Skip to Main Content | Skip to Sidebar | Skip to Web Based Groups | Skip to Knitting Extras | Skip to Blog Archive

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Revising Perspectives

It's amazing to recognize the change in perspective that comes with release from a 36-hour migraine. All life's pursuits, work or play, become easy rather than a drain, fulfilling rather than a way to maintain time and sanity.

I've been finishing up the Ene's scarf for mom while listening to my comps reading this morning. It's not quite done, but I've almost finished the last repetition of chart 3 and will then just have the upper edging to finish with chart 4. The repetitions within the lines have gotten to be so few that I'm startled by how fast I'm done with a row.

The construction of this scarf made the initial stages maddening for me -- cast on all stitches for the two sides of the triangle and reduce the number of stitches as you work your way up, filling in the middle of the "cone" as you make your way up to the center-back. It was so hard to see any real progress for the first 30 rows or so that I was often discouraged -- especially since the frogging that is a natural part of my learning process when working on a pattern involved so MANY stitches and so much un-knitting and knitting as I tried to get the sequences right. Frustrating is too mild a word. Maddening is better. Anyway, I love the look and drape of the shawl, so I'll undoubtedly make more with this basic structure -- I'm already lusting after the flower basket shawls I've seen on others' blogs!

Lace Lust. I think it'd make a great book title!
Maybe someday.

Well, I've joined my first knit-a-long (KAL). The button for it is up, and it is, naturally, for lace shawls. This will get me moving on my own mohair shoalwater shawl -- I'd like to get some wear out of it before July and August make it impractical!

I'm job hunting again. Scheduling with Dillards could not be worked out. I think I'm going to ask to speak with someone at B&N about the jobs they have available, to determine "if my applications are appropriate" -- yep, a way to point out that I am actually capable of doing the necessary work. My only real concern about working there is that I might come to hate the place -- and then what would we do for the knit-nights that aren't at someone's house? Hmm. I'll stop by the second hand book store to see if they need a clerk too.

This is only my second job-hunt with blind-cane in hand, so I'm still somewhat nervous and uncertain about what I should do. I need a second job by late April -- so I'm debating about going in for a position someplace like Wal-Mart without the cane. The stress/worry about tripping will drive me nuts at first, but I frequently don't use the cane in familiar places anyway -- at least those I know have flat floors! Example: I use it to get too my classrooms to teach, but I don't use it while teaching. I just make sure the floor is clear before I start so I can walk around at will.

I get a little lightheaded at first, since I don't have depth perception and can't see where my feet are going to land (visual field blockages). But once I'm used to the space, I do okay -- usually. Hell. I don't need more stress eating up energy I can't afford to waste. Hell and blast! What a quandary.

Recognizing my need for the cane has also been a major part of accepting who I am -- resolving my images of myself with and without visual problems. It also keeps me from breaking my ankles and reduces my anxiety levels. It's funny how much it can mean to me to be certain of where the floor is! On many levels, I just don't think applying and trying to work without the cane are practical -- I've chosen to be very straight forward about the vision impairment and what requires modification or can't be done. After my experiences with the durable medical equipment company when I lost the vision in the second eye, I'm not interested in wasting my time working with people who have a problem with my visual losses. It's jut not worth my energy when we're talking about jobs I have no interest in turning into a career.

But to be totally honest, I need the money, damn it. I want to do work I'm capable of doing and get paid for it so I can continue to work on this degree and move onto my "real" career eventually.

Well, clerking is a good way to go for me, but I'll have to convince people that I can handle the stocking tasks involved. Reception work would also be good. I've a great phone voice (all that theatre training had to pay off sometime) and plenty of experience being patient with people. Hmmm. We'll see. We'll see. Resumes and rest today. More knitting and reading and writing and grading. Job hunting and office hours tomorrow. Sounds like a plan. Wouldn't it be great to get a job that would allow me to knit too? Okay, I know. Asking too much here!
I wish I could take the knitting to job interviews -- maybe it would be a good prop for demonstrating my ability to do detail work despite the visual losses? Nope. It would just be a security blanket, and look unprofessional too. Harrummmph.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Sit and Knit at My House!

Sit and Knit Night

Wednesday we had Sit and Knit at my house – yeah! This means that I actually cleaned and straightened and polished wood, etc. Now that the event is over, the empty coffee and end tables are making me nervous. Perhaps I should randomly stack books on them to increase my comfort level? Seriously, I was pleased with the gleaming wood, candles, and comfy atmosphere. I enjoy entertaining and need to do more when I can!

Well, the highlight of the night had to be when A. realized that she'd knit 83 inches of ribbon belt for her daughter who wears a size 4 business suit! A. was laughing so hard she had tears running down her face -- an she knew that this wasn't going to fit into a plastic egg for Easter unless L’eggs started making them again!

My three teapots all got a workout, so we had plenty of choices for refreshment, and I used different cups and saucers for each person, so some of the china got a workout as well! K. Really liked the Adagio white tea she had going in the small pot, and L. Enjoyed Hartley and son's Cinnamon Sunset. A. had some of each, and I alternated from Blackberry Sage to green over the course of the night.

