Spring in Reverse?

It’s almost hard to believe that this was the sight just a few days ago:

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As this was the sight that greeted me this morning:

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It’s a good thing I have an indoors crocus to keep me company!

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in the Woods

It’s been much, much longer than I had planned since I had last posted. Even when we see life coming, it’s funny how it can still turn us upside down without our least intending it. I’ve been working on knitting, slowly but with progress visible, and had a post or two planned in my head, but somehow all the messiness of life stepped in between me and my best-laid plans.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve pretty much known where I was going. I had a clear direction. Sure, there’ve been some deviations, but the overall picture was always the same. In some ways, I suppose, I’m not really that adventurous or spontaneous.

My Dad occasionally challenges this. He has a tendency to, shall we say, get lost. His sense of direction is perhaps a bit questionable, especially as involves paved highways. I have “fond” memories of a particular experience in high school, when I was learning to drive. We had been out to an outlying town and were on our way back home when he told me the wrong turn. The next thing he’s telling me is not to stop—at least not for more than a microsecond—at the stop signs because, “don’t you see the bullet holes everywhere? We’re in gang territory!” Oops.

Several years ago, both of us feeling a bit of Spring Fever, I agreed to a Sunday afternoon woods walk. It seemed innocent enough—nice sunny day, a bit above freezing, but still enough snow on the ground to make things—outside the city at least—pretty. However. My dad seemingly does not know how to follow a marked trail, unless it’s a wild critter that made the markings. We never technically got lost, but let’s just say that I don’t exactly have the spring of a deer, and jumping over the not-quite-frozen creek netted me two hands full of thorns. (I didn’t fall in though!) I can’t call the day bad or a waste though. I had no idea where I was going—other than a general idea of which way was west, thanks to the sun—how long we were going to be, how difficult it would be to get back. But all my memories, excepting the stinging hands, are positive. It was an adventure. It was fun. Perhaps it should have been scary, but I don’t get scared of what’s right in front of me, just all the possibilities that are not. (Overactive imagination.)

DSCN2076 Woods in SnowNot, as might be expected from this week!
Picture taken 24/2/2011 at West Branch State Park.
Nowhere near a marked trail…

December was rough, work wise. January did not prove any better. I had had high hopes around the first of the year: I was called for an interview for a job I really wanted. But it went to someone else, and with the end of the month came the long-anticipated downsizing of my (now former) place of employment. So now I am in a space where I’m not sure what “next” is. Being realistic, there are not a lot of jobs in the architecture world right now—at least not in my corner of the country. That may be changing, but it’s been bleakly bad, all over the place, for the last few years. I’m also hampered by a relative lack of experience (I simply can’t imagine how recent college (university) graduates have fared) and lack of knowledge of a particular piece of software that most every firm is either already using or transitioning to. I’ve also been considering my real discomfort with the continuing trend to build new, when so many buildings sit abandoned—both from economic/social and environmental standpoints. If I continue to pursue a traditional career in architecture am I only contributing to a practice which concerns me? All this to say, I’m not sure what path lies next. This can be overwhelming, and scary. I just need to remind myself of that walk in the woods. The adventure is in the possibilities.

Please don’t feel obligated to feel sorry for me or to offer up any sympathy. I’m fortunate enough to be in a place where I can financially withstand unemployment for quiet a while. Truthfully, it’s been a stressful and uncertain slog through work for a couple of years, and I’m more relieved than anything not to be there anymore. I am genuinely questioning my commitment to the traditional practice of architecture, and this is perhaps just the space I need to determine what truly comes next. Most importantly, I hope to have more time now. I seem to have been so short on that for so long—it’s nice to be able to breathe again. I’ll be back with knitting soon!

lazy summer

In some ways this has been a very lazy summer, and in others not so much. Work has been busy—crazy busy—but we’ve been on an overtime ban (lots of work, momentarily short on cash) so I can’t really use work as an excuse for not getting more done. Except, we’re packing so much into our days, and several weeks have been like the past—early week deadline, met with late nights to finish and avoiding overtime by getting out early on Fridays—that a lot of the time I’ve just felt drained in the evenings. And  on the weekends for that matter. Thus, not a lot’s been done in general this summer, and I’m feeling kind of lazy.

Sometimes lazy translates into more knitting, especially on weekends when I can put on a movie or a few episodes of a TV show and just knit away, careless of the world. Other times, lazy means more reading. (I’ve unfortunately missed the whole idea of easy summer reading though: I just finished Dante’s Inferno, not exactly “light” but excellent nonetheless.) Unfortunately for the blog, when I have been knitting, it’s been monogamous, and I’m pretty sure I chose a never-ending project.

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Evenstar is coming along, slowly (there are currently 672 or so stitches per row, sigh). It mostly resembles a big silver blob, but I’m beginning to see progress. Not only does it seem endless, however, but I feel like I have a never-ending skein. I was sure that I would run out of the first skein round about the end of clue 4, but I’m beginning to think I’m going to make it to the end of clue 5. One positive about the longevity of the project: the lightweight silk is near perfect for hot summer knitting, certainly much better than say, a heavy wool sweater. Very important this week, as we had the unfortunate combination of the first stretch of multiple-day +90° (F) weather in several years and a broken air-conditioner. (Working late this week was actually appealing for once, incidentally.)

My slowed knitting pace of late combined with a good review of my stash led me to decide this spring that after the Great Lakes Fiber Show no more yarn buying for the year. Well. Best-laid plans and all.

What happened is this: one of my local yarn stores (the newer one) is going out of business. (No indication as to why.) Which means yarn sale. And since she has some nice laceweights, well…

I’ve been eying this bamboo laceweight for a while, as I love the color, and it’s finer than most I come across in person, so…three small cones of SWTC Xie 100% bamboo followed me home.

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Then there’s this lovely silk (Claudia Hand Painted), which I’ve noticed in the past, but as I had no set purpose for it, I set it aside. Not so this time.

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Finally, the luxury item. I bought some Niji (aka Mooi from Louet, but this is actually labeled as Niji) this past winter, when I had a gift card to spend. I haven’t used it yet, but it’s lovely to pet. I wouldn’t ordinarily buy yarn with such a high cost to yardage ratio, but…it was on sale, and I’ve heard such good things about it, and I’m not likely to ever get such a good price again, and… OK, so apparently I’m really good at knitterly rationalizations.

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Rationalizations aside, the end result is more yarn I don’t have time to knit. I think this time I’d really better keep that pledge not to buy any more yarn!

back soon

It’s not even officially summer yet, but I’m heading off on vacation tomorrow! I’m not excited or anything; I’ve only had a countdown on for, oh, nine weeks or so. The only down side is that I’m pretty sure I will be without Internet access for a week, but, honestly, other than the nightmarish backlog of blog entries to read when I get back, I don’t really think that’s a problem. After all, I’ll be at the beach! I’ll have knitting! And reading! I won’t have to think about work at all! No, not really seeing anything to be upset about.

I don’t know how much knitting I’ll actually get finished – it’s the beach after all (although, given my habit of turning bright red if I so much as look at midday sun, I won’t exactly be sunbathing), but I’m taking two projects with me anyway. Or maybe three. I haven’t completely made up my mind yet. Crocus is staying at home for sure, and Evenstar and Lewrick Lace are going for sure. Aeolian, however, might make a reappearance. I’ll have to see if it fits in my suitcase. Hopefully I’ll have some new progress to share when I get back.

Have a great weekend!