Six in Sixteen

I have been trying to write this post for like a week. Gah.

Shockingly, I’m not doing a big lesson reflection this week. I rode on Sunday (what was it, the…10th?), and it was fine. My upper body is improving when I post, and it seems like all that rein-less balance work I did with Suzie on the lunge has helped tremendously. My biggest focuses coming up are going to be diagonals (effing diagonals. I know them, but I can’t make my body cooperate on time) and riding a little more assertively. No major epiphanies this week, which is simultaneously refreshing and disappointing.

Today, I want to focus on my knitting goals a bit more. I’ve been doing a ton of knitting lately, but the progress seems minimal because I’m pretty sure my wedding shawl is just eating yarn. It is quite large, though! I’ve got one repeat left on the body and I’m planning to start the border this weekend.

Making such good progress on such a big project is really empowering for me. I’ve spent my life as a chronic un-finisher, because I swear I have some sort of crafty ADHD. In the last year, I did manage to finish a snood, which for me was a large project, particularly because it took me a solid year to actually complete. And if I can manage to finish the shawl this month, that means it will have taken me two months, when you factor out the three months I couldn’t knit because of my broken elbow. For me, that’s, like, warp-speed.

That success has spurred me on to think about what I’d like to finish in the next eight months. My first reaction was, “MAKE ALL THE THINGS!” but that’s just not even realistic. I managed to narrow it down to six projects. Honestly, given the scope of the six, I think I might not make it, but I’d like to attempt. I’m hoping my next six in ‘Sixteen will be:

Reverse Psychology – I had originally wanted to knit this for myself, but my friend K and I are doing a knit-along. She’s going to knit one for me and I’m going to knit one for her. I’ve bought the pattern and I wound the yarn, but I’m waiting to cast on until I finish the wedding shawl.

Itineris – I am having a torrid love affair with this shawl. Torrid. And I don’t know why because it’s going to be miles of straight knitting, much like my wedding shawl, but I have been in love with this since before Rhinebeck in October. I bought a lovely tonal gray from Holiday Yarns at Rhinebeck, and I think I’m going to have enough of the blue left over from my wedding shawl to make this. The construction looks interesting, and the stripes! I can’t. This will be awesome TV knitting when Orange Is The New Black returns in June.

Synesthesia socks – Since starting to watch ALL THE PODCASTS!, I’ve gotten a sock itch. I have one pair on the needles that I’m hopefully going to finish soon, and I have some one-of-a-kind Skinny Bugga! left over from her closeout sale, given to me by my best friend Liz in a gorgeous blue. I’ve had these in my queue for a long time, and since I have synesthesia, these are perfect for me.

Marco Polo – I’ve never knit an adult-sized sweater, but Mina from The Knitting Expat podcast has knit one of these in just the sort of the colors I would use (gray, turquoise, and bright violet) and I LOVE IT. This is going to be the one project I buy new yarn for, and I don’t even care because it’s so cute and I would wear it with everything. I’d knit it larger so it’d be like a boyfriend sweater and I would wear it to work all the flippin’ time. Sold.

Le Moelleux – That Mina. She’s rapidly become one of my favorite podcasters, and she also designs some pretty badass stuff, including this shawl. I’ve never done brioche and I think it would be fun to learn. Mina has published an excellent video tutorial to show you how it works. I think I’m going to make the asymmetrical version of this shawl with the Piggy Toes I was using for my ill-fated Hitchhiker and some KnitPicks Essential Kettle Dyed in a great tonal mustard color that I’ve had in my stash for literally ten years. I’d like to be able to give it to my mom for her birthday or Christmas.

Swedish Fish Mittens – I started these last year, but I only knit the cuff on one mitt and then got distracted. (Let’s blame my dissertation. I can still blame things on that, right? It’s only been a year.) They’re adorable and rainbow-y and just so much fun. I need to finish them.

(Side note: you can totally track my mental health by the number of projects I finished in a year. My 2012 and 2013 tabs have maybe two projects apiece, and technically the only thing I finished in 2013 was a washcloth. Those two years were the height of my depression and the greatest period of suck in grad school, but then in 2014 and 2015, things steadily improved. Interesting and not at all surprising.)

