sometimes I knit


I seem to have been suffering with a woolly version of writer’s block lately. (As well as traditional writer’s block I guess, going by the lack of activity both here and on my sprog blog!) Theoretically, I have (or had) a whole heap of projects on the go. Theoretically, while time is very short, I do get to knit in front of the telly for about half an hour every evening. But as the economist Keynes is supposed to have said – “In theory, there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there is.”
It seems that I am not very productive when I only have small chunks of time to be productive in. This is a problem for work as well as knitting, and having a small child in my life, it’s a problem I’d better get to grips with pretty sharpish. Claudia is a delightful creature and pretty good at entertaing herself – but if I look like I’m doing anything interesting, naturally she wants to get involved. “Interesting” includes anything at my computer (mouse and keyboard both fascinating, apparently), knitting (yarn! can’t fault her there), packing orders (she’s very helpful) or cooking/baking (the second I set foot in the kitchen, she runs over clutching the sling so that she can watch, and claim nibbles as we go). So, I don’t get a whole lot done while she’s awake. And she’s not a great napper.

Anyway. So I have about half an hour a day to knit, and I’m usually pretty fried by then, too, therefore lacking in concentration and so on. I think I could be extremely productive with that half hour… as long as I just had masses of stocking stitch to be getting on with. That would be fine.
It’s mildly hilarious (to me) that I should be saying this, as I cordially loathe boring old stocking stitch. In theory. But apparently it’s all I can handle right now.
I’ve just finished a baby dress (hurrah! finished! …yes you’ll see it soon, I promise) that consisted of mostly stocking stitch, no shaping, very occasional colour changes, and then a simple honeycomb stitch bodice. Under normal circumstances, the skirt would have draaaaaagged out for ages, then the fun part (stitchery! shaping! action!) would be over in no time. Of course it was quite the reverse. Stocking stitch tube? Can do, no PROBLEM. Ever so slightly interesting bodice? Uh, no, apparently not. It crawled and crept along with a positively ridiculous amount of ripping as I made stupid mistake after stupid mistake.
Anyway. It’s done now. And not before Claudia outgrew it either, which I am claiming as a major victory.
ANYway. So that’s done, and I need a new TV project. I also need a handbag project. Would you believe it’s been about three weeks and only tonight do I feel I’ve finally got to grips with what I’m doing next?
I started by going through my pile of WIPs. A number of them have been ruthlessly consigned to the frog pond. Not that there was anything at all wrong with them – but they hadn’t made it past the very early stages, for similar reasons to the above (lack of time, need to concentrate beyond what was possible), so I felt the need to de-clutter my task list. As it were. That was a relief. I tried focusing on one of the remaining projects – I just have about one and a half sleeves to go, that can’t be that bad surely? But. But. It’s a top-down raglan; I chose this construction quite deliberately on grounds of it being enormously popular and I should really make an effort to get behind this technique. However… we don’t have chemistry, the top-down and I. And more to the point, in this particular case, it turns out I really don’t like working narrow stripes in the round; four balls of yarn get terribly tangled! Especially top-down, because I have the whole blasted pile of sweater in my lap to manage. No. Not liking this. I’ll grit my teeth and get through it (which would be a whole lot more exciting if I weren’t pretty damn sure it’ll be too small for my now post-baby body, anyway – yes, it was started that long ago), but it’s yet another thing that doesn’t really suit being picked up for just a few minutes. It seems to take me five minutes just to untangle everything.
So then I thought I’d make something for Claudia – taking some of the yarn I’d just freed up from previous baby-intended projects, but using a simple published pattern, rather than designing my own. This hit the wall too, though. I found a number of patterns that would have worked with what I had in mind, but put the brakes on when I realised I was planning yet another stripey in-the-round sweater! Uh, lesson learned, so recently? Admittedly this would be just a titchy little thing, maybe three colours rather than four – but still. No.
And then I remembered that I had a project planned that I actually need, before winter: a Mamaponcho. I’d even gotten as far as buying the yarn (Debbie Bliss Donegal Chunky Tweed, grabbed at a bargain price from Black Sheep). It’s stocking stitch and everything. (Originally, I had planned to chuck in some fancy cables or something to liven it up. Ha. Now I’m thinking I might embellish after the fact. Maybe.) I finally cast on tonight (having spent two whole evenings on the swatch and initial maths). I might actually have a new project in hand. Astonishing.
Oh, as for the handbag project? We’ll see. I have managed to cast on for a Little Sister Dress, but thus far, that’s about all I’ve done. Wish me luck.

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