Dec 29, 2011

End as You Plan to Begin

I fell short of my NaKniSweMo goals in November, and I got caught up in the preparations for the holiday and wrapping things up for the vacation at school. (There was also a rigid heddle incident, from which im still recovering. . .but that's another post.)As I look over the goals I set for myself, I find myself reaching high, and not always reaching my goals. So I'm going to try something a bit different as I look forward to 2012. I'm going to end strong. I'm working on finishing up what I started. Cleaning the palate, so to speak. I have a shawl blocking that I started in August, and next up is a stole I started last December. I do have some design work that needs to be completed, and I'll keep at it, but I'm going to end the year by cleaning up lose ends, and spend 2012 doing the same. To think it will take a year to do that seems ridiculous, but there are many loose ends. To say my chi is blocked is an understatement. I'll make a dozen pair of mittens this year, and work towards finishing my UFOs and using stash. . .all god things, yes? But my real focus will be on ending. Finishing strong. Staying the course to see all of the projects that need my attention get exactly how much attention they need until the finish line is crossed. How about you?

Nov 17, 2011

So Far, So Good

Knitting brought to you by sleepless nights and bad TV...

Just sleeves to go, and I'll have a new sweater!

Nov 16, 2011

Almost There!

My goal for tonight is to finish the neckline knitting...

It could happen, right?

Nov 14, 2011

Can't Stop

Apparently, I shouldn't stop knitting and leave my sweater sitting for long. Mookie likes it!

Have the back completed and have started working on the fronts. I'm hoping to finish the fronts and collar and get a good start on a sleeve before the weekend.

Since I've gone rogue and am no longer following the pattern, I'm a bit leery about the neckline. I've consulted a few design books, have calculated stitch counts, and looked at samples of other patterns... And am hoping all will go well. I'm shooting for a shawl collar.

To get there, I cast off about four inches of stitches at the center front, and will gradually decrease along the neck edge until I have the number of stitches left on the holders for the shoulders. Then I'll unite the shoulders with a three needle bind off to give them plenty of strength. For the collar, I'll pick up along the neckline and work a wide band of ribbing that will overlap in the front and (hopefully) fold gracefully over into a shawl collar. I think it'll work, but I have to keep knitting to see for sure.

If you've got a better suggestion at how to attack this, pipe up!

Ps, Harriet, keep knitting on the Henley, you will be so glad to have a clean slate when you cast on your PW sweater!

Nov 12, 2011


House power washed? Check.
Leaves raked? Check.
Garage cleaned? Check.
Yummy food in refrigerator? Check.

We both got a lot done today, and still had time to meet with someone to coordinate installation of a gas fire place, watch Grey's Anatomy on Netflix, and get a lot of knitting done.

NaKniSweMo is coming along just fine. I'm ready to divide for the arms, and since the yoke will be all black, I think I might just pick up some speed!

Oh, and Harriet? I say cast on the Philosopher's sweater... I'm shooting to have mine done by November 25, when I can cast on another with the rest of the guild. Will you be ready by then?

Nov 10, 2011

Falling Behind and Catching Up

Do two posts in one day help me make my four posts a week goal?  I'm thinking not.

It's been a crazy week at school.  Students receiving special education services have an annual meeting to review their progress.  We call them IEPT meetings (Individualized Education Planning Team), and they're sort of like parent teacher conferences on steroids.  As a special education teacher, I need to review the work each student on my caseload has done, see if they are indeed closing the gap between them and their peers who don't require specialized instruction, write a nineteen page document that explains where they are in their progress now, where we'd like them to be next year this time, and how the school team plans to help them get there.  Then, we hold the meeting, and I explain all of that to the family and the student.  Typically, we like to spread them out. . .give teachers a bit of a breather between each one. . .allow them to carefully consider all that impacts how a student is progressing.

This week?  I have had four IEPT meetings.  Four.  In addition, I have had to teach my classes and score all of the assignments my students have turned in.  Tomorrow, I have to teach a training for other staff members in our district, attend a department meeting at lunch, hold the final meeting of the week, and get all of my paperwork completed and mailed out after the training.  And I have to write sub plans tonight so that my students are learning while I'm out of the classroom all day.

