A Bit of Lace

I found a gorgeous crochet lace shrug pattern on Ravelry last week.  I mean, this thing was jaw dropping.  And everyone I’ve showed it to since agrees that it is fairly stunning.  Of these people, Caitlin agreed, and even asked for one.  This makes me happy, because Caitlin has been watching Ellette for some of my training days, and asked for no payment other than hand knits.  The hand knits she wanted – socks.

Now, we’ve already established that I’m not really a sock knitter.  I’ve made socks, for sure.  I want to try everything, but I don’t really like making socks.  I’d much rather shave my fingertips off or inflict silk burn on my spine than spend tedious hours churning out a pair of the knee high socks she covets.  And it made me feel like a terrible friend.  I should just suck it up and make her a pair of socks or two.  Instead, I’ve been hinting at other possible projects – scarves, arm warmers, etc.  So, when she asked for this, out of yarn she had previously purchased (for socks), I was ecstatic, and started as soon as I could.

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The pattern is not particularly difficult, it’s just not well written.  Following the charts is making more sense than the written instructions, which is saying something because me and crochet charts have a long and bitter history.  But, once I got over the fact that the designer and mathematics must have had an equally long and bitter history because the numbers just weren’t adding up, I was flying through the pattern. (And I ask here humbly that you forgo the “I-Told-You-So’s” if it turns out that I’m just an idiot who cannot add)

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I’m finished with the back and one armhole, which leaves one more arm and the neck edging, and it’s done!  Super easy, maybe 5 hours of work so far.  I’m going to wind another ball of fingering weight and take it on the plane on Thursday so I can work on one for myself in Austin.

Something Finished

I finished something.  I did.  There was moment when I wasn’t sure if I would because of the way the colors were pooling.  This is the perfect commuter project though, and I love the end result.

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Pooling is when colors start to group together in a project.  That happened here – in kind of an odd way.  If you look at this photo above, you will see three lines of rings.  I had no idea that colors were going to do this.  It just happened.  When it first happened, I was bummed, not sure what it was going to end up looking like.  After the second group formed, I rather liked it.  It adds some visual interest to an otherwise ordinary pattern.

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What’s really cool about this pattern – the main draw for me – were the loops at the edge.  I had been dreaming up something like this for awhile, but could never land the perfect idea.  Then, I found Clincher, and knew it had to be done.

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The skinny end of the scarf goes through the loops, making  an interesting scarf that doesn’t need to constantly be adjusted to stay put.

 

Sad to say, however, that I started something new.  The hood on Ellette’s sweater is just killing me.

Sunday in June

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Combining her two favorite activities.

At Which Point There Must be Change

Recently, I wrote about not having enough silly in my life, and making positive steps toward reclaiming the whimsy I was lacking.  I had gotten so wrapped up in making ends meet and doing the stable thing, that I had gotten stuck.  Like, really stuck.  And being stuck has always been the worst feeling in the world to me, worse than being bored, I think.  And I started hatching a plan.  Or rather, incubating the plan – it only hatched yesterday.

Yesterday, I put my two-weeks notice in at the office.  And, on June 12th, I will be hopping on a plane headed to Austin, Texas for a weekend.

Then begins the summer long adventure of teaching, traveling, and auditioning.  Spinning, spinning, spinning.

I have had a number of people approach me who think the years they have on me provides them with more wisdom – do it now, they say, do it while you are young and you can.  And it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut.  Age has nothing to do with the ability to travel and pursue your dreams.  I have the courage to take risks, and the inability to sit still for too long.  Given the groups of people I have acquainted myself with over the past 10 years, I have sufficient evidence against age and money being a factor that holds people back.  The only thing preventing you from taking a leap is the fear that you will fall.

This isn’t to say that I lack a fear of falling.    Recently, especially, as the time to take that leap of faith has drawn near, I have been fluctuating severely between an antsy desire to simply tear off without a goodbye, and the over powering anxiety that I have no clue what I’m getting myself into and what if it doesn’t work.

But this is a scenario I am familiar with.  I took a leap of faith having my child at the age I did.  The first time I lived on my own was also the first time I left the US, and gearing up to spend 7 months in a different country all alone was incredibly difficult.  Finishing college and deciding to jump into a van with some friends and join the circus – huge leap.  Moving to Chicago, another big jump.  I started jumping at age 16.  This anxiety and I – we know each other well.  I will freak out up until the point of no return, where I must sink or swim, and then I will take a deep breath and dive.  And lo, I will still come up for air, and all will be well.

Spinning

I have come to the realization that I have simply stretched myself too thin.  I lit the match and started burning the candles at every available wick and I’ve been suffering for it.  So, my blog hiatus was induced by forgetfulness because I simply could not keep up with my life.  This is hard lesson for me to learn, because I have spent the past couple years building the strongest friendships I could, throwing myself into this social group and experiencing as much as possible.  I’ve committed to projects for others and created double the projects for myself.  I’ve amped up the amount I’m teaching and training and I am still working 40+ hours a week at a “regular” job.  I have been creating so many new stories and experiences for myself, and the thought of reducing the amount of activity in my life, and thus reducing the number of new people I meet and new adventures I partake in, is such a sad idea that I could not bring myself to contemplate it.

