I think the gauges on the two yarns didn’t quite match as well as I was hoping. Could’ve gone with one bigger needle on the face/belly. Also, the eye & nose yarn should be fairly heavy, more like an aran or even bulky, but the worsted I had on hand looks cute too!

Coffee Socks

8/4 – started leg pattern. Sort of wish I had an actual cabling needle.

8/21 – dropped a stitch somewhere yesterday. 🙁 Going to try to pick up today, hoping it’s not actually in the cable! OTOH, I’ve definitely gotten the hang of doing the cabling w/out a cabling needle.

8/31 – started heel flap of sock A.

9/2 – finished heel flap & turning heel.

9/4 – finished heel of sock B.

November – had to go to one at a time for the toes.

12/7 – had dropped for a while after having him try on the first one & it being a smidge too small. Pulled back to end of cabling pattern for toe and reknit with a few extra rows of K1 all around, finished it and length was perfect.

12/15 – omg finally done.

Brown Aran Socks

So I had to do some …interesting… things to adjust the heel to two-at-a-time magic loop. Should probably write up.

10/27: getting a little nervous that I’m going to run out of yarn!

11/2: ran out of the Najad, knit in the leftover blue Cascade 200. quite possibly going to run out of that as well, I think I have some Lion something or other in tan if so. (started the toes, though.)

11/3 – managed to finish the toes in the blue! still have to weave in ends & block.

On Doing Things Badly

I recently read this essay in The Atlantic on procrastination, fixed vs growth mindset, imposter syndrome, etc. (Via a tweet from Kristina Halvorson.) Some of it was very good, but towards the end it veered off into complaining about millenials. Even without the unnecessary youth-bashing, it felt like an unsatisfactory ending, maybe because it didn’t speak at all to what actually makes any of that better. There’s this other Atlantic article, but it’s more about getting oneself to Do A Thing right now. I’m more interested in the bigger picture mindset issues: “Finding out that you’re not as good as you thought is not an opportunity to improve; it’s a signal that you should maybe look into a less demanding career, like mopping floors.”

It’s possible I’ve written about being a kid who was in gifted & talented programs. I’ve definitely written about my life with math, and about Imposter Syndrome (although in the particular context of introversion and conferences). Put simply, I’m very much that person she was writing about.

Something that I think has helped me a great deal is doing things that I’m terrible at, or have convinced myself that I’m terrible at. These things fall into two general categories.

Some activities I’m pretty bad at and enjoy anyway, and I don’t worry too much about getting better: billiards, bowling, street fighter-type video games. All of which, I notice, are social activities, somewhat physical but not too physical, and very dependent on eye-hand coordination. (I’ve had issues with eye-hand coordination all my life.) So if I just relax and have a good time, then I have a good time, even if I’m NEVER going to win. Yeah, it sounds tautological, but for someone who’s care about doing Well and being Right, just Doing and Being is a nice change of pace.

On the other hand, in the last couple of years I’ve taken up two activities, explicitly telling myself that I was going to suck and that it was OK to suck as long as I kept trying. Turns out, both of them are things I’ve come to really enjoy: knitting and drawing. I even enjoy the process of learning and being kinda crappy sometimes. Drawing’s been a particular surprise, since as long as I can remember, I’ve been a person who Doesn’t Draw. I’m still not “good” but some of my drawings I’m happy with, and looking back even over the last few months I can see that I’m getting better.

So if I were to say anything to my fellow “gifted children,” those of us who’ve spent too much of our lives fretting and procrastinating, it’s this: do things you’re bad at. Expect to be bad at them. Enjoy your stick figures or awkward sentences, your crooked coffeetables or clunky code. Be in that moment of terribleness, then find the little bit that isn’t a total disaster, see what worked about it, and keep on going. Because doing even when it’s awful is where it’s at.

Postscript: so Mom knew this about me way way way before I did. I don’t know if it was intuition or something she read, but she insisted that I keep trying with music, which definitely didn’t come easily. And at one point, maybe when I was in college, she said that it was because it was something more challenging, and she thought that was important. Go Mom.

Bandana Cowl

Got slightly off on the short rows, probably very early on when I was still figuring out how they worked.

Not quite enough of the yarn to finish, but I like the gist of the project so I might buy some. note: used same style in a different color.

9/9 – restarted. 75 St remaining.

9/11- may have decreased one too many, so I increased back again in the final purl row.

Very cosy. I’m pleased, it’ll be nice when we have cold weather. Interesting effect with the heathered green & the tweedy black.

Update, November 2014: OMG this is amazing in cold weather. A++++ would knit again.

garter toes

7/8, finished toe

for pattern, did k7, (k1,p1) 5x, k8 to get correct number of stitches.

after a few rows, expanded ribbing section, so pattern is now k5, (k1,p1) 7x, k6.

7/16 – started 1st heel too early (as usual), so ripped back heel & last row of heel garter section. Debating whether to pick back any more of that garter or just have a slightly longer garter section at the end of the foot….

7/23 – about 2in up from garter heel reduced back of leg, ssk k6 (p1 k1) 5x, k6, k2tog.

7/28 – been gradually expanding the ribbing sections, front and back, to taper into a k1p1 cuff. Planning on at least 1” of ribbed cuff.

Used this bindoff: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall09/FEATjssbo.php, love the way it looks & feels.

Belmondo Shawl

Grey (“zinc”) for most of the body of the shawl, doing “orchid” (pink/purple) for the top 1/4 or so. Really happy about the speed & simplicity of working, and the feel of the cotton/wool blend in the open style.

Got HUGE after blocking, which I’m delighted about. I have enough grey yarn left to make fringe, but I’m not sure if I’m going to. (I’m not usually a fringe person.)

It’s perfect for wearing over a sleeveless dress, especially in our chilly conference room!

Fingerless Gloves

Strange to make this pattern again, given that it was one of my earliest projects! (Tucker’s Ashley has admired those a few times, so when I got some Cascade 220 for Christmas, I knew that was what I wanted to me.) Very pleased with it. Just need to sew up the side seam, but want her to pick where the thumb hole should fall.

Finally finished seaming, 6/29.

Sweater Vest

5/5 – doing gauge swatch on #9

5/6 – cast on while on the bus to SeaTac.

5/20 – separated front & back

5/22 – started V-neck shaping