Monday, November 3, 2008

31,428 and fiber

That number is the number of steps I took yesterday on our 15-mile walk. (I don't know why, but the number of steps is somehow extremely impressive to me; check out what my feet can do!) I feel really good today, except for one thing. Last week on our long walk, I developed a giant blister on the base of one heel; I wore the same shoes yesterday (I know, I know), and I think I was walking funny in order to avoid hurting the blister, and I did something to the side of my foot (not to mention getting another blister under the first one, which is a total bummer). I tried to walk it off this morning, but that poor foot is hurting right now. I'm icing it and taking Advil, so I have high hopes of recovering sooner rather than later.

In any case, though, these long walks are feeling like a big deal to me, for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is that I've never been a person who felt like her body was a particular asset on any level. Growing up, I learned to have faith in my brain, and in my ability to persist in the face of an intellectual or emotional challenge, but I didn't have a lot of experience with persisting in the face of physical challenges. I didn't really learn to enjoy pushing myself until well into adulthood, thanks in no small part to the patience of my dog (that's a story for another time). Combined with that lack of faith in my body is an absolute dread of disappointing other people. I'm a solitary learner in no small part because of that; I hate to make other people wait for me while I learn to do something new (I am also compulsively on time for the same reason), so working out or undertaking any kind of exertion with someone else feels like double jeopardy: my body might not hold up, and then I'd end up disappointing someone else and keeping them from achieving whatever their goal is. Shudder.

Of course, the last ten years have taught me a lot about having some faith in my body. I've made it through two pregnancies (not to mention the labor and delivery bit at the end), and two bouts of post-partum depression, a ruptured disc and back surgery involving the fusion of two vertebra together. I've also walked countless miles, fast and slow, and taught my daughters to enjoy using their bodies and to have faith in their own endurance. But I still have that hang-up about disappointing other people. So last weekend's training walk, with one woman who's a close friend, and another whom I didn't know quite so well, was a leap of faith in myself not only for its distance, but for its potential for holding people back. And yesterday, I walked those fifteen miles just with Nancy, whom I don't know as well as I know Anna. And you know what? I wasn't really worried about it before I went (which is saying a huge something), and I had a blast. So, injured foot or no injured foot, I'm feeling pretty good today.

I also had a good weekend on the fiber front. Last week, I alluded to a lovely package that I received in the mail on Wednesday. It was from Fuzzarelly, and look what was inside!
It's her Bunny and the Beast fiber (the link is the one above). I just can't get my camera to adequately show how absolutely gorgeous this fiber is; the colors are so rich, and the fibers have each taken the dye up slightly differently, which makes for a depth that is amazing, and there are some shiny bits that make it glow (is that the silk?). It's a merino-angora-silk blend, and those are an ounce each.

I decided that I wanted to draw the spinning of these out, for my own pleasure, and picked up my turkish spindle (one of Wanda and Ed's) to spin over the weekend. I haven't gotten a lot done, but I'm truly enjoying the process, and the pleasure of having gotten such a lovely gift (thank you!).
I should have time to spin more tonight after folding the laundry (I sit on one of our kitchen stools so I can spin more before winding on).

I also finished the pinwheel baby blanket that I was knitting for Rick's cousin. We're going to see her next Monday, so I'm glad to have this done and blocked. I ended up blocking it fairly loosely, with no pins or wires, both because that worked out (the saturated wool was heavy enough to stay put), and because I just wasn't feeling in the mood to be forceful with much of anything this morning.
To recap, this is the pinwheel baby blanket, knit with three skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted Solid (220 yards each), on size 7 needles. I ended up knitting four rows of a seed stitch border (or is it moss stitch? I did R1: k1, p1, then R2: p1, k1), which I like for this version of the blanket.

It was such a fun knit; I am seriously considering going back in to my LYS tomorrow to get more yarn to knit one of these for myself, both because I like the blanket so much (wouldn't it be a great lap blanket for the couch?), and because I really needed a mindless quick knit like this. Of course, I should get back to work on Rick's sweater...

I also finished the scarf I was knitting for my friend, and should be able to give it to her tomorrow, after which I can post pictures, and I have done a couple of repeats on Anne's latest scarf (the Butternut) just to run through the pattern; I absolutely adore the stitch she chose for this scarf, it has a lovely texture, and I think I'm going to have to keep it for my ownself, even though I started it with someone else in mind. Oops.

Meanwhile, tomorrow's the big day, people -- get out there and vote.


Anne said...

There are good blisters and bad blisters, and this sounds like a good one.

Gorgeous blanket!

And yes, time to get out the vote!