I don’t know how many of those I will actually finish, but it’s nice to have goals. Three shawls and a sweater are on that list, which is…pretty ambitious. But then again, so am I.

 

March Goals in Review

Fun fact: I was going to do this as a video post! Then I saw myself on the screen, laughed, and went, “Yeah, that’s not happening.” I know you’re all disappointed.

March was not my dream month in terms of accomplishing what I’d set out to. Let’s look at the list, shall we?

Knitting & Craftiness

  • Finish the Leventry shawl I’m currently working on, or at least the body portion
    • 3 repeats by March 6 (17 repeats total out of 26)
    • 3 repeats by March 12 (20 repeats total out of 26)
    • 3 repeats by March 19 (23 repeats total out of 26)
    • 3 repeats by March 26 (26 repeats total out of 26)
  • Start the shawl border by the end of the month

This is a good place to start because it’s one of my least spectacular fails. I did not finish the shawl, or even the body, but I came close. I also didn’t stick to my schedule. The thought was there, but I had so much overtime (including three nights where I worked 7:30a – 10:00p) that I just couldn’t stick with it. We also had a lot of weekend commitments, between my riding lessons and random wedding or social obligations. I wasn’t scheduled for any OT this week, and as it happened, on Monday, I got an email saying the project had finished early and we could go back to our regularly-scheduled lives. Also as it happened, this week I re-discovered podcasts.

I hadn’t done the podcast thing since Lime & Violet, and if you remember them, you remember how long ago that was. I know I listened to them on my train rides to the city when I was working on my MA, and that was 2007. But recently I’ve been needing something new to keep my brain occupied at work. I found some excellent knitting podcasts: StressKnits, Pinfeathers & Purls (Candace has a birb!), Inside Number 23, Yarngasm, Knitting Ex-pat, Sticks + Twine…and I’m adding more every day. (I also listen to a number of non-knitting audio podcasts at work, including Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me and Embedded.)  The video podcasts, though, have enabled me to get so much knitting done! I sit down at night for an hour or so, watch an episode of something, and knit.

So the shawl is not done, but it’s currently sitting at 21 repeats out of 26 + the border, which is another 26 rows. It’s getting fairly large – the garter edging measures ~36″ and I did the pythagorean theorem on it last night to determine the measurement of the edge that sits on the cable – it’s ~50″ if you’re curious. We’re to the point now where I have two cables connected together, and where I have to be extremely careful when unbunching the fabric on the needle. My KnitPicks cords do not have the strength or the quality to stand up to this shawl, and this morning as I was (gently) sliding the fabric around, one of the plastic cables separated from the connector/needle. This isn’t the first time that’s happened, to me or to anyone else, but I still lost about 30 stitches. I’ve got everything back and it’s set, but I wish I could move this thing to my ChiaoGoo Spins. Don’t have a long enough cable, unfortunately, in that set. I think I may start getting KnittersPride cables, though. People seem to have fewer issues with them than with the ones that KP sells.

Anyway. Moving on.

Riding & Fitness

  • Learn to post from my knees and thighs – not my back!
  • Keep fingers closed – “relaxed upper body” does not mean “lose your reins”
  • Work on cardio and stamina out of the saddle to improve same in the saddle
  • Hit the gym at least 2 times per week, in addition to weekly ride
  • Lose at least 5 pounds this month via calorie tracking

Oh, here’s where it gets bad. I did manage to mostly fix the “fingers closed” issue, which seems to have just been a function of returning to riding after a three-month hiatus. I’m working on the posting from knees thing; that’s going to take time. I feel pretty good about the riding (even though I have a ton to work on and I keep finding new issues), because I go to all my lessons and give it 110% when I’m there.

What I do not feel good about is the gym, because I didn’t go. Not even once. And I’m almost not sorry.

I like the gym, sort of. I like how I feel when I lift – I feel like Big Strong Woman. But it’s hard for me to motivate myself to go, and this past month with all the overtime and the messed up schedule and extra tiredness, I just said “the hell with it” and…didn’t go. I also gave up on the calorie tracking. I hadn’t lost anything in three months doing it faithfully, and I think it’s time for another solution, because in the past, calorie tracking has worked for me. Right now, I think a combination of my meds, my age, and some life factors are inhibiting my weight loss through calorie tracking. Scott and I have appointments in the next couple of weeks to join a medically-supervised weight loss program, so I’ve just sort of been eating. I mean, I’m not binging. I’m really not eating any more than I normally do, I’m just not tracking.

