I have felt rather disconnected from knitting lately, which is unsurprising, given that I’ve had a lot less time in which to knit.

I changed jobs recently. Without getting into too much detail, I will say that I still work nights, and I work for the same company. However, my previous position was eliminated, and I am working in a newly-created role in a newly-created department. They are still in the process of filling some of the new positions, and the resulting holes in the schedule mean I am working a lot of overtime. I’m not complaining – I’m trying to take it in the spirit of making hay while the sun shines, because once we’re fully staffed, I may not be able to work any more than my allotted number of hours. Given that I have been on a schedule where I was getting about 8 hours of overtime every pay period, losing that extra little bit of time will be a bit of an adjustment for me.

(I’m also losing the benefit of having set schedule: three nights one week, followed by a three-day weekend, then four nights the next, followed by a four-day weekend. Now it looks like someone just threw darts at a calendar, and it’s hard to get out of the mindset of “Friday is groceries and sleep, Saturday is chores, Sunday/Monday are for whatever I damn well please.” I definitely had it very, very good, but maybe it’s okay that things are getting shaken up a bit, because there’s something to be said for warding off complacency. If nothing else, this will spur me into figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, and maybe it will force me to take some steps towards actually accomplishing it. Whatever it is.)

In my old job, I had a rather large amount of freedom, which I definitely appreciated, as I am a bit of a rambler. I also had time to knit, during the wee hours when there wasn’t a lot to do. During my last week or so, I was actually actively trying to hang back and be more of a resource person, to help my coworkers transition to having no one there at all. I suspect this played a major role in my being able to complete four pairs of socks within a six-week span. The last pair took only six days, which was a personal best (especially for being an 80-stitch sock), but the next pair I cast on has taken three weeks so far, and I’m just now a few rows into the leg (going toe-up, fortunately).

Now, not only am I confined, but I’ve been too busy to worry about yarn. Sometimes it’s just that there isn’t really any “lull” time, although I believe that too will come when we’re more comfortable in the job. But another factor is that I just don’t know these people like I did “my” people. Judging by the amount of tablets and phones I’ve seen coming out around midnight, I’m sure they’d be fine with it, but I also don’t know if I want to break that barrier so early – kick off my shoes, so to speak.

Plus, my old department was pretty well aware that I was not their personal knitwear dispensing machine (exceptions have been made in special cases, see dealer for details, offer not valid in Alaska or Hawaii, allow 6-8 months for delivery). I’d have to train a whole new group of people to not ask me for knitted things, and as an introvert who hates to tell people no, this is never a fun conversation for me to have.

I do think it would be a little easier to hammer that point into them early on, while we’re still relative strangers, because what kind of clueless fool expects a stranger to crank them out knitwear? (Actually, I’m a Selfish Knitter, so I hear tell of many such clueless fools.) But then you get into conversations about how you don’t want to turn your hobby into an obligation, and if you did, you wouldn’t be able to charge what you think the work is worth. I find this facet of the argument to be a little tricky when one is able to knit while at work, because it could easily be twisted into “well, you’re already getting paid for that knitting time, so you should be giving away what you make.” Sure, that’s easily countered by “well, you get to read on your Kindle, so we’re both getting to do a hobby we enjoy while on the clock. Only difference is at the end of it, I get a physical object.” But I’d rather avoid that conversation entirely.

I think for now, I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing the past two weeks: leaving the knitting at home, and spending the twelve hours basically staring into a void. There are other crafty people working there, so maybe I’ll just follow their lead.

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Other things have ended too, though, and honestly, I’m relieved. I’m speaking, of course, of the “Ravellenics” and Stitches West. (I use “Ravellenics” in quotes because I think it’s absurd that the name had to be changed from Ravelympics, which was a cute little play on words for the event that ran during the Olympic Games, because apparently there was some kind of risk of someone mistaking a knitter trying to complete an afghan within three weeks for a world-class athlete.) It’s all silliness, and it’s silly to hold any kind of a grudge over it, but there it is. I was actually kind of excited to participate back in 2012, but all that combined with Russia’s human-rights track record and the various Sochi mishaps, kind of left a sour taste in my mouth.

