We’re being told that the COVID-19 case numbers are dropping; and overall, that does appear to be true. In any case, in the spirit of cooperation and pretending to care, I was at the office one day last week. The work? Yeah, nah, it’s reporting time and busy and, you know, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to muster the energy for any of it. Enthusiasm vanished long ago.
But the view from the window? Aha. That was almost worth the trip into town. I will miss my 13th-floor viewing platform. Since the last update, there’s a lot more to see in that snapshot of the current status of the GPO Renovation. Obviously, they can manage quite well without me!
In terms of managing (or not), it was also a week of colliding responsibilities that nearly defeated me. I tried to shoulder my workload at the office while not dropping the one I have outside of work. That ended with me thinking I’d have to retire NOW and leave the team to the rest of whatever I haven’t been able to tidy up. While that is appealing at one level, it’s not how I would choose to leave any workplace.
Unexpectedly, we had a win on the home front with some long-term appointments confirmed and slotted in. As a result, I’ve negotiated that I’ll continue full-time WFH until I retire, with two days off every week to accommodate the juggling. I’ll take other days off as required. It might not be ideal, but it will mean that everyone is in with a chance of success and – fnigres corsesd, and equally as importantly – that nobody falls over in the meantime.
I hope your juggling is also meeting with success, whatever its nature. 🙂
It’s winter. It’s cold and miserable. I thought that YoungB showed a fair amount of dedication the other day when he headed out to catch up with friends. In this weather, if it had been me? I might have coughed down the phone and pleaded potential contagion!
No, really, I probably wouldn’t have done that. I’m pleased to be WFH at present, however busy we are and as flaky as the technology occasionally proves, because the notion of standing around at cold, wet, windy bus stops is as unappealing as ever. Besides, my brolly might blow inside out.
Not being in the CBD means that I am, of course, completely out of the loop with What’s Happening to the GPO Renovations! But I can provide a little garden update: the geraniums I rescued from a local building site continue to flourish. Well, I never.
Whatever your weather is doing, I hope that you, too, have something cheerful and flourishing to ponder.
We were at a funeral where my voice singing some of Dr B’s work was emanating from the speakers. Only we three would have known that, as there was no mention of performers on the memorial card and, although a home audience, it wasn’t one familiar with my voice or Dr B’s work.
I muttered to the Bs that it’s becoming a habit to hear myself at funerals. Yeah. You might wonder if it’s simply that we’ve arrived at the right demographic. I think it’s more that we’re always willing to contribute in acknowledging other creative people, particularly when they’re long-time friends with whom we share – or have shared – creative histories.
Only we three knew how astonishingly special that recording was: one of Dr B’s more experimental works that exists only in his computer, his phone, and now in this version as part of funeral music for our mate. As well as having composed it, Dr B is singing. YoungB is singing, I’m singing, another well-known friend is singing, and the mate we were celebrating was also singing. His was the voice that everybody knew, and the others were relegated to backing vocals. We thought that was the best send-off we could give him and felt that we’d truly played our part(s).
Then it was time to come home and donate to the charity-blanket collection. YoungB drove me to the drop-off point, and I left my squares at the door, in a box already brimming with enough others for a cheery, sizeable rug. It’s not quite from the sublime to the ridiculous, but it’s certainly a different section of the creative continuum; and all the creatives involved in the blanket will also be forever anonymous while being forever immortalised 🙂
The call for squares went out via one of my knitting groups. They needed to be as near as possible to 15cm x 15cm, using 8-ply acrylic; and whether they were knitted or crocheted wasn’t important. Someone would then take all those squares and make them into a blanket, which in turn would be presented to a nearby hospital. No colour or pattern specification required, just whatever you had on hand that would cheer someone in need of comfort.
I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to use up some stash yarn that met those descriptions and was never going to be quite right with anything else, so I cast on using 4.00mm needles. That was about when Life in general started to go off the rails, so I simply point out that, even as a child, when I was the most beginner of knitters, I have probably never tinked a garter-stitch item quite so many times! Of course, I had expert assistance to hand in those days, in the shape of my mother and aunts; nowadays, I’m my own expert assistance most of the time, and I obviously have my limits.
