Posted by: thewoobdog | January 3, 2013

2012 Recap

Wow.  At any given moment, when anyone asked me in 2012 if there was anything new or exciting going on, my answer was usually, “No, not much. Same old, same old,” but looking back over the year I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned and changed.  I’ve made new friends, learned new skills (um, mostly knitting-related), and made lifestyle changes that still feel new and tentative even though I realize they are habits I’ve developed and (mostly) maintained over the course of six or eight months. 

I’d never have guessed that my resolution to learn to knit socks in 2012 would lead to a friendship with a lady who works at one of my local yarn stores.  I really look forward to knitting time over there now, talking about everything from guns to childbirth and laughing at (and learning to fix!) my mistakes.  At the same time, my yarn has lassoed me into another relationship – a completely unexpected but wonderful friendship with my nurse practitioner, of all people. 

It was probably in 2011 that I first went to see her, crochet project clutched in my hand to ward off the boredom of the waiting room, and she mentioned that she used to knit, but mostly just dishcloths.  We started talking about it, I showed her the rudiments of crochet and we talked about the differences between the two crafts, and now a year or two later she’s back to knitting full-force and trying new stitches and cable projects that amaze me.  We hang out at least a couple of times a month, and I’ve really enjoyed having her as a friend – she’s thoughtful, generous, and kind-hearted to a fault, and reminds me that not everyone in the world deserves my cynicism!

Knitting-wise, I’m so much more confident now in my ability to fix my mistakes and tackle new projects and new skills.  In 2012, I learned (non-knitters may want to skip this bullet-list…)

  • sock knitting – including turning a heel, picking up stitches, and grafting a toe with Kitchener stitch
  • knitting with double-pointed needles
  • knitting with two circular needles
  • knitting using the magic-loop method (not my thing, quite frankly – I prefer the two-circular method, but to each his own)
  • stranded colorwork
  • intarsia
  • a provisional cast-on
  • a ribbed cast-on
  • the cable cast-on
  • short rows
  • how to make right- and left-leaning knitwise increases
  • how to make a purlwise increase
  • how to knit a thumb gusset and thumb
  • how to knit a buttonhole
  • how to do a yarn-over
  • how to read a chart
  • how to evaluate a yarn and its usefulness for different projects by looking at its ply, twist, and fiber content
  • how to fix a dropped stitch
  • how to fix an unintentional yarn float
  • how to rip back my knitting without losing everything
  • how to felt a yarn join
  • how to block a finished project
  • whipstitch
  • mattress stitch
  • buttonhole stitch
  • blanket stitch
  • running stitch
  • duplicate stitch

By the way, my new favorite shirt is “Knitting: it’s not a hobby – it’s a post-apocalyptic life skill.”  I must get this shirt.

Also in 2012, I started regularly working out at the gym (that was conquering a personal phobia, let me tell you – “A fat chick walks into a gym…”) over the summer and started personal training sessions in the fall.  Another life goal was reached (and phobia conquered) when I started taking Zumba classes – finally, a workout that’s fun and keeps my eyes off the clock, while I get a full hour of crazy-good cardio. 

It’s difficult to explain why I’ve found Zumba so satisfying on so many levels.  I’ve never been able to dance, and as a kid in fourth grade was actually kicked out of ballet class over what we eventually found out was a misunderstanding (the teacher thought I was mocking her, when in reality I was trying to do the moves correctly but was hampered by the fact that I was naturally graceless and severely shortsighted [undiagnosed at that point, but we’re talking 20/1200 vision when they finally had me checked the following year]).  Needless to say, the shame of this quite neatly deterred me from ever (ever) attempting to learn any dances, up to and including the Electric Slide, and the only dancing I did was what was forced upon me in high school gym class (we had a Dance segment at one point in the year, during which we fumbled through some basic ballroom and line dancing).  My clearest memory of that little debacle was the daily catfight with the other girls in the class to get partnered with the one cute guy (who incidentally was probably one of the only guys in that class with all his teeth and not wearing a John Deere cap – it was seriously slim pickings).

Zumba has been so much fun because I was able to let go of the fear of getting the steps wrong or being out of sync and just focus on moving.  Granted, I still have paralyzing flashes of insecurity when I get a mental picture of “fat chick dancing,” but all in all I’m really proud of myself for taking that first step of going to the class and then continuing to stick with it.  I’ve definitely gotten much faster at picking up new moves and keeping the right rhythm, which isn’t something I ever thought I’d be good at, and I think if I didn’t have the “fat chick insecurity” I might even consider myself to be dancing (or closer to it than I ever thought I’d get).

All in all, even though I didn’t take charge of my weight in 2012, I feel like I’m coming into 2013 a more confident person with a better lifestyle and less stress.  Just from the exercise habits I developed in 2012, my cholesterol (which had been slightly on the high side, though not to a point where it would require medication) has dropped 32 points and is now well within the normal range on all levels.  2012 was the year of conquering fears and trying new things, and 2013 will be the year I wage an all-out war to overcome the obstacles between me and the person I want to be.  And if 2012 was the year of the sock, maybe 2013 will be the year of the sweater (and I’ll deliberately knit it in a smaller size to give me that much more motivation to get to a healthier weight!)

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Responses

  1. That shirt is so true, it makes me want to take up knitting! Actually, it doesn’t make me want to. It makes me feel like I *need* to.

    I tried to learn to knit once, but I never could get the hang of it. It seems like people are either knitters or crocheters. I learned to crochet first, and knitting always seemed awkward to me. But knitting is really so much cooler.

    • HAHA I learned to knit (and crochet) about five times before it finally stuck. I went back and took classes in both again a few years ago at Michael’s, but crochet came so much easier for me that I went for about a year after that without knitting at all. I only started really picking up my knitting again last year, and now I really like the versatility of being able to do either. There’s definitely a clic-ishness to both, though – a lot of knitters actively despise crocheters. So silly. Join me in my post-apocalyptic-preparedness! You know you want to… 😉

  2. Well, it seems to me the knitting needles would make a better weapon in a pinch. Don’t you need ready weapons in a post-apocalyptic world?

    • Ooh, good call. I bet you could slap some feathers on the ends and make arrows. Plus the really big ones could be used as tent stakes. POST-APOCALYPTIC WORLD DOMINATION – we have weapons and shelter… HAHAHA. Oh, right, and sweaters.


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