aswim in knits

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

help! calling all creative sorts!

Thanks for your comments on yesterday's post about the how and the why of the ways in which we present ourselves online. Elisa put it nicely:
"reading blogs takes time, so there needs to be something compelling in the blog to keep us coming back. People who are real, and who post about their real lives, are much more compelling than those who stick to knitting, only knitting, just the knitting."

So, more on the coaching, sort of ...

This is G. She and I joined the team the same year, G. as a brand-new coach and me as a 10 year old swimmer.

Over the past two decades, G. has become not just my coach, but also a friend, a mentor, a sounding board and confidante, and the dispenser of sage advice and the occasional much-needed kick in the ass.

In one month, she will turn 50. G. is creative, and perhaps even a bit sentimental. She definitely appreciates the time and the thought that go into special gifts and recognitions. When her daughter graduated from high school she commissioned a friend of mine to make this quilt with photos and memories from her daughter's years on our team.

So, I'd like to do something special for her 50th birthday, which happens to coincide with her 20th anniversary of coaching. I'd also like to get our swimmers and other coaches (and perhaps even our alumni swimmers) involved.

• • • HELP! • • •

Here's where I need your help coming up with ideas! I can sew, I can do basic quilting, and I'm fairly handy with paper (I designed and made custom invitations for our wedding!). And of course I can knit and spin.

I would love in some way to incorporate the words of our swimmers, since that's sort of a team tradition. Our athletes are all ages, from elementary school through high school. I was thinking of asking them to respond to one or more of the following prompts:
  • why G. is a good coach
  • what you have learned from G.
  • an adjective to describe her, and why
  • a memory you have of a team activity that involves her
  • something special or unique about G.
I can then work some of those words into whatever I do. I'm leaning towards something quilt-y, but I'm not sure what. Probably not in the team colors, which are bright pink, white, and royal blue -- all of already us have so much in those colors, and they're not really colors that she would choose for her own style.

Oh, one more thing ... our swimmers' suits are all decorated with handsewn sequins, rhinestones, and beads, so a small amount of embellishment like that would make any quilt a "synchro" quilt.

Any ideas? Help me brainstorm in the comments!

P.S. This is me today, at the same age as G. was when I met her. I've learned so much from her in the past twenty years, and I only hope that someday I can return that favor to someone else.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

the posts in my head

Last week, Phoe wrote about blogging, as seen through her eyes. Her post, and the comments that followed, made me think.

Bertha asked "Why do I love reading about other people’s lives (good and bad) but assume they’d have zero interest in mine? I don’t know."

And I agree with her. I love reading about other people's lives. I'll admit that part of it is probably just voyeurism. But I also like to read the little vignettes from everyday life. Family, work, health, the occasional forays into politics or religion, and the photos and words about the things we see every day. (Like, who would have thought that a rusty backhoe could be so beautiful?)

Like all bloggers, I compose posts in my head as I go through the day. I rarely sit down and write them, though. While I'm not interested in daily blogging, I do think I may write a bit more in the coming weeks. Maybe. Because I'm noncommittal like that.


Tonight is the first practice for the season. As a lot of you know, I coach a synchronized swim team in my hometown. Last week, I realized that this fall marks 20 years of my involvement with the team. I started competing in 5th grade, and started coaching when I was in college. In addition to coaching, I'm also a certified zone judge, and will start working on my national level judge's rating this year.

I love the girls that I coach, and I love the sport. Although it is a second job, and I do get paid, I don't coach for the money. (It's a YMCA team. The pay is not huge!) But I take my commitment to the team very seriously, and spend 10-15 hours a week at the pool, in meetings, or on the phone or email related to coaching.

This year, because it's the right thing for the team, I will be coaching 10-14 year olds. I'm a little bit apprehensive. This age group usually has a lot of *ahem* personality! Let's see how it goes ... I'm sure I'll blog more about it.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

the post in which I discuss politics. briefly.

I've never been one to blog about politics. I'll make an exception today, to announce that if I could, I would (re)elect Jed Bartlet for President.

But, since I'm on the topic of politics, let me opine on Massachusetts Question 1, a ballot initiative to abolish the state income tax. What kind of crack are these people smoking? And could the opponents please add some substance to their website (perhaps the fine folks at MassBudget could give them some talking points*)? And while you're at it, do a little search engine optimization so people could actually FIND the site?

* This is an old link, and the specific figures are out of date, but the principles are still good. If anyone can point me to newer substantive discussion of why to vote no on question 1, please do the linky-link in the comments. I'm hoping that the failure of my google-fu is due to the fact that no sane person would vote for question 1, and therefore there are few sites discussing this in any serious manner. Please let this be the truth.

OK, on to the shiny! happy! fun! part of the post.

say hello to ... (by aswim in knits)

I got my graduation present! Thanks for all the good advice about cameras. I got the best one I could afford, and will also invest in some lenses, etc. over time. I've been so busy, I've only just started to figure out how use it. Stay tuned for more photos. {Photos from the camera, that is, not photos of the camera!} Oh, and check out this photography tutorial. It's for food bloggers, but I think would apply well to craft bloggers too.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I effed an o, or maybe two

It's been a long time since any finished objects were shown around here. Upon closer inspection of Ye Olde Blogge Archive, it seems that not only have I not finished anything in a while, I also haven't shown you the things I did manage to finish!

Don't get your hopes up - it's just socks.

Way back in early July, I knit some handspun socks. Then I took a really craptacular photo of them. And posted the photo to Flickr. And updated Ravelry. And after all that, I promptly forgot to blog about them.
handspun socks (by aswim in knits)
Why yes, they ARE pinned to the fabric walls of my cube open office at work, thankyouverymuch.