I love my job.  I take what I do seriously.  I am SO proud of the progress students in my class are making, and of the students who are on my caseload who are making such good strides.  I think I work in a great school district, and that the teachers in my building work hard to help close the achievement gap.


(and you knew that was coming, right?)

I'm tired.  It has been a long week, and tomorrow will come early and will only make me more tired by the end.  I'm not complaining, really, I'm not.  I just want a bit of time for knitting this week, and I don't think it's coming as soon as I'd like.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow at four when I can walk into my house with papers to grade and know that most of the weekend is mine.

I'm looking forward to my NaKniSweMo sweater.  I can see a lot of couch knitting time and bad TV in my future. . .Hopefully I'll have pictures for you on Saturday, and you can oooh and aaahh over the beautiful colors.  It hasn't changed much since last weekend. . .but it will soon!

How is progress on your sweater coming?  What are you working on now?  I'm holding tight to the idea that others are working with soft fibers and feeling creative as I continue to plod through the work week. 

I won't be behind on my knitting for long. . .I see a warm and wooly sweater in my future.  And not a moment too soon, there are snowflakes flying around outside the window at my back!  Sweater season is here!

Nov 6, 2011

A Lazy Day

Maybe it's work avoidance, knowing that a crazy week is ahead, maybe I'm just sleepy after a full day yesterday, but I haven't been really productive today.

I finally finished one repeat of a twisty cable swatch.

And made a bit of progress on my NaKniSweMo sweater.

Answered a few emails, graded a few papers, played with Toshi, and napped. No laundry, shopping or cooking.

How was your weekend?

Nov 5, 2011

Long Day

The day started before sunrise and ended after sunset. A long day filled with beautiful friends and beautiful yarn.

Nov 4, 2011

Ready, Set, Go!

A decision has been made, and sweater cast on!

Nov 3, 2011

Do Over.

Okay, I really thought I was going to jump in to the crazy pool last night and begin my NaKniSweMo sweater.  Really.  I have a stockinette swatch, have done some of the math required, plan to get the sweater in my head turned into an actual pattern, and want to put all of the technical reading I've been doing in the past few months to good use, and grade the pattern so others can knit it too.

But you know what they say about the "Best laid plans. . ."

When I was realistic about my time and energy, as well as the commitments I have to my job and to others in the upcoming months, I thought it probably wasn't a good idea to take that leap.  I did wind yarn into cakes, and plan to cast on my Philosopher's Wool sweater tonight or Friday so that I have some knitting to do in the car for our long trip.  My guild friends will say I'm cheating. . .but rest assured.  I plan to finish this sweater in November, and have another kit (and will probably buy a third) that I can keep knitting during the KAL.  It just doesn't make sense for me to pull myself into so many directions right now.

I have UFOs in the double digits.  I have designs only partially written, with submission deadlines looming.  I have lessons and samples to knit along with students in my finishing class.  I have annual paperwork to complete for my students at school.  I have a family that needs my attention. . .I have a full life.  I am just like most of the adults I know.  I do not need to add pressure to an already pressure-filled life.

So today is a do-over.  I'm reviewing the goals I rashly set for myself yesterday.  I'm setting a more realistic goal for myself this month. . .I'll be starting my NaKniSweMo sweater on Friday, so that I'll be ready for up to 10 hours of car knitting time on Saturday.  I'll be making a Philosopher's sweater.  It may look a little atypical for a Philosopher's sweater, but I think I'll wear it more.

I'm going to shoot for four posts per week.  Not daily, not "more regularly".  If I want to be a better writer, I need to write.  (At least that's what I tell my students, anyway.)  So look for me here.  Hold me accountable.  If you don't see pictures of my sweater in progress, ask for them.  If you think the silence is growing long, poke me.  I know my life is pretty mundane compared to some, but I'll try to share the "good parts" versions with you.  (bonus points if you know that reference. . .)

What goals are you setting for yourself this month?

(And thanks for the comment, Harriet!)

