my other WIP.

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Right now, I’m working on a slightly-less-photogenic project: my dissertation! I’m supposed to defend this summer (on July 10th, in fact), which means I need to have my dissertation finished by the second week of June. I’m actually aiming to finish it by the end of May. Over the course of the last couple of years, I’d managed to write about 90 pages, all in scattered bits and pieces across several chapters, so that’s where I started, the day after my last day of classes for the semester:

May 1 dissertation page count: just noting where I'm starting as I make the final push toward the finish line.

I’ve been taking self-portraits with my “page count” card each time it changes (which has been pretty much every weekday morning, except for when I’ve had to spend the day dealing with grading related stuff). My most recent page count, exactly a week after I started this process, is 137:

May 9 page count: 137

This includes a finished Chapter 1! My goal for this coming Wednesday (I’m supposed to send updates to my advisor every Wednesday) is to finish Chapter 2 as well (it’s actually pretty close). Then Chapters 3&4 next Wednesday, and Chapters 5&6 the Wednesday after that, and then I’ll be done!! (Chapters 5&6 might actually take a little longer, though – that’s where the largest amount of new writing remains to be done).

It will be so good to rid myself of this massive thing that’s been weighing over me, riddling me with self-doubt and stress for the last two years. Finishing it is a struggle – every day while writing, I feel stupid, like all of my ideas are stupid, like nothing in this thing is worthwhile…and objectively, that can’t be true (or else my advisor wouldn’t be letting me finish it), but oh, the Ph.D is such a psychological wringer.

Wish me luck?

mother’s day, 2014

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So happy to be her mama.

I’m so happy to be this kid’s mama, even if she was the world’s biggest grumplebutt for most of the day. We’ve got something of a Mother’s Day photo tradition going at this point, of “happy mama, grumpy/confused kiddo” pictures:

my first mother's day
2012

Mother's Day.
2013

me and my grumplebug
2014

On this, my third Mother’s Day as a mother, I’m feeling much more settled in myself than last year. (Honestly, besides therapy, the biggest help is that M sleeps most of the night most nights these days – I don’t think I can overstate how negative an impact chronic sleep deprivation has, and I urge you, dear readers, never to make light of it, if new parents mention it being hard for them. It isn’t funny, and it isn’t about them being whiny or weak.) I’m finally starting to acquire that trust in myself that I wish I’d had as a new mother, the confidence that I’m doing right by my kid, and if other folks do differently and judge me, that’s on them, and I just don’t care. I’m less afraid than I used to be. Not that I’m fearless (after all, I still have an anxiety disorder!), but being a mother has made me become…more assuredly ME.

Madrigal Alice Harrison Watts, 7lbs 6.8oz, born 10:26am. We are in love!

Thank you, dear Madrigal, for making me a mama. I won’t say I’ve loved every minute of it, because I haven’t, but I sure do love YOU.

my kid is adorable.

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Alternate title for this post: It’s my knitting blog, and I can post cute pictures of my kid if I want to!

showing off her tongue

We went to the playground on Sunday in hopes of getting “nice” photos of M – we didn’t so much succeed at that, but she’s still awfully cute, and she was wearing babyStripes! the second, so it’s totally relevant to post the pictures here. And y’all, she’s so cute. Especially when she sticks her tongue out!

happy M

I was really hoping to get a photo of her smiling on the swings, but she decided to put on her serious face instead:

on the swings

This is the closest we got to an actual smile:

on the swings

But no matter what, she’s just adorable, and she looks great in babyStripes! (Which I swear I’ll be publishing the pattern for this summer, probably in August!)

at the playground

Doesn’t everyone need cute toddler pictures to get through Wednesday? I thought so.

future lopi affection.

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Along with all of those OTHER things I’m planning (and some I’ve not yet mentioned…I might have a wee bit of a planning problem!), I’m planning to make myself a Lopi Affection cardigan. Y’all know how I love yoked cardigans. And garter stitch. And stripes. So…yeah. How could I not knit myself one of these? And I was even able to pick up the yarn for it on sale (via Craftsy) using my birthday money:

future lopi affection

Well, I already had the bright green skein of Cascade Pastaza Handpaints in my stash, but the Lett-Lopi is new to me. I’ve never knit with Lopi before, but I think I’m gonna love it! The main color is “Glacier Blue”, which is pretty much my favorite color ever, and there’s a skein of “White” for one of the contrast colors.

future lopi affection

I’m planning to use the Pastaza as the second contrast colors, though if it doesn’t work out, gauge/etc-wise, I can always pick up a single skein of “Grass Green” Lett-Lopi (Craftsy doesn’t sell that color, though). I’m a little nervous that it won’t work not just because it’s a little heavier, but also because the “handpaint” nature of it might look a little busy. We’ll see.

such pretty yarn bands.

Aren’t the ball-bands pretty?

