Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Knitting Accomplishments Thus Far (2014):

[x] Surprised my older sister with a pair of socks
[x] knit a pair of socks for my twin (in progress)
[] knit another pair of socks for my twin
[] knit Takoma (in progress... barely)
[] reknit myself a Wine In Summer
[x] try Estonian lace (I should put some more time into this; can't wait to see how it turns out)
[x] finish Shipwreck Shawl
[x] finish at least three shawls (though one is for someone else)
[x] ply waiting singles (started. I think I still have 2 or 3 more projects left to ply, though)
[] knit some specific gifts (hot water bottle cover; fuck cancer hats; owl puffs)
[x] knit some monsters
[x] knit some animals
[] steek. this will come when I finish Takoma
[x] finish pieced blanket (this is sort of finished. I have decided to add a border to it, so I need to get some needles and take a stab at that.)


not a bad bit of progress, for getting distracted by two other blankets in there.

any goals for yourself this year? how are they going?

Cloudy

Can't teach Astronomy labs if it's cloudy out. It's been cloudy for 3 solid weeks now. No labs. Students (and professor) getting anxious. I try to be optimistic but full overcast isn't gonna just magically clear up for viewing. *sigh*

I need to buckle down on research. Hard when the teaching stuff involves me running around and putting out a lot of fires. Still, I'm really going to have to smack down on myself and make sure I spend four or five working hours just getting the research done. I don't have too much time to screw around on things that are NotThesisWork.

Knitting has been a mixture of focused and crazy. How is it that I still have two--no, wait, three blankets still on the needles? No wonder I am not making a lot of progress. I put one of them in the corner but two blankets is still a lot to work on! I'm 2/3 done with each of them.

I ripped out an old half-knit sweater and started something new with the yarn, too. This thing looks like it will actually fit me, so that's better than the half-finished-thing. Still, casting on another sweater isn't exactly helping the "get things finished" list. I have a sleeve of Takoma half knit, too, so that project's waiting for me to pay attention to it. For smaller things, I also have two socks on different needles--again, neither of them garnering much progress.

Finally,  I have three (or four) hats I want to knit for the holidays, one a commission knit so it comes with extra responsibility. And there's the plans for the hot water bottle cover and slipper socks for my mom, and the colorwork thing for my older sister, and as many socks as I can churn out for my twin. These haven't been dented yet! and I've got two cowls I want to make for myself--TWO.  And that estonian lace and those witchy fingerless mitts I want to make myself... and more fiber to spin than I can look at.

Anyway, long story short, I'm busy. busy busy busy. Also I appear to have a problem prioritizing things (especially now that stash dash is over). How do you prioritize your knitting? How do you decide what to work on next, at any given moment, or over the course of the year?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Freight Train

And with that all dreams of a sweet summer are over. Classes have begun, my teaching load is quite heavy (3 nights a week I'll be teaching lab, which basically makes 7-12 pm completely useless on M, T, and H), and I've got a bunch of stuff to do managing things for one of the profs I am TAing for. I like teaching, so I am sure I'll enjoy the work when I'm actually out at the telescope, but it's a big chunk of time. And then there's grading, and the second job if I can get one. I thought I could do tutoring/grading for the department but there's been a mix up and no positions seem to be available.

I am contemplating teaching some courses at my LYS. I was thinking about doing a beginning crochet course--taking people through chaining, slip stitch, single, double, and half double crochet, hook positioning, and how to turn back--by doing a simple washcloth, and culminating in crocheting granny squares, possibly followed by a granny square exchange for a blanket or bag. I think also an introduction to Ravelry class would be a good idea--since I know the ins and outs of it pretty well ;). Intro to rav could be a one week course; intro to crochet could be a 2 week course, the second week being the granny square stuff. Might be fun, and would certainly help the bank account!

Meanwhile, the full responsibilities of the semester (in the form of meetings) has hit me like the proverbial freight train. Seriously, I spend hours answering emails, organizing times and places, giving my expert opinion on things, and working towards conclusions (that only lead to more work  :P).  I am going to have to assign myself some very specific email hours and then escape for the rest of them.

First thing on the to-do list: apply for various forms of funding.
Second thing on the to-do list: edit my paper. I received referee comments! it wasn't outwardly rejected! I just have to make changes and resubmit, probably several times! Very excited... this means it could be published soon!
Third thing on the to-do list: get my stupid bgq program to work, make some graphs, and basically get back into research so I can do this second paper and have it ready to submit by Dec 1st.

busy, busy, busy. Hmm... I think I love my job again, yarn-glee aside.

Knitting to-do:
1) finish test blanket (meep)
2) finish holiday gifts
3) knit for me. Isn't this always the way it goes? I bet I'll give up on everything and make mitts for me this month anyway.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"responsible"

cast on the secret/test knit for a friend. It's cute, I think--as long as I choose the colors correctly. We'll see how it turns out and if I want to share pictures.

Here's a pic of the blanket I'm making for my girlfriend. it's more neon than it appears.




