Sunday, April 16, 2006

And now, back to our regularly scheduled crafting content.

Happy Easter, babes in blogland! I'm not supposed to be blogging, I'm supposed to be studying (which I will do, right away, after this post!), but I couldn't stay away from you all, not one more second! I hope all of your holidays have been wonderful.

As for myself, I'm still suffering from Daylight Savings Time (second week and counting). And excuse me, but where the blip did April go? I had a mini-meltdown the other day upon realizing that it was already tax day. It didn't bother me so much that my taxes weren't done (they are fairly simple and I knocked them out yesterday afternoon), but that precisely two weeks have slipped by and I have done zero work on my ever-loving prospectus. I know it's a tired old cliche, but I feel like the proverbial hamster in my wheel, spinning through my days and just trying to keep my head above water.

And crafting? I was suffering through some serious crafting withdrawal, not having really worked on anything seriously in days, and then I just said f*ck it and made my Sew? I Knit! tote. My friend Cristina's birthday was coming up, and I had gone to JoAnn's to get some orange fabric to make this bag to fit the Project Spectrum theme this month, so I decided to whip it out for her. My roommate asked me if I thought I'd get it done, and looking at the pattern, I said, sure! No problem.

Good thing I spread the project out over three days, because I was able to finish it at a leisurely pace, without rushing, and with time to iron out the little details (like the handle ends not matching and making the lining look neat). It's always the little details that give me the most trouble.

And why is it that every time, EVERY time I start a sewing project, there's always some notion or facing or fusible that I overlooked on the pattern instructions, and there I go back to Joann or Hancock, fighting rush hour traffic all the way. This time, for Butterick B3873, the information about needing Sewn In Fusible Interfacing was on the inside instructions. Silly me, why would I think that all I needed to look at was the back of the envelope?

After working out the fussy details, I ended up with this:

Here's a closer shot, with a view of the dark orange lining:

But where's my sockpal sock? you may be asking yourself. (Especially sock sister Ina!) Are any of you feeling the deadline pressure now? Whew! About two more weeks to go and even less if you have an international pal, like I do. Hopefully the sweat from my brow won't get the sock yarn all soggy.

In spite of this, I put the sockpal sock aside to knit a little shrug for Jennifer for Easter. She cautiously inquired about the shrug I owe her from....was it March? She wanted to wear a pretty spring dress from J. Crew, but needed to cover up the back and shoulders for mass, being the good church girl she is. ;-) I knew that there would be no way that shrug would be done, but offered instead to whip up a One Skein Wonder. This was last Tuesday. Are you sure? she asked. Yes! No problem!

Especially since I had made these before, I figured I'd get it done, practically in my sleep. Well, friends, that's almost what it came down to last night. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Wednesday I went to my LYS and bought two skeins of Wick, a soft springy yarn by Knit One Crochet Two, in a pretty china blue. Since I was busy on Wednesday night (busy stuffing my face at Asti, a shmancy little trattoria here in Austin), I didn't get any knitting done that day.

Thursday I took my needles and yarn to second night Passover seder at a friend's house, and cast on underneath the table as we were waiting to begin. After dinner, while we hung out and talked, I knit a bit more, getting about an inch or two done.

Friday, Jennifer and I went to see Take the Lead, the new Antonio Banderas movie, and I took the knitting. I found that I'm pretty good at knitting in the dark, but can I be blamed for forgetting an increase with all that dancing and all that Antonio on the screen? (although, girls, you have to see him in his prime in Tie me up! Tie me down!) Good progress made, but had to rip back a few rows because that missing increase was making my OCD flare up.

Saturday. Ah, Saturday, my day of peace and relaxation. I woke up and sat and knit in my jammies while watching a half hour of Tex Avery cartoons on TCM. Pure decadence! I finished knitting the body, and put it down so that I could stretch, shower, and do my taxes.

Saturday afternoon, I realized that I was going to have to do the sleeves and the ribbing later that evening, because I was going to a free Calexico show at Emo's at 7. I briefly considered taking my knitting into Emo's but I just couldn't do it. If you've ever been there, you'd know why. It doesn't the atmosphere.

Afterward, my boy and I went to Crown and Anchor for beer and a burger, and I laid on the line. I have work tonight, I told him. I gotta finish that shrug. We agreed to go back to his place so that I could knit and he could read. Two more hours, I said. That's all I need.

By one o'clock I could see that I was almost close. But the boy was falling asleep next to me, so I took my leave and went back home to finish. Because I WAS going to finish, dammit. My Jennifer was NOT going to walk into Easter mass looking like a hoochie because of me.

Have you ever knit so late that you started falling asleep, but kept knitting? I'm working the 2x2 rib around the edge, and I found myself dozing off, and waking up to see that I had knit 4 knit stitches. I was knitting in my sleep....hilarious! Now I just need to learn how to do rib in my sleep, too. After knitting about half an inch to three quarters of an inch of ribbing, I finally called it a night, deciding I would cast off in the morning.

