Week 8: A quickie

Twilting

Thank you all so much for the great name suggestions. I only have time for a very quick post today (a day late, as it is!) so I’ll do the draw for the winner in time for next week’s post – I promise.

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The Edging

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Star Chart transition to Blossom Chart

StashDown / Lacealong2012 / 12in12

My cake of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace currently weighs 5g, which means I have knit 239m in the past week. More importantly…

I finished my Laminaria!

I cast-off ON THE PLANE home from London. Yes, you read it right: I was knitting ON THE PLANE!!! Not only that but using METAL needles. I’ve always been a stickler for rules and have always stuck to crochet for plane trips when I read that needles are listed as forbidden items for carry-on baggage. I made an exception for my Laminaria – it was just too tempting to put away for the plane trip.

I have some terrible shots here, that I took on my iPhone while it was blocking. I promise, when I have daylight, a proper camera and photographer I will post better shots.

So that’s my first shawl for my 12in12. It took me two months rather than one but it is greater than 800m and one of the shawls in the challenge has to be that large – at least I’ve got it out of the way early.

It’s also my first entry in Lacealong2012. I must take a look at who has cast-on and off a lace project in lace-weight so far this year.

I want to chat in more detail about how much yarn was used for StashDown. There was quite a discussion about how to calculate how many repeats to do to maximise usage. I got some helpful comments, which I’ve held off on publishing, in order to give the topic more time in a later post.

Gems from the Web

My gem from the Web this week is actually a person – Kersti Anear and especially her FourSquare activity. As I was waiting for a taxi to take us to the airport, she tweeted that she was on her way to London for the weekend too. I have to admit, I took note of her FourSquare check-ins and actually tried some places purely because she had gone there. (Yeah, that doesn’t sound weird or stalker-ish at all…)

Honestly, it made sense: we went to Liberty (I got some lovely fabric, that I think will become a baby-quilt) and she had tried a dim-sum place nearby called Ping Pong. So, I convinced DH to give it a go and it was fantastic. Sake-based martinis and an excellent variety of dim-sum. We both particularly liked the sticky rice and the steamed vegetable buns.

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Sake-tinis and dim-sum in Ping Pong

Nike+ GPS

I was determined to run in London. Despite a knee that started to act up during the day, as though in anticipation, I managed 6k around Hyde Park / Kensington Gardens. I really struggled and probably shouldn’t have run at all. I’ve got very blazé about doing proper warm-ups so I really felt like a crock on Friday. DH had great fun teasing me that I was taking turning 41 very hard indeed. Even though I felt better on Saturday I decided not to try running again.

All the same, I’m delighted that the map of my Nike+ runs now looks like:

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Week 7: Twilting at Windmills

WIPdown

Good news (finally) on this front: I had a hunch that my “Hideous dress of wrong” might actually be a “tolerable dress of ok” on a different body shape than mine. Someone taller, for starters, and better endowed so that the fabric would be stretched by positive ease. Mulling it over I wondered if one of my Swords Knitting group, @MaryEnthuses, might have the winning combination. Last Thursday was the first time in ages that we were both at knit-night at the same time. Good sport that she is, Mary tried on the dress and not only does it fit, she actually says she likes it! The added bonus is that Mary works in a yarn-shop that sells Killcarra / Studio Donegal and a lot of what she makes to wear in the shop is to showcase yarn they sell there.

Not only does this happy event save me from having to rip several kilometers of yarn – for a second time! – I have a reason to finish GlenvArgh!! and send it to a happy home. Yay for Cinderella-esque happy endings.

StashDown / Lacealong2012 / 12in12

My cake of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace currently weighs 32g, which means I have knit 124m in the past week. I have finally started the edging and would love to be finished this in time to wear it to London next Thursday. Considering that could involve up to 283m of yarn, and given my track record meters-per-day to date, this would not seem likely!

Gems from the Web

Speaking of London (I was, wasn’t I?) DH and I are going over next weekend ostensibly to see the Golden Spider Silk Cape in the V&A museum. This was a gem from the web that DH came across and knew I would be interested in. It’s a treat for my 41st birthday on Thursday. The kids are going on a mini-holiday to their Granny’s house so we are really getting a weekend away. Can’t wait!

Kimono Print

Twilting

Today was the last day of my quilting course. We had an exhibition of all the work that each student has been beavering away on. I made a piece which has been dubbed “a self-portrait in fabric”. I had two starting points. The first was this piece of fabric that I had got at the Knitting and Stitching show two years ago.

