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Hello, Fall ’22.

Ok, so it’s still solidly summer in terms of weather and the fact that the Equinox isn’t for several more weeks. But tomorrow is my first day of classes for Fall Semester 2022, and so to me, it’s “Academic New Year” season (which is the more salient “new year” than actual “New Years Day” for me!).

I’m really excited to meet all of my students, and also really anxious about being in small, not especially well-ventilated classrooms without a mask mandate. I’ll be masking for the foreseeable future, because I’m high enough risk that it just seems really stupid not to be cautious (plus I already deal with a lot of the health issues that can result from Long Covid, and I’d like to avoid doing anything that could make those things even worse). It also just seems like a huge equity and inclusion issue to me to not require masks in spaces where we’re requiring presence (like classrooms); that’s forcing high-risk people to take on risk that they would not take on by choice (I’m still not going places indoors unless I know I can expect masking), and that’s going to have a disproportionate negative impact on people like me and others with chronic health problems. But I can’t do anything about it other than wear my own mask and hope that 1-way masking is good enough. I want *everyone* to be protected, and the way you do that is with universal masking (and improving ventilation).

Anyway, how about I talk about knitting? And in particular, about the partially-knit sweater I’m wearing in the header photo for this post? Somewhat on a whim, I cast on for an Ursina sweater last week. Not really a “whim”, I suppose, but if I trace the path that got me here, it was basically:

  1. I have come around on more “cropped” sweaters; I’m never going to like wearing SUPER cropped stuff, but things that hit right AT the waist can be nice with my high-waisted skirts and dresses. But I don’t have many of this kind of sweater.
  2. I remembered that Jacqueline Cieslak had some patterns with the silhouette I was thinking would work well. (And also has patterns available off Ravelry, which is important to me.)
  3. I picked up the Ursina pattern, because it had multiple gauge options and I liked the triangle detail.
  4. I caught myself feeling tempted to pick up new yarn for a sport-weight Ursina, and then reminded myself that I have a stupid amount of yarn already. I also noticed that the gauge given for the sport-weight yarn was more of a DK-weight gauge, though I know that’s probably because of the drape intended. I tend to like a slightly less drapey fabric, though.
  5. I remembered that I had 4 skeins of Peace Fleece DK in “Antarctic White”, except that one of the skeins was clearly darker than the others, so I really only had 3 skeins and had been stuck on what I could use them for, because it wouldn’t be enough for a full-length sweater (aha, remember step 1!).
  6. I thought: aha, I can use my 3 skeins of Peace Fleece DK for Ursina as long as it gets gauge! (It does.)

Except that steps 2-6 of that process (except step 1 has been mulling about in my head for awhile) happened on the same day. Which was also the day I cast on for the sweater. So it feels pretty much like a whim!

Trying on the Urisina sweater I cast on for on a whim a few days ago

So far, it’s going well. I added a little bit of length to the sweater before starting the triangle detail, because while I want a shorter sweater, I don’t want it cropped quite as short as the pattern indicates. I’m also planning to split the bottom hem once I get to it, because I just like split hems but I also think they work nicer over my dresses and skirts.

I haven’t forgotten about my other projects – in fact, I’m doing the half-brioche as half-fisherman’s rib (like in the Birch sweater) because it’s easier for me to notice which row of the half-brioche pattern I’m on that way. I knit a bunch on my purple sock at a writing program event I attended on Monday. I haven’t done much on Water Bearer because it turns out that having a brain that’s anxious about the start of the semester is not conducive to following the pattern closely enough and I don’t want to screw it up. I started the shell/sweater for Turtle, but it too requires a little more attention than my brain can currently muster.

Basically, I needed something relatively easy, and while Birch is easy it’s also mind-bogglingly boring with its nonstop half-fisherman’s rib, whereas the triangle half-brioche detail on Ursina makes it just interesting enough without demanding very much cognitive energy. So that’s how I ended up casting on for a new sweater on a whim. (I’m half-considering ripping out Birch and casting on for a sweater of my own design with the yarn; still half-fisherman’s rib but with more interesting angles created by increases/decreases, just to make the thing less boring. We’ll see if I ever have the energy for that.)

My schedule this semester is a little less intense than last Fall’s, because I’m teaching one fewer class, and I’m also back to my pre-pandemic schedule of teaching on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, instead of teaching every single weekday like last year. My mindfulness class will start up in a couple of weeks on Mondays, but I’m hoping to keep Wednesdays free every week as a “work at home” day. I’ll have plenty of work to do, I know, but I may be able to sneak in a bit of knitting and/or sewing time in between giving feedback on assignments, which is the lovely thing about working from home. (It also means I can do our mid-week laundry early enough in the day that I’m not scrambling to fold things before bed!) Here’s hoping I can get through this semester in one piece!

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