Nine years later, we rejoin our heroine

Nine years. That's ... so long. I'd like to tell you that my life has changed dramatically but it's pretty much the same. I have a nicer title and a bigger paycheck. The last generation of cats have gone on and a new generation is bringing me laughter and cuddles. I like to think that I'm wiser and more patient. I've traveled more - 3 more trips to Tokyo - and that's the best lesson in personal growth I can recommend. I am of the privileged and fortunate during this time of crisis. I am still employed and can work from home. Haven't left the apartment since March 13th and I'm completely cool with that. Bless UPS, Amazon and Shipt. (I'd thank Instacart but there's that issue of a $92 order of groceries never appearing so they are now dead to me. Yeah, I got a refund, but still. Dead. To. Me.) Anyway, life not in shambles.

I can't say I have tons of extra time to kill because I only had a 15 min commute anyway and I'm putting in 10-12 hour days, but after a few weeks the mind wanders to what else it could be doing. I'd started knitting a wrap the first weekend of the quarantine - an easy 4-row repeat of something light and airy. I added a few rows every time I watched something on Netflix that didn't have subtitles, which is only about half the time. One night I had insomnia (work-related) and I was cleaning up the favorites icons in my browser.  "Ravelry! I haven't looked there in ages! I should add my new wrap."  I saw my profile (where Maggie was still alive and I was knitting things that I never finished and couldn't even locate now) and thought I'd save that fun for another day.

But then I remembered Stephanie and went to the Yarn Harlot blog. First post I saw was of her grandson's 3rd birthday. What?? Grandson? Meg got married?? I searched back to where I could remember what was going on and it was sometime around August of 2015. It took a week but I read a few months at a time and caught up. Laughed. Cried. Looked up patterns and bought yarn like a crazy person. (Crazy. Person. At least 12 new projects - yarn and patterns and needles all on their way. When do I think I'm going to knit these?) Read her post from the beginning of last month, hand over mouth, in a kind of horror that the current pandemic has yet to instill in me here in my little cocoon of comfort and cat naps.

So much has happened in other people's lives - in whatever varying degrees of good or bad. Serious change. And I noticed that the knitting world has changed, too. Yarns that were staples just aren't there anymore. The local yarn store is closing. (They were before the crisis. Didn't care because I didn't like it there, but still.) Blogs that I used to read are gone. Poof! It's a new knitting world. I'm looking forward to seeing who the players are, the trends, the yarns. So, if this blog is still on anyone's feed, let me know that you're there. Let me know what's changed with you, how you think the knitting community has changed in the last decade, and what you're knitting.

P.S. OK, I did SOME stuff over the last 9 years.  5 years cancer free 5 years ago.  Got my MBA.  Just little things like that.


This Little Piggy

A couple of years ago I was “taking a break” from the world of the employed while “seeking a better opportunity.”  That sounds nice, doesn’t it?  As in voluntary?  Anyway, I was only “on a break” for a few months and it really was a much-needed time of recharging and relaxation.  I didn’t craft much.  (Yes, I’m using “craft” as as verb.  I think the prevalence of words like “ginormous” in modern media still put me at the “literate” end of the pendulum.  Yes, I like quotation marks.  No, I can’t accurately define a metaphor.  Moving on ….)  I guess I thought that sitting still and twisting string around sticks was a frivolous and irresponsible use of my time.  I should have been more gentle and forgiving of myself and just knit and crochet to my heart’s content, but I needed a different kind of accomplishment, a true sense of productivity.

didn’t want to follow someone else’s pattern to create someone else’s thing.  I wanted one of my own.  Something I could use, could make exactly as I wanted, and could label mine.  I wanted a market bag to beat all market bags with all the things that I wished mine had.  I started on a pattern and made one that wasn’t quite right and then the phone rang and I was employed and that was the end of it.  (Run-on sentence.  Check.)

