Accidental Fudge

Updates Thursdays

Tag: knitting (page 1 of 3)

Happy Thoughts for a Foggy Morning

I nearly forgot to write something for the blog this week – I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather, which has scrambled my brain enough that I’m a little more scattered than usual. But here I am, on the bus, riding through the fog, so let’s talk about a few happy things from the past week. 

  1. I started taking a guitar fingerpicking class last week. It’s kicking my ass already, but in a way that’s motivating me to practice more. I’m excited to add some new skills to my rather slapdash guitar-playing repertoire. 
  2. It’s starting to feel like fall. Granted, the next few days are supposed to get hot again, but generally the weather has been getting cooler. We’ve had several lovely days that have allowed me to pull some hand knit sweaters out. The only downside of fall is that my allergies tend to flare up again, so I’ve spent most of the week not sure if I’m getting sick or am just allergic to all of the outdoors. Still, it’s pretty, and I like not feeling disgusting every time I go outside. 
  3. My tattoo is healing nicely. I am still super happy with how it turned out. It makes me smile every time I look at my arm. 

Getting Organized

I’m still struggling a bit to get back into the swing of things post-vacation, but I’m finding that I’m in an organizing sort of mood. Back in the spring I definitely felt a strong spring cleaning urge (which has not always been the case in past years), but I’m feeling a similar urge now that fall is approaching. Which is probably a good thing, because there’s a lot of junk (both physically and mentally) that can build up in half a year.

Personally, I find the changing of the seasons at the solstices and equinoxes good times to check in with myself about how the year is going. We’re not quite at the autumn equinox yet, but it’s fast approaching, and I’m thinking about how I want to get my life in order heading into the cooler months.

One of the classes I took at Song School was about time management for creative people. I need to pull my notes back out and find other ways to integrate what I learned, but a couple of the big takeaways were to use a physical, paper planner (which I was sort of doing, but inconsistently), and color-coding it (which I had not tried before, and which I think will be a big improvement). I’m still going to be using my Google calendar, too (I would often be lost without those reminders coming up on my phone), but the physical act of writing things in my planner by hand means that they stick in my head a lot better.

Another thing that was stressed in that class was the importance of scheduling creative time. I have never been great at this, and it’s something I want to get better at. Next week I start a new guitar class at the Old Town School of Folk Music, so sometime this weekend I want to sit down and figure out a practice schedule for that, as well as slotting in some time for writing. I’m resistant to structure, but I know in the end it’s better for me.

I’m also starting to think more about knitting projects, after not knitting much all summer (which is pretty normal for me). I have a few sweater and vest projects lined up, and I’m starting to look at my yarn stash with a more critical eye. I have a lot of yarn, much of which was inherited from a friend who passed away a handful of years ago, so it has a lot of sentimental value…but I’m aware of the fact that the yarn I have doesn’t often line up with the projects I want to knit. So that’s something I’m going to need to deal with soon, too.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to spend a fair amount of time in the next few weeks getting my mental space in order, which will set me up to get my physical space in order, as well. I am finally in a place where I feel like I can start making some plans for what I want my life to look like in three to five years, instead of focusing so hard on the next handful of months.

Where Did the Week Go?

It’s been a busy week. Possibly not much busier than weeks usually are, but the fact that it’s been in the upper 80s and humid in Chicago the past couple of days has made everything feels pretty overwhelming. In any case, here are a few of the highlights from the past week, complete with photos:

  • I got a tattoo on Saturday! An apprentice tattooer I’ve been following on Instagram had posted some flash that I thought looked great, and now I have a happy little plant on my ankle:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.28.23 PM

    It’s my first color tattoo, and the first one somewhere other than my forearms. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, and it’s healing nicely.

  • We got to see one of our favorite folk duos twice last week! Wednesday night, we went to a songwriting workshop put on by Mouths of Babes titled The Political is Personal. It was inspiring and got me halfway to finishing my assignment for my regular songwriting class. Then on Sunday, we got to see them play at SPACE in Evanston. It was (predictably) a fabulous show.

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.33.35 PM

  • I finished another nearly-two-year-old knitting project, though this one was much smaller than a sweater. A couple of summers ago, I bought a tiny owl kit from MochiMochiLand at our local yarn store. I knit the body of one owl at knit night the evening I bought it, and hadn’t picked it back up since. Over the weekend, I dug it out. I finished the first owl, and then started on another one:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.37.05 PM

    I finished the second owl last night, and found a spot for them with my favorite old wooden owl (that used to belong to my grandparents) on the shelf we refer to as our owlery:

    Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 7.39.19 PM

    They were a lot of fun to knit, and I’m glad to finally have them done!

Sweaters and Weather

I have been feeling rather under the weather this week. A coworker came to work sick on Monday, and by the time I left at the end of the day, I was feeling completely miserable. Tuesday I still wasn’t feeling great, so I wound up staying home.

