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Procrastination

Dear Ann:
You know, I think I could teach a graduate-level course in Procrastination. For the past two weeks, I have been procrastinating at a break-neck pace. People ask me, ‘Kay, how do you manage to do it all?’ (Er, actually, they don’t.) The answer is, I do something else entirely.
In college, I procrastinated like everybody else. Meaning when I had a paper worth 80% of my grade due in two weeks or less, I watched Gilligan’s Island and Hogan’s Heroes for hours on end and ate prodigious quantities of Vending Machine Snacks. Nothing wrong with this basic methodology. It works, believe me. You get absolutely nothing done, and then, in a very short period of time during which you are in a total lather of anxiety, you get a lot done.
Then I went to law school. Everybody around me was staring at casenotes like it really mattered whether they were prepared in Torts tomorrow. There was no quiet place where a person could watch I Dream of Jeannie reruns all day without everybody finding out about it. I started to cave in to the pressure. I felt the need to Straighten Up and Fly Right. But then I had a breakthrough that took my procrastination to the Next Level: I started thinking of important things I really had to get busy and get done before I could, in all good conscience, begin studying.
“A girl’s got to eat, ” I said. So I spent hours shopping and cooking myself tasty and nutritious meals. A roommate taught me the basic laws of Kashrut so that I could cook healthy meals for him, too. Pretty soon I was making healthy quasi-Kosher meals for a regular cooking group.
“The brain needs oxygen to think deep thoughts about the Rule Against Perpetuities,” I said to myself. So I spent another couple of hours a day suiting up in my sweats and jogging past the drones gazing hopelessly out the library windows, on my way to the park for my daily run.
For those three years, I never got around to studying until late at night and/or late in the semester. But I was a healthy specimen. And very well groomed. I heated up the Lady Clairols every morning, rain or shine. I looked like an Avon Lady, but I was perky, if not exactly prepared to be called on in class.
What have I been procrastinating lately? These sweet little flower washcloths from the Winter 2003 issue of Interweave Knits, which I made for teacher presents. They are not all that hard, but they are a bit dangly what with knitting the petals separately. And the Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille, while lovely and cushy, wants to fight you and make your hands tired. So I procrastinated them off-and-on for two weeks, and only got down to business and finished them the night before Teacher Present Hand-Off. They had to be wet-blocked, and it was touch-and-go whether they would be dry enough to wrap in the morning.
Procrastinating these little washcloths led to an amazing boost in productivity on projects that I previously had been procrastinating. (Are you still with me?)
Instead of working on teacher presents, I did a garter-stitch marathon to finish up my knitted tribute to Loretta Pettway’s Bricklayer Quilt from the Gee’s Bend Quilters Exhibit. Here it is, bordered in the now-discontinued black shade of Rowan Denim:
bricklayerdone.jpg
(For those just tuning in, I started this blanket as Beach Knitting last summer. It had no particular due date–that’s why I finished it now! Here’s a closer look.)
I also used the excellent procrastination technique of Starting Something Completely New and Suddenly Necessary. I made a darling little baby poncho for darling little Baby Rose to wear on New Year’s Eve. It’s in Manos del Uruguay, in a slightly-variegated fuschia. I’ve sewn it up, and now it’s reached a stage that I must procrastinate: attaching the fringe.
Sometimes, your back is up against the wall. To procrastinate something, you have no choice but to stop procrastinating something else. Are you sitting down? I started working on this:
oliveoyl.jpg
Yes, it’s the Olive from Rowan 26 that I’m knitting for you in the Curls and Purls NYC knitalong. Remember? It’s a Peter Pan-collared cardi in Felted Tweed, so boxy and old-fashioned that it should be called Olive Oyl. But it’s tweedylicious, the very essence of that Yorkshire Spinster vibe you love, and I’m almost up to the shoulder shaping on the back. Perfect for those long hours driving from Omaha, Nebraska to Hutchinson, Kansas after Christmas, and all the airplane time to and from the frozen plains and New York.
By the way, I also procrastinated all of my Christmas shopping.
Happy holidays, everybody!!
Love, Kay

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Ahh Procrastination – one of my favourite activities! (I was still beading my wedding cloak on the morning of the wedding, I *do* procrastination!)
    Glad to see Gee’s Bend finished – it’s looking fantastic! Rosie will look utterly adorable in that poncho too.
    My logcabin quilt-blankie thing is stalled due to eye inflammation – Ok, I know you don’t really have to look at garter stitch to do it, but I’m procrastinating all the same!
    My knitalong sweater is still not re-started or even thought about really, – actually I may well end up knitting something else as I’m becoming too rotund to even consider it (the skinniness of the model in the Jaeger book is really putting me off). I’m 19weeks pregnant & put on over 16lb already – is that normal or has my cake addiction gone too far?
    At work, my procrastination is hitting new heights – the testwork I have to do is stalled while I do another module of the Supervisory Skills distance learning malarkey my manager is putting my colleagues & I through… a joy it is not, but it currently beats testing paper!
    Procrastinate on!
    Jo
    xxx

  2. tee hee!! thanks for the good morning chuckle…procastination is a beautiful thing. no need to hurry darlin’ on the knitalong sweater, you have a l-o-n-g statute of limitations. miss rosies poncho looks too cute for words and your little washcloths are the vision of chenille snuggliness.
    weird thing bout your whole procrastination flashback, i could “smell” your lady clairol curlers heating up! weird?
    love you much, call before you leave.
    xo

  3. wow! love the blanket! that is really, really, lovely! what size is it?

  4. Ann,
    I finished my football helmet and posted a pic… Just thought that I would let you know so you could get started on your Tennessee Helmet!!!

