Saturday, November 22, 2008

One-sport athletes have a higher risk of injury

In the November 13 issue of the Wisconsin State Journal, the front-page article was about how youth who train rigorously in just one sport are at risk for more sports injuries than their multi-sport peers.

Local doctors from the University of Wisconsin Hospital and the UW Medical School said that injuries can occur from muscle overuse.

The article doesn’t site a study, and, in fact, one of the physicians said that there really isn’t one that proves one-sport athletes have more injuries. However, she said that if you were to ask sports physicians if they’re seeing more one-sport athletes with injuries, they’d say yes.

What does this mean for the figure skating parent? Well, I’m pretty uncomfortable about it, I tell you.

Ice Girl skates eight hours/week and more if she can. She loves to ride her bike, but I’m not sure that balances out the risk. If you’ve spent any time in the figure skating world, you know that eight hours is nothing. Most kids skate 12 + hours/week.

The doctors in the article said that chronic pain is a red flag and the cure is to take time off from the sport. "If you take a break now and you give your body a chance to recover and heal, then you're going to be healthier and happier later," said Dr. Alison Brooks, an assistant professor in the orthopedics department at the UW medical school. "But if you keep trying to push through pain and injury and never give your body a chance to recover, it's never going to recover. Most people, of course, don't want to hear, 'Part of your treatment is not playing your sport.”

Ice Girl’s not having pain and she’s having plenty of fun. I’m hoping recreational biking and swimming will balance out any one-sport injury risk.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sewing review: Jalie shrug/bolero pattern #2558

I haven’t started again on that dress I ruined. I wanted to, I really did. But I needed a shot of courage before bringing out that Specialty Sportswear pattern again. Those Specialty Sportswear patterns aren’t easy, but that’s for a post when I can show you the finished dress, not the ruined mess.

Over the weekend I sewed a shrug from the Jalie pattern company, pattern #2558. The pattern set me back $10.55, plus shipping from Canada. Shipping wasn’t fast, but I received the pattern about a week and a half after I ordered it. The pattern encompasses everyone from tiny tot to big momma, so you’re getting a value for your Canadian dollar.

The instructions, measurements, and pattern pieces are all printed on one big piece of heavy paper. I don’t recommend unfolding that huge sheet of paper while sewing. Jalie provides a .pdf document on its site with the back-of-the-envelope information as well as sewing instructions and diagrams in both French and English. I was able to take that .pdf printout to the fabric store and buy fabric as well as order online. I kept the printout on my sewing cabinet, too, so I could follow the instructions while I sewed.

The pattern is so easy. The instructions are instructions, not hints. It has just four pieces. The sleeve is sew-around, not set-in. No buttons, no snaps, no invisible-freaking-zippers, and no elastic.

I cut that puppy out on Saturday night, sewed it on Sunday morning, and I’m feeling pretty good again.

Ice Girl loves her dance shrug that I bought locally for $34. That shrug lives in the do-not-destroy area of her closet; it's the one she uses just out on the ice before a competition. The other $34 shrug she bought with her own money, wears constantly, and washes occasionally.

Now she has another shrug to add to the mix and she’ll have one made from black PolarTec fleece, too. That one’s called Christmas.

Bottom line: Yep. I’d buy from Jalie again. The instructions are terrific, the pattern pieces have every possible size, and the finished product looks great. Even better: I feel confident again and I didn’t spend my Sunday cursing and seam ripping.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

new skates: diamonds on the soles of her boots

Check out Ice Girl's glitter-ific new boots! The good folks at Rainbo (Renee and Kevin) were just terrific.

We're new to skating, so I had no idea that the varnishing process takes two weeks or that we could have glitter (left), stickers, or Ice Girl's name under the varnish. Very cool.
Half of figure skating's allure might be in the glitter, flash, bling, and crystals.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Newbie: my own theme song

Some of you might remember my earlier blog post about how figure skating is really a small community and eventually everyone starts to know everyone else. That was the post about theme songs and how you should choose a good theme song for yourself, not the theme song to say, Jaws or Psycho. You can find that post here.

