Time is ticking along


Life truly abhors an empty moment, and if you spend less time writing, very soon you will find that you have less time to write.

What have I been up to in recent days?

I've been diligent at work. This is easy to do at the beginning of the year, when year-end closing tasks lie thick all around me, and I add free tax preparation to my other duties. My ongoing struggle to get in earlier and get out earlier is starting to get easier. I find it easier to get in earlier than to shut down the computer and get out of the chair at the end of the day, but working late isn't as QUITE late as it used to be.

I was finally casting off the stitches of my shawl. This project grew in scope when I decided, at the point the pattern said to add the ruffled edging, to make it longer. I'm knitting at a tighter gauge than specified, which seems to suit the yarn beautifully, and there was too little shawl and too much leftover yarn at the designated ending point. I say "was" casting off, because at about the 25% mark, I realized that I was going to run out of yarn. So it's tink, tink, tink back a row - which is undoing stitches one by one, the opposite of knit, knit, knit. Because I kept the ruffled edge in the original design, I am experiencing the consequences of what happens to a bottom edge when you increase each section of ruffle from 6 to 28 stitches over 22 rows. When I finally resume actually performing a picot bind-off, I will be working 2,497 stitches. Epic!

This is why applied mathematics is a useful skill. Several other knitters took the time to do the math, and decided to omit the ruffle. It is only now that I understand why.

A. was home last week for Reading Week, McGill's version of winter break. She had lots of studying to do, and kept hard at it all week. We did make a foray to Fiber Options to pick up our prize for winning "Most Fun" in the TAUNY hat competition. We were expecting a gift certificate for $20-25. What we were given was a princely gift of $50 worth of anything in the store. We found two skeins of very lovely yarn as our prize. One is 900 yards of fingering-weight hand-painted silk noir from the Great Adirondack Yarn Company, and the other is 875 yards of a lovely green lace-weight 70% baby alpaca, 30% silk from Alpaca With a Twist. Each of these is enough to make two smaller scarf-size shawls. The plan: we'll each knit a scarf, then swap yarn. I'll start with the silk, and knit the Brandywine Shawl designed by Romi. I'll knit the famous Ishbel scarf designed by Ysolda with the green yarn. I bought both of these patterns very recently because the designers gave most of the money from my purchases to Doctors Without Borders to support relief work in Haiti.

The week ended with my recognition that R and I are almost all of the way through one of those major life changes that come with the passage of time. We realized with a shock that we will never claim our daughter as our dependent ever again on our income tax return.

Darn. Just when the income tax credit for education expenses improved.

Ah well, we'll still have the memories of childhood, the boxes of art work, and the student loan interest deduction... and no wish to turn back the clock. Every stage of my daughter's growing has always been my favorite one at the time it was happening, and now my favorite one is her observant, funny, smart, skeptical, and focused adulthood. She understands why I love beautiful yarn.

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