A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Sunday, January 08, 2006

How Backlogged are You?

I woke up to a sunlit day at home, after musing on just how backlogged in projects I was while driving back from Chico last evening. I had spent a wonderful day with Nikki and Cody, knitted a bit on the Ruffled Shawl and done a lot of shopping while we waited for Cody's glasses to be made at the Lenscrafters located in the Chico mall.

There are three child-sized birthdays coming up in the next week or so, and Nikki helped me pick out cute outfits for grandbaby Mia, turning one on January 11th and Eliane, who has been with the Children's Center since its inception, turning 3, with a party her mama (my co-worker) is throwing on Friday. I also found Ani and her cousin Karlee, who turns 8 on the 15th, and is also a Children's Center regular, some cool toys. Karlee will be getting the Pet Doctor Barbie (I guess Barbie has to work for a living in these enlightened times), as she trustingly whispered in Santa's ear that all she wanted for Christmas was Barbies this year (a new turn of direction on her part), and unfortunately, Santa was the only one who heard. Barbie the veterinarian has her own exam table with battery-lit xray showing a hamburger inside a dog when you press a button, so of course in the usual wacky sense of humor that accompanies my family everywhere, that is the one we selected.

I also found a teddy bear complete with dramatic costumes for Ani, and stuffing to finish my knitted teddy bear for Mia, and managed to stop by Heartstrings, where the owner actually recognized me (I don't think too many customers come in to the yarn shop accompanied by an entourage that includes young men over six feet tall, and I have been by several times with my sons). I bought a longer ebony circular needle, as my Ruffled Shawl is actually past the halfway point and now has over 200 stitches; ample justification, as well as preparation for the upcoming and larger PiR2 shawl to be started once this one is finished. I located something special for my Better Pal and a way cute calendar for myself, featuring vintage knitting ads and unusual knitted art by Debbie New. I came home tired, but able to get another small chunk of shawl knitted last night.

My first steps in sorting out my backlog this morning were to cart all the birthday gifts to be wrapped upstairs. This only led to distraction, as I had left balls of yarn scattered everywhere last week, when interrupted to accompany my DH and a friend to dinner... I had been winding three different yarns into one ball (three times over) for some braided scarves to sell at the crafts co-op shop, and never did get back to them all week.

Yes, I am seriously backlogged. In fact, to the point of ADD, I think, as I jumped from thing to thing all day trying valiently to feel like I had caught up somewhere in my life. I was able to get my assignments done for my online orientation. I was able to do five loads of laundry. I was able, finally, to copy all of my Product Reviews to date onto a separate blog, to be made public as soon as I can adequately make a button (another source of distraction and frustation this evening, during which time I almost burnt the beets cooking to accompany dinner, and was extremely thankful that Glenn was the one cooking the game hens and rice). I was even able to finish knitting the little bear (photos to follow once the embroidery details are completed tomorrow). However, those balls of yarn waiting to be wound together are still scattered about, along with a pile of yarn I pulled out, hoping to determine what to use amongst my wool leftovers to make the Entrelac Tote featured on Knitpicks, a pattern that arrived with my alpaca order for my Pi Shawl, which will replace a felted bag I sold at the crafts co-op on Christmas Eve.

The real highlight of the day, and the source of centering and calm, was the several hours during the early afternoon that we spent out walking with our burros, Rose and Assteroid. These two are a good pair together, adventurous, adequately trained (although not yet bombproof, as evidenced by Assteroid's fear of my neighbor's wooden bear cutouts on his field; even though I went up and touched one and knocked on it, he continued to shy away and couldn't quite believe me that it wasn't a real and dangerous bear - convincing me that real bears have certainly walked by their fences at night) and loving hiking companions. In my long hours away from home, I have sorely missed the companionship of the animals, and felt very heartened to also get the chance after we returned home to picket those two out for some green (ish) grass while I spent 45 minutes having some one-on-one time with April, our shyest and least tamed burro. She still has a long way to go to be able to walk on a lead with them, but was willing to spend a lot of time close by me, walking over the property, getting ear rubs and head scratches, and eating apple slices from my hands. We have come a very long way together from her first days here as a wild critter. She has a cautious and quiet nature, and has very slowly come to feeling affection toward me, and every positive step is a very big gain in my eyes.

