Updated: The sweater list

As I’ve been cleaning out the sweater queue, I’ve started putting together the sweater list: things that I absolutely want to wear and thus find worthy to make. As I’ve been putting together this list, I’m following a few rules:

  1. The pattern must be one already in my collection, custom-fit (since I have the subscription) or available for free. I’m watching my budget and I have the blessing of an extensive library of things to knit.
  2. The yarn must be something already in my stash. This is in part because I’m watching my budget, but it’s also because I have lots of great yarn just waiting to be sweaters. I’m worthy of using it now.
  3. It must be a realistic style for me to wear. This is both a style and a weight of the sweater issue. If it’s not my thing, I won’t wear it. If it’s too heavy and I could only wear it as a coat, I won’t wear it, either.

It’s proving more difficult than I originally thought it would be. I’m doing a great deal of searching through both my stash on Ravelry and my Ravelry library. So far it’s not going well, at least from the “something to blog about” standpoint. I have a lot of “I didn’t understand my most usual colors” and a lot of “that’s a cool pattern, but not practical/flattering/reasonable to think I’ll actually make” to sort through.

It leaves me with a lot of questions about what I’m going to do with this yarn if I’m not going to make a sweater with it, too. I need to get serious about figuring out that problem, too. Some of the yarn I have, I still want to make other things with. Some of it, however, would be put to better use sold to another knitter/crocheter or potentially donated to somewhere that could do some good.

Some of the yarn I have, I still want to make other things with. Some of it, however, would be put to better use sold to another knitter/crocheter. Some other skeins I have would be better donated to somewhere that could do some good and I have a venue in mind for that.

I’ve been questioning my lists a lot lately. I keep looking at the time available after I leave the Day Job all the things I have on my lists. This blog. The knitting. The stack of books on my nightstand. The Craftsy classes I own and haven’t taken. The gym I’m not going to enough. The story writing that goes in fits and starts at best. Each of them silently judging me because I have so much on my plate and so little progress on any of them, especially the gym and the story writing.

I’m just wondering, is doing it all unrealistic for me at this stage in my life? Do I need to let go of a few things? Or do I just need better priorities and more efficient use of my time?

I can’t listen to an audio book when I’m at The Day Job due to the nature of my work. There are too many interruptions. What if I go to the gym and walk on the track and listen to a book on Audible, will that let me do more?

Should I knit and watch TV when I get home from The Day Job to unpack my brain after a long day?

Do I give up the blogging time and trade it for time directly on my novel? Is this even worth doing? If it is, do my general ramblings make the most entertaining reading or should I put a timer on my blog time and use a writing prompt related to what I’m trying to write about in my stories to help prime the pump?

Idea Log: Norwegian Star

Fueled by my relative success at wardrobe curating, I’ve started cleaning out my Ravelry queue of things that I will never make, either because they don’t fit my style (Classic with a Twist) or they just aren’t practical. That practicality thing is killing me.

It absolutely pains me to throw  Winter Traveller Sweater by Julie Farwell-Clay, but I will never wear it. That enormous graphic Norwegian star speaks to me. I love the graphic quality of the huge star dominating the background. I want this sweater in my life, but it’s just not practical for me, even in Iowa. I find I’m too warm in pullovers on all but the coldest of days.

A big plain Norwegian Star motif, very much like this one I found on Gripping Yarns.

Cardigans are the best way to go for me. I can unbutton or unzip them as needed when I get too warm. I can button them up when I’m cold. A nice cardigan is what I need. Maybe something with a zipper, so I can minimize interrupting the motif and just let it flow across the field of the sweater. More thought is needed.

A new way to spend my money

On Monday nights I waste spend my time playing D & D with friends. We’re currently playing through the first of the Tyranny of Dragons modules, and I’m playing a gnome rogue named Ellibelli. I’m currently using a halfling rogue as my miniature at the game table, which is just fine (I guess) since D & D didn’t bother to make any gnome miniatures.

Who am I kidding? It’s annoying. All those halflings everywhere and no gnome miniatures? It’s annoying as heck.

That’s okay, though, because our GM reminded me that Hero Forge exists and that I could get a custom miniature made there. I fussed and fussed, but I did manage to make a miniature that would work as Elli. I played for quite a while to get everything exactly how I want it, including finding a dragon familiar for the miniature.

Elli doesn’t have a pet dragon. I added that to represent one of Elli’s character traits in the game. Elli’s quite the little expert on All Things Dragon. According to Elli, the reason she knows so much about All Things Dragon is because she really is a dragon. Her official character history says her grandfather actually slew a dragon, earning him the name Dragonslayer before he settled down to live the sage life.

Gnome? Where? I’m a dragon. – Ellibelli Dragonslayer, gnome rogue

The other player characters have declared that Elli is insane. Only the GM and I know the truth. It’s sure fun to play, though.

