I’ve been down with that awful crud that’s been going around, what my dad would have called “the galloping epizöotic*.” Nasty business. Head cold plus bronchitis. (I’ve been watching my temperature closely as there’s a nasty strain of flu that has been going round as well.) I’ve been holed up at home and haven’t been going out at all. Staying in out of the cold temps. We did get some cold weather, but the Polar Vortex missed us this time. Those poor people up north. (What we now call “Polar Vortex” is what we used to call a “blue” norther, for the same reason Babe is blue.)
I haven’t been doing much knitting in the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been spending most of my time either sleeping, blowing my nose or trying to cough up my toenails. I did get in some reading though. I’ve had one of those bedside tables on rollers for a couple of years. (I deliberately set up my bedroom furniture so I have room to roll the table out of the way when not needed.) I mounted a plug strip with a 12-foot cord on the underside of the table top (just takes two screws) where I can plug in my Kindle tablet and a little desk lamp, as well as my phone, to keep them charged, and when I’m not using the table, it doubles as a charging station for my electronics. (I have some binder clips clamped onto the edge of the table to hold the charging cords when not in use.) I have a little stand for my tablet. It’s a nice sized little table, and there’s also room for a pot of tea and a plate of munchies. Last year, I got a bed wedge to complete the ensemble, and I was so glad to have all of it these past two weeks. Now if I can just get my reader’s shrug finished . . . Hygge, y’all. Tells you something, doesn’t it, when other cultures have a word for something so basic and fundamental, and yours doesn’t. I mean, what’s the point of having a place to live if it ain’t comfy, snuggly and exactly suited to your needs? What the world needs now is Gemütlichkeit, sweet Gemütlichkeit. . . .
One of the ladies in this Sekret Klub my mom belongs to wanted some more washcloths, and of course I got roped into making them. The lady said she’d pay me, what do I charge? Well, obviously, there’s the cost of the materials, but what about my time? People have no idea how much time is involved in doing things like this, and isn’t my time worth something? Takes me about 3 hours to knit a wash cloth. So for one washcloth, figure $4 for the yarn, and minimum wage in Tx is $7.25/hour, so $25.75 per washcloth . . . .? See the problem? I’m going to charge her $15 for two, which is dead cheap when you get right down to it. The cotton yarn I make them out of is stiff and hard to knit with, and I can’t knit on something made with it for too long before my hands start getting unhappy with me, and I was done with knitting washcloths two months ago . . . grumble . . . grumble . . .
Which brings me to: One of the washcloths is based on a simple seed stitch pattern. Here’s the pattern for free.
Cast on an even number of stitches +1. (41 stitches for a washcloth)
Knit 12 rows. Measure length of work so far = X.
Row 1: K2, *p1, k1, repeat from * until 1 stitch remains, k1.
Repeat row 1 until piece lacks X measurement to be long enough.
Knit 12 rows.
It makes a nice nubby washcloth, but you can easily adapt this pattern to make anything from a washcloth to a coaster, to a place mat, to a table runner, to a throw rug, to an afghan to a blanket/bedspread. A set of coasters would be a great stashbuster project for those odds and ends of cotton yarn.
Folks have commented about the time I spend reading. I mentioned I got a 10-inch Kindle Fire tablet because of the bigger screen, which is able to display more text — almost a whole page — at a time. This is because I read pretty fast. I also tend to binge read. That means I have to allocate my time accordingly. I try hard not to read at bedtime (unless its a book of short stories), otherwise I’ll get caught up in the story, keep turning pages until suddenly there’s no more pages, look up at the clock and it’s 5 a.m.! (If a book can’t hold my attention like that, I’ll bob to the surface pretty quickly and typically won’t finish the book.)
I’m retired now, and my time is my own, so I can spend all day (or all night) reading a book at one sitting if I want to. I try not to stay up all night reading, though, because my mom gets upset with me when I don’t keep “normal” hours and sleep at the right time, etc. (She’s the only one it bothers . . . ) But really, it’s all about time management. If you want to read more, allocate a block of time for reading. Schedule it into your other activities in the evenings or on the weekends. A dedicated block of time to find a comfy seat somewhere quiet, shift into neutral, kick back, take it easy and read. Instead of sitting like a zombie in front of the TV at night, turn the TV off and read. Now there’s a radical concept . . .
Now that I’m starting to feel less like I’ve been rode hard and put away wet, as we say here in the Flatlands, I’m beginning to think about knitting again and the projects I have going and want to get back into — once I finish this last durn washcloth. . . .
*I have a cheat sheet of ASCII codes for all the diacritical markings like ö. You hold down the "ALT" key, use the number pad to type the code number, then release the ALT key to get them. A word's not spelled correctly unless it has all the right little marks, like façade, fiancé, Münster . . . Life on the spectrum, y'all.