I suppose it should come as no surprise that blogging is easier in August when I'm not working. Since returning to work in mid-September I've found that I have to carefully allocate my "me" time between knitting and sleeping, as allowing anything else time on the clock means I reduce one of those--and this, I cannot do.
The HPKCHC (That's Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup to the uninitiated) is about halfway through for the Term. I completed four projects plus 3/15 of my O.W.L. (I'm making 15 towels) last month. This month all my non-O.W.L. work is on D's Halloween costume. He's reading (we're reading together) the Harry Potter books. Actually at the moment he's upstairs listening to Prisoner of Azkaban, I may never see my iPod again. :-P
So of course when he decided he wanted to be Ron Weasley for Halloween, I jumped up and down and started planning knitting projects! I'm also making his robes "from scratch," as it were... I found a cape pattern with a lining and hood--I have to combine some different pieces to make it long enough but it should work nicely, and I even found a Gryffindor patch on e-bay. We'll have to find a tie and a wand, but if worse comes to worse there's a website that I can order costume-y ones from.
I'm also involved in the HPKCHC "Quidditch" match... it's all about knitting for charity this term, and while the Quidditch coach usually changes it up term to term, I'm loving this term's Quidditch play. My team is making baby hats for Knits for Infants, and not only are they adorable but they're needed. I've only made two hats, and one stripe for a team-effort baby blanket, but after D's costume is settled I'll have time for more.
That's the "what's new" part of this post; now I'm moving on to the "pondering" part. Oh, and yeah, I know I haven't mentioned a single thing about my life other than knitting. I could, but it would just be whining about work. I have thoughts about my dog learning to talk, but that's another post altogether. :)
I knit on a deadline for the House Cup. Really it's a series of deadlines, because each month's assignments are due on the last day of the month at midnight. And so, toward the end of each month, several things happen.
First, my stress level increases. Seriously. I was sorted into Ravenclaw for House Cup purposes, and there's a reason: my overachieving geekiness dictates that R'claw is where I belong. So when I'm not done with my projects I get a little bit on edge. Each project completed is worth 15 points for your house; each partial project is worth 5; O.W.L. earns 50 points at the 30% mark (if achieved before the last day of the second month) and another 100 points at completion. Last month I earned the 30% points but never finished my project, but I'm going to modify it to be a table runner instead of a tablecloth so I'm kind of glad I never finished it. So all this work is worth points... and right now the Slytherins are 600ish points ahead of us and I'd really like to see the cup back in Ravenclaw Tower! We came in 2nd to the Slytherins last term and there was just no way to catch up. Their lead this time is much smaller.
I might be a trifle competitive.
Second, my production level increases. I just barely finished those mittens for my nephew by midnight September 30, but I did it. And while that means I had to work like a lunatic to get it done, I also have his Christmas present all set and I don't have to think about it any more. I love having Christmas ready with time to spare. This month won't go toward Christmas at all, but next month will, and last month did.
Third, my sleep deprivation increases, which really isn't so good, but it's temporary. Once the month clicks over and new assignments come out I get back to somewhat normal sleep habits. Though I find knitting addicting--maybe I can just finish one more inch if I stay up just a little longer. So even mid-month during low-stress times, I stay up too late because I'm doing something I enjoy.
All this plus job stress led my Darling Husband (of almost 14 years!! time do fly when you're having fun!) to ask me whether it was wise for me to be getting all stressed out by the thing I do to "relax" myself... and so I had to stop and think and ponder. (Yes, finally made it to the pondering part!)
Do I knit because it's relaxing? I'd have to honestly say no. I knit because I love the finished results of my work, and I knit to challenge myself to do harder stuff. I knit because I love giving handmade stuff to people I love. I knit because, honestly, I enjoy people's reaction to the things I make. I enjoy being admired. Especially when I worked really hard at whatever it is they're admiring.
Should I knit because it's relaxing? Probably. I recently found information about a book called Mindful Knitting which I plan to look into. Perhaps then I would enjoy both the knitting part and the end results, who knows?
Should I stop participating in contests with deadlines? No. Because contests with deadlines make me finish stuff, and that's always been a problem for me. If I don't have a reason to finish something, I get halfway through and lose interest. And I really like having finished products (which is why I rarely attempt big projects like sweaters: much more likely to finish mittens or hats!).
Okay, I have to go face the world. And cast on the front part of D's Weasley sweater, which is going to be completely beautiful. And working kids' sweaters barely counts as a sweater, they're quick and easy! Wait until you see the one I want to do during Spring term for my O.W.L.!
I'll post pics later... most of what I've made is Christmas presents, so I can't post 'em for fear someone will see them who's supposed to wait until they open it... but when D's costume is ready, pictures galore!