Skating is Life

As I sit in the cold metal stands watching my daughter’s skating lesson I realize that she is learning much more than skating out on the ice.  She’s developing tools that will help her succeed as she grows as a person as well.

Becca's Skates

Balance is one of the first things she learns.  Finding her center, figuring out how much she can lean forward and backward without falling over.  Standing her ground amid the flurry of skaters she learns how to stand on her own and not let others intimidate her, yet she is still courteous – letting the skater performing a run-through of her program ample room to execute her pattern and elements.

After balance comes control.  Skate too slow and she doesn’t have the momentum to execute a jump or direction change well.  Too fast and she is suddenly past the limits of her ability and becomes a danger to herself and others.  Control is knowing when to slow down and when to speed up and finding that sweet spot where everything works as it should.

As she masters balance and control she gains confidence.  With this confidence comes the desire to try new things, even if they seem scary or downright impossible.  Confidence is not expecting to do everything perfectly the first time, but it is having the knowledge that with proper instruction and practice her abilities will develop and she will make the most of the talent she possesses.  Having this confidence also means that she will take criticism well and use it to improve her performance.

With repetition and additional exercise she develops flexibility.  She can extend herself to get the most out of her performance and she can stretch until she can attain what was once out of her reach.  She can also adapt to different rinks and ice conditions without it throwing her entirely off her game.

The last and most important thing she learns is perseverance.  Learning how to skate means falling.  Often. Every time she falls, she must get back up again.  Giving up isn’t an option.  Her program needs to be seen through to the end.  She will fall 10, 20, 30 times before finally landing a new jump, but she will learn it.  She will learn how to shake off the bumps and bruises she acquires along the way, knowing that if she sticks it out she will have expanded her body of knowledge and will be proud of the fact that she stuck it out and learned something new instead of giving up and always wondering, “What if?”.

Sometimes she doesn’t want to go to the rink.  Sometimes she would like more free time, but what she is learning on the ice is invaluable and they are skills that will help her be successful not just in skating, but in life.

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Of Babies and Blankets

Way back in August my cousin had her second child, a girl, born with the best birthdate ever (8/9/10)!

Soon after I started a blanket with the intention of giving it to her for the colder months.  Well here it is December already and I’m not quite done.

Because this blanket is HUGE!  The pattern I used, a Catherine Wheel crochet stitch pattern is based on a 10 stitch repeat.  At this point I don’t remember how many stitches were in the starting chain – 80?  100?  150? More?

All I know is that this can not be referred to as a baby blanket.  This is more like a toddler blanket, a small afghan really.  I’ve worked on it nearly exclusively while sitting at the cold ice rink while my daughter has her lessons.  If I had to estimate I would say it’s about 80% done.  Yet I probably need about 10 more hours on this thing until I’m satisfied with the proportions.  It is large enough to keep my entire lower half warm while I work on it.

I’m switching colors every two rows and each row takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on attention level.  Because of the multiple colors it has strong horizontal lines and the blanket is worked from the bottom up, so to speak.  Right now it is wider than it is tall.  I need to keep going until it is at least square for my symmetry-loving brain to deem it acceptable for gifting.

Fiber snobs, sheild your eyes, for I have made this out of soft baby-melting acrylic.  Chances are quite high that this blanket will be peed on, pooped on, spit up on, spilled on, dragged on the ground, etc.  It needs to be durable and washable, and it needed to cost less than a car payment to make.

Romy's Blanket
I’ve kept it under wraps for quite some time, but I’m giving you all a sneak peek.  As soon as it is 100% complete (and gifted) I will post a photograph of it in all it’s glory.  The colors remind me of an ice cream parlor and I love how the pattern has a bit of a 70’s retro feel to it.

Hopefully my cousin will like it.