You might have spotted the hubris in that post. I thought my theme song might be If I Had a Million Dollars from the Barenaked Ladies because I'm obsessed with figure skating's costs and I dream of a day when I can just thow money at the ice without a care. A big tree fort in the backyard, complete with a mini-fridge, would be cool, too.

Here's the hubris: my theme song is not one I chose, as I had recommended people do. No, no. My theme song is along the lines of Nowhere to Run by Arnold McCuller or If I only Had a Brain by that scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

Here I am all smart-mouthed, blogging about my experiences with real people. Now real people have found out who I am. That post about Psycho and Jaws isn't nearly as funny when someone I know who knows those two people says to me:

"I know who you are."

Me: deer-in-the-headlights look

Other person: "You're Ice Mom, aren't you."

Me: crap, crap, crap.

Hoo-boy. It's all fun until folks hold you accountable. Well, I'm a big girl and I stand by my advice: try hard to pick your own theme song and make it something you can dance to.

Otherwise, you can be like me and wear a mask everywhere you go. Actually, spy music is pretty cool. Maybe I could have some 007 theme song...

Monday, November 3, 2008

How-to: Ruin a figure skating dress with fabric paint

I ruined a dress on Saturday. This is not the fault of Simply Spray, the spray-on color that I used to ruin the dress ($4.99/can). Nope, I was pretty pleased with the initial results. The paint is pretty and easy to use. In fact, I plan to construct another dress and have another go at it.

What I did right:
I practiced a few times with the paint and I’d recommend that to anyone who wants to try a color fade on a dress (ombre effect). I did my test on an old white T-shirt and a scrap of fabric leftover from cutting.

What I did wrong:
I took the advice of someone who’d used an airbrush on some skirts for our club’s spring show. She took the finished skirts to her husband’s body shop and just airbrushed them there. It was simple, she told me, and the skirts looked great.

My experience wasn’t so simple. Before I sprayed the finished dress, I cut out tagboard to fit underneath the layers so the paint wouldn’t seep onto the leotard or make spots on the back of the dress. This worked pretty well on the front, but the back of the dress had a zipper, so the paint seeped through to the front of the dress and made stains that I couldn’t spray out.

After half an hour, I had to remove the tagboard because the paint was starting to stick to it. Once I removed the tagboard, the paint began to dry darker in some spots than in others, which created an embarrassing Shroud of Turin effect along the panty line.

  1. Spray the fabric before constructing the dress.
  2. Spray the fabric on a very smooth surface. My first test was on a box that I’d opened up. The slight dips in the corrugated cardboard made the fabric dry in stripes, which is cool, but not what I was going for.
  3. Start spraying off the fabric and then spray on the fabric in a continuous spray. Don’t shut off the spray on the fabric, either. You’ll get spots.
  4. Watch it at the end of the can. Don’t try to spray the last bits of paint out of the can or you’ll have spots.
  5. Try to do this outside, weather permitting, but be careful of the wind. (It’s going to be snowing/raining this coming weekend, so I plan to spray in my garage. Don't tell Ice Dad.)
  6. Buy more cans than you think you need, but check the store’s return policy. I used two cans to destroy that dress and one to practice on the shirt and fabric scrap.

I was pretty ticked off Saturday night when I realized I’d ruined that dress. After all, I’d struggled with that darn Specialty Sportswear pattern (more on that later) and I finally had the dress constructed and presentable when I ruined it with my purple stains. *sigh* I didn’t cry. Much.

Ice Girl was very sweet and told me that she had many beautiful dresses to choose from and that she wasn’t disappointed. She handed me tissues. Really, Momma, it’s O.K.

Ice Girl wore the dress I’d made last month to yesterday’s Cranberry Classic competition in Rockford. She skated well and is a pretty sweet kid, too.

Anyway, I have $80 worth of violet crystals, four cans of purple paint, and a JoAnn Fabrics coupon. I get paid on Wednesday. Ice Dad flies to Florida on Thursday and I have a half-day on Friday. Ice Girl has a sleepover and I have the house to myself. That dress is mine.