Thoughtful

In 2014 I actually did a lot of knitting. It’s hard to tell this because I didn’t spend much time on Ravelry fussing with my queue, creating new project files, updating old projects, or taking and uploading digital photos of my projects at each stage of progress. (Actually, I didn’t spend much time on Ravelry doing anything.) But I always had a project to take to Knit Night, and things slowly got done.

I finished the Drunken Octopus Sweater.

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I finished Citron.

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I finished Traveling Woman.

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I finished a pair of socks.

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I also knitted slippers for my appreciative grandmother, squares for a group-project blanket, and probably a few other things for people who really didn’t care much one way or the other.

In 2015 I’m still looking at my pile of WIPs (Works in Progress) with an eye to finishing them before I start any new projects of substance. A few of these WIPs are small and need just a bit of focused attention (green wool slippers) to move them to the “finished” column. Some of them are big and tedious (Scrabble blanket) and will take many months to properly complete. Others are ambitious and filled with complex lace or cable patterns, and got stalled out early.

That being said, a baby was recently born on the other side of the country, and in a fit of love and familial compassion I whipped up a pair of booties for him and even threaded them with blue organza ribbon. And then I thought up a simple baby blanket scheme (I wouldn’t call it a pattern, but I suppose you could if you wanted to) and cast on and started knitting like the wind. The baby’s already been born, you know. You have to knit more quickly after the baby’s been born, or you might as well forget the nursery accessories and start planning a size 10 Wallaby pullover.

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I’m finding now that I’m taking more time to think about which project I want to finish next, and why. I need to think about why I’m knitting it, and for whom I’m making it (if it’s not for myself). I need to think about when and where I’ll be able to work on it. Some of these projects will need some serious recon time before I might be able to take them to a public place to work on them.

This type of thoughtfulness seems to be spilling over into other areas of my life. I’m more thoughtful and deliberate about how I spend my limited time at home, what I wear to work, how I want to accomplish a task, and how I interact with friends and acquaintances. I don’t feel the need (or perceive the value) of rushing through things as quickly as possible. It’s all right, and sometimes better, to reply with “no,” or “wait,” or “let me think about it,” or “I’m not sure, but probably not.”

Quick reactions often lead to more crises for me — I don’t have the time to fully understand my situation, realize my options, or decide upon the optimal solution. It’s good to be able to slow things down when I can, to have some space around the decision point. It gives me more time to take care, to make a better choice, to think more than one move ahead. (It might even aid my chess game.)

One of the things I’ve been thinking about is my writing. I didn’t do much blogging last year, but I did start a journal. I reviewed a movie on another blog. And I wrote a lot of song lyrics. I lost count, but there were a few dozen. Most were shared with just one or two trusted friends, but some were “published” only for my own sight as I still need time to deal with both the wording and the emotional message being expressed. I intend to continue the journal-keeping, and I also intend to return to this blog with more frequency, whether I’m writing about my knitting projects or some other topic.

Resolutions are fun to make (remember my own Sheep and Wool Challenge? yikes), and intentions are just intentions until they’re backed up with action. One of last year’s epiphanies was that, to be blunt, nobody is interested in what I want to do. But if I actually do something, some people might be interested in what I did. Most people won’t be interested, and that’s fine. But I still need to do the things, for my own varied reasons. I’ll share some of the things I do. If you are interested, or appreciative, or appalled, or intrigued, give me your feedback. And please feel free to share with me the things you’ve decided to do.

Starting Over

This weekend I cast on for a shawl. I know what you’re saying: “Wait a minute! She’s finally going to write about knitting in a knitting blog?”

This shawl is worth writing about because I’m actually re-knitting it. Not making a second one from the same pattern; re-knitting the same shawl with the same yarn. A few years ago, I cast on for this shawl. (Should I look up the exact date? You really want me to look up the exact date? Really? FINE. I will go to Ravelry and be right back.)

On April 6, 2012 I cast on for this shawl. (Are you happy now?) I had wanted to knit this pattern, Traveling Woman, for some time and I had just the yarn to make it with, an Araucania fingering weight wool in tonal teal. It’s not an overly complicated pattern really — it goes from fiddly to tedious to Pay Attention To Me — but I was working other projects at the time, and from my project notes on Ravelry I can see that I made my fair share of mistakes. Because of the pattern repeats in the lace sections, though, I could usually tell when I’d goofed up somewhere, and I could un-knit those stitches, give my knitting a little more attention, and re-knit the section.

