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I had the loveliest, bestest time ever on craft camp. I didn’t think that it could possibly live up to how good everyone always says it is, but it did – oh, it did. Because I have a ‘what bastard drank half of my drink, I bet they slipped a roofie in it, too’ kind of person, I can see that given enough time, we could definitely rub each other the wrong way. But it was pretty darn close to perfect, as perfect as any group of people ever is. And after the four days away, if someone had invited me to live on a commune forever with those lovely, wise, funny, caring, creative, helpful, empowering women, I would have signed on the dotted line without pause. In blood. The food alone would be worth it.
But I am not going to write about it properly yet because I am attempting to get my photos up to flickr without killing everyone in an overload. So it’s bit by bit, and I’ll do a craft camp post later.
This isn’t even a ‘what I did on the rest of my holiday’ (quite a lot, achully, and it was also COMPLETELY ACE) post. This is just a ‘I’ve hit the afternoon blahs (3pm sharp) and now all I can think about is knitting’ post.
While on craft camp, I worked almost exclusively on my Cinnabar Pullover. This was partly because it was the project I brought that I want to wear the most, partly because I was up to all the tricky bits and wanted to get past them, and quite a bit because I kept having to rip it. The first time I had to rip it was because… wait for it… I’d decreased instead of increasing. For 40 rows. Yes, apparently I think that I go in at the waist, and then IN AT THE BUST. This is patently untrue. So rip it I did.
Friday night, merrily knitting away. I would realise my mistake about two hours later.
The second time was because although I had brought the destructions for the maths for the bust darts, but not the actual part where you knit the short rows, and how to do it. So I called my sister and made her read it out to me from the book (she was thrilled) but I was still winging it. And short rows are confusing. So I was knitting to the SECOND stitch before the short row, which gave me ONE stitch in between instead of to the THIRD stitch, giving TWO in between. Short rows appear to be like Quantum Physics. No matter how well I understand them as they are being explained, the minute the sentence is over, it all flies out of my head.
Anyway, the upshot of that is that the bust darts were far too steep. So… I ripped. It probably would have been liveable, and even better fitting than a not-short-rowed jumper. But I would have had weird poofy bits under my arms, and the last thing I need is more weird poofy bits. I ripped it and reknit it.
I didn’t have to rip it again after that, although there was much muttering under my breath and counting, and perhaps just a leetle swearing. And on Sunday evening while Janet manically sewed and Suse stuck bits of sheet together on the board on the wall, I knit frantically. I steam blocked (alternate title of this post: steam blocking, you complete me) and basted the pieces together. And then I looked at it. And it looked at me.
It was past midnight. It was WELL past ‘don’t do anything you can’t easily undo’ o’clock (10pm for me). It was into emotional crafting time. If I tried it on now, and it didn’t fit, there was about a 50% chance I would have run inside and stuffed it into the fire. Ok, maybe only 25%.
I tried it on.
I am so, so pleased with it. I have one side of the placket sewn on, and the other side ready to sew. And then I just realised last night that I need a 7mm circ to sew the rest of the neck piece, so I ordered one from the internet (internet, I also love you) cast on one of the sleeves. The linen stitch is so beautiful after steam blocking (oh, steam blocking, I heart you) and the jumper is so red and it FITS ME.
While I was steam blocking the second placket the night before last (don’t you like the word placket? It’s almost as good as pelmet. Actually, you know what? I think I like placket even more than pelmet. Wow this is a long aside. Almost more of an a-front, really. Where was I…) ANYWAY as I was steam blocking that I got out my Emily, of which I don’t appear to have any complete photos. Ravelry tells me I’ve been knitting it since September 2008.
I stuck a fork in it in May 2009. And I wore it once, and then I realised that actually, it was too short. Far, far too short. I don’t know who I thought I was knitting it for, but it wasn’t long-waisted me.
So it sat in a basket and moldered and then a while back (ravelry doesn’t have this information) I bit the bullet and snipped off the bottom bit. I then popped the top half on a needle, picked up stitches on the bottom, and knit up about 3 inches. I then repeated this process for the other side. Then it mouldered for some time further before I kitchenered it together.
The line was pretty obvious. I think I did it too tightly, because there are bits where it was looser, where the line was less obvious. But I am DONE with this jumper, so as I was steaming the placket I steamed the CRAP out of Emily, and then I wore it to work yesterday. Everyone asked said that yes, they could see the line. But no one said ‘OH MY GOD what is that LINE through your jumper!?’ so I’m calling that a win.
See, thing is, I don’t appear to have any jumpers to wear.
