Thursday, May 8, 2014

Slow Learners

When I went down to the communist garden plot this past week I was surprised to see the local population had expanded.


My first reaction was, "Oh, look at the goslings! They're so cute!" I mean, how could anyone not like these sweet little yellow fluff balls?


But then I remembered something. Those little fluff balls will, in a matter of months, turn into full grown Canadian geese. And that's a problem. You see, these geese were introduced to the area around our cottage a number of years ago when Stanley Park was being overrun by the birds. Their solution was to relocate them to where we live. When will the Powers That Be figure out it almost never works to introduce animals into a new area?

These geese are aggressive, and if it wasn't for the two swans that have been brought in to discourage geese from nesting at the pond there would be more than we already have. How aggressive are these geese? Well, I call this Mother Goose the bridge troll. She built her nest right by the little wooden bridge and attacks anyone who passes by. Last week a male goose attacked one of the garden club members - it flew straight into her head!


So now we have a goose problem, and, no surprise here, Stanley Park is still overrun as well. Oh, and those swans that were introduced to scare away the geese? They are even more vicious, and the community has had to add on liability insurance to cover any lawsuits that could result from someone being attacked by one of them. There wasn't such a thing as an aggressive swan rider, so they have been listed as vicious dogs. Slow learners, all the way around.

I've had my own run-in with a bout of slow learneritis. (Auto-correct wants to fix that word, but I'm not going to. If it doesn't already exist I think it should.) Last week I took out all the knitting projects I have on the go and lined them up on the window seat. This was followed by a feeling not unlike one gets about twenty minutes after ingesting a huge amount of sugar. I felt awful. How did I let things get so out of hand? I phoned a friend and her advice was to quickly put some of the projects back in their hiding places. I did put away one project, but left the others there to guilt me into action.

I took stock and decided things had gone off track when I started knitting patterned socks for my regular sock knitting. I know better. I have run into this problem before. I always have a pair of socks on the go. They are my easy, relaxing knitting, and I usually just knit plain old socks. (By plain, I mean the pattern is basic, not the yarn itself.)

For some reason last fall I had started a pair of Hermoine's Everyday Socks instead of sticking to my regular routine. I got as far as one sock being completed and the ribbing on the second finished before they got set aside. Then, because I really am a slow learner, for my March Self-Imposed Sock of the Month Club instalment I decided to knit some Jaywalkers. Again, I stalled after one sock.

So for the past two weeks I have gritted my teeth, stayed completely away from the other things I have on the needles, and made myself finish these two projects. I'm happy to say that the Hermoine socks are finished.


And before the end of today the Jaywalkers should be done as well.


From now on if I do socks that involve any kind of thinking they are going to be put in my other category of knitting and not be counted as sock knitting. For me knitting socks is sort of like a beach read, and nobody in their right mind would take War and Peace to the beach. And how crazy is it to feel depressed and overwhelmed by your own hobby? Am I the only person who falls into this trap? Please tell me I'm not alone!

51 comments:

  1. You are Not Alone!

    I have yet to finish my first Second Sock - every time I work on it I screw it up. (These socks were started in January 2013.) This is why I crochet instead. And speaking of crochet, my keyboard is surrounded by balls of yarn and half-finished projects and swatches. I blame my job - if I could just stay home all day I could get so much more done! Though there would be far fewer groceries in the house....

    I had a close encounter with a Canada goose two days this week (I think it was the same goose both times). And though I like the birds very much, they do make a mess of things. Our local park's beach has been unusable for two summers because of the goose droppings. Very hard to know what is the best way to deal with them.

    Those socks are beautiful. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone! Hopefully you will be abel to finish your sock sometime in 2014. :-)

      This must be the season for goose aggression. I guess it goes along with their nesting times. And I agree, it is very hard to know what to do with them. I wonder if some of the problem with their population overgrowth is because some of them no longer migrate. Maybe that trek used to keep the population in check.