This worked until I was (if I recall correctly) about two rows from The End, Completely Done, Finito!, and Off The Needles. Somewhere in that row I made a fatal mistake. (I was probably tired and knitting with my eyes closed. This doesn’t work very well, as you can imagine, and it’s a particularly bad technique to use with lace.) It was probably a simple mistake because I don’t have enough technique to make complex mistakes. What made it fatal is that I couldn’t determine how I’d made the mistake. That meant that every time I tried to undo it, I was actually making things much, much worse.

At last I realized the truth — I couldn’t go forward because I couldn’t fix the mistake, and I couldn’t go backward because I couldn’t fix the fix to the mistake. So I did what any good intermediate knitter would do. Somewhere around the end of August I sent the whole project to time out. And because I was so frustrated with it (really, with myself) I actually sent it to that special farm Up Nort where old dogs go to romp forever in sun-bathed grassy fields. I told it that it wasn’t its fault (I lied) and that my friend Brandy would take very good care of it and maybe fix it (I lied), and I sent it packing.

On January 1, 2013, I sent a text and asked Brandy to take this project off the needles, pull it apart completely, and wind the yarn back up into a ball. She texted back: “Are you sure?” (Actually, there may have been a 24-hour waiting period imposed. Brandy really wanted to make sure this wasn’t an impulse decision.)

I was sure. A few months later it came back in a box as a humungous ball of yarn.

I wanted to do things differently this time. I wanted to give the shawl more time and attention. I wanted to be monogamous with it. (Knitters, you may laugh heartily now.)

So this weekend I cast on for a Traveling Woman shawl. It’s the only thing I’m working on right now. It’s coming along just fine, so far.

And it’s actually part of a very, very small knitalong. Brandy is making one, too.

This particular shawl is knitted starting from the center back.

This particular shawl is knitted starting from the center back.

 

My, how it's grown! This is after 38 rows. I start the lace charts after 68 rows of...this.

My, how it’s grown! This is after 38 rows. I start the lace charts after 68 rows of…this.

 

Published in: on October 20, 2014 at 11:13 pm  Comments (2)  

Imaginary Lover

One of the most exciting parts of falling in love is that feeling of being chosen. You’ve gotten the seal of approval from an Other who finds you smart, funny, attractive, and generally Worth Spending Time With. An Other who thinks your crazy plans are cool (and not so crazy). And you get double bonus points if they often finish your sentences and seem to finish your thoughts. You haven’t just found someone who likes you — you’ve found another of your kind, someone who loves you, appreciates you, and “gets” you without having to be told how to do it. We enjoy the sameness, the recognition.

Wouldn't they make a great couple?

Wouldn’t they make a great couple?

Online dating sites are packed with the profiles of the hopeful ones who think, “Pick me! This is me in my profile. Find me interesting, find me worthwhile. CHOOSE ME.” We want to be discovered, understood, valued, and selected. When someone chooses us, we can feel complete. Authentic. Motivated. Inspired. Confident.

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It feels good to be chosen by the right person. What if that right person were yourself? What if, instead of doing anything to win someone else’s approval, you did everything to value yourself, chase your own dreams, and equip yourself with the tools to achieve them?

This would be tough to do. Think for a moment about what it would mean to be emotionally self-sufficient and intellectually self-confident. The person who doesn’t need anyone else is the same person that “society” will marginalize at its first opportunity. If you didn’t actually need anyone else’s approval, support, or even commiseration, would you feel lonely? What could build and sustain your self-confidence to keep it (and you) happily humming along for the rest of your life without companionship? And if/when that little engine breaks down, who fixes it and how?

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I’m guessing you would need to create and maintain your own support system. You’d need to be your own best friend, and always treat yourself with kindness. This would also be tough to do, especially in a society that treats self-confidence as cockiness and egotism, but then again, if you’ve already been ostracized, do you care what society mutters behind your back?

Could you surround yourself with an invisible cocoon of support? Could you walk into a room, any room, with the confidence of someone who had just received a kiss and a bouquet of flowers? Could you, without enabling schizophrenic tendencies, be there for yourself and provide yourself your own comfort when you ran into obstacles, got sick, or just generally felt that you weren’t at your best?