The last day of sweet freedom

Between finishing classes, visiting the family, and the beginning of my new teaching duties for fall, I've had a wee nubbin of time to myself. I got back Friday afternoon, gave a public lecture Friday night, and then spent some hours with a good friend at his going away party (until 2am). Saturday I had time to myself; slept in, and went to the knitting group, and tried to piece my life back together. Sunday my free time got eaten by a ridiculous headache so I spent most of it asleep, and a wee bit of it on the internets with my twin, and saw my going away friend for one last dinner and a hug. Monday and Tuesday I saw my girlfriend for the first time in seven weeks... ngh. too long. We had a great time: we hung out with her family, went to see Guardians of the Galaxy, had a fancy dinner, played Diablo III, got to snuggle--all the good stuff. Also I got to meet one of her friends who was super sweet--and also a knitter! glee! we geeked out a bit (though I was somewhat zoned out--if the TV is on it really mindcontrols me and I don't pay attention to other things).

So, today is the last of it. And it's not really a full day of freedom because I have a meeting at 1pm and then some telescope training in the evening, but I'm going to take the time to finish getting my life back together rather than spending the full 12 hours at the office. I'm going to do laundry, vacuum my bedroom, try to clean out my bags and my car, and move my stuff to my new desk, plus do some care-time with the poor abandoned kitties. and maybe try to do some cooking and grocery shopping and mailing things... eep. it's gonna be busy.

Anyway, I picked up knitting for joy and pleasure on Saturday for the first time in a long time. The Stash Dash is over, and I hit the 5km goal, totalling 5600 yards of completed work. That doesn't count how much I put into other shiny things I didn't complete (I would've added those up if I hadn't met it otherwise). I'm very pleased with the outcome--the event served as a motivator for forcing myself to work on some big projects that have been lingering on the needles for a couple of years. I've two new shawls (quite large ones, too), and a throw-blanket that I've been wanting. I also got a head start on a gift for my girlfriend, and used up quite a bit of deep stash, and worked on some socks and hats and mitts (my usual pleasures).

I think I've finally come to the conclusion that I want and need a spinning wheel. Right now I'm looking at the Ladybug and the Sidekick but I want to test more wheels out first. I've had a very fun time spinning on my spindles and making yarn--I made three beautiful skeins during the Stash Dash--but I am feeling the need for speed. and quantity. I want to make a lot of things into yarn now that my fiber stash has grown. Additionally, I'm beginning to have goals for the fiber I acquire. Not nebulous "make a skinny three-ply" and "make a skinnier two ply" and "make this one skinny and then chain ply it" goals, but really specific goals like "try to get at least 350 yards of a sock-weight yarn from this one and don't mute the colors too much because I have a shawl or pair of socks in mind for it". I think the wheel helps with the goals--not in the least because it's fast rather than dreadfully slow and requiring patience.

After Stash Dash finished I threw myself into other projects. I'm feeling a bit of ennui, though--I think I need to start something simple and gratifying that I can carry with me. The socks would be all right, but only for another 2 inches before I have to shape and do the heel; the other socks and shawls and hats are all patterned, and the simple wristwarmer mitts require free drafting of mawata silk--not exactly portable, though the color depth is stunning. And the big crochet blanket is too big to carry around and the other secret project--oh... I should get stared on that.

But I think I'll cast on a Hitchhiker scarf/shawl in some handspun instead, and watch knitting podcasts while I do laundry until my meeting.

What are you dreaming about knitting now that fall is so darn close?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Teaching is kicking my butt

My daily schedule consists of: waking up exhausted, hurrying into the office, trying to get a lecture together before 1pm, often without having remembered lunch, running short on material at about 2:40, scraping class along until 3:00 or 3:05, turning into a vegetable and scarfing down food while staring numbly at email until about 5pm, trying to grade until 9pm, frantically trying to balance grading and making a new homework with the need to prep lecture + the desire for some in class activity, and passing out at midnight.


one night this week I skipped the grading thing and just knitted. Now I'm behind 2 assignments (for only 6 students, agh, what do people with 20 students or 400 students do??) and I haven't had more than 6 hours of sleep since.

plus side: only 4 days left of class, the blanket is finished, and I"m onto the beaded bindoff of my shawl. So when I finish this, stash dash'll be met!

down side: wellllllll 5 days. Hopefully I can scrape enough time out of them to hit this point.

After I'm done teaching I imagine I'll just melt into a puddle for a few days. Hah. But on the knitting plate is:

1) a shop sample hat
2) finishing up some 3 ply spinning
3) starting the next part of the test blanket
4) starting mom's holiday gift
5) working on socks for the twin
6) secret for the other sister (hmmm...)

and a million other things I want to cast on all at once because they're shiny. *sigh*

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stash Dash 2014 update

Shipwreck is finished! I need to take a weekend to block it and get good pictures.
Lightning on Quaker Ridge is now 2/3 done.
I am working on the last square of my Mock Cornerstone blanket (Rothko blanket? that's what I think of it as...), but I will have to attach them all and then pick up to do the border.

Those are probably the only major things I'll finish for StashDash14. My class starts tomorrow and I've got a lot of work left to do. freaking out a bit. ngh. let me make a list.

1) draft the first lecture or two/edit H's lectures into mine (1st one: modern, modern way of thinking, scientific method, testability, etc; 2nd one: chinese, greek, roman, medieval way of thinking, understanding the universe)
2) come up with actual in class assignments for students to do for 1 hour out of the 2 hours.
3) figure out point distribution and intended assignments throughout class
4) finish polishing syllabus: set office hours and online-help hours, lay out the intended class work for each day/week, lay out the intended assignments and duedates
5) figure out what final project will really be??? or at least write it up so it sounds reasonable.
6) figure out first week of readings: from book, from articles, from other sources. make copies
7) panic

must absolutely do 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 today. great.