The upshot of this was that I got a bunch of knitting done. I’ve been trying to finish some old, languishing projects before letting myself dive into any (big) new things (all I want to knit these days are sweaters and vests). Yesterday, this sweater that I started just over two years ago finally came off the needles.

Two years and twenty-one days is a ridiculous amount of time to spend on an entirely stockinette stitch sweater.

Two years and twenty-one days is a ridiculous amount of time to spend on an entirely stockinette stitch sweater.

You can’t really tell from the picture, but the dark bit of the sweater is an impossible-to-photograph shade of deep, plummy purple. It is a little astonishing to me that this is the first purple sweater I’ve knit.

I really wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out – my gauge changed a little bit over the past two years, and this entire sweater was an experiment in combining Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sparse instructions with my own modifications to her suggested measurements. It’s a sweater made from yarn and math, really. I shouldn’t be surprised that it fits so well – after all, that was the point. But I’m still pretty chuffed about it.

I’m sure most people in Chicago would disagree with me, but I’m glad the weather is shifting cooler again for the rest of the week. Hopefully that means I’ll get to wear it out of the house at least once before summer hits!

Inhale, Exhale

I’ll be honest, I’m really not sure what to write about this week. The world continues to be a scary place full of bad news, and that continues to be overwhelming. So I think I’m going to fall back on my usual I-don’t-know-what-to-write-about strategy, and give you a list of three good things from the past week:

  1. Knitters are the best people. A bunch of our knitting group got together for brunch over the weekend to celebrate someone’s birthday. There was good food and an adorable baby and lots of reminders why I love these people so much.
  2. I found a new therapist. I had been going to someone else, but they weren’t really up for helping me through my anxiety around the current political climate, so I ended services with them a couple of weeks ago. On Sunday I met with a new therapist that I think is going to be a much better fit.
  3. I took a day off. Granted, it was because I was feeling pretty miserable (I’m on round two of this horrible cold), but it felt good to listen to my body and take some time to get extra rest and just relax, particularly in the midst of what is turning out to be a pretty packed month.

Welcome to 2017

It’s a new year, and one in which a lot of things look scary and uncertain. And I’m sick. I’m writing this on Wednesday; I’ve missed two days of work and I can’t breathe through my nose. Not exactly how I wanted to start the year off.

Still,  it hasn’t all been terrible. Here’s a short list of nice things that have happened in the last week:

  • My partner and I had a low-key New Year’s Eve – we had ribs and mashed potatoes for dinner, and then spent the rest of the evening playing Scrabble, drinking wine, and watching a movie. It was a lovely way to ring in the new year. And I actually made it past midnight, which hasn’t happened the past couple of years.
  • I’ve gotten a lot of knitting done. This is often the upshot of being sick and missing work. I finished the sweater I agreed to knit for my coworker’s kid, and started on a blanket for my nephew, whose birthday is coming up in a couple of months.
  • As much as being sick is no fun, I’m trying to see the bright side of it, like the fact that I was able to catch up on a bunch of sleep and get some much-needed time to myself (even if most of that time has been spent in a sort of feverish haze).

 

 

Highs and Lows

via Mochimochiland on GIPHY

It’s been a rough week. I’m trying not to wallow in grief, because I feel that I have a responsibility to be ready to stand up for my fellow humans who don’t have a level of privilege that even gives them the option to wallow. As an introvert and a generally non-confrontational person, it’s hard not to feel totally paralyzed.

So I am starting small. I have two coworkers with trans or non-binary kids, and I am knitting things for both kids. I am commuting without headphones, so that I’m more alert and ready to stand up to harassment on transit. My partner and I are figuring out what we need to do to take care of each other.

I am grateful that despite the fact that all hell seems to have broken loose, I am in a pretty okay place personally, and well-supported by friends and chosen family. I am less afraid for myself than I am for a lot of the people around me, which is certainly a privileged place to be in.

In the midst of all of this, last Friday I hit one month post-op. I didn’t even realize it until I was about to go to bed. I’m still feeling really good about the decision to have surgery, and I’m really grateful I was able to do it when I did, but it’s hard to feel particularly celebratory when it feels like the whole country is going to pieces. Still, I hope you’ll permit me the small self-indulgence of a selfie from Friday, because I am pretty happy with how I look these days:

One month post-op

One month post-op

A Summer To-Do List

My brain is feeling pretty fried this week (not helped by the sudden spike in temperatures and humidity outdoors), but as we flew through spring and seem to be arriving rather abruptly at summer, I’ve been thinking about things I want to accomplish over the next few months. Here’s a sampling:

