It’s Here! It’s Here!

So, the long awaited start of the 2012 Summer Olympics has come and the knitters are ready. This year in the Ravellenic Games, I’ll be knitting with two teams, my local group, Team Knitorious, and with a team of my knitters from the Chicago area, the DARN Yarn Lovers.

It’s been great fun to watch the forums and see people picking out their projects. There is some beautiful stuff that’s being dreamed up.

My local group, Team Knitorious, is kicking off the event with a casting on party where we will watch the opening ceremonies, start our projects, and eat British themed foods. Except for me, you see, because the goal of the Ravellenic Games is to pick things that challenge you and I’ve decided not to cast on something new, but rather to finish what I’ve already started.¬†I’m entering myself with two projects into the WIP Wrestling event. (WIP = Works in Progress). For this event, the project must already be started prior to the start of the Ravellenic Games, and you must finish it by the end.

I’ve picked the personal equivalent of pole vaulting for this event, two projects that are stalled in mid-flight and need some help to get over the bar.

I’ll be finishing this:

An Elizabeth-Zimmerman inspired vest made with my own handspun yarn. This project has been glaring at me for a year saying “Okay, so steek me already and get over it!” Perhaps now I actually will.

And this:

The dreaded Icarus shawl. Seriously, the lace chart can’t be that hard but I was clearly not ready for this level of project when I started. Hopefully I am now.

So, here we go. The Games are here, the food is being prepared, the yarn and needles (or hooks) are poised and ready to go.

Pass me a cucumber sandwich. Let’s get started!

Happy Olympic Games, everyone. May your favorite athletes achieve their personal best, your national teams win at your favorite sports, and your personal challenge knitting projects go flawlessly. And wish me luck too. I suspect I may need it. ūüėČ

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The Knitted Army of Olympics Supporters

Well, while the US Olympic Committee may lack a sense of humor and respect towards knitters, clearly the Brits do not have the same issue. ¬†In fact, knitters from all over Britain (and other places) have been making their own little cheering section of ‘knitteds’ which are showing up at the games. Some have taken it even farther to make knitted replicas of their favorite athletes, and present them to the athlete with best wishes for success at the games.

This is Paralympic gold medallist Graham Edmunds with his Knitted. Original photo is on The Independent Blog. (Link below)

I love that they’ve included the Paralympic athletes in their project too. Knitteds are arriving by bus, by train, and by motorcar. They’re causing lots of smiles at security as they go through the scanners ready to head into the stadiums to cheer for their favorites. Some are even being auctioned for charity.

This is populism at its best – people banding together to have fun, make something interesting, and participate in a positive world event. You can read more about it here:

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/07/25/the-knitted-army-of-olympic-supporters/

To see more photos and be able to participate vicariously, join their open Facebook group here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/496746917019125/

If you’re a knitter, are you participating in the Olympic-themed events this year? I’ll be participating in the Ravellenic Games, where I’ve got two projects entered in the WIP Wrestling event. One of my friends is hosting a casting-on party on Friday night, where we’ll all be gathering together to eat British food and watch the opening events. A couple of people in our group will even be bringing British spouses. It should be a really fun time.

Happy week, everyone. Stretch, warm up, and get ready to get your knit on.

P.S. In case you’re wondering what my comment about the USOC means, this CaiteyRosy did a great job of explaining it over on her blog post, Righteous Indignation, Thy Name is Knitter, here:¬†http://all-she-wants-to-do-is-knit.com/2012/06/20/righteous-indignation-thy-name-is-knitter/. Also, looks like a very interesting blog if you’re into knitting like I do check her out.

A Virtual Moment of Silence

I have a new spinning wheel that I want to write about but as a Coloradan, I don’t feel that I can let this tragedy pass by without some sort of notice. As a result, I’ve decided to host a virtual moment of silence here on the blog today as we remember the victims of the Aurora Town Center movie shooting.