      Delete
  2. Our 5-acre lake is home to about 30 mallard ducks,their white goose caretaker, a few egrets, and a blue heron.Once in a while a pair or two of Canadian geese (that live on a water ski school a few miles away) come over to visit. They sit so high in the water compared to the ducks. When I spot them, the call to my husband is "the tall ships are in!" Of course, geese go nowhere without one of them doing the travelogue: honk, honk, honk, honk!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your lake sounds like a great place to observe birds. And count yourself lucky that the Canadian geese just come to visit, then take their leave. :-)

      Delete
  3. You garden with communists? ;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but we haven't ordered our matching Karl Marx shirts yet. :-)

      Delete
  4. A friend of mine said she just found an utterly forgotten magpie's stash worth of single socks, let out a yell and quickly stuffed them back into the secret hiding place. She is trying desperately to wipe the memory from her shocked mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This made me laugh! It's so nice to know there are others like me out there. In this case, maybe someone who is even worse than me. :-)

      Delete
  5. I love both pairs of socks, I have only knitted one pair, and those were tiny, just not my thing. Good luck with the geese and swans, beautiful to look at and thats about it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Sue, I really think you should give grown-up socks a chance. I know several knitters who used to say the same thing and are now sock knitting addicts. :-)

      Delete
  6. Just now I have a second Monster glove underway (ribbing is almost done) then the second Orangerino sock and the almost finished first sock of conservative (for me) blue & Greenness. Tonight's hockey game should just about do in the second glove then back to the Orangerinos. And have 6 skeins new Kidazzle, enuff sock yarn for the rest of my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bring up another challenging subject, Lynne. Sock yarn stash. I have a hefty supply, enough to carry me through about 5 years of my self-imposed sock club. I always admire the colourful socks you knit. Enjoy the hockey game tonight!

      P.S. How bad is it that I had to immediately check out the Kidazzle yarn. I've never knit with it before. Do you like it? (I'm afraid this is how my stash expands. )

      Delete
  7. You are definitely not alone! I have a cardigan that is 95% done and I have to grit my teeth to pick it up and polish it off. (I got stuck on the front bands - at least they are finished now, which makes me wonder why the whole darn sweater isn't also magically complete.) And I totally agree with you about the socks. I have plain vanilla socks for TV watching which don't count as "projects", and patterned socks which are real "projects" which are worked on in my special knitting chair upstairs, away from distractions. Sometimes even the stash, that should inspire profound pleasure when contemplated, just looks overwhelming instead! I love the colour of those Hermione socks, btw. -- Ruth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Ruth - doing the button bands is an awful job. Almost as bad as sewing up the seams. Congrats on getting to the 95% mark. Like you, I count patterned socks as projects. Or at least that's what's supposed to happen in theory. I don't know where my head was with these two pair. But I am a reformed knitter. From now on it will only be plain vanilla socks for my relaxation knitting. The Hermoine socks are knit with a very nice yarn I bought last year from The Loopy Ewe. But because is was so long ago that I started them I have lost the ball band. Another thing I am annoyed with myself about!

      Delete
  8. I have a long-line cardigan and an alpaca sweater on the needles that have been 'laid aside' in a bag rhat I always travel with for at least 2 years - as the arthritis in my hands has got worse I'm steadily less inclined to take them up - and the cardi is for me and the sweater for my Better Half, so they're weighty projects. I had also intended to try socks, having been inspired by Perpetua, and got all the necessaries - yarn, circular needles, etc. but have now passed them over to Perpetua in case she gets snowed in again and needs something else to keep her occupied (unlikely now, as Spring has definitely sprung here in, and Summer looks as if it's just around the corner!!) And in any case, I've always been a very slow knitter - it took me 4 years to complete my first Aran sweater (too many other things to do!!) Whether the current projects will get finished before the BH & I get finished is a bit of a moot point!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweaters can be very lengthy projects, Helva. My one and only Aran sweater took me almost three years to finish. I hope you are able to slowly work away at the two sweaters you have on your needles right now. And I'm sure Perpetua appreciated getting the sock yarn and circular needles. :-)

      Delete
  9. Sorry - I meant to write 'here in Mid-Wales' (line 7), but my brain ran on ahead of my fingers! And I also intended to say that I absolutely love your socks - what brilliant patterns.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! The patterns are very nice, and fairly easy to do, which is probably how I got suckered in to doing them in the first place. Ha!

      Delete
  10. Your projects are beautiful, even if there are too many of them. I have more crochet and sewing projects on the go right now than I should and I feel foolish for it. I never used to let this happen and now it happens all the time. I gave myself permission to have more than one and that opened the floodgates. It's exactly like candy, or Lay's potato chips. I'm annoyed with myself, as much as I love the work. You made me laugh with the communist garden, I find that hilarious whenever you mention it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess we could blame Ravelry for all those projects we have on the hook/needles, Jennifer. There are so many awesome new patterns that come up, and as a result I have a queue nine pages long. You are right - it is like candy. In my case, salted caramels. I just can't resist.

