There Will Always Be…

July 24, 2015

…Knitting…so long as I have yarn and needles.

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Last week’s progress…

The week of “I don’t want to…” turned into  a week of “Now, you have to…” Of course, it also helps that I’m not feeling so broke I’m afraid to use my spare change to buy a candy bar. So, the bills have to be paid, licenses still have to be renewed, uniforms still have to be exchanged and the oil in the car needs to be changed. It was a bit of a busy, early morning for me, that started around 2:30PM.

010Briannag and Squib snuggling with each other as I knit…Squib is still an Official Knitting Inspector.

There was some enjoyment this week, such as the book I’m reading by Julia Quinn, The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy when the heroine was asked for backstage help, and glued the unicorn horn on her cousin’s head. Later, as the cousin’s mother attempted to pull the unicorn horn off and was informed of the glue, the mother of about five children asked, (matter-of-factly, from what I could tell) “Did she use cement?”  I nearly fell out of my bed laughing myself hoarse. I was slightly concerned I’d have to call into work from laryngitis as a result. I was supposed to be going to bed. (Story of my life…)

013 Briannag  decides it’s play time. She and Zeus took up a collection and dropped it in my lap. (Sorry there are so many photos of my lap)

But today, I got the uniforms exchanged, so they will not unravel at work. I read more of the book as I got the oil changed (yes, I utilize a mechanic. My strengths lie with yarn and telling tales-tall or true, not car parts;-)). I also stopped off at the library to print off some forms I needed and got a walk in with Dear James and the puppies. In addition, I agreed to cook. In all fairness, its my turn, and I like to cook.

011Briannag, looking like she is requesting snuggles(she gets lots), or wine(she doesn’t get much, but she likes the simple tastes she’s received, not that I leave much behind)…I’m never sure which one…

Once I got dinner in the oven, I had a decision to make, knitting or writing. I still need to make my word count tonight. But I can write when I’m tired…(famous last words). I know for certain I should not knit tired. So, knitting wins. And I was reminded as the dog lay there and whimpered at me to either love her or share the wine…the knitting is always right there. It was simply waiting for me to pick up, check where I left off and knit on. I even began to feel like I’m making progress with this sock, which likely means I’m past the halfway point of the foot.

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Briannag, pouting that the knitting is in the spot she wants(usually the occupied one), and the Kong hasn’t been filled–they haven’t brought me the second one yet…

I always wonder a bit about how much longer once I stop decreasing and begin really working towards the toes. Part of me, the inner Wonder Woman, wondered if I could get this sock knit before my extra day of work next Thursday. Part of me looked at how much was left and saw a reasonable doubt. If I do finish the sock in time for work one night next week, one of the  next two posts will be entitled “Wonder Woman.”

004Scamp, sleeping through my knitting…However, a skein of yarn escaped the bag. I’m really concerned she’s going to wake up and run off with it.

I am not Wonder Woman by any means. However, between my to-do list, the fairy garden I’m working on(of which I do not have many more pictures), the changes being made to the super-secret quilt I’m working on(more in another blog…there isn’t room here), the knitting and extra days at work…I’ve become a busy woman who feels a bit like the Wonder Woman who simply tries to do too much. I’ll get to it, and some enjoyment-as, what’s life without enjoyment. But I will feel every inch of it in the meantime. I’m so glad I’ve already turned the oven off. I hope you enjoy the kitties and puppies and their help with the knitting.

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Sock progress…It’s getting there, really.

Then I consider learning how to really crochet, via a 1 hour coffee cup cozy, to start. Not tonight, though; I’ve been busy enough. I must finish the fifteen hundred words for today that I decided I could write tired. This may require some wine. In the meantime, I still have knitting.

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Current look of the bi-color sock.

Progress–it’s slow going, but each stitch gets you there. I had High School Art classes for two of the three days I worked this week. Mostly, when the kids are not painting on the table, and trying to tell you, “It’s okay, we do it all the time,” while none of the other tables are painted on, I like these groups of students. I also get to walk around and see some really cool art projects and ideas. Many art students are quite talented.

Since I am not incredibly needed by these groups, as I am in younger grades, I am often free to knit. I was able to complete more than two rows at a time this week. I even came home almost tired of knitting both days. Monday I got through nearly half of my first pattern repeat for the lace work. Thursday, I nearly finished it.

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I do track my progress with hash marks and tally marks, so I know where I’m at and that I am making progress through my long-term projects. That way I can see things moving along. However, that often leaves me focusing on the whole, or the big picture. I have five of these repeats before I begin the heel. At sixteen rows per repeat, this can feel overwhelming. At some points, I will compare the two socks, to make sure I am keeping things similar. I will also have to make the effort to repeat the noticeable mistakes I kept. But these are only checkpoints and I’m choosing to focus on what I can do; what I have done.

