July 22, 2009

The Potter's Clay

My church has started an art ministry, The Potting Shed, to build fellowship and encourage mission.  We're making bowls that will be donated to a silent auction for Second Harvest Foodbank and loaf pans that will be used to bake bread we will donate to the Coalition for the Homeless.  Last week I started the loaf pans class and had a great time.  I've also agreed to be an "Art Angel," helping to glaze and fire bowls as we try to create 300 bowls for the auction. 

I've been looking for a way to become more engaged, to connect in a way that makes Church a part of my life.  And not just on Sunday morning.  But, I've been looking for a way that feels right for me, right now.  Presbyterians are famous for their committees, and I'm really not interested in wading my way through the bureaucracies.  We're also famous for our philosophy of stewardship, our commitment to mission.  And while this is perhaps the tenant that most drew me to the Presbyterian church, my own role in it needs to be balanced with the emotional demands of my profession.  But, with my hands in the clay and my sides aching from laughter, I think I've found it.  A chance for fellowship, to try something new, and to give without emptying myself.  Its been fun.

July 20, 2009

How did she do?

Monday: 30 minutes Yoga

I have no idea what happened this week.  Monday I was hurting and achy, so I came home and did yoga on the Wii.  And then that was it, noting more for the week.  I had a few night activities, but really this week wasn't busy enough to keep me from the gym.  I'll have to do better this week.

July 14, 2009

How did she do?

Tuesday: 30 minutes cardio, stretching
Thursday: 90 minutes heavy gardening
Saturday: 3 hours heavy and moderate gardening
Sunday: 45 minutes moderate gardening

Tuesday, watching all the people flowing in to the YMCA in their work clothes, I was thinking that modern society had created a strange dichotomy.  We work all day, 8 hours or more, and then we have to actively go somewhere to use our muscles.  And then Thursday, as I was digging grass out of the front bed, panting and straining, I realized that I like it better when my life generates my exercise.  At the end of the hour and a half of heavy labor, I had a strong heartbeat, pleasantly sore muscles, and a clean flower bed.  There's a very different sense of accomplishment at the end of an actual project.  So, I'm going to keep looking for those opportunities and keep giving myself credit for them in my exercise plan.

July 11, 2009

Back to Me

With the Surprise Jacket done, I am able to return to my own sweater.  I made alot of progress this winter, with the torso finished and the sleeves almost done,  and then put it down in favor of Sabine's quilt and Maggie's sweater.  It was nice, though, to pick the project back up and immediately make such visible progress.  The sleeves are attached and I'm working my way up the bodice.   It's an easy patter, but with just enough thought required to keep it interesting.  I knit enough over the 4th of July weekend to bruise my left pointer finger, the one I use to help push the stitch off the needle because the yarn tends to stick.

Again, I didn't make the best yarn choice.  Its very stiff and hard to knit with, and this sweater will be comfortable but definitely not soft.  That said - I'm loving both the texture and the color.  I think it will get alot of wear.  I do want to make another, though, in softer yarn.  Eventually.

July 10, 2009

Washing Away a Mood

I woke up this morning to the drum of a gentle rain on the roof.  Its soaking my freshly-weeded garden, cooling the air and making the birds sing with joy.  I am watching the fall of the rain over the brim of my coffee cup, a little dog curled at my hip, and thinking this is a lovely way to start a Friday.

July 06, 2009

How did she do?

I took the holiday week easy and mostly had fun, but I didn't lose my momentum altogether.

Monday: cardio, stretching and strength building
Weekend: swimming and stretching in the pool

July 03, 2009

Maggie's Surprise

I don't usually knit for friend's babies.  It just takes too long, and my skills still aren't up to snuff.  But, when a working Mom who wanted to learn to knit a sweater for her baby never got a chance, I couldn't resist making one for her.  It also gave me a chance to try out the legendary Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  The sweater is just as cool as they.  

This is what you have when you finish knitting - a strangely shaped mass of garter stitch.
But then you fold in two places - and have a sweater.  The woman was a genius.  A mad genius.

All you need to do to finish is sew up the two seams and sew on five buttons.  

I really enjoyed making this sweater and I love how squishy and comfortable it turned out.  I used a new yarn, Bernat Cot'n Corn, and the finished sweater does feel really good.  But, I won't knit with Cot'n Corn again.  There were way to many knots in the skeins, the yarn had a tendency to split and it would even come out of the ball unraveled enough to require me to cut away large sections.  Then end result just wasn't worth the hassle, and I'm concerned about how it will wear over time.  Fortunately, the baby won't fit it for long anyway.

Perhaps I can blame the difficulties with the yarn for how slowly I knit.  I don't think so, though.  My jaw dropped when I read the Harlot's comment that she can whip out this sweater in 6 to 8 hours over the weekend.  Seriously, that's what she said.  I read that while looking for some help with a step I didn't understand, and I was well past the half way point.  I knew I had already spent much more time than that on the sweater, so I started paying attention to how my bursts of time on it were adding up.  I spent more than 6 hours on the last third.  I. Am. Slow.  No wonder it feels like it takes me forever to finish anything I knit - it does.  The funniest part is my knitting method is the one recommended to increase speed.  Its a good thing!