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Personally, I’m getting tired just thinking about all the effort that would take. But it may well be a path on which I find myself. It’s one thing to perceive myself as witty, clever, and generally fun to be around (and sometimes the homemade bread comes out of the oven looking pretty nice, too), but if nobody else agrees with me enough to take a chance on walking a little closer to me and seeing if things work out, then I need to walk on regardless.

I’m not sad, and I’m not completely alone. Of course I have my children and my family and my friends. I have cyberfriends and blog-readers and friendly acquaintances and fellow kniterati. But sometimes I’d just like that have that “someone more” in my life again, even if logic continues to not-so-gently remind me that it’s something I’m not likely to get. So, for now, I’ll just pretend that I already do. I don’t have to bruise myself in the dating websites or hang out in bars or do whatever it is that people do when they’re hunting for love. I’ll just accept the love and care that are already in the air like wifi, and keep on walking forward.

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Published in: on July 16, 2014 at 9:16 pm  Comments (1)  

If I Could Turn Back Time

This week I got all the way to this

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and turned it into this.

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When I took it off the needles I was also taking a load off my shoulders. The knitting was putting me to sleep. The thought of continuing on for two whole skeins to make yet another wool blend scarf nobody had asked for was just oppressive. I found out what the mystery pattern looked like, and that’s all I wanted to know anyway. I slid the project off the needle, pulled it all out, and wound it back over the skein and put the yarn back in the stash. It will be something else someday. I don’t know what; I don’t know when. Right now that’s none of my concern.

Doing something you’re good at and enjoy shouldn’t feel like you’ve been sentenced to the salt mines. If it’s boring you or annoying you, you can undo it and do something else. The yarn doesn’t really care. It probably wanted to be something else anyway. Knitting is one of those amazing activities that allows you to do a tiny thing over and over and over and end up with something tangible to show for it at the end (unlike, say, trying to clean a house that is full of children). It also lets you go back in time a bit to fix your mistakes (which would be handy with parenting a house full of children). And sometimes, moving your marker all the way back to GO and forfeiting your $200 is exactly what you need to do.

What I’m knitting this week:

This week I picked up a couple of projects that I set down some time ago. The first project was a pair of slippers everyone thought I was knitting so quickly. Well, I was… until I stopped. Funny how that works. I wasn’t quite sure how to do the next step in the pattern, so I put it all away for a while. Then my feet got ice cold and I thought, “How hard would that next step be to learn anyway?” Turns out it wasn’t hard at all. I now have one slipper done except for two seams and some weaving-in, and I’m nearly halfway done with the second slipper. That was Monday morning.

Top: woolen canoe. Bottom: Almost a slipper.

Top: Woolen canoe.
Bottom: Almost a slipper.

On Tuesday night I went to my knitting group and resumed work on the Drunken Octopus Sweater. I got the stitches all picked up for the ribbed collar band, and right now I’m knitting away on that section. When it’s done there is a bunch of seaming to do, and then it will look like a proper sweater while I pick up and knit the bottom edge and add ribbing to it. And add the button bands. And add buttons. It will be so satisfying to get this done, particularly because my office is cold in the morning. (But my house is cold at night. Do I really have to knit another one?)

Of course, pride goeth immediately before rows one has to rip back. I was so thrilled to be working on the sweater again that after a mere glance at the pattern, I was cranking out the two inches of collar I thought I needed. But after a while I started thinking, Shouldn’t there be a purl row for turning this collar? It’s going to be awfully bulky. When I had knitted for two inches I finally read the pattern. Knit for ONE inch, purl one row, switch to smaller needles, knit for one more inch. Ouch. Well, there was no way around that one, so I sat and un-knitted each stitch of 1×1 ribbing for six rows of 71 stitches each before being able to move forward properly. Yeahhhhh, that wasn’t much fun. Next time, I’ll read the pattern, or at least try to look at it for more than a microsecond.

Almost collared.

Almost collared.

I have knitted sweaters before, three of them. Two were so simple that you shouldn’t really think of them as sweaters, but as “children’s tops made with yarn.” The third sweater was Tyrone. If you’ve been reading this blog so long that you remember Tyrone, you understand why I don’t have anything else to say about it. (If you’ve only joined us recently, Dear Reader, search the blog for “Tyrone.” And be kind.) This project feels like a real sweater, and it’s a sweater for me. And it’s supposed to be a certain size. I don’t make many of those kinds of projects. Scarves, blankets, and hats are pretty forgiving, and you can almost always find someone with feet that fit the socks you just finished. This is an Intentional, Sized Thing. We’ll see how all that works out.

