I schedule my crafts. Honestly. I sit down at the beginning of a new year and brainstorm all the things I’d like to make, keeping new babies, weddings, and the like in mind, and then I schedule my time and projects accordingly. I’ve found that this approach allows me to finish the things that are important to me, and still allow me a little wiggle room if I finish things quicker than I had planned upon.
As you can imagine, I loaded my craft schedule pretty heavily with quilts this year. January through May was consumed with work on the Storybook Hexagon Quilt because I wanted to be able to present it to my dear friend Rachel when her long sought daughter was born in June. (Oh, what fun that was! I still smile when I recall her shocked face when it was pulled from the gift bag. That was a good day.)
And then I scheduled the summer for working on Junebug and Monkeyboy’s quilts for their bedroom, which I had planned to redecorate over summer break. Alas, this was not to be because of the whole “let’s move to Australia” thing, but I did get a good start on their quilts. Monkeyboy’s quilt parts have stayed behind in America; and, because Junebug is a little stinker and changed her mind about her quilt pattern at the last minute, I’ve brought along the pieces for her quilt because it’s all done by hand. As I could not bring my sewing machine with me, having that big handwork project is rather perfect.
When I was sitting down with my spreadsheet in January, figuring out what projects to plug into what weeks, the last half of the year just would not schedule out. I’d try to apply my brain to the task, but seemed to be thinking my way through a hazy cloud. (This should have been my first clue that something out of the ordinary was brewing for our family this year…) I wanted to do some cute Halloween crafts, begin a gorgeous Christmas quilt, maybe make a few new-baby items to stash away for when I’m inevitably surprised by one of my siblings having a new baby and I somehow missed the five months of announcements on Facebook. But nope, nothing felt right in the September through December time slot.
I stewed on the predicament for days. I don’t like leaving empty space in my schedule. I know, from previous experience, that empty spaces in my schedule means zero progress on my projects. I’m not a fan of that.
And then, a few nights later, as I was in that twilight doze right before true sleep, it came to me: The Peacock Feathers Stole.
Perfection. A big block of time, unencumbered with any other projects to distract me, all set aside to finally tackle and conquer this unconquerable project that has kicked my heinie three times already in the past five years. I will knit this pattern.
And I am. Finally:
I started working on it a week before we left the States. My previous three attempts have never seen me progress beyond row eight, but here I am today, proudly waving ROW 108. I’ve never gotten even halfway through Chart #1, and here I am, firmly entrenched in Chart #6! (Chart #6 is long. I’ll be here for about another month…ugh.)
The secret to my success this time: Going ridiculously slow. This time around, I’ve scheduled myself for only five days a week, and a maximum of four rows a day. (That’s just two charted rows, as each row is purled on the backside, easy peasy...except for those sneaky double yarn-overs that require a little concentration on the return row.) This “only twenty rows a week” schedule boasts March 2015 as the earliest possible completion date, compared to my earlier efforts that would churn this out in two or three months. But you know what? It’s working, and that’s all that matters.
It’s for my granny. When I was really starting to get a feel for more advanced knitting, we did a little online window shopping of pretty knitted things and I showed her this pattern because I thought she’d like it. She most certainly did like it, and the proud little knitter in my heart saluted and opened my mouth to offer to make it for her. Unsurprisingly, she accepted the offer, and I made myself busy with procuring the supplies. Unknown to myself at the time, I was pregnant with Monkeyboy, a fact that would become known to me a day before I received the pattern and yarn in the mail, because I was suddenly so nauseated and tired that the only thing I could be was pregnant.
Barely able to move, and super sick all day long sounds like a perfect time to hunker down and do some soothing knitting, right? Wrong.
Because the thing about this pattern is that it’s intense. It’s a ton of symbols, which don’t really scare me, but whoa, those pages are pretty black with ink, and it’s got funky little spots where you have to actually reposition your stitch markers in order to work the stitches correctly and then put the stitch marker to the other side of the stitch. It’s not cool. It kicks my butt. Add the nausea on top of that, and yeah, Try #1 didn’t last long.
Try #2, after Monkeyboy had arrived, lasted a week. My sleep-deprived brain couldn’t handle it.
Try #3 was destroyed by my adventuresome lad four different times in the first two days. My nerves couldn’t take it, and I decided that I was not in a chapter of my life that could handle advanced lace knitting.
And here we are, with Try #4, and it’s going very, very well. The Boy no longer chews on yarn, removes needles from projects, or grabs projects out of my hands and runs off through the house laughing like a maniac with yarn trailing behind him. (All important factors to successful knitting.) I have months upon months scheduled, thereby eliminating any due date stress. There are no newborns or growing-into-newborns in my future, and I get my eight hours of sleep almost every night. Perfection.
Beautiful peacock perfection. I love it.