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.

Travelling Woman

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.

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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 Forty-Four: Knitting a drunken octopus

A few months ago, a little knitting magazine came out. Now, I buy only one knitting magazine, and I try to always get the current issue (though I think I’m an issue behind right now), look through it carefully, and then file it on the appropriate shelf with its kin. And when I think about it, I don’t believe I have ever actually knitted up a single pattern from the pages of this title, even though I must have four or five years’ worth of issues. Someday I shall, and on that fine day all the patterns will be ready for me.

This magazine was a different title — one I don’t usually look at. But someone in our knitting group had gotten it, and they passed it around (as knitters are wont to do), and… there was this sweater.

I wasn’t the only one who noticed it. At one point, about four of us were talking about ordering special yarn and casting on together. But in the end, just Bonnie and I took the plunge. I got a quick head start, but (as I had anticipated) she soon caught up and passed me. What can I say? She’s a much more experienced knitter, and she’s quick. And it ended up being much to my benefit, as she discovered several errors and confusions in the pattern and was able to straighten each one out for me by the time I got to the next checkpoint.

The sweater is mostly plain knitting, separated by occasional rows of almost incomprehensible instructions. But the most interesting thing about it? It’s knitted sideways, from the cuff of one sleeve to the cuff of the other. This was something new for both of us.

So, you start with the cuff of the left sleeve.

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Then you work the increases for the arm. And you work and you work and you work….

Then, one day, you add dozens of stitches to each side, and BAM! You’re knitting the front, shoulder, and back sections of a cardigan. For seven inches. Across 207 stitches. I wouldn’t personally describe this section as tedious… it’s more like cleaning a cliff face with an old toothbrush as you ascend.

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Then you put the “back” stitches on a holder (or another needle, or a piece of scrap yarn) and you knit up the front panel of the cardigan. Oooh, eyelets again!

Then you put the “front” stitches on a holder (or another needle, or a piece of scrap yarn) and you knit and knit and knit across the back. No eyelets here. Just 104 stitches across, all stockinette. Not tedious at all.

It’s somewhere in this section that absolutely nobody can tell what you’re knitting by looking at it, even (especially!) if you lay it out on the floor in the way that you’ve made it. Even a generous cable needle isn’t long enough to stretch out the work in progress, so the ends tend to curl up. The big flat sections are hard to keep flat without pinning them down, and at this point we’re nowhere close to the pinning-down stage. So what you have is a lopsided wooly mass with possibly two working needles in it at different sections.

It might look...something like this.

It might look…something like this.

So THEN you do something crazy…. you pick up a crochet hook and a totally different yarn, and you chain up at least 87 stitches so you can create a provisional cast-on. Basically that means that you are creating an edge you can knit from later in the opposite direction, after you pull the new yarn out of your stitches as if you’re pulling the magic string from the top of a big bag of dog food. But for now, you’re knitting the right-hand front panel of the cardigan, so you get to your thrilling eyelet rows rather quickly.

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And THEN you do something even crazier. One fine day, after you’ve done your careful increases and gotten up to 103 stitches on the little front panel, you purl across them and then pick up the back of the sweater and start purling across those stitches too! You’re back up to 207 stitches, so guess what? You have just seven inches of plain knitting to go before you cast off dozens of stitches on each side and descend slowly to the right cuff.

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Easy peasy.

Oh yeah, I do have to pick up those front stitches and knit the button bands and create the buttonholes and sew on the buttons and knit ribbing on the bottom and sew up the side seams. Pshaw. In my mind, I almost have a sweater.

Published in: on October 31, 2013 at 9:00 am  Comments (3)  

Week Twenty-Seven: Kicking the Bucket

2007’s “The Bucket List” is another one of those Movies I Haven’t Seen (shhh), but everyone is familiar with the concept of a bucket list. Mine has music on it. Sure, I’d like to travel (Canada, Ireland, England, Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan), but seeing bands live in concert is more likely.

My Bucket List of Performers
Barenaked Ladies
Barry Manilow
Those Darn Accordions*
Weird Al Yankovic

umm…can’t think of anybody else right now. If I saw a living legend such as Paul McCartney or Paul Simon or Eric Clapton live I might just explode, so gods like that aren’t even on the wishlist. Keep in mind that I have already been fortunate enough to have seen Don Henley (and Susanna Hoffs!), Pink Floyd, Jackson Browne, Koko Taylor, Bill Cosby, a Cinematic Titanic show on Joel Hodgson’s birthday, They Might Be Giants (twice), and Rush (multiple times). And just writing a letter of appreciation to Tom Lehrer is a bucket list item I need to accomplish. Oh, yeah, I would like to see Lydia Loveless more often, but she doesn’t get to Wisconsin very often. I may have to settle for playing Scrabble against her at Thanksgiving. 😉

Her schedule should be at this link — if she’s in your town, you’ll kick yourself if you miss her.