Then I spent the better part of the afternoon making builds for all my favorite characters, including one based on my City of Heroes/World of Warcraft/The Secret World/Rift character. It’s mostly City of Heroes with a touch of World of Warcraft and Rift thrown in to try to get a look that reminds me of the character I always build in online games like these.

Sometimes a girl just needs to put on a pointed hat and shoot fireballs at computer generated enemies.

I’ve got saving up for the double sized version of this model on my budgetary to do list. For now, it’s only screenshot here and a saved file out on Hero Forge. Someday it might even become a tchotchke on my desk.

I miss videogaming. It was a social activity for me. Get online. Hang with my guildies. Blow off a little steam doing daily quest or crafting. I’ve always had some degree of video game motion sickness. After I had my bout of vestibular neuronitis, my video game motion sickness got worse, to the point of games becoming nearly unplayable. It’s one of the few things that I didn’t recover at least to some degree through physical therapy.

I miss it. Really, I miss the guildies and the camaraderie and the raiding. Hugging the floor and trying not to throw up all over everything? I don’t miss that at all.

The ironic thing is that I originally got into videogaming because we couldn’t keep a group together to play D&D. Before video games, playing tabletop roleplaying games was my social outlet. Now I have a D&D group again because none of us can keep a group together to play video games. What’s old is new again.

With actually “needing” miniatures for tabletop play, I could go down a pretty deep hole here designing characters and then printing them up as we need them. As we know already, I love miniatures. I could very easily build daily life fantasy dioramas.

Anne Dooley, Piglet on my tiny imaginary farm

Sadly, the D & D Miniatures are 30 mm, which is approximately 1:60 scale and the farm is 1:24 scale because that’s the approximate scale of the Schleich farm animals. There will not be any fantasy figures visiting the farm at this time except if they’re visting the land of the giant animals.

Maybe if I save up for one of the 1:30 scale figures I can play around with what I already have. Otherwise, I’ll be searching for 1:24 scale people to turn into fantasy characters or 1:60 scale farm animals and buildings.

Great minds don’t really think alike

I’ve thinking about my Baroque Violet Hanten and how to steal a few more hours in the day to work on it and get it finished. Right after I started that, I was reading Fringe Association and Karen’s latest idea log, where she talks about her gorgeous indigo fabric and wanting to make a kimono jacket out of it. Then my Pinterest feed was brimming with Japanese inspired jackets and straight up traditional Japanese clothing. 

It stuck me how many times it seems like when you’ve got a new idea that idea seems to be cropping up all over the place at the same time, as if there’s some universal unconsciousness feeding everyone. That sensation is the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (aka: frequency illusion). Simply put, you’re seeing it everywhere because you’re more aware of whatever it is in the first place because it’s been on your mind.

Before I learned about it, whenever I had a creative idea that I was mulling, if I saw something like it anywhere else, I’d abandon the idea completely. I’d really beat myself up over it. What a stupid, ordinary idea it must be, I’d tell myself. It’s everywhere. It’s already been done to death.

But it hasn’t.

The thing is that while I might be thinking “Blue Japanese Inspired Jacket” and someone else is thinking “Blue Japanese Inspired Jacket” how I go from idea to execution will be completely my own.

The same is true with writing. You could give a room full of people a random, three word, writing prompt (bar, diver, lipstick), tell them to write about whatever comes to mind, and no two people in the room would write the same thing. You could give a more specific writing prompt like “Start with the first line ‘The snow is my business partner.'” and there would still be no two stories alike. 

Life is complex. Each of us brings our own unique experiences and worldview to the table. One person writing might be a gun-toting, vegan with a passion for live-tweeting Project: Runway and see through that lens. Another might be a trans-man, Christian, hoping to move to the Caribbean and start a dive charter business and see through that lens. 

Tapping into what’s unique in each of us is where the real originality in any creative effort lies.

Hanten Mantra

an older progress picture of my Hanten by Cheryl Oberle.

One of the hardest parts knitting for me is sustaining interest in projects. As a product knitter, I want the result of my knitting. Unless the knitting itself is engaging, I have difficulty maintaining my focus and dedication on the work until the end.

I want this sweater.

I know my Hanten will be a favorite once I finish it. I can already tell that I will reach for it again and again because I like its organic nature. I like its imperfections, and it’s simple shape.

I want this sweater.

It’s the right color. It fits my aesthetic. It fits my style, Classics with a Twist. In this case, two twists: It’s kimono – traditional Japanse clothing vs. a straight up western piece -, and it’s knit, which is not usual for this kind of piece at all. (I’m not sure that it’s actually a hanten in the strictest sense of the word, but it was inspired by the shape of the hanten, and that’s the name of the pattern, so that’s what I’m calling it.)

I want this sweater.

