so that when I launch my career at the end of this program, I will have more knowledge and technique to pull from and a better foundation to build my acts.  The downside is that I haven’t left time for rest.  Friday I decided to sit out and observe class rather than participate physically.  And today, instead of going to the workshop I had signed up for, I stayed home (and had quality time with Ellette, which is fantastic), and I blocked my NaKniSweMo sweater.

 

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In total, 57342 stitches were knit.  I tried it on before throwing it in the water, and it fit just about the way I had intended, and I hoped the bath would help ease the areas that needed to be stretched.  When I pulled it out of the water, the body of the sweater started expanding.  I squished the water from it and held it to my torso briefly – I had somehow made a dress.

And then I noticed the sleeve.

I knew I was taking a chance by knitting a white sleeve, but I didn’t really consider it to be a problem.  I had worked with all of these yarns before.  But this time, the hot water and the purple decided to have a quarrel in the tub, and the purple bled onto the sleeve.  I tried to rinse it out with cold water, but it just wouldn’t work.  I’ll try another quick rinse when it’s dry, but fear my sweater may bear the curse of Sweaty Smurf in the underarm.

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While the sweater is drying rather conspicuously in my bedroom, and I am trying not to pay attention to the imperfections, I have picked up the sock hat I am making for a good friend of mine.

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It currently measures 52 inches in length, and when it is complete will be about 6.5 or 7 feet.  It’s a simple little pattern and uses up a lot of my odds and ends.  It’s the perfect mindless project right now.

NaKniSweMo Day 18

Day 18 dawns, and I’m inching along on my remaining sleeve.  The first sleeve was completed at a Sunday rehearsal, where I spent half the time sitting on the sidelines knitting away in circles.  I tried it on just before starting the cuff, and the sleeve is a couple inches longer than I want, but not so long  as to be annoying, so I left it.  I don’t have the energy to take steps backward anymore.  By the end of the day, I was casting off and beginning the next sleeve.

I’m so close to being done!  The only problem I face is that my schedule has just exploded.  I picked up seasonal work, intending to keep the two jobs I currently have, so that I can cover tuition and rent more reliably.  The financial stress I was facing has been replaced by working 18 hour days.  I hope this is only temporary, but it’s hard to think too far into the future when all of your brain power is being spent just getting you to the end of the night.  Despite the exhaustion, I am still looking forward to the next day.  I can see myself improving, and that is enough to keep me going.

 

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Day 18: 51,518 stitches knit to date, 90% complete

12 days to go!

NaKniSweMo Day 12 (And Snow)

12 days in  and I’m making better progress than I imagined I imagined I would.  I’m almost done with the body of the sweater.  I’m facing a yarn shortage predicament and trying to figure out how to proceed.  While I’m stewing over that, I’ve started on a sleeve.  Stephen West designed this sweater to be a mishmash stash bust, and it has been for me, and I love how the colors are coming together.  I think colorwise, the sleeves represent the hardest decision.

The sweater currently stands at over 46,000 stitches, approximately 77% of the sweater being complete.  My estimation is that each sleeves is around six thousand stitches, so hitting the 50K mark should be a piece of cake.

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In the meantime, this is what Colorado looked like on Saturday:

 

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And this is what it looked like this morning:

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It’s sweater weather.  Brr.

Time – NaKniSweMo Day 5

Day 5 and I am over 20k stitches into this sweater.  I cannot get enough of it right now.  The colors are surprising me.  Initially, I was going to make the sweater more gray and red, with a pop of the baby blue, but when I realized that the red looked more pink next to the blue, the only thing I could think to do was bring the purple into it.  I’m considering adding a pop of lime green towards the bottom.

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In our improv class today, we discussed and played with the concept of time.  This is something we explored last week as well.  We were asked to bring in something that represented “time” for us, and for some reason, I was drawing a complete blank.  I ended up bringing a metronome, because working with a metronome, having the staccato indicate your movements and making you stop in strange places, has been inspiring for me.  It’s a challenge to do, but I think it helps broaden the movement quality and change the focus.

What didn’t occur to me was to include a swatch.  Now that I’m at the body of the sweater, and it’s round and round of plain stitches, I’m sucked into that black hole.  I just keep knitting, and it’s not getting longer.  I’m pouring so much time into it, and not seeing a result.   And the beauty of this, and why I think it is relevant to the aerial training, is that I keep going.  I do the same maneuvers over and over again and give all of my free time to it, stitch after stitch, plie after plie, climb after climb, and oftentimes it’s really hard to see any progress.  Sometimes, I even feel like I’m moving backwards.  And then, something changes, and suddenly I have a sweater, I have good form, I have a decent turnout and I’ve added repetitions to my pull-ups and leg lifts.  Somewhere in the sea of 50,000 knit stitches, I have created a sweater, and it took stacking the same movement on top of each other to get there, and that takes time – a fraction of a second to create that little movement all combined into a month of work, and I have created something beautiful.

This morning, I went into the studio with the intention of blasting my music and knocking out some trapeze conditioning.  I worked on my long beats, I worked on my drops, I worked on tricks and transitions that I felt I was fumbling through.  I pushed myself until my forearms were sore from gripping.  I didn’t try to create new and elaborate work, which is what I did Monday morning and the lack of inspiration and the resulting clunkiness were frustrating.  But, working on the repetition of what I know, and layering it all together, helped me feel more confident in what I do know.  Each time I touch a trapeze, even if I feel like an idiot just hanging in the air, I know that I’m stacking stitches and making a sweater.

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