Sunday, July 2, 2017

Prize-Winning Knitting! - Clackamas County Fair 2016

Almost a year later, I've sat down and written up the post to accompany my county fair prize-winning knits from 2016!

I took home second place in the dishcloth lot for my Almost-Lost Dishcloth. The only reason I entered it was my grammy had it and said, "It was too pretty to use." The judges agreed and this simple short-row dishcloth helped me take home two whole dollars. I'm tickled pink.

The other prize-winning knit from 2016 was the Honey Cowl I knit for my grammy. I took third place in the scarves lot for it. I'm really proud of the even tension I achieved with the slipped stitches and the finishing. I pocked that single dollar for the placement.

I guess I get to add "prize-winning knitter" to my list of achievements. (Hopefully no one checks out my claim too closely!)

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Beginnings - 2017 Edition

I took quite the hiatus while I finished up my MFA. I needed to focus on what my next steps were. The good news is I took the plunge and started my own business - Exceptional Editorial, LLC. I haven't double-checked my receipts and expenses against the revenue for 2016, but tentatively I think I made a small profit!

Looking back at my resolutions for 2016, I know I didn't accomplish many of them. The priorities in my life started to shift dramatically as I finished up my MFA - I wanted to focus on publication and working to find a way to better have the time and energy to write and create.

Let's look at what I said last year (2016), re: goals.
  1. Knit (or finish) at least two projects from kits or Craftsy classes. I'm working on Drachenfels and should finish it shortly after the New Year. I have other projects like LunarisTunisian Crochet Multi-GarmentTree of Life Afghan, Beyond Basic Broomstick Lace (class), My First Raglan Cardigan (class, plus I bought the kit), Shawlscapes by Stephen West (class), and Choose Your Own Sweater Adventure (class), among others.

    Nope. Didn't even finish Drachenfels. It's at like 280+ stitches per row and living in a project bag/time out because it doesn't bring me joy. I did, however, go the entire year without buying any yarn. Complete cold sheep success. The only yarn that came in was a free sample I got with my book order from Knitpicks and a skein that was a gift from my sister. Otherwise, I worked on knitting down the stash.
  2. I want to finish my MFA thesis by the end of next year. I have sent in my thesis proposal and I'm waiting to see if it was approved or not. I'm hoping to finish by August, but I'm giving myself an extra semester in case my proposal is not accepted in January.

    I finished and defended two weeks before my grandfather died. I've been sending the finalized project off to publishers for consideration. If I don't get any bites by May or June, I'll spend some time this summer revising.
  3. Unread Books Project. Moving twice in less than two months, I realized I have a lot of books, many of which I have dragged state to state, all unread. So, to remedy this, the Unread Books Project is me picking at least one book per week to read for fun and/or pleasure from the stack of books that have sat and sat and sat in my home. To achieve this goal, I will read 45 to 52 books over the course of the year and do a biweekly or monthly report on what I've read. I also want to recall when and where I bought the book (or was gifted the book) when writing up which book or books I've finished.

    I put the blog on hiatus and with it, the unread books project. I'm still pretty burned out from reading after the PhD and MFA programs. I've been gifted several books I'm genuinely excited to read, so I'm hoping to get back in the saddle as far as reading in 2017.
I didn't really accomplish as much as I wanted. It's OK. I made a lateral move at work to a position that is far less stressful and, so far, has been very rewarding. I'm still shocked I managed to land two clients within a month of putting up my shingle. I'm grateful.

I also joined Instagram. I post knitting pictures, because knitting really brings me joy. I finished a very sweet sweater that was a free pattern from Lion Brand. I borrowed my mom's Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann to make a baby surprise jacket. I cast on today and hope I can follow the older-style instructions.

I don't know what goals I want to set for myself this year. I've got a lot of energy going into a lot of places. I find that very few of my goals get accomplished because my priorities dramatically shift. I'm going to focus on a few attainable touchstones rather than goals for 2017:
  1. Continue working on decluttering my new house. I've got limited space and too much stuff to fit comfortably in it. I'll continue to cold sheep - no new yarn unless I have a specific project I will start right away. It's the seduction of potential - these papers/markers/yarn could all become something. The siren song of making and doing is difficult to ignore.
  2. Keep working on Exceptional Editorial. I would love to make a profit three out of five years for tax purposes.
Here's to 2017.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

On Hiatus Until May 2016

Between full-time work and full-time school, I'm having trouble finding the time to sit down and do a weekly blog.

I'm updating my MFA thesis blog three times a week, but it's really hard to keep up with both.

So, is on hiatus until at least May 2016.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sunday, again?

Between full-time work and full-time school, it's getting a bit much to keep this blog updated.

I'm still committed to the projects for the year. I finished Never Let Me Go this week - the first non-thesis/non-school book I've read this year. I have a lot more books to go to meet my Unfinished Book project, but ... it's a start.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowl!

I watched half of the Super Bowl at my parents' house, then headed home to do homework. (Which I'm still working on.) I know I skipped last week's blog; I've been swamped at work and school is really cutting in to my free time.

I'm working on some knitting, but I don't think I'll finish the Rose City Mystery Knit-Along in time for the March 3 yarn crawl.

It'll be a busy several weeks and I'm still working on balancing work and life and school.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

On Not Taking the Job

The Modern Language Association (MLA) issues recommendations for the profession of teaching languages (English and foreign). One of those recommendations is a minimum per-course compensation based on credit hours.

For those who don't want to click on the link, the recommended compensation for 2015-2016 for a three-credit course is $4,900 for a quarter-length class or $7,350 for a semester-length course; MLA recommends $5,320 for a quarter-length course and $8,020 for a semester-length course if compensation were to be more on-par with the recommended annual (and entry-level) salary of $48,180.

Thanks to these recommendations, I've decided to not even waste my time on applying for a job at the community college down the street. While the job seems to be generous at first ($50-60/hour), the truth is that compensation is only for time spent physically inside the classroom. It does not count the large (and often invisible) part of the job - course planning and grading.

Also thanks to the adjunct project, I was better able to pin down how that hourly rate translated to a final salary and frankly it was a mere third of the MLA-recommended salary.

While I sincerely and deeply miss teaching and would love to add a class or two to my life, the compensation isn't worth the loss of my free time. This is part of fighting back against the bottoming-out salaries in the profession; refusing to take work that does not meet minimum, professional association-recommended salaries means that I value my labor and its financial value rather than the "joy" or "satisfaction" of the profession.

I miss teaching and would love to be in a classroom, but I won't do it for less than my professional association says is fair recompense.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New year, new cold

Missed Sunday's deadline because I've been battling a viral cold for most of a week and really out of things because of it. I'm finally feeling better, but not 100 percent there.