Winter Break for Adults

Photo of a handknit cowl, in progress

You know how you have a break coming up and you get all excited because you’re going to have ALL THIS TIME?  If you’re a maker, like me, maybe you plan out a project or thirteen.  Go buy supplies.  Talk about it with friends.  Print out patterns and choose your project bags. Sharpen your pencils.

While you’re talking with your friends, you also make plans to have brunch and play a board game.  Or go see a movie.  Or go for a winter hike because it’s unseasonably warm.  And there are the day trips to see the extended family in various configurations.  And you have to clean your house before your family comes over for dinner that one night.  And then your family comes over and you drink too much and put music on the that party can with the light show and wake up sated with familial love and your house is trashed again.

Photo of handknit socks and cowl in progress

Suddenly Winter Break is almost over.  You’ve only knit four rows on one project and cast on another.  You pulled out all the scrapbooking supplies, but never got started.  You think longingly of your sewing machine and the leggings you were going to sew yourself. That plan to try crewel is going to have to wait.

You wonder if anyone else notices that you’re almost out of milk (which you don’t drink, but the other three humans do, and the dog if she can get away with it). The pile of dirty laundry is epic and suspiciously contains things you know a certain smaller person didn’t wear recently. And why are there hair ties, paper clips, candy wrappers, and pieces of the wreath on the floor, mixing with the dog hair?  Don’t the other humans know the magical vacuuming robot will DIE if it hoovers up those things?  And if it dies, then you might too? And then who will buy the milk and wash the underwear??

That’s when it happens.  You realize for the umpteenth time that “break” is not a vacation.  It is a break from routine.  And while maybe you need a day off here and there, a full two weeks of no routine is a special kind of hell for the person who works from home.

You love your children, but you can’t wait for them to go back to school.  (Not to mention your loving spouse, who is so much fun to have lunch with when it’s not leftovers in the kitchen full of things that need to be fixed and cleaned.) No one is excited about going back to the morning routine, especially in the depths of winter, but it is the gamut we work-from-home types must run to have our space to ourselves.

One day, about two weeks from now, you’ll kiss the wind-roughened cheeks of your children goodbye and watch them rustle off to school. You walk inside your home (your office, your sacred place), your mind on fire with projects.  Break is over and you have your space and your time back.  What will you make first?

Mental Note: Remember this Forever

This morning my almost-three-year-old daughter climbed into our bed, vaulting herself into that much coveted nook between mom and dad.  As she snuggled in deeper, she beamed at both of us and said: “You guys are my BEST FRIENDS … ever!”

Goooooood morning!

What a nice way to wake up in the morning!

If you’re here for the knitting, rest assured I have good news.  Spiral Yoke is DONE, has been donned and found worthy, and took a trip to the spa.  After a lavender-scented bubble bath, she is now resting (and drying) on the dining room table.  Photos to follow.

Umm…Can I Buy a Vowel?

Two days after my last post I got a new job, thanks to word of mouth passed on to me by my friend Charlotte (of the comments)–a job that changed everything.  I’m teaching a class at the nearby community college, which is both a dream and a nightmare.  It’s a job–yey!–and I tried to get this job a few years ago but there were no openings; now there is a boom in enrollment and a need for new instructors.  The nightmare is the time of the class, which is in the afternoon twice a week.  It has created a huge stress on our family as we try to figure out how to get my son to and from preschool and find a sitter for my daughter.  Also, the ratio of work hours to cash is not as good as my freelance editorial work.  Which I still have to do since I am under contract, so I have almost invisible amounts of free time.  Eeep!

I am going to miss those theoretical but lovely sounding cafe hangouts this autumn.

I am also missing my kids whom I am constantly leaving with other people so I can work.  🙁

No progress on the knitting front has been made except that I am knitting again after getting little done in August.  (My arm/shoulder/neck has greatly improved under treatment, whew.)  My main project is a secret, so sorry in advance for the boringness.

Someone asked me the other day about holiday knitting and I could have laughed except that I probably would have also started crying.  If only I had the time to “suffer” a holiday knitting jag.  I had not even given it a thought yet, much less had a chance to reject the notion or at least dream up thirty ideas and make an impossible plan that sent me swimming through my stash and pattern books.  So. Much. Fun.

