Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Blob is Bigger!

I finished the second repeat of Chart A:

I notice, however, that the picture doesn't look much different from the one with just one repeat of Chart A. Sometimes progress is not obvious.

Unfortunately, I have been experiencing some shoulder pain if I knit--particularly if I purl--for long periods. I've been carefully pacing myself with rest periods between each row. Tonight, though, I got carried away because I was trying to make up for last night's lack of progress and because I was getting the pattern just right for a change. I am now paying for it with aches.

Notice also the classy stitch markers. I am not using my cute chickens because I've discovered that if I'm doing a pattern with numbers of yarnovers, I tend to knit my markers into my fabric and sometimes have to cut them out. My cute chickens are going to take their place on sock gussets or raglan increases. These beautiful markers are Sonic specials--tiny slices from a Route 44 Diet Dr Pepper straw. I have used tiny rubber bands in the past, but they are hard to find and cost money. These are free if you don't count the cost of the Dr Pepper, and you can get plenty of them from a single straw.

We made a rush trip this morning to buy my DH a recliner while a good sale was still on. It has been a number of years since we've done this, and he's been sitting in a motley variety of chairs including a beanbag. Eventually, you reach an age when getting out of a beanbag is waaaay too much trouble. I think I'm as excited as he is.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Three Steps Ahead; Three Steps Back

Spent the entire tv evening knitting and tinking 3 rows looking for a mistake. Believe it or not, I had repeated the same mistake in every repeat all the way across the shawl. For some reason, I added two perfectly symetrical yarnovers, which made the repeats 16 stitches instead of 14. I think I have everything ready to go again, but I made absolutely NO progress.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Blob Shot

Progress so far on Traveling Woman, a small shawl. I have completed the stockinette portion and the first repeat of Chart A. The yarn is Claudia Handpainted 100% Merino in the colorway Mountain Sky. It is a little more stripey than I expected it to be, but the colors are lovely. It really reminds me of a trip to the mountains. I can hardly wait to get it finished.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Loot--the Knitting Kind!

I have been blessed lately with knitting things. First of all, from my dear daughter and her family for my birthday, some stitch markers. The design is particularly appropriate because my DH's backyard chicken, Henrietta, is a Rhode Island Red. I thought about trying to photograph the markers with the chicken, but I could see all sorts of problems with that idea.
Accompanying the markers were two skeins of Claudia Handpainted fingering in the colorway "Cabin Fever." For reasons I'm not going into right now, the name of the yarn is appropriate. The colorway itself is absolutely beautiful. She included the little extras that always come from The Loopy Ewe in the gift.

We spent the afternoon watching Season 2 of Monarch of the Glen, and I began knitting the Traveling Woman Shawl (Ravelry) from the beautiful Claudia yarn that I got for Christmas. I had intended to make socks, but those colors are my best ones, so I decided I wanted something I could wear closer to my face. I think this smaller, scarf-like shawl will be perfect.
Note: We are really enjoying the Netflix Watch Instantly capability since we have the little Roku player hooked to our television. We spent the afternoon in Scotland, without a commercial, a news bulletin, or intrusive sports scores. I even missed NASCAR. We just took a break whenever we wanted. It was really nice. The show has some interesting sweaters, too.
I was also lucky enough to win some yarn in a contest held by a fellow English teacher on her blog. The yarn is Wollmeise Twin. It is truly lovely yarn. Thanks, englishtch!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Finished Granny!

I finished the Giant Granny Square Afghan this afternoon while watching All Creatures Great and Small on Netflix. I am pleased with the result, particularly since I limited myself to yarns that I already had on hand. It was a learning experience for me. I worked hard on my tension skills, and the tension of my double crochets did improve by the time I finished. Crochet certainly uses more yarn than knitting. This finished project is much heavier than the equivalent size of knitted blanket. The openwork, however, does allow it to be very drapey, so that is ok--I was worried that it would be stiff.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Things I Would Prefer NOT to Do with My Time: a Rant

Two totally unrelated inconveniences:

