Mother’s Day, 2021

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What a year of mothering it has been. This time last year, I was marveling at how we’d managed to make it through 2 months of remote learning and remote working together. And now we’ve kept it going for 14 straight months. I’m not going to pretend it’s been easy. It hasn’t been. But it has been incredible to watch my daughter learn to navigate remote school, to see her figuring out how to use tools like Zoom and Google Calendar, to see her become an absolutely voracious reader, and to witness her growing and thriving in 3rd grade. And she’s grown literally, too – she now wears the same size shoes that I do, and she comes up to my chin! It won’t be long before she’ll be towering over me in our yearly Mother’s Day photo. She is so creative and so sweet and as hard as this year has been, I am forever grateful that I get to be her mother.

I love this kid.

We lost so much this year; she’s never actually been in her new elementary school except to walk through the gym on picture day, and she didn’t get play in the school orchestra, and she’s only gotten to spend time with one friend, her bestie, as part of our pandemic pod. (But thank goodness we do have that connection with one other family!) She’s only gotten to see her teacher and classmates twice in person – once at the beginning of the year at a park, and then just a couple of days ago on a field trip to an alpaca farm. We haven’t seen my family since Summer 2019. And I’ve lost most of the opportunities for rest and recharge that were part of my life in the Before Times; I’ve been particularly devastated about losing the period of recharge after grades are submitted, those glorious 4 weeks in late May-mid June when I’m done with professoring and have the house to myself while my kid finishes school and my spouse is at work. Didn’t get that last year, and won’t get it this year either. I’ve been trying to be the parent my daughter needs for these past 14 months while also being the professor my students need, often at the exact same time, and it’s pushed me to point of extreme exhaustion. So even if I’m not going to have those glorious weeks with the house all to myself, once I submit my grades (which won’t be for at least another week), I do hope to figure out a way to get some rest soon. I’m not entirely sure how one recovers from 14 months of intensely draining work, especially when one hadn’t even recovered from a pretty nasty case of pneumonia when those 14 months began. I’ve been exhausted since at least November 2019, honestly.

I do find knitting to be restorative, so I’ll probably be doing quite a lot of that. I’m hoping to be able to get back to the embroidered flower sweater once my brain is a little less frazzled, but for now, I’m happy to keep knitting away at M’s new Elle Melle:

Elle Melle progress.

I love the Beaverslide Sport/Sock yarn I’m using for M’s Elle Melle so much; it just feels so good in my hands while I’m knitting, and the fabric it creates is so light and soft. (I’m actually wearing a sweater made from it today, too – my Vita de Vie!). I’m now just about to the point where I need to split to create the raglan shaping for the back and the fronts.

I'm a magic loop convert

But I also have a second project to work on: a sock! I haven’t knit a sock since my daughter was a toddler, but after realizing (with the sleeves of the embroidered flower sweater) that I actually quite enjoy magic loop, I remembered having seen a video about doing Judy’s Magic Cast On to prepare for toe-up socks with magic loop, and figured I’d give it a go! I have a fair amount of sock yarn still in my stash from way back when, and while some of it would probably rather become another Musselburgh hat or something, I thought it might be fun to make myself some more socks. So I cast on for my first ever pair of toe-up socks, using a ball of Zauberball Crazy from deep stash.

My first time using Judy's Magic Cast On

The cast on worked out really well! I cast on 20 stitches on each needle, rather than the more typical 8 per needle that I saw in the video, because my feet are decidedly NOT pointy, so I thought I’d try a flatter/rounder toe.

Padded Sweet Tomato Heel

I also went back to a tutorial I remembered (from the late great Cat Bordhi) for the “Padded Sweet Tomato Heel”; I used this on a pair of socks for my daughter back when she was a toddler, and thought they’d work nicely for toe-up socks. So far, so good!

First time knitting a toe-up sock

The next couple of weeks are going to be pretty full as I work towards grading my students’ portfolios and wrapping up other work for the semester, so I’m glad I have a couple of pretty straightforward projects to keep my hands busy.