Life in the past few weeks has been very disorienting but not really all that conducive to knitting.  Rotating through the ER has, as I alluded to in my last post, made my life a rather different variety of crazy and left me devoting most of my free time to sleeping.  I also spilled a drink onto my computer, which is now out of commission until it gets repaired if it turns out I can afford to repair it.  I bought the cheapest computer Staples sells so I don’t fail out of school.  I was also sick twice in the first two weeks of the rotation.  TWICE.

A sane person might take this as a sign that working with sick people every day might not be advisable, but this is what I want to do with my life and my immune system had damn well better suck it up and adjust. Maybe they’ll come up with a full-body Purell dispenser/Plasma bather that I can step in every 5 minutes to thoroughly disinfect myself.  In the meantime, I’ll go with obsessive hand-washing, a mental map of the alcohol-foam-lotion-whatever dispensers, and alcohol-swabbing everything I carry around that might survive it.

But you’re here to hear about knitting, not endless bitching about my non-knitting (so-called?) life. FEAR NOT, reader*, for I have plenty of knitting to show you today!

It should be no surprise to you that I did not score a gold medal in the Knitting Olympics. I’m glad I participated, though — it helped knock me further out of my knitting rut.  I didn’t finish, sure, but I did make some progress.

Cerus scarf scrunch

It really confuses people when I tell them this is a scarf. I think the idea of a scarf sort of appearing out of the end of a set of knitting needles and lengthening is really ingrained.

Obligatory gratuitous close-ups:

Cerus scarf close-up

I'm always surprised at how my iPhone manages decent detail.

Another angle of the Cerus scarf

I think the holding-two-strands-together thing is a cheating way to make this scarf appear even more luxurious. Well, it makes up for having to move each stitch around twice to knit it once and having to deal with all of the yarn-wrangling that comes with a K1P1 kind of pattern.

I also started a new project!

Swatch and calendar

For the perceptive, no, the swatch doesn't match the picture. I was already moving on!

I have one of those Knitting Perpetual Calendars that’s really a stitch dictionary in flippy form.  I have decided to try to knit a swatch of the stitch of the day every day on that day!  Here are my rules:

  • Knit a swatch every day, time permitting.
  • Swatches don’t have to be square.  Square can be boring.  They can be square, though!  Squares are pleasing shapes.
  • I’ll cast on however many stitches I feel like, but not too many (boring, slow) — and not too few, either.  It would be a bummer to do 80% of a stitch pattern.
  • If I don’t like today’s pattern, I don’t have to do it.  Knitting is for fun.  Not fun patterns can get made fun of and flipped past.
  • If I really want to do some different day’s pattern, that’s cool, too.
  • Stick to the stash.  If I get to the point that I’ve got a lot of these buggers and I want to do something magic with them like sew them into an odd-sized-and-shaped blanket, then maybe I can start buying yarn for it.  Until then, it’s a stash-buster.

These are what I got done on the first day (I was a little excited):

swatches, needles, a bit of keyboard

Triangle and rectangle are buddies.

I’ve since knit two more and have the yarn out for a third.  This is a special kind of satisfying.  Don’t like the stitch pattern?  Bind off.  Whatever shape I was attempting can be more unique since I ended early.  Feeling like I can’t do anything?  I just completed a whole polygon!  I’m a knitting STAR!  (Note to self: figure out how to knit a star shape.)  Knitting a whole year’s worth of these things may not happen, or I may get bored and forget about the project at some early point, or I may pick it up and put it down a lot of times, but who cares?  It’s knitting!  It’s supposed to be fun, and these bright little swatches are reminding me of it.

*On a good day, readers.

