Juggling Knitting

So many stitches!! This is the most frustrating part of raglan sweaters for me. I’m still adding stitches and shuffling them around and around the cable. Soon I’ll be able to set the sleeve stitches aside and just work the body, but until then I’m just pulling and pushing a lot of yarn.

It’s coming along though. I’ve spotted a mistake or two, but no one else will notice and they’re marks of an original, so they will stay. I’m hoping my sister will like it. I think she will.

Working on my sister’s cardigan means I have less time for my sweater, which I started a couple months ago. I think. It keeps getting put on the back burner for other projects. I did make a few things for my family for Christmas.

I made four of these and they always take longer than I anticipate.

So I was busy. Then I found a beautiful purple yarn while buying yarn for my sister’s sweater and couldn’t resist making myself something. I needed a hat that I’ll actually wear. And new fingerless mitts. I made one hat, but it was too small for my liking, so I made another, tweaking my design. I don’t take it off often. My middle one claimed the first one. Then I made mitts to match and they’re perfect.

While we were watching the new Willow, I remembered someone asking about making the hooded scarf shawl that Elora wears and my plans to make one myself. She also wears long arm warmers (not knit) and I decided to use the stitch pattern I used on my fingerless mitts for long arm warmers to go with the hooded scarf shawl.

This all means I’m currently working on two sweaters and arm warmers. I would be working on the scarf shawl, but both sweaters are using the needles I need for the yarn I bought. So, I have to finish one of them before I can get started. Which means I’m sticking with three projects. And lots of stretching!

It’s Not Just Making a Phone Call

On the surface it sounds simple enough. Just pick up the phone and do it. But it’s so much more complicated than that.

First, I need a script. I have a tendency to freeze when I panic, or forget everything as soon as the other person says “hello”. So I will practice what I need to say for a bit. Sometimes I make notes, or set out the papers with the necessary information.

That all takes energy. So I have to assess my energy level and the importance of getting the call done. If I’m low on energy and the call can wait, it waits. If it can’t wait, I have to build up my courage and pep myself up. If I have energy then I just attack it.

Now, I’ve spent energy prepping for the call. I’ve spent energy making the call. So I also need time to recover from the call. So, before I can even get to script writing, I need to figure out if I have the appropriate recovery time. If I don’t, the call waits.

All of this runs through my head the second I know I have to make a call. So I am then going over my schedule trying to find the spot that works best and talking myself into making that phone call every day leading up to it. Even that fails sometimes and I am left battling the guilt of putting it off for another week. Which, you’ve guessed it, takes energy.

I’m tired just writing about it. And maybe also from that phone call I tried last week and finally accomplished this morning. That’s one thing I’ve learned. Calls must be made between 8am and 10am, or in that short window between getting home from work and the kids getting home from school for the best results. I have also been getting better at making some calls between appointments at work. Getting them done and off my back is amazing for my anxiety! And, I finally made another phone call that took me three months to do a couple days ago. Time for some coffee, knitting, and relaxing.

And Again…

Once more I’m starting back at taking care of myself. It’s really an ebb and flow sort of thing. Phases of rest and stillness. And phases of activity and movement.

I’ve come to realize, or more completely understand, that I have a lot I’m still healing from. There is a lot I am helping my family heal from. Kindness has been a big theme for me these past several years.

With that in mind I have decided to start even smaller with my goals. Little steps towards better habits. The first of which is getting myself moving again.

I took a couple weeks away from work, adult responsibilities, and didn’t even leave the house. It was exactly what I needed. But now, I am feeling rather stuck and stiff again. So I have pulled out a trusty yoga magazine and am working my way through a strengthening program.

A few minutes a day of some focused yoga. Two days of core work. One day each of legs and hips, back, and arms and shoulders. I’d like to also start doing a restful routine in the evening, but a few stretches climbing into bed is all I’ve managed. At least I’ve kept up with the strength training. It feels good.

Still Early on the Journey

And this is why I don’t finish writing everything out before I start knitting. As I continued working on my second attempt stitches just weren’t lining up for the second sleeve or the other front panel. And I wasn’t liking the look of the thin line cables that frame the main diamond cables. They were getting lost amongst the moss stitches.

I realized I did need to make charts for the second sleeve and left front panel to keep it easy for me. Did I mention this is a raglan top-down cardigan? So I wrote out the framework in reverse and began writing it all onto the graph paper. I made a few notes and labeled everything.

Then I got a fresh page to write out the new pattern. After a few lines I tried it out for a third time and I think I’ve got it just the way I want. So I’m now using six pages of charts to write eight lines of pattern at a time and then knitting 16 rows. Then I repeat.

This is one of the fun parts for me. It can be frustrating and tiring because I have to keep starting over or redo the pattern, but once it starts coming together and the cables begin emerging from the stitches I get excited. All that hard work is paying off and my vision begins taking shape.

Aran Sweater: The Journey Begins

I’m at it again. Frankensteining a sweater from a few sources. I’ve been wanting to make one for my sister for a while now and we have had many a conversation about what she would like. Soft, cozy, and a cardigan/jacket style.

I recently finished a few projects and am really just working on a sweater for myself at the moment. I’m actually following a pattern with only a few tweaks from me and it’s really repetitive. Which is fine, but that leaves my brain open to wandering. Que obsessing over my sister’s sweater.

I found yarn and knew I wanted to do an Aran style. My next step was finding the right cables and sweater base. I kept mixing and matching different options and finally landed on the ones I wanted. Then I began trying to sort out their layout. It was getting too difficult to do the math, so I pulled out my graphing paper and set to work.