OK, maybe that wasn’t quite it.  I might have also researched names, designed a logo and set the foundation for an etsy store.  But that was all.  No inventory, no sales, no need to call the accountant to ask, “Oh, by the way, do you handle sales taxes, too?”  I put everything in place and then happily went to a job where other people deal with icky things like taxes.

But I never forgot it.  The bag, not the store.  I haven’t forgotten that either, but it’s a long way from fruition, so let’s do forget about that for now.  The bag was still on my mind and I’d think of patterns and colors and sizes and cutesy names and most of all what I think it should have.  It should have a pouch for money and maybe a drivers license.  It should have a tab to snap your keys when you don’t have pockets in your yoga pants and just want to pick up some fruit on the way home.  It should have a solid bottom so you can put in a couple of honeydews without worrying about the integrity of the bag.  It should have a handle long enough to put over your shoulder and yet not so long that if you carry it in your hand, those honeydews are dragging the ground.

It should be pretty.

Marketbag_keytab Marketbag_pouch Marketbag_full It should look something like this – the “This Little Piggy Market Bag” version 2.0. in “Tea Party.”  I’m never going to be one of those people who gets a fleece from a sheep farmer, washes it, cards it, spins it, plies it, designs a shawl or sweater pattern and knits it, then proudly wears it about town.  That will never be me.  For one thing, fleeces stink.  For another, I just don’t have that kind of time.  But a string bag to carry to the Farmers Market that allows me to leave my purse in the trunk of the car and is my original design?  That I can accomplish.


Suddenly

I've been gone for a while. Several times I've drafted out a post to explain why, but let's just say that during a certain period of time, knitting and the knitting community were not what I needed them to be. I could write a lot and I think some would find it gratifying and/or enlightening, but as Stephanie says, "We're listening." The post I'm not posting would beg to differ, but let's just all be polite and move on.

Anyway .... I hadn't been knitting for a very long time. Then one day a few weeks ago I was out on my balcony watering my flowers and my newish, rarely-seen neighbor came out to her balcony and we started talking and eventually she hopped the railing and shared a bottle of wine with me and we got to know each other. She's a knitter! That was all it took. Someone new to me who enjoys something that I had basically shoved into plastic bins in the basement got me to re-examine it. I've been re-examining a lot of things and not because I'm in one of those "how did I get into this mess" phases, but instead because I'm in one of those "Wow, I finally got to a good place" phases.

Things are going well in many realms and frankly ... I'm a bit giddy. I'm "present" enough to appreciate things that I used to, like photography and hiking and wrapping string around sticks. I even had the attention span to read Yarn Harlot straight through from Dec 2009 to the present. Suddenly I can fish a scarf out of the bottom of a basket and spend 10 minutes weaving in the ends to call it "finished." Suddenly I'm ... satisfied. As evidenced by my unexpected appearance at Knit Nite this week, I have no idea what's going on with anyone or how you are or what you're doing. Please fill me in. I'm here!

Moonlight_on_winter_fields_finished
"Midwest Moonlight" from Scarf Style

3 balls of Nashua Creative Focus Worsted

Unblocked and I don't plan to.

Please pardon the messy balcony.  I was more anxious to catch the light than to sweep first. :)


That Certain Something

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There's just something about certain projects, isn't there?  When the yarn is perfect and pattern is perfect and the needles feel good in your hands ....  This is one of those.  It's for my sister - a scarf/wrap in the Snowdrift pattern, made with RYC Wool Silk DK, and I'm using my ebony Lantern Moon needles.  OMG this feels so good to knit. 

I say scarf/wrap because even with serious blocking I'm not sure if it will be wide enough to be called a wrap.  The pattern recommends size 7 needles, but my twisted stitches just didn't have that pop that a line of twisted stitches should, and the purls were a little too loose to show off the details of the pattern, so I switched to 6s. 

I'm doing a pattern repeat a day, so this xmas gift might be finished before Mother's Day.  Is that a record?  Do I get a prize?  Anyway, I'm in love.  Blissfully.

