Monday, January 14, 2013

Casting Off . . .

"The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed.
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr. Toad!"
- Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows



This Malabrigo yarn is part of my "stash."  I need to find something to
do with this beautifully colored fiber with its pretty name. 


While Mr. Toad in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows is certainly a foolish character, it is difficult not to smile and appreciate his mercurial nature and joie de vivre.  I don't think that I share Toad's full-blown mania for new enterprises (as I channel this enthusiasm for knitting), but I can understand the alluring pull of a wide array of hobbies, exotic food, novel learning opportunities, and stimulating travel (devoid of bungee jumping, of course).This fall, in a burst of energy and creativity, I tackled several projects--creating an online book study for the faculty at my school, hosting a knitting party, and applying for a grant to travel to England, to name a few. Last week, after I was interviewed by a panel from an area organization, I learned that I will be receiving this grant. After spending several days researching and dealing with some logistical stumbling blocks, I am now registered to spend a week at Oxford University studying “Charles Dickens: The Crime Writer.”  I've registered for the Oxford program, bought my airline tickets, and contacted a gracious friend in England—who not only offered her home to me for part of my visit, but who is also going to take me, as she put it, on a "yarn excursion."  (The pairing of the English countryside with yarn shopping addresses my romantic and fiber obsessive nature in unfathomable ways.  I can't wait.) 

I'm in my classroom here, happy to hear about the grant
approval.




I'm trying not to spend money on books in the upcoming
months, but I traded in some paperbacks yesterday
at my local used-book store and was
 able to get these two in exchange
(in anticipation of my future trip).
.

  
But now, I must. Wait, that is . . . and commence no more undertakings. I don’t want to be like Mr. Toad, zipping towards some new obsession (leaving an abandoned Gypsy cart and wrecked car in my wake). It’s time to tie up loose ends. I finally finished a sweater I've been working on for weeks and have decided that I must devote the months before my July trip abroad to spending time with my family, reducing my yarn stash, focusing on teaching my English classes, and somehow managing to complete a class in "Social Media" I'm taking at my local community college. (What was I thinking?)



I finally finished my Louisa Harding Oaksike cardigan. 





My dear friend, Cindy, who is quite a busy person herself (she once directed and staged three Shakespeare plays that were performed on the same evening, after she’d spent months frantically designing and sewing all of the costumes for the student actors), says that I always take on too much, and I have to agree. While I thrive on new projects and challenges, I often find myself exhausted and depleted at the end of every school semester, so now it’s time to slow down and focus. I don't want to be like Mr. Toad, although I can relish laughing at his follies and how he wriggles out of their consequences. 

Of course, before I adapt this new, minimalistic practical attitude towards life, I have to make my trip to Vogue Knitting Live in New York this coming weekend.  I'll rest afterwards. . . .




I'm making this scarf from Rowan Haze, and I've made some progress on the long Noro vest shown below--then I'm going to fast for awhile and only knit my stash.   





3 comments:

  1. Oh I've always wanted to knit with Rowan Haze, is it nice to work with? And Oxford!!!!! Way to go, Liz! You are going to have such a great time, be sure to take tons of photos! The cardigan looks amazing on you, the buttons are so delicate and work great with the lace. I'm so sad to hear about your friend's husbands diagnosis, but honestly it is probably the best thing for him, the knowledge will probably set him free and finally allow him to get his life in order. He is very lucky to have a supportive partner, that definitely helps people in that situation.

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  2. Congratulations on the grant! I am sure you will have loads of fun over there :). Your Oaksike cardi came out beautifully :) Love the colors in your Noro vest you are working on. One of my friends sent me a skein of Rowan Haze Glamour, I am looking forward to working with it, feels very nice. I am going to be making this pattern with it: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ice-queen

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  3. Clever you - getting a grant to study at Oxford - if only for a week. You will have a great time and if you've any time to spare.... Look forward to seeing what you make of it. The Louisa Harding cardi is lovely, really beautiful and it suits you. Judy.

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