Saturday, November 05, 2022

Nine Stitches per Minute and other Forms of Excitement

 I was stitching binding on the quilt I've almost finished (always a victory for me, sometimes taking years, even decades.) I was trying to be disciplined - 30 minutes each morning, another 30 in the evening. But just because it's on the agenda, doesn't make it happen. This day though, I was determined. My deadline was approaching, I'd been loafing, and loafing doesn't cut it. My 30 minutes turned into 60. 

How many stitches go into binding a queen size quilt anyway? I started watching the clock. Nine stitches per minute (are you yawning yet?) Yes, I timed it - nine, give or take a stitch due to knots and snarls in the thread. Experience has shown that these are not more quickly unknotted or unsnarled by muttering obscenities under my breath, or, in a house with nobody else in it, shouting them. Patience is key. Nine stitches per minute would be five hundred and forty per hour and, with the hours I've already done and those still to go, the final tally would be in the thousands. At this point my head started to throb, Enough math. Two sides done which, as it's square, meant I was halfway there.

My next plan was to make bread. I am not good at multi-tasking. I know this but, as mentioned elsewhere, the knowing does not stop me from occasionally trying. This was one of those occasions.

 And somewhere in the mix I needed to get a package to the post office. 

But I digress. A habit that drives the OC crazy. I tell him I'm too old to learn new tricks, leaving out any reference to dogs of course. Don't need to give him more ammunition. There I go again. You're probably starting to feel his pain. 

Where was I? 

The bread. I mixed up the dough, yeast bread this time, a long-time favorite recipe. 

Ten minutes to knead, an hour and a half to rise. Time enough to clean up the kitchen, get to the P.O. come back, punch the dough down, shape it for the final rise, run to the grocery store for milk, back in time to turn on the oven, pop in the bread, set the timer. 

Run rabbit, run.

Supper for one? Onions, mushrooms, oil, butter. Chop chop chop. Stir stir stir. Boil water, pop in ravioli. Set timer: four minutes. 

Oops! Trouble. 

In my speed and efficiency, I completely obliterated the time remaining for the bread. No worries. It should be done, I guessed, about the same time as the ravioli. Except - when the timer went off for the ravioli my attention was all on draining them, stirring them into the onion mixture and drooling in anticipation.

Bread? What bread?

And then a whiff, mid bite, of something baking. Hmm, what could it be? 

#%@$*! I explode from my chair, wrench open the oven door, extract the bread.

Muttered obscenities don't work in the kitchen either, as it turns out.

That was last week. The OC is home; the stitching is done - yay; the bread was eaten, in spite of needing a axe to slice hack it, though I won't be sharing that info with my dentist.

I'm thinking of using some old, seldom-used lipstick to scrawl a message on my bathroom mirror where I'll be reminded every morning.....

"One task at a time!"

It's worth a try, but - wouldn't life be awfully dull? 


gz said...

Things to do always roll up like a snowball!!

Susan Kane said...

NO! Not the bread. My burns are usually pie or cookies. You gave it your best.

Elephant's Child said...

I am with you. Conservatively speaking about 1000 per cent. Well done on completing the stitching.

Colette said...

Oh gee, I know of what you speak regarding the stitching. I have been trying to finish hand quilting and binding a relatively small project and just cannot bring myself to commit to finishing it sooner rather than later.

Molly said...

gz - Agreed!

SK - It took some chewing, but I couldn't just toss out all those lovely raisins and nuts....

EC - it's done, bound, laundered and photographed. Now if my brain could just figure out what happened in the bowels of my computer to make me no longer able to post photos!

Colette x two - I'm a card carrying procrastinator but have realised that if I don't finish these quilting projects they will likely end up in a thrift shop, discarded and unloved, and my spirit would wander restlessly through quilt shops for all eternity!

Sabine said...

I don't get it, you did a couple of amazing things there! Be proud, woman.

Pauline said...

Your situations always make me chuckle. I can't be bothered to do just one thing at a time either. Eventually most things get done, including eating whatever would have benefitted from single-mindedness!

Molly said...

Sabine - You might change your opinion f you'd had a slice of that bread, but thank you anyway!

Pauline - As much room as multi-tasking leaves for messing up, it does feel good when you can pull off all the tasks without disaster.

Dee said...