I am also a little sad for my busyness this autumn because I have many design ideas that I cannot explore right now since I still need time to do things like shower, sleep, and buy groceries.

The struggles of success.  One step, one day at a time.

Stayin’ Cool, Playin’ Hookey

I wish I could use a little bit of my superpowers to keep this blog up more regularly.  Just sayin’.  No regrets and no apologies.  And I’m not giving up.  It is what it is for the summer.  In the fall, Zander will go to preschool and I might have five minutes of quiet strung together.  I’ve started writing my journal again (right before submitting to unconsciousness at night) – always a good sign.  After fourteen years of fairly regular journaling, it is a stable point in my universe.

The Zauberball socks are done and lovely although I was too sleep-deprived to take a picture and Daye made them disappear FAST when they were finally presented.  There will be a photo shoot and FO show off here in the near future.  I have the yarn for socks for her husband and my friend, Pete, who has been taking my ill-behaved puppy for runs (he tells me her nickname is “anchor”).

I started a baby knit for Jenny, who is due to have her first baby in just two more weeks.  Well.  I didn’t have enough yarn.  More is on the way except it’s a different color so I have to restart.  Baby Chloe, don’t wait for me!  I can knit fast when I need to.

My sister Sarah wanted to do a knit-a-long with me and so bought me some Malabrigo lace yarn for my birthday from Busy Hands.  I threw together a simple stole pattern using the hourglass lace pattern from Barbara Walker vol. 1.  I am not a frilly girly-girl but I like to knit lace.  It’s like a dance.  (I like dancing too.)  The stole is yummy and is creeping along.  Sarah’s birthday is in a few weeks and she says we should start another knit-a-long… does she think we’ll be done with the lace?  I’m not sure if she is liking knitting lace.  She is impatient with knitting but she is a wicked fast crocheter.  Maybe it will be a crochet-a-long and I will get my just desserts.

From the Dept of Distractions – Elinor started rolling over for real today.  She is a happy baby, adores her big brother who has decided that he is five years old and not four because he wants badly to go to school.  Only a month and a half until preschool!  I am booked on freelance work through at least March next year which is good news for the freelancer but hard on the mother and on the human being who is waiting waiting waiting for her turn, a vacation, a quiet moment.  Not that I’m complaining.  I’m just going to go lay on the couch for a wee moment….

For the children

Handknit sweater for a little boy

I’m not sure I ever wrote here about the socks I made Zander for Solstice.  That would be because our GSD puppy chewed a hole in the heel 24 hours after I finished them and put them on Zander’s feet (he loved them and wouldn’t take them off).  This also happened on my husband’s birthday, 5 minutes before he walked in the door.  It still makes my stomach hurt to remember this perfect storm of events.

I have sworn off sock knitting for children until they can demonstrate an ability to defend themselves and their personal property.

I’ve also sworn off knitting baby blankets except for my own children and then only one each.  Turns out my mind was playing tricks on me, saying things like “quick” and “easy” and “not much yarn, you might even have some in the stash already.”  Hah.  The baby blankets I choose always take as much yarn as an adult sweater and I always end up buying new and… no more.

Where does this leave me?  Sweaters, of course.

For some reason yesterday morning, my son decided he was cold and he needed to wear a sweater (in June, I know.  He’s four).  When next he appeared, he was wearing the sweater I knit for him during the holidays.  The arms are a bit too long and the body a bit too short and the neck could use a neckband but I lost interest when I realized he wouldn’t fit the ill-fitted sweater for too much longer.  Nevertheless.  He LOVES it.  “Mommy, this is the sweater you knit for me,” he says happily.

Indeed.  Despite the sock incident, I know no one appreciates my handknits as much as him.  I don’t know what it means to him but I am completely, thoroughly charmed.  Next up for Zander might be a Sherwood, a pattern I have loved since the day it was released.  For baby Elinor, well, we’ll see what emerges.  She would need to develop the ability to spend time being held by people other than her mother if she wants her mother to knit her things.  Just sayin’.