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.

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.

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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!

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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 Forty: Progress Report

It’s time to check on my resolutions as I wrote them out and published them at the end of December.

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?

Number One. I have published at least one blog post per week, every week this year. I also threw in a few bonus posts here and there, and discovered a new (for me) feature of WordPress that enabled me to write posts in advance and publish them on my own schedule when I was traveling for an extended period over the summer. I also learned how to Publicize my posts via Facebook, and I automated that feature as well when I wasn’t at home to do it manually.

It would take me 49 more years to be as consistent as Cal Ripken, Jr.

At my current rate, it would take me 49 more years to be as consistent as Cal Ripken, Jr.

Number Two. I finished that scarf long ago. It’s starting to get coolish here in Southern Wisconsin, and I’m looking forward to seeing Ginnie wearing it again.

We're trending up, as they say.

We’re trending up, as they say.

Number Three. Here’s the thing, and I’ll be perfectly honest about it. I sat in on a spring-semester calculus class, but wasn’t really getting the mastery on the right schedule. And over summer I was watching kids virtually full-time when I wasn’t traveling with them. I did not study, and I forgot much of what I thought I had learned. I learned a lot about how my brain works (and doesn’t work), but that didn’t get me a grade. Which converted from an “I” for Incomplete to an F. However, all is not yet lost. I do have a certain amount of time in which I can do the work and petition to have the grade changed. That’s the current plan. Now, I do have an overall 3.0 grade point average even with the F on my transcript, but that doesn’t sit right with me because (a) I had a 4.0 grade point average before I started calculus, and (b) I had a decent B with the possibility of an A just before I couldn’t attend class any more last Thanksgiving. So I know what I’m capable of under good circumstances, and I’d like to get as close to that as I can.

What is infinity in dog years?

What is infinity in dog years?

Number Four. I think I’ve already recounted this, but after being taught NUMEROUS TIMES how to do the long-tail cast-on (thank you for your patience, Bonnie!), after some decent time interval I started a project that called for it. Lo and behold, my hands now knew how! It wasn’t a fluke — two weeks ago I cast on for another project and executed the long-tail flawlessly. I now have another reliable tool in my knitting toolbox.

Number Five. There may be breaking news in this category very soon. But for now I’ll have to ask you to respect my embargo.

If telling you about a job means I don't get the job I told you about, it could create a paradox that could destroy the universe.

If telling you about a job means I don’t get the job I told you about, it might create a paradox that could rip apart space-time and destroy the universe.

Number Six. I completely forgot this was something I resolved to do. It’s a good thing I decided to check up on myself, isn’t it? Well, I’m going to need some help with this one. I know how to do the “standard” cast-off and the “loose Russian cast-off” (k2tog, sl st back to left needle, repeat) and I don’t know what others might be good to learn. Knitters, please comment with useful bind-off techniques I should look into and learn by the end of the year. After all, I only have eleven more weeks!

Perhaps I need this book.

Perhaps I need this book.

Number Seven. So far this year my kids have been pretty awesome. The Teen started high school, concentrating on engineering (and also taking German, geometry, and Honors English). He’s involved with a bunch of students who plan to revive a defunct gaming club. Daughter is in the band (playing my old saxophone from high school), just joined the pom squad, will be playing basketball this year, and volunteers at the local library. She was recently elected as the student council representative for the fifth grade. Middle Son won first place for his grade in a spelling bee in the spring, is almost done with a season of youth tackle football, and is the fourth grade’s student council representative. Youngest won second place for his grade in the same spelling bee and also ran for student council representative for second grade. (He didn’t win, but he wrote a terrific speech.) Truly, I don’t think they can get much more awesome. (But I’ll find out within a month’s time after I’ve had conferences with all their teachers.)

Perhaps we need this shirt, too.

Perhaps we need this shirt, too.