      Delete
  11. There are some vicious swans nesting right beside the canal path where I like to go for a jog. I always gingerly step around the nesting female... I have not yet been attacked.
    I prefer socks with a thinking pattern. I am just creating my June sock pattern, almost ready to upload my May one onto the blog, this was a ribbed sock but not as fancy as your Hermione. I love both Hermione and Jaywalker socks! I have only got on project on my needles, a slow one but I have several unfinished sewing projects on my ironing board. Take care when crossing the bridge! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Be careful with that swan, Christina. I had one of the ones here go after me a couple months ago and I could not believe how fast it was, or how long its neck was when extended.

      You sound like a much more sensible knitter than me. Please don't let my bad influence rub off on you. :-)

      Delete
  12. Oh my goodness, no! You are not alone. I took stock in February and have a self imposed hold on any new cast ons. It has made me look at a couple of projects and realize that my reluctance to work on them was because I wasn't listening carefully. So one sweater project has gone from cardigan to pullover. BTW I really like the Hermoine sock pattern. I've done two pairs and love the fit for me. Good luck with your wildlife issues - I understand geese. We coped with them and their deposits when our family lived on the beach in Deep Cove, North Van.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that taking stock can be very confronting, can't it? I was rather horrified when I saw them all sitting there, lined up on my window seat. I admire your ability to have not cast on a new project since February! I don't think I could make it that long. I'm glad to hear the Hermoine's are a good fit. At this time of the year I put any new socks away for the fall. I can't wait to try them out!

      Delete
  13. I have had way too much going on to even really start many projects. I am limiting myself to two, one that takes thought (if I have any time to think) and one that I can wiz by with. The thought project is knitting, the easier one is crochet.

    By the way I love the socks, see how happy you are that they are done?
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your idea of limiting yourself to just two projects, Meredith. I don't know if I could only have two on the go, but I might, with great discipline, be able to limit myself to four. And yes, I'm very happy they are finally finished. :-)

      Delete
  14. Hi!! I hear you about the geese. We've got several swarms lurking around our neighborhood. The golf course we are on has shut down and the green space is wonderful, except that the geese are here and think it's all theirs :) I haven't been attacked and also have been admiring the little goslings. I also think we all need a little reality check when it comes to our WIPs. Good luck tackling them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They certainly have a way of taking over any open space they find. I'm glad you have avoided being attacked. If only those goslings could stay little and cute and fuzzy all our problems would be solved! :-)

      Delete
  15. I've been anti-geese since my daughter was a toddler--one goose at a local pond was mean to her. That was it for me. I don't know why people feed them. I hope at least your troll relocates...it would be nice if they all did.

    It's unfortunate when a hobby causes us stress. I think hiding the projects was the very best advice for the situation. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had a vote here as to whether or not to keep the swans. I was sitting next to a lady whose young granddaughter had been attacked by one of them. She was a no vote. I'm sure you would have joined her had you been here. I think most of these geese will move closer to the lake once they're done nesting. At least I'm hoping so.

      Delete
  16. Funnily enough I'm popping out to buy sock yarn today and was considering a new pattern. Now I think I'll stick with the one I've already got, I need a couple of pairs finished by the first week of June. I'll leave the idea of a new design until I have more time.
    My earliest recollection as a child is being frightened by geese at the park. Even now I give them a very wide berth. It may be nice to hear them but not to be near them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I was able to save you from making the mistake of biting off more than you could chew/knit before the first of June, Jacqueline. :-)

      I'm sure there are many people who were traumatized by geese when they were kids. Did you read Ricademus's comment above about his daughter when she was a toddler?

      Delete
  17. I have the same problem! I marvel when I hear of someone thinking (and knitting) socks with a pattern because 'it is a small project on which to experiment!'
    My patterned socks languish undone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who is like this, Pattie! It's easy to get drawn into knitting some of them simply because they are so beautiful. The two I have been working on aren't even difficult patterns, but they require enough thinking that I can't read and knit them, or visit with someone and knit on them. Good luck decreasing your pile of languishing patterned socks! :-)

      Delete
  18. Oh, the introduction of birds/plants etc. I heard someone say once that every problem started out as a solution, and I believe it to be true. The geese overrun things here in Minnesota as well. Parks, pathways, golfcourses. They can be quite nasty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great saying! It certainly holds true for introducing wildlife into non-natural habitat. I'm sorry to hear you have the same problem in Minnesota. It must be hard for people who have never encountered a goose in the wild to understand just how nasty they can be.

