Thursday, January 01, 2009

The new year

I'm having a hard time dealing with my own mortality these days. Given my age, my family history, and a usual lifespan, I can expect 30 more new years. Not enough. Not nearly enough.

Especially since I'm so imperfect and so slow. I don't know why I can't accept that often what I make - sweaters, yarn, even mittens - is not quite right the first time and must be redone. Or that a sweater is a big project, which may have something to do with my frequent boredom with them part-way through. I'd hate to list for you all the projects I started in 2008, and where they are today. They're almost all - maybe 70%? - still in the WIP stage, stuffed in plastic bags and knitting bags in some bin somewhere, or scattered around the living room or the bedroom. I don't know why I have so little stick-to-it-tiveness when it comes to knitting.

Spinning gets finished - I just hung up to dry the first of what will be many skeins of lovely, springy Romney 2-ply, for a textured jacket, I think - but I'm not really very good at it. I spin a lot, but I'm not pushing my boundaries and getting better; I'm just making the same sorts of yarn I made three years ago when I finally figured out how to spin. Well...I have gotten more consistent and better able to spin the weight of yarn I want, but I have no patience right now to learn woolen spinning or how to spin on a spindle. I can do both, barely, but I'm certainly not competent at either.

Maybe I should knit hats and scarves and mittens for a while, get my mojo back. I spun some lovely subtle dark kid mohair/merino into a perfectly good bulky three-ply a couple weeks ago, and knit two good hats from it. Then I spun a pink merino/tussah/alpaca batt from Abby Franquemont in a decent fingering-weight two-ply (21 wpi - that's fingering, right?), and knit a rather nice Branching Out scarf from it for a friend. No photos, sorry, but as you know, my photography skills suck, too. But it was very nice to start something, several somethings, and have them make it all the way through spinning and knitting successfully, quickly, turning out just how I envisioned them before I started spinning. I suppose small accomplishments like these are to be savored, yes?

It does not help that a muscle in my lower back is strained and making it difficult to sit for any length of time (say, longer than 15 minutes) and that it's been frigid or icy or snowing like mad the past week, making it hard to go for a long walk. Walking is how I usually treat these occasional bouts with a sore back.

This general malaise has gone on for quite some time, as you'll see if you read back through the getting-on-for-three-years' worth of posts here. Time to do something about it. I've gotten fairly good over the past half-century (yikes!) at nudging myself, kicking and screaming, into a better stage of life every so often, and I suppose it's time to do it again. I can see traces of stick-in-the-mudness creeping into me, something I associate with getting old, and I intend to resist.

You know, that double-coated gray Shetland lamb fleece I've got would probably be perfect for learning to make rolags, and then for practicing a woolen long draw. Sigh ... Kicking and screaming, here I go!


Anonymous said...

not nearly enough time to get all my projects done! Not even half, but I still find myself wasting time. So I give myself a kick ever so often by taking a few days and finishing a couple of projects or making the firm decision that I am not going to finish it and either give it away or throw it out. That always helps me motivate!

Good luck with the weather! I hear it is dreadful miserable depressing. I would burrow under the covers and sleep till spring if I could!

kick kick kick - just like the rockettes!

Spindlers2 said...

You are writing about me!!! Stop it at once...

Actually, taking the time to urge oneself to do something new can be pretty good therapy. So to, I find, is doing a few small projects as you suggest you might - getting stuff finished and in use always makes me feel better.
Maybe we need to urge each other on :D
Happy New Year!


Laurie said...

Small goals in different domains? Just do it and as you do it, it will get better? Recognize that there is no secret that you have to uncover in spinning, and it all is just doing more of it in smaller bits, and evaluating smaller bits rather than waiting for the whole fleece to be done before you evaluate?

Or not.

I have done similar math for my trajectory and haven't been pleased. Don't know how to get over that one.

Elizabeth said...

I think more small projects is a good idea. They're fun. They're fast. They're done. And everyone is so impressed.

But let me tell you... last night while I was lying in bed shivering (you know, before it all got warmed up), I was thinking about a nice warm wool blanket and how good that would be. And I was thinking about your big Lamb's Pride Log Cabin blanket. I was super impressed at how well you stuck with that. All that garter stitch! So, don't sell yourself short.

Bezzie said...

Somedays kicking and screaming is the only way to go.

yes, small projects--that's all I freaking do!

gayle said...

When you can't walk, dance! Crank up the radio or make a rowdy Pandora station, and dance through the house. Does wonders for your outlook, especially this gray time of year. If the back pain won't let you dance, at least march to the music - and sing. Make up your own words.
Motion, laughing, and silliness are great ways to fight malaise.
Keep your chin up!

cyndy said...

If you lived closer, I'd put you behind my Great Wheel, where you could walk out that sore back whilst working on your long draw! (Seriously, it is a cure for whatever ails me.)

The Shetland lamb fleece sounds wonderful! Looking forward to hearing more about the process....

Batty said...

Do whatever you have to do to get your mojo back. And be kind to yourself. It's cold and grey outside, it looks like the sun is never coming back, but it will.

Margaret said...

Happy New Year! There is no failure in knitting small projects that are savored and enjoyed and used. Not everyone loves to knit sweaters, but that seems to be some hallowed benchmark of being a Knitter. Knit socks, knit wristies and scarves, knit lace, knit whatever strikes your fancy. And maybe getting that small project done will do more for your mojo (and inspire small boundary-stretching spinning projects) than a slog of a sweater will.

Pete for socknitters said...

I agree with the other commenters, Make small things. I only knit socks and gloves and don't feel I'm a failure. Sweaters are beyond my patience or speed, and I don't spin.

Go easy on yourself and be pleased with what you do and not distressed because of what you don't.

P.S. good luck with the new wheel.