Monday, December 5, 2011

Motivation Monday* - Grab a Friend and Go

   *Notes from a knitter who is attempting to run her first marathon.

Often running is a solitary activity for me.  I enjoy the peace and quiet of the trail, and the time to let my mind wander as I settle into my own pace.   Once in awhile though, I enjoy a little help from my friends.  When someone else goes with me, I am grateful for that extra motivation to get out the door.

My hubby has been kind enough keep me company on my longer runs so that I'm not alone on the more isolated trails.  He has no interest in running, which I consider a bonus as he can carry extra water on his bike.
Now we know of a new spot to go picking during fig season.
I snapped this pic of him just after he insisted I pause in my run to take a deep breath of the coconut-like aroma wafting off of this huge fig tree.  Enjoying the outdoors together more often has been a fringe benefit which I hope will continue after the race.

Karen is my weekend walking partner.  She has been motivating me to get out onto the river trail on Saturday mornings long before I decided to start running again.
It was a happy accident that we both showed up in our
Falling Leaves Hats on the day I wanted a photo for this post.
She's always up for a walk, even if it's rainy and cold.  I know I can meet her on the trail in my grubby exercise clothes and we can chat about our week.  There have been mornings when it would have been all too easy to stay on the couch except for the knowledge that she was waiting at the trailhead.  Thanks Karen!

Tera is my friend from Oregon who motivated me to run a marathon in the first place.
Here we are after a 16 mile run.
I hope we look this happy after our 26 mile run!
She recently drove down from Portland to run part of the actual marathon course with me.  Just as when we used to jog together in college, she motivated me to go that extra mile during our practice run.

I hope it doesn't stop there.  I mentioned in an earlier post that our teenager joined me in the Turkey Trot, and I sincerely hope we started a new tradition.   Also, since I started posting on the blog about running, Amber let me know she plans to run a half-marathon in the Spring.  So maybe we can go for a run sometime, that is, if I can keep up with her!   And anyone else reading this who is a local friend, and who wants to join in, just drop me a line.

I would encourage anyone who is looking for that little bit of extra motivation to find an exercise partner.  Whatever activity you enjoy, grab a friend and go!  You'll both be happy you did.

Friday, December 2, 2011

This FO was a labor of love . . .

                                     . . . and truly a team knitting project!

Every once in awhile, a knitting project comes along that gives you a chance to show someone just how much you care.  My dear friend Angie, who first got our knitting group going, was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months ago.  She has a good prognosis, a positive attitude, and a stellar support team.  But all of that can't change the fact that the situation is lousy.

As the news spread, of course everyone wanted to help in whatever way they could.  One friend, acting as her awesome "techno-secretary", helped her start her own blog to keep friends and family informed.  There have been meals planned, distraction provided by playing Words With Friends (what sacrifices we make!), and hopefully, emotional support provided.  But leave it to our friend Betsy to come up with the wonderful idea of a group knitting project, and thus the blanket of love was created.

Photo by Amber Galusha of the Nature-Drunk Blog.

Pattern:  Mitered Crosses Blanket -- for Japan by Kay Gardiner
Source:  Published in the Mason-Dixon Knitting Blog, PDF purchase available on Ravelry.
Materials:  Noro Silk Garden in various colors, Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in "Creme", and US 6 needles.

Betsy happens to be a great instigator of marathon knitting projects!   In addition to being the key motivator on the blanket, she also acted as the "hostess with the mostest" last year when she invited our knitting group to stay at her family's coastal getaway for a weekend Fair Isle knitting class.  We didn't find out until after arriving that we would be knitting our entire Fair Isle Tote in 3 days, even though the weekend class was normally taught over the course of a few weeks. Just as we relished knitting together then, we poured our group energy into finishing the blanket before Angie's first surgery.

Each member of the knitting group (excepting the giftee, of course): Betsy, Karen, Lisa, Amber, and I, plus Marilyn, who taught us how to knit, chose a different skein of Noro Silk Garden.  Then we all proceeded to knit a square or two.  We met for extra knitting nights and had secret lunch knitting meetings.  We sent out group emails with care, double-checking that we left Angie off the mailing list. Finishing work continued as a collaborative effort as tasks of weaving in ends, seaming squares together, knitting the I-cord edging, and washing and blocking the blanket were carried out by various members of the knitting group.

As we knit, we were amazed at how Kay Gardiner of the Mason-Dixon blog, created such a well thought out pattern for Noro Silk Garden. Just look at how the colors naturally transition in each miter:

It is almost hard to believe that each of the colors of the mitered
corners flow naturally from just one skein of Silk Garden yarn.

Of course there were many yarn ends to weave in on the back of the blanket!  In the end when Angie wrote a blog post (where you can see her new puppy Thor cuddling on the blanket) about the support she had received, my favorite response in the comments section was from Betsy, who said: "Glad Thor approves of the blanket; It is full of love.  And if you ever doubt our friendship, just look at the back!"

I hope the blanket is keeping Angie warm right now, and I wonder what marathon knitting project Betsy will come up with next!

As always, you can read about other knitters showing their love with knitted FOs at Tami's!