Sunday, February 14, 2010

For whom does the knitter root?

I have always been a weird fan, rooting for teams and people for reasons which rarely have anything to do with them being from my home country or city. The Olympics appear to be no exception. For example, I really wanted Jen Heil to get gold last night, because I figured it'd take so much pressure off of the rest of the Canadian teams to have that no-gold-on-home-ground bugaboo taken care of, and I sympathize with all of the Canadian athletes who are trying to break that curse. And I really wanted the Slovakian hockey team to score at least one goal; their goalie played one of the most valiant games I've seen in a long time, and it just seemed like she deserved it. See? Random, I know. Of course, I was delighted Apolo Ohno took silver -- I like him, heh.

But in the end, it's really the Olympics that I love. Even the weird sports like the nordic combined competition (whose idea was that, anyway?). I've been thinking all weekend how much I enjoyed the opening ceremonies (the part I managed to stay up for; I finally abandoned at 11:00, and they still hadn't lit the torch!). I was particularly moved and impressed by the up-front inclusion of First Nations peoples. This is something that I've noticed in other places (for example when I visited New Zealand) that I think is still a shameful lack here in the United States. Until we come to terms with our history -- all of it, not just the pretty stuff -- it's hard to imagine how we can move forward with any kind of integrity. Including First Nations people in things like the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games doesn't mean everything is perfect or better, nor does it make up for past history (which can't be made up for in any case), but it is an important part of acknowledging one's history and heritage and of making steps towards moving forward with true integrity, and it was pretty thrilling to see it.

It was also funny to hear the commentators talking about how impressive it was that the folks out there on the stage were dancing all the way through the parade of atheletes. Having attended parts of four-day ceremonies, during which the dancers dance for hours at a time for the entire four days, with little to no sleep, I was impressed but by no means surprised. I did love seeing the hoop dancer, though -- hoop dancing is very cool.

I'm going to try to post more frequent updates during the Olympics, just to keep on top of the knitting that I'm doing. I have knitted through the shaping on the back of the henley, and have about another two and a half inches to go before I start the armhole shaping. Not too bad, eh? (That's about 12 inches there.)
Of course, I'll be slowing down considerably during the week. Tomorrow's my long day at work (classes until 8:15 at night), with very little knitting time to speak of, and I won't be able to knit during at least one of my big meetings on Tuesday, alas. So we'll see if I can maintain my speed.
I don't know if you can see the shaping running through the middle there, where the motifs merge and then separate again, but I'm quite liking the effect. This whole thing is reminding me more and more of oak woods. I still haven't captured the true depth of the colors of this yarn, but I'll keep working on it.

Aside from knitting for the U.S., I've had a pretty busy weekend. Among other things, I went to a wonderful class on spinning cotton on a takhli yesterday. I've really been wanting to work on my long draw in spinning, and it seemed like working with cotton on a supported spindle might be the way to do it. It took some effort, but I finally got to the place where I was actually spinning cotton, really and for true, and understanding that teachers do not say "hold the fiber like a baby bird" simply to torment their students. Done right, that actually works. (Just for scale, the whorl on that spindle is about the size of a U.S. quarter.)
See that bit of yarn coming off of the spindle? I spun that. (Actually, I spun all of the yarn on the spindle, but some of the stuff towards the middle isn't nearly so nice.) And when it goes well, it's more fun than a basket full of kittens. I had some trouble convincing myself to knit last night instead of playing with my spinning. I had to be disciplined. Just like an Olympic athlete. (Yes, you may laugh now.) The teacher also gave us some seeds for green cotton, which I am going to attempt to grow. Rick snorted, but when I pointed out that it's better than sheep or goats (from his perspective, that is; I fail to see the problem with adding livestock to our menagerie, but he remains unconvinced even when I point out we'd never have to mow the lawn again), he subsided. The girls are saving me space in the herb garden they're in the process of planning.

I hope everyone else who's knitting through the Olympics is feeling good, getting their second wind, and knitting injury-free. Go, knitters, go!


Lynne said...

