Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I'm not "goofing off," I'm...

Why is it that when you do a lot of handwork (and I do), people invariably think you're sitting in front of the TV doing nothing? I realize I'm not outside pulling weeds out of the flower beds (which I probably should be doing on this glorious spring day), or yet again cleaning up the living and dining rooms, but I'm actually doing something when I'm sitting on the divan in the living room. The divan is a good place for doing handwork because it's in the corner next to the fireplace, and my Ott light is tall enough to reach over the back and cast a good light on my work. I can also see the TV, on the rare occasions that I'm both working and watching TV (usually I have music on). I have done a lot of work in that corner--knitting, crocheting, a mountain of handsewing, baskets of spinning, and it is a comfy place to work.

The last two weeks have been nothing short of "panic mode": getting ready for WASC reaccreditation at the school (the Western Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges approves schools and their operations; without accreditation, our high school diplomas would be worthless), going through the three-day reaccreditation visit, trying to keep 1,500+ teenagers under control and learning while the reaccreditation visit is going on, and traipsing off to celebrate my oldest nephew's wedding right in the midst of all this. Fortunately, the reaccreditation is now behind me (they loved us!), my new niece is a sweet, darling girl, and Spring Break means two glorious uninterrupted weeks of time to myself to get caught up and life back under control.

In spite of this insanity, the handwork continues to get done. The olive merino Renaissance stockings are finally finished! They took what seems like forever, but was actually only four months. I couldn't take them to meetings because I had things like decreases to keep track of. I knit them out of Paton's merino wool, on #3 dpns, and they're so long (thigh high) it took a very long time to knit each leg. However, I kept persevering. I also tried as much as possible to knit both at the same time: one leg, then the other, one heel, then the other, one foot, then the other, one toe, then the other. It seems to have made a real difference, especially when I finished the toe on one sock, and then sat down and an hour later had the other sock finished too. I blocked them yesterday, and they're ready for Stephen to wear at Faire next weekend.

In the meantime, I've started another "charity" scarf for my Meeting Work. This one is out of gray merino I found while cleaning and organizing the stash, so it's serving three purposes: keeping me occupied during meetings, reducing the stash, and making something for somebody else. The scarf is a simple one, plain stockinette with a border of seed stitch, done on #6 needles, so it's going pretty quickly.

I also have another pair of "civilian wear" (as opposed to "costume") socks underway. Months ago, I saw the owner of our LYS knitting 2 socks at once on a very long circular needle, and I thought, "What a clever idea! No Second Sock Syndrome." However, I didn't need an ultra-long circular needle, so after I found Cat Bordhi's book, Socks Soar on Circular Needles, I thought there might be a way to knit both socks at once. Thank heavens for the Internet: somebody else not only figured out how to do it, but published complete instructions on the 'Net. I sat down with 2 skeins of Paton's merino in a wild variegated, 2 #5 circular needles, took a big leap of faith, and managed to get both socks safely started. It took quite a bit of turning my brain into a pretzel, but both socks are now nearly half-finished. I don't know what's going to happen when I get to the heels (maybe "afterthought heels"?), but I like this method for knitting socks. The only downside is the yarns tangle, so I have to stop periodically and untangle both skeins before I can continue going round and round and round.