Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The End of January

Time to check in for my January goals! Originally I wanted to include pictures, but alas, I am camera-less during the day (which is also why I haven't been participating in the yarn along), so.

The list:

Hang up all of our pictures, artwork, etc.

This almost happened. I have one picture that I intend to hang up today. The goal itself was kind of vague; I can't remember now whether it included putting photos in picture frames and hanging those, but I know it included getting a poster framed that didn't.

Finish Keith's second sock.

Yes! Still some ends to weave in, but I'm counting this goal as met.

Cast on Nicole's shawl.


Buy yarn for a baby blanket.

Yes! This is one lucky kiddo--he is getting a Madeline Tosh blanket. :) The colorway is Mica, the yarn is Tosh DK. I think I need to get another skein; I won't complain about that.

Finish the last short story of my manuscript.

Yes. It was a long and painful process, but yes. My manuscript is now in the hands (or mailboxes) of all my committee members; I will probably be meeting with one of them this week to discuss the first batch of stories I sent her.

Revise a short story.


Register for classes--baptism, birthing, and possibly breastfeeding.

No. But I think we've decided to look into having a priest we know do the baptism, which means we won't have to register for a class. I've decided not to take a breastfeeding class, because 1) I just have too much on my plate as it is, and 2) someone gave me a book about nursing that seems to be pretty thorough and helpful. If I end up needing some sort of help or guidance, there is a breastfeeding center within walking distance of our apartment which I plan to take advantage of. (I'll probably even stop by there sometime within the next month or two.)

As for birth classes and hospital tours and such, this week I hope to sit down with Keith and the schedule and figure out what works with both of our schedules.

Write letters to my cousins at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.

Done and mailed.

Set a date for a knitting party.

Yes! It's "Facebook official."

February goals to come soon!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What to Make?

Alright, folks. I have a vital question that requires your input.

On our honeymoon, I bought this yarn.

I would like to knit it sometime soon, after knitting a promised shawl for a friend. It is very special yarn, of course, so it must be a very special shawl. Thus, I am willing to spend money on a pattern rather than sticking to freebies on the internet.

Last night, there were a few patterns that caught my eye. I have to say that right now I am leaning towards Jaali.

Or else Damask, by the same designer.

I really love how textural these shawls are while still looking lacy and light.

But this pattern from Knit Circus--Ripen--also stuck out to me.

I love the simplicity of this, and the pretty leaf edging.

The yarn is single ply, and I imagine that has an effect on how it will look when knit up into these patterns; on my very long list of books to check out from the library there are a few meant to educate me a little more on yarns and fibers and what works best for what and why. But that aside ... which of these patterns would you choose? :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rest and Hiding

"There is a difference between hiding and resting. When we hide, we are afraid. When we rest, we are wise. It can take time to figure out which one is at work. But once we notice the signs, we'll know for next time."


Tomorrow I am going to finish a story I've been struggling with for a good year and a half. And then, I am going to gather all of these stories together into a Bigger Thing (a book? let's just stick with manuscript), and I am going to email the Thing to my committee.

And then I will be able to breathe--if only one breath before diving back in and revising, and revising, and revising.

(For better or for worse, I tend to do a lot of revision even while composing a first draft. It makes getting stories out of my system pretty difficult, but perhaps I already have the lungs of a swimmer?)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January Goals

I posted earlier about my craft-oriented resolutions for 2012. My non-craft resolutions are pretty simple:

  1. Graduate with my Master of Fine Arts.
  2. Have a baby. (Hopefully in that order!)
  3. Sign up for a regular adoration hour.
  4. Read 50 books.

I feel like I'm forgetting something, but there you go.

These have made it onto my year-long resolution list because they are either huge events, and/or require a sustained effort to achieve. I'll also have goals for each month, some of work towards my bigger resolutions and some of which will be their own things. I guess they're not that much different than to-do lists. :)

Here is January's, in no particular order:

  • Hang up all of our pictures, artwork, etc.
  • Finish Keith's second sock.
  • Cast on Nicole's shawl.
  • Buy yarn for a baby blanket.
  • Finish the last short story of my manuscript.
  • Revise a short story.
  • Register for classes--baptism, birthing, and possibly breastfeeding.
  • Write letters to my cousins at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery.
  • Set a date for a knitting party.
Phew--looks like a lot to do in the remaining 14 days of this month, huh? Luckily I've started working on some of these things already--I'm hoping to knock one short story, one class, the date, and the letters off the list by the end of this week.