Glenn and Rose walking through the winter forest.

Through all of this sorting process, I forced myself to examine just how backlogged I really was... the animals were doing a little better than I had thought, there is a realistic possibility that I can build a work schedule that includes my second online class, but the knitting is still seriously overwhelming. I made a list of those projects that are in the committed stage, and placed time estimates beside them, just to see if I would live long enough. To qualify as "committed", they had to be either on the needles already or specifically purchased and still strongly desired... just hanging around in the wings didn't count. Here is what I came up with:

Teddy bear - about 1-2 more hours to finish
Purse order - 2-3 days of knitting, then felting
Red Hat shawl - probably 2 weeks of evenings to finish (although I am not sure yet how complicated the ruffled edging will be)
Pi Shawl - expect to cast on January 22nd and spend a month on this
Nikki's top - 3 hours to remake a sleeve, then another hour to assemble, when I can face re-doing (probably sometime when spring shows a sign and reminds me she could be wearing it)
Entrelac tote - don't know how long this will take, but it looks like fun and uses up leftovers, and repopulates the craft shop
Amy's yoga mat bag - 2 to 3 days of knitting when the other felted items are done
Pink Versatile Shawl - languishing this past week, needs about 5 hours to complete
Booties for shop - four pair at 2 hours each
Bohus Cardi - this kit hasn't arrived yet, and is on backorder, but will take quite awhile
Elsebeth Lavold tank - I have some lovely turquoise viscose/rayon yarn waiting for the hint of warmer weather and don't feel particularly guilty that there are several items crowding out the start of this one... I will love working on the design this spring.

Actually, it helps my peace of mind to realize that this list isn't as unrealistic as it seems... while compiling my list of Product Reviews, I realized that I have worked my way through a huge pile of yarn... What the heck, I just might make up a hat or two for Bad Rad Beanies before getting to the list. Do you think I have ADD? What is your backlog looking like?


Anonymous Colette said...

I too have a backlog. I have some serious "house reorganization" to do and for my own sanity won't even list how much work that entails.
I'm involved in a number of volunteer projects including being a Board member of two very busy foundations. Because of active projects with these groups I don't even have time to think about knitting right now.... I have a number of small projects which are languishing in my knitting bags.
I haven't been to one of our Knitters Guild meetings in months. They are usually held on Monday nights which tends to be the only night of the week that I have free and I find myself staying home and becoming more vegetable than animal as a survival technique.
To answer your question regarding whether or not you have ADD... not a chance. You simply have a life and we all know that life interupts all of the best planning that ever takes place.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Peg said...

I would not say you had ADD, just a very busy life. Being a breast cancer survivor, I cut way back on things and now must enjoy at least 75% of what I do each day. Burros have to calm you, I think, as they have those truly beautiful faces with the deep thinking eyes! Oh yes, have you ever tried baking beets. Peel them, cut them into pieces (any size is okay) sprinkle with olive oil and sometimes lemon juice and/or rind and bake! They stay so red and are delicious. Good luck with your projects!

9:44 AM  
Blogger margene said...

I think you have much more on your plate than I do. It becomes too overwhelming if I take on too much so I keep things as simple as possible. You have a busy productive life that makes you happy. That's the important thing.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Tactless Wonder said...

I've only seen ADD in adolescents...well the ones I was told about when I taught them. They were the kids who loved my "mtv" teaching style. I.e. spend no more than 5 mintues explaining what they needed to do before they got down to business...and sometimes, 5 minutes was WAAAAAAAY too long for them to sit still. MY favorite to date (teachers don't have favorites, really) was a little blondie who would deliver messages to the PE teachers (at the extreme other end of the school.) What was my point? See, if you have ADD I have knit-heimers.

I've posted about this before, I don't have a "backlog" cuz I can't really afford to have more than one project going on at a time, besides, it cuts into my "bookworming" time. But I guess that scarf that I keep NOT working on, it's my Albatross more than my "backlog."

1:47 PM  
Blogger Marguerite said...

If I didn't have so much on my knitting list, I'd be joining you with that Pi shawl KAL.

Is it really possible to finish a Pi shawl in a month? Are you knitting it with Alpaca Cloud?

7:44 PM  

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