aswim in knits

Friday, January 25, 2008

the post in which I whine a lot and set forth several excuses and rants

I feel a long post coming on. You might want to fetch a beverage.

OK, settled down? Let's begin ...
(I've interspersed some knitting photos and updates along the way as a reward for your patience in reading the rest. Or at least pretending to read. )

• • •
(I'm adding some section headings, for the scanners out there...)

School started again last week. I'm taking classes #5 and #6 of the 8 I need to get my master's degree in Higher Education Administration. This semester seems like it will be more work than last, at least for the first several weeks. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.

I really like one of the classes, an elective course on student affairs. The professor is more of a facilitator than a lecturer, which is exactly what I like. Lecturing has its place, but I learn so much more -- and have more fun -- in classes with a lot of discussion. In addition to the readings and papers, I'll be doing a semester "field research" project on service-learning and community service programs in local colleges and universities.

The other class ... eh. It also has a lot of discussion, but with a very different vibe. More of the "did you do the reading" kinds of discussion topics rather than "what do you think -- let's grapple with this question" kind of discussion.

In fairness to the professors -- and other students -- I must admit that I have high standards. I expect a lot of stimulation. I want to be challenged. And, not unreasonably I think, I expect that students seeking a degree in higher education should have some interest in the intellectual community of a campus, and should want to engage in the commerce of ideas. As opposed to the classmate from last semester who said "I think it's unfair that part of our grade includes class participation. Some of us just don't like to talk about stuff." Sorry, sweetie, but you're in the wrong line of work. Luckily, my student affairs class has a lot of student that I do like :)

• • •

I finished some knitting this week! Thom now has a fine pair of Manly Mitts to keep his hands warm. These are knit in Lamb's Pride Naturespun yarn. Stranded knitting, worsted weight, knit smaller than 6 sts/in. He should be toasty warm. He likes them and has worn them several times (and even surrendered them one day so that I could take a photo in the daylight hours).

Manly Mitts

Details on Ravelry

• • •


Work has been busy. Nothing out of the ordinary, though, just an annual project that involves coordinating a grant proposal and a grant report with over 30 different people on campus, including several faculty members, a handful of fundraisers, a dean or two, some department heads, and the provost. Coordinating with faculty? Its like herding cats. Cats who have egos.

Some interesting possible career directions have surfaced recently. A conversation or two, nothing concrete. But, it's thrown me into a tizzy of re-evaluating my career path. I am simultaneously ambitious and complacent. It makes for some strange conversations in my head. But mostly, I am hesitant about change. It's easy to stand still, though I know that it's better to move ahead. Must think further, but not tonight.

• • •


95% complete

My Bird in Hand mittens are almost done, just one thumb to go.

What's that? You wanted to see the bird? Oh, ok.

flippin' the bird

I might redo the eye. It seems a bit large. Not as cute as Maryse's birds, but I like him. (It's a male bird. Not sure why, just is.)

• • •


I've been gripped by a serious case of indecision for the past month or two. I just cannot seem to make up my mind about anything.

I have $35 to spend at (gift certificate $). I should buy something for myself, but I could also save it in case I need to buy any more books for school. I want to get the Knitters Book of Yarn, and it only costs $20. So, I have another $15 to spend, and I'll throw in a little more if needed. What to get? There are so many books I want, but I can't choose.

Help me! Any good suggestions? I lean towards books that are technique heavy, or maybe something about stranded knitting. Oh, I know -- I want an Elizabeth Zimmerman book. Not Knitting without Tears, but any other one. Maybe that. Which one should I get?

• • •

Subtitle: No shit, Sherlock.

hat for Ava

Ravelry, of course

A baby hat for Thom's cousin's new baby. I'll probably make booties or socks to match. I love baby hats. They're like the potato chips of the knitting world.

• • •


I need to buy some yarn at Webs. I promised my dad a sweater as a father's day gift last year. He's asked for a gray cardigan, so I'm buying some Cascade 220.

I also need to buy some Ultra Alpaca for a winter accessories set -- scarf, hat, mittens. I told Lucia that I would test knit a scarf she's designing, and it will look fabulous in the subtle colors of Ultra Alpaca. I just can't decide which color!

ultra alpaca colors
Turquoise, Yucca, and Lavender

I'm leaning towards Lavender. What do you think?

• • •


I'm knitting some squares for a blanket for Elisa's dad. Washable wool. Started at lunch today.

square for Elisa's dad

Leftover yarn from my Thujas. Less pink, more red, than the photo shows. Square is also on Ravelry.

• • •


The indecision has crept further into my knitting life. I can't settle on a project. In addition to the square above, and a second ball of plain gray yarn for another square, I also found the following items in my knitting bag while at work today.

toting around

In the top left corner, we have the baby hat shown above, plus yarn to make matching booties. Plus yarn in other colors. You know, just in case.

Next, the Bird in Hand mittens. Because nothing says "mindless lunch knitting" like two-color mitten thumb in a non-repeating pattern, complete with embroidered detail.