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 9:01 am  Comments (4)  

Week Fifty-Two: All Good Things

This week WordPress sent me a little “happy anniversary” notice. It was seven years ago when I registered my first blog with them — the one you’re reading now. I’ve started several other blogs since then, to focus on different fringe interests, but this is the blog that keeps going and growing, and gradually absorbing the other topics back into itself. I wonder why December 23 was the special day, when I had a six-month-old baby Tommy and three older children to take care of. It was probably time to switch to a blog from my e-mail newsletter, Wisconsin Crafter, because it was the end of a year.  I like starting new things on January 1, on Sundays or Mondays, or on the first day of a month. Launching a new initiative on, say, May 17 just wouldn’t make sense to me. How would I ever keep track of it?

But since WordPress is keeping track of it for me, well, happy anniversary to me! Hallmark’s website tells me that the traditional gifts for a seventh anniversary are wool or copper. (The modern gift is a desk set. I do have an antique desk at which I sit in front of my modern computer and write, and I do have a desk set somewhere; maybe I’ll tidy it up and use it.) I think I have bought enough wool for myself that I could knit up a little something special just for me. Copper is a bit trickier. Jewelry seems like an obvious path to take, but I don’t have pierced ears and I don’t wear rings, watches, or necklaces. I do have a few friends who make custom jewelry, and maybe they can give me some suggestions for some sort of commemorative item. A copper pen? A little hand-hammered copper bowl? I’m not sure.

Scratch that; I just found and ordered a hank of wool/silk laceweight yarn in a gorgeous tonal copper colorway. As my son James would say, “Achievement get!”

Well, now, since I’m closing out the year, I’d better be honest and take one last look at those resolutions I published 52 weeks ago.

Thusly, I resolve that, in 2013 (!!!) I shall:

  1. Blog on Chocolate Sheep again, and regularly. Dare I say, weekly?
  2. Finish the Doctor Who scarf I’m knitting for my friend Ginnie.
  3. Complete my calculus class.
  4. Learn one new cast-on.
  5. Find a Most Excellent Job in my chosen field of technical and scientific editing.
  6. Learn one new cast-off.
  7. Help my kids be awesome.

Seven looks like a good number, don’t you think?

I think I can honestly say I accomplished numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7. Number 6 just didn’t get much attention, and Number 3, as mentioned in greater detail a few weeks ago, was a spectacular failure. Overall, though, I think I did pretty well. The weekly blogging was sometimes a challenge, but I did learn how to use the Schedule function for posts so that I could publish pre-written ones when I was traveling. After a while I got used to the rhythm of writing what was essentially a weekly column, and I found I could usually produce something mildly entertaining by Thursday (sometimes Friday).

So, do I have any new and impressive resolutions ready for 2014?

No… not really. I still have a lot of unfinished business around here. I would like to become more monogamous with my knitting, and finish the really large projects I’ve been working on for the last couple of years. I’d like to start quilting again and make some more durable and functional quilts that the kids and I can use. I’d like to deepen my friendships. I’d like to be braver. I’d like to be a better cook. I’d like to study more math and physics. And most of all, I’d like to keep writing. I can’t (and won’t) promise that I will keep to a regular weekly schedule for my posts here, but it’s quite possible that I’ve picked up a very good habit and that’s when the writing will appear.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good year for me. See you on the other side!

Week Forty-Eight: Thank you

Thank you.

Thank you for reading.

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Thank you for commenting.

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Thank you for visiting my blog before I have something new published, because you know it’s almost time.

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Thank you for sharing the link to my blog.

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Thank you for clicking “Like” after a post that you liked.

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Thank you for responding to my surveys and questions.

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Thank you for following my news feed.

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Thank you for hanging out in this space, my little corner of the Internet.

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Thank you for believing that I could accomplish all my crazy resolutions.

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Thank you for trusting that every week really would bring a new blog post.

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Thank you for tolerating such a wide range of writing: knitting play-by-plays, philosophical musings, weather reports, “Hamlet” commentary, nerdy math posts, room makeovers, photo essays, and even a sonnet.

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Thank you for scrolling down.

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Thank you for laughing at the silly pictures I find and embed.

End of Internet

Thank you for coming back.

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Thank you for sharing your feedback.

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Thank you for encouraging me.

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Thank you, on Thanksgiving Day and every day.