Of course, I issued myself the Sheep and Wool Challenge on top of all this. Right now I’m on Row 4 of the only project I’ve cast on to fulfill it, and haven’t done diddly squat on anything else. Huzzah!

Published in: on October 2, 2013 at 8:53 am  Comments (1)  

Week Thirty-Nine: It was the middle one

I found my Doctor!

Marvel Premiere #57, December 1980

Marvel Premiere #57, December 1980

While writing last week’s post and looking for images with which to illustrate it, I came across a set of comic books for sale on eBay. I set up a brand new eBay account (knowing full well that this will create the entrance to a very dangerous rabbit hole, so you don’t have to remind me) and put in a bid. These were the comic books that introduced Americans to The Doctor.

The comic books arrived today, and after the kids were asleep I read through the first one. Nope… nothing familiar.

Marvel Premiere #58, February 1981

Marvel Premiere #58, February 1981

But the second one…. I skimmed it, and flashed on the transformation of the villain Magog from human to demon form. Yes. I remember this. There was also a mini-adventure featuring K-9, and I chuckled as I read through it, knowing this was something I had read before. This was it. THIS WAS IT.

Marvel Premiere #60, June 1981

Marvel Premiere #60, June 1981

Third one? Nope. Never read it before. And interestingly enough, way in the back is an article about the various actors who’ve played the Doctor. It also introduces 29-year-old Peter Davison, best known then as Tristan on the BBC adaptation of James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small,” as the brand-new Fifth Doctor-to-be. This long article was printed in blurred 3-point type, so I’m sure I wouldn’t have read it back then, even if I had had this comic book. But I wonder how reading it might have changed my view of the Doctor; I had watched Davison in that show! There I was, on the cusp of a new Doctor, and he’s one for whom I have yet to watch a single episode. For the want of a comic book….

Oh, and for anyone wondering why the third cover looks so different… the artist of the first two covers found himself in a time crunch when the third issue was at deadline, and the publisher had to call on the artist who regularly drew covers for one of their other titles, “Conan the Barbarian.” But he got the scarf colors right, so I can’t complain.

Knitwise…. do you really want to know?

In my local knitting group, two of us are doing a knitalong of a cardigan that went from Cute Little Project to Annoying Slogalong on the second day. If you knit, take a minute to digest this…. 207 stitches on the needles, worked in stockinette for 7 inches before you do anything else. Yep, 7,452 stitches of stockinette, just in that section. That’s not sleep-inducing at all. I have tried knitting this section by myself in a completely silent room, but I do find I make more progress if I knit on it with other people around to talk with and listen to. By “more progress” I mean “can knit about five rows before my brain starts to melt and I forget, mid-row, how to purl.” But it won’t knit itself… it won’t knit itself… it won’t knit itself…. When I finish it (and I will), it will be the first sweater I have ever made for myself.

The sweater-to-be.

The sweater-to-be.

For the Sheep and Wool Challenge, I have started a project but am temporarily stalled at Row 4. It’s a tricky pattern that needs to be worked in good light, with the benefit of a clear head. For the past week I have not been able to meet those conditions simultaneously. But I am working on it.

Published in: on September 26, 2013 at 9:00 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 Eleven: This Thursday Intentionally Left Blank

Did you miss me yesterday? Sorry, I’m transitioning (temporarily) to Friday posts so that I won’t miss a week when I’m on Spring Break in a couple of weeks with the kidlets.

Someone asked me this week, “So, where are you going for Spring Break?” Of course I answered “OHIO!” with a big fistpump. Even when I was in college in Ohio I took my Spring Breaks in Ohio. And it was usually in the middle of March, so even if you felt springlike, there was no getting around the fact that it was NOT a good time to start your own personal cycling season; the temperatures were usually in the range of 40 to 50°F. If I got any riding done when I was home on break, I usually had a sore throat and a cold by the next week. It… wasn’t exactly a vacation at the beach.

Okay, time for progress reports!