Last week, I also finished my Traveler's Stockings.
Traveler's Stocking (by aswim in knits)

I absolutely HATED knitting these. I knit tightly, and that made the twisted stitches at the top quite beastly. Plus, I had the patterns *almost* memorized, but not quite - it was annoying to have to look at the chart when I almost didn't need it.

I have a theory about the twisted stitch cuff. I think Nancy Bush designed a sock that would be full of beautiful twisted stitch patterns that would extend down the whole leg of the sock. Then she knit three inches of it and wanted to slit her wrists. So, she threw in a purl round and some leg decreases, kept one tiny pattern on the sides, and called it a day. (Ok, not really, but let me make myself feel better, ok?)

I usually knit pretty socks for others and plain ones for myself, but I decided to start making myself some fancy ones. I do love how these look, and I am glad that I persevered. I can't wait to wear them this fall and winter!

Back in February, I decided to knit a rainbow of socks. In color order.

Taste the Rainbow, II (by aswim in knits)

After finishing the red ones, I've (obviously) moved onto my orange ones.
Orange Julius socks (by aswim in knits)

I'm calling these my "Orange Julius" socks. (Brownie points to the first person who can guess where the name came from!)

Whoops, gotta go to a meeting now ...

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

karma sometimes works in my favor

Last year, I set out to knit a sweater for Rhinebeck. I did not finish it for Rhinebeck. But I did finish it. And, although I got gauge and the sweater ended up exactly the size and shape I intended, it wasn't the right size and shape for me! So it's going to my mother-in-law because it looks perfect on her.

PumpkinMama had a very similar experience recently with her Sunrise Circle jacket.

Guess who the sweater fit? Yes, me! I went over to her house to try it on, not really expecting it to be the right size. But, it looked like it was made for me!

Sunrise Circle back (by aswim in knits)

Sunrise Circle front (by aswim in knits)

I do need to reposition the buttons and button loops a bit, but otherwise it's just right. So, I'll be buying PumpkinMama some yarn to make a new one for herself, and keeping this one for me!

Since my Rhinebeck 2007 sweater didn't work out, I think I can use the good karma points I earned in giving it to MIL and call the Sunrise Circle jacket my Rhinebeck 2008 sweater, right? Maybe I need to wear a button that says "handknit, but not by me"?

PS -- If you're wondering about that pile of rocks, the story is here.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008


OK, kids, that's your vocabulary word of the week.

Overextended: to impose on someone an excessive burden of work or commitments.

Apparently, I'm not the only one in this boat. I was talking with the Mafia about this yesterday, and Kellee feels kinda the same, I think.

Being overextended has kept me offline more than usual. I miss you guys out there. Hi! {waves!}

Oh, and do you think that the overextendedness has anything to do with the TMJ? (Umm, is the Pope Catholic?) BTW, thanks for the good suggestions about how to deal with this. I'm seeing my awesome chiropractor, which I think will really help. I've also seen a naturopathic doctor, and got some good advice on things I ought to change in my life style for overall healthier living. And, I got a referral to a mind-body program that offers medical symptom reduction classes. I'm actually pretty excited to check this one out. I think some coping strategies would be a good thing, and am 100% behind the idea of the power of the mind-body connection.

Anyways, since I had back-to-back work, appts, and meetings from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. tonight, and have to be at a working breakfast early tomorrow morning, I should go to bed now. (See, overextended!)


Monday, September 15, 2008

this week's edition of ask the internets

Hey, I'm back from vacation. More details to follow -- re-entry is tough. If I owe you an email, I'm getting to it, I promise.

In the meantime, I thought I'd throw out a few questions for the advice of all the wise people out there in online-land.

1) Does anyone know of a good *free or inexpensive* sound editing software that runs on a Mac? I'm mixing music for the kids I coach, and my version of my old software is for a PC. Here's the kicker -- I need to be able to import and manipulate stuff I buy from iTunes, and many programs make that impossible.

2) Any words of advice for treating TMJ pain? I've had a delightful earache for the past three weeks as a result of clenching/grinding my teeth. I think it's a stress response, but I'm very confused about why the pain didn't show up until after grad school - aren't I less stressed now than I was for the previous 15 months?

The site linked above describes me perfectly, including the part about NSAIDs not really working well. Those 800mg tabs of ibuprofin? Nothing useful there. The NP prescribed Percocet, but I haven't filled the script, as Percocet makes me a little loopy. Ahem.

I have a nightguard fitted by the dentist, but it makes the problem worse rather than better. Chiropractic treatment is showing some promise. I'm going to see a naturopathic doctor later this week. I'm leery of acupuncture (fear of needles) but if someone out there tells me that their brother-in-law's accountant's wife was successfully treated this way, I might try that too. Anything else I'm missing?


Monday, September 08, 2008


Is it still a vacation when you have wireless internet access? I think so.

This week, I'm here.

I brought these two along for company:
Thom smiling (by aswim in knits)Schacht Matchless DT (by aswim in knits)

And a whole lotta wool.

Yesterday Thom and I took a drive down to Kennebunkport. I could very easily live here.

ocean view (by aswim in knits)
View of the ocean from the aptly named Ocean Avenue.

Wildwood Baptist Chapel, Kennebunkport (by aswim in knits)
Wildwood Baptist Chapel

Quote of the day, from Thom of course: "There are a lot of Quebec-ians on vacation here."

Quebecois, Thom, Quebecois.

His response: "Quebec-ians is easier to say."

(Note: he is reading over my shoulder as I type. Say hi to him!)

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