OK, let's just come out & admit it: this past school year was NOT terribly kind to my blog on the whole, and it wasn't just coming up for tenure that caused the recurring difficulties. I faced a veritable host of other distractions.
Ghost & Goblin, formerly known due to ringworm as the "plague kittens" or chatonnes de la peste, were finally pronounced fungus-free and released from their long quarantine at the end of February. Here they are shown blissfully sleeping on the first afternoon in their new much more spacious & comfy abode. When the quarantine was lifted, I had a sore back and lot of catching up to do in all the other aspects of my life that had been woefully neglected while I dutifully sat tending baby cats in "The Haunted Loo." I barely remember the month of March, and the rest of the spring went WHOOSH!! Thankfully I managed to stay afloat in all of my courses, but I could tell that I was slowly-but-surely running out of steam. The prospect of a sabbatical from teaching in the coming fall was just about the only thing that kept me going to the end of Winter term. And then I took a group of students abroad to study Roman Italy for 2 1/2 weeks in May, which accounted for about twice that much time in preparation beforehand and afterward in recovery.
So the blog in 2010-2011 has had gaps & hiatuses up one side and down the other. On the up-side, I kept knitting at least, whenever time allowed, meaning that I have quite a lot of nifty stuff to showcase here, now that the summer is offering me a chance to catch up once again.One way to quantify progress over the last twelve months is to compare what I've gotten done to the seemingly endless catalog of WIP's from June 2010. And the BIG news on that front is that I have now successfully completed eight (*8*) of the twelve (*12*) projects on that list, as follows...
- Stained Glass Felted Bag: completed in June 2010, within days of the original WIP list and written up here;
- Fiddlehead Mittens: completed in late August 2010, and discussed in the end-of-summer wrap-up here;
- Candlelight Kimono: likewise completed in late August 2010, and discussed here;
- Frejya sweater: FINALLY completed in March 2011, and not yet discussed in full;
- Stornoway: completed in October 2010, and discussed here (with additional photos here);
- Evenstar: completed in at the end of June 2010, and discussed here;
- American Beauty: completed in time for Easter 2011, and not yet discussed in full;
- Elm Row: completed in December 2010, and not yet discussed in full.
- Unst Stole: currently somewhere ~55-60% complete, with the center (FINALLY!!) and one border segment done. When the 2nd border is finished (sometime in July?), I will have only the edging left to do, and the project will stand at 75% complete. This project may have stalled out a couple of times before, but it is most definitely "over the hump" now, and I fully expect to have it wrapped up by the end of the summer.
- Eriskay: the body is thankfully complete up to the armholes, including the bottom part of the underarm gussets, and I recently divided the stitches for the yoke. I have begun work on the back portion, and hope to have both yokes finished by the end of the summer and the entire sweater by Christmas.
- Mehndi does not really deserve to be called a WIP, strictly speaking, since all I did in April 2010 was to cast on and knit far enough into the 1st chart to see what the yarn & beads & pattern would look like together. It did not amount to more than just a swatch, in other words, and I am still waiting for the right moment to pick it up and start work in earnest. Look for news sometime later this summer.
- Peggy Tudor has been on hold for a while, waiting for me to get a long list of other things out of the way so that I can concentrate on the next segment. For the sweater is cunningly designed to be assembled out of many small pieces. I am deliberately setting no deadlines for this project, so that I can take it at a natural, unhurried pace and savor the intricacy of the process without ever having to distress myself over it. So while I expect to complete it sometime in 2012, I refuse to make any more detailed forecasts.
- Herbert Niebling lace (x2): I did a practice square in crochet cotton and a rectangular piece in gossamer silk from the same pattern, with the latter as a wedding gift for my sister-in-law and her husband. Both were completed in July 2010, as discussed here and here.
- Frosted Leaf Necklace: with this lovely kit from Earthfaire, I made my first foray into knitting beaded jewelry. It was completed in September 2010 and discussed here.
- Rivendell Cowl: I splurged with some birthday money and bought the luxury color-shifting yarn to make this showpiece from Susan Pandorf, completed in December 2010, and discussed here.
- Unikatissima's Lace Advent Calendar: this was a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing knit, completed just after New Year's and discussed here.
- Continuum Legwarmers: a magnificent design by Sivia Harding, completed in January 2011, and discussed here (sadly my most recent post, prior to this one).
- Elm Leaves wristlets: made to match Elm Row, completed in February and not yet discussed at all.
- Garter Rib Socks (a.k.a. "Look Who's Got Tenure Now): my very first pair of socks, completed in early March, and not yet discussed at all.
- Bunny Mittens: lined in alpaca and exquisitely warm, completed in early March, and not yet discussed at all.
- Oak Grove Mitts: a design by Anna Dalvi done up in exquisite Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! yarn, completed in mid-March, and not yet discussed at all.
- Gingerbread House Socks: my 2nd pair ever, with a lovely lace pattern and custom fit to just below the knee, completed in late March, and not yet discussed at all.
- Eomer Shield Tam: a lovely colorwork pattern and my first ever test-knit for a friend on Ravelry who designed it, completed in late March, and not yet discussed at all.
- Northern Lights Bracelet: my second beaded jewelry piece, also a kit from Earthfaire, this one using mood beads that change color when the ambient temperature goes up or down. Completed in May, and not yet discussed at all.
- In Dreams: the second Tolkien-inspired mystery lace KAL by Susan Pandorf, using a custom "gradiance" colorway from The Unique Sheep (that I helped to design) and containing ~5000 beads, completed in June, and not yet discussed at all.
- Sorrento Sunset: my travel-knitting for the Italy trip with a group of students (see above), completed in June shortly after we returned, and not yet discussed at all.
- Beaded Blue Cashmere Gloves: my first non-fingerless glove project in luxurious 100% cashmere, completed just this past weekend, and not yet discussed at all.
So I have been a busy little professor in 2010-2011, and no mistake. What is more, even leaving aside any long-term plans and ignoring undue pressure from the back of the queue, I expect to launch at least two new projects in the coming week: a 3rd pair of socks, now that the gloves are off the WIP list (as per My Rules, to which I fully intend to adhere), and a summer KAL from BadCat designs where I will make a circular shawl bringing together gossamer CashSilk leftover from the Princess project, itty bitty 11/0 beads, and (for the first time in my life) nupps. Yes, I said *NUPPS*.
To be perfectly honest, the challenge for me is really not in the knitting, but in the typing, the text-writing, the image-processing, and the web-publishing. I have labored to produce this elaborate catalog today, therefore, as a testimony to the progress that I have made on the knitting side of things, even during the recurring periods of silence. And, more importantly for the sake of the blog, the same can also serve as a To Do list for the next few weeks. Let's see if I can REALLY get caught up by the end of this month, by documenting all my newest work as it happens, and by gradually writing up all the projects that as of right now are not yet discussed in full (= 3 total) or at all (= 10). Clearly I have my work cut out for me...