The second was this image from The Irish Times Travel supplement, “Go”, which became my colour inspiration. I also love the twisting movement the image suggests and, in particular, the boy on the right who is out of synch with the rest of his class.

© 2012 irishtimes.com

I started with the concept of a Bento box:

bento; bento box
[BEHN-toh]
A thin metal or lacquered wooden box divided into compartments. The bento box is used in Japan for storing separate small dishes that comprise an individual meal (most often lunch).

Read More http://www.epicurious.com:80/tools/fooddictionary/entry#ixzz1mrfLr1gx

In the same way a bento box provides a whole meal made up of smaller dishes in separate compartments, a person is the combination of several elements determined by their interests and experiences. Being a technique-freak, I knew I wanted to try my hand at a variety of piecing techniques. I used the compartment structure of the bento box as a way of tying together the five diverse blocks that I made. Here are the blocks, in the order that I made them.

Block 2: Rush Runner

Wabi-sabi

Block 1: Wabi-sabi

Block 1: “Wabi-sabi” based on an improvisation technique used by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr in their book “Quiltmaker’s Colour Workshop: A Practical Guide to Understanding Colour and Choosing Fabrics”. This block is about the particular place that Japan holds in my heart. I’ve long been fascinated by Japanese Art and culture. DH worked there for 18 months in the 1990s and still has friends living there. When DH and I got married our Honeymoon seemed like the best excuse yet for me to visit Japan. We spent three weeks there, relaxed in many ryokan, visited several temples and had many adventures. I hope that I get a chance to go back there again.

Block 2: “Rush Runner” is the most formal and precise of all the blocks that I made. I followed the directions given by Elizabeth Hartman in her book “The Practical Guide to Patchwork” for a quilt called Rain or Shine. It’s about being a runner and how I love moving through the local landscape, often running in all weather. Running has helped me appreciate my locality for its richness of landscape. It has also taught me new back-roads and short-cuts. I selected the material for this block very carefully, to represent the colours that I see as I run in the local landscape: grey clouds, ploughed fields, crops of winter vegetables, sandy beaches.

Block 4: Blow-in

 

Block 3: Mo Thinteán Féin

Block 3: “Mo Thinteán Féin” is an adaptation of the classic log-cabin block using an improvised technique that @MaryLD demonstrated to us one week. I read somewhere that the traditional log-cabin blocks were built around an orange or red square at the centre, which represented the fire or hearth. I started with a trapezoid of orange and built out from it with five sides, representing the five people that make up our home. I used lots of strips and was careful about how the colours changed in value/tone/saturation as I worked outwards.

Block 4: “Blow-in” I was struggling with what aspect to focus on for one of the compartments until I came across a string-pieced pinwheel in my trusty “Ultimate Quilting Bible: A Complete Reference with Step-by-step Techniques” by Marie Clayton. Only days before I had been describing myself to an old acquaintance as being a blow-in my whole life. I really like being a blow-in. It means I am taken for what I am and not for what my parents, grand-parents, siblings, relations did or didn’t do. You can also contribute a fresh view of their world to locals that will listen. So this block is about variety and combining and helping to order chaos.

Extension of Carnegie Library, Malahide

Block 5: Library

Block 5: “Library” represents my paid job as an Architect. Using a *piecing technique I learned about from my “Compendium of Quiltmaking Techniques” by Susan Briscoe I built the block to represent an abstraction of this photograph of a Library that I designed.

The overall pieced top (it’s not a quilt yet, I’m afraid – I ran out of time) looks like:

When I finally get around to assembling the sandwich of pieced-top, wadding and backing and quilting the three layer together I will finish with a thin black binding and make it into a wall-hanging. I don’t have a name for it yet. In celebration of my birthday next week I’ll have a little give-away (haven’t done one in a while). If you suggest a name in the comments below I will put your name into a draw. I’ll give a bonus prize to you if I decide to use the name you suggest.

Week 6: Decisions decisions

StashDown / Lacealong2012 / 12in12

My cake of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace currently weighs 46g, which means I have knit 230m in the past week.

I was getting a bit “bummed” about how long this is taking me and how little progress I’d made last week despite trying to be dogged about working at it. This week, thanks mainly to being forced to take the bus a few times, I’ve managed to get closer to my target yardage (40m/day) over the past week. Boy, am I glad!