The production team for the Opening Ceremony was an Australian company. The executive producer also produced the opening and closing ceremonies for the Sydney Olympics (2000) - which opened with Aboriginal cultural performers in the cast. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why his team was chosen?

Willow said...

Ack! I have missed it all! Just crazy here at the Cottage and I've hardly picked up a newspaper or logged in to check the news.

I've been doing a little spinning; it's a little secret project so there are no photos yet.

I'd love to get in on a spinning class and oh my! green cotton seeds! I'll trade you a couple for some indigo seeds! I am trying to grow some indigo plants :)

Rachel said...

I love the color of your yarn and admire your speed with the Henley!

Go Girl Go!!!

I am with you on the rooting. I loved the Jamaican Usain Bolt in the summer Olympics for example.

Oh and you are not alone in liking Apolo Ohno - Sam and I share the feeling :)

Miss 376 said...

Well, the Canadians have finally got their gold, so they can all relax and enjoy the event now. Great progress, and I do like the colour and texture

Stell said...

I love the spindle cotton, are you sure that shouldn't have been your Olympic event? Perhaps you are a dual event athelete? Henley looks just as you describe, an amazing forest of trunks,
I am a spectator this time but supporting from the sidelines

Helen said...

I had the same thoughts about the prominence of the First Nations in the opening ceremony, but was also experiencing premature angst about the 2012 opening ceremony in London which I fear will be ghastly, and cheap. Maybe not.

The Granite yarn is absolutely lovely.

twinsetellen said...

I thought the whole opening ceremony projected inclusiveness. I loved k.d. lang's version of "Hallelujah" and the inclusion of that beautiful woman medalist carrying the flag out next to Bobby Orr. Sorry I missed her name.

On rooting - I'm always for the underdog, hence I was pleased with the way the women's moguls turned out. Also, so cool that young American won bronze right behind Apollo's silver.

Knit on, athlete!

Alwen said...

The spindle is cool. I found a video last night (in Russian, I think) about Orenburg shawl production. They showed the goats out in the snow, women spinning on supported spindles, and a whole roomful of women knitting!

KnitNana said...

Oh, wow...You're making so much progress and YES it looks like an Oak grove...
I so enjoyed the entire opening ceremonies, but I was also very happy that I didn't have to stay up much past midnight here on the East Coast.

I see no reason why, if you have dogs, you can't have a lamb...unless you have city ordinances to contend with! :)

Mary Lou said...

I agree re. the First Nations inclusion and the rooting. I just choose an athlete for some reason (like jen heil) and it has very little to do with the country they are from. Except for the Norwegians in Biathlon. Always have to root for them.

Holly Marie said...

I'm glad to see I am not the only one knitting and spinning while watching the Olympics. :)
Your cotton spinning looks simply lovely! Congratulations.

I think I tend to root for the under dog as well. There are just some who's story and trials grip you and you long for them to secceed.
I was so over joyed that the Canadians won a gold yesterday.
Of course, Apolo Ohno is one of my favorite Olympians. =)

elizabeth said...

Your project looks great! I got a lot accomplished over the weekend too, but I can't let myself get overly confident because, like you, I'll make much less progress during the work week! Good luck!

Jon Rybka-Wachhaus said...

...and here I thought I was nothing like you sis. I totally made a comment to my facebook family about the inclusion of the aboriginal culture and how we Americans treat our own people like third class citizens.

Willow said...

I do know that one MAY NOT bring woad seeds in to the US from England (experience? I has it!) I MAY grow indigo and as for CAN, I'm trying. The Professor bought the seeds as an anniversary gift. My first seedlings started indoors were eaten by my daughter's cats. Of this current set, two plants have survived so far and one is about 6 in tall. I'll let you know if they survive to plant outdoors (in pots).

EGunn said...

I'm with you on rooting for random teams. Isn't the whole idea to appreciate the show of skill? Seems a little confining to decide that the only team with skill is the one from your home town/state/country.

I love the spindle! I haven't even thought about spinning cotton yet (and I'm working hard not to start now, too), but that's a pretty looking yarn you have going there. And who wouldn't want to hold their fiber like a baby bird?

Beautiful progress!