Last Sunday I was enjoying the lack of need to go anywhere since the weather was crappy. I sat on the couch and knitted on my Wingspan shawl until I ran out of yarn near the end of the 8th triangle. Lo and behold, the second skein of yarn for it arrived on Monday afternoon. YESSSSS. It is a different dye lot and looks a bit darker to me, but I really don’t mind or care. I get to keep knitting.

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In the meantime I have pulled out a pair of socks I started knitting last October or so, on yarn that has been languishing in my stash for years. (How many years? Well, I stopped in at Ruhama’s in Milwaukee [all right, really Whitefish Bay] before I saw “Mean Girls” in the theater. Which came out in 2004. That’s a pretty long time for a skein of fine-looking German sock yarn to make up its mind about what it wants to be. And who would have guessed it would actually want to be socks?) They’re intended for someone whose feet I don’t have immediate access to, so I really hope they’re going to fit. Knitting fitted items to spec is not one of my natural gifts, so while I can knit socks, they usually go to someone whose feet happen to be the right size. Locating people whose feet fit my socks is also a gift.

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And…. drum roll…. tomorrow I shall knit the Very Last Piece for the project-which-will-soon-be-unveiled. I cannot tell you how hard it has been this week to only knit one piece per day for this project, with the end so near in sight. There was such a temptation to hole up and crank out the knitting and finish early. I decided to join the resistance and maintain the pace, despite how eager I was to get the whole thing “done.”

In non-knitting news, the kidlets really did a lot of stuff since my last post. Middle Son won a trophy in a spelling bee, Youngest Son earned a ribbon in the same bee and then proceeded to lose his two front teeth over the weekend. Eldest Son went and turned 14, putting a real cramp in my tendency to still think of my inner self as 22. He’s almost taller than I am, and his feet are already bigger than mine (though we can still trade shoes in an emergency). And I went ahead with my valiant weight-loss plan, did two Jillian Michaels workouts in two consecutive days, and completely wrecked myself. I took Thursday off from programmed exercise, and by the end of the day I was able to go both up and down the stairs without screaming involuntarily. I’m calling that a victory and will strive to make progress from there.

Back to knitting news! Due to an unexpectedly favorable alignment of circumstances, I will be able to attend Late Night Knitting tonight for the first time in more than a year. It takes me an hour to drive there (and there might be freezing rain in the early evening), but I can stay until they kick me out at 11pm. Then (sigh) I have to drive homeward for another hour (and there might be snow in the late evening). On Saturday there is a rummage sale/bake sale at my kids’ school (for which I will be baking) from 8 until noon, so I’ll need to be there at least at the beginning of that. Then I think there’s a Pokémon tournament somewhere that needs to be Hung Out At with Eldest Son. Then there will be a Batman movie to watch, Doctor Who to view, and some test knitting for Phase Two of the Ginormous Secret Project. Then…. ah, how I like being busy.

Published in: on March 15, 2013 at 10:13 am  Comments (2)  

Week Ten: Zeno’s shawl

Last week I said that I would probably finish Wingspan before I finished all the parts for my Double Top Secret Massive “Get me the Guinness Book of World Records on the phone, stat!” Ginormous Knitting Project.

Well, things change. Creation is a… dynamic process, shall we say. And for once it’s not because I stalled out on the large project; it’s because I’ve lengthened the small project. When I got to the halfway point on Wingspan, I weighed the remainder of the yarn and found that exactly half of the original skein was left. I was delighted. Everything was going exactly to plan. Well, it was going to plan until I realized that having only half of the yarn left at the halfway point was a Very Bad Thing, as there was more to knit than just the other half of the shawl. To “analogize” for a moment, it’s as if I were building a tool shed and used half of my building materials to construct and attach two walls to each other. Hooray, with the rest of the materials I can finish my shed…. if I don’t need a roof. For Wingspan, you knit these eight wedges, then you knit several rows across the neckline. Then you bind off, which always takes more yarn than just knitting straight across.