The big deliberation I faced this week was when to start edging. The designer very helpfully gives this chart for the percentage of yarn you would use if you chose to do yet another repeat of the Blossom Chart before starting the edging:
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I had, at this stage, knit 6 repeats of the Star Chart and 7 repeats of the Blossom Chart. From the table above I needed 41% more yarn if I wanted to make another repeat of the Blossom Chart before starting the edging. My problem with understanding how much yarn that 41% actually entailed is that I didn’t know what the percentages related to i.e. you need to know what 100% is before you can know what 41% of it is. Was 100% a) the total yarn used so far? Or b) the total yarn you started with? Or c) the total yarn used to complete the shawl? The only quantity I could be certain of was “a)” the total yarn I had used. This I knew I could measure. The total yarn I had started with was too arbitrary, given the variety of yardages of skeins of a similar weight. And “c) – the total yarn used to complete” was, as yet, a complete unknown.

One of my knitting buddies, @Clarabel, swore she knew the answer was “c)”. Considering she has knit Laminaria an infinite number of times more than me (remember, the number of times I have knit Laminaria = 0 and anything divided by 0 = infinity) I had to give her opinion some consideration. My idea (that the percentages were based on yarn used to date) meant that the ratio of [yarn used] to [yarn remaining] was 100:41. Whereas her interpretation of the table was that the same ratio –  [yarn used] to [yarn remaining] – was 59:41. That’s quite a difference in terms of actual yardage.

I decided to take my usual Architect’s approach and follow through on the more onerous option, which was @Clarabel’s. By following her logic I needed more yarn to complete another repeat and the edging, so- assuming my calculations indicated I had enought – I was less likely to run out of yarn in the process. If, at the end of the day, I can cast off and have a chunk of lace-weight left over… well, to paraphrase Dr. Phil: maybe I was right, but at least I can be happy.

Since making that decision I knit another two Blossom repeats and – according to Clarabel’s interpretation – I still  have enough yarn to make another repeat before starting the edging. As of writing, I’m starting my 10th repeat of the Blossom chart…

Gems from the Web

This week’s Gem is brought to you by @MaryLD who sent me this fantastic link: The Craftsy Block of the Month. I’ve been hearing about Craftsy for a long time but never delved into it. Visualise me at the top of a slippery precipice if you will. I’m about to take that fateful step into the abyss, you can tell.

But it’s all in a good cause, isn’t it? Ah yes, all for…

Twilting

If you recall, at a previous Knitting and Stitching show, I got a bit carried away with the Jelly Rolls in my efforts to build up a stash of scraps for the Tokyo Subway Quilt. Since that flurry of impulsiveness I have sobered up to the realisation that Jelly Rolls are somewhat challenging to work with. For a beginner-quilter, with no fabric stash, there is a limited number of patterns that can be worked from a single jellyroll. You are further limited by the selection of fabrics and colour choices included in the roll – not all of which are the same quality, it turns out. It doesn’t help if you’ve cannibalised a few jellyrolls for another project and decide to cobble the remainders into a project. As I have done!

So my first step was to decide on what colours I thought might work together in a project – see below – I may not have been altogether correct, refer cannibalism above.

Remaining Strips from Two Jelly Rolls

Then I consulted my trusty Jelly Roll Quilts book [which purports to be “The perfect guide to making the most of the latest strip rolls”] and found the only pattern that I could make, without getting more fabric, was a baby-quilt sized version of what they called “Pandora’s Box”. It gives a handy arrangement for making the four-patch blocks at the centres by sewing two strips together, cutting them up, and then sewing the two-piece strips back together, checkerboard-style. The rest of the block has a tatami-mat construction that appealed to me: sew two short strips onto two opposing sides of the four-patch block; then the two longer sides are sewn on to match all. What you see below are the blocks before the long ends are sewn on, so the difference in length between the centres and the long ends is the seam allowances.

Initial thoughts on arrangement

In between me playing about with the initial arrangements of four-patches vs outer strips, Mary gave me a red-light filter, known as a Ruby Beholder. This is an incredibly handy tool for patchwork. It helps you filter out extraneous information of fabric i.e. tone or hue or even colour and judge it your pieces purely in terms of value. Suddenly, I realised how some four-patch blocks were reading in comparison to others. This changed how I arranged them in the overall top. Instead of sprinkling the green-surround blocks through-out the top, I arranged it based on how the four-patch blocks appeared and kept the green-surround blocks to the centre row.

