Saturday, July 10, 2010

Budding triathlon careers and why I should always have stranded knitting nearby

Over the last year, my husband Mike and I have gotten more and more involved in triathlon training and racing, and as the season is in full swing now, one or both of us has been racing 3 of the last 4 weekends. In June, I went back to the race that was my first ever triathlon—Tri-to-Win South Carroll Sprint. Coming with me to that race last year is what pushed Mike to want to start doing triathlons, so this year, both of us raced and had a great time.

It was particularly awesome since I put last year's time to shame!
Yesterday we headed up to Havre de Grace, MD for Mike to compete in the Diamond in the Rough Tri. Traveling anywhere can be stressful for me, and I started feeling anxious at the hotel. To cope, I pulled out and settled down with my current stranded sock project. It was a huge help—more so than any other knitting I could have picked up, and I started to realize that I almost always go into sort of a Zen place when I’m doing colorwork. I think the combination of having to coordinate yarn in both hands and follow the chart redirects my mind, and after just a few rows, my tense muscles start to relax. When I couldn’t sleep later on last night, I pulled back out the stranded sock and (relatively) cheerfully starting knitting again.
This sock is one that I really had no intention of starting. It’s the Sock Knitters Anonymous July mystery colorwork sock (Progressive Sock Party--Ravelry pattern). I have enough sock WIPs and didn’t think I was in the mood for colorwork. Nevertheless, I started scrolling through posts of knitters brainstorming colors for their socks, and I got sucked in. I didn’t want to buy yarn for the project, but I remembered my bag of Knit Picks Palette, and I pulled out some colors and joined in with the first clue last week. I couldn’t put it down. I switched it to DPN “holders” to use my circs to cast on a different sock (uh, what drawer full of WIPs?), but I just kept going with the DPNs—and I am so NOT a DPN sock knitter.
Clue 2 came out on Friday, which is why the sock came with for the overnight trip, and now I’m not sure I’ll ever go anywhere without a stranded project nearby.

As we headed to the race this morning, I had finished the foot and started the heel. It was pouring rain, and for a bit, I was quite content to sit in the car to stay dry with the sock. It continued to rain, the swim portion was replaced with a run for safety reasons, and I spent the next 3 hours getting soaking wet, shivering, and taking really terrible pictures of Mike and some of the other athletes.

And yet, when I look back at the last day, I barely remember the tension and shivering, but I do feel happy that I turned the heel on the sock. And oh yeah, of course, I’m really proud that my husband had a strong race. Now, where is that chart...?
The moral of the story? A technique that scares the bejesus of out some knitters and can be frustrating to learn could end up being your go-to relaxing knitting instead of the stockinette sweater.


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