I've gotten the blue Ene's shawl back up past the last point I frogged it; L.'s sweater from White Lies is REALLY coming along. That colony blue yarns she has from elann -- the alpaca-tensile blend -- is gorgeous!

K. stopped work on her chocolate wool lace -- a circular feather and fan from "A Gathering of Lace” to assess the gauge and decided to start over on a larger needle.

I've been working on teaching and on my readings this week, so I haven't gotten as much done as I'd like, but today should help! I've got errands to run before going to lunch with another friend -- and one is to pick a replacement for my Natura size 2 bamboo circ's. I fell asleep knitting and rolled over on them and broke them!!!!! Felt like a real dork. I've lost so many needles to Kala's munching, and now I break one I'm in the middle of using!!!!!

I really enjoyed having people over. We'll be at B&N next week. I hope A. joins us again. This was her first night with us, and lord she was funny!

Well, gotta get on with the day. Sunshine and opportunities for chattering with friends call me from the computer and out into the world!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Knitting Life

I've been thinking about this phrase -- "What feeds your knitting life." And I wonder if it's not what feeds my knitting so much as that knitting helps feed my life in general.

Patons outback mohair -- yummy -- I want a shawl first and then a sweater.

Sustenance. Comfort. Creation. Pattern. Success. Release. Tactile, emotional, rational. And capable of being reworked with little penalty and no shame.

Here is the Misty garden Scarf I did as a lark -- saw it; knit it; loved it. A total impulse!

Cowl neck sweater with bell sleeves from IK. This is an acrylic, because I hadn't found the Paton's mohair and wanted a non-scratchy sweater. I'm just ready to start the decrasing rounds.

Others have mentioned anxiety and stress and "feeding" their knitting life. While knitting does help me take care of these emotions, the emotions don't actually add to the quality of my knitting enjoyment. They can provide energy -- but it is just that - an exchange of energy from negative to positive. But I don't see these exchanges as 'feeding' my knitting. For me it is the difference between continuation and growth. Negative emotions may provide energy for continuation. But growth finds its power elsewhere.

The number of color variations surprised me!

What contributes to the growth of my knitting life? Chat, pictures, textures, tactile sensations (I LOVE playing with yarn!) smells, photos in magazines, fun, fancy, group energy and anticipation. My own determination to get the pattern to work out properly.

Misty Garden -- more a misty lake in these colors -- but I love the results.

All these things push me toward new techniques, new fibers, ideas and imaginings that make my fingers twitch for the feel of yarn and grope for needles to begin the process of forming fabrics.

On the other side of this equation, rest the contributions knitting has made to my life. It often "feeds" my life with the joy and power of creating, the pleasure of getting attention and compliments for what I've made or am making, the feeling of doing something special.

I find it far too easy to identify my "failures" in life. Choices that have lead to bad patches, procrastination that frustrates everyone involved, (even me!), periods of depression which not only eat up chunks or years of my life, but then require additional time, resources, energy and anxiety to remedy. It is easy to feel a failure.

But in the midst of one session of "climbing back out of the pit" someone pointed out to me that as long as I'm not dead, I can't have failed -- I'm not done yet. This thought did a good job of getting my attention rationally at the time. But I don't know that I felt it emotionally until just recently.

I just frogged a complicated piece of lace I'm making for my mother. This is the fourth frogging, and in-between there have been many many sessions of unknitting multiple rows to sort out a problem.

Just before frogging. The shading is a little bright, but I love the pattern definition.

Oddly enough (for me) I do not feel I am failing at this. With each re-start, I become more confident in the sections I've worked before and get farther into the pattern.

I'd gotten this far without realizing I was 14 stitches off in placing the center.

I've had to alternate skeins as the alpaca becomes to soft/fuzzy to make the crisp forms needed for the outer edging, but the frogged yard will work well for the less articulated center section of the shawl. It is not at all ruined, only moved to another position in the whole.

Better idea of the mist blue-grey of the alpaca.

As long as I do not give up, I cannot fail. And the garment becomes richer with each attempt -- more full of emotion and that earnest little-girl need to get the present for Mommy just right. If I wake to find glue or construction paper in my hair, I won't be surprised.

Perhaps this is the image of myself -- for meditation or for simple reflection -- that will be the most productive for me. I am knitting life -- sometimes I can choose my materials; sometimes I must knit with what is at had. I can re-work, re-form, frog, and re-start, put in safety lines, count and recount, alternate needle sizes, and continue to play with pattern, form, and the fascinating play of color, texture, design, and accident. Knitting life is a verb/object combination for me, rather than the adjective-noun combo that the KR topic presumed. I feel I have so many fragments to knit up, ends to weave in. But there are techniques for this; it is a known and expected element of knitting, rather than an indication of poor choices or workmanship. Yes. Knitting life is what I want to do. I've done plenty of frogging. Now I must get back to casting on and picking up stitches!