Last year I actually had tickets to a Barry Manilow concert, but he cancelled it when he realized he wasn’t coming back from hip surgery as well as he’d hoped. That’s totally fair, and I understand, but the rescheduled date didn’t work for us and we ended up selling the tickets. So I still have to hunt Barry down before he stops touring the world and doing shows. (But dang, those tickets are expensive.) I’ve wanted to see him since approximately 1978.

Where I was, and Barry wasn't.

Where I was, and Barry wasn’t.

Well, last week I got to sort of cross one of these bands off my list when I discovered that Weird Al had written a second children’s book and was doing a signing on the west side of Milwaukee. We were so there. Even though we so didn’t plan the evening out completely, and didn’t get to eat dinner until after our books were signed by the gracious Mr. Yankovic at 10:15pm, I call it a success. I would still love to see him and his band in concert, but if it doesn’t happen, I got to shake his hand…and forgot to ask him to sign my “Bad Hair Day” CD.

It's him! It's really him!

It’s him! It’s really him!

This week my list gets even shorter. I have tickets for my oldest son and I to see Rush — the sixth (?) time for me, but the first time for him. That alone should make for a fantastic evening, but then I looked at the festival schedule and saw there was a Rush tribute band performing twice before the Rush concert. (Okay, so we’ll go early and catch that too! Squee!) Then I did a double-take at the festival schedule and saw that Barenaked Ladies will be performing after the Rush concert. (Okay, so we’ll also stay late and catch that too! Double squee!)

They performed this in Grand Rapids on June 30, so there’s a chance I’ll get to hear it!

One of the fun songs from the “Gordon” album. It was hard to pick something representational that wasn’t “If I Had a Million Dollars.” They are so silly here but I love their energy.

The stars don’t align like this every year, which should give me time to recover from the ticket prices and save up for the next passing accordion band.

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*I am a sucker for happy party music in any language and from any culture. It can be conjunto, ska, zydeco, Celtic punk, or a Polish-language polka Mass; if it features a sprightly accordion, I’m in! This explains my attraction to They Might Be Giants, Weird Al Yankovic, and Barry Manilow (he was a good Jewish boy and faithfully took his accordion lessons). So, when I heard that there was a whole BAND named after accordions, I just had to put them on the list.

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In other news, I finished knitting the pair of slippers for my grandmother, and stunned my knitting group by working on a sock project they hadn’t seen for months. They think I’m all about the lace shawl these days. I like to get them off balance every once in a while.

And when The Teen came with me to knitting tonight, Bonnie started teaching him how to crochet. He’s already doing it better than I do. (They said so. Harrumph!)

Published in: on July 3, 2013 at 8:35 am  Comments (1)  

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.

Week Four: The sum of the parts

If a pile of unrelated halves could add up to a shorter pile of related wholes, I’d have more progress to report — at least, progress in the Finis! Mission Accomplished! Level Complete! sort of way. But, to paraphrase Buzz Lightyear, “That isn’t my way, is it?”

Well then, let’s see what we do have.

I finished one slipper (half of a pair) and a washcloth.

(no new picture since last week. feel free to use your imagination.)

Here is half of a sock that I cast on for while watching my alma mater play hockey against the team whose TV coverage I can actually receive in my home.

Half a sock is better than.... no, it's still just half a sock.

Half a sock is better than…. no, it’s still just half a sock.

Wait…. here’s half of a pair of socks! That’s better, right?

The sock for which I had sufficient yarn.

The sock for which I had sufficient yarn.

To tell the truth, I actually showed up at Thursday morning knitting group with this sock just to prove that I had actually knit a sock. We’re a little funny about socks, my group is. If you don’t make socks at all, we’re fine with that. It’s a lifestyle choice we can both understand and respect. If you tried making socks and you suck at making socks, we’re fine with that. Oh, we will tease you about it, but really, we’re fine with that, too. But if you can make socks and nobody ever sees you making socks, well… we seem to have a problem with that. The gang actually chipped in the summer before last and made a birthday present for me out of sock needles, sock yarn, and a sock pattern because I “never make socks.”

This sock had an interesting origin. I discovered somehow that Wisconsin would be playing Miami University last weekend. Now, if you know much about Sports of Any Kind, you should know right away that this is an Unusual Occurrence, as Miami is usually in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and Wisconsin is in the Big Ten/11/12/13 Conference. However, when it comes to HOCKEY, it’s a little bit different. You play the nearest hockey teams. Sometimes, and more often than you might think necessary, you play teams in Alaska. Now, Miami has recently had a most excellent hockey team and Wisconsin, so far as I knew, wasn’t on the college-hockey-playing map. This year has been an exception; Miami has struggled, while Wisconsin built up an impressive winning streak. Even Miami’s “hockey blog” group predicted that, at best, Miami would win one and lose one over the weekend.