Right now the idea is that I'll post my goals here at the beginning of each month and do a recap of sorts near the end.

Monday, January 16, 2012

student introductions--fiction writing

"My own self-doubt and need for perfection will eventually make writing impossible, so I hope to begin to fix that issue in this course."

Oh, student. What if I told you that this course was only the beginning of your self-doubt? That the more you are able to talk about the strengths and flaws of writing, the more fuel you will have for your perfectionism?

What if I, your teacher, was somehow able to prevent that? What if I could help you both see your writing for what it is, and have the courage to keep on doing it? Sometimes all it takes is one person who sees your flaws but also believes in your abilities. (What if I told you that any person that has the power to give you courage also has the power to deflate you?)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Crafty Resolutions: 2012

I'm not usually the type to make resolutions, mostly because I'm not good at it. My goals are always too abstract, or too big. (Praying the rosary every day? Realistically, that habit is not going to happen by the end of this month, and if it's not going to happen within a month, I will forget about it.)

But this year, I am trying to make some concrete resolutions that I can actually tackle. Some of them are things I pretty much have to do anyways (graduate, give birth to a baby ...), but maybe those are the best kind for me. ;)

I also think I'll have smaller resolutions month by month ... in other words a monthly "to do" list. But I'd rather think of these things as resolutions. :)

Recently I joined Pinterest, and I started a board there for my craft-specific resolutions, which I will now post here. (Non-crafty resolutions will come in another post so this doesn't get too terribly long!)


In 2012, I want to knit:

-baby sweaters
-a baby blanket
-a sweater for myself
-a shawl for Nicole
-lots of hexipuffs
-an afghan

I also want to learn brioche, and possibly entrelac.

I imagine/hope I shall knit more than just these things, but those are the resolutions. :)


I want to learn to crochet this year. I am pretty sure that knitting will always be my first love, because I simply like the way it looks better, I feel that it can produce things that crochet can't (crocheted socks just look odd to me!), and because I am fairly good at it (I can't lie--this is an important factor). But knitting cannot reproduce the structural quality of granny squares:

or pretty lace-covered rocks (believe me I've thought a lot about this and I don't think it's possible with knitting):

so obviously I must learn to crochet.

The problem is, see, that I am a perfectionist. I have always loved taking on new crafts (scrapbooking, polymer clay, beading, wire jewelry), and I will love them for a while and then leave them. Knitting hasn't been like this for me, and if I try to psychoanalyze myself--apart from the need to create something tactile and beautiful, and the feel of yarn and needles in my hands--I think it's because I knit and can make mistakes and it still looks good.

Beginner-level projects bore me. I know that I won't be able to make those lovely rocks right away; I've had to make some crochet chains for a few projects and they haven't exactly been pretty. But my mom picked me up some crochet hooks of varying sizes at an estate sale ... so I'm resolved to be patient with myself and really try to learn.


I GOT A SEWING MACHINE FOR CHRISTMAS. I have no idea how to thread it and set it up yet, but this year I will learn to use it, and I will MAKE THINGS. Specifically:

-knitting needle cases
-a mobile?

I may be getting ahead of myself.

Other crafty possibilities:

-I would like to work with felt, make something simple but pretty like these leaves.(Or these--but again, I am too ambitious.) One of my many loved-then-left hobbies was needle felting, which I wasn't very good at; but this year I'd like to buy some nice, wool felt and make things with it.

-I also keep seeing these awesome embroidery projects. Here is another case of perfectionism: I used to do cross-stitch (one of my projects is hanging in my parents' house), but the thought of taking that up simply doesn't grab my interest. It's all these beautiful things I see online that are way out of my range of talent. So perhaps my embroidery will be limited to things like the leaves. We'll see!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

as we forgive those

I know I have been forgiven so much.

Not just by God--of course, yes--but by others. People I have hurt, knowingly or unknowingly or at some level in between. Things I have said, done, not said, not done: flowers my clueless clumsy feet have trampled on. Things that maybe I meant to sting a little, to have some sort of effect, yet caused more pain than I will ever realize. Moments of impatience or inattention--caused by laziness, tiredness, ignorance, or my own woundedness. Somehow I am still loved by others; people still want me in their life, in their company.

Never forget this. I cannot help being hurt; I should not pretend that I haven't been, try to erase it within myself. But I can forgive.