Oops.

I didn’t want to stop after seven wedges, as it seemed a little too small to look like a shawl. So. I looked on Ravelry and found there were exactly three other people in the world who had one skein of the same yarn in the same colorway and were willing to sell or trade it. (The dyelots don’t match, but nobody’s perfect.) So. I am currently in negotiations for the procurement of one said skein, which I shall use to knit an extra seven (not eight!) wedges onto the first eight, which should give me plenty of yarn for the neckline and the binding-off. So. I don’t know when said yarn will arrive. When I run out of yarn I will have to set Wingspan aside until the second skein shows up.

The small project gets both larger and slower; its finish line is pushed back indefinitely just as it comes into sight.

But knitting is pretty cool. If you keep knitting, even if it is only a few stitches a day, if you’re bullheaded persistent your project will reach a finish line. It might not be the finish line you originally had in your sights, but a finish is a finish. And some knitters find their finish line by planning something really big and stopping early. Take that, Zeno!

Meanwhile, The Big One glides toward completion as if it were a fresh hockey puck in the wake of a Zamboni. Ten parts to go. I’ll have time to contact the Guinness Book people before Spring Break.

Below the surface, other ideas and plans are emerging and being evaluated. Every day brings some new thoughts to mind. I’m investigating, researching, and contemplating. Who knows what can happen in a year?

Published in: on March 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm  Comments (1)  
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Week Nine: The Ninety-Three Percent

As of today I’ve hit an important milestone on a knitting project I’ve been working on for a few years now. For various reasons I am not ready to reveal its nature in this space (but those of you who know me from “another space” will be able to figure it out pretty quickly), but I can say that I now have just 15 units left to knit before I assemble the whole thing. That puts the project at 93 percent complete, though in truth after I have those other 15 parts knitted I will call it no more than 99 percent until every last end is woven in. And because even the pre-assembly work is going to take some time, I can’t even give you an estimate as to when this project will be completed, photographed, and fully shared. Just know that I am very happy that my daily work, which I’ve been referring to as “quota knitting,” is getting me steadily closer to a huge creative goal.

MathWarehouse-pie

But trust me. When I do the reveal, you won’t miss it! (You may question my sanity, but you won’t miss it.)

Most of you, when you see it, will want to ask me one question. The answer to that question will be “yes.”

I’ve also been chugging away on the Wingspan shawl and really should take another picture now that I’ve finished 5 of the 8 wedges that make it up. I don’t know if it’s the merino sock yarn, or the Addi Turbo needles, or a combination of factors, but I find it delightful to knit on it and shall be sad when I’ve finished it. But finishing it will allow me to take care of some other projects that also need my attention. Such as socks made from sock yarn. (What a concept!)

This week has been busy with healing myself body and soul, shoveling show out of the way, and driving kids to, fro, and back again as they all took turns being under the weather in various ways (dental work, low-grade fevers, sniffles & sneezes, and good old-fashioned hooky-playing). One of the best things I did was go back to campus Thursday morning and reapply myself to my calculus book. I’m having to start almost from scratch with the math, but today I got to a place where I am doing well and seem to have a deeper understanding of the type of problems I’m solving. We’ll see. Between the weather and everyone’s health it’s been tough to get down there. Now that we’re healthier I am renewing my commitment to finishing the course. My math-related plans after that point are still nebulous, but slowly forming.

My progress on my other resolutions has been somewhat hampered by the knitting done on these two garter-stitch projects, but there is a small project I had intended to cast on for on Valentine’s Day that calls for a new type of cast-on. So as soon as one of these projects is complete (most likely Wingspan), I will try it out and perhaps be able to check off one more completed resolution.

And finally… it’s finally MARCH! My already-teenage son will turn 14, my sister will be performing at SXSW in Austin (on his birthday!), we will have Spring Break, and DOCTOR WHO will be back on television!

DW-Artwork-NEW

Published in: on March 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment