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!

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StashDown / Lacealong2012

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Summer Affair Blocking

My cake of Malabrigo Yarn Lace currently weighs 27.5g, which means I have knit 98.9m in the past week. I finished all three repeats of the leaf lace chart for Summer Affairand blocked it out to the dimensions in the schematic. It took some serious stretching of the fabric to get the correct height. I expected stitches to break and a great big hole to arrive in the centre of my work. The next stage is to graft up the seams for the sleeves and knit the edging. Hopefully this evening, depending on how quickly I can get this blog post finished, to be honest.

WIPdown

The WIP-count is mounting:

  • First up, as I posted last Thursday, I’ve been knitting a Uterus. I made a mistake on the Fallopian tubes (I didn’t read the pattern and didn’t realise that I was meant to put decreases in). This pattern is incredibly quick and I could probably knit a uterus a night. I intend to make a few of them before posting them off to the “expectant” knitter in Texas.
  • While Summer Affair was blocking – and my womb was recuperating – I succumbed to a little startitis and cast on for Multnomah in Artesano Hummingbird 4ply that @bioniclaura gave me towards the end of last year. This is on my list for the 12 Shawls in 12 but I’d intended on getting to it much later in the year. I could give you all sorts of arguments about needing something portable, or yarn that didn’t need to be wound into cakes, or mindless knitting but when it comes down to it I just wanted to cast-on so I did! Let’s just gloss over the fact that I could have progressed…
  • GlenvArgh! and
  • Petals

12in12

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Laura Hogan Falkland in Joan colourway

I went to the Sunday Spin-in today and met @Cathyqtpi, @Whirl123 and @SheKnitUpThat in Accents Lounge on Lower Stephen’s Street. While there, I nav-plied my LHogan’s Hand-dyed Falkland in the “Joan” colourway. My plan for this is 198 yds. of Heaven. This was my first time to nav-ply a whole skein of yarn. It went well, then really badly and then well again.
My first bobbin was nav-plied with really long loops. I encountered a problem when my single wasn’t robust enough for all the friction involved in going through a loop for ages so I switched to small loops for my second bobbin. The two resulting skeins are very different from each other and I hope some soaking and thwacking will sort them out.

Mainly, though, I’m delighted at having finally plied the yarn. It’s only been sitting there since last September or so! Now I can take part in #spin5 – a twitter thing that gets you to spin for at least five minutes a day. If I do I’ll make that a new heading here instead of #twilting.

Nike+ GPS

I’ve been pathetic about getting out running lately. I could claim it’s mainly because I’ve been worrying about my knee but really I’ve been less inclined to get out. I’ll try to tackle this next week.

Gems from the Web

Tina Murphy, founder of Run With Tina, posted this fantastic photograph yesterday. She was driving through the Wicklow Mountains with her family and they passed this scene and knew they had to drive back to capture it on camera.
I have to agree with another commenter that it looks like a painting. Definitely, this was the high-light of my week on the web.
Well done, Tina!

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Sheep on a hillside in Co. Wicklow Photographed by Tina Murphy used with kind permission of Tina Murphy

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.