Thursday, February 3, 2011

January - Done!!

Three days later, it's safe to post about THE CRAZEE that was Monday night. Here are my WIP-tracking Countdown Blocks WITH FLAMES for Divination from Wednesday night, January 5:

... and there they mostly stayed until the morning of January 31. (Three more squares happened between the 5th and the 31st, but I can't be certain as to when.) Yes, I got going on these the day they were due. (The more Hogwarts seems like school, the more I'm treating it like school.) I managed to finish an eighth square on the way into work, which boded well for getting at least two more finished during lunch... but I ended up reading the rest of Waiter Rants. I really enjoyed it, and you might too... and if you've never read the Waiter Rants Blog, you should. Especially if you've ever done time in a coffehouse or restaurant.

Back to my homework. By two in the afternoon, I had eight of twelve block faces done (two cubes, six sides each). None of the cross-stitch was done on them, and I hadn't quite figured out how to make them WITH FLAMES. I was going to use yellow yarn for the numbers, and red for the borders - maybe doing some half-stitches after the borders were done? But how, since they were going to be solid?

So, 2pm. The panic still hadn't set in - after all, I had an hour commute home - that should be good for two blocks, and a ton of spare time at home. (Yes, from time to time I forget that I need to eat, work out, bathe, do chores, or otherwise be productive in ways that don't involve yarn. This would be one of those times.) While falling asleep the previous night (at 1am, after turning in classes #6 and #7), I'd figured out how to stitch all the numbers on my afghan-stitch grid - seven tall, five wide, and where to break the "curls" - especially tricky with the "6" and "9", which are one and the same. These countdown blocks are based on Calendar Blocks - there's a "1", "2" and "3" on each block, then one has "0", "4" and "5" and the other has "6/9", "7" and "8".

Now, if you've ever done afghan stitch... it's not the fastest. And you're basically doing each row twice to make the fabric.

If you've ever done cross-stitch, you know that it's one of the slower crafts. Especially if you care about having all your "x"s crossed the same way (I do).

Here's my thought process then: "So... let's say I do get two blocks done during the commute home, and I'm home on time (because of COURSE the weather will cooperate!), and then I get two more blocks done - then it's only 12 numbers, that won't take too long, and seriously - how many seams are in a cube? What, 12, right? Well, that won't take long at all. And I know where my polyfill stuffing is. Pfeh. I'll totally be done by 10pm, take the photos, and be in bed well before midnight."

Here's what really happened.

I managed to get two more blocks crocheted on the train, and figured I'd get another done on the ride from the train to home. However, my mother (who very kindly offered to drive us home from the train) had packed her backseat full of books and milk-crates. My husband, who usually sits back there, didn't fit. So, I tried. I didn't fit (even with my boots off; boots on + tiny backseat = claustrophobic attack that would result in me rolling onto a highway when I kicked the door open in desperation for escape). Mom did. With mom there, though, the seat didn't go back far enough for my husband to get in the driver's seat. So, with no boots (can't drive in the ones I was wearing yesterday), I got to drive home, in the dark, on slightly slick roads. That doesn't sound too bad, right? Well - there were a few issues.
  1. Was already having a slight panic attack from *trying* to fit in the tiny space left in the backseat
  2. Haven't driven more than 2miles or three times in the past year. Haven't driven after dark in over a decade. Haven't driven on anything resembling "ice" or "slick roads" since I totaled my car - and almost myself - in an ice storm outside Denver in the mid-90s.
  3. Wasn't wearing shoes, so grabbing pedals with toes worked best. Not reccomended.
  4. Pissed that I was driving, period. If I'd known the car was going to be full, I would have taken the bus without any problems. At this point, the bus is no longer running.
We did make it home (driving under the speed limit, flashers going, and my mom trying to "help" from the backseat). But, being very shaky and wound up, getting right to work crafting didn't work. Instead, I indulged in what can only be described as a panic-induced food frenzy and ate things guaranteed to make me feel like crap for the next three days. After that, my husband very sweetly made cookies, and, whilst nomming a cookie, I began to feel better. Then the crochet frenzy began. I'd thought I'd made 10 blocks by the time I got home, but no, I only had 9. Eventually (10:00 pm) they were finished, and I started the stitching. That took until about 10:45.

Then the assembly - oddly enough, that took LONGER than stitching all the letters! The last bit got stuffed and seamed at 12:03a.m. eastern time, which was with plenty of time to spare (final call is 12am pacific time). Here they are, done. They don't look so big in the photo, but they're 5" cubes as it turns out! That's not all that small!

So, turned them in, then posted my Finished Item Collage to the two threads that required it. Then I knitted on my Arithmancy OWL, just for fun & relaxation, and finally turned in around 1am. So, Mission Accomplished - just with a lot more angst than originally predicted!

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