I’d also point out that the cheap acrylic yarn – whose ball-bands are long lost to history, so I’m unable to provide details – knitted up well and kept coming up well after the sixth or seventh tink. The stitch definition was still good, and – despite being reknitted and reknitted a bit more and reknitted again because that didn’t work – it didn’t go fluffy. Sturdy stuff, as I think the photo illustrates, and probably ideal for the sort of action it’s likely to see.
My original thought was that I could knit half a dozen such squares and, in normal circumstances, I probably could. Yeah. I’ve finished two. They will have to do. I remind myself that, if everyone visiting the pick-up point donated two squares, there’d be a carton of blankets already. I hope the two I’ve made will fit in with others. They’re simple, but they meet the criteria. And I hope their bright cheeriness will help to lift someone’s spirits at a time of distress.
I hope you have some cheer to wrap around you, too, particularly if you’re somewhere chilly 🙂
I wanted this to be a post with all the details for what is a toasty warm addition to the family now that temperatures have definitely dropped. However, life happens; and the latest happening has derailed things significantly. So, you know, if I give you a general idea, that might have to do. Complete, accurate details would require me to weigh the remaining yarn, then calculate how much of some colours made it into the blanket. I can tell you now, that’s not happening.
For colours and temperature range represented by each, see broad discussion here and below table for details.
Any changes to the original plan were mostly “Let’s not do that” things, dictated by unexpected health setbacks that necessitated a frank and fearless consideration of what could be left out so that YoungB would get his blanket at all (much like this post, actually). There is no “essence of QR code” square, for example. Although I’d planned a double border so that I could incorporate his name and the year, that didn’t happen either. It would have been too time-consuming. I may embroider the year on one of the neutral squares. Then again, I may not.
It was my design, but influenced by the need for solid squares and something that would quickly be square from a circular centre, so that the CJAYG method wouldn’t give me headaches (see discussion). I had assistance with colour choices from both Dr B and YoungB. I’m not sure we got it right in a couple of cases, but, hey, we’re the ones telling the story 🙂
Temperature range ˚C
Yarn colour (BWM Classic 8 ply) (bought)
610 – Indian blue: 25g (1 ball)
3.0 – 7.9
600 – periwinkle: 200g (1 ball)
8.0 – 12.9
777 – powder blue: 200g (3 balls)
13.0 – 17.9
745 – pale eucalypt: 300g (3 balls)
18.0 – 22.9
695 – guava: 200g (2 balls)
23.0 – 27.9
612 – viridian: 350g (3 balls)
28.0 – 32.9
769 – marigold: 200g (1 ball)
33.0 – 37.9
767 – burnt orange: 50g (1 ball)
38.0 – 42.9
608 – holly: 25g (1 ball)
779 – bright magenta: 50g (1 ball)
Year- and month-end (and CJAYG)
694 – maize: 1000g (6 balls)
Planned to include
602 – almond: 0g (1 ball)
Worked in linen/moss stitch, alternating directions for the 17 rounds of changing colours.
All viridian rounds of linen/moss stitch worked in same direction.
Final viridian round of htr worked in opposite direction.
marigold – 1 tidying round of (UK) dc marigold – 2 pattern rounds periwinkle – 1 pattern round guava – 4 pattern rounds pale eucalypt – 2 pattern rounds powder blue – 1 pattern round magenta – 3 pattern rounds burnt orange – 2 pattern rounds Indian blue – 1 pattern round viridian – 5 pattern rounds viridian – finishing round of (UK) htr
Cost of yarn purchased (24 x 200g balls @ $13.50)
Cost of yarn used
Not calculated, but probably around $250.00
Hours of work
1 Jan 2021 – 8 balls = $108.00 1 each of: maize, pale eucalypt, almond, powder blue, Indian blue, viridian, burnt orange, bright magenta 9 Feb 2021 – 4 balls = $54.00 1 each of periwinkle, guava, marigold, holly 29 May 2021 – 2 balls = $27.00 2 balls of maize 13 Oct 2021 – 10 balls = $135.00 3 of maize 2 each of viridian, pale eucalypt, powder blue 1 of guava Entirely unused at completion: 200g almond, 200g pale eucalypt and leftovers, 200g powder blue and leftovers; about 200g of viridian; and quite a lot of the holly, which wasn’t used in the border.