I’m in a funny place right now, knitting-wise. I still have lots of ideas for patterns and designs and I’d love to get them published (at least via self-publishing), but at the same time, there are quite a few patterns from other people that I want to knit (like, say, Lopi Affection), and I kind of miss the old days where I didn’t feel the need for every single thing I made to be a made-up-by-me sample/test-knit for some pattern I was working up – that ends up being stressful sometimes, especially since motherhood has basically scrambled my brains and made what used to be easy design math into something I screw up constantly now. It’s just become this weird pressure I put on myself somehow, that I have to keep “being a designer”, and maybe it’s ok to just be a “knitter who designs things occasionally”, which is all I ever wanted to be in the first place.

I don’t know if I can really have it both ways, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but if I’m not going to be making a living out of knitwear design (and if I’m working full time at other things, which I am), it doesn’t make sense to put so much pressure on myself to always be knitting original things, if there’s other stuff out there that tickles my fancy. But then again – I ended up knitting original things for myself because that’s just kind of how I roll, and I do have tons and tons of ideas that I’d love to put out there. But I feel like things move so fast in the knit design world (especially the self-publishing side of it) – folks have new patterns out every other week it seems like, and obviously I can’t do that, so where would I fit? I’m obviously not a “REAL” designer, but I don’t need to be. I need to remember that I don’t need to be.

square number three.

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square number three

Square number three took a bit longer than squares numbers one and two (two weeks instead of one, but given that it’s the end-of-semester-crazytimes over here, that’s not so bad). I actually did a fair amount of the knitting while my students watched a documentary in my language development class last week!

square number three

This square was heavier on the purples and pinks than the other two. I think square number one is still my favorite so far, but they’re all quite lovely.

first three squares

I am still madly in love with the pattern, and seeing my little pile of squares grow is delightful!

A growing pile.

And of course, I’ve already cast on for square number four:

square number four begins

more plotting…

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future sweater for M

My “things to make” list is getting out ahead of me, I’m afraid, because I’m also plotting some sweaters in my beloved Beaverslide yarn. The first is an Elle Melle for M in the two colors of the 2-ply Sport/Sock weight yarn above. I was cleaning out my Ravelry queue awhile back (on one of the days this year when I’ve been too sick to do anything useful), and this pattern caught my eye. I can’t remember when I added it to my queue, but there it was, and I thought it’d be so cute on M, and perfect for the Beaverslide yarn I already had in my stash. So that’s definitely going to happen!

I also plan to reknit my somewhat-too-beloved Vahtralehed. I wore the poor cardigan literally to pieces, patched it, wore through it again, and again…

so, this happened.

…until finally no amount of patching would hold the poor sleeve together. I had originally planned to reknit it in a silvery grey Beaverslide Worsted yarn that I had in my stash, but realized that while a grey Vahtralehed would be lovely (and worth knitting someday), I really missed that deep teal color in my wardrobe this winter. Of course, the colorway I originally knit the sweater in was a special edition one called “Clearwater”, but the “Lake Josephine” color that I knit M’s mini-Vahtralehed in was pretty close, so I ordered some more of that:

early birthday present

I still have more of the Sport/Sock weight yarn that I used for M’s mini-Vahtralehed, and I’d love to knit her a toddler-sized version. I still have this half-baked plan of releasing a little e-book of matched patterns for mama+baby/kid, and Vahtralehed is one I’d obviously include in that, if it ever happens! There’s also the mini Garter Rib cardigan, and of course babyStripes! (I still intend to knit myself a grown-up sized cardigan version), and the garter yoked pullover I just knit for M, and a toddler tunic inspired by my Sullivan pattern for Brooklyn Tweed…gosh, if I could just be two people instead of just one little me, I could totally write a pattern book AND finish a dissertation this summer, eh?

plotting…

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plotting

…a quilt for M’s big girl bed?

We set up a “big girl bed” for M about a month ago, after she kept asking about it. She was sleeping on a Montessori-style floor bed (just a crib mattress on the floor), so we just took her unused crib and set it up with one side removed so that it’s now a toddler bed:

big girl bed.

I’ve been wanting to make a quilt for M since before she was born, and once I saw this one over on Pintrest, I decided that just HAD to be the quilt I made for M. My girl loves stars and all of the colors of the rainbow, after all.

I already had a couple of packs of Kona Brights charm squares, as well as a decent amount of Essex linen blend (in the natural color). I picked up some bright green flannel and crib-sized batting with a coupon at Joann awhile back, so I actually have everything I need to make this thing!

plotting

Of course, I am a serious newbie when it comes to quilting, and I may very well be biting off more than I can really chew, but I’ve always been the sort of person who will learn whatever skills I need to in order to create the things that I’m dead-set on creating…that’s how I learned to knit, after all. But if anyone wants to (virtually) hold my hand while I figure out how to get started on this thing, I’d be ever so appreciative!

charm squares

I love these bright rainbow colors against the natural linen!