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!

WIP-Id-a-Dee-do

I’ve sacked my Super-Ego.

Some years ago, I did an evening course which covered a lot of Freud: the Id, the Ego and the Super-Ego; and it tickles me to see things in terms of this structure.

As you’re no doubt aware, the Id is our primeval self – our cravings and desires.

the id wants whatever feels good at the time, with no consideration for the reality of the situation

Sound familiar, knitters? Every time we succumb to Startitis it’s really our Id has taken control.

The only reason we don’t spend every waking minute knitting-up a storm is because of our Ego and our Super-Ego, says Freud.

The ego understands that other people have needs and desires and that sometimes being impulsive or selfish can hurt us in the long run. It’s the ego’s job to meet the needs of the id, while taking into consideration the reality of the situation.

So the Ego makes sure we put our needles and hooks down once in a while and interact with those around us, to ensure they don’t cast us out entirely. We hold down a job so that we can pay for our yarn.

Where does the Super-ego come in?

Many equate the superego with the conscience as it dictates our belief of right and wrong.

In knitting/ crocheting terms, it’s what makes us stick with a project through thick and thin and see it through to the (sometimes) bitter end.

But sometimes you’ve got to let it go: to give in and admit defeat is the triumph of the Ego, whose function is centred in reality.

When you’ve ripped back a hairy yarn repeatedly, just to rectify a mistake others might never see; when you know in your heart-of-hearts the project is not going to be fit for the purpose you envisioned; when you realise that sticking with it will prevent you from completing another project in time… then it’s time to let your Ego take back the reigns and give in to the Id.

All this is a fancy way of saying:

  • I made the mistake of timing myself doing one repeat of the edging on Petals and realised I have 20 hours worth of work on the edging alone.
  • Considering I only average one hour per day, I was never going to get Petals *and* Peaseblossom Tunic completed in time for the Wedding/Communion deadlines.
  • In the meantime, I have bought a dress that I could wear to one of the event but it doesn’t go with Petals.
  • I also have a skirt that I think *will* go with Peaseblossom.

So yes, I have abandoned Petals and started Peaseblossom.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

How to cheat at Crochet


First off, I feel the need to apologise for my last post – kudos to anyone who tried to struggle through it. It’s hard enough to decipher the problems someone else might be having with a pattern, but I was additionally hampered in explaining things by a lack of formatting: Our PC at home has died – and work wouldn’t let me access – so I couldn’t view the post in anything other than my iPhone.

Particular thanks to those who offered help. In fact, my post was my way of establishing that the only logical approach was to accept that there’s an error in the instructions.

I’ve flagged this to the designer and she referred me to errata for the pattern. Unfortunately, they don’t amend the instructions I had the problem with – which means if the designer tried to read my last post she struggled to make sense of it too.

Anyway, the pieces are now joined and the edging is advancing. It’s slow going but mainly because I keep stopping to admire my work!

Do you remember a while back I was wondering about whether to rip back to fix an error on a pineapple on the back? Here’s a handy reminder:
WrongRight
More recently I mentioned that I had solved it without ripping and promised to let you know how.


I’m pretty confident you can’t tell which one of these two pineapples is the fixed one. At a push you’d probably guess the one on the right, and you’d be right! As it turned out, this pineapple is positioned in the centre of the lower-back of the wrap so will be even more hidden.


Want to know how? On the wrong side, I joined a separate length of yarn with a few slip-stitches along an existing chain (thicker chain 4th down from top of picture). Then I made some chain stitches and joined them at appropriate intervals to the relevant horizontal chain.

I did all this on the wrong-side and it’s not at obvious from the right-side. Well, for a man on a galloping-horse, anyway.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

It loves me, it loves me not

Ah, my Petals Wrap! It’s like a Bad Romance, as the ga-ga Lady says. I advance, notice it has rebuked me; I retreat by ripping back; iron-out the disagreement and quickly advance again. I must have advanced more than I ripped back, because I actually made sone progress. But it sure doesn’t feel like it.
So I’ve got to the stage where I can join the back to the fronts. And there’s (yet another) problem: the instructions don’t make sense.
Recently I was contacted by two different crochetiers who had hit a wall at this point.
Since I hadn’t got that far on the pattern at the time I tried reading ahead on the pattern, to see if I could make any sense of it. Here’s what I said:

All on the same round of the Back, I think you:

1. catch the centre of Right Front 1st, to start the bottom of the right armhole;
2. then work the Back along the Right Sleeve-edge, across the neckline and down the Left Sleeve-edge;
3. then catch the Left Front with one (1) stitch at the centre  (a starting row);
4. then you’re working the Left Front and the Back alternately to form a join between these two pieces;
5. then work across the bottom of the Back;
6. then work the Back and the Right Front alternately until you’re back up to the centre of the Right Front i.e. the bottom of the Right Armhole.

This was the only thing I could visualise from my reading of the pattern.

Now that I’m at that point myself I realise

  1. I made a mistake in my explanation and
  2. now the joining round instructions don’t make sense at all!

The mistake I made is that I omitted the bit where the top of the Left Front is joined during item 2 above. The problem with this realisation is that there doesn’t appear to be any instruction for joining the top of the Right Front.

