teeming ideas

The past three days I’ve been attending a conference Computers in Libraries that has given me lots of ideas. Although I never really intended this blog for professional discussion, I feel the need to work out some of these ideas that have been suggested by the presentations I’ve seen.

Like any conference, there were some good presentations and some not so good. The ones that were most interesting to me were about wikis and about the software that affects the display of search results for library catalogs. The potential here is enormous. I think what excited me most about the search display presentations was the fact that the work I produce — subject headings, classification numbers, authority headings — were all being used to actually and actively narrow the search by the users in a way that had never been done before. Before, it was always difficult for the user to see how to use those headings to properly find what they wanted. Now the information is presented as an easy click to narrow a search. The information I produce is actively being used.

The wiki presentations showed the possibilities of how wikis could be used. Since I am trying to do something like that for our team, this was actually extremely helpful. I think I’m on the right track. Maybe later, I’ll discuss that in more detail.

My brain is too tired and too full to even discuss it in much detail right now, but I’ll try again on Monday.

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Two now done!

Well, almost.

Last night, I finished the knitting of my second pair of socks. A lovely grey of the Wildfoote sock yarn (SY-39 master grey), I decided that I wanted to try out the toe-up pattern on the Wendy Knits site in order to properly learn short rows. Although the first sock took many tries, the second moved right along. (Many tries meaning I started back in October, when I was flushed with success from finishing my first pair of socks, I redid the toe three times before I successfully accomplished the short rows, had the same problem on the heel and redid IT three times before I got it done right, started the cuff and then ripped back because the change in needle size turned out to be a mistake, and finally finished it. There were long rests from frustration in between these several attempts. The second sock took probably a month, and that only because I’ve been working on other things in the meanwhile. Each try for toe and heel was successful on the first go round. Apparently the three tries for each on the first sock meant I did learn it properly.)

So, October to March for this second pair — I think my next pair, which is already started with some lovely Koigu, won’t take as long, although I have had to rip back once already. (I had cast on too few stitches for the needle size US0.)

I’ll get a picture up as soon as I can. There is still some weaving-in of ends to do, plus I want to better cover up the hole in my heels at the ankle. I did try to pick up stitches to cover this problem, but apparently didn’t quite get enough.

The second FO is the prayer shawl. I do actually still have to bind off; haven’t had the time in the last two nights to get to it because I want to do the stretchy bind-off from EZ, but otherwise it’s finished. I’m really glad about that since I really do want to start the next one. The pattern is mindless, but I’m eager to use the new yarn. It’s variegated and pretty! (Don’t have the details with me now, tell you later what it is.)

Resolutions of a different kind: question 10

10. How can I make sure I achieve my goals? As you work toward your goals, keep asking yourself, “What’s the next step? What skills or support do I need now? Do I need a mentor? A ‘buddy’?”

In a way, I’ve already provided myself with some of the encouragement I need.

For the crafting skills, I have my lunch meetings at work and my monthly craft meeting at my house. Also, I regularly read blogs that focus on these matters. These help me to keep motivated.

For the renovation, I have friends who are to help me. This makes me somewhat accountable. I am buying a piece per month — this month’s piece hasn’t been bought yet, but I am ready for it. I just need to find time to actually buy it!

For the writing, well, I am accountable to whoever is reading me.

For the weight loss, I meet on Monday nights with a friend who has the same goals.

As for the rest, well, I think that’s enough for one year’s work. Which doesn’t mean I won’t try to accomplish some other things, I just won’t be dismayed if I don’t get to them this year.

Intro to projects 12

So, now let me tell you about a project that isn’t really a project yet, just a lot of ideas.

I’ve been wanting to expand beyond simple cross-stitch into embroidery stitching — there are so many shapes that cross-stitch doesn’t do justice to. And having seen some lovely embroideries done by others, especially some of the crazy quilting blogs that I visit, I have found them absolutely inspiring. So I’ve thought that it would be very nice to find a picture that I could embroider, using beautiful threads and an embroidery stitch dictionary. But I’ve had a really hard time finding a picture of something that inspired me enough to want to embroider it. I’ve been looking at all kinds of pictures of nature, of old illuminated manuscripts, of interesting symbols from ancient times, and nothing strikes me as just the right thing.

I have some lovely, handpainted evenweave linen that I used for a cross-stitch project. It would be a nice background for a picture from nature, that I could then stitch on to the linen curtains that I sewed for my bedroom. They are so plain that a picture of flowers or butterflies or dragonflies would be a lovely addition.

Hopefully, a very simple one will someday hit the right chord, so that I can actually attempt something and start to expand my skills. In the meantime, I’ve been using the Beyond Cross Stitch learning series to attempt many new stitches.

the rest of the projects to come
14. cable scarf
15. quilt for Mom
16. potholders
17. jewelbox quilt
18. preemie sleeper for charity/friends; also need to make a hat — made one sleeper, more to come (just hope the baby gets to wear it!)
19. bags
20. yellow dress (muslin first! since the batik dress showed that the sizing is not perfect) — have cut the muslin
21. winter dresses
22. spinning for sweater — doing other spinning in the meantime
23. Celtic blackwork pattern
24. wristwarmers with leftover yarn from springtime hat(I need to tell you about that one too.) — shawl idea didn’t work out, but still using the same stitch pattern
25. possibilities for leftovers
26. purplish brown cardigan w/very special yarn
27. Lochinver sweater
28. new baby sweater

Resolutions of a different kind: question 9

9. What are my top 10 goals for next year? Check these goals against your answers to the previous questions. Is there a good balance between values, roles and goals? Do the goals reflect what’s most important to you? Which ones really “pop” and get you excited? Choose your most compelling goal and write it at the top of your list. Continue choosing your next most important goal until your prioritized list is complete.

