31 October 2006

Exercise(s) in Frustration

I came so close to having two FOs in one day. And then, disaster struck. I knew it was coming, I was just in denial. I watched that skein of yarn get smaller and smaller, and the voice in the back of my head said "There isn't enough. You're going to run out." And yet, I ignored it. I kept knitting. And now, two rows from finishing -- two measly rows (one cable and one bind off, that's it!) -- and I am essentially out of yarn.

(And yes, that is a glass of whiskey next to my knitting. You'll understand why by the end of this post).

There is nothing to salvage -- no ends to use from the first glove (they seem to have disappeared, though I have cut off tails from every other project I have ever undertaken in a jar on my desk). Now what? Do I wait and order another skein from Knit picks? Do I bind off (shudder) in another color? These aren't for me. They're a commission from a friend. They need to look good. My knitting "reputation" (such as it is) is on the line. I'm frustrated.

Add that to the fact that I was knitting these as a break from the frustration of grant applications. I'm down to the wire getting these completed before I hop on down to Hawaii (let's not even talk about the fact that I haven't written my conference paper yet). I used to think that word limitations were frustratingly nitpicky (when I first wrote that, I typed "knitpicky"). My new nemesis? Character limitations. As in, describe your dissertation in 800 characters (including spaces). Do you have any idea how little space that is? To give you an idea, here is my 800 character summary:

This dissertation focuses on the relationship between music and place in the Central Appalachian coalfields. I explore ways in which the contemporary performance of bluegrass and old-time music is tied to social and cultural politics (stereotype, tourism, coal mining, and protest) and ways in which the construction of place (through migration, personal narrative, history, and tradition) shapes musical performance. Unlike historical studies of Appalachian music, this dissertation studies the impact of social, political, and environmental challenges on musical performance. I consider the range of meanings attached to this music, examining the tension between the musical and the political, the dimensions of revivalism and activism, and the connection between place, music, and power.

That's not a lot of space to describe what I suspect is going to be a close-to-300-page dissertation. Sheesh. It's driven me so batty that when I first started typing this post, I was editing for characters (do I really need two spaces at the beginning of that sentence? If I reword that, I can cut a few characters... Are commas really necessary there).


Things that are not frustrating? The joys of knitting with Malabrigo. Oh heaven, it's like knitting with clouds.

This was the beginning of a sleeve, used (Elizabeth Zimmerman style, since we're all crazy about Zimmerman) as a way to check gauge. I was gonna knit myself a hourglass, but now I'm not sure. This will get ripped out while I enjoy just thinking... toying... scheming for post-christmas personal knits.

And thank you all for your kind words about the Huron Mountain Socks. I'm pretty pleased, all in all. High maintenance socks that were totally worth it.

Back to counting characters... Happy Halloween to everyone!


yahaira said...

oh no!!!


pretty!!! (omg is that the malabrigo from me? the hourglass would be awesome)

this post was a roller coaster...phew

good luck with those characters!!

Meg said...

Some wise person once said to me that reading the editorial of reputable newspapers is excellent practice for paring down on unnecessary words. In fact, one generally only needs to read the first and last sentence of a well-written editorial to get the gist of what the piece is about. Reading the first and last sentences of your description, I think they sum it up pretty well - at least, I'd give you money if I was handing any out!!

Theresa said...

High maintenance socks? That made me laugh.

Sorry about the Fetching. Can't you just rip back the last one and make it 2 rows shorter? No one will ever know . . .

amanda said...

oh no! if i were you there'd have been a lot more whiskey in that glass. on second thought, maybe there was and you already drank it (rightfully so too!). i'd say tink back a row or two and it shouldn't be too obvious.

your dissertation topic sounds great --and the brief rundown is concise and clearly gets your topic across. i remember having to do that for grant apps and i hated it.

Mintyfresh said...

running out of yarn--especially that close to the castoff--is the worst!! I would definitely go back to a spot where I could lose a row and make it shorter. And because I'm obsessive, I might take out the first one to make it equally shorter. but that's definitely not necessary.