Why we do things

I’m going to talk today about a couple of thing that you didn’t know about me. You know me as a knitter, that I dance Lindy Hop and that I moved to Madrid one year ago. But what about the rest? I’m going to tell you a little bit today.

As I often work from home (I don’t have a team here in Spain and I don’t have an office for myself where I can comfortably call customers) I need my evenings to socialise and “move the body”, as I say, after 9 hours of lonely sitting.

In June I decided to retake Pilates classes. I used to do it years ago, before going to Belgium, and I remembered it did wonders with my back. You don’t know either, but three or four years ago, when I was living in Belgium, I had a very bad year with a lot of back pain, irradiated pain to my right arm and hand and long hours at the physiotherapist. The humidity there was also a killer for my back and I had a severe case of LBP in the middle of July. So I decided to go back to Pilates class and I found a wonderful Russian guy that teaches very good and hard classes just 5 minutes from our home. I can say that since then I improved very much and I rarely have back pain nowadays, except for those very few days that are cold and humid here in Madrid.

Pilates is a very good exercise but unfortunately it doesn’t help to work on your condition. I have asthma and this is something very important. After spending all my days sitting on a chair I noticed that I used to get tired just when walking uphill and I often was out of breath. So last August I decided to sign up on the gym I have also 5 minutes from our place. There I tried spinning and I hated it. I also tried Pilates to see if it was any good and I could save some money and quit the place of the Russian guy, but what I saw there was very disappointing. I was going to stay with the Russian. I tried the machines but I got rapidly bored. There were lots of different classes and almost randomly one day picked Capoeira. It was hard, man. And my legs hurt for four days after that Wednesday. Going down the stairs of the metro was almost impossible and I couldn’t dance at the Swing party of that Saturday. But I went back and I got hooked, and my condition and strength have improved  enormously. It’s also fun and it has the added value of being a group activity, you feel like being part of something.

And here it is one of the examples that I wanted to illustrate. Why we do things. Time can pass and things can evolve, but you always have to remember why you do things. Yesterday we had a quite hard class and I got yelled at and I had to repeat things and I was almost cool at it. It’s just his way of teaching. But then I continued to be yelled at and the teacher told me that he was getting tired of repeating always the same and the he already got a name and that we still needed to build ours and bla bla bla. And I suddenly realized that I ALREADY have a name of my own (hey, I’m Elena, pleased to meet you) and another one that I gave to myself when I belonged to the Tolkien Society and that I kept using in Ravelry and some other parallel worlds. So I don’t really need to build up a NAME and a reputation if I just want to learn Capoeira for the fun of it and its benefits (condition, strength and elasticity). I’m not dreaming of becoming an important figure nor fighting on important events. Most of my classmates are younger boys. Their body and mind are more suited to this, but not mine. I’m just a 34 year asthmatic woman that goes there for fun and to feel healthier.

Last May or June (I don’t remember) I started taking sewing class. Well not only sewing, since the main goal is being able to take your measurements and make patterns to then cut and sew clothes. I decided to go because I have always been very curious about this and wanted to learn. It was organized at my friends’ shop La Guerra de los Botones and it was also 5 minutes from y place. I have to confess that since I started I have just finished a skirt and a dress, I fixed my boyfriend swimming trunks and I’m almost finishing a Winter coat. My goal from attending this class was not filling up my closet. Since we moved to this tiny apartment I’m very please with myself that I learned to stop myself from buying tons of clothes that I will later not wear. Well, that also applies to wool and antiques and lots of stuff that I used to buy without thinking twice. I am happy with this change in my life and I have no regrets. It’s also that another goal was learning new techniques, and I’m doing it. Every garment I made was quite complicated and none of them could be called simple. So when one of our classmates, which has made almost a dress per week, teases me at almost every class and says that what I’m working on should be finished for the next class, I just smile, say nothing and remember why I decided to go to there in the first place.

It’s also that I could sew more at home, but I prefer to keep that time for knitting, and what I want now is to finish my boyfriend’s cardigan.