I’m still working on it, but at a certain point I just have to get the next step started. So I began writing out what I charted. So much simpler with all that work already done. I also use the same sleeve and front panel chart for both sides, I just read them backwards for the second one.

And, of course, I had to start knitting it up while still writing it up. And then pull out the eight or so rows I had done. It’s looking much better the second time around.

Holiday Granny Squares

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned how much I love Granny Squares, but they are definitely one of my favorite things to make. The repetition, color play, symmetry, and evolving shapes really satisfy my artistic and creative self. They soothe my soul.

I do, however, get a bit obsessive. Especially this time of year. I’m not sure why I keep thinking these will be quick, side projects. I’ve been at this one for a week. One more round with dark blue and it will done. Except for all the loose ends. I usually weave as I go, but I was more driven by a need to put it all together than I was by the need to not leave myself that mess.

I also started a blanket while teaching my youngest how to make them. I’ve decided to leave that for over my holiday break. My poor hands and shoulders are feeling the burn and could use a break. Knitting is much more forgiving in this regard.

Now I have to get more white yarn. I’ve definitely used a lot of it and my middle one has taken my last skein for her own crochet project. Oh darn.

Lazy Day

I didn’t really accomplish much today. I just sat and finished four of these squares and then single crochet stitched them together. All the ends are still unwoven.

I did two racks of dishes. Some with my youngest. She’s so proud of how helpful she was. We spilled water and cleaned it up. She even swept up the living room to keep it neat. We built a blanket fort in her room and she decorated it with enthusiasm.

But I also let her play on the kids’ phone for hours so I could make those squares and stare at my phone when I needed a break.

I sewed on pockets for the final touches on my middle kid’s sweater and set it to soak. It should be ready for blocking tomorrow and a day more for drying. She’s super excited, but I’m just wishing we had spent more time cuddling instead of her playing games on the tablet all day.

I reheated leftovers and served everyone. My oldest was still hungry, so made chicken nuggets for her and her sisters, and her special sauce they all love so much. While they ate them up, I sat and sewed my new slippers soles back onto the cloth bit. Good as new once more.

Now it’s already time for bed. Everyone has an early start. It seems I have accomplished a lot, but maybe not the most satisfying day. Winter holidays are approaching, so I’m making plans for some quality time together. Maybe a lazy day of little moments was exactly what we needed.

I’m Doing It

It’s that time of year again. I’m getting myself organized and trying to check things off my ‘to do’ list that have been mounting the anxiety attacks as they sat unattended. First, make a list.

It may sound silly, but actually making the list has been more than I can bear. So I decided to buy a happy little notebook just for my ‘to do’ list. So far it’s keeping me motivated. The desire to check items off is some powerful stuff.

I also got a new wall calendar for the family. It will take us through the rest of this year and into the next. This soothes the anxiety beast because I can now write down all our future appointments that are already diving deep into next year (I have dentist appointments in August of 2023 booked).

I sat down with the new calendar, the old calendar, the school district calendar, and my pocket planner and began piling on our schedules, appointments, birthdays, and special days. This allowed me to list days I needed off for the kids and when to schedule my mental health breaks. I have learned to regularly schedule a few extra days off around when the kids don’t have school, with at least two longer vacations each year. I’ve scheduled all my time off through June. Done and done.

Then I sat with my new wall calendar, my old pocket planner, and my new pocket planner and color-coded my schedule into the new one. All this compulsive organizing is like a lullaby to the anxious creature lurking inside my chest. With each task I complete I can feel myself gain power and clarity. I’m going to ride this wave as long as I can.

I’ve finished a few other tasks on my growing list. I’ve even added a few just to check them off. As I sate the beast, I feel the calm wash over me. A few personal projects await my attention tonight leading to the thrill of more check marks before bed. This may carry me through even more tasks tomorrow! On that note, I’ll check this one off the list.

Practical Magic Review

I almost didn’t buy this book. It was the first one I picked up on one of my rare trips to Barnes & Noble by myself. I then found another book and then another. I wandered a bit holding all three, debating on the cost, my desire for more books, and the plethora of unread ones at home.

I put the first two back and held onto the third one as I made my way to the register. Once there, I discovered that this choice was also part of the ‘buy one get one half off’ and went straight for Practical Magic. I happily trot home with my purchases and dove right in.

I’ve seen the movie many times and had every intention of reading the book. Now, here I sat, finally doing it. I probably could have finished it in less than a week, but I dragged it out a bit. Let myself fully savor the characters, the style, the feel of it.

I have filed it in the same category as Stardust and Chocolat. Stories I fell in love with as a film first. Quick paced, action filled, breath stealing versions. Finding out they were based on books was thrilling.

These are all stories of love told from a place of true love. Like a conscious dream observing the action without judgment. Detached, yet a part of the stream.

As much as I would prefer to tuck this one away on my shelf, it deserves to be read and I have lent it out already. I’m so glad I finally gave it a chance. It’s perfect for curling up and getting lost.

Happy reading!

Black Work Sweater

I’m steadily making progress on this sweater. I’m not sure why I thought I could get it done in a week. It’s been about two and I see another week of crochet in my future.

It’s always nice to let my husband drive. It gives me some time to really focus on whatever I’m crafting. I got a lot done on this particular trip.

The sleeves look small, but are actually quite roomy. Just snug enough to help me feel cozy, but enough room so that I don’t feel strangled. We’ll see how it feels after it’s blocked.