One row done: still playing with arrangements

Once I assembled the top in full I had a niggle about the block in the top right of the (appalling – and apologies for that!) photo below. In principle it all worked but there was something jarring about the brightness of the fabric surrounding the four-patch of that block. After consultation with the rest of the Twilting class I decided I had the right fabric remaining to rip this block out and remake it with a better surrounding block.

All sewn up and no-where to go!

Nike+ GPS

I’ve been using Nike + GPS since mid-September last year and I passed 300km after my run on Tuesday. The first I knew of it, though was this lovely message from the website (above). Even though I know these things are automated, I have to tell you, it made me quite chuffed that someone, somewhere thought this achievement worthy of noting and celebrating.

I finished my 5k coaching programme on the web-site, which I’d used to keep me running and keep my fitness levels up during the Winter. It surpassed my expectations by improving my pace also. I’ve signed up for their beginner version of the 10k coaching programme. This also runs over 12 weeks and will have me running 13km runs some weeks and up to 37km in a week!

Saddo that I am, I spent most of last Friday afternoon plotting runs through Hyde Park in anticipation of doing a 6.4km and a 8km run while we’re on a weekend away in London in two weeks’ time. I probably spent more time wondering about the routes than I will spend running them!

Week 5: Christmas Catch-up

WIPdown

One area of the InterWebz I’ve recently delved into is Podcasts. I try to listen to them as do my half-assed-housekeeping-hour on Mondays. Last Monday I listened to Marley Bird’s YarnThing Podcast when she interviewed knitting writer Rachel Herron. At one point she talks about being used to projects turning to crap! She says:

“By the time I finish a novel or a book or an essay I know that it’s not perfect anymore. Coz when you start out a project it’s going to be perfect. You know that – that’s your  intention: it’s to create a perfect project. And along the way it goes to crap!… And you get to the end and you know it’s no good. And it’s really easy to forget, while you’re fixing something, that You Did It…”

I thought this was a fantastic insight and it resonated with me as something I’ve experienced so many times in so many aspects of my life, be it Architecture or crafting or – dare I say it – even parenting. Sometimes the anticipation of a project turning out less than the perfect thing we hope for prevents us from attempting the project at all. It is very freeing to accept that a project will not be perfect. It will have compromises and changes and even errors. It will be as good as we can make it. And it will be less than we imagined. But!!! It will be more than the nothing we make if we don’t even try.

StashDown / Lacealong2012 / 12in12

My cake of Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace currently weighs 72g, which means I have knit 100m in the past week. This is going a lot slower than I expected – I had thought I would have it done by the end of January. As is reflected by the higher meterage used,  I have been more dogged about knitting at any opportunity this week, though I’m still nowhere near the intended 40m/day. I’m now on the sixth repeat of the blossom chart – only two more to go before I start the edging. I’ve just got to keep plugging away at it.

Gems from the Web

I am the surprise star in this week’s selection for Gems from the Web – or, at least, my teapot cosy is! My upstream pal in Knitmas last year was Evin, a.k.a. FreckledPast; and as part of the jam-packed pamper present she sent my way was a fabulous teacosy. She shares the pattern for the teacosy on her blog.

Knitmas took place while I was on an inadvertent blogging hiatus. In fairness to the fabulous spoiling I got from Evin, and all the effort she went to, I have the perfect excuse now to blog all about it, even if Knitmas seems like a distant memory.

Bizarre Inscription

A coded message on the parcel or obfuscation to thwart detection?

What a haul was inside: yarn, sweets, home-made treats.

Delicious treat of peanuts coated in salt, rosemary and spices; all in a hand-made origami box

A clue to the sender's identity? Or a red-herring?

Not being able to guess who my upstream-pal was had me driven demented!

It fits! It fits! And I love it!

Since I’m bringing you up-to-date with events that happened last Christmas, the fact that you’re about to see Christmas trees in the next bit won’t seem so incongruous.

Oh Christmas Tree!

Which brings me to…

Twilting

I’ve been very shy about revealing anything I’ve been doing under this heading. The course is coming to an end in two weeks so over the next three posts I’ll dwell on this area more than I have been.

Before Christmas, @MaryLD showed us a clever technique for making blocks based on triangles. One of the trickier areas of piecing is if fabric is cut on the bias since it has a tendency to stretch and distort. This can make working with triangles a PITA.