  • I have had a class of seniors this year irritate me out of all proportion. During a career that has spanned a number of different decades, with a long stretch of non-teaching in the middle, I have taught drug dealers, a murderer, a student later convicted as a serial rapist, and assorted other "real" bad guys. I have seldom had a class that has irritated me this much. As a group they are brighter than the average English IV class, but they seem to want to appear to be as idiotic as possible. The class is mostly boys, and it is during the one period when administrative help is unavailable because both administrators are on lunch duty. Come to think of it, make it mostly HUNGRY boys. And it is the spring of their senior year. Most of them have just attained legal adulthood and are in that weird limbo created by the law in which they still have to have a note to have an excused absence but can legally write their own. This particular class acts like 3-year-olds, literally bouncing up and down for attention, all of them at the same time. They are insufferably and unrepentantly rude. I've been doing an activity-based approach to the study of Macbeth, based on the Shakespeare Set Free ideas from the Folger Library and other activities that I have hunted down over the years. Friday, I had to quit that approach with this particular class because it was pandemonium. Now they are grounded. They are reading the play silently to themselves and filling out answers to study questions. Frankly, they won't learn much about Macbeth this way, but they are gradually getting the idea of settling down. They are learning a life lesson. Yesterday took 3/4 of the period for them to really become acceptably quiet, which at this point I'm defining as total silence. Today it was 1/2 a period. I think I got their attention when I pointed out that the questions one could ask about Shakespeare are infinite in number and there are only 38 more days of school until graduation. They should never mess with a post-menopausal woman who was once the parent of a couple of teenagers. I am not one to say, "My children never acted like that!" but in this case I'm pretty sure that statement would be correct. That doesn't mean that they didn't do some other things, just not these particular ones. Unfortunately, I have to grade all those study questions. That's the downside.

  • I ordered a lovely dress from Gymboree for my granddaughter's birthday present. The party will be on Saturday. I have been tracking the package, which was sent to my home address. The tracking information came through the UPS web site. Someone was at home for the expected delivery yesterday. The tracking said that they attempted delivery at 10:07 a.m. Delivery failed, and they left a notice. We hunted everywhere for that notice. This morning my DH even chased down the UPS man, who didn't know anything about the package. He is not, however, the only UPS man who comes to town, so we were stymied. We do not have porch delivery from the US Post Office. Instead we have rural boxes at the curb. We do have one of the big rural boxes, by the way. My DH went in the post office this morning for something, and they gave him the bag with the dress, which was actually smaller than many packages I get in my mailbox. Sure enough, I found the delivery attempt notice in the mailbox, from the US Post Office, not UPS. How was I supposed to know to look there? How was I supposed to know that the package was coming through the USPS when the tracking said UPS? Why didn't they just put the package in the mailbox in the first place? And what is the point of having tracking on your company web site if you are going to ship in such a convoluted fashion?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Christ is Risen!

Have a blessed Easter!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Probably Shouldn't Blog This. . . .

First of all, let me say that I am very proud of the history of the school where I teach, and I mostly enjoy the people I work with. I think we do good work in what many would consider less than ideal circumstances. As I get older, though, I find the "overcome and adapt" harder and harder to do. I love teaching writing and literature, but increasingly I find those subjects devalued. For one thing, everyone is in a panic about math and science, but in our particular circumstances because we are a small town, the school also serves as the entertainment supplier for the community. Our students are involved, and that word should be capitalized and italicized. The standards of the community place a premium on extracurricular activities even if academics have to be sacrificed. At this time of year some students are in class only one or two days a week. Today was the first day in two weeks that I was able to teach English all day without either being required to do things myself, like run contests, that have nothing to do with my subject matter or my training, pass out invitations to community events to seniors AND keep track of which seniors are not present so that I can chase them down and give them their invitations later, tell some parents that I will not take class time to organize a completely non-school event for them because they don't want to put in the time and effort to do it--for the 3rd time to the same parent, and have class periods in which more than 50% of my students are gone on school activities. I did teach English all day, and I remember why I love doing that. Increasingly, however, I am having difficulty believing that anyone else cares, particularly the parents and the community.