Willow said...

Seed stitch.

Congrats on the steps! I wear my pedometer every day and it helps me keep focused on walking, walking, walking! I hope your blister and foot recover soon. You'll find that you'll get to the place where if you don't walk for a few days you just get 'itchy' to get out and stretch your muscles.

I grew up in the era when there were no girls sports except cheerleading and when my girls were young I encouraged them to be active in whatever sport or activity interested them. I decided then that I should do the same and now I hike, walk, and bike with great enjoyment. My mother would be surprised!

Yes, shiny sections of the fiber are the silk. Don't you love it?!

Carrie K said...

Congrats on the steps and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone both physically and mentally. (Socially?).

The pinwheel blanket it really cute!

Gwen said...

Oh, the body. I used to take mine for granted. It keeps reminding me I can't do that, and never should have. And the whole having to work at something! (like walking or pushups or weeding or charting) Such a hard thing sometimes.

Can I have a blanket too? I want to do Anne's square snow on cedars (if that's the right name) as a blanket. One of these days.

Miss 376 said...

What a lovely blanket, and fantastic to be finished in time.

Hope the blister heals quickly

KnitNana said...

LOVELY pinwheel!!!

Helen said...

I would never have thought of it myself, but Anne is right: there are good blisters and bad blisters.

Very interesting to see the proportions demonstrated on your Pinwheel; I can't get over how fortunate I am that you knitted it in the same yarn at the same time, and slightly quicker too :)

Moss stitch and seed stitch are the same thing; one is the British name and the other the American, but I have forgotten which is which as I'm now fairly bilingual in knitting - just as I sometimes used to unthinkingly follow the French instructions on Vogue sewing patterns. Pretentious, moi?

Fingers crossed for tonight. I've decided to nap on the couch with the remote at the ready.


You wrote-"an absolute dread of disappointing other people. I'm a solitary learner in no small part because of that; I hate to make other people wait for me while I learn to do something new (I am also compulsively on time for the same reason"

Yes! That explains all those thumbs I grew whilst learning to spin on a wheel! So many people looking on and helping. Finally figured it out once I was alone, back at the house. That is why I still haven't attempted the long draw.

I'm impressed that you got the pinwheel done so quickly, basic stockinette or not. Verra nice!

Willow is right, the shiny bits are silk.

AlisonH said...

Wow. Thank you for telling us. Walk on and walk well!

I used to racewalk four to five miles every morning before my husband left for work, my time to myself to get out and see the trees and the blue sky and, yeah. Can't do that anymore, but a short walk does great good too--it's beautiful out there.

My word verification is tromp. I love it.

Bea said...

SOrry about the blisters, but the walk sounds good. Aren't there some bandages specifically designed to cushion blisters?

The pinwheel is gorgeous.

Lynne said...

Good on you for accepting the challenge and doing the walking [can you send some of those steps my way?]

I can't believe you've finished the blanket already; didn't you only start it last week?

stitchin' girl said...

Your pinwheel blanket is really nice.

Rachael said...

Very pretty! And can I just add, totally unrelated to this post, that the election is OVER and for the first time in my life I truly feel like I have been a part of something bigger than myself, something momentous, something that will really and truly make things BETTER in the world. I feel like about 55% of the country breathed a collective sigh of relief last night and I'm still on the high today.

Miss said...

Congratulations! What a night. I am so glad, for the best possible reasons, that you're not comng to stay :)

Helen said...

Sorry, that was me, under one of my aliases, congratulating you:)

hopalong682003 said...

Congrats on your walk!!! What an accomplishment.

A friend of mine is currently working on the pinwheel blanket, too. She loves working on it. I can't wait to show her your pics.

EGunn said...

Congratulations on your walk! I hoep your foot is feeling better.

Your pinwheel is beautiful! It's so gratifying when a simple pattern has so much visual appeal.

Felt good to vote this time, didn't it? =)

Dawn in NL said...

Commenting on two consecutive posts - you are clearly striking chords with me today.

I am just back from a week walking in France. We walked 15 miles a day for 6 days, and I started off with blisters on both heels and also got blisters under my blisters! Who knew that was even possible? Anyway, they healed up after a few days and did not spoil the holiday.

I also understand your feelings about holding people back. I have a chronic illness and my husband being so much fitter and stronger than me had to take more than his fair share of the workload on our tandem. He finally convinced me that it was OK to be weaker than him. Our walking and cycling holidays are much more enjoyable (and my health is much better too.)

So enjoy your exercise and be sure that your companions enjoy your company enough that being held up is not a problem anyway.

Love your blog. All the best,