Mistress of the universe (but only for today).

Isn’t it amazing how finishing something that’s been hanging over your head can make you feel like you’ve conquered Everest? If I didn’t think it was kind of sick to do this, I’d say that the longer you prolong the agony on the procrastination side of the task, the more satisfying it is to actually get rid of it. Why take out insects individually when you can bomb a whole colony at once? …Too revealing a metaphor? I had others, but they were all even worse. Occasionally I need those to wake up my students in the mornings.

I finished the buttons and sleeve seams last night during a screening of Saboteur, not to be confused with Sabotage. It was one of the few Hitch films we didn’t see in my magnificent all-Hitchcock film class in grad school, and I can see why. The 39 Steps gets the job done better on the wrong-man end, and North by Northwest is better for wrong-man, spy thriller, chase across America, and for having Cary Grant. Nevertheless, it was not a wasted evening. It’s always pleasant to spend time with Hitchcock, and it isn’t every day you get to see someone fall off the Statue of Liberty.

Aren’t they darling? They are non-identical, like the boys who will wear them, and that is just as it should be. I so wish I had more than about 1.5 skeins left of this yarn. I bought another green of the LL Shepherd Sport, but it is not this wonderful woodsy color; it’s much more bright green. Bah. This was perfect.

I put this on my project notes on Ravelry too, but the main things about BSJs are to establish a consistent way of doing the buttonholes (ask me how I know…) and write whatever schematic and/or notes work for you. I was working from the Opinionated Knitter pattern, the original that had been in the newsletter, and it helped me to set it up row-by-row so I could tell where I was by counting the number of stitches before the decreases or increases. I also decided in the process which row would have the inc-10 and which row would start the “work center 90 only,” so when I did the second jacket, I knew exactly where I was all the time. Seriously, if you’re going to do one of these, plan to do at least two, because it is so unimaginably easy the second time around, you wonder why it was so hard to understand the first time. Also: if you want to do it in one continuous strand, you need at least 300 yards on the skein (in sportweight). I had to do a join on each of them.

I say this honestly: it was a pleasure. I’m getting so much more done these days, and it makes me like knitting a lot more. So much of the rest of my life is all middle and no finish. From time to time, I need things that end.

Marching brooms, pls.

I finished the second BSJ the day after the twins were born (Congratulations, family! Send me pictures of squishy babies in sweaters! Uh…you know…after I send you the sweaters…!), and since then–five days now–the two sweaters have been folded neatly on my nightstand, right on top of a historiography book I have been meaning to read for nearly a year. They need buttons. I think about putting on buttons, decide it sounds boring, do something more interesting, and then wonder why they still need buttons.

To make matters worse, I have taken up an even more boring project, plain socks for my boys, that has languished for months because a) boring; and b) the one I finished for the baby turned out to be too small already. Sheesh, kid. No gratitude. So my plan now is to finish the bigger pair for the baby and do an even bigger pair for my big boy. I don’t know why they weren’t done when I took them out of the project bag. It seems like they should have been, since I spent so much time thinking about how boring they were to work on.

It’s nice to have boys, though, isn’t it? You can foist the ugliest yarn on them and they think it’s awesome.

Unrelated: these convertible gloves, which I did not knit, are made to fit no human hands. Honestly, I have some pretty meaty paws for a woman, and I don’t recall that I ordered these in a “large.” They led indirectly to my getting back into knitting. So disappointing. Maybe not if you look like Orlok, but for the rest of us? Who could wear these? I put them on out of desperation this morning when I got into my car, and it was a mistake. Plus, they aren’t even made of wool, so the simplest winter tasks turn them horrid and waterlogged in no time. I am ashamed to have bought them.

I’m so mad at myself for having the same goal for a year (knit myself some nice sweaters to wear to work) and now it’s cold and I have to go back to teaching and I have zero (0) new sweaters to wear. I wasn’t even thinking they were boring! Maybe that’s the problem. They surely would have gotten done.

You I can’t do that with garter stitch, apparently.

So I’m knitting along on the other BSJ, a few rows past the inc-10 at row 58, and notice a hole. This is not like the last time I noticed a hole, which was when I was nearly daft with finishing the thing and realized it was supposed to be there because it was a buttonhole I made on purpose. This was an untwisted M1. I picked up the stitch, but in my counting haze, forgot to knit it through the back loop. It left a very obvious hole in the middle of my garter stitch perfection.

