Yesterday I took my sewing machine in to work to sew the canvas bags for our shopping carts. This involves sewing up a 32″x60″ sack of canvas and making a flat bottom for it, and then we put on grommets to attach it to its frame (my husband is making the frames). So there I was, swinging around yards of canvas and topstitching and whatnot, with the sewing machine set up on the little table where we normally bag people’s purchases. But of course people still need to know the difference between a hygrometer and a psychrometer, and buy gifts for four year olds, and spend their TAF money and so forth.

So at one point I was in the middle of a seam, on the phone, leaning across the sewing machine to get an envelope from a pigeonhole three and a half feet away, with one leg stretched out behind me for balance, and a customer came up.

“Multi-tasking, are we?” she purred.

Multi-tasking has been getting some bad press of late. Researchers suggest that, even though it is becoming more and more common, it leads to inefficiency.

I have a card by Annie Tempest called “The Male and Female Characters.” The front shows a man making coffee (he is a Brit, so it is instant coffee — those of us in Hamburger-a-go-go-land must adjust our mental images to encompass kettles and stirring). He puts on the kettle, waits for it to boil, makes the coffee, and takes it back to bed.

Inside is a woman making coffee. She puts on the kettle, does some laundry, feeds the animals, makes the coffee, and takes it back to bed.

This is not the kind of multi-tasking that researchers say is inefficient. They have studied the effects of switching back and forth between solving math problems and sorting geometric shapes, or watching TV and listening to music while also having IM conversations and playing computer games.  Effective multi-tasking is more like reading and knitting in the waiting room, or doing laundry instead of standing around waiting for the kettle. A different thing entirely.

Here is the progress from yesterday’s dentist’s office time. I will definitely finish the front this week, as I will be in a car for ten hours on Saturday. My daft loon of a husband is determined to drive up to #2 daughter’s graduation at 4:00 a.m. rather than going up the night before as any sensible person would, and then driving back the same day. This will ensure that we are all too tired and miserable to enjoy the lengthy speeches and time spent saying “Can you see her? Is that her over there?” and other such features of commencement ceremonies. We will also look dreadful in the pictures. Such is life.

So are you wondering how I am doing with the schedule? Do you want to hear my really, really excellent reasons for not having followed it so far? I didn’t think so.

There are new online knitting magazines up. The Anti-craft is the place to go if you want to make ugly stuff. Dress yourself in a lumpy poison-green sweater and wear a coffin-shaped backpack, fill your garden with plastic body parts. There is a statement being made, for sure.

Spun Magazine is back with some nice interpretations of basic patterns and recipes for bath bombs and such. The recipes, like the patterns, are roughly the same ones you can find everywhere else, but if you don’t have any yet, you might as well get them here.

Adriafil has a lot of very nice downloadable designs for those who can decipher knitting instructions in Italian, which you probably can with this glossary. For all I know, there may also be fascinating articles and lots of witty commentary, but my Italian is not up to that. Cognates and stuff people sing about, that’s the limit of my Italian.

Magknits has teddy bears and a classic sweater, socks, and baby booties this month. They have gone monthly now — if you didn’t know that, you might have missed a few issues.

All this has nothing to do with the … umm… slow start of my schedule. It is an example of multitasking.