Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Write Hard And Clear

Last Friday I got back from my trip and trunk show up in Oregon. It was a great trip. I talked to lots of people who, perhaps without knowing it, helped give me a better idea of what I want to do with myself next. I have pictures and things to talk about in regards to the trip. But for whatever reason, I've had a really difficult time getting back to the blog to talk about anything. Today while trying to regain some motivation, I read an Ernest Hemmingway quote: "Write hard and clear about what hurts." 
Right now I'm overwhelmed. I'm preparing for Stitches West and against some hard knitting deadlines. I had the flu right before I went up to Oregon, so I'm still a bit tired from all that. But the most frustrating thing I'm dealing with (which is mildly silly, but still bothering me) is that I'm 2 pegs short from completing my IKEA cubbie bookcase.

My room looks like a tornado has been through it. (I didn't photograph that bit.) Today was going to be the day that I put everything back in its place. Instead tomorrow I have to go back to IKEA and see if I can get two more pegs. I'm not sure how difficult that will be, but I'm stressed out about it. I really needed the time for knit design stuff, not getting two pegs.

Anyways, I did finish one design and it is off with test knitters. The next design is coming along. (Although I'll need test knitters for that as well. It'll be a fingering weight infinity scarf with some beading.) And hopefully I'll start feeling much better once the bookcase is up and everything is picked up off of the floor. I know Scooter will appreciate it. He isn't a fan of the construction zone.

How is everyone's week going. Any silly (or not so silly) stressors going on at the moment?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

16 Rows

Just the other day I read an interesting article on Why Procrastinators Procrastinate and the follow up article, How To Beat Procrastination. I really like how the author talks about how each task can be broken down into "bricks." Although I'm not a habitual procrastinator, I do find myself dragging my feet on things when I haven't figured out how to break them down into smaller chunks, or bricks.
I've been working on a new design, but I had a difficult time getting things going, which is why I have the 16 rows rule in place. Before I can do anything fun, I have to knit 16 rows of this shawl. The rule might change to 12 rows since each row is over 200 stitches.

But the design is going well. It uses Spincycle Yarns' Dyed In The Wool in the July, July! color way alongside cascade 220 fingering in mossy rock. But the shawl is designed to look good using handspun or a yarn with long color repeats like mini mochi.

I'm hoping to be done with the knitting in the next week or so. If anyone is interested in testing a shawl out, let me know. The final yardage is to be determined, but I think it will be under 500 yard/ 450 meter range.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Annual Goal List: 2013-2014 Edition

2013 was a year of completing big goals and getting well. I had pushed myself so long and hard that I was chronically exhausted. The second half of the year was dedicated to treating myself well, eating better, and addressing issues that had been pushed to the wayside. Apparently cookies are not the way to improve energy levels. Green drinks are.

Moving on.... here are a few of this year's highlights. (Finishing Lit Knits is a given and won't be on the list.)

Actually, this might be a life highlight: I got to have a pint at the Green Dragon in Hobbiton. It is as cool as you think it is.
Me and Miss Pickles at the Green Dragon

I met Rachael, who is my new adventure buddy. We have gone hiking and biking to all sorts of places that I've wanted to go but wouldn't have without someone. Such trips include biking over the Golden Gate to Sausalito and taking the ferry back, seeing the Monterey Bay Aquarium, hiking to the top of Angel Island, hiking the Pinnacles, biking from Fort Ord to Monterey and back.
Biking by Fort Ord

I got to visit my brother in LA. The whole family went to the La Brea Tar Pits. My brother and I went to Disneyland the next day. He lost his sunglasses on the Matterhorn and my jeans got soaking wet in Splash Mountain and stayed wet for hours. It was awesome.
At the tar pits

Here's a recap of last years goals.

Goals for 2013:
1. Finish knitting the last knit.
Status: Complete. All the knitting got done in time to do the remaining photo shoots.
2. Finish the last 5 photo shoots.
Status: Complete. The last pictures to be taken were Down The Rabbit Hole. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to get flowers in the background. I was wrong. Thank goodness!
3. Hire a tech editor. Edit The Book.
Status: Complete. I ended up hiring a tech editor and copy editor. The Book was better for it.
4. Layout The Book.
Status: Complete. I thought I would have a couple months to work on the layout. I ended up having closer to a week. Nothing like a deadline to get things moving.
5. Get test knitters lined up. Test the knits.
Status: Complete. Most of my Friday night knit group tested out the book. There were others like kiwipurler who were kind enough to test as well. You guys made the instructions so much more clear. I'm grateful to all of you.
6. Knit a sister shawl to Celestarium. This one will have the constellations of the southern hemisphere.
Status: Complete. Not only did I finish the shawl, I was able to photograph it in the southern hemisphere. And the ever lovely kiwipurler modeled for me. (We visited yarn shops afterwards, which was tons of fun.)
I had also mentioned that I wanted The Book in my hand by August if possible. I did reach that goal in a way. I did complete the book by August. But then I decided to do a print run instead of print on demand. So I got the books in my hand by November. The digital copy of the book was available in August.

To sum it up, even though I completed everything, I feel like I cheated with this goal list. They were all things that had to get done and although they were difficult, I don't feel like it was a diverse enough list. Mind you, I didn't have time to do anything else. Anyways, I've been thinking about this year's goal list all week. (I know... usually I post a little closer to the New Year. My official excuse is computer trouble. The unofficial excuse is that I was also having fun doing other things.)

Goals for 2014:
1. Knit up more of the yarn kiwipurler has gifted me. I love the yarn. But every time I get close to knitting some of it, some other deadline gets in the way. Not this year. I will knit up at least 300 grams of the fingering weight.
2. Borrowing from the 2011 goal list, I'm putting the spin for a large project back on the list. Specifically, I've been spinning for a blanket since 2011. I have about a pound of wool left before I meet the 7 pounds of yarn required for the blanket size I'm hoping for. Then I plan to take the yarn to a weaver and have the blanket woven.
3. Knit Justin his socks that I promised him several years ago. It needs to happen.
4. Find a community outside of knitting to spend time with. Don't get me wrong, I love knit nights and yarn. But I think my life would be more balanced if it included non-knitters in it at times.
5. Choose a new job and do it. This is the first year in quite some time where I don't have a big goal to keep me occupied. It's a bit frightening. I just need to choose a new thing and go for it. This is much more difficult than it seems like it should be.
6. Sew myself a dress. Or in lieu of that, sew a project bag. I want to make a little something this year.

I'm horribly behind on blog reading at the moment. I was bereft of computer for the beginning of this year and it looks like I won't have a good solid time to catch up for another week. But I'm looking forward to reading everyone's goals for the year. Feel free to link up a blog post in the comments. I'd love to see it.
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