The top part of my wardrobe is stuffed with jumpers. But I don’t like wearing ANY of them.
Photo stolen blatantly from Suse. Hey, suse, did you know that your blog is the second in the list when you google ‘pea soup?’ Right after the wikipedia article. Pretty cool!
My big blue wrap fits. Because it is a big wrap with no shape. I wear Cobblestone all the time, and could do with one that wasn’t blah brown (although I seem to be liking everything in brown lately, for some reason.) And my Sahara fits, because I could try it on as I went and I did bust darts and other maths to make sure it did. But everything else is a bit short or a bit tight, or a bit baggy or the sleeves are too short or long.
Last night I gave my CPH to my sister. I don’t wear it. The sleeves are tight and long, and the hood is small and it needs buttons. But worst of all, it is too short, by a good three inches. This is exacerbated by the fact that I have put on weight since it was done, as I can see from the photo below, and my front bits all pull it up, so it’s got a lovely dip in the front. And by lovely, I mean heinous.
I’m keeping my Rogue, but I might have to do surgery on the two-inches-too-short sleeves. And most of the rest of my knits will, I think, be frogged or otherwise adapted. Because they should be worn.
So here is my resolve. Now that I know what I am doing, I will knit more things that fit me, and more things that I will wear. I will not knit things that do not fit this category, or if I do, I will rip them. This means lots of stocking stitch with interesting additions, and room for bust darts. It means knitting things longer. It means choosing patterns carefully in the first place, so that they are flattering. It means doing the maths. It means, above all, trying things on and being willing to rip them out. As Janet said on the weekend, the thing that makes you a good sewer is your willingness to rip out. Same goes for knitting.
Wish me luck.
Dunno why I’m still awake. I have to catch a 7am flight tomorrow. Oh, waiting for washing to finish, I knew I wasn’t just procrastinating! Only mostly…
I have my metcard from last trip, along with my smiggle store card. My suitcase is just ridiculously full – well, Emma’s suitcase actually. I decided I couldn’t possibly only take the things that fit into my teeny suitcase. For a WHOLE WEEK! I mean, I think two half finished jumpers, a baby blanket, a pair of socks, enough yarn for ten hats, a skein of laceweight a spare skein of sock yarn and days worth of embroidery is barely enough to keep me going as it is. Not to mention that I only have 11 days of podcasts on my ipod – well, actually it’s more like 20 if you count the ones that are chronological like audiobooks, so only have the most recent episode in my playlist. Nevermind the fact that I could not physically listen to 11 days worth of audio, given that I am only away for 7, besides wishing to leave my hostel room and also, you know, sleep.
Clearly I have issues.
I also just realised that I will be spending a lot of time with lots of people I have not actually met. This had not previously occured to me since I didn’t really think about the fact that just cos I know about someone’s childhood issues, what their favourite food is, what their kids look like (if not their actual names in some cases) and their kids favourite foods, doesn’t mean the same things as having met someone.
However, I am absolutely positive that it will be excellent, momentary qualms aside. I am looking forward to all sorts of bits of it. First thing to look forward to is this:
Have I mentioned that I love planes?
Oh, and that exit survey questionnare? Turns out it was meant to form a basis for my in-person interview. Which of course I didn’t get, since they sent it to me about 4 days before I finished, without telling me that was what it was for. Not that I particularly wanted to experience the exit interview, but still. I sent a cross email and got a garbled, apologetic phone call from the person in HR who barely speaks English because it’s her second language, as opposed to her manager who has no excuse for saying ‘youse guys’.
Also, I did get Stephanie Alexander. I am most pleased.
Tomorrow is my last day at work. And I would say I’m sorry, but I’m not. Not even close. This week has just been completely illustrative of all the reasons I am leaving, including: ridiculous amount of last minute jobs (four major print runs given to me on Monday, due Friday, only two of which I knew would be coming); the photocopier completely borking; the photocopier service people mucking us around, not answering calls and losing jobs; junior members of staff being rude to managers and then insisting that said manager was yelling at them when in fact manager was only being a bit terse, since junior staff was walking away from them while manager was requesting assistance; said junior member of staff collapsing in tears; two newsletters requiring start to finish proofreading (written by and for ESL speakers, too), laying out and editing, plus shipping off to the printers, all in one week; another magazine requiring much politicing, and having to get off to the printers; hub meeting from hell; and more politicing.