Mary showed us how to sew two squares together with two diagonal seams that are off-set from the central corner-to-corner diagonal by the seam allowance. You then cut the corner-to-corner diagonal to create two blocks of two diagonals and no sewing of bias seams.

Did that make sense?

Mary had a pattern suggestion we could follow to make a mini-quilt – a place-mat, really. You can see the final pieced-top on the right below.

Two pieced tops

But there were squares left over. After trying a few permutations, I decided on the arrangement on the left above.

This was a really fun exercise and I will try this method again. These two tops still need wadding, backs, quilting and borders.

Nike+ GPS

I’m at the end of a 12-week coaching programme that I set up with Nike+. I chose their 5k programme to keep me running over the Winter. I was somewhat taken aback when one of the runs was as long as 11k (6miles).  That’s the longest I’ve ever run and it was such a great feeling to be able to achieve that. I will set up the 10k coaching programme next for Beginner level, to start next Tuesday. I can see, though, that the programme includes some 16k runs! Yikes!

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!

Knitting for Runners


Before you get too excited, this post will not be a pattern for these:

Though, don’t they just knock your socks off? Especially the price-tag!

Last Tuesday, when I blogged about my hat-gauge dilemma, I got a sweet reply on Twitter from @Smircher:

@undermeoxter I’ve read your post but I’m afraid it’s in an incomprehensible language. 😉

It brought home to me that my range of followers on Twitter is wider than knitting. Since running is what Smircher and I have in common, I wondered how one might explain a knitting issue in running terms.

Choose your race:

For starters, you could relate projects to race distances: so marathon-length projects could be large afghans / throws or intricate garments – anything that would take at least a month to do and involved a few kilometres of yarn. An average jumper or pair of socks for a man would equate to a 10k run; while a Woman’s hat would be 5k. Baby clothes are the 1k training runs you’d do to keep in shape.

Set your pace:

As with running, knitters range widely in speed and dexterity. We can’t all be professional athletes. As evidenced by the Flora mini-marathon, there will be those who complete the route in 35mins and most who are happy to walk it (some even stopping for a fag and a pint along the way!)
I’m similar in my approaches to both knitting and running: happy to do the odd 10k/ jumper and have huge admiration for those who regularly complete marathons/ afghans.

Choose footwear wisely:


All runners would agree that, after fitness, footwear has an impact on pace. All runners would like to get their hands on (or feet into) a pair of 10-league boots. Similarly, none would chose to run 10k in high-heels. In knitting terms footwear relates to yarn-weight. A thin, lace-weight yarn is dainty and fine like high-heels; whereas the 10-league boots of the yarn-world are called “Super-Bulky”.

My Peaseblossom top (left) was done in lace-weight and, like completing a 10k in heels, it took me a marathon-esque amount of time.

A cowl at normal running pace might take a few days but using a Super-bulky yarn, like Rowan Big Wool, I made one in a day (Leaving On The Edge cowl on the right).

Get into your stride:

All other things being equal – fitness & footwear – a runner’s race is affected by the length of their stride: how many steps does it take them to cover the distance. For knitters, this is known as their “tension” where steps are known as stitches.

If you’re still with me, we finally get to the crux of the issue I was having with the too-small hat. Because I had chosen a thinner yarn than the pattern was written for it was as though I tried to run (knit) my 5k (hat) in a pair of flip-flops instead of runners. My stride (tension) was shorter: it took me 23 steps (stitches) to cover a 100m (4 inches) instead of 17 as expected.


Since I had failed to take additional steps (add stitches), on every lap (round) I ran (knit) I wasn’t going the distance (literally).
If you want to carry the metaphor further you can imagine me taking a wee detour past the water-jump on every lap.
Eventually, I did the calculation and figured out the number of additional stitches I needed to get me around the course. When I realised my 5k/hat would need 10k/jumper quantity stitches, I opted to kick-off the flip-flops and give myself a proper run at it.

– Written using BlogPress on my iPhone

Muse: Trials and Tribulations

Over the past six weeks I’ve been through the mill.

Not a woolen mill where I was metaphorically transformed from fluffy fleece to workable yarn. No, a stone-mill where the wheat gets sorted from the chaff.

I learned whether I was wheat or chaff!

Trial By Jury

In non-chronological order I had three trials over the past while, the first being applying for a new position where I work. It was an internal competition for a temporary position that would have taken me out of Architecture and into mainstream Administration and Management. That’s essentially what I’m doing these days anyway, there being very little Architecture in the pipeline these days.