But everyone needs to rest and reset.  When my mood took a swing for the worse because I could not keep up with my promises and my brain started sparking in overtime, I had to step back.  I’m wrapping up projects and forcing myself not to commit myself to new ones yet.  There are not enough crossed-off for me to feel balanced once again.

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At least one has been crossed off – the Lindisfarne shawl I traded for something (which I cannot remember now).  It was a pleasure to knit and was completed a few months ago, but it ended up in a project bag and tossed in the corner when it came time to blocking.  Eager to wrap it up and put it in the mail so I could free up brain space, I pinned it, steamed it, wove in ends, and shipped – then heaved a gigantic sigh of relief (wholly unworthy the small task that had laid before me).  It has been so long so I’ve crossed something off, I had forgotten how it felt to finish, that wave of accomplishment, the way the task suddenly drops off your list and you feel like you have so much time now.

And I did not start another project!!  I pulled out Ellette’s sweater, which I had abandoned when I came to the hood and it seemed to go on forever.  I think I put it aside because I was worried about running out of yarn – because knitting slower makes the yarn longer…. Like I said, clearly I need to free up more brain space.

The Knitting Must Continue

Over at the Chittery Chattery Swappee Swappers group on Ravelry, there is a knit-a-long titled “Open That Skein!”  The premise is that people have a tendency to hang on to things “for that special occasion.”  Most often, these things are nice bottles of wine (or in my case, whiskey), and items of that nature.  For knitters, it’s skeins of yarn.  We have a tendency to travel and seek out yarn stores in foreign lands, coming home with “souvenir skeins” that then sit in our stash for years upon years because, that skein from Denmark is really special and who knows when you’ll be going to Denmark again??  (I have a skein of laceweight that I purchased when we visited Denmark that is still sitting there; a) because I don’t usually work with lace and b) it’s from Denmark!)  So, rather than hoarding this “special occasion” yarn, we’re declaring it a special occasion now, and encouraging fellow knitters to cake one of those skeins!

So, my entry for Open That Skein is the sock yarn I dyed at Lorna’s Laces last November.  I’m knitting up Clincher, which is very similar to a design idea I had for holding cowls and scarves in place.  I’m knitting mine in straight garter stitch at a slightly tighter gauge, with the intention of wearing it at Burning Man this year and hopefully keeping out the average amount of dust.  Granted, if winds really pick up out there, this will not be sufficient.  But, for basic gallivanting, it should work.

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One of the things I love most about this pattern is that you start at the tiny end and increase to a certain amount of stitches, then do the loops to bind off.  This means, I can knit and knit and knit until I run out of my special yarn, thereby not wasting an inch!

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I’m totally in love with the yarn.  It’s soft and springy with a beautiful sheen.  The color I’m not sold on, I feel like the purple needs to pop more.  And the blue should be deeper.  But hey – it was my first time dyeing and because of that alone, the yarn is special to me.

And of course, right on target, the weather decides to spike.

Oh! Hi there!

I fell off the map, huh?

Things are getting a bit hectic over here.  I’ve been super busy prepping for my summer, for moving, for Lakes of Fire, etc.  Everything is about to happen for me, and the only I can keep myself from freaking the frak out is to put my head down and hyper focus.  I’m out in less than two months, but I started packing a month ago just to calm my nerves.

I had a minor heart attack when I had to drop my application in the mail.  I watched it slip away through the slot and had a moment of panic – do I really want to do this?  What will happen if I get rejected?  What will happen if I get accepted??  And then I had to remind myself that it’s in the mail now, and Hermes will see it safely to it’s destination and whatever happens beyond that is out of my control now.

People have been asking where I’m moving – and I just shrug my shoulders and say “I really don’t know,” with a smile on my face.  The smile isn’t all for show – a bit of me is very excited to be taking this gigantic leap of faith, and I love that, at least financially, I can stay afloat for a while.  Years of planning is coming to fruition.  Granted, there is a larger piece of me that is screaming and attempting to hit the brakes – HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING???

I’m pretty sure I would be mostly fine if it were just me.  Trying to prep a 9 year old for the whirlwind adventure that’s looming has been a bit difficult.  She’s all gung-ho about it, don’t mistake me – just trying to make sure she feels safe and secure (and is both) throughout the whole thing is added stress.  I have slept in airports and bus stations and gone hungry for a couple days at a time because I was poor and traveling.  Subjecting a child to that is a whole different story.

This past weekend, Gothee House hosted a fundraiser to get the camp materials, sound systems, and whatnots to Lakes of Fire and to a smaller extent Burning Man this year.  The fundraiser consumed much of my free mental space in the last couple weeks, and over the weekend I was experiencing dramatic fluctuations between giddy and raging mad.  The party happened, the shows were great, the merch sold, as did the booze, and the dancing was phenomenal.  Everyone was brilliant.

And, now I can take a deep breath and take stock of the wreckage.  What’s next?

I’m knitting up a storm, but have recently been so lackadaisical with my commitment that I’ve been a bit embarrassed to write about it.  Startitis?  Or trying to keep the sanity in check?

I’m still packing, but I’m hesitant to reveal the plans because – there aren’t any plans yet.

I’m just sitting here, just out of site, reciting to myself over and over again what needs to be done.  If I focus, I can get through it.

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