Next to that, a skein of Manos. As if I had a skein winder in my back pocket.

On the bottom, starting at the left ... some ShiBui sock yarn. For which I have not yet picked a pattern. Then, some handspun. I've not swatched, or picked a pattern. I think these are my security blanket. When in doubt, hug the yarn.

Finally, in the 6th position, a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy, which has started its transition to becoming a pair of Vinnland socks. Except that I don't like them. The pattern is great, the yarn fantastic, not a speck of pooling. But, even at 9 sts/in, I want a firmer fabric. So, I think they will get ripped. But I'm just not sure. They could be fabulous. Should I knit just a little more before I decide?

I have enough yarn with me at work to survive the Armageddon. Or at least a blizzard.

• • •


I wish I did a better job leaving comments on all your posts. I am reading them, I just don't have the time to write much. I wish I wrote back to all of my nice commenters. I wish I could be more like Carole or Bertha or Chris or Phoe who all reply to every comment I leave for them! I wish I blogged more. See the School and Work section above for why I don't.

In the interests of maintaining sanity, I can only do so much. Know that I am reading when I can, and writing when I can. But, since this post has taken over an hour to write, I must now turn my attention to homework.

Thanks for listening, yo. It's been cathartic.

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  • I am currently working on a sweater for my daughter in the Ultra Alpaca. The color I'm using is called Prune Mix. It's fabulous - in some lights it looks purple and in others it looks brown and there is all sorts of little bits of other color in it. I really like your lavendar. (Not that I have anything against the other two colors either). Given that you are making accessories, I suppose I should ask what color is your coat? I love your mittens.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:25 PM  

  • Usually when people say that it's going to be a long post I am unconvinced because it's rarely very long, but this was long! Just what I needed to fill in the break I was taking from fixing my hat (ripped back to the row before the error, now I just have to carefully put the 84 stitches back on the needles, which I don't want to do. I hate putting stitches back on needles. Thank you for letting me procrastinate!)

    1. Thumb bird! So cute! I love him!
    2. I love both the lavender and yucca Ultra Alpaca. I'll be using Ultra Alpaca for my bird in hand mitts and I cant wait to work with it! Since you usually seem to gravitate towards green, maybe you should go with the lavender to mix things up a little.
    3. The Knitter's Book of Yarn is so great, among my favorite knitting books ever. I can't help you with the Zimmerman decision as I personally do not like her style of writing, but that is about me being a scaredy cat knitter who wants everything spelled out for them, nothing to do with her. I am sure she is a genius, I am not and thus I struggle mightily with her "guideline" type patterns.
    4. The only reason I reply to most of my comments is because I have a lot of downtime at work while I'm waiting for queries and other things to process. Usually anything that comes in on a friday after 4:00 doesn't get answered until the following week (tonight's the exception since it's procrastination night), and sometimes if I take too long to respond I feel stupid responding so I don't! I never even give a second thought to other bloggers not replying to my comments though! I don't expect to get a response unless I ask a specific question and even then I'm not really upset if I don't get an answer, I know how it goes. Blogging and all that goes with it need not be a chore.

    Shit, was that a long comment. I guess it matches the post! OK, I SUPPOSE I should get back to my hat now. Ugh. Have a nice weekend!

    By Blogger Bertha, at 9:37 PM  

  • Good luck with school yo.
    Mittens are great!
    You must have a big knitting bag.
    I wish I replied to all my commenters too-sigh.
    Ok, over and out.

    By Blogger Emily, at 10:38 PM  

  • Oh honey, I should've known that you were stressed and overwhelmed when I barely saw you today. Clearly your work-wife is a selfish bitch and needs to do more care and feeding. So ... how about some opinions?

    1) Faculty suck. arse. brilliant people. cranky cats. grrr. hiss.

    2) Stop thinking about the career path issues. There's nothing you can do until you hear more, and in the meantime, you're making yourself crazy.

    3) Indecision 1 -- there is no need to use that Amazon money right now. Put it in your jewelry box and forget about it for a month or two. Or give it to me and I'll put it in my desk and insert a tickler in my calendar to remind you in April. Or at the end of the semester? Or after your big presentation?

    4) If you're leaning towards Lavender, get it. See? Decision made. Check.

    5) Scale back on that knitting bag, yo. There is no need to be overwhelmed by the one thing that's keeping you sane right now. Keep the baby booties, the yarn for squares and the Dream in Color. If you're still unsure about the Vinnland, do one more repeat. It'll only take an hour or so and then you'll know for sure.

    6) You do a really good job of blog care and feeding. WAY better than me. Again, this is a hobby and a source of pleasure. Don't stress about it. We're all still here. We love you no matter how often you reply to our comments.

    If you must stress, which I know you must do, at least stress about the important things -- work, school, DH.

    Speaking of DH, go snag a quickie. Girl, you have some serious pent-up energy. He can help.

