Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday morning things

* I have enough rows done on the "Socks for the Deputy Headmistress" that I can finally kind of see where the pattern is going. I hope it's visible enough on the yarn I've chosen; it always seems like a shame to do a complex knit-purl pattern (which takes a lot of time to do but is less-fun to knit than lace or cables) and have it not show up.

* I also finished all the grey squares for the Color-Bar Blanket. Yellow, black, white, and navy remain.

* I wonder if the way Mr. Rogers spoke resonates with me - at least as an adult - because I can hear the "minister" there. I have known several good ministers in my life and a couple of them spoke like that: slowly, quietly, with a deliberateness to their speech. That may be what I find soothing about his voice as an adult. (Or maybe it's that I hear so many loud, fast, speaking-before-they-think-it-through voices that his is surprising by contrast). I know lots of people love Bob Ross for similar reasons but I've never quite been able to get into his way of speaking so much.

And yes, I'm still thinking about it. Especially thinking about the people who derided him as "soft" or "wimpy" or whatever, and that they don't really realize, I think, how hard it is - how radical, in a way - it is to be kind, and to LISTEN to other people. I know I am not always good at it; I know when someone else is speaking a lot of the time I am trying to formulate my response in my head and I don't give them the attention I should.

I also think being a kind person and an earnest person means being vulnerable in this world. Cynicism and snark are defense mechanisms that I think people use to distance themselves from their feelings - every disaffected sixteen-year-old everywhere does that. And I think we see far too much of it in the media.

* I am also thinking about this article on Medium (NB: I have one of the low-level subscriptions to it - so it might not be available to non subscribers, or not just yet). But I like his argument that sometimes sadness is really being overwhelmed, the idea of the world being too big and there being too many stimuli. I notice that in myself: when I have too many things to do (like all the meetings this week and the complicated dance of "okay, as long as I'm out of lab by just before 3, I can get to the Pruett's before the school pick-up rush and get the cheesecake for CWF tonight and the beef for making the sloppy joes for tomorrow..."), I don't feel happy. I am happiest when I have ONE thing to work on, ONE thing to focus on. Doesn't matter if that's writing a manuscript or prepping teaching or working on a quilt - not having a million things pulling at my attention is a relief.

The writer talks about the relief of smallness - that most of us are not famous in any way, and we should be grateful for that. And yes, fame has some terrible costs. And yes, again: sometimes I feel happiest when I am in my own little world: I notice this most, these days, when sewing on a quilt top. It's a step-by-step process. Certain seams have to be done first. Then they have to be pressed. Then you have to pin the parts you just sewed together and do another seam. Eventually, you have all the blocks and depending, you either lay them out for the best arrangement or just sew. (The one I'm working on right now will need to be laid out to spread out the colors properly; the next quilt top, since it's just three fabrics, I can just sew.)

Sometimes having a directed task that you have to be absolutely "present" for is good. Part of the reason I serve at funeral lunches (when I can, and ESPECIALLY when it was someone I particularly cared about) is that somehow, for me, that kind of "useful busy-ness" helps with the mourning process. If I can do something that "helps," I am less likely to fall apart, whatever the situation.

The article author also quotes a character from "How I Met Your Mother" (a show I never watched):

“You know what Marshall needs to do? He needs to stop being sad. When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story.”

I....can't. I can't do that. For one thing, I highly doubt my own ability to be "awesome." I'm not even sure I WANT to be "awesome," in the debased sense that it's used now. Though there is something to that: I've also heard people talk about how when you're sad, if you go help someone, maybe you will be less-sad, and yes, I have noticed that. I can be having a rotten day but have a student come in and say "Would you please help me with this topic? I don't think I understand it" and I sit down with them and try to come up with some other way of explaining it, or going over it again, or even just writing it out in detail so they can see it, and at the end they say "Oh, I think I'm getting it now, thanks" and yes, I do feel better. (Or maybe that's my own brand of "awesome," I don't know)

The author also references something from the show, where the Marshall named above, after moping around for like two months after a break-up (I don't have a lot of break-ups on my record, but yes, I do remember one in particular where I moped for what felt like forever - but it was private moping, I had to be the Capable Grad Student as well). But anyway, one day Marshall snapped out of it, the author said, by "making the world small" - he made pancakes for his roommates one morning.

I....guess I used to do that more. No, not making pancakes for people. But my typical response to some human horror in the world was to start knitting a hat or a scarf or something. Either for a charity donation (and now, now, I feel like, most charities would really rather have my money*) or as an eventual gift for someone. (The point was: it had to be something I was going to give away).

(*True, I'm sure. But somehow it feels less like I'm "making myself useful" than when I used to knit hats)

I might need to figure out something else like that again. Going out and doing volunteer work isn't it; I'm already too busy, and the problem with volunteering is that all too often, someone like me winds up "managing" other people's feelings, and I find that *exhausting* and I hate it. My version of "making pancakes" needs to be something I can do on my own.

* I did pick up my "birthday present" (the new cutting mat) on Saturday. Being busy this week - too busy to work on a quilt - means that it can hang out in my garage and outgas until I'm ready for it. One drawback to the Olfa mats - I don't know exactly what plastic they are made of - but they have a TERRIBLE smell when new, which takes a while to dissipate. (I might also try wiping it down with some vinegar, to see if that helps any. I don't mind the smell of vinegar nearly as much as I mind the plastic smell).

I also bought....more fabric. But I have another one of those "charm pack" quilt patterns I want to do - it's called Chandelier. Because I have to be different, I bought an almost-coral-pink as the background, and I am (pretty sure) the charm packs are called Amberley - just sort of a typical slightly-greyed-down pastel floral. (I know in the past I have been all about novelty fabrics, but more and more, I just want to use "pretty" florals. I dunno. Maybe I feel like the world has gotten kind of ugly so I want to make pretty quilts?)

The woman at the quilt shop commented that "I ordered that line because I liked it, but I didn't know if anyone else would!" and I kind of laughed and said one of the things I liked about the different "indie" quilt shops is that you can go into five different ones, and they will have five different stocks - even just Moda makes so many lines of fabric that you will find different ones at different shops.

(Darnit. I also forgot to pick up more Best Press but I didn't see any there; maybe they were out of it. Well, maybe if I go to Whitesboro on Saturday the shop there will have it)

And we talked a little about longarm quilting, and she noted that she wished they had enough room to have a demonstration machine set up, because lots of people have expressed a desire to try one out. Or even, I added, a machine you could rent time on (Though for working people like me, that would be hard: you'd have to arrange it for a time when you knew you could get your quilt done fast. With a home machine - and yes, I am still contemplating that and maybe I start trying to save a hundred dollars a month or whatever and put it in a "maybe buy a longarm machine when I retire" fund - you wouldn't have that issue)

* I'm pretty sure (going from memory) that this is the set of charm packs I bought, and the pink I bought for the background is almost the exact pink on the bottom there where the name and logo is written, so it should match well)


purlewe said...

I did a quilt that was all diamonds like that. it was fun and different. DEFINITELY number your rows so you know where you are. I did that and it helped immensely!

Diann Lippman said...

Which book has the Chandelier pattern? I'm guessing it's the first Charm School book, with the blackboard on the cover, but none of my online sources lists the patterns in the 3 books! We no longer have a bookstore in my little city, so I can't go look at the offerings!