last stripe/last exam.

Yesterday was windy, rainy, and grey. When it became clear that the wind was blowing at speeds that could easily overturn trash cans, I dashed outside and cut a mason jar’s worth of the daffodils which have just begun to bloom. These flowers helped me to get through most of the pile of grading I’ve been hiding from all week.

Boh is struggling to keep his eyes open this morning, which is pretty much how I feel. It has been a long semester, and I am so close to the other side of these exams. One more.

My last exam begins tomorrow, so today I’ll be doing my best to feel ready, by reading more, reviewing my notes, and organizing my thoughts. I’m also going to knit a few more rows on my stripe study shawl. Another row and a half and it will be time to begin the border. I should be able to finish the shawl before the oral part of my exams in a few weeks, and I think I’ll bring this with me as a tangible representation of all of the energy I’ve put into this process.

Onward.

another stripe.

Still here, still knitting! I didn’t mean to disappear this week. I was just waiting until my stripe study shawl “looked” bigger. As the shawl grows, each stripe takes longer. I’m not convinced that I’m doing the increases at the off-center center correctly, because the point of the dark stripes looks a little wonky. I wonder if a less open increase, like a kfb, might help with that. (Because I’m totally going to knit this again. And again.)

I’ll leave you with some visuals that demonstrate to me that spring is almost here:

Me, last week — wrapped in my terra shawl, a warm sweater, long underwear, and warm house boots.

Me, yesterday: in a lightweight shawl, a floral print, and pink! As I type this, the sky is clear and the birds are chirping. I’m headed back to the library as soon as it opens, but first, Boh and I are going to take a nice walk. Happy weekend!

day two.

Brokeknits has been hinting at this forever, with all of her gorgeous stripey shawls, but I think I had to figure it out for myself: stripes are good for academic productivity. How else can you explain that I not only met my word count goal for day one of my exam, but I also managed to knit several more stripes on my shawl?

I am in love with this shawl. That center-ish spot (you know, where the center would be if this were symmetrical) looks little less crisp than I’d like, but I’m thinking it might have to do with the fact that the dark grey trekking pro natura I’m using is slightly thinner than the local organic undyed wool, which is closer to sport weight. I’m hoping the poofiness of garter stitch after blocking will help with this — and do a better job of hiding the short row wraps.

And then there’s this guy. Such a good sport.

Alright, back to it.

stripe study shawl start.

I stayed up past my bedtime last night just to finish one more row, one more section, one more… I’ve missed this. You know, the need to keep going, the way that everything else gets a little blurry when you’re focused on the squish of the wool, the click-clack of the needles; when the podcast ends and you barely notice.

I didn’t do it on purpose, exactly. I finished terra and I didn’t cast on anything new. I have WIPs, sweaters, even, that I can’t wait to wear. But they’re all in stages that require counting, thinking, more brain power than I really have.

This is dangerously addicting in just the right way. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to take a guilt-free day off. Already I’ve been slapping my own wrists: no, don’t pick up that book; no, not that one either. Even in the shower this morning, my mind was drifting toward the pile of books it might be nice to just get a feel for.

Today is my day off, and this shawl is going to help. Well, this, plans with friends, a rainy walk with Boh, and an evening yoga class.

I’m not sure if I’ll be here in this space this week. Sometimes I find that blogging helps me to start writing in the morning — it gets my fingers moving in a low-stakes (well, lower than 30 pages of exam-writing) kind of way. So I might be here. But I might not.

Either way, I’m sending a great big thank-you out into blogland for all of your words of encouragement. All of this exam reading, more so than other kinds of reading (due to the pace and specificity of it), is necessarily quite solitary. Thanks for keeping me company.