    (and I could use the $20 he promised me for saying that)

    By Blogger FemiKnitMafia, at 11:00 PM  

  • Hey - I'm single and not in school - I think I have more unobligated time than you do! :) No guilt on my account, please. Really - I'm darned amazed at how much you accomplish.

    Color choice - lavender. You're not surprised. Both sets of mittens look great!

    Um, I recently queued a really, really lovely pattern (not Vinnland) for Smooshy - you should check it out. Stunning.

    I like the Knitter's Almanac - which would still leave you with about $8 left to spend. Maybe something fun and light to read!

    By Blogger Chris, at 11:03 PM  

  • OMG, you are cracking me up! It's like the constant inner monologue in MY head!

    Hmm... I lost track of all the indecision (possibly because my head is full of my own!), but lavender, yes. I'm not a green kind of girl, so the choice was a no brainer for me.

    Your bird is very cute!

    I don't reply to all comments. Some seem like they're fun to reply to and others... I've got nothin'. And... with blogger you also get those no fun "noreply@..." addresses. I hate those.

    Mafia has a good point. Clean out your knitting bag and then go get her her $20. ;)

    By Blogger Jess, at 11:29 PM  

  • Thanks for the comment, didn't see it on the yarn post until today. sorry.

    By Blogger MamaMay, at 11:36 PM  

  • School: I hope your semester goes well. It wouldn't be worth it if it wasn't work :)
    Knitting: Love the manly mitts, bird in hand are lovely too (I think he looks like a white jay because he does have that right shape to his beak and top of his head, the eye fits). Test knitting- lavender for sure with turquoise running a close second if you will be the one wearing the scarf. Socks- sounds like you already know what you want to do.

    By Blogger Julie, at 4:30 AM  

  • Deep breath...your work-wife has some good advice up there.

    Don't create stress for yourself over silly fun things like how to spend free money or what color of delicious yarn to buy - those are the things that help make the real things to worry about bearable!

    By Blogger Pumpkinmama, at 6:57 AM  

  • Listen to The Mafia, honey. She's a smart one. Oh, and I like the lavendar, too. Please remember that I have grown (mostly) kids and a job I can do in half the time they expect me to put in. I do lots of blogging at work. Yo.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 7:40 AM  

  • Geez girl, I think you need a the very least. Books....I love knitters book of yarn, great info, cute patterns TONS of stuff. Buy it. Love it. Also, I've been thumbing through "2 at a time socks" lately. The technique is interesting and some really cute patterns. And finally, listen to Mafia.....she makes excellent points.

    By Blogger Meghann, at 7:58 AM  

  • Mafia gave you good advice. Take it. Especially that one she got paid for. No need to get back to me ... I don't always comment either. This is only a break between knitting my multi-WIPs.

    By Blogger Rhonda the Stitchingnut, at 8:21 AM  

  • Don't stress over the knitting and blogging. Hobbies are things that help us enjoy the "extra" time in our life so choose whatever lets you relax. Don't worry about responding to every comment, just enjoy reading them.
    I personally would have hopped all over some knitting books through amazon, but you are much less impulsive than me.
    Smile, relax and enjoy your weekend!

    By Blogger pigbook1, at 10:12 AM  

  • Ooof, that was long! I like the thumb bird, I think the lavender is best and I think that breathing deep is the most important thing I can recommend. As for replying to comments, I have a lot of time on my hands. You don't so no worries!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:59 PM  

  • No more good advice to add, but I do like the lavender.

    By Anonymous Pi.Grrrl, at 11:10 AM  

  • believe it or not, i don't hear a lot of whining in that post :) just some indecision. unfortunately i don't have any answers for you! i know that they will come with some hard thought.

    By Blogger gleek, at 11:12 AM  

  • We all (except maybe Carole) wish we were better about the blogging/commenting/answering thing. I certainly do.

    I do the indecision thing too. I say "when _____ happens I'll do _____/decide about ____," which we all know is a lame excuse. Also human nature.

    By all means go with the lavender. Do you want me to design a hat and mittens too, or is that a different project? (I just put a mitten pattern up. Maybe I shouldn't tell you that.)

    By Blogger Lucia, at 8:32 AM  

  • Dude, I am seriously tired just reading all the stuff you've got going on right now.

    As much as I understand the desire to be "better" about commenting and/or replying to comments, the thing is, blogging should be enjoyable, and if leaving comments or responding to every comment you get starts to feel like a chore or an obligation, then it loses some of its joy. So, y'know, don't worry about it. :)

    I must say, too, that I am astounded by the amount of knitting you've got going on. I've slowed to a snail's pace with my knitting, and I am DEFINITELY not as busy as you.

    I did want to throw in a "me, too" regarding the higher education thing. I have always had very high expectations of both my professors and classmates, and was always amazed when my fellow English majors either didn't like to read (?!?) or didn't like to write (!?!). Harumph. I know I would have loved having classes with you!

    By Anonymous elisa, at 2:04 PM  

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