      Delete
  19. I agree with you about the swans, I think that they look beautiful sailing past on the river, but if there is ever one out of the water on the bank I always take great lengths to walk far round it as I know they can be very dangerous. I hope that there are no issues and that they just stick to their geese reducing job! As far as the many projects goes I think that we can all have a touch of that from time to time and now I am bothered by the amount of left over yarn that I seem to be gathering and wondering what to do with it and that is taxing me a little. Scrappy blankets will be the answer I expect, but I am already in multi blanket making mode! I hope that you get things sorted out to your own satisfaction whatever that may be. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are wise to give the swans a wide berth, Amy! It's interesting that you are bothered by all your leftover yarn bits. That is one thing I feel no guilt about, I guess because it means there is an actual completed project somewhere. The one thing that does bother me about my leftovers though is my lack of an organized system for storing them. They are stuffed here and there amongst my stash, and when I need to find a particular one it is very frustrating.

      Delete
  20. Although we have Canadian geese here luckily I haven't seen them being aggressive maybe because they don't get that close. I always give the swans a wide berth! Well done in already completing some of your unfinished knitting. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the Canadian geese have been introduced to the UK. I feel like I should apologize on behalf of all Canadians. :-)

      Delete
  21. We kept geese when in France...we had about thirty eventually. They were fine with us, even when nesting, but not so keen on other people at that time of year.

    Two gendarmes called one day. I was at the top of the house and by the time I'd reached the ground floor the geese had them on the run. They preferred to discuss their business from the other side of the gate...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Domestic geese must get to know the people raising them. That's a funny story about them chasing the gendarmes! I have friends who taught in Laos for a few years. They lived next to the US ambassador's home, and he kept geese on the property because they were such efficient snake killers. The gendarmes were wise to take off running. :-)

      Delete
  22. I used to feel like that until I came to my senses and decided that at my age I'm a beach bum and plain sock-knitting will do for me. :-) It keeps my hands busy and I haven't yet run out of people to knit socks for.

    I don't have much experience of geese but I've certainly come face to face with an aggressive swan more than once. Are they like this all year round or is it because it's the breeding season? In the UK swans are a protected species, so can't be touched and Canada geese are migrant visitors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is what I feel like I'm doing, Perpetua - coming to my senses. My problem is I come to my senses, then seem to quickly lose them again. :-)

      Yes, the geese are aggressive right now because it's breeding season. The swans tend to be nasty year-round, but are especially bad right now. An aggressive swan can be every bit as scary as an aggressive dog. It's something that has to be experienced to be believed!

      Delete
  23. Adding to the you are not alone pile! I did that in college and I don't let things get out of hand anymore. I do have multiple projects on the needles, but only three or four at a time.

    Those Hermione Socks are really beautiful. I love the pattern and I just know I'm probably going to knit it again for myself one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel better knowing I am in good company! Three or four projects at a time is what I am aiming for as well. Hopefully I can stick to it. I agree about the Hermoine pattern. It is beautiful, and that is how I got pulled into knitting them. Now that they are off the needles I'm very happy I did them, but if I ever do another pair they won't count as my plain vanilla socks. They will be an official project.

      Delete
  24. I think you're doing beautifully with those socks, I can't knit a stitch despite being taught by my Grandmother many years ago! I love the colourful one at the end, they look very warm & cosy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jay! Maybe some YouTube videos might help. There are so many resources out there now to teach knitting. Or maybe you are like my younger daughter and knitting just isn't meant to be a part of your life - she claims it makes her stomach hurt. :-)

      Delete
  25. Since I only learned to knit socks last year (three pair done) they are not quite my go to travel knitting yet. I do like the fact that they make a smallish take along though. I really like both pair you show here. Good for you for finishing them.

    Darla

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was like that when I first started knitting socks too, Darla. I had to concentrate on what I was doing, and turning the heel was a nightmare. Stick with it and I can almost guarantee you will get to the point where you could almost knit them in your sleep. :-)

      Delete
  26. You are not alone. I don't knit socks, but my startitis knows no bounds! My response to feeling overwhelmed is generally to frog! Clearly a bad case of slow learneritis too ;)

    ReplyDelete