Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Make Sure You Give Back

Make sure you give back.

Such a common phrase, such a polite idea.

And so insidious.


Give to your profession. Make sure you mentor new people, write, speak, attend or conferences, peer review, edit, serve on those local/regional/national/international committees, give up your nights, weekends, and everything else. No of course there is no honorarium. This should be part of your passion.

Give at the office. You should be donating to your workplace or at minimum to things your workplaces tells you to support. Let us help you set up that monthly deduction so it comes right out of your paycheck. Also we need you to toss in extra for this other initiative.

Give to anywhere you ever attended for education. And make sure it isn't restricted in any way that keeps it from being used on a new stadium. Your donation will go towards that suite where we'll host other people we ask for money. More important people. Not you.

Give to your politicians. Who cares that the money seems to disappear at a grand scale and be drowned in other money from old white dudes.

Give to your craft. You should be donating yarn, patterns, knitted objects, and money to all of these things. What do you mean you aren't only knitting for charity? Or for me, for free. You have all that yarn. I just want a cabled, personally designed, laceweight sweater. In cashmere.

Give to culture centers. It's never enough that you buy a ticket or a membership, you should also always be making regular constant donations to these organizations. And attend their special fundraisers. And bring all of your friends and tell them they must donate too.

Give to all of the charities, events, topics. Time, money, Twitter feed. Make sure everything gets equal representation.

Give to the people around you. You're a woman, you're supposed to be nurturing and caring. You're supposed to want to spend your time in a hostile situation cleaning it up and making sure it is done in such a way that no one feels threatened or challenged. Oh that's just something you do innately.

Hand over money.
Hand over time.
Do it for ME
Serve on committees
Peer Review
Give to this scholarship fund
Put in time on this project
Organize this event.

It's just this one thing. You're so good at it. We need someone clear headed. It's part of how you build community. It's part of how you move us forward. As a favor. Just one more time. But there's no one else we can call. It's for a good cause. We need a 95% donation rate. We just need $1. It'll only take five minutes.

Don't you dare be selfish or for others to shoulder the load. Don't imagine a day where you won't face 15 new waiting demands. Don't want someone to have sorted things so you just have to show up. Don't expect anyone else to clean up the mess. You should give *more* so you can clean up the disaster they left us.

Make sure you give back.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

I'm Totally Not Cheating on the Squares

Okay, maybe I am. Just a little. It was just one or two rows. Less than 30 for sure.

I was home today, burning some vacation time (and apparently running Week 1 of All the Errands) and needed something, new project.  This is Illumine, and I'm knitting it out of the Total Eclipse of the Sun colorway minis kit that I picked up last year. It's going to take a while, I have to pay attention to the right side rows and the repeats, though at least the back is just straight purling. I have a potential plan for this but we'll see.    

Proof that I didn't entirely abandon the squares. That's square 31 and 32 is more than halfway done. I'm finally onto the black yarn and yes, it's going to be a drag. To my personal credit, I started this on May 12 and it's not yet July 12 -- so the fact that I'll have knit 32 squares in 2 months means I am averaging one about every two days, which is a decent amount of knitting considering the usual obligations of work, home, feline petting, and sleep. I am rather tired of them, even with the nice fact that they are perfect commuter knitting. I keep telling myself "but only 10 more" and that's helping a bit, of course then there are all the ends to weave in, the crocheting together to do and hopefully something of an edging. 

Pyewacket continues to supervise. Or rather to try and take over Gypsy's spot. This is my latest bag from Stitched by Jessalu and the cats have been taking turns sleeping on it when it's not attached to me. Mostly it's around a belt loop and following me about. 

Two black wool yarns and the black cat; well there's today's theme isn't there. 

Stay cool... 

Friday, June 29, 2018

When at Conference, I Shall Knit

In my suitcase I will pack... the start of a children's memory game that I haven't played for years. Fortunately as an adult it is slightly easier to remember what it is my suitcase. Yarn. Always yarn. The squares and I were off for a few days of a conference. 

Here I am stuffed into Hollow Metal Tube #1. BrineyDeep and I shared a flight and hotel, though we sat in different rows and so didn't annoy the entire plane with discussions of pick-up vs. pick-up-and-knit, the latter technique I still don't quite understand. This was my last purple square. I'd really hoped to be done with it before we left, but such was not the be the case. 