Published in: on November 28, 2013 at 9:00 am  Comments (2)  

Week Forty-Six: Flink, Flank, Flunk

As I am on my way towards keeping my resolution of writing a blog post every week this year, I’m up against the reality that one of my resolutions is going to be impossible to achieve.

For those of you who need to update your scorecards, here they are:

  1. Blog on Chocolate Sheep again, and regularly. Dare I say, weekly? IN PROGRESS.
  2. Finish the Doctor Who scarf I’m knitting for my friend Ginnie. COMPLETED!
  3. Complete my calculus class.
  4. Learn one new cast-on. COMPLETED!
  5. Find a Most Excellent Job in my chosen field of technical and scientific editing. COMPLETED!
  6. Learn one new cast-off.
  7. Help my kids be awesome. IN PROGRESS.

I don’t know that I’ve actually talked here about Resolution 5. At the risk of self-repetition, I can tell you that it took me a month to get hired, but I’m working for the Social Work Department at UW-Whitewater. In the short term I’m helping their department secretary dig herself out from her own workload, and in the long run I’m assisting with the program’s re-accreditation process. In the middle range, I’m updating, revising, and possibly rewriting some pretty large and important departmental documents. Welcome to technical writing and large-scale project management. All my experience with photocopiers, proofreading, manuscript revision, and pre-print planning is finally paying off!

hooray

Resolution 7 got an update today as the three younger kids brought home the best report cards of their lives. Also, the two oldest of the three youngest (got that?) took the Iowa Basic Skills Test this year. The school average was a score in the 74th percentile; one child landed in the 83rd percentile, and the other in the 93rd percentile. They would like to attribute this to the scientifically verified powers of concentration derived from the usually-illegal mint gum they were permitted to chew on testing days. I just think they’re awesome whether or not they chew the gum as they take tests.

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And Resolution 6? I don’t have a problem with Resolution 6. I can cast off a new way any time I want to. (I just have to look up a method, and practice it. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off might be a good candidate.)

But Resolution 3, she is toast. My poor Calculus I grade, recorded as an “I” for Incomplete at the end of Fall 12, has, over the slow but insistent march of time, converted itself to an “F” for Fail. This would be more galling if my priorities had not changed so drastically… and if my current employment status permitted me to enroll in another section of it so the new grade could overwrite the old. Frankly, I don’t have time to tackle Calculus I again on top of a new job that keeps me busy all day, and from 1 to 4 kids who keep me busy all the rest of my waking hours. And as I’m not taking physics right now, any calculus I would learn has almost no immediate application. It’s true that calculus-related concepts now pop up in my head from time to time. But there are so many things going on in my life right now that are more urgent than my desire to learn the calculus. I still want to learn it someday — and the satisfaction at having truly learned it will be more important to me than any grade on my transcript.

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This hasn’t stopped me from thinking up a Major Project or two for next year…I’m nothing without a Big Plan. But I’ll discuss those next year, and most likely over at my Mom Scientist blog. For here and for now, I have writing and knitting to do. I’m still the same person with goals and dreams… even if my transcript makes it look as if I flunked Calculus I.

Published in: on November 15, 2013 at 8:00 am  Comments (1)  

Week Thirty-Seven: The Sheep and Wool Challenge

Last weekend I attended my seventh consecutive Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. Events at my first Sheep and Wool Festival (specifically, the utter lack of anything to do after 5pm on Saturday) inspired me to create an event that is now known as Unwind; I attended my sixth Unwind on Saturday night.

I love the Festival, and I’m proud of Unwind, but this year as I explored the vendor barns and saw what so many fiber crafters had to offer (fiber animals, finer, yarn, patterns, books, artwork, jewelry, pottery, baskets, clothing, wheels, spindles, needles, and more new items every year), I started to feel uncomfortable and melancholy. It didn’t take long to identify the source of this discomfort.

As I walked down each aisle I recognized vendors from whom I had purchased items in the past — items I had not yet used, even though they had been procured with the best of intentions. I had bought fiber from one vendor which I have not spun; yarn from another that I have not knitted; books from yet another that I have not read. I felt guilty, sad, and — somehow — a failure. I had done nothing with the spoils of previous festivals — which didn’t leave me feeling especially festive.

It was time to do something about it.

I have made a new resolution, one that will overlap the 2013 resolutions with which I’ve been grappling (with overall success, the Calculus of Damocles notwithstanding).