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To the city, I apologize

But I really, really, really wanted to shoot pictures of the finished Besotted Scarf against a bleak and snowy background, and since Mother Nature and I are *crosses fingers* like this, she let me have one last snowy morning.

 

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Now it's early afternoon and already the snow is gone and the sky is blue and we're back to Spring.  So ... forgiven?


Repurpose the useless and unappreciated

Way back in 2005 I started on an afghan for the monk. It was an ambitious attempt, since I wanted the stripes to go lengthwise and to be long enough for his 6'6" frame.

Two years later, here is where it stood. Each stripe is a 32 row pattern, each single row taking me 15 minutes to complete. There are hours and hours and hours in this, crafted of wool/alpaca/silk yarn. It will never be finished. Why? Because 1) I don't deal with the monk anymore (and yes, I chose the word "deal" carefully, as all interaction with him seem to be some sort of transaction) and 2) Knitpicks doesn't make all of the colors anymore and I was buying them as I went along, planning to repeat the color sequence one more time.

That was two years ago.  So ... what to do with it. I'm obviously not finishing it.  Right now it's in a zippered plastic bag in a Marks & Spencer tote in the nether regions of my closet. I'm not even bothering to pull it out to photograph it again. The plan? Well, since there are three skeins of yarn in each stripe, I think I'm going to make scarves.  And donate them.  To charity.  This yarn deserves better kharma than its original purpose.


Meager Attempts

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Shedir is finished and awaiting transport.  It was a great knit - fun and interesting but not too challenging - and showed me where I seriously need to improve my knitting skills. 

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My stitches are grossly uneven and before I attempt some fancy socks I've had my eye on I'm going to need more practice.  Of course, knitting would be the way to practice so I should just knit them, right?  Right.

Anyway, one attempt at comfort taken care of.

Unfortunately, the other can only be satisfied by prayers at this point.  That girl I mentioned passed away yesterday.  I never met her and don't remember speaking to her mother, but they were both very dear to my knitting circle and their pain is heavy on my heart today.

So, what to do?  The only thing I can.  Make you laugh.

What follows is how I spent last Friday evening.  I'm not intentionally mocking my Mom here - we were all getting the hang of computers at some point.  I did tell both my parents - when they were firing questions at me and not letting me finish a sentence - that they are worse than cardiologists, but that is because ... I love them?  Anyway, enjoy:


