Wednesday, 6 July 2016

a long-overdue break

i've just booked a trip to go to toronto in august, and for the first time in years, it will be a trip for the sole purpose of taking a break. since my university days, my trips have always been with a purpose of study or work. which is fine, because it's a huge privilege to be able to travel with the frequency that i do (i think i've been on planes nearly every year since i was a baby, due partly to having family spread across a very large continent, but it's still a privilege many can't afford). and it's always been a conscious decision to use my vacation days and air miles to travel somewhere for a project or conference or course or residency. i prioritize what is almost always related to my art practice over just taking time off. realistically, i don't do days off particularly well. i get antsy, and there's always something to be working on anyway. but for the last year especially, i have really not taken time off. if i spend an hour not doing something productive, i feel guilty. and it's definitely taking a toll, and while i've been working on finding more of a balance, that balance seems to come at the expense of sleep. case in point - i've been working until 1am every night in the past week, regardless of whether it's a weekday or weekend.

tweed on the left, speckles from tanis on the right. believe it or not, those speckles are the same colourway and dye lot.

so now, i have a full week in toronto with humans i haven't seen in measurements of years and love dearly, and nothing pre-scheduled that affects my ability to see them. i will go to museums, and yarn shops, and restaurants, and wander along streets, and spend time with people i love and miss. and i  will probably work like crazy right up until i leave and immediately upon my return because september is a bit of a crazy month for me (book launch, fibre fest, my last month of prep before my neurocraft installation...). but the only work i'm bringing with me will be knitting, which is currently where my brain is hanging out. since i'm gone for a week, i don't want to pack too much (need to leave some space for those yarn purchases, y'know), and i also don't want to pack a project that will either be too quick or too complicated for a lot of social knitting time. most of my projects this summer are larger ones (sweaters and that big blanket), and the other projects are fairly complicated lace ones. i've pulled four skeins out of my stash - my newest acquisitions from tanis fiber arts and two tweedy balls of wool and silk from last winter at wolseley wool. my plan is a relatively mindless and humongous shawl, which might be a mistake, since toronto is notoriously hot and sticky in august. but we'll see.

julie's sevilla yarn in shiitake, with a faux fur pompom to top it off.

in the meantime, i've been taking short knitting breaks between my large projects to whip off single skein projects with the yarn i bought from julie asselin last month. i hadn't intended on doing them until the fall, but i've been feeling really scattered and often frustrated with my larger projects. i need small accomplishments that i can tick off my to-do list every once in a while to feel like i'm still on top of my game. realistically, there's a whole lot more involved in releasing a design than just knitting up the sample (pattern layout, photos, tech editing, test knitting...), but getting those samples done does feel pretty damn great. i have a big backlog of patterns that need several of those final steps before they get released, but my paperwork priority right now is the book. and honestly, once the book is done, i think i'll need a few days (or weeks) off from paperwork. so i'll focus on other stuff at that point, like building my neurocraft installation and knitting those larger projects and planning a book launch. and maybe sleeping a little more.

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