Dear Molly, you vividly illustrated in this posting the anxiety and stress that occurs when some of us try to multi-task or hold in our head more than one action/project/phone call/whatever at a time. I just chucked--could even hear the obscenities!!!!--while reading because I've been there/done that all my life.

I now, each day or several times a day, make a list of what I want to accomplish and then X through each item as they have been realized. Most often, out of say 5 things to do, I can X off during the day only 1 or 2!!!! That's because I sit down in the recliner after devouring breakfast and medicating the cats and texting to read for a few "moments!?!?! and find myself still there sixty minutes later. Then I begin the list. I'm already behind, so in my mind the 5 things have been 3. And at the end of the work-at-home-retired-human-being hours of my day, I find that 1 X is all I've done, but really accomplishing anything feels so good now! Peace from Dee Ready

Wisewebwoman said...

I don't often read of a mind like mine, calculating times in knitting and designing and thinking @$& hours to make this gift. Even though no one appreciates the time except the maker.

Yes, I multi-task to the detriment of my sanity. It's so hard to keep track especially when we age and I now am in fear of setting fire to myself or my dwelling.

I list make like a mad thing but the satisfaction truly lies in the ticking. I love ticking those boxes even though one says "Make a To-Do List."


molly said...

Dee - I make lists too. I don't stress myself if I don't get everything on the list done, I just "promote" the ones I failed to do to the next day's list!

WWW - You and I learned to knit back before all the gadgets knitters have today. I'm sure you made Aran sweaters too - remember how you'd count stitches on cables? My lips were constantly moving. People who didn't know better probably thought I was praying - or crazy!
As for putting "make a list" on your list of things to do, while it made me laugh, I think it's perfectly acceptable - it would be so encouraging to tick of one thing on the list before you'd actually done any!

Pam said...

Multitasking is the way to go. Do a bit of this, leave it to rise/bake/soak or whatever, meanwhile do a bit of that. It's very logical! And it usually works (says the woman who once made a cheese souflee without the egg yolk. It was very light and fluffy but somewhat insubstantial).

Friko said...

Quite a few tasks to my mind. I am far too lazy to race around doing so many jobs at the same time. I had just one yesterday evening: I put a cashmere jumper in the freezer to kill off possible moth eggs. what happened you ask? I forgot it until this morning. And, of course, there was not smell of overfreezing (as in overbaking)

molly said...

Pam - that reminds me of a baking adventure long ago with my friend across the road, Eve McDonald. Eve was considerably less supervised by her parents than I was. One day both her parents, her older sister and younger siblings were elsewhere so we decided to bake a cake in Mrs.McDonald's kitchen. Everything went smoothly, we popped it in the oven, the smell of baking was divine. Our faces fell though, when, drooling in anticipation, we removed the "cake" from the oven. It looked like a swirling lake of melted butter. We'd forgotten all about adding the flour.

Friko - that's priceless! Of course, my post was tongue in cheek. The day will never come (I hope) when I put on a load of laundry and pull up a chair by the side of the washing machine and sit there, doing nothing until the wash cycle is finished!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh how I feel your pain! This squirrel-ness since retirement drives me crazy but I can't seem to get it under control. Now, I think I never will. Yay for quilt progress! Inquiring minds want to SEE it!!! ;-D (Also, you might be humored to know that half-way through reading your post, I had a little panic and jumped up to see if I'd left the water running. Thankfully no, but, the struggle is real!)

molly said...

Anna-banana - I'm incurable. I put my oatmeal on low this a.m. and decided to go change the sheets. And while doing that I thought it was probably time to also give the pillow protectors a wash. So, between the original job and the addition of unzipping and wrestling out pillows that wanted to fight me, I was totally absorbed. And then I remembered "Oh crap! My oatmeal!" And sprinted, as well as I can sprint these days which looks and feels a lot different than it did even one decade ago, to the kitchen. And congratulated myself for at least putting the burner on low. Nothing burned, apart from a few more brain cells.
As for posting [pics of quilts and anything else, I'm going to figure it out one of these days - but, given my computer skills, don't hold your breath!

Sabine said...

Don't you think it's time to try the microwave method? For the oatmeal not the pillow case.

molly said...

Sabine - funny you should say that - I get the same from husband and son! I will explain...