Friends, I am having a really good few days. Considering that I usually spend most of my time trying to clean up messes ones others create for me (yes family, we are alluding to the state of the kitchen at this moment, and ones I create for myself (yes self, I am alluding to the state of the kitchen at this moment), things have gone really, really well for the last few days. (Exception of kitchen status noted.)
Thing the first: The Frankenmittens are finished, and I love them to bits.
Gauja yarn, from Headwater Wool. Colours #1 and #21. Took .3 of each skein at $6 CAD per skein, making these a really thrifty pair, which thrills me to no end. I love it when I find a good, cheap wool.
I wrapped up the second one on the flight home from Portland on Friday, and they worked out beautifully. I used the braid from Lisbeth Upitis brilliant Latvian Mittens book (pg 24) then part of a chart from the same book (#36) then the beautiful tops are from Terri Shea’s Selbuvotter.
That’s Annemor #15, which is actually a set of gloves, but I repeated the pattern from the back of the hand twice, and voila. Mittens. (Big shout out to Heather for her great idea which was the total inspiration.) I did a stripy thumb – since I think that stripy thumbs are dead sexy, and winged a little cross pattern for the palm. Absolute success in my eyes. They’re beautifully fussy and traditional and pointy and everything that I wanted.
Thing the second: Jacket proceeding well. Big needles, big yarn = progress-o-rama.
Today is Tuesday, so I’ll be spinning a little. I have to ply and wash another two skeins to have enough yarn for this, and I’ve decided to spin a companion yarn to this one out of the same fibre I don’t like to seam bulky things with buky yarn because it adds bulk. (Predictable, but still took me forever to figure out.) I’ll spin a yarn that’s the same, only lighter weight, to do do the seaming with. Expect jacket in the next few days, assuming that it’s not knitting that’s making my shoulder hurt but really thing the third.
Thing the third: I ran 5k. It was really hard, but I had a secret weapon.
The delightful creature on the left in this shot is my sister-in-law Katie’s friend Lexa, who is an actual distance runner and some Canadian Version of Sporty Spice. (After the run she went to yoga and then to play vollyball. It didn’t even touch her energy level) and Lexa did Kate and I the favour of pacing us for the race. When she said that we were all going to stick together for the race, I was mortified – and not at all sure it was a favour. All I could think of was that I was not only going to hold them all back with my pathetic wheezing and molasses like speed, but that I also wasn’t going to be able to let my failure be a secret. Like most people, I prefer my humiliations pretty private, so it was all I could do not to insist that they leave me to my fate. She insisted, and it turned out to be wonderful. She’s the best kind of encouragement. Cheerful, kind, and firm as bloody concrete.
There were absolutely a few points where I contemplated dying just so that I would have a good enough excuse for stopping, and a few more times where I absolutely would have stopped if I didn’t know for sure that the other thousands and thousands of runners behind me would have trampled me…
but I learned something really interesting about running, which is that at some point, there’s a trick. When your legs are burning at the second kilometre, your brain tries to tell you that you should stop – because if you feel this bad now, you’re only going to feel worse when you’re more tired… and it turns out that for me at least, that’s not true. I felt pretty rough at the 2k marker… but my gentle knitters… that’s as bad as it got. 3k wasn’t a third worse, and 4k wasn’t twice as bad. It got hard, it stayed hard, but it wasn’t a continual descent into hades and the fires of doom. It was just really hard.
In the end, I walked for about 30 seconds, 4 times – and I finished the run in about 32 minutes, which means that I ran way more, better and faster than I ever have – and used way less language unbecoming a knitter. (Lexa informs me that 32 minutes is absolutely respectable.) There’s a lot that I credit with that. You all were right, the emotion and adrenaline carries you a lot, having a friend or two to keep pace with was hugely helpful, the people along the route encouraging and cheering does give you the will to go on… and I can’t say enough about not wanting to let the team down, and wanting to deserve all the donations that you all generously made. I felt like I had to earn them… and that helped me haul it. Thank you for your really important part in it. I’m proud of me and I’m proud of you.
I’m a runner. (I think. Funny how I look the same.)