Henceforth it is resolved that, prior to the commencement of the 2014 Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, I shall have completed all projects using materials purchased at previous Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festivals, inclusive of the years 2007-2013.

Well, full completion of all materials might be straying into “unreasonable” territory. We’re talking about at least 16 ounces of fiber to spin, and I have neither wheel nor spindle in my possession right now. And I’ve forgotten how to spin. We’re talking about 3,390 yards of yarn to knit. And we’re talking about 514 pages of books to read. Even my short-time readers will note that I do have a current project or two I really should finish (the Ravelry count is over 16, but who’s really counting?) ere I set myself another massive goal and decide which motivation is more compelling, that of carrot or stick.

It’s one thing to decide that you should do something, and quite another to decide, before you’ve even lifted a finger to take action, that you shall probably fail. I won’t let doubts derail me. Who am I to presume what I cannot do? I’ll only know what I can do after I’ve done it. It’s a challenge I issue to myself. Meeting it is its own reward, and there is no punishment for failure.

That being said, it is a mighty challenge. But I’ll take pictures as I go, and try to keep my progress entertaining for any spectators.

I have three types of fiber to spin, which I know as Camel, Wookie, and Jacob. I have nine yarns to knit up: mohair, Rose Tyler, River Song, Killer Rabbit, Shetland, green heather, blue heather, the Sun Valley mini skeins, and natural colored sock yarn. And I have two books to read: Hit By a Farm, and Sheepish.

Rose Tyler.

Rose Tyler.

River Song.

River Song.

Killer Rabbit.

Killer Rabbit.

Green heather.

Green heather.

Blue heather.

Blue heather.

Handpainted Shetland.

Handpainted Shetland.

Fourteen items to check off in a year.

I hope this is all there is, but I fear that it is not. I’d better get a head start on the rest of it. As I read somewhere in the last week, “If you need to be in two places at the same time, you had better move quickly.”

As long as nobody expects anything hand knitted for Christmas, this should all work out just fine.

(Oh, crap.)

Week Thirty-Two: Best Spam Ever! and a post

If you’re going to be a spammer, you really shouldn’t carry all your spam in one basket. Eventually, governments will trace your IP address and shut you down, so you need to work for multiple clients if you really want to make your living at this kind of “work.”

That being said, I’ve never seen a spam message quite like this one. I’ve deleted the links and added line breaks between topics, but left the rest of the text as it is. This is one message.

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If this be the case you will need to be treated by different medications. In order to prevent a reinfection in case you get bitten by an infected mosquito again, you should apply a mosquito repellant, wear long sleeved shirts and long pants especially at dusk when these mosquitoes are most active and you should sleep under a mosquito net.

Basketball players, football players and even tennis players wear compression shorts.

Best St Patricks Day T [link deleted] It looks like a pill at that capacity, not all bloated out like on the internet photos.

Ulster Call On Marshall And Wannenburg

No matter what the season, the Fox Sports Store has got you covered with the newest Buccaneers Apparel, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sweatshirts and items that no true football fans should be without. No portion of this site may be reproduced or duplicated without the express permission of Fanatics Retail Group. [link deleted]

They’ve owned the home for 18 years, but it was originally built for the Abel family (of margarine fame) who owned a large Horace Massey house next door on vast grounds. Tole, to design them a superior quality retirement home. [link deleted] And she did, following through with slim peacoats, narrow trousers, cream silk buttonedup blouses and neat skirts, with almost nothing above the knee (a first sight of the new midi length that has gained strength ever since).

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Well. I just had to share that. But I have been up to a thing or two besides appreciating the Akismet software that fills my WordPress spam bucket with such interesting posts. I have been grinding along (with love, mind you) on the giftknit. It is…wider than I had anticipated…so much so that when I calculated my yarn needs based on its width proportional to what it should be, I discovered that I needed to purchase six more skeins of this yarn. Which would not be a problem, really, but when I got home from my travels and checked at the places where I’d originally purchased the yarn, one store had discontinued it and the other store had a new dyelot in stock, and only three skeins of it anyway. I checked on Ravelry, and while many people have stashed this yarn in this particular colorway, NOT ONE PERSON IN THE WORLD is willing to sell it. (Wait until they try knitting with it. They might change their minds.) I would panic about this, but because I’m not even close to half-done with the project, my first duty is to knit like the wind, Bullseye, and worry about the yardage when I have to worry about it.

