Monday, April 16, 2007

(You Just Might Find) You Get What You Need

Yesterday, I drove out to Lawrence to attend a knitting workshop with Sally Melville. She is an absolute knitting guru; amazing, creative, brilliant. That said, the workshop was not at all what I had hoped for, not what I had envisioned when I signed up. It was a two-part workshop; part one was "Learning to Love Intarsia" and part two was "Emergency Measures." I thought I would leave there LOVING intarsia knitting and knowing everything I needed to know about fixing knitting mistakes.

The actual theme of the workshop was less about mechanics and more about the creative process... much, much more. How to choose a picture to knit. How to envision it. How to graph it. What elements to look for. How to make it work. How to bring your vision to reality. This was NOT Sally spoon-feeding us a pattern; it was Sally sharing her creative process. Hmmmm.

Emergency Measures emphasized using mistakes as learning tools. You would think I'd be familiar with this; I tell my kids all the time that "making mistakes is how we learn!" Somehow, my knitting mistakes seem to frustrate me, though. Sally showed many examples of her own mistakes and how they forced her to come up with creative solutions and think beyond the pattern. Again, she never said "if you mess this up, do this." She said, "if this happens, think about these things and then decide what you want to do."

I left feeling sort of unsettled. This wasn't a knitting class! I didn't drive home with a new hat in my bag and the feeling that I had "made something" in my heart! But, it got me thinking. I came home and got out a whole pile of knitting books. I started looking at the details. I looked at simple patterns and thought of ways to change them and embellish them and to make them my own. I thought about color and texture. I started thinking differently. I talked with a friend on the phone about what I had learned, and I realized: I had learned a lot. I learned a new way to think about things. So, as it turns out, I didn't get exactly what I wanted; however, I got exactly what I needed. Inspiration!

Now, for those of you who are tired of hearing about my same old knitting projects, I have actually finished something: a baby kimono!! Okay, the seams aren't sewn yet, and I must sew on the snaps, but the actual knitting is done!! Oh, it is so adorable. It is for a neighbor who is expecting in a week or two... can you believe I've finished it early?

I held my first yoga class at Beth's house last week. It was peaceful and relaxing and I'm looking forward to many more. Molly called me about possibly teaching a class at the Nature Center, and I've also been talking to some people about teaching "Yoga for Tennis." I don't know if any of these things will happen, but I know the possibilities are out there, and that's something.

I have to talk about tennis for a minute. Okay, most of you know that I am VERY much a beginning tennis player. I am not going to waste time putting myself down, but I am not the most athletic sort, so learning a new sport in my mid-40s has been challenging, to say the least. Last Thursday I took a private lesson with Lisa. Let me just say it: I was awesome! Amazing! Seriously, I was hitting everything, right where I was supposed to. Okay, not ready for the pro tour, but for ME, it was excellent. I was so excited and I felt great. That was Thursday. On Friday morning I woke up and I could barely move. Every muscle in my body was sore. Both arms. My back. My butt. (?) Everything. I was not deterred, though. On Saturday, I could hardly wait to play with my friend. I was so pumped. And guess what? I stunk. I could barely hit a ball over the net. My serves were all over the place. I was horrible.

I have been told that it takes time for your body to catch up when you learn new things in tennis, when you change things, or adjust your serve. I can only hope this is true! I hope, in the long run, I'll find, (once again!!) that I get what I need.

I've been seeing some of those beautiful, thin, spring green beans in the stores lately. Here is my favorite green bean recipe, from "Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home":

Not Your Mother's Green Beans

1/2 C pine nuts
1 pound green beans
1 shallot, minced, OR 1/4 C chopped scallions
1/4 C balsamic or raspberry vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley or basil
salt and pepper to taste
Toast the pine nuts until golden brown; cool.
Trim the green beans. Lightly steam or boil until just tender. Drain.
Combine the shallot or scallions, vinegar, oil, and herb in a medium bowl. Add the beans and toss well. Stir in the pine nuts and salt and pepper. Serve warm, or chill for 20 minutes and then serve. This is delicious- I love it best served warm.
Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,

The baby kimono is very cute. Did you use garter or stockinette stitch? And, are you working on an intarsia project now? It looks so complicated? What's next, Argile socks???


V said...

I'm glad you found the Melville workshop worthwhile. I also find it hard to think of patterns in a new light - I find it hard to even deviate from the suggested YARN...

Cute baby kimono! Is it the one from MDK?

Congratulations on the yoga class - I'm glad it went well for you. :)