Making Time

I’ve often posted about time-management before. Whenever I’ve posted recently, my focus has been about trying to find time to progress my knitwear design ideas. I thought it might be useful if I posted about how I’ve recently managed to incorporate knitwear design into my day. It was nothing short of making time.

Where ideas germinate...

Where ideas germinate…

One of the things I’ve figured out is time. Over the years I’ve tried different a approaches to getting tasks done such as Flylady, HabitHacker or Pomodoro Technique. Each to them advocates setting a timer for a specific length of time and working on it until the timer goes off.

Flylady’s motto is “you can do anything in 15 minutes”. When your 15 minutes are up you take a 15 minute break. Habit Hacker recommends two 11 minute sessions – one to pull something apart and the next to put it all back together again – with an eight-minute break afterwards.

Both of these shorter time periods are ideal for tackling chores about the house. If I was trying to get stuck into a longer task in work I used Pomodoro Technique. The time period for this technique, a Pomodoro, is 25 minutes long with 5 minute interval breaks. After four Pomodoros (i.e. two hours) you’re meant to take a longer break of 20 minutes.

After trying all of these strategies I’ve eventually progressed to a personal system of time-keeping, based on 12-minute time slots. I do what I call a brain dump and list out – in no particular order – all the tasks that are vying for attention in my head. Then I’ll assess the list to prioritise the tasks in terms of how important and/or urgent they are.

Finally, I assess the prioritised tasks for how long I think each will take – in multiples of 12 minutes. In this way, I can quickly assess how many tasks I can get done in a given time. If I only have an hour but I have five high priority tasks I know I can only spend on average 12 minutes on each. Or perhaps I’ll allow 48 minutes for something that requires more focus then I’ll take a break by doing something else for 12 minutes. This is currently how I organise my workday.

Adopting this method was very helpful in figuring out how my daily morning routine could be adapted to incorporate some time for knitting design. I determined a logical sequence for my morning routine tasks from when I got up until I left for work. By dividing the time into 12 minute slots, and assigning each slot activities from this sequence, I automatically became more focused on where my time was going. In turn this meant that by getting up only a little earlier I was able to fit in a 48 minute session for me to focus on designing.

Excerpt from my bullet journal

For Time it is a precious thing…

Rather than have timers going off constantly throughout the morning I have a mental timetable of what I should be doing at specific times. As a result my morning routine looks like this:

6:00 get up, use bathroom
6:12 load the washing machine from previously sorted clothes baskets
6:24 have breakfast
6:36 knitting design session begins
7:24 buffer slot: make a cup of tea / wake any kids not yet up
7:36 ablutions, dress for work
8:00 fold the laundry hanging to dry; hang the load just washed
8:24 cajole the kids to get their shoes and coats on for school
8:36 drive to work to start my full-time job.

I’ve been doing this for the past six weeks and it’s being working really well for me. It’s only thanks to this focus on time that I’m now able to sit down and knit design swatches and figure out details of the designs that have been buzzing around my head for years! As a result, I was able to send a design submission to Knitscene three weeks ago and I’m about to send a different design submission to another print magazine in the morning.

If I hadn’t taken the time to get to grips with time I would never have found time to make time.

Do you think this approach would work for you? If you have time-management tips and tricks to share I’d love to hear them.

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Taking Charge

Time-management guru, Alison Mitchell, has a wonderful exercise in her book “Time Management for Manic Mums” to demonstrate her “Wine Bottle Theory of Time Management”. You get a jug and try to fill it with apples, blueberries, caster sugar and wine.

  • The apples represent the urgent and important tasks, the things you have to do or you’ll get bitten in the ass like going to work, paying bills or feeding kids.
  • The blueberries represent important tasks but there’s no urgency – doing them will save you time in the long run like setting up a system for making sure bills get paid on time. For me, following through on publishing patterns is in this category.
  • Then the caster sugar represents tasks that are important to, or urgent for, someone else – in my case that’s housework. I do it because I know it makes DH happy when it’s kept on top of, but it would be low on my priority list otherwise.
  • And then there’s a bottle of wine – ah… wine! It represents all the things I’d rather be doing like crafting, twitter, Ravelry – than the important things I should be doing.

You get the idea: if we fill our jug / day with wine or caster sugar first we’ll struggle to get the important apples and blueberries in there. If you put the apples in first the smaller items of lesser importance will fill in around the gaps.

Case in point: this morning, instead of washing the floors as I’d planned, I played with an Excel spreadsheet of my stash that I’d exported from Ravelry. Naturally, the floors did not get washed at all as my “wine” task took over my time.

Playing with my stash spreadsheet is a favourite game of mine as I try to plan my next knitting / crochet project based on maximising how much stash I’ll use up. With almost 74 kilometers of yarn to work through it’s an understandable obsession.

This week is my first of 10 weeks of parental leave (hence all the blogging action!). For six of those 10 weeks, we will be living in the south of France so I was developing my knitting plan around working with cotton and linen to cope with the heat. In fact I bought a new project’s worth of linen with this plan in mind when I was at La Droguerie in Paris last week. This is the logic that has me struggling with 74km of yarn!

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Haul from La Droguerie, Paris

However, rather than a stash-dive being my usual exercise in choosing “wine” over “caster sugar” this morning it turned into an “apple” moment as a realisation dawned on me…

You may have noticed the “current status” of my two design ideas in my last post was “stewing”. If you recall my previous blog-post “Potential” I had challenged myself to publish an average of one pattern per month for the next year. I wrote that in November 2013. So where are the seven or so new patterns designed by me?

Sadly, still in my head!

And here’s the why: I’ve been busy! The wrong kind of busy – I’ve been filling my jug/time with going to work; looking after the kids and house; knitting or crocheting; working through stash… or teachers’ presents… or items to enter in the local horticultural show. I’ve allowed myself to be so “Busy” with busy-ness of everyday things I’ve avoided the the business of being a designer: knuckling down, swatching and sketching, pattern-writing and testing.

Rather than fill my 10-week-carafe with delicious French wine and come back from France with three new cotton or linen sweaters and several dishcloths, I’m taking charge of my pitcher to pick some juicy “blueberries” from my stash to swatch with instead:

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It’s all in my head…

65km for Crumlin

Last time I spoke with you I was preparing for the Flora Women’s Mini-marathon on the June Bank Holiday weekend. That was a 10k race that I was taking part in to raise money for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin. What I didn’t mention is that the 10k was part of 65k I decided to run for the Charity this year.

It all started with a friend of a friend of mine mentioning her training for a half-marathon. Despite the fact that she said it nearly killed her, it put the notion in my head. Combined with the realisation that neither my sister or my niece (her daughter) could run the Mini-marathon this year, I decided I should up-the-anti for myself a notch: I should run a half-marathon!

Every year as part of the training schedule for the Dublin Marathon the organisers run a race series in the Phoenix Park. Starting at 5 miles and finishing with a half-marathon, the race series is run over several months and the distances tie in with typical training schedules. I decided I would run all of the races in the race series – 5 miles, 10k, 10 miles & half-marathon. Combined with the Flora 10k it totalled 65k spread over 5 races.

Off to a bad start

The Women’s Mini-marathon went well – I ran it one second faster than last year. 10k down, 55 to go! However, on the eve of the 5k race I came down with a mad stomach bug. Now, I never get sick (thank goodness) so the uncontrolled vomiting and diarrhoea threw me as much psychologically as it did physically! Enough said already… Though I felt recovered by morning, DH threatened to sit on me if I tried to go in to the race.

Triumph to Misery and back again

Because of this unexpected set-back my bid to complete the remaining 55k of my 65k challenge couldn’t get underway for another 3 weeks. In the spirit of a picture says a thousand words may I save myself a lot of typing, and you a lot of reading by presenting you with this:

Yes, action-shots of me running – more specifically (from left to right) during the Fingal 10k, the Frank Duffy 10 mile and the Half-marathon.

I ran the Fingal 10k with my knitting buddy, @orlamcgann. It was her first time to run this distance and I was very proud to do it with her.

I ran the Frank Duffy 10 miles after coming back from holidays in France and – more importantly – after not being able to get out for a run in two weeks. As the picture shows, I had a fairly miserable time of it! Before I had even gone halfway my feet started aching. My hips started giving me grief around 7 miles and when I had been running for 1 hour & 40 minutes I tried to walk for five minutes instead. In fact, I was worse off when I tried to run again and I struggled over the line after 2 hours and 5 mins. (2:04:37 was my official time).

I learned from my mistake and before I ran the Half-marathon I put in a few 2-hour running sessions and I got on fine (i.e. was not a crock during or after). Surprisingly, I got a cramp in my calf after only one hour of running. I had another 8 miles or 90mins of running to go and I felt quite panicked. I pulled in and stretched; I walked for a few minutes; I even changed my running style back to striking with my heel first. Mostly, I just gritted my teeth, reminded myself there were kids in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, who would love to walk, let alone run; and I kept ploughing on towards the finish line. I even managed to look like I was smiling for the camera (though it may be the gritted teeth). I made it in 02:34:39, which amazed and thrilled me!

To make up for missing the 5mile race in the Phoenix Park Race Series I signed up for a 5 mile race in the Docklands on 30th September. This was a really well organised race AND FLAT! and I thoroughly enjoyed it. DH’s cousin was running the 20mile race that day i.e. he ran four laps of the course I ran. After I had run a mile or so we passed each other, going in opposite directions – he was nearing the end of his third lap. Before I had even reached the halfway point of my lap he over-took me!! A month later he ran the Dublin Marathon in 03:09:33!!! He only took up running a year ago! *grumblegrumble* And before you try to console me that maybe he has an advantage of age, he doesn’t. He does have longer legs than me – which wouldn’t be hard.

Thanks for reading all about my adventures as I followed through on my self-imposed challenge. I’d like to remind you that it was all for a worthy cause: the Crumlin Medical Research Fund (and not, actually, about what I have gained emotionally or physically!). If you have sent them a donation thank you so much – it makes the effort worthwhile. I really appreciate it.

If you haven’t had a chance yet to sponsor me, here’s the link again: http://www.cmrf.org/sponsorshipPage/show/1055

Remember, I run for charity so that you don’t have to !!! 🙂

Procrastination

It may amuse you to know that I decided on the name of this blog post a week ago. Yet… here I am… only getting to it now!

You may also not be surprised to learn that when I was reading the book “Time Management for Manic Mums” I got stuck on the chapter that dealt with procrastination.

Yes, somehow, Procrastination and I are long-time, close companions and I can’t say that I feel much benefit from the relationship. Today, I am attempting to get the upper hand by using it as a theme and thereby – perversely – as a motivation to tackle this long-outstanding blog-post.

WIPdown

Petals Wrap and the Hideous Dress of Wrong are Procrastination’s best allies and despite taking Petals with me on a week away after Easter I haven’t done much to make a dint in either WIP.

‘nuf said!

StashDown

It’s acutally surprising how reticent I’ve been on my blog in the past month because I’ve accumulated no less than four FOs!

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    Spring-time

  1. Spring as Spun – you may remember me finishing off the yarn for this in the previous post. While I procrastinated about making the yarn for months, and then about plying it for a few more months, making it into an FO took only two days. I cast-on on March 19th and was casting-off the following evening. I made 198 yds. of Heaven and had literally only enough yarn. Though I enjoyed making it, and I’m delighted with the FO, I do think the yarn would have been better used in a faux-fair-isle project of some sort: the colour changes were so delicate, and my decision to nav-ply the yarn so that these subtitles would be preserved, meant the yarn could have worked very well in colourwork with a strong contrast colour. [Yarn knit = 184m]
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    Lesser Spotted Socks

  3. Golf socks – after my last post (mid-March), I realised my mother’s birthday was fast approaching in early April. She has been a happy recipient of my knit-wear in the past so I decided on a quick pair of socks: Golf Socks from the book Socks, Socks, Socks in Austermann Step. I started them on March 24th and finished them on April 3rd – just in time to post them off for her birthday. The hand of this yarn is great, infused as it is in Jojoba and Aloe Vera but I didn’t care much for the measley-look of the colourway. However, my mother pronounced my workmanship as fantastic and – I think – was delighted with the idea of handknit socks especially for her golf-obsession. [Yarn knit = 210m]
  4. 3 wombs – suffice to say that after much jiggery-pokery (no pun intended) I finally managed to find someone in the US willing to receive my wombs and pass them on to “worthy” public representatives. Much thanks to Elise Cohen, one of the moderators for the Ravelry Group government free v-jj, for hooking me up (pun intended) with Laura Hirsh of Day Spa & Gift Boutique, Sierra Madre, CA. I believe Laura has put one on display in the window of her business to raise awareness of the effort. I’ve promised her a more-carefully-crafted womb in a chunky yarn (to make it larger) for her to put on display instead. [Yarn knit = unknown!]
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    Sisters! Doin' it for themselves!


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    Pheasant Enough

  6. Multnomah – I started this (I don’t remember why) in early March and put it away again after a day when I realised that deadline-knitting was looming. I was on holiday for a week after Easter Sunday in West Cork and brought this project with me. It was a good choice since most of my knitting time was also chatting time and there would have been no way I could have focussed on the Petals Wrap, which I also brought. I finished it a few days after returning to Dublin. I had some struggles with the cast-off but all worked out well in the end. [Yarn knit = 373m]
I’ve managed to de-stash at least 767m of yarn – more if I knew how much yarn I’d used in the wombs!

Lacealong2012

My last post contained images of me wearing Shrug for Blue Dress and my concern about whether it fit. I was persuaded by commenters, here and on twitter, that it does so I have determined to extend the sleeves with the remaining 14g of Malabrigo Yarn Lace. I’m using the ribbed lace chart in the pattern for now; and intend to finish off with the scalloped lace chart when I have only a gram or two of yarn left.

12in12

So between Multnomah and Spring As Spun I’m now up to three shawls this year. Considering we’re nearing the end of the fourth month I am a little behind. My next shawls will both be for my children’s teachers. I just need to decide what they might like – colour-wise, especially – and what yarn I have in my stash to sufficient quantities. One teacher likes green, apparently – DD asked her straight-out what her favourite colour was and then pretended she was doing a survey of how many people in the class liked green. MC advises his teacher wears the colours of France, which I take to mean the French Flag. All I have gathered is that her coat is black and that she has, on occaision worn a red hat or a blue hat.

I had initially thought about Haruni by Emily Ross but this requires more skeins than I have available. I liked Gingko too but on closer inspection I wonder if it’s not just another version of Ishbel. Nothing wrong with that, really, but I do like to try new ideas rather than variations on a theme.

I’ve been doing a bit of drilling through Ravelry’s database, looking first at what fingering weight yarn I have in green and then at pattern ideas for those yarns. It has been a useful exercise that has thrown up some suggestions I would not have automatically considered.

Gems from the Web

I had the pleasure, last Saturday (14th April) of not just meeting Kate Davies but of also learning a cool new technique – the Steek Sandwich (or as us Irish are calling it “The Schteak Sangidge”). If a person can be described as a gem from the web I’d have to use the term for Kate. If you haven’t come across her blog or her patterns before now please click on the previous links. I’ll wait here until you come back, honest!

I just love how she writes with such intelligence and erudition on so many topics, be they traditional techniques or modern experiences. It is evident in how she elucidates that she has a grounding in academia and research. I’m positively “fly-by-night” in comparison. I remember reading (and commenting on) an article she wrote about Aran Knitting. I remember thinking : Finally, here is someone who has properly understood the history behind Aran Knitting and has carefully investigated and dispelled many myths.

Some time after this, Kate suffered a stroke. She has documented her recovery on her blog and it is another layer of credit to her character and personality how she has willed herself back to full health and fitness.

Wow! Such an inspiring person. One of those rare occasions when you realise you were in the presence of a great lady. Why not say it? Why be bashful on this score. She is amazing and thank all that is good that she survives and thrives.

Oh! and yeah – I want to cut my knitting soooo much now… This was the last remaining technique that I have procrastinated about. After cutting my knitting with the warm support of the other knitters attending the workshop I have driven off any scruples about doing this again.

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Cutting a crocheted steek

Nike+ GPS

One thing I have been seriously procrastinating about over the past month (and beyond) is getting out for a run. Initially, it was fear of further injury that prevented me. Then, when my knee was completely healed and I couldn’t even blame weather or bad timing, I had to force myself to assess why I still procrastinated about getting out for a run. Partially, I felt over-whelmed by the 10k training programme that Nike+ had set for me. It required me to run for 50mins at lunchtime, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I was put off. However, that doesn’t explain why I couldn’t have got out for 30mins on some of those days instead?

I had to delve deeper and then I realised I had a fear of running incorrectly.

I know a LOT about knitting and crochet. I’m beginning to learn more about spinning. I am happy for these three subjects to be my primary areas of research and learning. For the rest of my interests, I’m happy to enjoy them without knowing too much. I can sew a few pieces of material together and thereby I quilt; I can put one foot in front of the other slightly faster than I may walk and thereby I run. I don’t really want to wonder or worry too much more about it and I don’t need too until… I need to!

The wonky-knee I suffered in after my run in London stopped me in my tracks(uit!). One of my knitting buddies – who *has* made it her business to know as much about running as she does about knitting – gave me some in-sight into why my knee was suddenly suffering as it was. Much of it was to do with my new runners and specifically the extra cushioning being given to my heel. This was resulting in my coming down too hard on my heel and putting my knee-joint into shock. She advised me to take greater care about how my foot hit the ground with each stride.

I realise now that I had to process this for a few weeks and this was the real reason for my procrastination. I recently decided on a running method that I’m calling “The Ostrich”! I visualise myself as running like an Ostrich – complete with the HUGE ass and “head-in-the-sand” tendencies – and I make sure to strike the ground with the ball of my foot first, as I imagine an Ostrich does. People that I have descibed this running style too have pondered whether it is similar to a style called “Chi-running”. Should I ever get so far as to do a bit of research on this score I might be able to elucidate! All I know is: today I ran over 6k and I’m not feeling any ill-effects in my shins or calf muscles. That’ll do, Ostrich, that’ll do!

Mid-March Madness

StashDown / Lacealong2012 / WIPdown

My cake of Malabrigo Yarn Lace currently weighs 14g, which means I have knit 116m in the past week. More to the point, I cast-off my Summer Affair by Carol Feller this afternoon. Aaand it doesn’t fit.

With a shrug o' the shoulders

Well, I guess it does “fit” – afterall it’s a shrug, so I suppose it’s “doing exactly what it says on the tin”. Buuuuut, it’s just that it doesn’t *look* like it fits.

This is disappointing. I knit the size for 36″ bust – which is exactly my bust dimension. More than that, the pattern gives a dimension of 20″ around the circumference of the opening of the shrug – which is exactly the measurement I get when I wind a tape around from the back of my neck, under each oxter and around my back. I also managed to block the initial rectangle to the dimensions in the schematic. All of this meant I was hopeful that the finished piece would fit and I pressed on.

I was worried that I would run out of yarn as it was since the pattern says that the smallest size would take 366m and I was knitting the next size up out of one skein which has 430m. Turns out I only used 300m – I have over a quarter of the skein left over. I could have easily knit the next size up, it seems – that’s annoying.

It’s tempting to think of starting again in the next size because this colourway is just perfect for the dress I need a shrug for. Tempting… for all of two seconds! So for now, I’m say this is done but I’ll either give it away to DD or a neice.

12in12 / #Spin5

#Spin5: days 1 to 3 of BFL sample

#spin5 has been great for getting me back at the wheel at a regular basis – daily, even! Here’s a pic of days one to three of my latest spinning – a sample of Blue-face Leicester dyed by Laura Hogan:

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1st skein wound into a cake

As mentioned in last week’s post, though, #spin5 has been especially beneficial in getting me to tackle the plying on some singles of Falkland that had been languishing on my wheel since last October. My 1st skein was 63 wraps of my Niddy-noddy – which I calcualte at 98m and a WPI of 13 therefore fingering to sport weight.

My 2nd skein was a little under-spun compared to the first so I ran it through the wheel again. It’s still in soaking but I’m hopefull I have enough for a small shawlette between the two skeins.

So I’m quickly moving on to my next WIP – 198 yds. of Heaven. This is small enough that I hope to have it finished by the end of the week.

Twilting

And the winner is...

So, a few weeks ago I looked for suggestions for a name for my quilt and offered to place all who commented into a draw for a prize. I got some great ideas from five commemorators:

  1. ALifeOfHerOwn
  2. SheKnitUpThat
  3. Mazzledazzle
  4. Treasa
  5. Mairin
Using a random number generator, the lucky winner is…
SheKnitUpThat

And your prize is a Sock Club kit containing:

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Two skeins of Lornas Laces Shepherd Sock in "Valentine" (above) and "Fiddlehead" (below)

I received these last year as an instalment in Janel Laidman’s Sock Club. These two skeins come with two separate sock patterns – Enjoy!

Gems from the Web

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day and being online now I have become more aware of how differently this day is viewed and celebrated by those living on the island of Ireland and the rest of the world, especially in the US. A few things I’ve become aware of:

  • Americans can’t hear, let alone understand, the difference between “Patty” and “Paddy” and think anyone insisting it’s #paddynotpatty is either a) getting upset over nothing or b) just plain wrong;
  • Americans have a tradition of pinching people on St. Patrick’s Day that fail to wear green. (WTF? says everyone in Ireland!);
  • Irish people, who are used to the association of St Patrick with the three-leaved shamrock, are confused by the use of Four-leaved clover  – a symbol of good luck – and the conflation of the year-round concept of “Luck o’ the Irish” onto St. Patrick’s Day;
  • Americans assume it’s a myth that there are no snakes in Ireland and won’t accept our assurances otherwise because they’ve been caught out with the pocket-fish thing previously;
  • Similarly, pointing out that a) St. Patrick was actually Welsh; b) his name wasn’t Patrick but he had a Roman/ Latin title “Padricus” or c) he didn’t introduce Christianity to Ireland coz there was already a bishop here before him – will also be greeted with scepticism, at best.
I have concluded that continued efforts to educate the masses of the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day will be derided by those wishing to “have the craic” and get into what ever Irish spirit they like. Let’s face it: we are a tiny, country, with a tiny population living on a tiny island and yet we have a whole day dedicated to the whole rest of the world wanting to celebrate whatever version of Irishness they feel. Seriously, why fight it?
For example: Most food we consider as Indian was actually invented in Great Britain. I’m sure people who were born and reared on the sub-continent get a surprise when they eat-out in England but that doesn’t stop the rest of us from enjoying our bhagis and aloo chat.
Yes, the name “Patty” grates because we hear it as either a girl’s name or something you put between two burger buns. Yes, pinching is stupid but at least it’s someone else’s tradition. And yes, it’s unfortunate that some think “Darby O’ Gill and The Little People” was a documentary. Why fight them? Why not just smile and nod and then take the piss when they’re not noticing.
And in this vein, may I present this audio from Irish radio – i.e. “Michael Flatley” interviewed by Ian Dempsey for Gift Grub on Today FM

Why I Am Knitting a Uterus

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A Womb in progress

Today is International Women’s Day.

I will admit that I did not know that until I looked at my Twitter stream this morning. My lack of awareness about it, and the apathy of a handful of women in my Twitter stream towards it, could be considered as a triumph for International Women’s Day:

I, and the three or four other women, live in Ireland – a society that legislates against discrimination based on gender. We can vote, we can go to University, we can stay in a public-sector job after we get married! Clearly, in the 101 years since the first International Women’s Day was called for, Ireland has made huge progress for Women’s Rights. But, as the well-worn phrase goes: “a lot done, more to do” (one area of which I have discussed previously: “Over-educated; under-valued“).

It is amazing to consider a society where International Women’s Day is irrelevant. That should be the aim of our society – of any society: that all of its citizens could take “parity of esteem” for granted. That rights are “a given” not something “to be given”.

For the past few weeks, through the power of the Internet, I have become aware of a worrying threat to the rights of women. It comes from a surprising quarter, too – the United States of America. If you would like a quick, and witty, overview of recent events please read this article from Times magzine by Jessica Winter: “Subject for Debate: Are Women People?”

One of the more odious developments, to my mind, is the State of Texas requiring a woman to have a vaginal ultra-sound prior to allowing her to have an abortion. [To read more go to: “When States Abuse Women” an article by Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times] To simplify: she must choose between having a medical device inserted into her or have an unwanted baby come out of her.

A similar law was also *nearly* passed in West Virginia and Alabama, but was muted to requiring abdominal ultra-sound instead. After the ultra-sound the woman is required to go home and sit-out a 24 hour waiting period before the abortion can be performed. This woman, who has presumably suffered at least eight to ten weeks of mental anguish already about her pregnancy must listen to the foetal heartbeat, listen as all of the organs are described to her and mull it all over for another twenty-four hours. Quite far for being supported in her time of need a woman must be preached to and lectured as though she doesn’t quite understand what being pregnant really means.

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Where it all began

As I read all of these developments – the War on Women, as it has been called – a growing sense of despair overcame me. Butting in on Donna Druchunas talking to Annie Modesitt about the article I posted above, describing the legal procedure in Texas I asked:

when will women in US start chaining themselves to railings/ burning bras? Or are we less feminist than sisters of old?

As you can see from the screen-shot of the twitter conversation, within a few tweets a new Women’s Movement had been born (deliberate pun!):

@druchunas: Snatchel Campaign: Let’s knit a uterus for each male rep in congress. If they have their own, they can leave ours alone!

In no time at all a Ravelry group had been set up and I have become a surrogate womb-knitter for a knitter with tendinitis who  (co-incidentally) lives in Texas. What serendipity?

You may well ask: what on earth am I doing worrying about legislation being passed on the other side of the Atlantic? (ETA: especially considering how far behind we are in Ireland e.g. abortion isn’t legal Ireland except in extreme circumstances – good point, R!)

To which I say: Let’s re-cap…

This procedure is not happening in some back-water of Africa or China or Afghanistan. This is Texas. These laws are not being passed in countries renowned for their Civil Rights abuses. This is coming from the birth-place of Civil Rights. This debate on whether Women are People is a reasonable question in the 21st Century.