I believe that probably everyone has heard about this but in case some of my foreign readers did not, a man walked into a crowded movie theater during the premiere of the new Batman movie and opened fire on the crowd, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.

Our flags are at half-mast and our hearts are in sorrow for the victims of this senseless act, their families, friends and neighbors.

Peace and heartfelt sympathy from the citizens of Parker, CO.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love, for it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ St. Francis of Assisi, 1181-1226

Shhhh….It’s a Secret

I am testing my husband’s powers of observation. You see, most women complain that their husbands never notice anything. They could get a pink¬†Mohawk¬†and he wouldn’t notice the difference. Not my hubby. He’s one of the more observant people I’ve ever met and usually that’s a great thing. ¬†When we go driving in the mountains, he’s the one who spots the deer and elk. On Sunday, we were on a hike at the top of a mountain pass and he spotted a marmot, which let me get some nice shots of the critter sunning on the rocks.

However, this also means that he usually notices every new thing that comes into the house, especially if that thing happens to be a spinning wheel or a stinky fleece. ¬†While he was traveling last week, I happened to procure a new spinning wheel which has taken its rightful place in my ‘herd’ next to the fireplace. It’s a cute little flax wheel and looks very natural sitting there with the others. Oddly enough though, he’s been home since Thursday and still hasn’t noticed it. Perhaps he’s just used to our living room being full of spinning wheels and one more or less isn’t noteworthy.

I promised the seller that I’d blog about it, so I need to take some new photos soon. I want to test it out and play with it, but my¬†curiosity¬†has gotten the better of me. ¬†At the moment, I’m waiting to see how long it takes him to notice. ¬†Now, if you know me at all, you’ll know that I’m rubbish about keeping secrets so I’ll likely confess any day now. It’s not like he’ll care, it’s just interesting to see this little wheel, hiding in plain sight in the middle of our living room, going un-noticed.

So, we’ll see how long it takes him to realize it’s there, or alternatively, how long it takes before I slip and mention it. Or perhaps he should take to reading my blog since he periodically gets to star in it…

The Not-So-Prodigal Son Returns

I’m sure you’ve heard the tale of the Prodigal Son. It’s a Bible story in which a young man goes off to discover the world, taking his prematurely obtained inheritance with him, only to return home later in shame, hoping that his dad will forgive him and give him a job. This is often told as a cautionary tale to young people about asking for things that aren’t yours and not listening to your elders, but it’s also a tale of forgiveness when the father welcomes the son home with open arms and makes him an honored part of the family.

Deep within this tale is another theme that we seldom talk about – which is the desire of young people to go out on their own and explore the world, to find their niche and understand more about who they are by experiencing other cultures and learning about other places.

I have one of these world travelers in my family. As a mom, it was somewhat terrifying to see my 19 year old son head off to Spain on his own, even if it was with a university-sponsored study abroad program. So you can imagine my relief when he emailed me last week to let me know he’d arrived in Chicago, and my delight on Saturday when he arrived in Denver.

I haven’t yet had time to learn all about what he did (it was a six-week stay, after all, and he’s been here less than 48 hours), but I’ve heard enough to know that he had a great time and certainly learned a lot. He also came home truly fluent in Spanish and with good experiences he can put on his resume. As an international business and Spanish major, studying abroad is an important part of his college experience. ¬†It’s also a chance to experience a whole different set of circumstances, and not only learn what others are like but to learn more about who you truly are as a reflection of the people that you meet.¬†Frankly, I’m just a little jealous but also tremendously proud and happy that he had such a great time.

Sadly, I can’t just pick up and leave for a couple of months to experience another culture. (I think my boss might notice). But maybe I need to find more ways to meet people from other cultures and stretch my horizons right here, where I live. Surely there are opportunities to do that. I’ll need to spend a little time and figure that out.

What about you? What do you do to keep from getting stale? How do you make sure you’re still learning and having new experiences? Please share your insights in the comments. I might learn from them!

