Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

Hopes for 2016

As you read in my last post, 2015 was pretty meh. So, I’m hoping things will change in 2016. Here are my hopes:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better

What are your hopes for 2016?

Sweater and Other Things

I finally finished C’s sweater this past week – it only took 1.5 years. Yikes. I’m a slow knitter! This sweater had it in for me though. I had to rip it back a number of times…the last of which was right after I attached one of the sleeves and made a grave mistake involving lack of patiences, scissors, and it being past my bedtime.

Lesson learned: if something isn’t working as you’re about to go to bed, PUT IT DOWN, and look at it in the morning with fresh eyes.

In other news, E had his first day of senior kindergarten today. Now he’s the big man on campus (or at least in his classroom). He said he didn’t even miss me because he had friends around (I guess that’s a good thing, but thanks, kid!).

Lastly, I signed my first contract as a high school teacher! I’ll be teaching grade 11 math at a private school in town! I’m excited and nervous, but it sounds like it’ll be a good start to my career!

Pieces Come Together

Last update I had on my ongoing battle with the Penrose afghan, I was putting an extra section together because one was too small.

I set a deadline for myself to get it sewn all together for when my parents arrived on June 5th – mostly because my mom has been weaving in all the ends, and I didn’t want to lug the thing across the country at Christmas!

So, once I finished that last section (for the second time) I started putting the bigger sections together.

  Two sections.

 Three sections.
Five sections. 

Sewn together…still loose ends.

All done!!

IT’s DONE!!! It only took 3+ years! Special thanks to my amazing mom for weaving in every last end! That’s 2-3 ends for each little piece and more from sewing pieces together!

Now just to wait for cold weather to enjoy it (not that I’m wishing for that!! I’m happy to wait!).

Damnit!!

I have been working on this afghan for over three years now! So, when I started the last of the eight sections, I was pretty excited to be on the home stretch.

To see how it would look all sewn together, I laid out all the pieces and voila:

Fig. 1: All eight sections with 20 pieces each. 
Looks a bit funny there on the left side, doesn’t it? Well, that’s what happens when you take 3 years to knit something! The tension I use to knit has changed so much over that time that there is one piece (the first piece I knit) is way smaller than the others!
ARGH!! 
So, I’ll be re-doing another section! Thankfully, I’ve been knitting faster lately, and it shouldn’t take me too long. I better do it quick though, so my tension doesn’t change some more and I end up having to redo other pieces!

Lacking Focus

Note: not looking for advice or anything, just need to get this out!

Last time, I touched on that I’m feeling that my life is lacking focus, and it’s so true. There are just so many things on my mind and things going on that I sometimes just feel lost trying to keep up with it all.

Her’s a snapshot of what’s going around in my head:

Careers stuff
– Will I get into teacher’s college? If so, can we really afford it? Will I be able to be a student again? What about finding a job afterwards?
– What if I don’t get in, what will I do then? What kinds of jobs can I apply for with my background? Should I look into other certificate programs? If so, what and where, and how much will that cost? Would it be worth it?

Hobbies
(these things don’t actually stress me out – or else they wouldn’t be “hobbies” –  but just other things in my head while I’m making a list)
– Knitting: I really want to get this damn afghan done, and I want to work on Carter’s sweater. I’d also like to try a pair of socks. Oh, and I’m a bit bummed that the knitting group I started has been a bit slow.
– Reading: There are just so many books I want to read. Can I read them all at the same time? Plus $$ for books.
– Blogging: talked about this last time.
– Oh yeah, and I want to learn how to play the piano!

House stuff
– This house is not meeting our needs, and definitely won’t in a short time when Carter’s up and about.
– Do we want to stay in our house and renovate or move to another house that would meet our needs better?
– If we stay, what projects do we want to do? What’s a priority? What exactly do we want to do? How much will it cost? When can we do them?
– This house needs to be more organized! How much is that going to cost? When am I going to have the time to do that? What should I tackle first? What should I try to sell, or what should I donate or just trash?

Kid/Family Stuff
– Things to do while at home with Carter during the day
– What to do on the weekends to keep everyone happy and entertained
– When to put Evan back into part-time daycare
– When to start Carter in daycare
– Why is Carter waking up multiple times in the middle of the night, or waking up at 5am, and can we do anything about it? I’m guessing it’s just a phase…
– When should we start Carter on solids and I completely forgot how we did that with Evan, so I should figure that out soon…
– When will DH and I be able to spend any tine together just the 2 of us?

Oh, and don’t forget the random thoughts/flashbacks about the stroke (these are always fun). I sometimes wonder if I think about all these things, or want to do a million things, because my mind (and body!) was idle for a while?

Maybe there are just too many things going on right now, or maybe we’re just busy and getting used to being a family of four. Maybe I’ll feel better once I start school (if I get in) or get a job and have something that’s only for ME.

Knitting As Therapy

A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook the other day about how knitting can act as great therapy on many levels. This rings so true to me.

I started knitting in the last year of my PhD when I was rather depressed. It gave me something to do with my time to keep my mind off how terrible I felt my life was at the time. It gave me purpose and made me feel accomplished (a stark contrast with beating my head against the wall on a daily basis with my research). I will always credit knitting with getting me through – and beyond – that last year!

Since then, it’s been my go-to hobby. It keeps my hands busy, it works my brain,  it reduces my stress, and relaxes me. Finding new projects/patterns or learning new techniques excites me. I love the way I feel when I finish a project (even though it doesn’t happen too often!).

It’s been a large part of my stroke recovery too. It made me feel normal again, and made me realize I could do things I was able to do “before”. It let me feel like I could accomplish something that others told me I might not be able to do (so, I was able to say “screw that!”). It was the first thing to came to my mind when people asked me what I loved to do or what I wanted to get back to doing.

I love it so much, I created a knitting support group for new mom that just started this week! I even applied for a small grant to keep the group going!

If you’re looking for a new hobby that can reduce stress, that excites you, that taps into your creative side, and makes you feel accomplished, I totally and fully recommend knitting! Plus, knitters are some pretty awesome people too!

Lacking in Skills

As a reader of this blog, you’ll know that I knit here and there. I took it up during the last year of my PhD as a way to relax. I love and adore it. I like that it takes creativity and skill, and that you get a product at the end too. It suits me perfectly as a hobby – it gets my brain going, taps into a rarely used creative side, and it’s quite and solitary.

My skills are very basic at the moment. I can knit and purl and do other basic stitches based on those. I can do basic colour changes, but that’s about it. When I see things like this, or receive books like this, it makes me realize I am sorely lacking in the knitting skills department.

I really want to amp things up – either learning how to make things like socks or sweaters or shawls, or learn new techniques like colour-work, cables, or lace, or being able to fix mistakes. I’d like to feel confident enough to follow a more complicated pattern.

I do hold myself back from trying new things because I don’t want to fail. I know I can make decent looking things using my beginner skill set. and I enjoy it. I don’t want this nice, relaxing hobby to become frustrating. On the other hand, learning new things and improving any skill is always a good thing. Also, there are really no consequences for failing, are there? The only way to learn is to just try and see how it goes. So what if I have to pull out rows of stitches, or the whole project? It wouldn’t hurt anyone, that’s for sure! Just my pride a bit, maybe.

For the knitters out there: any suggestions on how to learn new techniques or some intermediate patterns to try out that aren’t too much a step up from beginner?

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