I put already a lot of pressure on myself at work, my boss always tells me, but that’s what helps me earning the money to buy food, pay the bills, pay my classes and buying beautiful yarn.I don’t need to put more pressure on any other disciplines because they are just there to make me feel fine and nothing else.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smamrmgbPf8]

Good morning baby, I home I’m gonna make it through another day.

Hunting for buttons

My Freija is not progressing a lot at the moment because I want to finish Émilien as soon as possible for several reasons:

  • I want to test a pattern for Fridica and I am planning to use the leftovers of Émilien wool. I don’t want to do it until I am sure that I have enough wool for this cardigan.
  • Émilien is so huge that if I stop I have the feeling that it will be forever and I will never take it back.
  • I promised to knit this for Koen.
  • This is part of a KAL.
  • I am afraid of the sweater curse.

Nevertheless Freija is almost finished. I am already at the yoke and I know it will take almost no time. I went yesterday to hunt for buttons and I immediately fell in love with these. It is the same model but in two different sizes. I was not sure which one would fit best, so I bought one of each to try. After inserting them through the buttonholes the smallest one was the winner.

No news, good news

Since I’m currently working on two adult cardigans, one for Koen and one for me, I don’t get much finished and I’m not even planning on casting on anything new until I get at least one these projects done. The shadow of the sweater curse is looming over me and I’ve promised myself that I was going to get Koen’s cardigan done in four more weeks maximum from now.

It’s not that I don’t have future projects in mind, oh no, I have lots of them that I would like to make. I even bought a beautiful Malabrigo Silky Merino in green to make a shawl for my mother, I need to make two or three pairs of socks and I would like to give a try to make one of the crescent shaped shawls BostonJen is always talking about. And I would like to try real colour-work and double-knitting. One thing at a time…

Yesterday a friend came home to knit for a while and she relearned how to cast on. It was short but nice.

And Koen is wearing again the last hat I made for him! He bought a new cyclist helmet, larger that the previous one, which he can adapt to be able to wear this hat underneath in these still cold mornings and evenings. Yeah!

And the rest, the same. Listening to knitting podcasts, watching shows and being witness of the coming Spring. Life was never as beautiful as now and it will never be.

Worshop for followers

I haven’t been doing a lot of knitting this past weekend, more than checking with Koen where he wanted the pockets in his cardigan and following Katushika’s directions to add those stitches where pockets will be.

There’s a lot of stuff that I do apart from knitting. For good of for bad I’ve tried many different things in my life. Some went and some stuck, and the Swing belongs to the ones that stayed me. I’ve been dancing Lindy Hop for about 5 years with Koen and we are enjoying a sudden blooming here in Madrid. This was a weekend full of Swing. There were workshops and there were parties. Sadly we didn’t attend the parties because I finished this last Saturday with a batch of antibiotics and the workshops had already consumed all my energies. But more parties will come. With this Swing fever covering Madrid, there are several parties every week.

The workshops were very interesting, and especially the one of Saturday, dedicated exclusively to followers. We learned not only how to move, how to turn with balance and elegance, or to command our bodies to do what we wanted but also some tips for twists and swivels that will come in handy.

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Next month is going to be busy with the Madrid Swing Festival and Barswingona, but I’ll keep on knitting!

And for those of you who doesn’t know what swing is about, I leave you here some bits and pieces from the movie Swing Kids.

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I’ve got stripes!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx6NUyyEwJs]

This is what I’m saying since Sunday, after I had to change color and finally I’ve got stripes. Please forgive me for this, but it’s my first knitting colorwork (I’ve done it plenty of times in crochet but never in knitting), and even if compared to other things it’s still pretty lame, it’s colorwork!. I’m still celebrating it and Koen still singing the song of his future cardigan.

We love Johnny Cash’s music. Before starting hanging out as a couple, around 5 years ago, Koen once came to my place to watch the movie Walk the Line, that I totally recommend for those who like rock’n’roll and country music. You will not only enjoy the music but a beautiful story and the great performances of Joachin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsvZGwd8vrI]

That day we discovered that we not only shared our passion for old music but also for plenty of other things. Getting together was the best decision we could have ever made.