Math, and other things I don’t like to do before Christmas…

As is habit in our household, we find ourselves peering over the shoulder of the second week of December wondering if we are behind.  Let me assure you, we are.

I realized this morning that, although it seems like there are plenty of viable days left before Christmas to complete the knitting, the shopping, the baking, the tree & house trimming (yikes, that’s late!) and the plan making, there are not.  A little math, if you’ll forgive the deviation from the norm…

First, we skip the 25th because the two viable hours in the a.m. before gifts are open are spent making breakfast.

Assuming there are 18 days between today and the 24th and there are (optimistically) 16 available non-sleeping hours in a day, we have 288 hours to get everything done.  Wait, there’s that pesky “working and commuting to survive” thing I keep doing.  I took a few vacation days so that makes 10 working days times 12 hours of work + commute + dinner, so we are at 188.  That brings our day count down to 10.5, in case you wondered.

That’s not bad, you might say, but I’m not done.  Next, I deduct 2 full days for holiday parties at respective work establishments.  Yes, full days.  Between eating, getting ready and sleeping in, it’s a day.  Don’t fool yourself.  136 hours left!  Woohoo!

Except I still eat, so again a few of those 8.5 days are shaved down and somehow, I lose a whole other day to EATING!  As if I won’t eat enough over the holidays.  Oh wait, a day and a half because I probably can only eat if I have groceries.  I also “lose” a day from a couple of previously planned evening events.

Six days, though, that sounds pretty good.  I have to drive to the border to pick up my U.S. shipments, but I’ll just knit in the car.  The rest of these hours, I just won’t go to my hair appointments, or make appointments, or talk to my children and my friends, or blog, and I certainly won’t get sick.  Totally doable.  Nothing says “Happy holidays” like a slightly crazed person with scraggly hair tossing you a sock with a knitting needle sticking out of it while slowly drifting into a coma.

I hate math.

A little help here?

I’m not one to look gift yarn in the mouth.  Most of the time, I might argue that I encourage the giving of yarn, both in general and to me in particular.

When my sister offered me some yarn she had acquired, I was happy to take it home with me. And I would say I’m still happy with the yarn…in principle.

One can hardly refuse a garbage bag full of well-preserved White Buffalo yarn. In fact, I can already see the cute little grandpa sweaters I can make for photo props or maybe a little nephew or two will need to keep warm in the blustery Winnipeg winters to come.

white buffalo yarn

Here comes the tough part.  Brace yourselves for I give you eight, yes eight, 50 gram skeins of mohair(?) yarn.

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This has to be the most resilient and furry yarn I have ever seen that was not fun fur.  Perhaps you can’t see that the cakes are not folding in on themselves.  That can’t be a good sign for drape…

Now, it’s pink and grey and I can think of many cute things that are pink and grey that might be fun to make. I just keep looking at this yarn and all I can think is…I don’t need a Muppet.

What on earth am I going to make with these metres of yarn (I’m scared to measure how precisely how many) that practically stand upright?  Hence, this is my official cry for help to knitters out there with my two questions.

  • Need one: Any idea what this yarn might actually be and how it might knit up?
  • Need two: Any non-Muppet suggestions on what I could make with it?

It does look kinda pretty all balled up like that. Maybe it just wants to hang out?

mohair yarn

P.S. It’s September 18th.  This yarn will not distract me.

Nobody panic

It’s September 16th.

I know that’s alarming to all of my crafters out there, as we come to realize that we have just a little over 3 months until Christmas to make all our gifts. If you’re anything like me, you set out with good intentions in January. You made a list of projects assigned them to loved-ones. Maybe you even gathered the materials printed some instructions and cast on or cut patterns pieces or maybe even stitched a few things together. If you’re super lucky, you might even have put one or two items and the long range planning box. Heck , I even went so far as taking the printed pattern and the yarn from my stash and  individually packing them together for easy access.

Maybe you’re not this far ahead (assuming you subscribe to the theory that this is ahead, even though I haven’t knit any of these things).  Maybe you have the patterns in mind, or ideas sketched on the backs of napkins or notebooks and you now realize you have none of the materials.

This is my call out to all of you (and maybe a small cry for help).