I’m finding myself applying this philosophy to my writing as well. I have begun the first edit on my draft that is close to finished. First, I printed out a real “book” of pages and have begun editing on hard-copy as I find it easier. I am working through the nearly finished manuscript scene by scene and looking at how everything flows. I’m making edits about wording and transitions, as expected. I don’t have quite as many edits as I expected at this time. But I’m honest enough to know what is expected.

After the 7th chapter I became tired of reading for the day, but still had some restless energy. I sat down at my computer and began to transfer my edits to screen. After I had edited a few scenes, I remembered the “status” field in my synopsis of each scene. I went back through those scenes I had edited and changed my status from “Draft” to “1st edit.” I did this for each scene I edited and finished the first chapter this way.

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Performing this simple task left me feeling accomplished. That sense of accomplishment carries with me that day, and on through much of the week. Just as finishing the first of the pattern repeats in my sock leaves me feeling accomplished. Its often just another hash mark in the project; one row or one scene at a time, but those little progress reports give me the motivation to keep working at it. I know, even on days I only get to knit one row, or write one scene, I have moved forward, one step at a time. Some days, that is all we can do.  Image

In closing this post, I wish you similar luck in your own progress and sense of accomplishments as we forge through the days tasks.

I will return to the socks I’ve been discussing in a week or two. Let me share a story. I like to write. In my spare time, while I was employed steadily, I wrote stories about characters for my nieces, Jessica and Elizabeth.. I named the characters Sunny and Moonbeam and made them to look like my nieces. They have had some fun adventures in these stories, including meeting dragons I have sewn for my nieces. The dragons are Stella, the Brave, and Capice, the Understanding. In one of these stories, it seems I promised to make my nieces doll clothes for Sunny and Moonbeam. I must tread carefully here, as I may have promised them sewn doll clothes.

So, what is sewing doing in a knitting blog? No more than it has to be. I like to sew from time to time. I have discovered I do not care for sewing doll clothes. All those short, small seams drive me half crazy. But it couldn’t be too bad to knit Sunny and Moonbeam a dress, could it? So, I googled free knit doll dress patterns, or some such order of those words. I found some pretty patterns, and I printed a few off. I don’t think I’ve printed off the one my boyfriend thought was too old-ladyish. If I did, I’m saving it for after the prettier dresses. But it was a pretty dress. 

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Alas, I settled on a pretty looking dress with a cowl neckline, then I began to unravel a doll blanket I’d knitted on the Knifty Knitter ™ Loom years ago, that I have not used since my nieces were moved to Florida. I chose a purple and gray combination because I think its pretty, and my youngest niece likes purple. I hope the color combos aren’t too old-ladyish, but second and third graders seemed to like it when I was knitting in class, so I think I’m okay.

I read the pattern after I printed it off. It wasn’t written traditionally, but it was in steps. I figured I could work with it. The bodice front was a little confusing, but worked out in the end. The bodice back, well the first one I knit went well. I did what it said and it worked out. The second one, with checking, was confusing, and written exactly the same as the first except that the cast off stitches happen one row lower on a purl row instead of a knit row. Apparently, this is supposed to give you the sides. I’m not sure if it did or not. I still don’t know which one I knit first or second or which was supposed to be left or right. I got confused, and had to rework this twice, before I simply laid it against the bodice with its counterpart and knit to match.  If this was not being done due to a promise I was reminded of, I would not have continued with this pattern.

I would either have tried another, or given up and hand-sewed the doll clothes. I still may hand-sew some doll clothes, but I wish to finish some other projects first. Once the bodice pieces were finished and joined, I began to pick up stitches to add the skirt on. I realized at this point, that the pattern designer must prefer flat needles. When I’m making a round piece, I much prefer double-pointed needles. I adjusted the pattern for such, making it easier as I just had to knit, and slip in ribs at even intervals and remember where to increase. I used tally marks to track my rows, as is my habit.

The skirt went easier than the bodice for certain, but it is a larger piece. I began with 52 stitches, and increased in 13 stitch increments to 91 stitches during the last few rows. Even for only six rows, 91 stitches, with a 2 purl rib or not, can feel like it takes forever. But it did get finished.

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I then went on to knit the sleeves and cowl later, which I will address in next week’s blog and then will return to the foot of the sock I am knitting. I hope to be at the toe or finished with it soon so I may begin the second sock.