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Archive for December 10th, 2007

What is it about deadlines?

Monday, December 10th, 2007


I remember less than a week ago, you folks got me really understanding how I need to sometimes clean house or otherwise tidy my physical surroundings, while I’m preparing for a large creative push or a big task of any sort.

It is very interesting to me that since we discussed that, I’ve been obsessing in the kitchen. I’ve given things away that I’d not used in years, tossed old spices from my first apartment in 1978 (guess I probably won’t be using those if I haven’t already) and made choices about the layout of items in the kitchen, particularly on the precious countertops.

Nervous Energy

So now, I have my last computer class of the year Monday and need to prepare a few handouts for them. And I have my biggest Christmas Party of the season coming up on Wednesday, for which I must bring one special gift. The gift, of course, I’ve planned in my mind for a long while. I even bought the supplies long ago.

crochetpurple.jpgAnd what do I do instead of preparing for Monday night and Wednesday night? Clean the kitchen, cook, and plan to do other things entirely. Finish a pair of legwarmers for myself. Start a wrap as a gift, which has no deadline. You know, all that normal avoidance creativity.

It’s like in college when I had a big exam, I’d have to go grocery shopping or meet a friend for tea, rather than sit down with the books. Only in that case I was not clear if I could really accomplish a good grade anyway. (I do not miss my teen college years… college these days is much more by choice and being an adult really helps me succeed.)

In this case, it’s pretty clear that I can do this class I’m teaching (I have taught it many times before, the handout is written) and I certainly can bring a gift on Wednesday. But I really would like to make that gift by Tuesday night so that I won’t have to go to World Market (an instant-gift place for bellydancers, thank goodness… would definitely find more than one possible thing with only one stop).

Swatching “in the Dark”

I, of course, made the gift-making harder, by deciding that I would crochet. I don’t crochet much. That is an understatement. I am capable of a pretty good chain stitch and a very good single crochet. I am absolutely inexperienced in triple crochet, double crochet or half-double, and must look them up in a book every time I need to use them. I also am relatively unclear about following crochet patterns though I’ve taken a few classes and get better each time… slightly.

I have “made up” crochet items in the past. However, in this case I really want a triangle. As in, one that is recognizable by someone else, as a triangle. On top of that, I want it pretty airy, more like a net than a fabric. The yarn I picked is really a good non-stretch shiny/fuzzy yarn called Feza Mesmerize, which is 65% acetate and 35% polyamid (nylon). It is easier to touch than the 100% nylon yarns I’ve tried before.

Practical Considerations, Even for Glitz

And since this is for a dance item, it really needs to be firm rather than stretchy. Stretch is not good in a costume. You need things to stay put and that means they need to be smaller than the body and cinched on carefully. If you have ever worn a skirt that is well-tailored but a size too big, and noticed how the skirt works its way around in a bit of a spiral dance around your body… well, then you understand how important it is that a costume fit with what is called “negative ease.” It can not slip or slide on stage.

Well, I tried to make up a “pattern.” I asked a friend who crochets more than I do, for dancing items. She gave advice and it still made much too small of a stitch. If you look at the photo, it’s the bottom dense part. I used a size I hook, about 5.25mm if I remember right. This is the swatch, small hook experiment at bottom. Homely!

I did not like this, and it would have required more yarn than I had. So I went looking for a crochet hook just as stores were closing for the day. I ended up with a size P hook (just plain huge, sort of comical, at 11.5mm in diameter). And I think we’re on to something now! It is the sort of honeycomb look I had wanted it for. And now I just have to figure out how to increase on either side in a rate that creates me a triangle of the angles I desire… That’s all!

I hope I can find the pailettes I bought a year ago, which I hope to use on the edges of this piece. Pailettes are like huge flat sequins and they are great on stage… lighter in weight and more colorful than coins but otherwise with a similar look, reflecting light.

More Pleasant Distractions

I am having lunch at noon tomorrow with a friend from elementary school. We just do not see one another enough. There are only two people still really in my life from that period… Susan Luks and this woman. And occasionally I run into a guy from 3rd grade or earlier, who is now an artist in northern Michigan. That’s pretty much it for the 60’s in my life (I started middle school in ’69).

It will be just incredible to see this friend again after all this time just emailing occasionally. It seems that Christmas is the one time we work at seeing one another.

Oh, and Work…

But of course, that means that sometime I have to print handouts. Right? I leave for work at 3pm. And all I really feel like doing is experimenting with the crochet a bit more. That must wait until Tuesday, after I mail out all the packages to those of you who won prizes for last week’s contest. (I still feel bad that everyone could not win… but that is the nature of life, I just can’t prize everyone who came by, though I’d love to do just that.)

… and didn’t those legwarmers turn out toasty-looking? They are even warmer when I turn up that cuff. They are almost the entire height of my leg. Really-really warm!!!

No wonder I don’t want to do my boring stuff. New legwarmers and shiny purple yarn in a new technique? Much more fun than routine.

So what *is* it about deadlines? Do you get crazy-busy with distractions when you have a big deadline, or several? How do you respond to that yearning for distraction, if you also get it?