My husband’s grandmother, who informed me last summer that she was taught never to leave a mistake in her knitting, would be very pleased to hear how that hole niggled at me. At the time, I pooh-poohed. I’d made a mistake in a lace scarf that I gave my sister, and insisted it would never be noticed. She was being stuffy, I thought. I’d ignore this little teeny hole. It would be too much trouble to be worth fixing. Finshed the row, turned, started knitting back. Looked at the hole some more. Well, I could fix it, couldn’t I? Drop the ladder and fix it? Then there wouldn’t be a hole and I could go on and pretend the whole thing never happened. It wouldn’t show at all. I’m a drop-and-ladder ninja on stockinette. I got out my crochet hooks. I’d fix that up easy-peasy.

Well. An hour later, after several times splitting the yarn, dropping the twist, hooking the stitches backward so they v’d when they should have purl bumped, I gave right the hell up and ripped six rows back, picked up all 114 stitches, and started again. And now there will not be a 5-mm hole in the back of a baby sweater, to be worn by a child who would have been lying on top of that hole for the entire time he wears the thing. Perfection in small things, perfection in all things. I’d call up my husband’s grandmother and tell her, but I can’t bear to give her the satisfaction. Someday, she will know her triumph–I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of thing St. Peter tells you right off when you’re at the pearly gates–and that will do.

Tonight, I start at the same place where I was when I ripped back last night. It took me the rest of the evening to get back there again.

That’s one…

I have informed my friend that she can have one baby, but she has to hold the other one in for a while longer.

(Aren’t the small-boy undies in the upper corner a nice touch? I like to give new mothers a preview of coming attractions.)

Being here now is working out for me for the time being. I’ve decided that until I just can’t stand it anymore, or until I have to prep for teaching in a couple of weeks, I’ll finish up around the house at 8 and spend the evenings knitting. I constantly battle between loving the sense of satisfaction of finishing many things, and hating the feeling of letdown every time a project ends.

It has finally turned very cold here, though there is still no snow. I do away with a little of the Christmas debris every day. My husband likes to keep the tree until Epiphany, so we’re still living with that, against my protests that it’s time to let go, pack up, vacuum, and return to normal. For today, I’m willing to let it go. It’s far too cold to be up in the attic. Oh, Christmas. Too chaotic, too noisy, over far too soon.

Begin: 2012

I’ve been thinking about what I want to write for the obligatory New Year’s Day post, when most people I know are making resolutions. I generally prefer to stick to a list of small, achievable goals, about which I am explicitly not permitted to beat myself up. If I do them, great, but there is no annual report where I write in percentages and feel crappy about what I didn’t do. I like “done” lists. I wasn’t wasting my time if I didn’t do everything on the “goals” list, because I was doing things, and here is what I did. It’s very gratifying. I like a little latitude for changes in plans. That used to drive my parents crazy about me. I need the structure of a plan, but the flexibility to alter the plan if I need to. I believe my father, particularly, wants to sit me down and discuss the actual definition of “plan,” but luckily for me, they love me and are comfortable with my adulthood.

This year, I am realizing now, I am off the grid. I’m done with school. I’m not changing jobs, or at least I don’t plan to, and I’ve been in my jobs for long enough that I don’t need to worry about them much. In spite of myriad challenges, our family is stable. I’m not gestating any new humans, and the last one has gotten good at sleeping at nights and eating people food. My husband and I are solid. My house is dreadful, but that’s not new.

…I don’t know what to do with myself.

I’m one of those crazy people who likes school. I still miss coursework, even though I finished the last of it two years ago. Being out here without structure feels kind of nuts. But as I get older, I’m getting better at that. I’m still scared, but I think I’m learning to like it better. Maybe I can really do something now. I don’t know what. I don’t know how. I made a list of things I wanted to do this year, but they are all little things. Maybe this year is about moving forward with little things and having some Big Things meditation time to see where I’m going to go next. I think I’m going to try that.

For now, my friend who is pregnant with twins is going to have babies sometime in the next 24 days, and these BSJs aren’t going to knit themselves. That’s what I’ll do right now.