Temperatures represented by colour range; and yarn usage
I chose hook sizes to ensure that the completed blanket was “not too holey”. I’d usually use a 4.00mm hook for 8-ply yarn. I used a 3.50mm hook for the centre and middle rows, to provide that requested firm, not-too-holey fabric. I used a 4.00mm hook for the joining round, which gave overall better drape on the entire blanket, and made it easier for me to do the joins, but – again – met the “not too holey” requirement.
I went back to the 3.50mm hook for the linen stitch border, again so that the fabric would be firm, and to prevent rippling; or at least keep that to a minimum. Working rounds in alternating directions also helped to minimise rippling. I worked most of the viridian rounds in the same direction, as that was easier for keeping joins tidy. It was also easier to see what I was doing.
The parts that were fairly dull and boring were all those damn winter squares. Just like the weather! Although generally there are remarkably few special design features, I know a few crept in through those cooler colours. I was tired and not always counting as well as I should have been. I rescued most, and even I would be hard put to find the few that remain.
I got great value out of the mantra that CJAYG and tidying ends as you go allow: when it’s done, it’s finished. There are no ends to sew in, other than the one you’ve just snipped for the border.
As noted above, there were several unexpected derailments because of equally unexpected ill health. All in all, it’s a fine testament to a great deal of dedication and devotion, and an astonishing degree of crafting monogamy. I made one other crocheted project – a small wind spinner – and didn’t bother to have any knitting on the go At. All. Yes, I’m surprised, too.
In sum: did it turn out as well as I’d hoped? Yes, and perhaps better than I’d imagined. Would I make another such thing? Probably not! Would I used the yarn again? Of course. Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8-ply remains one of my favourite yarns, particularly valuable for being machine washable.
I now have a long list of beanies for babies and toddlers, and perhaps a little blanket or two and some adult beanies, and a few acrylic squares that I’ll donate for someone else to turn into a charity blanket at a nearby hospital, not to mention an unexpected adult beanie to replace one that sidled from one head to another as a loan and then, well, stayed on the new head! That seems to happen quite frequently with beanies.
I hope your crafting is keeping you warm and cosy if you’re in a chilly part of the world. 🙂
Being at the office is sometimes a drag and often exhausting, but the view from the window is a nice bonus. I don’t know what’s going to keep the troops occupied once the building is finished. The view to the square will be blocked. There will be no WH&S whoopsies to chuckle about.
Ladders, gents. It’s all about ladders.
May all your ladders be properly supported and your bollards, witches hats and hazard bunting be appropriate and appropriately placed. Can’t have you falling over something you didn’t see 🙂
ETA 24 June 2022: I’ve only today realised that the tags didn’t work; so this is not really a new post, just a little update. Sorry about that!
Recently, our office provided a course that allowed us to refresh our mental health first aid qualifications. I’m often humbled by quite how personal some of the shared information is, because you’re putting your trust in other people’s good faith. Some might argue that the nature of public service positions means we’re already vetted and considered capable of maintaining confidence. Yeah, that too. But we don’t spill those sorts of beans most of the rest of the time.
The facilitator had a few good ideas for managing our own wellbeing in these still remarkably strange not-quite-post-COVID times. One piece of advice was to reconnect with bare earth and grass, something where you can really wriggle your toes. Pavers don’t count. Ideally, if you can manage it, make it a barefoot walk on the beach. Great idea!
However, given the time of year, my reconnecting with nature is more likely to be going out and hugging my lemon-scented geranium. I do it most days, and the perfume lingers for hours.
And when you need to get up from your desk at work, there’s a well-trodden path to the window from which we can watch the construction. There’d be no joy in wriggling your toes in that dirt. Once the new building is finished and we can put our toes over the threshold of what’s being marketed as a fancy shopping precinct, it will be a good trick to remember just how much concrete and dirt they took away, and how much concrete and dirt they brought back, and how we lined up with our noses and toeses against the window to watch it all. No grass involved.