  5. Dearest Kay,
    I’ve been meaning to write but have just, uh, put it off.
    I am stunned at the bales of knitting you have been quietly cranking out. Such production! I’m sending your name to the Gap so you can get started on their Fall 2004 handknits. Where’d you learn to crank like that?
    Log Cabin looks really splendid: the black edging does something to the whole of it. That’s a treasure.
    I’m glad to see your flower washcloths, which don’t look at all like I thought they would. I was expecting sweet, antimacassarish thingies, not such groovy sock-it-to-me-babies. Should have known better, I know.
    And Rosie’s poncho. So teeny. I can see how this became an urgent project.
    And Olive Oyl. Can’t believe you started Olive Oyl. It will have a Willa Cather vibe associated it with it, if you’re taking it on the plains.
    Happy trials, O Pioneer! I’ll be thinking of you guys.
    x0x00x0x Ann

  6. So very glad I put off that stockholders agreement long enough to read Mason Dixon this morning! As always, you have managed to make me feel that, despite what my family sometimes says, I am really a perfectly normal person. (My husband would still maintain that the Need To Start Something Else is dangerous when it reaches the point that you are tripping over knitting baskets in the dark.) We take off tomorrow; the road trip knitting and the cruise knitting have already been selected and carefully laid out on a portion of the floor that is not covered by knitting baskets, along with a stack of books for me and the children. Wish I could say that I had figured out what clothes to pack, but at least I know I will have the essentials. Merry Holidays Kay and Ann! See you in the New Year…

  7. Cruise on Evelyn!!! Be sure to take a Queen Elizabeth/Jackie O/Grace Kelly-style headscarf for that windy deck chair knitting. (After all, you’re already married–no need to expose the tresses to the elements.)
    Jo, Jo, Jo–16 pounds in 19 weeks sounds modest indeed. It just melts away after delivery. (Laughs maniacally.)
    Lisa–The Bricklayer Blanket is exactly as wide as a twin bed (with no overhang), and in length it reaches the bottom of the pillow. The perfect size throw for the unused bunk in my son’s Patriotic Cowpoke Bunk Bed Complex. It gives me great satisfaction to look at it and I am already tinkering in my head with how to knit my next Gee’s Bend Tribute (‘tribute’ is a much nicer word than ‘knock-off’, isn’t it?). I’m going to attempt a short-row version of the string-quilting method to showcase my collection of Vintage Handknit DK colors. (I’m going to call this little blanket ‘Ebay’).
    Thanks for all the kind comments– you really kicked me out of my Scroogey mood.
    Love, Lady Clairol
    P.S. If anybody wants some last-minute Skin So Soft, you know where to find me. Ding-dong!

  8. The Gee’s Bend quilts are amazing and I am very impressed with your knitting interpretation!

  9. I love the tribute quilt.The black edging really does finish it perfectly.Rosie will look even more delicious in her poncho.The washcloths are cute – teachers get spoilt,I think !
    Where did we find the time for all that heated roller malarky ? I don’t even blow dry these days ! Just wash,rub with towel,drag through comb,pin back and go.So sad.I did the ‘pinch test’ with my under eye skin,as you do when pondering an immimnent 43rd birthday.It didn’t spring back.Just sat in a little peak,contemplating it’s next move.
    I digress ! I am with you on the whole procrastination thing [handed my thesis in with 30 minutes to spare!].The self imposed pressure results in quality work I find. ;-]
    A quick aside to Evelyn : been meaning to write,but far too busy.Will do so in the New Year.Happy holiday.
    Happy Holiday Kay and Ann,and everyone else.
    x

  10. I can’t spell imminent ! And it’s my 44th birthday soonish,so I’m delusional as well.

  11. Hell, Emma, I called Kay’s blanket a Log Cabin blanket when every fool knows it’s a Bricklayer. Imminent, imanent, iminent, immanant, I give up. And don’t go poking around oneself more than one needs to! No news is good news, I say. x0x0

  12. Procrastination has always been may favourite subject – and it’s nice to know that I’m not alone! I was actually sitting on my living room floor last night having got to the ultimate point of having to decide which project to stop procrastinating on so I can seriously procrastinate on Jess which is scaring me! Couldn’t decide so rang my sister instead.. is this more procrastination or evasive action?… hhhmmm.. it worked anyway!
    Kay, the gees bend tribute is FAB! I might go so far as to say awesome, actually.

  13. Happy Holidays Ann and Kay…you two have made my Internet and knitting world richer and full of smiles!
    Have a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year Mason-Dixon Girls!!

  14. ‘Twas the night before… merry Christmas, y’all. xoxoxo

  15. Here I am, alone on the plains, sun’s goin’ down, it’s startin’ to rain…..Name that tune!!! (very obscure Randy Newman (if that’s not redundant), possibly before (even) my time). I am on the plains, but not alone. Having a Little House Christmas, complete with horehound candy and the whole nine yards of calico. I finally found some teenagers with a computer, and I am posting only to say EMMA WHAT WERE YOU THINKING FIDDLING WITH THE DELICATE UNDER-EYE SKIN???????
    After years with the specs, I recently tried contacts again in the hopes of improving my eyesight (hope unfulfilled–I bopped down the street enjoying the rare treat of peripheral vision, but unable to read the signs). The worst part of it was seeing my face, particularly the eye area, without the protective screen of the specs!!! I ran to the optician begging for new specs, and the contacts will forever float in their glass vials. I would never dream of pinching and seeing if anything springs back, ever. One should know better!!
    Thanks for all the good holiday wishes, everyone. Love, Kay

  16. Oh, and Ann, don’t fret. ‘Bricklayer’ and ‘Housetop’ are local Gee’s Bend names for Log Cabin. Interchangeable as far as I can see. At least that’s what I gathered from the exhibition book from which I am copying, er, tributing! quilts.
    Love, Kay, Beginner Quilt Historian