But from there on it was all light gray all the time. Here, the square and I are at an awards ceremony for a coworker. This makes me realize I can't tell if it's better or worse to be churning along on things that are the same color. You have no idea if I've only knit 3-ish squares all summer. I promise there are ziplocs in my living room containing squares. 

BrineyDeep and I took the opportunity for high tea. Such desserts and an excellent pot of Darjeeling. And the opportunity to see two very adorable young people get engaged a couch or two over from where we were sitting. 

The Philosopher joined me at the end of my conference and we explored a bit. Here at the insectarium I attempted in vain to catch the gorgeous colors of this butterfly. This was the best shot I got but those wings *glowed* blue. You can only see a suggestion here but it was stunning. 

At the suggestion of our friend Kolt, we headed out to a small place that served some of the best fried chicken I've ever had. That was an absolutely phenomenal meal. We rather waddled back to the airport on Wednesday to head home. 

On the plane there was more knitting.... 

And a final square started on the trip, which got wrapped up this morning.

With commute knitting and a little evening knitting, I'm now almost half-way through Square 27. That's 10 dark gray complete; 10 purple complete; and I should finish the 7th light gray one tomorrow. I had done 3 light gray before, so I only made it through 3.25 squares on the trip? Something like that. Half a square a day approximately.  

I caught myself dreaming about knitting a pair of socks today. 15 squares to go.... 

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Brief Distraction From Squares

If I wave new yarn under my nose, it might take off the feeling of "yet another square?" right? I complain but actually the squares are going well and it's nice to just churn through them, not worrying too much about what comes next because I know.

I'm on track to finish Square 22 today -- it's Purple. And then I'll only have one more purple square to go (10 dark gray, 3 light gray, and 8 purple done so far). July is going to be all black and light gray.

Ah, I but I promised some new wool.

First up-- Graduation Yarn!!! 

That card is going on the refrigerator for a while -- four years of knitting my fingers off and to the deadline! 

Our graduate yarn was a skein of Dream in Color Jilly -- the singles cashmere base in a colorway just for us! It's very much Loopy Ewe colors. I have no idea what I'll make with it, though I've heard a couple of classmates mention Hitchhiker and that seems like a potentially reasonable option. I don't knit with singles all that much anymore, so I'll have to poke through the queue and see what to find. 

Also--there's yarn from Canada. My friend Lisa recognized this just from the skein labels, even without the dyer's name showing! I picked up two things -- a skein of DK and a gradient pack, both by Julie Asselin. 

The plan for the DK is to remake a hat that I knit a few years ago that went missing. I loved the pattern but wanted something a little more subtle -- so, gray.  And then the gradient pack is lovely. 

I've no idea what I'll do with it yet. It might get paired with something or it might just be beautiful on it's own. Either way, it's off to the stash to marinate for a bit. 

Perhaps the gray is a swing back from the all-rainbows-all-the-time we had going there for a bit? Perhaps. But I doubt it will last. I like rainbow BRIGHT yarn too much.  

Monday, June 11, 2018

Hint, It's Another Square

The next couple of months are going to be very square, though at the moment it is also very purple as I charge through those skeins. This is Square 19. Say hello and pour it a beverage. 

I started working on squares on May 12 and I have a goal of 42 squares so getting through this many in the first month is quite respectable. It helped that I had an international trip in there with airport time and that it is summer -- or pretending to be so on the calendar. But mostly it's been the determination of yes, I will knit pretty much everywhere and each square is only (ha) about 3 hours of flat out knitting time.

The dark gray squares are done, all 10 of them. And I finished Purple Square #5 last night.  There are 3 light gray squares done -- hence now on number 19. 

This project has spawned a lot more questions than I'm used to receiving anymore about my knitting. I don't know if it is because of the constant bind off / pick up stitches nature of log cabins or the fact that it's summer, or something else but several complete strangers have paused to inquire what it is that I'm making. Usually I get some suspicious looks and knitting is still one of the more effective ways to politely scare people off on the train (I don't know either, these aren't sharp needles and I am not flailing about).

I have another trip coming up and I'm hoping that can be either the all-black or the light-gray squares. Light gray might be better because I'll be conferencing again, but I haven't decided yet. The Philosopher and I will have to discuss the options.