YoungB recently admitted to being partly at fault in a near-miss when he was coming home on his motorbike. This surely can’t be the same man who once said, when commended for NOT doing a mono at the traffic lights, not that he wouldn’t do that. Oh, no. He instantly replied that you couldn’t do a mono with the learner-legal bike he was riding because it didn’t have enough torque. Not that he wouldn’t do it. Dear me, no. Most improperly, I laughed.
So, on that recent occasion, I looked carefully at this adult admitting to his own poor behaviour and less than sound judgment. I suddenly understood my Dad once commenting, “You’re nearer 30 than 20 now.” O-kay. I’d come home from night duty and was simply enjoying a morning cuppa with him before I turned in. I could imagine him thinking how it wasn’t so long ago that I was a tiny baby – as indeed I was – and now here I was, this responsible, grown woman with a house, a car, and a couple of cats. Quite the credibility gap. I laughed at that, too.
Happens to most of us. We do it. We grow up. But I still laugh at things I shouldn’t 🙂
YoungB’s contract is at an an end, so he’s on the job-hunt. Again. The thing about our recent elections – both state and federal – is that the change of government (at both levels) means that there are opportunities aplenty in different fields, some of which he might find appealing. He’s had his resume professionally tarted up – I beg your pardon; updated – and it’s impressive.
Me? I’ve officially notified the Powers That Be the date on which I’ll be retiring later this year. Leadership at work seems surprised. I don’t know why! My age is no secret. I’ve clearly been suffering work-related aggravations to existing health problems ever since I started there. I’ve made absolutely no secret of my intentions. Why is it suddenly unexpected, and something they hadn’t foreseen? You know that emoji where you smack yourself? Yeah. That seemed about the right response; but I didn’t.
Someone who appreciates why retirement is a good idea asked me what I’m going to do – apart from all the obvious things like crochet and knit, of course – and I said I might cook. She thought that was a wonderful idea. So did I. I like cooking. I would have to shoo Dr B out of the kitchen – it is his domain, after all – but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me elbowing into his space if it means he has more time to do other things. I would bake, too. It would be gratifying to go back to making bread. That was one of my great pleasures that simply disappeared.
Dodgy back and leg notwithstanding, some routine exercise will also feature large. It’s most likely to be continuing the hydro-pool exercise classes that I presently attend. They’re generally kind in terms of both parts of the physique and, because it’s a therapy pool, the water is always wondrously warm. I would be free to join a book club. Or a gardening club. Or a photography group. Or all of the above!
I could once again suss out options for joining local choirs. This time, when they all respond with some version of, “We rehearse and perform during the day, during the week,” thus putting such delights entirely out of full-time worker contention, it wouldn’t matter. I’d have that availability.
I might by then have reached the top of the waiting list for eye surgery, and, postoperatively, be able to see better than ever – really ever, as I’ve been wearing specs pretty much all my life – and then I might be able to reinvigorate my sewing and make some inroads on all those projects that are presently too difficult. Oh, boy. And people wonder if I’ll have enough to do. Smack-yourself emoji again, I think.
Meanwhile, however, there’s a certain amount of excitement and tension around YoungB’s potential new job. There are choices in fields where he has qualifications and expertise, and there are choices in fields that would suit his outgoing personality. There are jobs with crossover. He’s already sent inquiries and job applications. It’s going to be an interesting few months, watching how everything turns out, but he is likely to have some much-needed downtime before starting in any new position, whatever the field.
During that downtime, I anticipate the mealtime conversation will centre on matters mechanical. I’ll be knitting in my room, if you’re looking for me 😀
Today has been World Wide Knit in Public Day. Coincidentally this year, today has also been World Gin Day. Two of my favourite things, all rolled into one. Who could ask for more? And who could resist the opportunity to celebrate?
Accordingly, YoungB and I took ourselves off to the local to sample some of their specialist gins, while I sat and knitted on the baby beanie. It’s not a brilliant photo, but it’s me knitting in public on a day allocated to that very pursuit. And that is a slightly sour sloe gin cocktail (gin from Dasher and Fisher, a Tasmanian distillery hitherto unknown to both of us).