 

Tiny Bunnies on the Loose

Fiber arts people (knitters and crocheters) are clever people and they like to have a bit of fun, especially if that fun means passing around handknits and surprising people with happy things. Most knitters and crocheters I know won’t pass up an opportunity to do a little bit of anonymous goodness, ¬†and if yarn or fiber is involved, more the better.

Enter the Tiny Bunnies Movement. This is something that could only happen now, with the capability that the internet provides for people across the world to spontaneously group together, do something fun or silly, and write to each other about it. The members of the Tiny Bunny Movement gather together on Ravelry, the largest single-interest social media site on the internet. They plot together to create tiny bunnies (hence the name), attach tags to them explaining that they are a bit of random kindness, and then leave them in public places for others to find. Some even post pictures of where they’ve hidden their bunnies and a few linger nearby for a while to see the reaction of the person who finds them.

It’s adorable, the number of these little guys, in all kinds of colors and designs, being made all across the world and then “set free” to brighten someone unknown’s day. One woman reports finding one in her favorite local coffee shop, left by another in the group in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Others have been left in all kinds of places, from the grocery store to the library to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

This group has over 600 members from Canada, the U.S., Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Croatia, Wales, Dubai…well, you get the picture. It’s a diverse group, all doing the same thing to brighten someone’s day.

I am not really a maker of knitted toys but this sounds like fun. I may just need to join them. What about you? What will you do as a random act of kindness to brighten someone’s day?

Edited to Add: The bunnies have their own Facebook page! Check it out – how fun!

https://www.facebook.com/tinybunnies

No Soliciting Please

We have a No Solicitation sign on our front door. I thought long and hard about it before putting it up because I want our home to be a welcoming place and nothing says ‘you’re not welcome’ like a No Solicitation sign. That said, we live in a newer neighborhood and the number of people I have coming to my door in any given day is significant. I work from home, and the type of work that I do requires a lot of concentration, so at a certain point I simply couldn’t deal with the distractions anymore.

I continue to be surprised from time to time at the salespeople that will ignore the sign and ring my doorbell anyway. When that happens, I have to suppress the urge to be annoyed. After all, they are taking my time and distracting my work. Not to mention that people ringing the doorbell makes the Westies crazy and interrupts my phone calls with customers. I certainly don’t need that.

I always know I’m in for it when the salesperson leans on the door frame, putting themselves right in my face and making it hard for me to get away without simply closing the door in his face. I hate to be rude. After all, part of my job is sales and I wouldn’t want people to treat me that way, but at the same time, I’ve asked for them to leave me alone and they aren’t listening.

So, I inevitably troop down to the door and open it to find the salesperson poised and ready to start their pitch. I’m polite but not overly friendly and I usually explain that I work from home and they’re disturbing my work. Often, I point out the sign and apologize for needing it. Usually the salesperson will also apologize and move on. Not always, though, as I had one a couple of weeks ago who was bent on finishing his pitch before he left my front porch. I ended up having to be less polite and finally just say ‘I have to get back to work’ and go back in, almost shutting the door in his face.

Maybe my recollection of the world is different and it hasn’t changed that much, but I don’t recall having to fight so hard for quiet when I was a child. Even with my phone on the do-not-call registry, I have politicians and surveyors calling all day long. Even with a No Solicitation sign on the door, I have sales people ringing the doorbell. At the same time, I can never have enough of friends and neighbors dropping by. So much of our social life has moved online that I always feel like I’m missing that essential human contact – you know, the kind that happens when a neighbor drops by to share a cup of coffee and some news about what’s going on in the neighborhood.

This might seem an odd thing for a blogger to say, but let’s put down the electronic toys for a while and reconnect with each other in meaningful way. Let’s find more ways to get the distractions out of our lives and spend time with the people that matter. And above all, instead of sending that text message, take the time to stop by and have a real conversation.

Especially with me. The coffee’s always on and the door’s always open. Unless you’re selling something, that is. Then you must obey the sign….

There’s always time to be polite. Even when getting rid of pushy salesmen.