I don’t begrudge or judge anyone else for participating in what the Knitmores have cheekily named “TEFKAKO” (The Event Formerly Known As Knitting Olympics). I think setting goals is great, and I respect those who used the opportunity to knit for a worthy cause (Halos of Hope). My complaint was nothing more than the petulant gripe that I was just tired of hearing about it. I listen to at least half a dozen podcasts that update on a weekly or bimonthly basis, and it has been a pretty hot topic of late.

I realize that most of the chatter had to do with projects, which is fairly common fare for knitting podcasters to talk about. It was just that it’s like hearing everyone talk about how great someone is when you don’t like that person. I felt like Jan Brady: “Ravellenics, Ravellenics, Ravellenics!” As a non-participant, I was kind of over it.

The same goes for Stitches. I understand that it’s exciting, and I was excited for those attending… at first. For some reason, I happen to have gravitated towards a number of podcasters who are situated on the West Coast, so the Stitches prep and talk was just a little much at times. What I should have done was skipped the knitting podcasts for January and February, and instead focused on catching up on the obscene volume of Stuff You Should Know and Stuff Mom Never Told You that have taken up residence on my phone. (It just occurred to me that I have a podcast stash.)

Instead, I chose to listen to the knitting podcasts but complain about them anyway, because truly, what else is the internet for? Besides, you kind of get to missing some of these people when you don’t hear from them for a while, or at least I do. When the Knitmore Girls were off for a week, I wondered if maybe one of them was sick and hoped they were okay. When Marc Maron talked about how he ended up finally getting together with Moon Zappa, I was incredibly happy for them, even though the story practically gave me diabetes. And I love the little “outtake” of random silliness that Danie throws in at the end of Prairie Girls! I mean, the informational podcasts are fun, and it’s great having arcane knowledge about a wide variety of random subjects, but I don’t feel that personal connection with the hosts.

I am glad everyone had fun out in California. I would love it if I were able to get to a major fiber convention, even though I’m not really a crowds/people person. To be honest, though, I probably wouldn’t be on board for stuff like the pajama party or fashion show type of social stuff, and would probably stick to the market and maybe take a class or two. I don’t even think I’d try to find my favorite podcasters, even though they all talk about how they like meeting listeners. I’d feel weird and stalkery and not quite myself, as I do any time my real and virtual worlds collide (which makes absolutely no sense, since I met my husband on the Internet).

I did go to Carolina FiberFest last year, and it was nice, but fairly small. I would really like to go to Stitches South. In fact, if I still lived in South Carolina, I probably would, because my hometown is only about a three hour drive away. But I’m about six hours north of Atlanta now, and six hours culminating in Atlanta traffic just sounds like absolute hell, no matter how much delicious yarny goodness is waiting for me at the end of it. Plus, I’d be doing all the driving, so it’s not even like I could pass the time by working on a pair of socks.

No, Stitches South is pretty much out of the picture for me. The only way I could see having a good time going is if I were to be able to get a ride (which would mean six hours in a car with a stranger, which is a tough thing to do even with a friend when you’re as socially awkward as I am) and have a place down there to stay. There are rooms at the convention center, but $100 a night is not really in my budget. Splitting a room would be an option, but again, that whole introvert thing. Getting a cheaper room doesn’t sound like the best idea in an unfamiliar major metropolitan area, plus it would mean I’d have to either have my car or use public transit to get to Stitches itself.

I’m just going to keep counting the days until my husband’s graduation and starting his grown-up job, then I can fly to whichever Stitches I want (or just hold my own fiber event, with blackjack and hookers). Oh, I have big dreams for that magical day when we finally become a two-income household. There will be Wollmeise.

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