To top it all, HR sent me a form, which they call my ‘exit interview’. Not really the same thing, but since I do not with to submit to an exit interview, both because it would be painful and it would be hard to be polite while still making my point, I didn’t argue. Except that said form includes a large portion about my manager and what I think of how she is doing her job – not great, actually. I mean, she’s fine. But she sort of tries to keep out of things. Which I can’t blame her for, but frankly, I don’t get paid enough to deal with crying junior staff. That would be the manager’s job. Actually, I feel that it would be the manager’s job to do something about the levels of tension there have been in the admin team lately, before anyone ends up in tears.
Anyway, I was polite but honest on the form, and then at the end of the form was a consent bit. The consent bit at the start of the form said ‘Your answers will be kept confidential and used only for informational purposes unless you specifically consent to allowing your information to be shared with others (see ‘consent statement’ at end of form). This form will not be kept in your personnel file.’
I’m not really sure what ‘informational purposes’ are. Anyone? I also snorted at the checkboxes for ‘type of separation: resignation; retirement; expiration of contract; involuntary’. (Involuntary separation, aka, we fired your butt.) But that is not the point of this.
The point is, the ‘consent statement’ at the end of the form says ‘I agree for [organisation] to use the information that I have shared in this Exit Interview. (NOTE: It is the practice of the Human Resource Manager to share exit interview information with my manager upon receiving this consent.)’
Hmm, I thought. I’m not sure about that. I like G. She’s a good person, and a good line manager – but she’s been ‘promoted’ to a job that she doesn’t really want and doesn’t really have the skills for, and has been given zero support, and expected to be a perfect replacement for C, who essentially fixed everything that ever went wrong in our building. I don’t really think I want HR to ring her up and say ‘so, Kate marked you ‘strongly disagree’ for ‘provides adequate supervision’. Which I only did because she has no idea at all what I do all day, and therefore would have trouble supervising me.
So I thought about it, and I called my friend who used to work there and asked her if I should not provide consent, or if I should lie about how I felt my manager was doing at her job. And midway through the conversation I just had a rush of pure rage. THIS IS WHY I AM LEAVING.
I want to be a good employee. I WANT to participate, and to be engaged and helpful. Even as I am leaving. And you are essentially giving me three choices: be hurtful and rude to your manager, with whom you are also encouraged, btw, to have a personal relationship; give useful information but not allow it to be used; allow the information to be used but give false, incomplete, useless information.
OK, I realise it’s not a big deal. But it’s just… I’m tired of people asking me to be involved, and then making it impossible for me to engage. I am tired of being told where I work is special, and loving, and engaging, and then being reminded that actually, I’m ‘just’ support staff, and have no say in any important decisions. I am TIRED of being asked my opinion and then ignored. If it’s just a job, that’s fine. But if you’re going to insist that it’s ok that they pay like crap, then you need to provide interactions that make that worthwhile rather than making my life harder and more stressful.
Phew. I didn’t mean to pour all that out. And I try not to bitch about work as a general policy. But I was just so… disappointed. I don’t know why I should be. I mean, I should know better by now – I do know better, that’s why I quit. But… fuck.
I suppose I should be grateful that I’m not leaving sad. Tomorrow I have to scramble to get a couple of the print jobs off to the printer, finish laying another out, sort all my files, electronic and physical, and write some decent procedures, since no one seems to know what my job actually is. Oh, and attend my own tearoom farewell afternoon tea and admin dinner. There are a few people I will miss a lot. Everyone else… well, I am looking forward to forgetting them. Which would make me sad, if I weren’t already so tired and angry.
No, I am sad. I remember loving working there. And I still believe in the things to organisation is doing. But I just feel like it thinks it’s still a small org, and it’s not anymore. It can’t work that way anymore. It’s just so frustrating. I kept trying and trying… and in the end I just gave up and barely put any effort into my job at all. Which makes me so, so sad. That’s not the employee I want to be. It’s not the person I want to be. I didn’t realise how bad it had gotton until I quit.
On the plus side, I quit! And I asked for a Stephanie Alexander book for my farewell gift.
And then on the weekend, I am going to sleep a lot, and get out in the garden, and maybe paint the kitchen cupboards if I’m feeling adventurous, and pack craft projects and maybe even some clothes. And then on Tuesday I fly out to Melbourne. I am looking forward to wandering around the city by myself the most right now, because I need the destress time. I did one of those highly scientific ‘how autistic are you’ tests on facebook. I scored really high on imagination, really low on obsession with dates and numbers, middling on social ability, and WAY LOW in comfort in social situations. Which is pretty much an indication of how little just decompressing time I’ve managed to squeeze out, and how much I need it. and the lack of good sleep, from all the teeth clenching.
I am also pretty pumped about meeting up with crafty friends, and looking at crafty materials, and doing crafty things! It is going to be so ace.