The United States of America has long been an influencing force globally and, for most of the past 100 years, a positive force. I would argue that the ripples caused by Rosa Parks when she sat on the “wrong” part of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955 ultimately led to the over-throw of aparteid in South Africa in 1994 – almost 40 years later. Certainly, for Ireland, the Civil Rights movement in the US led to The Contraceptive Train in May 1971, when women travelled by train to Belfast to buy contraceptives and smuggle them into the jurisdiction of the Republic of Ireland.

“The reason Rosa Parks’ stance was so huge in the civil rights movement is because it challenged something many just took as a fundamental rule of society. “

The fundamental rules of Modern society are drastically different now, almost sixty years after the Civil Rights movement and over 100 years since the first International Women’s Day. We should be able to take those hard-earned rights for granted. I believe we need to take a stance to resist this erosion of Women’s Rights in the US before the subjugation of women becomes – once again – the fundamental rule of society.

Thank you for reading.

Week 4: Oh App-y Day

WIPdown

As expected, stalled WIPs did not get whupped in time for the end of WIPdown 2011. My only WIP is my Laminaria – see next section…

StashDown / Lacealong2012 / 12in12

My cake of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace now weighs 82g – indicating a whole 79m has been knit in the last week. Not exactly meeting my 40m/day target. I don’t know what happened to me in the past week but I seem to have recovered from the lace-knitting addiction I had last week. I had less opportunities to knit during the past week, but even when I sat down to knit I spent the time messing on my phone.

See, I upgraded to iOS5 on Monday after putting it off for months. This opened up the possibility of acquiring some apps that required a higher iOS.

Gems from the Web

I love my Apps, I do!

20120128-084516.jpgI start my day by being woken with Sleep Cycle Alarm. In theory, it tracks where you are in your sleep cycle and starts to wake you when you are in a light phase. I’ve only been using it for the past week and most days I’m actually woken by our youngest coming into the room before the alarm is due to go off.

Then I kick off my day with my Home Routines app, which I learned about through to Viola. It’s a handy little app for listing daily or weekly routines and I get a kick out of giving myself a gold star when I’ve done the task.

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When I get into work I have another Home Routines list, borrowing a few ideas from Fly Lady. As you may know, I switched to working Mornings-only last August. This gives me only 3.5 (or so) hours to get things done.

Through HabitHacker.com I came accross the concept of “Eat That Frog” based on Mark Twains observations that a) “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, the rest of your day will be wonderful.” and b) “If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it for too long.” From Fly Lady and HabitHacker I’ve got familiar with using a timer to stay focussed. Fly Lady and HabitHacker work with very short time-periods – 15 or 11 minute intervals – which are appropriate for housework. For sitting and focussing on eating a frog-like task I have found the Pomodoro Technique works for me. I even have an app for the tomato-esque kitchen timer!

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With the help of Real Time information from Dublin Bus, I can keep working right down to the wire. I am well practiced in running for the bus at the last minute and I’ve only been caught out once or twice.

When I get home – assuming its Monday, Tuesday or Thursday – I run in the door, change into running gear and head out for a run. If I’m focussed I have enough time to fit in a 5 mile run i.e. 50 minutes – all recorded on my Nike+ GPS app.

Then I shower and walk up to the school to start my other jobs: mother and housemaid. I use the Notes app that comes with the iPhone to get my head around how the day pans out.

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As you can see, if I’m lucky I have about an hour to sit down and do some knitting/ crochet every evening. Then it’s off to bed to have my sleep cycle recorded with Sleep Cycle Alarm.

I haven’t found much by way of Knitting/ crochet apps. A lot of people bemoan the fact that there isn’t a Ravelry app. My work-around for this is to set up a folder of bookmarks for the pages on Ravelry that I like to go to more often. It’s not an app but it’s a quick way to get around.

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I’d be interested in hearing if you have any app recommendations.

Twilting

I spent most of last Sunday working on a block for a quilt. I’m quite pleased with how it’s coming together. When I have a bit more done I’ll do a more detailed post on it all. Promise!