I applied at the end of April and didn’t know if I would even get short-listed. I got word that I made the grade two days before the interview. I did my best to prepare but I remember feeling that I was at the very limit of my own intellect and ability in the process. The interview was so-so. They asked some excellent questions – questions that I really wish I had an answer for, questions that brought it home to me that I wasn’t in the right league at all. My immediate feeling on leaving the room was that I wouldn’t have given me the job.

With the benefit of  hind-sight I realise I should have been preparing mini-essays and reading-up from the moment I submitted the application form five weeks earlier. Hopefully there will be a next time and I can make use of this insight.
The process was useful to help me realise also that I’m being held-back – possibly deliberately – by those in my current workplace. I need to tackle this but as yet I haven’t got my head around how to do so.

Knitty-Trial

While I was disappointed that I hadn’t acquitted myself better in the interview I was sanguine about it given the lack of effort and preparation I had given the opportunity. It’s hard to accept defeat or failure when you have given something your all. Which brings me to the sad tale of my Knitty submission. Unfortunately, I received word – in the form of a very nice email with really positive feedback – that my pattern submission was rejected. Amy Singer said she loved the pattern and gave special mention to the photography (which was pretty awesome, thanks to DH) but because they rarely print kids patterns “so it’s extra hard to get through in this category”.

Dejected doesn’t cover how I felt. In a word, I was devastated, irrational as that may seem. I knew they rarely print kids’ patterns but I was audacious / arrogant enough to think that this pattern had something more that would over-come this hurdle. Plus, I deliberately sized the pattern to cover from toddlers to teens.

For now, I’m still licking my wounds. Amy suggested I submit the pattern to Petite Purls but for now I’m sitting on it and wondering how best to give it a debut.  Once bitten, twice shy and all that; I’m unsure I’ll put myself “out there” as a designer again.

Endurance Test

Since I like to focus on the positive rather than the negative I’ve got to give you my tribulation. As many of you know I’ve been donning running shoes (and questionable outfits) and training for the Women’s Mini-Marathon. This is my third year to take part (fourth to sign-up :-0) and my first year to have trained sufficiently. By Race-Day last year the longest I had run continuously was 20minutes. I decided to do a back-to-back of my longest training run so I walked for five minutes, ran for 20, walked for 10 mins, ran for another 20 then walked the rest of the way. My time was sufficiently good that I was allowed to enter as a fast-jogger this year.

This year I started my training earlier and was more diligent about sticking with it. As I came close to the end of the 9-week “Couch To 5K” training programme (C25k) – where I was running 20 to 25 minutes continuously – I found a training schedule on Action Aid’s website for running 10k and I started to adapt the last few weeks of C25k to suit. It mainly meant adding an extra run on a Friday and lengthening my other runs during the week or doing some speed-training called “Fartleks”.

Before the race this year I got chatting with a fellow fast-jogger who has a few London and Dublin Marathons under her belt. She had a similar target time of 75 minutes. I told her of my plan to walk for the first five minutes, run for 60 then walk for the last five as a five-minute walk was the warm-up in my training sessions. As it turned out, when the race started everyone around me took off at a run. If I had tried to walk, I would have either been trampled or caused an accident. Denise, my new “running-mate” cheered me to go for it, that I would be fine. So I did.

To my amazement, I finished the 10k just (literally) under one hour, clocking-in officially at 59minutes 52 seconds. Elated, thrilled, ecstatic don’t fully cover how gob-smackingly amazed I am at having done this. I even wonder did I really run the whole route. Surely I must have missed a kilometer or two?

My sister and my neice (her daughter) were also running and we all finished within 90 seconds of each other. My neice passed me just after 9km and called out to me. I called back (we were both wearing head-phones so we’re pretty sure we were absolutely roaring at each other!) that she shouldn’t wait for me, I’d slow her down. However, I tried to keep her in my sights for the last kilometer. That was the push I needed to get me over the line under 60 minutes.

That the three of us will managed to complete the race in less than 60 minutes this year means we will all be in the “Runners” enclosure at the start of the race next year. Then the *real* competition will start!

So in one case I was found to be chaff, in another I was whole-wheat goodness while the Knitty trial still chaffs (see what I did there?!?)

In all cases, I guess, it’s all grist to my mill.