mittens and the mysteries of process

I’ve been busy finishing things.

No, I’m fine, thank you. No, no fever, and I don’t need to lie down right now. Thanks, I really am OK.

I finished my newest pattern, Spring Has Sprung Mittens. The good news: It’s been released in kit form by Holiday Yarns, with the kit having made its debut at TNNA this past weekend…The not-so-great news: I don’t have a photo of the finished mittens (in the correct yarn) to show off. Here’s a hint:

Spring Has Sprung mittens, Palm side
(© Sandi Wiseheart 2012)

And another hint:

Spring Has Sprung mittens, Back of hand
(©Sandi Wiseheart 2012)

Flowers and butterflies, leaves and bugs, vines and buds. Plus a Latvian braid thrown in because why not? These are to wear in the doldrums of March, when we’re all tired to death of winter and want to give Spring a little help in showing up to the party.

Charted, three sizes (each one charted separately, you’re welcome), stranded knitting, picot hem. Tech-edited by Shannen the Wizard, with colourways chosen by Jen the dyer herself. All fun, all the time.

Another colorway idea (palm)

I’d link you to the kit, or the pattern, but the Master Linker is trying to survive TNNA right at the moment. (I don’t think she has slept in days. Sleep, Jen, sleep. Maybe eat, too. See how generous we are?)

I’ve finished two more chapters of the WiseSweater book. That sleeve cap chapter nearly put me in the looney bin, I tell ya. I think it would have been easier if I just put in the formula and said, Do It This Way; but of course, that isn’t the point of the book.

The Point is to explain why sweaters are designed the way they are designed, so that if you want to make adjustments or even design your own sweater, you’ll actually understand what you are doing. Even on weird sweaters where the numbers don’t fit the “fill in the blanks” style of formulas.

I have half the next chapter done, and after that, it’s just blocking info and sewing in zippers and finishing stuff and I’m done!

“Tapenade” from Enchanted Knoll. LOVE.

I’ve finished several skeins of plied yarn of various sorts.

Singles from Jen’s gradient roving; waiting for the matching silk to be dyed for second ply

Yarn spindle-spun from a batt made by Nada Jones (SOAR 2011).

One ply is spindle-spun from a batt made by Jesh; other ply is silk.

I’ve drumcarded some batts for my Tweed Experiment.

Left: Silk from Chasing Rainbows. Top right: Jacob. Lower right: Polwarth.

Batt, one pass. These colours are more accurate than above.

I’ve worked on a tiara or two,

Mad TiaraMaster At Work

and organized my travel-to-teach bead box.

I wanted to name this “R2D2”, but I don’t know…something just kept niggling at the back of my mind, suggesting “Stanley” of all things. Weird, right?

I’ve even hung up the cute bird-and-branch hooks I bought in Vermont for my necklace collection.

Artsy sepia look courtesy of the ugliest baby-vomit paint job ever on the face of the planet.

I’ve ripped out projects that weren’t working out, and gotten back on track with projects long set aside.

Well, OK, I guess that all those things are not technically “finishing”. I don’t have a new shawl to wear yet, or socks to give, or a sweater to show off. But there’s been Serious Progress made in a lot of areas, and that feels great.

I adore this bag, stitched by Jessalu. The spindle it hangs from is an Abby spindle; the spindle inside the bag is a Jesh Sworl.

You know how sometimes you feel stalled, as though you’ve been knitting that same shawl for-ev-er, or spinning that roving since the Great Flood? We get stuck, methinks, or perhaps time really does slow to a crawl, and we tiny humans are too self-involved to notice that the universe is taking a mental health month.

It’s easy to feel as though every project in the house is on the needles in a project bag under the dresser, or in a plastic bag (because you ran out of project bags) stuffed into the corner of your armoire.

There are bins of fleece under the bench, and there have been bins of fleece under the bench for quite a while now…and maybe they are even the same fleeces in the same bins as always. One begins to wonder if perhaps one is a collector, rather than someone who actually has Finished Objects to share, merely a buyer of Things, instead of a maker of Stuff-out-of-Things.

Signs of progress are important, especially on the days when you feel frustrated by the overwhelming number of things trying to keep you away from needles and wheel.

I’m now working on projects in shorter chunks of time, over a few days or weeks, rather than in one or more long “all-dayer” that wipes me out flat. I’m setting up my To-Do software so that it lists intermediate steps in projects; this way, I can check off (and celebrate) the smaller accomplishments as well as the larger ones (finish first sleeve, finish second sleeve, spin first ply, spin second ply, ply, whoo!). If the project doesn’t have (and doesn’t need) some sort of inherent deadline, I don’t give it one (other than the vague “by September” or “before Christmas”).

I also try not to snarl when I am interrupted; I try to take a deep breath, let it out, and smile instead of biting off someone’s head. (It’s the little things.)

I’m working on saying No to things that are Off The Path, and on keeping my eyes and ears open for whispers of things which might either be On The Path or else signs pointing to another path I might want to try.