Now is the time to really crack down and look at your list and get ordering that precious hand spun hand dyed yarn from Ecuador that takes 4 to 6 weeks to be shipped. Because now is the time that you realize that by the time you get this yarn, you may barely have enough time to knit this one sweater, and you will still have to knit 6 pairs of socks, 3 hats, a Doctor Who scarf (you have no idea how or why you got roped into making this one), not to mention that gorgeous lace shawl mom really wanted.

So don’t panic, you still have time.  As long as you don’t need sleep, and your loved-ones feel (as they should feel) that a knit pair of socks and a 12-foot scarf effectively make up for 3 months of somewhat spotty though well-meaning access to your love and attention.

If not, drop the Doctor Who scarf.  It’s the right thing for everyone.

Reconnecting

This life is going by so fast that we can easily lose many of the things that make life worthwhile.  Of these, extended family is often one thing that we casually let slip away.

One hundred years ago, this would have been your inside circle.  In fact, this was the case in my family 25 years ago.  I grew up with siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins, the cousin whose cousin turns out to be your best friend.  We stayed up until 3 a.m. playing while the adults played cards and talked about everyone they knew.  They were knitting their family tight together, holding each other as close friends, learning and loving each other.  I love this pic of my parents at their 50th with his siblings and in-laws that says it all…

DSCF0227

And then the children grew up…we moved out…the siblings stayed connected, and some close cousins stayed friends, but overall, those connections became tendrils when our grandparents’ and parents’ passed.  The relationships seem harder to maintain now.  Somehow, I keep being informed by the outside world that I am too busy to be doing something as ridiculous as playing cards with my family until the wee hours of the morning.  I have metaphoric bacon to earn, after all!

So it came as a bit of a surprise when my cousin invited me to her wedding.  There was a gift in this invitation,  a simple pushing out of my boundaries to re-include a number of family members I hadn’t seen in years.  When you say to someone “it’s been too long” and they recount the last two times they saw you as “the funeral” (my dad’s) six years ago, and “high school” 20+ years ago, you realize that weddings and funerals are no longer sufficient to connect people who by all accounts should already be connected.

Most importantly, I spent some quality time with my sister and brother-in-law, having coffee and some snacks at Tim’s (because we are Canadian, and that’s where you go).  We talked about what we value, what we believe, what we like.  Though we went different ways in our lives, we still ended up with similar core values and a sense of what it means to be connected in this life.  These two are a shining example of what marriage is, about love, and building, and re-building, and the sacrifice of wanting for the other rather than the self.  When my brother-in-law talks about paying off his house so his wife can stay home and pursue her art, you understand what it means to love beyond yourself in a way that is so rare to experience.  The moment changed me.  Or rather, it found me.

I declare this summer to be the summer of reconnection.  There are three weddings, a 30th wedding anniversary (theirs), a 50th birthday (my brother’s) and my 5th wedding anniversary.  There are a dozen other reasons to find connections with the people that you have allowed to lapse, and I will find every one of them.   The loss of my parents in their early 70s has taught me that life is not guaranteed and waiting for retirement to get back to what is important is not what life is about.  When I think about how I want my life to be, I have to constantly remind myself that my life is not a future event, it is a present one and it begins with what I do now.

Moderation

I may have previously mentioned that my partner is a budding photographer.  As a result, I indirectly benefit from the hobby in a variety of ways, including one kick-butt photo among the many rather questionably-sourced “avatars” on my work collaboration site.  Too bad, suckers!

This fact may not be incredibly evident in all of my blog posts as I am stricken by impatientitis.  When impatientitis is coupled with blogging, it often causes said bloggers to swiftly photograph whatever is in a 20-foot radius with whatever camera-wielding apparatus is in their 2-foot radius without consideration to how these two things might correlate to complete and utter photographic dysphoria.  I frequently find myself suffering from the effects of impatientitis in other avenues of my life (see my other posts for traumatizing events involving baking and cowls as a good start).  I do occasionally suppress this affliction and wait long enough to get a beautiful photo of a finished object, such as my page banner.

All of this to say that when she decided to make a business out of photography, I felt that I should give a little back to her passions and dreams.  I set out to assemble a few photo props for those cute little newborns that were coming up for a photo shoot.

I said a few, right?

hats - all

And to round out the “hats”, it seemed only fitting to make a necktie…

baby necktie

I didn’t photograph the headbands or tutus…you know, to protect the innocent…

Perhaps sufferers of impatientitis need a professional moderator.  I should write my insurance company.

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