Back On the Road

I started blogging again in early 2014 to enjoyably pass the time while I was sidelined from my usual cycling-running-lifting activities due to a back issue. Predictably, I guess, blogging has once again taken a back seat now that the tandem bicycle is out on the road again.

Tandem Selfie

Tandem Selfie

Last summer was kind of a bust, so thus far I am really, really enjoying playing outdoors in the warmth. I do really appreciate all of you who read here and commented through my recent challenges. Certainly I am more appreciative of the good things I have after all of that.

I am doing some knitting, another mystery shawl, so I’ll wait to share pictures until all the clues are out.

The World’s Brightest Socks

C’mon, you know that you want to see the World’s Brightest Socks.

Easter Egg Socks.

Easter Egg Socks.

After six years, I’ve finally finished these socks which I started in March 2009. Hey, at least I finished them.

These days, I don’t really knit socks for myself anymore. I have a drawerful of socks. Even though I do wear them often in the endless winter seasons, I have so many pairs that I don’t wear through any one of them. My sock mojo goes to husband socks, since those old soldiers regularly die off.

A Lone Tree, Sonoma County.

A Lone Tree, Sonoma County.

I’m spending some time in California enjoying day after day of pleasant sunny weather. Enjoy my view during my walk earlier this week.

Goodbye to A Mystery Shawl….and Hello!

Here is one last picture of the spring Mystery Shawl, after it got dunked in the warm water and pinned out to dry.

The lace is more lacy.

The lace is more lacy.

The point of blocking a shawl is to get the lace to open up and become more “lacy” for lack of a better word. The shawl lies flat and the edges don’t curl. Honestly, I’m a rotten blocker and really need to woman-up and buy some blocking wires. And learn how to bind off more loosely. Had I had a looser bind-off, those little proto-points in the picture could have been way more spiky.

I’m actually planning on starting yet another Mystery Shawl next week. I’m a herd animal, and my friends are doing it so I will too. There is also a real attraction for me in leaping blindfolded into a project like this. I would never do it with a sweater project. But I wear shawls all scrunched up around my neck like a scarf, so other than the color it just doesn’t much matter what the pattern actually looks like.

As for this shawl, its already on its way as a gift to a special person who I think will like it.

Lessons Never Learned

The last few rows of this Mystery Shawl seemed to take an age (a subject to which I’ll return). But finally, my shawl is a mystery to me no longer.

Prior to being washed and blocked, this is basically what it will look like.

Washing and blocking will highlight the lace, but this is basically it.

I think this shawl is pretty, but I probably wouldn’t have chosen to knit it had I seen it first. My favorite use of two colors in a shawl is still my Germinate. Perhaps I’ll change my mind when this one is stretched out and blocked nicely. Knitting it was fun, and I’m planning to do another mystery shawl with my friends this summer. Sometimes its actually better that I’m forced to knit stuff I wouldn’t choose. Horizon-expanding, that’s the ticket.

So, knitting lace is inherently dangerous. Drop one stitch or mess up the pattern and not catch it for a row or two, and you can be seriously screwed. I didn’t really mess up big time on this project until — wait for it — the bind off row. Yup, on the very last row I was rushing to finally get finished, dropped a stitch or two and let the screwing commence.

I was thinking about this today and wondered, what the heck was I in a big darn rush for? That was so important to make me cut some corners and be sloppy and then spend triple the time fixing the error. Now I’ve got nothing really interesting to knit, so finishing the project wasn’t for the purpose of immediately starting something else. And I certainly don’t need a new scarf in the month of May.

Impatience. Not enjoying the moment that I’m in. Living for a big future prize. These are all things I struggle with in life. Certainly, then, its no surprise that these struggles are challenges in my knitting too. Actually, knitting lace is good mindfulness practice for life in general. Being present for every stitch reduces the likelihood of regret later.

Maybe this time that lesson will stick, but I’m not betting good money on it.

A Few Pictures

A few pictures from my spring:

Cherry blossoms have come and gone.

Cherry blossoms have come and gone.

Mystery Shawl, Clue 4

Mystery Shawl, Clue 4

I am halfway through Clue 5 on this Mystery Shawl. Last night I committed my first egregious error in the lace, requiring a drop down of two rows to fix an errant yarn over. My first mistake was trying to do this right before bed last night, messing things up even more fiercely. My second error was getting the great idea upon waking to rip back to the end of the row. A few hellish stitches in, I abandoned this foolish plan, woman-ed up and got out the crochet hook.

All is currently well in my knitting world.