In a way, I’ve already stated my goals, and narrowing it down is somewhat difficult. And ten actually seems to be too much. So, let me look at the last answer and say that the top goals that need extra action are:

1) crafting skills development, especially in a class
2) renovate front bathroom
3) writing regularly

Everything is actually already a part of what I consider to be normal life.

Resolutions of a different kind: question 8

8. What are my goals for each role? Your role-based goals don’t need to be terribly ambitious; they just need to feel energizing and purposeful and reflect your values. State your goals in the positive (“start” vs. “stop,” “do” vs. “don’t”) and as verbs. The best goals are also specific and measurable. For example, “Meditate for 15 minutes each morning” is preferable to the more vague “Reduce stress and increase peace of mind.”

!Worker/Teacher/Reviewer/HTML encoder — Continue to perform the necessary duties, add to my skills as a teacher and computer expert. Develop myself professionally and strive to network with the outside library world. (conference attendance, classes, training practice)
!Friend of varied levels — Work to develop and maintain the friendships that are so important to me. (visit, phone, email, blog!)
!Homeowner/!Do-it-yourselfer — Improve my house! Most especially, I wish to renovate the front bathroom this year. (Buy all the necessary pieces, then schedule the work with friends.)
!Aunt/Daughter/Sister/Cousin/Niece — I really think of all these as being a family member. — Work to maintain contact and enrich the relationships in my family. I want our family to be strong and flexible in helping everyone to be the best person that God wants us each to be. (visits and phone calls)
!Crafter (Spinner, quilter, sewer, cross-stitcher, etc.) — Add to my skills and improve the ones I have. (take a class, work on all the projects I have)
!Reader — and now I suppose a writer since I started this blog — Continue to practice writing, so that I can eventually write a novel. But as a reader, continue to expand my reading for self-development. (write on blog regularly, do NaNoWriMo; continue to read books for information, not just entertainment)
!Singer/Video/audio person/Teacher — all these have to do with the ministries in which I serve at church — Use these skills and improve them whenever possible. (watch for opportunities in addition to regular service)
!Treasurer of a music fraternity chapter (I want to stop being this in a short while.) — Get it done. Leave it in shape for the next person. (write up a schedule of tasks; do the tasks that await me)

I think that’s plenty of resolutions for one year.

Intro to projects 13

Well, it’s been a long time since I posted on anything, due to the fact that my right arm and hand had some weird inflammation of the muscle problem, causing heat and pain. Typing on the computer did not help, so I decided to limit it to only necessary work, which meant the job for which I get paid, and the things I have absolutely promised to do on a deadline.

Fortunately, that time is now passed. I still need to be a little careful to not overuse my right arm, but the time of active pain is past, and I have been knitting again with no harm. (It was incredibly frustrating during the first week of the Olympics — great knitting time and my arm just couldn’t do it.)

Now I know that I haven’t finished my ten questions, but believe me when I say I need focus to work on that. So instead let me share about some further projects or project ideas. Among the list, let me describe #13, the prayer shawl.

This is based on the ministry that was started in the last decade to use knitting and/or crochet to express love to those in need of comfort and encouragement. While I didn’t feel any need to start a group of people to do this at my church — maybe I will one day — I thought it would be nice to make a shawl myself and give it away. This can be one of the ongoing projects that is always on the needles for fairly mindless knitting.

Now, not being one to follow suggestions exactly if they don’t suit me, I decided that I didn’t really want to use big yarn and big needles this time around. The pattern doesn’t care, so I decided to use what I prefer to work with. Actually, this is probably the biggest needle size I’ve used yet — US9 — and it just confirms me in my preference for smaller needle sizes. But I also have decided that this has just taken too long; I want these shawls to move along a little faster so I can give away more, so I think I’ll use a thicker yarn and make sure that I cast on for a slimmer, longer shawl than this one is turning out to be. I’m using Paton’s Classic 100% wool yarn, six balls of the denim shade. I like it, but the yarn is too thin for the effect I really was aiming for.

I do actually have picture for it, but it’s fairly dark.

It’s the big bluish mass in the center. The greenish thing up in the left corner is the Irish Diamond shawl that I’ve described before in one blobbish mass. I’ll show a better picture of it laid out later on. To the bottom left are the socks I was working on at that time, which I have since finished. They were my first pair.

Anyway, I am getting close to the end of the prayer shawl; the fifth of six skeins is more than halfway done. It is fairly mindless knitting and it’s time for it to be done. When I’m done, I’ll look around and see who needs one, get my small group at church to help me pray over it, and send it on to be a comfort to that person in need. In the meantime, I’ll start the next one.

Slightly updated list of projects/ideas to describe:
12. embroidery ideas
13. prayer shawl
14. cable scarf
15. quilt for Mom
16. potholders
17. jewelbox quilt
18. preemie sleeper for charity/friends; also need to make a hat — made one sleeper, more to come (just hope the baby gets to wear it!)
19. bags
20. yellow dress (muslin first! since the batik dress showed that the sizing is not perfect) — have cut the muslin
21. winter dresses
22. spinning for sweater — doing other spinning in the meantime
23. Celtic blackwork pattern
24. wristwarmers with leftover yarn from springtime hat(I need to tell you about that one too.) — shawl idea didn’t work out, but still using the same stitch pattern
25. possibilities for leftovers
26. purplish brown cardigan w/very special yarn

P.S. For some reason, I can’t see my own picture that I’ve added. So, if you happen to be looking at this page and can’t see anything where it’s pretty clear there should be a picture, please comment to let me know.