Nov 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo, NaKniSweMo, NaBloPoMo


After a long silence, I guess I need to come to the realization that summer is over.  With it being National Novel Writing Month, National Knit a Sweater Month, and National Blog Post Month, I figured I should probably come out of my vacuum and say hello.  Hello!

Those who take these challenges seriously will have a novel, a sweater, or daily blog posts by November 30.  I'm planning to just come out of hiding.  (Well, and knit a sweater too. . .why not?)

I've actually been working on some knitting designs that have pulled my attention away from the blog, since I can't really write much about them, and have to keep pictures under wraps.  School has been a challenge this year as our schedule has changed, and it's made it tough to find a groove to getting all of my responsibilities handled every day. . .I think I'm almost there, though and report cards were due this week. . .we're one quarter of the way through the school year--Wahoo!!

While I'll continue to work on a few designs that will be submitted later this month or early next, and I didn't actually start yesterday, I'm going to drink the kool-aid, and join in with other knitters this month and crank out a sweater.  I'll be casting on today. . . probably in worsted weight, possibly a Philosopher's Wool kit, since I'll be taking a trip to their farm on Saturday.

I'll also strive to be a more regular poster again. . .daily? don't hold your breath. . .but more regular.  I've sort of missed this opportunity to share what's going on, even though I don't always think it's that interesting to others!

If you've missed me, leave a comment. . .ask a question. . .post a picture. . .we can encourage each other along as we pick up speed towards the holidays.

Aug 24, 2011

Sucking the Life out of Summer

The countdown is official. Only today and two more school days until I report back to work for the 2010-11 school year. You'd think I'd already started back to work, since I've done some homebound teaching, summer school teaching, have worked on some new curriculum and have been responding to many phone calls and emails since we let out in June. I've also been shopping the back to school sales so that I have supplies for the students who are unable to purchase them on their own. To those who say that a teacher has a cushy job, and doesn't work for three months, we should spend my vacation together next summer!

To be fair, I've also spent much time enjoying myself this summer too. I've kayaked nearly every week, have spent a good amount of time with friends, enjoyed a couple of trips, have taken fiber classes both online and in person, have knitted and spun a TON of fiber into a new fall wardrobe, and have gotten many massages and chiropractic adjustments. I do not take any of my life for granted. I truly live a blessed existence, and enjoy many perks of a reduced summer schedule.

That said. . .I have only a few moments left! I'd hoped to finish a couple of designs that are floating in my head. I'd hoped to spin up the remainder of my fiber stash. I'd hoped to finish a cardigan that is only about half way done, and a vest that is in about the same position. The last few days of vacation always put me in a bit of a frenzy trying to determine what my last, best day of summer will hold. I feel like a kid again, both excited for the new start to the school year, and saddened to see the days grow shorter, and have real responsibilities (and homework) again.

A good friend is in from out of town this week, and we're taking her to see the Stanley Cup this afternoon. . .plenty of knitting time on the drive, but what to take?

YouTube Video

I was informed that we're having a party this Friday too. .
.if you're in town, stop by! (BSKGers, that means you!)

Aug 22, 2011

Going, Going, Gone!

A design of mine was recently accepted by a new magazine in the UK. Today I emailed all of the photos and documents and put the samples in the mail. Wahoo! Now comes the wait until the publication date...

Aug 19, 2011

It's Not the Hilton

But it's my home for the weekend!

A flat spot, close to the showers, and really close to the classrooms and shopping!

Looking forward to learning a lot, and having fun with friends new and old.

Jul 31, 2011

Wrapping Up and Ramping Up

The Fleece to Foot challenge was today at Sock Summit 2011, and the teams started off strong this morning.

Several teams were accepting donations for their favorite charity as they worked...

And all looked to be having a great time.

Each team was allowed to switch up Knitters at lunch, and when I went back towards the end, imagine my surprise to see "The Mitten" represented!

Recognize her? Lorilee Beltman in the HOUSE!!!

I actually don't know what team won, but her team looked to be the furthest along...

I'm you'll be able to find the winners with a quick check of "The Goggle" as someone recently called it.

I'm eager to share all sorts of stories when I get home, as well as add some links, but will be on a media vacation for about a week. I didn't do so bad posting from my phone, eh?