I feel a bit like a real Olympian this week: I’ve been doing emergency medicine while I have a cold at all sorts of crazy hours of the night and trying to get my knitting done while i’m at it. It’s going really, really, surprisingly well so far, but I’m about to go into a bit of a marathon in which I’m going to be on rotation from 3pm-11pm tonight, home from about midnight to 7 AM, off to lectures tomorrow morning, free from 11 AM until 3 PM (home? nap/secret knitting in the library?), and then another 3pm-11 pm shift. It’s not really that many hours of working (19 hours over the course of two days) but the timing makes it impossible to get enough sleep and leaves me with an awkward gap in the middle of the day tomorrow.

WELL, there’s no reason I shouldn’t go into this with an Olympian spirit: I can do this and I can enjoy it and learn from it. I can take a power nap to gain more from my lecture, as recently reported all over the news in a link I don’t have time to add. I can bring my knitting for those awkward gaps or come home and take a short nap if I really need it. And the hard part of the schedule will be over in less than 36 hours, anyway, and I’ll have some time to catch up on sleep, then. And I’ll blog in the spare moments that I should be packing up for school and eating something, too.

That’s right, guys, I’m participating in the Knitting Olympics. Tonight, David and I watched the open ceremonies as I cast on 555 stitches for his Cerus scarf (I’m scaling up the length a bit and compensating for finer yarn) and knit the first row.

Knitting a scarf lengthwise is weird, guys. finishing each row is an epic challenge. The scarf I just completed was done with bulky yarn and despite the ends-weaving-in nightmare, went very quickly.

the apparently miniscule amount of work I completed on the Cerus scarf tonight

555 stitches cast on plus one row = 1110 stitches. Where did they go? (Also, apologies for the webcam shot. It's not take-out-the-camera o'clock.)

So it’s official: I’m crazy. I’m going to be working all sorts of hours this upcoming week, I have one day fully off out of 7, the next weeks are no better… and I’m going to try to put thousands upon thousands of stitches into a fancy scarf for my boyfriend (perhaps I tempt fate, but it’s not a sweater).

I think that this is what the Knitting Olympics is really about.  It’s about pushing your limits in knitting and setting a challenge that really maybe shouldn’t be reachable, but showing that knitting is actually important enough to make it work.  (What?  Don’t look at me like that.  I am so very much not watching Project Runway as I type this post.  That would be silly.)

This is going to happen, though, everyone.  There’s no reason I can’t knit while studying.  I spent a stupid amount of money on a set of board review videos that I haven’t really used and should start using.  I can bribe myself with knitting to sit through watching them (or listening to them, since the set came with MP3s of all of the videos).  Getting “just one more row” done will be a lot more productive than usual, given the crazy length of the rows.  I’ll spend less time fiddling around on the internet and more time knitting and blogging about it and being resinspired to knit and blogging some more.  (Oh readership, your RSS feeds might light on fire.)  I might run out of yarn.  I’ll get more yarn.  I’m going to earn that gold medal.

  • Today I ran out of my building with a finished-but-not-blocked (and questionably needing it) scarf to give to my mom before she pulled away to her trip to Boston.  It’s cold there.  She said she wants to block it herself earlier this week.  I thought she might want it before her trip, anyway, since it’s cold there.  (At least in my mind.  It’s North!  North places are cold!)
  • I signed up for the Knitting Olympics.  Um.  Oh no.
  • Seriously I am going to use it as motivational for knitting David’s massively overdue scarf.  It should be possible…marginally.  If nothing goes wrong.  If my rotation isn’t as bad as I fear.  Um.  If.  So I think I get the spirit of the thing?
  • I am so tired you guys.  I couldn’t sleep well, I had an exam earlier today, it was extremely nerve-wracking and I’ve got other things on my mind and I got stuck (for about 90 seconds) in an elevator twice today and I almost passed out having my blood drawn because I was fasting and the NP who was drawing blood was not really doing a stellar job and kept fishing.
  • My goals for today include napping, waking up, watching the beginning of the Olympics, and casting on a scarf.  I’m thinking of doing the latter part of my plan in the neighborhood bar, if they’re showing it.  Yeah, that’s right guys, I lead a life of adventure and intrigue.
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