Monday, March 29, 2010


Morning monitoring a 2-hour writing contest--dull.
Knitting while listening to an audio book while watching students write for 2 hours--wonderful.
Having my own students take 1st and 4th places--priceless!

Now back to work this afternoon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Last Evening of Spring Break

Approximately the first 40" of a planned 60". This project goes very fast, and it uses much more yarn than an equivalent size of knitted afghan. Since I'm using stash, that's just fine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Break Miscellany

First of all, can there be any better way of celebrating spring than watching a hummingbird hatch? Lots of people are watching Phoebe today. Since I'm a knitter, I can't help but wonder if some of the crowd got there the same way I did. Phoebe was Harloted last week.

For all you Shakespeare buffs or, I suppose, classical scholars, today is the Ides of March. Yes, I know the calendar has actually changed since then, but let's not be picky.

I still have not picked up my shawl again, but I do have some needle progress to show. Warning: this is crochet. I seem to have an unbelieveable amount of bits of good acrylic in my stash boxes, and I needed to make an afghan. I really enjoyed making those last two log cabins, and I think part of the pleasure was that I enjoyed the graphic and historical nature of the pattern--quilting adapted to a new form. I thought of trying another, but many of my "bits" would have produced only one strip, and I like the more "organized" log cabins. So I looked at granny squares and decided to try a giant granny square afghan. If I only have enough of a color for a single round, it will be ok. I found a lovely child's blanket on Ravelry by Indigoblue, and I'm using it for inspiration. (I really must learn to link to Ravelry.) I thought I read the tutorial carefully. Then I got out one of my mother's needles and went to work. I got this far:
The fabric seemed very loose. If you look between the shells, you can see what I was doing wrong. I was chaining three between every shell instead of just in the corners. Rather than rip out, I just started over. I also switched to a smaller needle.
Now I need some advice. Notice how the corners are curling a little bit? They do that on every row, but then they smooth out and lie flat. If any of you are experienced granny square crocheters, do I need to worry about this? The feel of the fabric on this second square is much more to my liking. Any hints will be appreciated.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


First of all, from our hen, Henrietta. (I know we are not original with that name. Yes, there is only one fowl. I'll have to post the story. If we ever get our second hen, she is going to be named Pertelote because I AM an English teacher after all.) This is an egg, without a shell, with just a membrane. It doesn't have a yolk either. On the other hand for a first attempt this is much better than some of my first attempts at knitting. No, she did not lay it on a sock. I grabbed the nearest background that was handy.
Yesterday was unexpectedly productive at school. We got something settled departmentally because an opportunity just happened out of nowhere, and it is a real relief to have a decision made. Now we just need to hold firmly to it. I also got some other things done that are really not my job--a real irritation--but after all, I live in a COMMUNITY, and this is one of those things that I just have to suck up and endure.
Furthermore, I'm just starting Shakespeare, which always ends up being a student favorite. It is so much easier than drill, drill, drill for some state test.

Still not knitting because I'm still recuperating and not mentally up to finishing that lace shawl yet.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Rant Revisited

The testing actually went pretty well. I monitored students all day, but I did get some fairly frequent breaks, so the process wasn't too painful. I was impressed that most of the students seemed to really be giving their best efforts, even if it meant having to eat a later lunch--and that's important to teenagers. And, of course, you get to observe little bits of weirdness, like the girl who highlighted EVERYTHING. Or the young man with a most meticulous 3-color highlighter system. Most of all, I'm glad that it's over for a little while at least.


Today is a standardized testing day, and it is the English Language Arts test. For 9th graders, it's a reading test that takes most of the morning. For 10th and 11th graders, the test includes a writing portion and a revising and editing portion and can take many students up to six or seven hours. All educational progress comes to a halt for this torture exercise. At least, however, we are through in early March, and we can go on to teach other things for the rest of the semester--all of those aspects of language that are not objectively quantifiable. Science, math, and social studies are under the gun until their testing at the end of April. It is such a shame that education is coming down to this. I usually face this task more calmly, but I still don't feel well from last week, and being in such a tense situation is going to be miserable. If I were not a professional, I'd call in sick.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Not a Finished Project

I should have known better than to tempt the knitting fates with a comment about "only chart C." I spent the next night knitting and tinking and knitting and counting and tinking. I probably should have figured it out when I obviously could not count to 8 without making mistakes. After all, illness usually attacks at the weakest point, which in my case tends to be anything to do with math. I came down with a whopper of something-or-the-other, including fierce coughing, extremely painful sinus congestion, and for a couple of days, a temperature. I missed the entire week of school and was housebound for two weekends and a work week. I did, however, watch much more of the actual Winter Olympics than I would have gotten to see otherwise, including a few events that were probably not even actual events (ice dancing involving trios of dancers?) while I was running a temp. Today I was back at school with very little energy and even less enthusiasm. I have not even touched a knitting needle. . . . and when I came into the house tonight, I discovered that my wonderful husband, who had been so helpful while I was ill, has now come down with whatever-it-is. I'll finish the shawlette when I get a chance, but as soon as I feel a little better, I have three costumes to sew for the contest One-Act Play. Right now, I'm going to bed very early!