Too much!

Posted in planning by tchemgrrl on January 29, 2012

I used to be so organized. Two big Rubbermaid tubs held all of my craft supplies except the one at-home project I had going, which sat in my knitting bag. Another project was in my out-and-about bag. Occasionally I had a stalled project, or a pair of mittens lacking thumbs, but for the most part I kept the unfinished projects to a dull roar, except for a few temporary situations like when I was defending. Within a month or so of finishing, though, all those project were finished.

But then I had and lost a pregnancy, and had couple of months where I said to myself “Oh, hell, I’m going to go easy on myself and just work on whatever makes me happy.”

Then I had and kept a pregnancy, and I said to myself “Oh, hell, I’m going to go easy on myself and just work on whatever crafting whim makes me happy.”

Then I had a baby, and moved house, and I said to myself “Oh, hell, I’m going to go easy on myself and just work on whatever little idea makes me happy.”

Things were a little sloppy at this point, but the various half-knit or half-spun projects were, at least, contained.

And then I got some lovely fiber for Christmas. And I won some fiber in a raffle at Roc Day. And then my mom found some lovely fiber and got it for me because she thought I’d like it. (And I do!) And then I actually looked around and took stock of what I’ve got, and I found that no, actually, noodling around with whatever idea I find compelling that day is not a way to make me happy long-term. It’s a cycle in which I pick up something new and fun because all the half-done projects are stressing me out, thereby creating another half-done project to stress me out. And stress over my fun hobby is never a good thing.

So, it’s cleanup time. Time to condense some projects down, time to wind the little leftover bits into nice neat balls and put them away until an idea presents itself, time to ply a bunch of orphaned singles, time to work on the stash until it actually fits in its containers without any cheating.

Here’s the list.

First, the partly-complete projects that I can finish with a ridiculously small amount of work (links go to Ravelry project pages):

1-A big loose black ribbed hat for my uncle. Just need to weave in the ends and wash it. (This is actually a recent project, it hasn’t been sitting around for months with its ends hanging out.)

2-Hooded baby sweater for baby C, which went undone for a while because I needed to spin more yarn, then because I couldn’t find a good zipper. Got the zipper now, just need to do it.

3-Baby sweater for baby J. I must admit that I knit this for T, was waiting until he was born to add buttons, and then never did (and he never wore it.) But a friend just had a new baby, and I bought some buttons. Ready to go.

4-Spindle project, 4 ounces of handdyed BFL, spun as a 3-ply DK weight, started at Hemlock last year while working in my friend’s booth. Starting my effort to finish stuff, I finished the fiber yesterday, now the plying is in progress. As a bonus, I’m mixing plies with some other leftover singles, so I’m getting rid of even more half-complete spinning.

5-Wheel project, with two 2-ounce batts I got at Roc Day. 3-ply worsted weight yarn, two bobbins of singles already spun up. Should only take a free night or two to finish.

6/7-Mittens and hat for the little guy, which were already too small when I finished knitting them on his birthday. But I can weave in the ends and put them in the gift pile, they’d be great for some other toddler that’s not as enormous as T is.

8/9-Calorimetry and Wavy are actually done, but I pulled them out to wash and wrap them shortly before Christmas and they each had one small hole in them (looked like either a moth or carpet beetle, but they were nice enough to not turn them to Swiss cheese.) Just enough damage to put them in the “not so much fun” pile, but this is so silly, I have a needle threaded with the appropriate yarn to fix them and just haven’t done it yet. Another thing for the gift pile.

10-My plan for these convertible mittens was to make the convertible part removeable by putting a button on them. They’re still lacking the button–in fact, T’s been using the mitt parts as mittens recently because he outgrew another pair besides the ones I knit for him (big hand boy). But we got him some proper mittens now, so I can take my mitts back and put on the button. I set the buttons aside…somewhere, so I just need to find them.

Projects that have significant time put into them, but will need more significant time to finish:

11-Fine yarn spindle project, which I keep putting off because I’m not a huge fan of the fiber. It’ll be a 3-ply light fingering weight when done, and I think I have 3 ounces of fiber and 1/3 to 1/2 already spun up.

12-Sweater spinning project, which makes me sad because the sweater’s for J and I should be better about doing stuff for him than that. 3-ply DK weight, 6-8 ounces into a 2 pound project.

13-Some socks in Jitterbug that I think I need to frog quite a ways, after getting to the heel gusset on the first foot. I started them while pregnant and, pro tip: Don’t knit yourself socks when you can’t see your feet and ankles, which are swollen anyways. They’re huge.

