Hello, February

I hope that the sunny day we’re having today bodes well for the remainder of February, which in my experience tends to be a month that feels very dark and gloomy here in my part of the world. To be honest, March typically does, too. It’s like the shine of the first few months of winter has worn off, but there are still two more months left to get through before things truly warm up and brighten up. This winter, though, we haven’t really had much of a winter…more of perpetual November where things never quite got cold enough for the precipitation to come down as snow rather than rain, which has made things gloomy for quite awhile already. But today we’ve got a light coating of snow on the ground and the sun is shining, so here’s hoping maybe this February (and March) won’t feel so grim.

This semester, I’ve been finding that my students are really benefiting from a little bit of coaching around managing their work, and in particular, they really like my philosophy of celebrating “small wins”. They tend to see a writing assignment as one big, giant, overwhelming THING, which makes it feel scary and aversive, and they feel like they can’t feel good about themselves until they finish the whole thing; in other words, a finished paper is the only thing worth celebrating. But that’s not really how it works. Writing is so many things, and as with other big projects, if you can break up your task into smaller subgoals, it becomes much less overwhelming. But I’ve found that my students’ first impulse with the smaller subgoals is to threaten to berate themselves if they don’t manage to meet them, which just makes them feel crappier more often. So I’ve been guiding them towards instead celebrating when they do meet whatever small goal they set, and teaching them strategies for making those “small wins” feel truly rewarding.

Birch sweater progress

So in that spirit, let me celebrate today’s “small win”: I finished the bottom hem of my Birch sweater! The tubular bind-off took quite a lot of work: first, a round that re-ordered the stitches to turn 2×2 rib into 1×1 rib, then the two tubular bind-off set-up rounds, and then the sewn tubular bind-off itself, pulling a very long end of yarn through each stitch twice. I knew that last part would feel especially tedious, so I decided to pair it with something I wanted to watch: the service I missed this past Sunday at church while I was upstairs on a panel sharing insights from my corner of the rainbow with the 7th graders in the OWL program. Today is actually my 8th anniversary of joining First Unitarian Church, and I am still just so unbelievably grateful to have found my place in that community. But anyway, back to the Birch sweater..isn’t the tubular bind-off such a pretty bind off?

Tubular bind-off

It’s such a great reminder of what comes with time and attention. There are certainly speedier bind-offs out there, but in the end, despite the temptation of quick fixes, speed is not actually my priority when it comes to making things out of yarn. Instead, I want to make things that are both beautiful and functional, and a tubular bind-off accomplishes those goals perfectly: it’s very polished-looking, but it’s also nice and stretchy, meaning that the hem won’t bind at the hip.

Birch sweater progress

The most wonderful part of having finished this bottom hem is that I can now try on the sweater without having to do any weird wrangling of extra cable needles, etc, and because I do magic loop for the sleeves, that will stay true for the entire rest of the project! Hooray!!

I’ve got a lot of work to do today, though, so now that I’ve celebrated my bottom hem, I’d best get back to work. Here’s hoping I can find lots of small wins to celebrate throughout the rest of the winter months.

2 thoughts on “Hello, February”

  1. I plan to try your “small wins” idea. The pandemic left me feeling a bit fractured. If I consider my short attention to lots of things in a positive light, it could glue me back together. I am 86.

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