Monday, December 3, 2012

Frogging in the Dark

As part of my 31 Days of Stash Burning, I came across 2 little balls of Knit Picks Comfy Worsted, one in whisker (silver) & one in peony.  We have friends who just discovered that they are having a little girl this coming May & immediately thought - baby sleep sack!  I love to knit/crochet sleep sacks, baby bags, whatever you call them & I have a slew of them in my Ravelry gallery. And from the moms & dads who’ve received them, they love them, too, so this project is a win-win.
My FIL was involved with a community group performing the Messiah last night.  This group was comprised of singers from several different area churches, a small orchestra and they brought in professional soloists.  As it turned out, the bass soloist was a friend from my days singing at ONU - a fabulous baritone.  Between the church friends singing & knowing I would enjoy at least one of the soloists, the hubs & I put it on the calendar.
Knowing that I had a few hours of sitting ahead of me and being inspired to do more KIP (knitting in public), I thought - baby sleep sack! Now! So I rewound the balls from my stash (as they had gotten quite sloppy sitting in my worsted weight bin which should have been my first warning sign), grabbed my size 8 circs, and hopped in the car.  I’ve used KP Comfy before for a few baby projects and have always been really happy with the outcome.  One of my favorite ones can be seen here.
When I cast on, I remarked to the hubs that this yarn felt very slick, more than I remembered.  I joined in the round & finished one row before they dimmed the lights for the performance.  Having been a musician for so long, I’ve sung the Messiah several times and could sing most of the choruses in my sleep.  The sheen of the yarn, I thought, was going to come in handy, as I knit my way through the first few aria/chorus combinations.  I looked down between two numbers and realized there was almost a half an inch gap at the beginning of every row.  The culprit?  The yarn was so slick that it slipped apart while I carried the color up the inside of the work. WHAT?!  My tension is so tight when I knit that I normally go up 2 needle sizes, and sometimes go up a yarn size to make gauge without knitting a mesh garment.  I’ve /never/ had something like this happen.  So I slid my circ out of the work, reposted before the first color change & frogged about 4 inches of knitting, accompanied by Handel’s Pastoral.  It could have been worse.
I succeeded in reposting, which I hadn’t done before; normally I just pull the needles out, frog & whine.  But since it’s inappropriate to whine during the Messiah (much like it’s inappropriate to whistle or hum along with the soloists or conduct the orchestra from their chair, but that’s for a different blog post), I reposted and tried again.  When I realized that there was no way that I could twist & carry my other color & keep enough tension, I calmly decided to commit a knitting sin: I tied knots.  Knots are a sacrilege among knitters, as they inhibit the natural movement of the yarn while you’re wearing the garment.  Being as I don’t want little baby fingers getting stuck in these holes, the yarn doesn’t need to move/stretch/flex, etc.  I happily knitted & knotted my way through the second half.  
When I arrived home, I decided to let the sack sit & see if the knots will hold. If they hold, great.  If they don’t, I’ll have to frog again, find another yarn that will work for this baby gift & attempt to find different project for the slickest batch of Comfy ever produced.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


"Mom, you don’t need to look at your Ravelry queue when we could go for a walk."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Crash & Burn (my stash)

I’ve been on a Tumblr hiatus recently. Honestly, I kinda forgot I had one. It’s not personal, Tumblr. It’s not my fault. We’re gonna blame it on the concussion.
At the end of September, I was in a car accident. Everyone walked away, which was great. The cars were replaced (I was a passenger, so that wasn’t my hassle to deal with). I did learn the hard way that you can get one hell of a concussion and never lose consciousness.
Said concussion led to all the usual unsavory side effects, as well as lots of drama with my new employer. Hopefully that’s behind us now. I just returned to working full days in the office before Thanksgiving, and those are still mentally & emotionally exhausting. It could have been worse, though.
The challenge with an injury like this is that you look healthy. Physically, I looked fine. Within a week or two, I was interacting with people like normal. Only people who spent extended amounts of time with me still noticed that I wasn’t myself. The hubs attributes this to ‘a highly refined set of coping skills.’ (I’m taking it as a compliment.) Because I ‘seemed’ okay, people didn’t understand that mentally, I was still struggling. I’m still not sleeping all that well & the frequent headaches now that I’m back at work are beyond old. I’m just kind of accepting it as my new normal and dealing the best that I can.
The hardest part of this whole experience was not being able to be productive. It’s annoying when physically you feel okay, but mentally, you don’t even trust yourself to follow directions on a recipe. I messed up even the most basic things for a while (who really needs deodorant every day? Um, this girl…) I’ve been blessed with smarts and common sense and for the first time, things that made sense when I first thought them weren’t right. And while I knew they weren’t right, I couldn’t figure out what was not right about them. Pair all that with the common hormonal imbalance that can follow a concussion (literally, your endocrine system can get knocked out of adjustment) and you’ve got a recipe for a mild depressive episode.  I’ve resisted, but it’s been a true challenge.
Not being able to do anything creative didn't help the mental challenge at all. Fairly quickly, the hubs’ mom (who is a doctor) suggested that I do some knitting. Just nothing too crazy. What fellow knitters would call ‘TV knitting’, meaning that you can knit while looking at the TV, not looking down watching & counting every stitch. Thank goodness I listened. The muscle memory kicked in, it didn’t cause a headache & I was accomplishing something every day. Knitting saved my mental state!
Now that things are returning to quasi-normal, the knitting has kicked back into gear. I won’t be doing much gift knitting this year, as I’m disastrously behind schedule. Since I’m not worried about gifts, I’m deeming December as 31 Days of Stash Burning. I’m scouring Ravelry looking for projects that I can bust out in a relatively short amount of time (while of course still working on a sweater or two in the background) with the smaller lots of yarn in my stash.
December will be a month of cowls, shawls, maybe some lace, mittens, gloves and socks. Yes, @Prajna Mama, socks. I’ve got lots of things queued up on Ravelry. I’ll be tagging things finished during this binge #31DaysofStashBurning & I’m rearing to go!! All these 1 & 2 skein yarns, bought with an idea but never quite coming to fruition or bought on an impulse & the justification that I’ll find the perfect project for this lovely little yarn, be gone!!
Besides, I have to make room for all the yarn I bought on Cyber Monday. :)