Professional

  • Develop a deadline schedule for editing my dissertation for publication
  • Finish at least the preliminary edits on the literature review
  • Renew American Psychological Assoc. (APA) membership if finances allow
  • Look into American Educational Research Assoc. (AERA) membership

I did not develop an editing schedule, or look into my professional association memberships. Finances really aren’t allowing for those right now, honestly, and I’ve discovered some professional development opportunities at work (for free) that can help me get where I want to go within my company, so I’m less concerned about those. I’m part of the National Association of School Psychologists as well as my state association, I think that’s okay for now. I did do the preliminary edits on my lit review, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I know I should really want to get my dissertation published, and I know I need to get on it because while research doesn’t “expire,” it does because less relevant, and that tends to happen quickly. But right now, I don’t want to do things that feel like school. I want to go to my riding lessons and take naps and watch podcasts and knit things, and I don’t think that’s unreasonable.

Personal

  • 15 minutes of training with Bailey, my eclectus parrot, daily

This is a yes and no. I’ve tried to squeeze in 15 minutes of training with B on the nights I was home. Fifteen minutes is about his limit for learning, although not for playing or snuggling or puking on me. I’ve discovered, though, that he does better if I give him a night off every few days. In the last month, Bailey has learned to sort toys of three different colors: red, green, and yellow. If I put them into a pile and name a color, he can pull out the correctly-colored toy, and then put them in their own piles by color. Smart parrot!

I haven’t decided what my goals will be for April yet. I might pare down a little, because obviously I just set myself up for failure. Tomorrow I have my riding lesson, so that’ll be tomorrow’s post, but I’ll try to figure out goals by Monday.

I just want to be a part of this.

I’ve been trying to do this for at least a week (and frankly, I’ve been entertaining the notion longer than that), and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really no way to start a blog that isn’t awkward and gangly.

I have not had a blog, to which I’ve posted with any regularity, since 2010. Since that time, a lot has happened: I finished my doctorate, I began my career at my dream company (if not necessarily in my dream position, though it’s a position that could get me there), I moved out of my parents’ house, I began planning a wedding, I went back to horseback riding after a ten year hiatus. Also since that time, I’ve become increasingly disinterested in having my personal life broadcast on the internet.

I’ve eased back into things since  graduation. Occasionally, I’ll posted things on Instagram. I almost never post on Facebook. But in the last few months, I’ve kind of missed blogging. I’ve never been a “nice” blogger, because I’ve never been able to stick to one subject. I enjoy lots of things – horses, knitting, planners, tea, being an academic – and restricting myself to one of those things felt too confining.

After some careful thought, I’ve started to feel like this might be a good space to track my goals. I have goals in lots of areas: horses, knitting, fitness (such as it is), academic life post-graduation. I’ve been writing them in my planner, but I haven’t been reflecting on the progress for any of them. Keeping a paper journal isn’t my thing, I’ve learned, so blogging it is.

To that end, let’s look at my (perhaps utterly ridiculous) March goals.

Knitting & Craftiness

  • Finish the Leventry shawl I’m currently working on, or at least the body portion
    • 3 repeats by March 6 (17 repeats total out of 26)
    • 3 repeats by March 12 (20 repeats total out of 26)
    • 3 repeats by March 19 (23 repeats total out of 26)
    • 3 repeats by March 26 (26 repeats total out of 26)
  • Start the shawl border by the end of the month

Riding & Fitness

  • Learn to post from my knees and thighs – not my back!
  • Keep fingers closed – “relaxed upper body” does not mean “lose your reins”
  • Work on cardio and stamina out of the saddle to improve same in the saddle
  • Hit the gym at least 2 times per week, in addition to weekly ride
  • Lose at least 5 pounds this month via calorie tracking

Professional

  • Develop a deadline schedule for editing my dissertation for publication
  • Finish at least the preliminary edits on the literature review
  • Renew American Psychological Assoc. (APA) membership if finances allow
  • Look into American Educational Research Assoc. (AERA) membership

Personal

  • 15 minutes of training with Bailey, my eclectus parrot, daily