Tuesday, May 09, 2006

All But...

Hello. I am Natalie and I am ABD.
What does ABD mean? All But Dissertation.
Which means all I have to do to get my Ph.D. is finish writing and file my dissertation.
But what does that really mean?
It means I knit.

The story of my study habits goes way back. In high school one of my senior awards was Class Procrastinator. I thought I was flying under the radar but there I was labeled by my peers and fooling no one. I was proud of the title bestowed upon me, smiling with my little "know-it-all" smirk that only a teenager can wear with infuriating innocence. Ahhh, the days of last minute cramming with flashes of brilliance through bleary eyes and foggy head, body on automatic pilot as it races down hallways to turn in that paper by final deadline and narrowly missing academic disaster like a "B" grade.

Procrastination and undergrad? No problem, just lots more racing through hallways and sliding papers under professors doors. This tactic has followed me all the way through to graduate school, but the smirk as been completely erased from my no longer innocent face and I have been humbled and bowed by the dissertation process. Yet old habits die hard. No deadline? Make my own schedule? I have all day to work so I'll do it later. Which becomes tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. The motto "No time like the present" doesn't really apply to the procrastinator's task at hand, but it works for knitting.

Two springs ago I picked up the knitting needles and I haven't put them down since. Mostly I needed community. I had been living in abroad in Raleigh, NC and had recently moved home. Writing is a lonely job as any writer will tell. The writing appeals to my reclusive side that can hole up for days with maybe an occasional outing to the mail box. Although I have to admit that the recluse mostly likes to watch television rather than face the computer and the topic of dreaded dissertation. After moving away from my crafty friends in Raleigh I needed new crafty friends. After attending a party and admiring a women's scarf (which she made). I made a mental note of the Knit Cafe, which was her LYS and soon to be mine.

I signed up for a class at the Knit Cafe and Mary Heather was my teacher (Where are you Mary Heather?). I had been taught how to knit one summer as a kid on our yearly camping trip, but after that hot and dusty week, the needles, yarn, and strip of knitting were packed away like the rest of the gear. The Knit Cafe beginning class was a two parter and Mary Heather was a patient, kind and overall great teacher. Once I got going it felt totally natural like I had been doing it all my life. I whipped through my garter, stockinette, seed stitch swatch. The weekend between classes I was in a knitting frenzy. I showed up to the next class with three finished scarves. People in class accused me of being Amish! There is definitely a Southern Baptist or two on my mother's side but no Amish. As for the knitting, as I said earlier, I haven't put the needles down since.

Oh and the dissertation...still a WIP.

2 comments:

sappmama said...

Ah, but this is the year, my friend. The academic year, that is. You'll be Dr. Y, wearing a dress you sewed and a silky accessory you knit to your graduation ceremony! How cool's that gonna be?!

Mary-Heather said...

Hey Natalie! Glad I found you through a little vanity search on google (embarrassing but honest).

Hope you are well!