And that’s not all. But to explain further I need to bring you through it step-by-step:

First, let’s name the connection positions and number the points on the hexagon.  The photo below shows the right-side of the work and you progress in an anti-clockwise direction.

The round starts at the green marker and the first part of the instruction brings you to point #1

  • The round starts at the green marker (see “start” above) and the first part of the instruction brings you to point #1. Then you’re told to join this point to centre of the Right Front (A). This would be the bottom of the right armhole.
  • The next part of the instruction brings you to point #2. This should be the top of the Right Armhole and I expect to be asked to connect to point (B) on the Right Front. Instead, I’m directed to connect to point (D) on the Left Front.

Either point #1 should be connected to (B) and not (A)

*or*

(D) should be connected to point #3 and not #2.

In order to be able to move on, I have to decide which one of these is wrong. To do this, I have to work through the rest of the instructions for this round. Bear with me…

  • The next step brings you to the next point on the back, point #3. Here we’re told to join to (E) at the centre of the Left Front, forming the bottom of the Left Armhole.
  • Next we alternate between the Left Front and the Back to form the side seam between (#3/E) and (#4/F).
  • Then it’s a straight-run across the bottom of the back to point #5 where we’re directed to join to (C) on the bottom of the Right Front.
  • We then alternate between the Back and Right Front to form the side seam from (#5/C) and (#6/A).
  • The instructions here describe connecting to (A) before bringing us to the join with the start of the round. From this I gather that the error in the pattern is that point #1 was meant to be joined to (B) and not (A).

At least, that’s how I’m going to tackle it – since it’s now the only thing I can visualise from my reading of the pattern.

While I was figuring all this out, I looked at the schematic to see if that would help only to realise the left and right fronts have been labelled incorrectly. I even tried out a parallel universe where the schematic was right but in that case the sleeves would have to be coming out of the bottom of the back!

And now, onto the joining round – may it not rebuke me!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

In a Quandry

I can get quite paralysed by indecision. So paralysed that I procrastinate myself into missing the boat entirely. I’m on the cusp of this again.

But first a bit of background…
At the end of May we have two major family events: brother’s wedding and then – two days later – my daughter’s First Holy Communion. Having two family event separated by two days means two completely new outfits for me. And you know how much I love shopping for clothes for me. Bleughch!

As part of my stash-down knitting-plan for the year, I identified Peaseblossom Tunic by Kirstin Omdahl…


…as a good pattern to use my Fyberspates Lace.


I thought this could be a starting point for one of these out-fits. This puts me on a dead-line to try and have it complete by early May so that I still have shopping-time to buy the outfit to go with it.
Ingenious plan, no? Eh… no. Highly risky plan that may well back-fire. Grab your time-machine and return in a month’s time to witness the debacle.

The thing is… ideally, I should also be advancing the Petals Wrap as the basis for a second (as yet also un-purchased) outfit.

My dilemma? Keep going on Petals or get Peaseblossom up and running?

Until I figure this out I’m quite likely to do neither. By which time the procrastination will determine the outcome. Go me!

Choose Between Right and Wrong

My WIP of choice this days is Petals – Kirstin Omdahl’s pattern for Crochet So Fine – that I’m making in sumptuous purple Alpaca Lace dyed by Dublin Dye Company. I hadn’t been making much headway on this at all over the past few months. For a while it was the WIP I brought with me to work because it’s so neat and portable but it meant I might only have a 15 – 30 mins to work on it at lunchtime.

The problem was I would spend almost all the time I had available figuring where I was in the pattern, and where the beginning of the row was. Only recently did I follow through on my brain-wave of putting a stitch-marker in the start of the round. This has made a world of difference to how quickly I can get moving again when I pick it up; and how much it can progress anytime I touch it. Round-on-round I keep surprising myself at how fast it’s growing now after stagnating for so long.

This evening, as I was halfway around the 2nd-last round of the back, my excitement was building at how it was getting easier to see the gorgeous pattern emerge. Easier to see… yes… then I *really* saw it…

Wrong From Right

Can You See It Too?

The green stitch-marker is holding the loop of my live stitch and I’m working anti-clockwise. The “pineapple”, in the section I have *just* made (i.e. to the right of the green stitch-marker), has a missed stitch about five rounds down. Compare it to the shape of the preceeding “pineapple” section – i.e. on it’s right.

Still can’t see it? How about some close-ups for comparison:
WrongRight

Petals Wrap on Cover

The *problem* with crochet is that – unlike knitting – there is no way (that I’m aware of) to tink down a few rows to sort out a mucked-up stitch. The choice is to rip aaaaaaall the way back to the mistake orrrrr decide you’re happy to live with it. When you look at the finished garment – as it’s shown on the front cover of the book – you’ll see the bottom-most segment of the hexagon gets quite gathered. It’s likely that if I organise to position the “wrong” segment here that no-one will ever notice.

However – and this is the crux of all matters of WIPping or Ripping – *I* will notice. And I think it’ll bother me. I think I’ll have to rip right back.

Just as well I had figured out a way to get it to progress more quickly, eh?