That’s exactly what happened. Wisconsin won the Friday night game as I cast on for this Miami-colored [and coincidentally Wisconsin-colored] sockette made from stash yarn. And Miami broke Wisconsin’s streak by winning the second game on Saturday night, when I was just past the gusset stitches. They were exciting games to watch — although the kidlets still don’t quite understand why I wasn’t rooting for Wisconsin — and I got one sock out of it. Sadly, after weighing the leftover yarn, I’ve concluded that I probably won’t have enough red yarn to make a mate for it. I’ve had plenty of suggestions that I simply reverse the colors in the second sock…. but that isn’t my way, is it?

No, it isn’t.

So I just sent a message to the only person on Ravelry who has a skein of this yarn that they’re willing to sell or trade. Come icing or high-sticking, my little hockey sock will have a mate that well and truly matches.

I haven’t knitted a stitch of the drop-stitch lace scarf, and though I did cast on and knit a couple of rows on the next Gigi slipper, it wasn’t even enough to take a picture of, so that’s all the progress that’s worth reporting on the knitting front.

But on the resolution front? Any news there?

This post takes care of Resolution #1 for the time being. And I made some progress on Resolution #3 by getting my butt down to campus this week and setting myself up for success in calculus. Yesterday I even studied and took extensive notes. I had forgotten quite a bit since I had to suspend my studies, but I finally did find the place in the textbook before which I need not go, and I will re-educate myself from there. I’ll make copies of my notes and start taking on homework problems starting tomorrow. The sooner I get it done, the sooner I’ll be ready for the Most Excellent Job in technical editing.

P.S. I’ve started watching Season 3 of Downton Abbey and should be all caught up by Sunday night. Just so you know.

Published in: on January 24, 2013 at 11:55 pm  Comments (4)  

Not enough hours in the day

I feel like I have to sprint to get this post in tonight, so I’ll have at least two posts for May. (I’m still feeling guilty about having no posts in April.) Last year at this time I was probably posting 2-3 times a week. Nowadays — well, I guess I’m doing more Mom work.

Yes, there’s Ravelry, too. I recently passed 5000 posts there. That’s nothing compared to some people. (They know who they are.) But it is a lot compared to many. I have started two groups, and am a moderator on one other group, and if I don’t check in at least a few times a day the backlog starts to build up.

Anyway. Everyone here is reasonably healthy (last night’s needless ER trip with Jack notwithstanding) and the knitting is slowly proceeding.

I was getting a little bit frustrated with the knitting a few days ago, then I realized that I simply am dealing with a bunch of larger projects all jostling for my time. In addition, three of them are completely in garter stitch, which frankly isn’t very compelling to look forward to. They’ll be immensely rewarding after they’re done.

Two of the other projects are stalled sock projects. One of them (Retro Rib) is boring, and the other (Noro) is frustrating. Yes, there’s a difference!

So I’ve been spending most of my time with turning two skeins of vintage yarn into a lacy summer scarf. I may be the only person on the planet making a scarf out of DuPont Radiance acrylic. Hooray for individualism!

No spinning yet — I got the new parts for my wheel but I still need to sand, stain, and put the hooks on the new multi-speed flyer. I don’t know when that’s going to happen since I’m not in a rush about it. Right now the knitting is more important.

The Yarn-a-Latte group is well started and already has some regulars in place (shout out to Bonnie AKA Jeeplady). It’s really nice to have a Tuesday night knit that’s close by, and it’s made the last couple of Sowless Fridays easier to bear.

Knitwise, what have I finished? Well, I got a cell phone for Mother’s Day and promptly abandoned every other project to make two cell phone cozies. Out of alpaca and a friend’s handspun, thankyouverymuch. It’s hard to beat an alpaca cell phone cozy for luxury! And they are Doctor Who-themed to boot. I’m trying to figure out a cozy design for each Doctor. Starting with Ten. But I have picked up some yarn to make one for Nine (I hope).

In the television-watching department, both Chuck and Castle got renewed. And there was much rejoicing! If you haven’t watched these shows there’s plenty of time to catch up. They are both worth it. And they both feature actors from Firefly — Adam Baldwin (Jayne) and Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal) respectively. Dollhouse, with Alan Tudyk (Wash), also got renewed — I haven’t seen it but will start catching up. Unfortunately, The Sarah Connor Chronicles with Summer Glau (River Tam) was cancelled after this season. But since a friend’s viewing of that show got me directly into Firefly, I am mourning the loss of it even though I didn’t watch.