14-Geography Bee shawl, which is silly because I love that yarn, and loved where the pattern was going, but I hit a minor design block and set it aside forever, basically. Time to get back on that horse.

15-Some nice fiber I got as a gift for Christmas and started noodling with. 3-ply worsted weight, no long-term plan, this will probably be another out-and-about spindle project.

16- Some cashmere that was part of my learn-the-charkha project. Poor little underused charkha, I still love you. And I love that cashmere, too! Should be a 2-ply laceweight.

17- Some samples for an article for the guild newsletter. Just have a couple more.

Projects that are still basically at the very beginning, but which I have, by some definition, started:

18-I swatched and cast on for the V-Yoke cardigan from a not-too-distant Interweave. And then I needed to do some math to make sure I had everything right, and never got back to it. I still love it, so I’d like to have that be my next serious project.

19-I have some yarn and fiber together to make some thrummed mittens for T that will actually fit him. I cast on about a week ago, the yarn is sitting next to my nightstand.

20- Curtains for T’s room. I already did one set, and the fabric is sitting on the sewing machine, yet they haven’t sewn themselves yet! What the heck.

21- Not a craft project, really, but when I finish all these bits and pieces off, it’s time for me to go through the craft bag, and the craft basket, and the other craft basket, and organize all the bits and pieces, at least to make sure that there are no other horrors lurking. I have a nice dedicated craft storage space now, it’s time to make it a place I want to spend time in and not a pile of random fluff and stringy bits.

22/23-Cross stitch projects. These guys I don’t mind having in the long-term, when-I-feel-like-it pile, just because if I work on them too intensely it bothers my wrists and I need those things for all the other things I do in my life. They can stay, the rest have to go.

So! That is a ridiculous number of undone projects. Time for a plan.

The reason most of these have stalled is because they have some element that requires more focus than can be achieved on the bus. So I’ll work through all the ones that fall under that heading when at home. I’ll work on the ones I can on the bus (that would be, hmm. 4, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 18 once I do some math). Barring any fiber emergencies, I’ll only work on these projects until I clear a space in one project “heading” (i.e., home knitting project, home spinning, non-home knitting, non-home spinning), and only then can I start in on another one, but only under that heading, and ideally not even then until I’m totally out of home or travel projects.

We’ll see how that goes. The inclusion of the barely-started projects gives me an element of novelty, while there are enough things on there that just need a night or two of attention that I should be able to reduce the list considerably in just a week or so. I mean, really. Buttons? Repairing holes? Weaving in ends? I’m so much better than that.

Conversations with my son

Posted in Uncategorized by tchemgrrl on January 7, 2012

Theo: Moo.
Me: No cows here, sweetie. We’re playing with blocks.
Theo, more pointedly: Moo.
Me: (looks around) *Is* there a cow on a picture book or something? I don’t see one.
Theo: Moo!
Me: I’m sorry, I know you’re trying to tell me something but I don’t know what you’re saying. Do you want to play with your farm puzzle? That has a cow on it.
Theo: (Picks up a block–a yellow half-circle–and waves it at me.) Moo. (Holds it over his head, with a “duh, lady” look on his face.) Moo!
Me: (thinking it cannot possibly be) Are you trying to say Moon? Like Goodnight Moon?
Theo: (HUGE smile, finally the dumb lady figured it out.) Moo!

I’m kind of in shock, over here. Hard to explain why–it’s more than just the fact that he knows the word “moon”, which I hadn’t realized. I guess it’s that, while he has a few words now, they’ve all been used in very rote types of situations.

In high chair + do not want to be in high chair anymore? “Daah!” (“done” or “down”, we’re not quite sure).
Picture of cat anywhere? “Meow!”
Presence of jar of bubble liquid, or bubbles? “BUH-buh!”

But this is entirely another thing. We haven’t talked about moons much, except for the hundreds of iterations of Goodnight Moon (he mostly likes to read up to the page about the kittens so he can meow, then closes the book and starts at the beginning again so he can meow). We weren’t talking about the blocks looking like other things, just building towers, knocking them down, and putting them on our heads as a goof. As far as I know they haven’t talked about moons or used building blocks at daycare. And suddenly a couple of synapses happen to fire at the same time and out comes “moon”. (Well, sort of.) He’s starting to be able to synthesize all the information around him and communicate in ways that have not been previously defined for him. And that’s super amazing.

I love this kid so much.