Sunday, May 17, 2009

Attack of the UFOs!

Hi, everyone.

EEK! I am being attacked by UFOs!

In the knitting world, UFOs are UnFinished Objects--okay, the acronym is not 100% correct, but at least it's memorable. I'm the kind of knitter who likes to have several projects going at once; that way, if I'm up for a challenge, I can work on a difficult pattern, and if I'm tired, I can work on something I don't have to concentrate on too much. (I also discovered recently, I think, that I tend to start new projects when my various UFOs are becoming problematic--when I have to do something complicated, for example, or if I think there's a BIG mistake somewhere and I'm trying to decide whether to rip out my knitting or try to fix it... I'm not sure if I like this aspect of myself, but it's interesting to discover it.)

So here are a few UFOs that are bugging me lately:
This will eventually be a pair of socks for Dexter (in my own basic sock pattern), but as you can see, I've not gotten very far yet. And a certain someone keeps asking, "Are you almost finished yet? Is this the second one?" Oh dear. (There are a couple rows in the middle that look like mistakes; actually, they are cables. I thought I would cleverly add in randomly placed cables in his socks to entertain both knitter and wearer, but they don't really work with this yarn. Am I going to rip back and start over? HECK NO.)

A pair of socks for me, in the "Spring Forward" pattern from Knitty. Awesomely entertaining pattern--they are MUCH easier than they look--but every time I work on them I feel guilty that I'm not working on Someone Else's sock. Ahem.

The Icarus shawl. This photo, as with all photos of un-blocked lace, makes it look like miles of cat barf. But when I block it, you'll be able to see beautiful details like this:
I'm in the middle of the complicated section, so I really need to be able to concentrate when I work on this project. And most of the times/places I'm knitting these days (late at night, SnB) are not concentrate-friendly.
The Mr. Greenjeans sweater, also from Knitty, in the most gorgeous shade of dark teal that my camera apparently did not pick up on very well (it's a bit bluer than this). Time to bind off on the bottom and knit the sleeves!

The Ab Fab throw, in the "Wild One" colorway, colors that definitely did NOT come out in this photo--the original is much more purpley and orangey. (You can see the right colors in the link there for the kit; happily, I got mine on sale for half price when my local yarn shop was going out of business...) I've only got about 30 more rows on this puppy, then it's time to weave in lots of ends (ruh roh) and add fringe. This one's a fairly simple knit, and I foresee having it finished really soon--just in time for hot weather!--but my loathing for weaving in ends might mean that it gets relegated to the problematic pile until fall...

I need to sort through these. They are filled with yarn, some of which I would like to give away (or maybe trade) and some of which I would like to keep. But I need to get it organized. I have been mostly knitting from stash lately because, as you see, I have ENOUGH of it! There are projects and yarns in there that I love; I just need to get going on them.

I totally have 2nd moccasin syndrome. (Yes, I made that up, but now I think it really exists.)

Here's the 50% merino/50% silk blend roving, all spun up into singles. Time to ply! (scary!) See how there are bumps on the bobbin? That also reminds me that I need to move the hooks on my wheel as Judith instructed--which involves getting out the drill, and getting that thing anywhere near my wheel gives me the heebie jeebies. I need to work up to it...

Some of these need to go in pots, and some of them...
... along with some of these, need to go in here:
which, as you can see, is TOTALLY not ready. Those are weeds, my friends, growing healthy as horses in my veggie-and-herb garden plot. And, to top it all off, I want to do a raised bed this year here, since the soil just seems to stay clayish year after year.

The item on the left is a book I need to finish reading as I'm working on a new article (about the 1798 novel Reuben and Rachel, by Susanna Haswell Rowson--1798 is not a typo; R&R is a really early American novel!); the item on the right is an article I wrote about the autobiographies of Black Hawk & William Apess that I need to get published. Time for one last revision and then I'll send it off to purgatory--er, a scholarly journal. (No, I am not going to light them on fire with the stove, though I have been sorely tempted. That's just where the light is passably good for photos right now.)

