New year, slightly altered me.

I’ve been having trouble with this blog, and the trouble is this: it doesn’t sound like me at all. It’s a highly sanitized, heavily edited version of me. I didn’t want this to be the place where I pour out my troubles or bitch about that which cannot be changed; I wanted it to be a place where I talked about my knitting. That hasn’t been a problem. But I’ve tried so hard to be upbeat and non-controversial that I don’t sound like anyone in particular, and that’s making it very hard to write.

So let this be an entry where I tell some things about me, and then complain about something.

(Sidebar: I brought some socks to knit when we visited family over Christmas, and I took them out on Monday. Everyone who saw me said something along the lines of, “Are you still knitting? Christmas is over!” These folks have known me for fifteen years and have seen me knitting or stitching through all of them. I am baffled by their inquiries.)

I am Nicole. I’m married and have two small boys, 5 and 1, and I work as a part-time English teacher at a local college, and a part-time interpreter at two local historic house museums. I have a master’s in English and a master’s in museum studies (on which the ink is barely dry). I am a committed and unabashed New Englander, having grown up in New Hampshire and lived in Massachusetts for the last ten years. Eventually, my husband and I would like to have a little maple and Christmas tree farm somewhere. But for the moment, we are trying to become more involved with the community where we live.

I like reading and writing and movies and knitting and embroidery. As an amateur historian, I like reading about knitting and textile history (among other things), but I don’t do a lot of historical knitting. I don’t design much, mostly because I don’t know how, but I’m a good enough knitter to make anything I want. I like wool. I don’t gravitate to any particular thing; I make what I want or need. That means socks, mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, shawls, sweaters, toys, baby things, you name it. I have second-everything syndrome. I finished sixteen projects this year, and that is a banner year for me. Wonder what I can do without a master’s thesis hanging over my head.

Now, complaining: I’m annoyed prices for wool keep going up, since our fortunes are not good at the moment. Want to support the people who supply my hobby, but the timing stinks. Plus, this decision by Knit Picks to at once a) raise prices; b) discontinue two legacy wool lines; and c) introduce acrylics is leaving me pretty o_O. They protest too much that their acrylic is not squeaky and not plasticky and not like acrylics I can pick up from the local acrylic purveyors. Not that I do that a whole lot. The phrase “cheapening their brand” comes to mind. It’s all been sufficiently hashed out on the Rav board, so no need to regale me with explanations and defenses. Logically, I understand that they have their economic concerns. But I have mine also, and emotionally, I’m stuck at o_O. We’ll see what happens this coming year…with so many things.

I think I’ll save the knitting goals for another post–I’ve already gone on long enough!


4 thoughts on “New year, slightly altered me.

  1. (Forgive the numbering, but I just got back from the Boston area, visiting relatives, and so I need something to help me organize my thoughts. Long car ride was long!)

    1) I’m super happy you aren’t going to stop blogging, because I look forward to every post. You had me worried there.

    2) You live in New England, a really, really, really cold region, so cold in fact that on Thursday I went outside and my slightly damp hair froze at the ends. Don’t they realize more winter is on the way? (Also, inevitably next Christmas is going to show up, sooner than we expect, so best to be prepared!)

    3) I’ve never tried Knit Picks, but one thing the world doesn’t need, in my humble opinion, is more acrylic yarn. I’m also hoping that as wool prices go up more farmers will be interested in selling their clips and/or raising larger flocks and/or starting a flock, though of course not to the point where they can’t make money on it; it’s tough to balance between reasonable prices and paying people a legitimate living wage. As for the job thing, I will sit next to you and commiserate; I’m hoping some grant money will come through finally. (Blah, sorry to be such a bummer in your comments.)

    4) A Christmas tree and maple farm sounds heavenly.

    5) Congratulations on your master’s degree, I am thrilled for you! 🙂

    • Ha! I couldn’t really stop blogging, but I’ve known for a while that my voice wasn’t quite right. I need to stop being scared of living out loud a little more. I’m really pleased (and flattered) that you’re enjoying it.

      I’ve been a KP customer for about seven years, so this development is dismaying, and ICAM about the abundance of acrylic yarn. To me, KP represented real progress in knitting: a reliable source of natural-fiber yarn in a good lot of colors, for a price I could afford. They aren’t everything to me, but they aren’t nothing, either. I do hope that rising wool prices gets more farmers into it, because I do think the world needs more wool. Wool for everyone and everything!

      I’ve tried really hard not to gripe about my actual life on here, because this has not been a good year for us, and the knitting is getting me by in more ways than one. But false cheer is not like me at all, and trying to be upbeat without expressing an optimism I do not feel in platitudes I utterly detest crippled my ability to write in a way that I like. I think I’m going to aim for the kind of humorous griping that people who know me seem to love in spite of my failure to be cheerful. At least when I am in a good mood, people can trust that it’s genuine.

      Thanks so much about the degree. I barely felt it, honestly. Heard nothing back, called the department, and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, you’re done. Bind the thing. Plan to walk in May?” Going to have to go on the job market for real now…

      • I’ve been a fan since finding your blog, I think, on Jezebel? Or was it via Ravelry (which I found from Jezebel)? Anyway, you once gave me really good advice about grad school 🙂 (this is dergugelhupf, btw). So yes, I am a loyal reader.

        As a snarky bordering on acerbic person myself, I know exactly what you mean by not feeling free to be YOU online. I’m always paranoid something I say is going to come back and haunt me later, especially in job searches. I envy those who can find the space between saying everything and saying nothing…because I tend to veer toward the latter!

        Do you think your thesis will be available online? I’d like to read it 🙂

        As for the wool thing, I try to buy heritage sheep breeds and/or indie as much as possible, and I’ve discovered that some of the smaller mills do nice stuff made in the US for pretty decent prices. Bartlettyarns sport is the cheapest I’ve found yet, at about $9-10 for 430 yards. I think they’re from New Hampshire, though I am not sure which part of the state.

        • I remember you! I wish I could remember what I said about grad school, but I’m really glad it helped. And yeah, I get the impression that the knitting world is a pretty small one (possibly not as small as needlework, which is so truly tiny that the supply chain is actually pretty frail for heritage craft. One person dies and we’re out of business), and was picturing someone from KP reading that and what I published is a dialed-back version of what I really wanted to say. No need to get my bitterness all over everybody. It isn’t their fault that they have jobs.

          I like local brands too–I can’t really afford Swans Island (Maine), but it sure is pretty. Green Mountain Spinnery is in Vermont, Harrisville Designs is in NH just over the border from where I live, and Bartlettyarns is in Maine, actually, central Maine north of Augusta. Sometime I’ll have to do a trip up there; I’d like to hit String Theory, too. It’s about five hours from where I live.

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