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!