Monday, March 19, 2007

Deep in the Land of Unfinished

(Royal Bank Tower soaks up the clouds)

So I was chided this weekend for not posting updates often enough. I'd really, really like to have a glamourous reason for it, like that I was too busy wining and dining and living the high life but the truth is way less exciting. See, I have too many unfinished things on the go right now and there is just no way to post about them and make them sound Cool. And also it's just plain no fun to make posts that say "I didn't finish anything, but do you want to see the two inches I did on the shawl? It's a huge achievement but the picture looks only microscopically different from the one I showed you 5,783 days ago..." I like posting about finished stuff more but the WIPs on the list are so very far away from being finished.

Compounding my knitting WIP anxiety is the mother of all WIPs, the Thesis. It's still going. It's in progress. It's getting closer every day. But as I go I leave these little fragments behind while writing, a to-do list for later. (Later being that undefined time when I have a draft and can go back to revise before sending it to my committee.) Stuff like this:

Those are little notes to myself that I stick in while I'm writing, reminders to find a source reference or a page number. Something I don't have on hand but know where to find later. It's a zillion times more efficient to save them all up for one big library trip at the end of the drafting stage and stick them all in when I need them. Some of them are bigger things too, and say stuff like [define Daltonian atoms] or [insert history of matrix mechanics]. It's the textual equivalent of the Seinfeld "yada yada" episode.

The WIP list is bugging me the same way these little things are bugging me. I don't deal so good with loose ends, me. I like them all sewn up and tidy. They're little oily tarnishy blemishes on the shiny satisfaction of getting chapter progress made, reminding me of the constant looming Unfinished. So 1930 is a bummer because it was supposed to be a quick 2-week project, reward for progress made, but it's still Out There, and I've got to trek even further into the Land of Unfinished to get to it, and y'all, it's not so much the Undiscovered Country of my dreams. Gotta keep going til something gets finished, is the mental bargaining chip motto of the day.

But a cheery thing yesterday was finding, as I came back from a weekend away, to find my order waiting, having arrived late on Friday (only 2 days after I'd ordered!). I found out I had some small funding things finally coming in the next few weeks so I treated myself to Mason-Dixon Knitting and Last-Minute Knitted Gifts (since G recced it as a good stash-busting move), because they were both on sale and I got free shipping. Hoo rah. I ripped open that box with the glorious excitement of a grad student starving for knitting excitment and took the books right to the couch to bask in their aura soak up the goodness. G wanted to look over my shoulder but I may have shoved her out of the way with a polite "BACK OFF MY KNITTING PORN MINE MINE MINE". (What? I made her tea after.)

The Mason-Dixon ladies are a hoot (not that we didn't already know this). I particularly liked the bit where they joke about making a new novelty yarn called "Pound of Woe": 50% burlap, 50% fiberglass. I'm in love with all the log cabins. Think of how far you could take that idea. The patterns in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts are not complicated at all, but it's got a good intro section on technique to go with it, which gets total props. Nice books both, can't wait to knit from them. And you know. Finish something eventually.

I'm on the 3rd Chart 1 repeat of Icarus now, I'm guessing a bit less than half way through. After discovering a mistake deep in the 1st repeat, I put a lifeline in. (What's that you say? But playing a game of "chicken" with laceweight could be fun? I don't believe you) Here's a parting shot for the road, before I go off to seek my fortune for the day:


Marianne said...

That's some beautiful sky!
I send you only the very best wishes and thoughts for your thesis.
I had to giggle about 'progress on shawl' not looking like much, I do understand that, but anyone who's knit a shawl can see what's what and it's looking great and are you kidding? A shawl that large? I would end up with a couple of lifelines in there! You Go!
Those books are good ones, enjoy!

Lady O said...

The shawl is looking wonderful - I am totally amazed, my lace is still in skeins after an abortive first attempt.

Ohhh - books! I've been meaning to look at the Mason-Dixon one...

Kelly said...

I almost bought Mason-Dixon knitting this morning... but changed my mind. Soon! It looks like fun.

The shawl is looking great. And as for the thesis progress, I feel your pain. Most of my thesis-writing time is still spent tweaking figures, so it's even harder to see that you've accomplished anything at the end of the day!