Mom: So how do I send the meeting minutes to the group?
Me: You click here where it says compose email.
Mom: And then what?
Me:  The email window opens.  *demonstrates*
Mom: OK.  *gets pen and paper and begins to write*  Click ... what did I click?
Me: Compose email.
Mom: *writes* Compose email.  Then what?
Me: Then you write the email.
Mom: I type the minutes in it?
Me: Why?  Put them in a word doc and attach them.
Mom: How do I do that?
Me: Do what?
Mom: Put the minutes in word .... what?
Me: Word document?
Mom: Yes. *writes* word document
Me: Go to start and then programs and .. oh, hold on.  *pins Word to Start Menu*  Just click on start and Word is right here.
Mom: Right where?
Me: Here, Mom, where it says word.
Mom: *writes* Start.
Me: So you type something here *keysmashes* and save it and call it whatever you want
Mom: What should I call it?
Me: o_O I don't know, Mom, they're your meeting minutes.
Dad: How about "minutes" and the date *bites lips to keep from laughing*
Mom: OK.  How do I save it?
Me: Click the save button.
Mom: Where is that?
Me: Didn't you take a class on Word?
Mom: Yes, but it was useless.
Me: You don't even know how to save?
Mom: I can't help it.  I've never done this before.
Me: OK, the save button is right here at the top.
Mom: What does it look like? *squints*
Me: Like a floppy.
Mom: I thought you said no one uses floppies anymore.
Me: You don't even want to get into that.  Trust me.  Now, you write your minutes and you save it.
Mom: OK. *writes* Save.
Me: And in your email you address it and put a subject and attach the file.
Mom: How do I ....
Me: You type in the address here, type in a subject here.
Mom: What should the subject be?
Me: Mom?  Are you doing this to me on purpose?
Mom: *innocently* Doing what?
Dad: *turns face away to hide laughter*
Me: OK, call it whatever you want. In this case, "meeting minutes" would be good.
Dad: And the date.
Me: And the date.
Mom: OK. *writes* Subject with date.
Me: And click here where it says attach file and browse to it.
Mom: *doesn't even bother to verbalize*
Me: When it opens this window, it will default to documents.  Unless you saved it somewhere else it will be there.  *sees that we're logged into Dad's account and knows that issue will come up where minutes were saved in one account and she'll be in the other.  Decide to just not mention it.*
Mom: OK. *writes*
Me: Click on the file and press the open button.
Mom: But what if I don't need to open it?
Me: It won't.  It's just a button.  It says open, but it won't.
Mom: o_O
Me: Bill Gates, Mom.  Just let it go.
Dad:*leaves the room to laugh in private*
Mom: OK, so we attached the file.
Me: Yes, and it will appear here.  Then just write the email and send it.
Mom: Why do I have to write anything?
Me: Just something like, "Here's the minutes from the last meeting."
Mom: Why?
Me: Because it's nice.
Mom: *rolls eyes*
Me: Because sometimes emails that have attachments but no text are blocked because they might be viruses.
Mom: Oh, OK. So, what do I write?
Me: *face in hands* It doesn't matter, Mom. Write whatever you want.
Mom: *writes*
Cat: *circles my ankles supportively*
Me: So, you think you got it?
Mom: I'll call you.
Me: I get $100 an hour.
Mom: Hrmph.
Me: Or dinner.
Mom: I can afford that.


Not entirely unexpected

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So when the pattern said that it will use an entire ball with none left for swatching, I knew that it was unlikely and that I was going to need another ball.  But I held hope.  In vain.  Got to row 66 of 83 and this is where I'll have to join a new one.  The rest of the rows are the crown, so of course it will be all decreases and I'll use a fraction of the second ball, but that's OK.  This is one of my favorite colors (periwinkle in case your monitor is lying) and I'll make something with the rest.  Maybe matching ipod and cell phone sleeves or something. 

I hear that.  You're wondering about gauge.  Well, to be honest ... no.  Didn't check.  But not because I'm stupid or lazy!  There's no way I can knit this yarn (Rowan Calmer) on anything smaller than the 3s it's on, and I can't knit any tighter, either.  That makes gauge a moot point, right?  As in, no other options than what I've got?  It's a one-size hat pattern, after all.  And one size it shall be.  This one.


It could be worse

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For those of you who haven't heard, I'm job searching again.  Though the new administration and promised funding will be great for the EMR industry, too many doctors had adopted a wait-and-see attitude, and no sales = no money.  So, I was laid off, but amicably - I'll be free-lancing for them a bit until I find something new.

But, honestly, I can't even feel badly about it.  Too many horrible things are happening to too many people in the world for me to be upset that I can't shop anymore.  Friends of friends have daughters in ICUs awaiting lung transplants and relatives of friends have ovarian cancer and I can't even go into the devastation in Australia and other parts of the world.  Being jobless just isn't that awful.  Yet.

I keep seeing questions about what my ideal career path would be and what my dream job would be like.  I just end up thinking, "Does it matter?  Would you pay me what I want to make to do what I want to do?  No.  So stop rubbing it in."  What would I do, you ask, tentatively?  Dig wells in Africa.  That job doesn't pay very well.  I assume.  They don't list jobs like that on Monster, either.

So, the best I can do is be supportive to those who need it and reorganize my closets now that I have the time and maybe catch up on my reading or any other free activities.  And knit.  This is a chemo cap for tragically-blogless Anna's MIL.  There's a young woman in an ICU bed, as well, who is collecting paper cranes.  As you pray for a seemingly unending list of those in need, please think of them, too.