Saturday, June 7, 2008

A pleasant surprise

Once upon a time, before graduate school swallowed up all my time and/or mental resilience, knitting was a part-time activity that shared space with several other crafts. One by one those crafts have fallen to the wayside as they took up too much time, or were too fiddly, or took enough concentration and analytical focus as to be in direct competition with school rather than filling spare time.

The saddest for me to lose was beadwork, which I've been doing for nearly 20 years at this point (yes, I started when I was 12, though I've gotten a bit better since then). It lost its place because the kind of work I do requires careful decisions with the placement of nearly every single bead. Obviously a little too close to essays, and maybe more stressful! Early this week I achieved the coveted ABD (all-but-dissertation) status and as all of the little fiddly academic projects cleared away - granted, to make way for the mother of all academic projects - I found that my beading mojo was returning. I took some time at the end of the week to make this:

It's hard to tell scale from this picture, but the whole thing is about as big as my little finger. The beadwork is done over a piece of abalone a friend gave me years ago and called out to me finally this week. I really enjoyed beading again - though trying to photograph this piece REALLY has convinced me I need to invest in a decent camera! - and I think that with a little determination I can add it back into my life without risking my dissertation. Which is good, because I have half of a beaded life-size iguana that's been laying around for about 6 years that I'd really like to finish!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

I'm not making eye contact

I figure if I just edge into the room as if I hadn't been away for 6 weeks or so, no one will notice that I was ever gone. I feel especially delinquent, since I was promising updates and exciting happenings, but if I just go on with things, no one will probably even remember. Bwa haha.

All I can say to justify myself is: you know that boss that has high expectations of you but will never tell you what they are, and that boss that is out of it and disorganized but always notices when you forget something, and that boss that expects tons of work and attention from you but never entirely manages to do the work you need him/her to do? Well, if you combine all those into one person and make that person the chair of your department, that's who I've been working for this semester. Truly a wonderful person and professor, but anxiety causing! And distraction causing. As was endless grading for the last month. But it's all done with for the summer - yay!

Here are some beautiful things to be distracted by:

These are Having Hope by Diane Mulholland, in Mama Blue's SeaMerino in Beekeeper. I bought the pattern when I saw that the sales benefitted cancer research, but it's a glorious pattern even if it only benefited the author. I'm definitely making a pair for the BikeJerk too.

This is the Asphodel Scarf I was working on before, and finally finished!

Look how lacy and cashmere-y! I have nothing else really to say about this project except: yay! the sun's back!!!

And, London, as promised - I love London, and one of my favorite things is how the modern and the not-modern coexist in the same place:

This was taken in the Tower of London, which would have been truly irritating, what with the approximately 50,000 teenagers crammed into a few rooms with us (and who paid less than the $30 a piece that we did), if it weren't for the lovely outdoor areas, which were filled with Beefeaters and ravens (as well as tourists). Ah, London.

This picture is from our hotel (and remains sideways here even though it's upright in any file I can find of it on the computer - why?). These guys are the primeval giants that were supposed to be in Britain before the Celts got there. Which returns us back to school and my research, and there we go...