I'm also chomping at the bit to start knitting something that isn't squares. I would like my project monogamy noted and acknowledged now because I'm not sure how much longer I'll hold out. I have already picked out what is next, who it is for, and what yarn and pattern I'm using. If you see me suddenly with much skinnier yarn, don't tell the squares. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

This has been Loopy Academy

The Loopy Ewe staff approved all of my Senior Semester 2 Spring project pictures and with that...Loopy Academy is done. It's been simultaneously a long and very short four years.  Overall I knit 27 projects, what with a duplicate semester, and I didn't do any of the extra credit projects. Too many semesters I was knitting to the wire.

I pulled everything together into a few categories. 

Unsurprisingly, I made a lot of shawls. Most of them far exceeded the requirements for a given semester. But a third of my projects were shawls!  And all of them have been gifts or are in the gift bin.  So I knit shawls but I don't keep them apparently.   These were definitely my favorite projects -- the lace Wendyknits shawl, the nupps steampunk shawl, Franklin Habit's Shawl, the dragon wing that I knit for Audiogirl and the one with all the beads. This was definitely my excuse to buy and knit Wollmeise also. 

In the scarf category, I knit six projects.  Three of these have already become yarn again; they weren't ones I loved. The other three have been gifted. These photos are all that remain evidence of them, though I do hope they are being worn and loved. 

There were some hands and feet projects. I'm somewhat surprised that I didn't knit more socks throughout this, though I admittedly don't enjoy patterned socks particularly. Socks are my true autopilot project.  I've not really worn the gloves or mitts but I really do like the mittens. Those come out for the coldest winter days, they make an excellent outer later. I must remember to wear the dragon mitts at tailgates this fall!

And then there's the "everything else" category. Toys, hats, a sweater, a pillow, and a felted wine bottle cozy.  

The green hat went missing on it's first day out, which still makes me sad. The sweater has been washed and bagged for fall. The pillow got pulled out. The owls went to live with a co-author.

I hadn't thought about how few of these projects I've kept. Granted most are accessories and I have plenty of those, but it's odd to see it compiled. I have friends who can pull out piles of things they've knit. I can -- if nothing else there are MANY pairs of socks around Chez Hedgehog, but also a lot has gone on, finishing it's purpose for me and hopefully off to a better one with friends.

Now that Academy is done, I only have to face Christmas knitting this fall. Can you even imagine? 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

It's Gonna Be Gray

This last week included my first foray into Canada, mystical land of the Yarn Harlot, Canadian wool, and really good poutine. I was speaking at a conference but I knew there would be time for a fair amount of knitting. AudioGirl and I even did extensive word problem calculations to try and account for the fact that I firmly believe in getting to the airport ridiculously early and also I would be knitting through sessions. 

As I'm trying to power through my main summer project, a new log cabin blanket for Chez Hedgehog, I packed up all of the dark gray wool that had not yet been knit and off I went. 

This was where I started, Dark Gray Square #3 at ORD. My cab driver was prompt and blessedly quiet, at 5 a.m. I am not prepared for light chitchat. It's also a wonderfully short trip through security at that hour.  You can see my Firework Shawl in the corner there; normally that lives at work but it came home recently and was the perfect accompaniment to pretty much everything I wore this trip. I'm debating if it goes back to work or not.  

And here is my result upon arriving home this evening.  Four completed squares and a fifth one started. Apologies for the dreadful lightning.  AudioGirl and I had *slightly* overestimated my potential productivity -- we'd planned for potentially 9 squares and I was concerned about being under yarned. That proved not to be an issue, though I only overpacked by 440 yards.  

Here are the current bags of squares. I have 3 in purple, 3 in light gray, and 6 in dark gray. 12/42; I'm more than 25% done with this afghan and I only started on May 12! If I can keep this up I should indeed be done with plenty of Stash Dash time to spare. 

And some proof that I was indeed in Montreal: at my friend Amy's recommendation I had poutine with a steamed hot dog.  It was an enormous portion and I didn't finish it, hard though I tried.  It was delicious though! 

I did find a yarn store -- but more details on that when the light is better and I can get good pictures of the souvenir yarn !

Make Sure You Give Back

Make sure you give back. Such a common phrase, such a polite idea. And so insidious. Give.... Give to your profession. Make sure you...