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Entering Summer 2022

Well, my grades are submitted as of yesterday, which means I’m now “off” for the summer. And I really am going to try to take this summer off as much as I possibly can. I’ll obviously need to put some work into preparing my classes for next Fall, and workshops too, but I also need to rest. These last couple of years of teaching have been so brutally hard, and I’m exhausted and burnt out to the point where even trying to put together materials for the teaching award my program is nominating me for – ostensibly a positive, celebratory thing – was making me cry (and not in a happy way) yesterday. So while I do have some loose goals for the summer around knitting, sewing, reading, and music-making, I don’t really want to put any pressure on myself to do ANYTHING. Knowing me, I’ll still do plenty; I don’t really do “nothing” very well. But I want this to be a very gentle summer, if possible (which it may not be, given that we live in the times we do).

Readers may have caught a peek of my most recent finished project in my Mothers Day post, clutched in my daughter’s hand like they’ve been from literally the moment I finished the second one:

Sleepy Kittens!
(I snuck them out of her bedroom while she was at school today for photos!)

Yep, Sleepy Kitten The Second is finished, and has a nightgown, too! I wish my daughter would let me block these, because I think they’d look a little neater, but she has vetoed that plan, because she can’t bear to be parted from them for the time they’d take to dry.

Sleepy Kittens hug.
Sleepy Kittens hug.

I’m so glad she loves them. I think I have enough left over from the kit to knit a third striped-pajama Sleepy Kitten, and that might be the perfect thing to do with that yarn, because then we’d have three kitties, two boys and one girl, just like we used to. Things have still been hard on the elderly cat front since we lost Nina; Stimpy is clearly nearing the end of his life, has gone mostly blind, and isn’t eating very much. We had a very difficult weekend two weeks ago when it was made clear to us that our options were either very intensive, expensive hospital treatment without much hope of a good long-term outcome (he’s 17 and in the end stages of kidney failure, after all) or palliative care, trying to make his last weeks as comfortable and full of love as we can.

Giving Stimpy as much love as we can while he’s still with us.

So we obviously chose the latter, and have been learning how to give him subcutaneous fluids every night to help his kidneys (but knowing that this might exacerbate his heart troubles and anemia). He was once nearly 14 pounds, and is now exactly 7 pounds. It’s so hard to watch him waste away, but we’re trying to give him all the love we possibly can.

Pretty handspun from my friend Mia

Yesterday, while I was trying to neaten a few things up in my craft closet, I saw the skein of handspun yarn that my friend Mia sent me earlier in the pandemic along with some masks, and having just seen Andrea Mowry’s new Inclinations Cowl pattern, I thought I’d wind it up into a couple of balls and see if it would work! The yarn is much heavier than the light sport weight yarn called for in the pattern, so I went up to a size 6 needle and am using the schematic measurements to decide when to switch between sections of the pattern, rather than using the numbers in the pattern. So far, it seems to be working!

Inclinations Cowl

I’m not 100% confident that I have enough yarn (since I don’t actually know how much yarn was in the skein to begin with, and I also don’t know how the different gauge will affect the amount of yarn required). But for now, the half-fisherman’s rib is satisfying to knit, and the colors look so great (the yarn was spun from Hello Yarn fiber in the colorway “But the tree glowed”) so I’m hoping it does end up working out.

Oh, and while I’m rambling, I’m super excited to see this new book from Laine called “Traditions Revisited“; long-time readers might remember that I got very excited about traditional Estonian knitting techniques, and had thought about trying to put together a collection of designs using them, but (obviously) never actually did it because, well, life. So I’m thrilled to see that Aleks Byrd has put together the kind of collection I was dreaming of! This book may very well end up on my bookshelf once it’s out.

So anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to since finishing grading. I’m hoping to revisit some projects that have been in timeout for awhile (especially my Waterbearer cardigan, with its messed-up brioche collar) this summer, and will probably knit some more toys, because they’re fun. I also hope to sew myself some overalls and pants, as well as more dresses. We’ll see how things play out.

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