Sunday morning, um, I mean, today, I woke up at 8:15, brewed a cup of coffee, and set about casting off the gazillion stitches. I considered doing another round, but fearing that I would run out of yarn and doing a reality check (we were leaving at 9 to go to mass), I just bound off. Throwing on a dress and running a comb through my hair, we hopped into the car, and I stitched together the sleeves. Remembering how my mother would always make our Easter dresses, pretty and ruffly but just don't look at the inside seams, I decided I didn't have time to weave in the ends, and just tucked them in as she slid the shrug on.

Guess what? It looked beautiful. I kept an eye on her as she went up to receive Communion (I stay in the pew, always the Prodigal Daughter) to make sure no stray bits of yarn were peeking out around the edges.

We got a morning croissant and coffee at Quack's after church, before heading home to make brunch for our friends:

Later, after brunching on frittata and waffles and fruit, we came back to Quack's to "work." My friend Lena was marveling that I had turned out that shrug in time for the deadline, and I said, smacking my books on my stack of books, that I was DETERMINED, damnit, to finish it. Because I had promised I would.

And then realized that if I had attacked my prospectus with the same amount of diligence and determination...well, I could have been on the freaking job market at this point. So I've decided to put a progress bar, over there on the right, for my prospectus. I want you all to hold me to it...check in, bug me about it, demand to see pages (OK, well, I won't put you through that, but do hold me accountable, please!). Apparently I am good at deadline crafting...why can't that carry over to my writing? Why????

OK, am whining now. How was your Easter?


At 8:19 PM, Blogger Legalfrugalbabe said...

Okay, Girl, time to post one page from your prospectus. One page a day. Can you do it? Are you up to the challenge?

I did a Passover/Easter celebration too; went to DF's parents' place on the Eastern Shore of Maryland (rural, by a river) on Thursday night and Friday; went to a friends' wedding yesterday; and had some chocolate Easter Bunny with our buddy Mike today.

Totally know what you mean about knitting in a car. I once knitted in an airline check-in line to make sure I could cast off and check the piece on my needles so as to start another piece on the plane. I don't think I ever knit that fast before. People were looking at me strangely.

Congrats on the orange tote! Great job! It looks really nice; I'm sure your friend will be thrilled.

Gotta bolt; tomorrow begins my second to last week of classes and I need to get my rear in gear and start studying for finals! Hope all's well in TX, but it sure looks like it!


At 3:50 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Wow! Your orange bag is so cute! I love that fabric. Seeing fabric like that really makes me want to learn to sew. I saw some really pretty embroidered linen at JoAnn's the other day, and I thought, "I could just buy this and make a skirt on my mom's sewing machine." GAH! That's all I need, a fabric stash.

Jennifer looked very proper in her OSW -- it turned out lovely. What a pal you are to knit one for her! I agree, we can't have her looking like a hoochie. LOL!

Sounds like you had a fun Easter. Ours was nice, complete with 2 little boys on a sugar buzz. :)

At 6:07 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Wow, you whipped out that shrug!!! Good for you (no hoochies on your watch - LOL) I saw Take The Lead last weekend with the studio where we take ballroom lessons - we went and danced in the lobby before the movie and then got in for free. :) Antonio had us all gasping . . . yummy!!! He gets hotter every time I see him. :)

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Elizabeth said...

I LOVE the orange tote - the pattern, the fabric, the colors, everything. Really nice work. And the OSW shrug is really cute too. I totally feel your pain over the prospectus too - hands down, that is my least favorite kind of writing to do. I just finished a draft of my book proposal (basically the latest version of my diss prospectus) and I fought it every step of the way. However, I can recommend Robert Boice's book "Professors as Writers" - it has a lot of good advice about working writing into your life that definitely applies for dissertating grad students. His way is great because you can work in your crafting AND still finish your writing...

At 9:22 AM, Blogger msubulldog said...

The bag is fabulous! I love that fabric. *mental note to start using up fabric stash--to make more room for yarn stash* And I HATE it when patterns list something extra on the inside instructions! That should be illegal, somehow. :)
Great job on the shrug! I always swear I'm not going to do anymore deadline knitting, but it seems to sneak up on me anyway. :)

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Ashley said...

Oooh I love that bag--I'll have to go find the pattern.

And OMG I so hear you on the (misdirectd?) craft energy. I try to justify the knitting by saying that it keeps me sane (which is true) but the bottom line is that if I wroked as much as I knit I'd have about 18 publications already.

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Love the tote! Very retro!

At 4:27 PM, Blogger jennifer said...

sleepknitting? there is not a better roommate in the world than olga.


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