What do we watch? I don’t think I watch a lot of television (again, compared to some), but chronologically it includes Ladies’ No. 1 Detective Agency, Chuck, Castle, Top Gear, My Boys, Better Off Ted, The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, Saturday Night Live, and Doctor Who/Torchwood/Sarah Jane Adventures when I can get them. Top Chef and Next Food Network TV Star when they’re “in season.” Flight of the Conchords. Anything by Anthony Bourdain when I can catch it.

When I see it all written out like that, I realize it’s more TV than I have ever regularly watched. I don’t know why. Are shows getting better? I’m not sure about that, but they are getting quirkier. I’m also watching lots of Netflix stuff, so I don’t know how I have so much time for TV. I can tell you that ever since we got the DVR we’ve been snagging more shows that we liked, just because it was easier to do so.

Remember, just after the dinosaurs were wiped off the face of the earth, when we’d put in a tape to catch a show, and we’d watch it days later? Or, actually, never get around to watching it at all? Well, when you get a message on your DVR screen that says “83 percent full” you start watching your shows to free up the space. I mean, you just have to. Otherwise you can’t record any more stuff!

When I’m not watching all this television, I’m exercising and catching up on some podcasts. I’m years to months behind on all of them, but I’m plugging away.

Back to the knitting!

Moral Imperatives

Last weekend I was talking with a friend about the progress of some of my current knitting projects.

“How’s that February Lady Sweater coming?” she asked.

“Well,” I said, “I had to finish up Logan’s Blanket, then I had to set aside everything else so I could work on this prayer shawl.”

“Ah,” she said sagely. “Sidelined by moral imperatives.”

I think that for the last six months that kind of sums it up. Every January I sit down and sketch out the projects I want to knit in the upcoming year. I love lists and plans, and it would be great to just be able to sit down and work the plan. But that’s never the way it goes.

Last fall I had started soliciting knitting patterns for a booklet I wanted to do. No sooner had I done that, than the whole Connor Caps project sprang up as something that had to be done. In the middle of it, of course, was Christmas knitting. (Not that anyone actually asked for me to knit them something for Christmas, mind you. We can only speculate how much more knitting I would have been doing had anyone actually requested a knitted item.)

This year was going to be different, yadda yadda yadda. I took up the mantle of a Christmas present that didn’t get done in time for last Christmas, and finished it (and a fraternal twin) for this Christmas. But then I started Logan’s Blanket and was still helping coordinate the other projects for Connor’s family.

Whew! I cast on a cool project for myself and finished it in time to wear it while the weather was still cold. But by then I was organizing a local knit/crochet group, which will have its first meeting tomorrow night. (You are coming to Yarn-a-Latte, aren’t you?)

The most recent moral imperative has been to knit a prayer shawl. My husband’s grandfather passed away at the age of 92 at the end of March, and his grandmother came into possession of a prayer shawl made by someone she didn’t even know. While she is very crafty indeed, knitting is not her “thing,” so she was extra impressed by the thought of someone creating such a comforting item for a stranger. Technically it’s a very simple project, but it meant so much to her that I decided to pay it forward by making a prayer shawl in her favorite colors, blue and white.

Then, last week, my former father-in-law had two heart attacks and died suddenly. And then I knew who I was making the prayer shawl for. I went stash diving, cast on, frogged what I had, re-thought the project, wrote out a pattern, cast on again, harvested the top-down sweater for the rest of the yarn, and have neglected the rest of my projects since last Tuesday. It’s a simple project, true, but the simplicity allows for a lot of meditation as the hands make the stitches. This shawl is full of prayers and happy memories and good thoughts. And though the rest of life does go on and need its own kind of attention, the other projects can wait a bit until the prayer shawl is done.

Then it’s time for starting another Doctor Who Scarf, and knitting a Christmas stocking in summer so I can publish a pattern in the fall. So it doesn’t get any more sane.

Un-knitwise, the kids all took turns getting sick over the course of a week and a half, but they’re mostly better. It doesn’t look like swine flu — cross your fingers. Tom turns out to be farsighted and will need glasses, which explains a lot. I’ve been getting some physical therapy for my hip, which has been locking up. I’m also waiting to hear about TV show renewals for Castle and Chuck. Usually I just watch the show and get mad when they cancel it, so my degree of involvement with “save my show” campaigns this time is a surprise to me. They’re both a lot of fun to watch, and I’ll miss them when they’re gone, whenever that may be.

And, of course, Yarn-a-Latte kicks off tomorrow night at Tan-a-Latte in Jefferson at 6pm tomorrow night. There will be a drawing! name tags! and coffee! (It has already been suggested that maybe I should not be having so much of the coffee.) Knitters I haven’t even met in person yet have been helping me distribute flyers across the county and a little bit beyond. All are welcome, even if you just like to sit and watch other people crochet. Nothing wrong with that!

I might even take my camera and remember to take pictures. And blog about it.

Published in: on May 4, 2009 at 8:47 am  Comments (8)