Throughout most of the past year, I’ve been focussing on The Doing, not just the Ending. I’ve always been a process person, but an impatient process person who really wanted to be a product person in her heart. I want a wardrobe of thirty handknit sweaters; I want everyone in my family to be clad in handknit socks, I want all my friends to have handmade goodies that remind them of me.

What I have is a bin full of unfinished projects marked with various names of friends and family. (Happy Birthday, I made you an UnFinished Object!)

So I do what I can, choose carefully what I attempt, and let myself dwell in the actual Making.

Sure, these clicking keystrokes will eventually be posted for you nice people to read. But for now, I have pretty manicured nails and I am enjoying the loud clicking of (short) purple tips on keys, savoring the joy of stopping to choose this word or that word, relaxing into that state of creating which allows something new to come into being without being rigidly planned and outlined and scheduled and organized to death.

All of which just helps me to enjoy LIVING the creative life, rather than just reporting on the creative life. I’m very lucky to have this wee sabbatical in which to learn and grow and seek and create; I don’t know where I’m going, but if I pay attention to the cobblestones under my feet, and the companions next to me on the road, and the pleasures of each word and stitch, then I ought to come out all right in the end.

Any day you can grab a nap on a Shetland lamb fleece is a good day.


In Seattle, land of wonders, they have a Parking Squid to assist your vehicular needs. No, I’m serious.

Do what you can, when you can. So simple; so profound. This is the world I want to live in.

Finally, you can play with the Doctor! TARDIS playset with 5-inch figure of Doc #11. Playsets are cool.

And what if playsets weren’t cool? Would you play with them anyway? Do you have the courage to be uncool?

Here’s what the amazing Nora Ephron would say about that.

There is nothing cuter than a baby platypus…unless you have another one in the same hand.

That’s all for today, folks. The Tour de Fleece begins on Saturday, so you’re bound to hear from me regarding that. I mean. I have five fleeces drying in my yard. I think I need to get on that tour, don’t you? 

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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12 Responses to mittens and the mysteries of process

  1. teabird says:

    Those are wonderful, wonderful mittens! I think you’re very productive indeed.


  2. Bonnie says:

    Ohhhhhh, those mittens are so pretty! I’m excited to see more of them! I love reading your posts. Keep on writing and knitting and spinning and creating!


  3. Arla says:

    I agree with Bonnie. Those mittens are lovely!!! wondering how the motifs would work in a sweater…I’m just letting the creative juices flow…and my mind wander…I’m more of a sweater person than a mitten person, actually… but for all that, my stash of yarn and projects sounds a lot like yours!!! Love those baby platypusses…but then all babies are cute!
    Blessings to you!!!


  4. astrbear says:

    FABulous mittens, well done! And the tiara-in-progress looks to be particularly fine 🙂 Good on you for sticking to your Path, and recognizing the power of “No” to help you out. Great Chispas as always: I plan to visit with Parking Squid with my lovely bike sometime this summer, and the platypus link was perfect to send to a friend who is in sore need of extra happy moments right now.



  5. Carol Ann Burden says:

    Sandi, I also have come to believe it is the journey that is important. I have so many unfinished projects that sometimes they seem to drag me down, but using a baby steps approach might see me finishing some of them. We have to stop beating ourselves up and just do what we can, so often ambition trumps action! I wish you strength, patience and peace … and, I think the mittens are awesome too!


  6. Jerri says:

    The cats that live in your house are so fortunate – imagine napping on fleece!


  7. Nancy says:

    How wonderful to be making progress and finishing things. Crossing things off a To Do list is certainly one of life’s joys. Think I’ll follow your example and start listing things to do in more reasonable chunks. Spin Happy for le Tour!


  8. The gift from you and the Giveaway Llama arrived yesterday. So pretty! So SOFT! With all sorts of other little goodies too. I will have to pet it every day for a while until I find out what it wants to become. Thank you!

    My project making tends to go in cycles – when I was homeschooling young kids, my “projects” usually consisted of getting dinner on the table. When the kids got older I had a little more energy for other projects in the evening. Now the kids are done with homeschooling and my project doing will be redefined again – and with a beautiful lavender skein to inspire me.


  9. Tamara says:

    God bless you Sandi, and I don’t say that lightly, being an agnostic. How you always know, and get into words, the exact things that all the rest of us are surely feeling but may not even have known that we were until we read you, never ceases to delight me and inspire me.

    And I LOVE that your needles match your incipient mittens–makes me need to rein myself in from going to my LYS and buying a pair RIGHT NOW. I can even feel/hear how they would click beautifully during the knitting…


    • sandi says:

      Thank you! And those needles are Signature Needles. Pricey but worth every penny. Just in case you needed to know what they were. You know. In case you fell into a yarn shop or something. 🙂


  10. maryh says:

    Good for you Sandi–I think your last name describes you.


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