And I don't have photos of countless other things I need to do soon--return some phone calls to people whom I love & want to have longer conversations with, put some things in the mail to friends afar, finish the chick lit novel I've borrowed from the library (it's due soon), start in on a pile of novels I want to read for my teaching, watch the Netflix movie that's been sitting on top of my tv for at least a week... My list of UFOs seems nearly endless, and putting them in writing and pictures here on the blog seems, in some ways, like a bad idea. It makes the list seem a tad overwhelming.

I have been thinking a lot about TO DO lists lately--specifically, feeling frustrated with how seldom I seem to be able to cross an item OFF the list despite the fact that I do not sit around and twiddle my thumbs all day long. What the heck do I do all day? Some friends and I have been talking about this problem as well--frustration around the to-do list--and shortly thereafter I was surprised to see a post from the Yarn Harlot about her daunting list.

So here are a couple rays of hope. First of all, the Yarn Harlot (like me) very quickly decided to put some things on her list that she KNEW she'd get done. (Here's the hilarious post; be sure to read the previous one first.) Some days, I put "brush teeth" on my list. And some days, I cheat a little and put something on the list AFTER I've done it, just so I can cross it off. Some days, instead of looking at the list again, I write in my journal, and I'm only allowed to start by listing things I've accomplished.

Today I discovered another way to feel mighty in spite of the list: get one thing done that requires the use of POWER TOOLS. I'm sorry to be so gender-predictable, but power tools kind of scare me, and I don't use them very often, so wielding one today, with pretty good results, gave me quite the sense of accomplishment!

Rather than heading to Home Depot to price some cedar planks or a garden box (spendy!), I took some scrap lumber...

... and a power saw and made this:

Ta-da! It is quite possibly the ugliest raised-bed box in the county, and it will require a liner since I used wood that is not eco-friendly, but by golly that is one DONE garden box. (Yes, the back wall is old, and half of it is just a sheet of plywood leaning against the old broken wooden wall there, but I think it'll do.) Patrick helped nail stuff together and pound the supports into the ground. When we began digging holes for them instead (we're nothing if not quick to learn!), I became the worminator--I kept accidentally chopping worms as I was digging. I hope that story I've heard since I was little is true: that the two halves can grow the other halves back. I'd like for the worms to stay, actually, since they are so good for the garden.

Anyhow, just a few thoughts on the list. Tis the season when the to-do list grows, as we move outside and spiff things up again. I hope you get a handle on yours--or at least feel like you do!



  1. I totally do that with my to-do lists. Sometimes you just have to have that sense of accomplishment when cross something off the list!

    I love the color of your Icarus shawl in the full-size picture. Is it closer to that color or the color in the close-up picture?

  2. It's probably closer to the close-up photo--a kind of grayish purple.

    Thanks for commenting! :)

  3. I redcovered this link to your blog today. Had so much fun reading this post as a continuation of our talk today. I also have many unfinished photo books. i will get to completing them this summer! Along with emptying & remodeling the basement, keeping up with the gardens, traveling, teaching, ahhh! Good thing I don't watch any TV!

  4. so the questions that really beg to be asked: which chicklit novel?
    can I read your R&R manuscript?
    and, power tools, REALLY?

    This is simply lovely.

  5. Stephanie,

    Okay, fessing up: the novel was Friday Night Knitting Club, by Kate Jacobs. My next-door neighbor kept telling me I had to read it. :) Before that, I read that Potato Peel Pie book, courtesy of the Library of Mom. I recommend both for light reading; the Potato book was probably more worthwhile though both were enjoyable.

    I might let you read the R&R piece when it's fully drafted so you can HELP me with it!


  6. Karen, I just made it here and love your blog :) I noticed that we have the same camera...xoxo, Sarah

  7. Sarah,

    Thanks for reading and posting!

    Yes, it's a Nikon coolpix; do I take cool pix? not sure, but it's handy to throw in my bag... and it was cheap. I mean inexpensive. :)

    xoxo right back,