I just need to finish knitting this sweater, and that’s what’s proving problematic. My subversive instinct isn’t working in my favor for self-motivation. I need to kick it in on myself. I’m bucking “The Man” by finishing this sweater. Big Fashion doesn’t want me to succeed. They want me to give them money for a sweater that’s their vision, not mine. This is my sweater, my vision.

I want this sweater.

I just really kind of want it to knit itself and be magically finished already. Oh, for a pair of self-knitting needles, like Mrs. Weasley had in the Harry Potter books and movies! Now that would be an excellent gift.

Christmas Scarf Watch: 20161224 –  Completed

I made it. The scarf is now drying after it’s initial washing. No scarf IOUs will be needed this year.

The roommate documented the measurement for me. I ended up being slightly short on my count. It actually took a full six tomatoes (three hours) to complete the last of it. I’m unsure if the deviation was just that I slowed a bit as I went due to my hands hurting, or simply knit faster when I was timing myself to try to figure out much longer I would need to finish.

I felt so accomplished that I gave myself the rest of the evening off from knitting and watched the roommate play her new video game: The Division. The storyline of the video game is good because how could it not be good when it’s based on work by Tom Clancy.

I’m still just a little disappointed at the lack of zombies in the game. Thugs? Yes. Bioterrorists? Of course. Zombies? Completely missing. It’s so sad. I think it’s a tragically missed opportunity for zombie Knicks fans.

At least the game is educational. I’ve been learning lots about New York. The game maps are actually based on Google Maps for the city. I’ve even been to Virtual Madison Square garden, which makes me want to go visit the real thing.

The most important thing I’ve learned from the game so far, though, is that pretty much everyone has military grade weapons stashed around their apartments for you to find once they’ve been evacuated because of the Dollar Flu. I’m surprised that more New Yorkers aren’t just climbing up onto their rooftops and camping out in lawn chairs with their sniper rifles and machine guns and picking off passers-by for fun while they wait out the whole Bioterrorist plague thing.
I would have expected the roommate to do more sniping, like she’s done in Fallout and other games, but The Division doesn’t seem well set up for solo play and many of the scenarios seem to need to be seriously over-leveled in order to play them out alone. Because of that, there haven’t been as many opportunities for her to find a good spot to set up and head shot mobs.
I made the roommate (read: pestered the roommate to do it until she acquiesced) pick up her free holiday hat for her character. It’s a nifty red and white holiday themed fair isle stocking cap complete with Norwegian Star motif and Deer. It screams holiday cheer as she’s mowing down AI opponents with her AK-47, so at least there’s that.

Christmas Scarf Watch Update: 20161223 – The race is on

​Scarf watch: length 65 inches of 78 inches.

Tendonitis report: Yes.

Tomatoes behind schedule: Let’s call it one. It should be three, because I should have planned on finishing today and not tomorrow, to allow for blocking. I did take time to weave in the ends so far, so I’ll only have one end to weave in when I finish.

Tomatoes remaining: Let’s call it 5, just to be safe. 

Odds of finishing before Christmas: Promising (Don’t get cocky!)

Desperation level: Waning (Seriously, don’t get cocky!)

There are just a bit over 13 inches of scarf left to knit and perhaps 2 and a half hours of work left before the knitting is finished.

I’m on Winter Shutdown now. It varies a bit from year to year, but The Day Job shutters the doors from from December 23 through January 2 in order to do vital maintenance in the factory and facilities. Lucky me, since the office is closed, too. In theory, I should be able to manage knitting time over the course of the day to finish the scarf and block it.

In practice, the roommate may have other plans for maintenance around the house that I need to help with since we’re hosting the Holiday festivities here this year. 

There’s a fighting chance of actually meeting my self imposed deadline. Wish me luck.

It will take a miracle

Let’s not talk about how far behind I am on the scarf. I keep telling myself that I can make it, that I can finish it before Christmas Eve. In a fit of starry-eyed optimism, I even put a tomato on it before work this morning.

In my saner moments, I keep hearing this scene from the Princess Bride in my brain.

I want to succeed. I just don’t know that there’s quite enough time left between now and Christmas Eve, especially if I leave time for trivial finishing things like “blocking” and “weaving in ends” and “sleeping.”

Finishing and sleeping are overrated, right?

Enough stalling by writing. Back to knitting.

 

 

The days really ARE getting shorter

The Christmas Scarf rolled up around it’s cake, because I’m now desperate enough to try to transport it.

Scarf watch: length 49 inches of 78 inches. (does not include another four screwed up rows because I tried to knit in a room too dark for the yarn color).

Tendonitis report: Still an issue. Icing when I’m not actively knitting.

Tomatoes behind schedule: 1.5 (adding a half a tomato for the second round of knitting fail that I need to fix.)

Odds of finishing before Christmas: Not good.

Desperation level: High, bordering on all out panic.