Right now I am not working on any other knitting projects even though I am sorely tempted. But I must finish this giftknit by a deadline I’m not aware of, so that means I need to just keep at it and do my best. Allons-y!

Published in: on August 8, 2013 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Week Twenty-Six: We Shall Never Speak of This Again

I started this blog somewhere around 2006. We were innocent knitbloggers then. We posted pictures of our kids and used their real names, talked about where we lived and when we were going on vacation, and basically shared all kinds of details about our lives. That changed for me the day I was checking my statistics page and noticed that people were using my firstborn son’s full name as the search term for finding my blog. All right, Search Engine Optimization is one thing, but there are very few people who are on a “need to know” basis for my firstborn’s middle name. At that point I removed a lot of kidly photos from my blog, and tried to share personal information more thoughtfully.

These days I spend quite a lot of time on Facebook, and I wince at the ways people leave themselves bare and vulnerable. They announce with great fanfare when they will be away from home for extended periods of time. They post pictures of their children for all the Public to see. They advertise their preferred bedroom activities in one post, then complain about their stalking ex in another. They complain about their jobs, then complain that they’ve been “let go.” They issue vague, passive-aggressive status reports so that cyberfriends will rush to their emotional rescue. It’s tough stuff to watch, and it makes me that much more aware of any details I post about my own life.

That being said, I marked a very personal milestone last week, and I thought it needed to be mentioned — once and only once. Last week I was divorced. Now, I have been married before, and counting from the date of my first wedding, I have spent 80 percent of the time from then to now in a married state. But I am single now and intend to stay that way.

It’s been a long time since I last called myself single. I’m finding that no matter how much time I think I need to have in order to understand myself, I’m underestimating. (Sheesh. I have a lot of me to understand. No wonder I’m hard to live with.) I also have children to co-parent for the rest of my life. Because they are important to me, and their mental and emotional health is important to me, my blog is not going to be a space where you will see me bash an ex, any ex. Life is tough enough to handle without making it hard on other people with open wounds, petty jealousy, and juvenile revenge fantasies. I may struggle sometimes, but I’m doing my best to be decent to everyone in this situation, including myself. I trust that if I hold myself to that standard, others may eventually reciprocate. (Sadly, I have some prior experience with this type of thing.) But even if they don’t… I won’t regret walking the high road.

Now it’s time to move on. Want to see an artsy shot of the geeked-up Tardisvan?

oooo-WEEEE-oooo.....

oooo-WEEEE-oooo…..

In the last week I’ve driven another thousand miles, attended a family reunion, finished a pair of socks, knitted one slipper for my grandmother, grilled hamburgers (and portabella caps), cleaned and reorganized my rental house’s laundry room (well, I’m almost done), and maybe done another thing or two here and there.

Redskin, I mean, Redhawk hockey socks!

Redskin, I mean, Redhawk hockey socks!

This weekend I have a big plan: to support my knitting friend Bonnie Stedman Dahnert. She’s the honorary chairperson for — oh, heck, read all about it here. Come back when you’re done, and I’ll put the rest in my own words.

I started our local knitting group, but Bonnie is our rock. She seems to know everyone in the county, know what to do on every occasion, and know how to teach any knitting technique you need to learn. She has taught some people to knit, and others how to crochet, and others how to spin. She has given advice, yarn, driving directions, restaurant reviews, prayers, and compassion to everyone who needed them. We half-joke that whenever we don’t know what to do, we call Bonnie. When my youngest son had a stitches-requiring accident last summer and my husband was away, I instinctively called Bonnie and she immediately said “bring the kids here.” She watched my other kids until after midnight, when Tommy finally had his stitches in.

In return we have shared her joys and tried our feeble best to help bear her own fears and sorrows. I don’t know if the newspaper article I linked to fully describes the anxiety our group felt when we realized the toll this second round of chemotherapy was taking on her, and how close we came to losing her. The CaringBridge site that her daughter Brigitta set up for her allowed us a glimpse into the minute-by-minute fight that she gave this second round of cancer. I do know that “she responded well to the treatment” is not the most accurate description of Bonnie’s fall and winter of 2012.

So, Saturday. I’ll be there for her as leads the lap of cancer survivors around the track, and as she speaks to the crowd. This morning at knitting-group she gave us pink-ribbon buttons that say, “No one fights alone!” And she’s right. We all have to fight for each other. It’s a bumpy ride, this short life, and we need to spend our time making it easier for each other.