i love lists. so, natch:
one project i'm particularly proud of
the scarf i wove in one day in my first-ever attempt at weaving!
for both warp and weft, i used a skein of brooks farm trio, a double knitting–weight blend of wool, alpaca, and silk, in a colorway that made me swoon from the first time i laid eyes on it at maryland sheep and wool this spring. i adore it.
two mistakes i've made in the past
me? i never make mistakes!
okay, srsly. the big decisions that might seem like mistakes all must have worked out okay in the end, because i wouldn't have ended up here with this life i love so much if they hadn't. so that leaves me with smaller mistakes. or mistakes that i don't regret having made, if only because they helped put me here. so one mistake i made that always makes me shake my head when i think about it is deciding to quit grad school just a few weeks shy of the end of the year. this is back in april 1989, when i was just 22 years old and in my first attempt at an advanced degree. i was studying justice, law, and society at the american university in washington, d.c. i'd done amazingly well in my first semester, crazy-good gpa, good friends, living in a tiny studio apartment in upper northwest d.c., and really liking what i was studying. but i was a financial idiot and hadn't planned or saved for living in this very expensive place on a stipend of—wait for it—$5,500 per year (the apartment rent was $497 per month, if that helps put that stipend into perspective). so, in addition to the 20 hours of research and teaching i was doing for two professors (to earn the stipend), i took on a part-time job at a nearby waldenbooks. and my studies began to slip. by april, i was panicked that i was going to get a c or worse in my statistics class (and a c in that program was, effectively, failing, as it required retaking the class). so i withdrew. just like that. i remember that the dean, jim fyfe, even tried personally to convince me not to quit. he had such good logic and was SO right. i wish i had listened to him. but i didn't. i quit my classes, finished out what parts of my assistantship i could, and started working full time at kramerbooks and afterwords. it was a superfun time—i commuted from a bus stop directly in front of my apartment down to dupont circle every weekday morning to open the store at 7 a.m., sold george shultz his daily paper, and got to handle some really interesting stock. and i had lunch at the not-cheap-but-so-delicious cafe that was part of the shop. and on weekends i spent all my time in museums and galleries. seriously. like, what an awesome life was that? i did it for two months, until camp started again, when i returned to my one true love of my pre-andrew life, camp kittamaqund. (okay, "one true love" is overstating it—i love my friends and family—but that place had a serious pull on me for many years. i still miss it.)
anyway. so. quitting grad school was a decision i'll never think was a good one.
a second mistake. really i don't know. marrying geoffery was a mistake, but if i hadn't married him, i wouldn't have become who i am or ended up in pittsburgh to meet andrew and start the career i have now and love. so a mistake but not a regret?
three things that make my work unique
what makes my crafting unique is that i have, i think, a knack for choosing colors that i love, so i usually end up loving the *look* of the things i make even if the things don't turn out to fit or work otherwise :) (that's another thing that makes my crafting unique: it frequently comes out terribly, terribly wrong. wrong as in wouldn't fit anyone ever.)
what makes my workwork unique is the speed with which i can finish, usually, though that's changing. it's changing first because my physical ability to do it quickly has been declining; the narcolepsy has kind of taken over in the past few years, and i can't work the strings of 14- and 16-hour days, nights, weekends, and holidays like i used to be able to do. i just can't. it's very frustrating, but i haven't figured out how to change it. (brb forgot to take my ritalin this morning) it's also changing because my managers have made it very clear that i need to slow down. lots of reasons for that, some more understandable to me than others, but, if one wants to keep one's job, as i do, one does what one's managers require. so.
and the third thing that makes my work unique, regardless of what kind of work we're talking about, is that i like variety. i like to have a lot of projects going at once and to switch among them. and i like to start projects. oh, how i like to start projects. and plan projects. i want to make and do all the things.
four tools i love to use
ipad. easy. i adore my ipad.
iphone. also easy. more useful in most ways than the ipad. i can take photos and video with it, of course make and receive phone calls with it (though i loathe talking on the phone), and use my one million apps on it. i use it constantly. never want to be without it.
my signature knitting needles. such a pleasure to use, truly one of the things that makes knitting such a delightfully tactile hobby.
and my hands. i have loved working with my hands since i was a little girl, starting with drawing and painting, moving on to needlepoint and cross-stitch, later piano, and now knitting, weaving, and sometimes even crochet. even cooking. it's all about tactility and adroitness.
ravelry has to be the top name on this list. every day i see projects, patterns, and yarns that give me ideas of things i want to make and use. it's like the iphone of my crafting life.
my body. been cold lately? make a shawl. wish you had that sweater in blue? (surprise) make one. back hurting? try yoga. or massage. or acupuncture. or a different chair. or a different desk. or whatever. whatever my body tells me, i try to listen.
my friends. especially my crafty friends at my local yarn shop, natural stitches. this is my main circle of friends in town here, primarily because they all like to do the crafty things i like to do, but also because, within that, they also like to think about the kinds of things i think about: fit, color, tactile properties.
goodness. (that's a fourth source of inspiration, not an exclamation.) with workwork especially, my values and principles are right up there in the list of motivating factors, and goodness is primary among them. yes, plenty of my work is dry. but i try to focus on the ways in which my contributions are helping the efforts of my employer (a policy-analysis think tank) make the world better. at least for somebody. maybe i helped shipbuilders be more cost-effective. maybe i helped policymakers understand housing and relocation after katrina or no-fault car insurance. maybe i helped police forces understand how to attract and keep excellent police officers. whatever we're doing, i believe in what we do and try to focus on improving whatever we're contributing.
lately, health. i've been trying to live more healthily, which involves purchasing healthier foods (and, of course, spending more time exercising). i love seeing what's in season at my local farmers' markets and figuring out what to make with what i find. we're eating a lot more produce here, and i love that so much of it is local these days.