Readiness

Surely, I am ready for the coming semester.  Readers, doesn’t it seem like I’ve been in graduate school forever?  It’s supposed to only take two years and I’ve been going at it since January 2004.  I have attended six residencies already, and have completed four semesters, with two to go.  I had to do two extra because I changed concentration (from fiction to creative nonfiction) halfway through.

I made the decision to drop the last semester at the end of March.  I was having too many problems.  What have I done since then?  Wasted time?  Sat around feeling sorry for myself?  Stayed in bed?

Perhaps I did stay in bed at times, but here’s what else I did:  I have continued to do my teaching every Thursday.  I knitted a sweater or two for Puzzle.  I started a sweater for myself.  I revised and then completed a chapter of my thesis.  I photographed people and pets in my building, a total of four sittings, and “developed” the photographs myself.  Most came out to my satisfaction and the satisfaction of others.  I took a rigorous online digital photography course that included learning Photoshop Elements, and passed.  I successfully touched up some new and old photographs.  I took hundreds of photographs of Puzzle.  I set up a website for my friends that will be running in full capacity in September.

I must say, Puzzle is awfully cute.  But that aside, I think it’s time to focus my efforts and hit the books.  I’ll be ready, come July, to return to school.

Asking for your opinions

Here is a recent sweater I made for Puzzle.  It is made with Peruvian wool but I added a “fun fur” synthetic trim, which you can see around the back edge in magenta.  Is it too distracting?  Is it too cheap looking to belong together with the beautiful natural wool?  Is the color too bright?  Or is it cute enough to surpass all these problems?  Let me know, because I can easily remove it.  Ideas?

Ripping out

I am referring to the busy-looking red sweater knit with ribbon.  I unraveled it.  Entirely.  Gave up on the project.  Why?  It made me nervous just looking at it.  Too bright.  I think the ribbon needs to be knitted with black, not bright red or even dull wine, which I switched to once I realized the bright red wasn’t panning out.  Furthermore, the consistency of the fabric it created wasn’t right.  The wool itself was soft and the ribbon only softened it more, so the project curled up at the edges.  There were things I could have done to prevent curling but–it’s done with, anyway.

When a patient is “put” in a quiet room, he or she is asked to calm down.  A considerate staff person will provide the means to calm down or at least have suggestions for the patient, and will allow the patient to engage in calming activities.  If a patient wants to scream, he or she can scream into a pillow so as not to disturb the other patients.  Some people like to hold on to ice.  But the activity that has facinated me the most and that I have never tried is to rip up an old telephone book.  It is claimed to be extremely effective!

Would ripping out an old sweater do as well?  Probably.  One can appreciate all the hours of hard work the knitter (or factory worker) spent putting the sweater together, and now, it’s gone in an instant and all that is left is a pile of yarn.

I chose to salvage the yarn.  That was painstaking work.  Don’t do that when you’re angry.  Remember, the sweater was double-stranded.  That meant I had to work with two balls of yarn at once.  I needed four hands.

What now?  I’m thinking of using the ribbon with black.  I’ve got some black yarn.  But I think I won’t make it in the rectangle style this time.  Later.

Dog sweater queens – Puzzle and I

As many of you know, I love to knit sweaters for Puzzle.  I’ve got a little collection of photos of Puzzle wearing her sweaters at http://photos.breakdownlanetraveled.com.  Click on (what else?) Puzzle’s Sweaters to view the photos and comments on the history of each sweater.  I don’t have all the sweaters up there but I’ll add as I take the photos.

I generally have more than one project cooking at a time.  Right now I’m working on a sweater that uses two contrasting colors combined yarns, DK weight, Merino swish wool.  The pattern is modeled after the half-tube with ribbing border shown below.  Another sweater I’m working on also uses two yarns, one a cotton blend ribbon and the other worsted weight Peruvian wool.  It is very brightly colored and would do well on a dismal winter day.  The pattern is a rectangle type I’ve never tried before.  I’m worried it won’t be long enough, but the rectangle can always be extended!  No one would ever know!

This is a sweater I’m making for myself.  As you can see, I haven’t gotten very far with it.  I’ve decided, though, after a long hiatus, to pick it up again.  I’ve taken a departure from the pattern I had been supposedly following to create a pattern of my own, but that hasn’t started yet.

Here are the two dog sweaters I described.  I’m not sure if the color will come up accurately on your screen.

I foresee an essay on the horizon about knitting…….