And in other random news, facebook just recommended that I friend my counsellor. Damned social networks…
I started posting this in reply to Janet’s post. And then it got mouthy and righteous, so I figured that was why I had my own blog…
I’ve been thinking about privilege from different points of view since posting about Kim’s post.
We talk about privilege a lot at my current place of work. It’s often not comfortable, but I think it’s worthwhile. I get frustrated, though, because we get stuck in this little circle of Aboriginal Australians. And yes, that is an important thing to dwell on as white people. But there are so many other ways we manifest our privilege. One of the things I have had hammered home – and it’s an uncomfortable truth – is that I do not have all the lovely things and lovely life opportunities I’ve got because I am lucky. I mean, sure, I am personally lucky. I am lucky that my ancestors came out from Ireland, otherwise I’d still be poor. And I am lucky that other people’s ancestors, in legue with mine, STOLE RESOURCES FROM OTHER PEOPLE. I don’t want to hear any ‘but I never did anything!’ neither did I. Neither did my parents or grandparents. They came here at most 4 generations ago. But they came to a place that had resources they could access. And the reason those resources were tehre for them, was because they weren’t there for other people.
Because they were taken. And given to me. That is why I have them. End of story. And really, the same goes with things like disability and housing. I live in my new house that used to be housing trust, because somoene was kicked out of it. Or maybe they died or moved on, and instead of offering that house to another needy person, the government chose to sell it off. On a personal level I am very glad that decision was made. On a social level, it makes me mad. I could afford my house because taxes went into incentive schemes. I can bus to a good job because people choose to spend money on roads and buses, and not on other types of infrastructure, and because I had a good education and I interview well thanks to years of people telling me I am worth something and deserve things – not that I am a bludger and a burden, that I am stupid and worthless and better off dead or at least forgotten about.
And I don’t think it’s ungrateful to consider the flip side of my luck. I am white, able bodied, clever, educated, valued. I have wealth of all types. And the things I am and the things I have are valued by society at large. Many people do not have that experience. Many white, able bodied people do not, because they grew up in Elizabeth and are missing teeth, or because they look like a drug addict, or have ten children, or whatever. I now have blue hair. And do you know what? I have not had one nasty look. I have had many smiles and nods. What sort of reaction do you think I would have if I were black with blue hair? Or if I had my normal coloured hair, but was in a wheelchair or was otherwise obviously disabled? Not as positive a one, I am sure of it. It’s not ok.
Are we so unsure of our luck, of our worth, that we have to keep pushing people down? It’s like watching siblings play ‘keep away’. It’s not about pulling people down (although some sacrifices may have to be made) it’s about helping people up. About valuing them and giving them their fair share of the bounty that life has provided. There is plenty of luck and wealth and value in Australia for every single person living here. And more to spare, I would wager, but that’s a seperate fight. Let’s start small. Let’s start with our own island nation, and spreading the luck.
As Ivanna trump famously said.
You should go read her post. Most of you probably already have.
Disability isn’t something that happens to other people. It is a normal part of life. Even if you think you don’t know someone witha disability, you probably do. Someone with mental health issues, or the woman at work who’s always ignoring you, maybe she has hearing issues. Or maybe someone close to you who has a hidden disability like chronic fatigue or a non-obvious injury. And you might know someone soon – how easy is it to get hit by a car or have a stroke, and then you have a very obvious disability, you’re in a wheel chair or hooked up to something. And the things you did yesterday without thinking about are epic struggles.
Disabled people aren’t ‘other’. They are not ‘normal’ people with bits missing. They have more to deal with than abled people, but they shouldn’t be scary and threatening and shunted to the side. No one should be ‘too much trouble’. No group of peope should be ‘too hard to think about’. I’m not talking about sanctimoniously wrining our hands and then getting back to our lives where we don’t have to think about those things. I’m talking about working to make disability another part of our everyday lives – about thinking about it without being pushed, and about making a stand, whether or not it’s a personal issue for you right now.
I voted for Dignity for Disability in our recent state election. Lots of other South Australians did, too. And I’ve signed the pledge, and I’ll pass the link around to anyone I think will listen. This is important. Even if it turns out you never do have to care for someone with disability, or to be that person. Even if this never touches you directly.
One of my coworkers likes to say, whenever race is brought up ‘when one of us is diminished, all of us are diminished’. She’s right. How we treat others says something about who we are. And the way my nation treats people with disbility is just unacceptable, frankly. Cos we can, cos we can get away with it, is not good enough. I’m pledging to make this an issue I carry with me every day, and especially when I make decisions about who I want speaking for me. I hope you will, too.