Another quick meal with friends, a bit of time at the airport and soon I'll be home and then in a truck heading to The Land. See you there?

Only One More Day

Truly, it feels like I've been gone for a month, and while I only have one more day left here, I have another whole week filled with adventures yet to come!

I did a bit of shopping yesterday, and ordered a new pair of shoes.

Bought a pattern booklet fort friend Harriet. (signed by all of the authors)

Picked up a few goodies for friends at home, and still had plenty of time to chat people up in the booth.

At the end of the day, someone was able to guide us to carts for dinner not far from Tori and Hannah's house--only ironic because they were actually at the convention center last night...

On their way home, they picked me up, and we went to Swirl for ice cream. At Swirl, you have a choice of ten different flavors and about a million toppings--it was actually a little overwhelming. I chose a watermelon sorbet, swirled with a tart yogurt that Tori thought tasted like sour cream. I thought it was just perfect topped with strawberries and almonds.

We had customers during the flashmob, but I saw a glimpse of it online, if you care to check... Or here is a video of the rehearsal from Thursday night.

YouTube Video

Likewise, I was busy during the Ravelry meet-up/shower for Eloise. There is just too much going on to pack into one day!

Jul 30, 2011

Big Fun

I don't know how many ways I can say that I'm having a great time...but it's true, it's big fun here at Sock Summit.

Everywhere you look, there is something beautiful and exciting. Had a VERY interesting class about copyright, and spent the rest of the day working the booth, shopping, and people watching.

Goth Socks practically sold out on the first night...

The Signature Needle folks have more needles than you can imagine, all in one place, calling to me EVERY time I walk past their booth.

So far, I have resisted, but there are two more days in the market, and I walk past every time I go to the bathroom... I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to hold out.

The sock museum is amazing.

Not only are there cool and historically significant socks on display, but great time has been taken to put information about them together so everyone knows WHY they are such important or iconic socks.

Authors are having book signings what seems like all day long...

And because Jennie is so fabulous, and everyone loves her work, famous Knitters and designers keep walking into her booth and chatting her up...or she will point them out to me as they are shopping the market. It's been like a "who's who" of knitting.

We made a trip to Powell's book store last night after dinner.

And don't let the marquee fool you, this book store takes up a full city block. It's an amazing thing to see. Did you know Beverly Cleary is from the area? Love. Love her!

If the past few days weren't enough fun, there is still more fun to be had...and possibly shoes to buy...more about those tomorrow!

Jul 29, 2011

Sock Summit

Today was my first class of two. I had a three hour class with Amy Singer, of Knitty, called "Making the Next Monkey". It was really interesting to see things through the lens of the editor. I took lots of notes and have much to think about!

After arriving at the conference center, checking in, and taking my class, I hooked up with Jennie. We had boxes to unpack, pottery to display. I needed my "worker bee" training so that I knew how to handle things in her booth... It was a busy afternoon. Here are a few pictures of the line waiting to get into the market:

Can you find Diane D?

There was a rumor (actually a truth) that Jennie's limited edition Sock Summit mug would sell out fast.

(Those socks are exploding from Mount Hood.)

Her booth was never empty, and we were both writing sales the entire evening! Lucky for some, she has held back five mugs to be put out each morning for those who didn't make it there last night.

At the opening ceremonies, there was an impromptu flash mob rehearsal...posting my video now would spoil the surprise...lets just say it was a memorable event!

We checked in to the hotel later than expected... And are awake on Midwest time plenty of time to meet friends for our 7 am breakfast call.

Having an absolute blast. I can't remember the last time I laughed so much!

Jul 27, 2011

Another Perfect Day!

After sweltering hot weather at home, today's high of 69 degrees was perfect!

Started the day at Bob's Red Mill for a fabulous breakfast and some shopping for souvenirs to bring home.

Continued on to Eagle Feather Creek for some quick wading in the icy water.

Tried my first "sour clover" (Hannah said it was a must!)

Stopped at a few farm markets on the way home to find some perfect berries.

And now I'm having a Marion berry spritzer on the porch before dinner. Yum!

Hope your day was just as good!