  • Read more. I’m about halfway to my Goodreads goal for the year of 17 books, but I’m hoping I can surpass the goal this year (unlike last year, when I finished reading the last book for making my goal late on December 31). I’m currently on the third book of Maggie Stiefvater‘s Raven Cycle (which I’m thoroughly enjoying, but trying to savor, as I’m still 28th in the queue to get the final book from the library). I also need to pick Janet Mock‘s Redefining Realness back up, and work through some of the other queer books on the shelf that I haven’t gotten around to yet.
  • Spend time outside. Over the weekend, I discovered that I am more allergic to sunscreen than I used to be, which is depressing, and I’ll need to find an alternative at some point. I’m also allergic to basically everything outdoors, so spring was a little rough. But the longer, sunnier days and the greening and blooming of everything outside has me feeling a lot happier than I have in a while, and I feel a lot more centered when I have the chance to spend time getting a little fresh air. So bring on the antihistamines and natural sun block!
  • Knit all the baby things. And some socks. We have two knitter friends expecting babies this fall, and I’ve finally decided what I’m making for them. I’m bad at deadline knitting/knitting for people other than myself, so the sooner I get started, the more likely these projects are to be done by the time the babies arrive! I’m also busting through all the toes of my socks (I’ve gained at least a full shoe size since starting on testosterone, and now all of the socks I bought in the women’s department are too small, but men’s department socks are still too long), so I need to work on remedying that, as well.
  • Write more songs. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be taking a songwriting class over the summer (though I need to figure that out ASAP), but regardless, I have a long-term project I’m experimenting with (the first installment of which is up on SoundCloud), and I want to keep working on churning out new music.
  • Write more, period. I want to do a better job of keeping up with the one pen pal I still keep in touch with, as well as writing to some other friends, because there’s nothing quite like finding a friendly note in one’s post box. I want to get back into playing around with storytelling (fiction and non). I want to try writing poetry that doesn’t need to be accompanied by music, which I haven’t really done in years. words make me happy, and I want to get back in practice using them for more than electronic correspondence and the occasional creative project.

Catching Up

Sorry for the late post today, folks! I usually write the week’s blog on Wednesday evening and schedule it for posting at 9am Thursday. Unfortunately, I was feeling feverish and gross all day yesterday, and wound up heading to bed super early. It didn’t even occur to me that today was Thursday and I should have a blog going up until I was almost asleep last night, and then I didn’t get a chance to write until right now.

This whole week I’ve been feeling one step behind. I’ve been fighting an as-yet-undecided battle with the horrible cold that hit my partner at the end of last week, which mostly means I’ve been super tired and not very good at staying focused on things that need to get done. Thankfully, work this week has been significantly less ridiculous than it’s been in a while, so I feel like even though I stayed home yesterday, I still have a chance of getting caught up…if I could just get my ass in gear and focus for a few hours, I might even get a little ahead of the game.

Focusing is hard, though. There are so many things I’d rather be doing than work (sleep ranking pretty highly among them). Still, I shouldn’t complain. I’ve got plenty to be happy and excited about right now:

  • Last weekend, we got to spend a significant amount of time hanging out with our knitting family. I’m grateful for the frequent reminders that my people are the best people.
  • After a few weeks of feeling a bit stuck on the songwriting front, I was really pleased with what I wrote for class this week (which was weird and rather unlike anything I’ve written before, but it worked).
  • Tomorrow, I’m going to the first session of a workshop series at the Old Town School about the music of Turlough O’Carolan. I pulled out my mandolin for the first time in eons in preparation for the workshop, and was pleasantly surprised to find that most of what I used to know came back. It’s like riding a bicycle, I guess (although I personally find mandolin playing a lot easier to get back into than bike riding, haha).

Momentum

A friend of mine who writes zines was commenting the other day about how much harder it is to find things to write about when life is going well, and I have to say, they’re totally right. I’ve been at a bit of a loss the past several weeks whenever I sit down to blog, because life is generally pretty good right now, and I don’t feel like I have much to process by blogging about it. And while life isn’t boring by any means, it’s definitely fallen into a routine, so I don’t often feel like I have big news to share here.

This week did have its particularly bright points, though, which include some exciting news:

  1. I finally finished the sweater I’ve been working on, and it turned out super handsome. I think it’s the best-fitting thing I’ve ever made for myself. I’m hoping to wear it to Yarn Con this weekend. Here’s a picture of me wearing it before I blocked it and wove in all the ends (I was being shy about posing, so my partner decided to pose me as a teapot to take the picture):
    IMG_1746
  2. I spent some time researching over the weekend, and on Sunday evening I contacted a surgeon here in Chicago who does gender-affirming surgeries. First thing Monday morning, I heard back from the patient coordinator (who was very friendly and helpful), and over my lunch break I ended up calling and scheduling a consultation for chest-masculinization surgery. I also sat down and took a hard look at my finances, and assuming I click with this surgeon and am able to move forward, I should be able to work out the financial side of surgery, and I’ll have enough PTO saved up to take the time off I’m expecting to need plus a little extra just in case.
  3. I signed up to play my second live show (not counting end-of-class showcases). It’s not until early May, so I have plenty of time to work out a solid set list. This time I know to prepare more than I think will fit in the allotted time, because I rush a bit when I’m nervous. I’ve written some stuff I’m actually pretty proud of since the last show I did back in January, so I’m excited to try it again.
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