Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wrap-Up of a Week

It was a busy week, which means it was much like most weeks during the school year. It started out with a treat at Monday night's Madison Knitters Guild meeting: Laura Ricketts talked about her research on the knitting of the Sami people, formerly known as the Lapps, a a derogatory term no longer used, who live north of the Arctic circle spanning Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.
I've always been fascinated by people who live near the North Pole, so I thoroughly enjoyed her talk. It turns out that the Sami people don't do a lot of knitting -- they have depended on reindeer for centuries -- but they do make gorgeous mittens. Some of the Sami-style mittens she has knit are shown in the photo. She has an ebook with six patterns, something I'm bound to purchase sooner or later!

Working with high school students can be emotionally exhausting. This week seemed to hold more traumatic events than most. I don't mind that part of my job, but it can be draining.
The week ended, as they always do, sweetly. One of my colleagues is THE BEST cookie baker in the world. I normally would not touch a ginger cookie (no chocolate -- not worth the calories), but Jim's cookies are always worth the calorie splurge. He always brings in a tray of cookies on Fridays.

Note: Jim is in his late 50s, but slim as a racing greyhound. He's a devoted runner and a coach for the cross country team. He can probably eat as many cookies as he wants! I like him anyway.

The weather this weekend is both amazing and terrifying:
Temperatures are not supposed to go well over 50 degrees F in Wisconsin in February. Still, it is lovely weather.

For my quilt, I need to figure out how to color a face using Derwent Intense pencils, my favorite medium for cloth, so I experimented on paper:
Keith admired my creatures from outerspace. Not quite the comment I was looking for. Now I have to get up the courage to put pencil to cloth. I wish I would have colored the face before I assembled the quilt top. At this point, I have no room for error.

Still half a weekend to enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Can't Stop the Pink

When I decided to knit Perhaps, Perhaps, I knew the stripes would be gray and black. I wanted to use pink for the lace, but I always use pink. Come on, I prodded myself, venture outside your comfort zone! And then I saw this great green Sun Valley Fibers yarn and knew it would look great.
And it does look great ... but I still want it in pink. I pulled out this skein of pink (destined for a different project) and, yes, I want PINK! So, this first Perhaps, Perhaps will be a gift. Fortunately, it's a pretty quick knit. Sun Valley will be at the Madison Knitters Guild Knit In in March, so I'll pick out a pink then.

The Vegetarian was on just about every best-book list I saw for 2016. The writing is beautiful, but the story is so dark and twisted and I didn't feel that the book said enough to justify that level of despair.
So now I've moved onto Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here, a 1935 novel about a fictional president who brings totalitarianism to the United States. I know I said I was going to read something more cheerful, but I was just too curious to pass up this one. Like 1984, this book is enjoying a resurgence in sales. It isn't at all depressing at the beginning, but clearly the mood is headed downward. I've always liked Lewis's books (Babbitt, Main Street), and I'm liking this one so far.

It's evening here, but I'm still going to hop over to Yarn Along with Ginny.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Weekend Outing

This is where Keith and I had breakfast this morning.
We were in La Crosse, Wis., to visit a former student of mine. We spent some time with him Saturday afternoon and then took him out to dinner. Finally, I can buy him a drink, now that he's 21! I've know him since he was in 8th grade, and we have had a special bond from the beginning. He's had a lot of hard times, and I'm so proud of him for never giving up.

This is what teaching is about: forging relationships and helping students see their potential. Not paperwork!

I've never been to La Crosse, and I am amazed by how many beautiful buildings grace their downtown:
It's the best small-town downtown I've seen in a long time. There are a lot of businesses and there were plenty of people around. And there are a ton of adorable, locally owned coffee shops. We hung out at a very cute one that also serves crepes, The Root Note.

Woke up this morning with a sore throat. This has been happening a lot. I think it's stress. I was on Facebook a little while ago and there were a lot of comments about how tough things are for teachers. I'll drink a cup of Cold Care PM tea to that!

I did some knitting in the car, but at home I'm focusing on the embroidery piece I'm working on for the Jewish Artists Lab:
The man is my grandfather. It's not the best likeness, but it is the best one I could do! This started out in my mind as a very simple piece, but is growing more complicated by the day. And they've moved the deadline for the show up by about 6 weeks! This is going to be a challenge.

I hope you had a good weekend.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Yarn Along: Fast and Slow

My Perhaps, Perhaps shawl is just zipping along. It's amazing how much faster you go with dk weight yarn than fingering. As you can see from all the stitch markers, I have found I need to be very careful during the lace portions.
Reading is going very slowly. The Vegetarian is a strange and twisted story of a woman who not only becomes vegetarian but also is struggling with inner demons. It's very dark.

Dark Money, which is about the billionaires funding the Far Right, like the Koch brothers, is just so depressing. I can only read a little  bit at a time. I felt the same way when I was reading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, which I never did finish.

My next book is going to be less depressing than these two!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Quiet Weekend

It was a quiet weekend, largely because I was just too tired for it to be a busy one. These first two weeks of the semester were crazy, at least for me -- and I didn't see that coming. I thought it would be hard to move from middle school to high school -- and reality has not proven me wrong.

I did have one commitment: I had invited some friends for brunch, so I had to muster up enough energy to do some cooking. I made a quiche and a coffee cake; Keith was kind enough to make a fruit salad. It turned out to be great fun, but I was exhausted after everyone left.
I did knock off a fair number of rows on my second Trimont Snood. This time, I put seed stitch along the bottom, where the pattern calls for stockinette. I like the original design, but I thought I'd like it even better without the curl along the bottom. It was the perfect mindless knit for socializing.

I apologize for the fact that I haven't been able to keep up with all your posts. Work seems to be sucking up all my energy. I hope that things will settle down as we move into the semester.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Shoveling = No Retreat

When Keith was skiing last week in Canada, I only had to shovel the sidewalks. He hires a service to
cover the driveway for the week. I generally like doing the sidewalks, but this was the heaviest snow I have ever encountered. Over a week later, my neck and back still ache!

I only spent a couple hours at the Sun Valley Fibers January Thaw (which I had so looked forward to) because I was in too much pain for plain old Advil. I went home, popped a muscled relaxant, and had my own mini retreat.
Before I left, I did buy a couple of skeins for projects I'd planned. The green is for Perhaps, Perhaps, which I started immediately. It's another wonderful shawl by Melanie Berg. This one is a long, shallow shawl, a shape that I find very easy to wear.The blue will become a Summer Camp shawl.

As sad I as I am that I missed all the fun, I have to doff my hat to Jeannette and George of Sun Valley Fibers; they put together THE BEST goodie bags, beginning with a really cute and durable bag:
 The skein of yarn is gorgeous -- this is not some leftover that did not sell! As you can see, there is notions bag, a mug, a tape measure, a scissors, a notebook, and more. Totally amazing. I don't know how they do it!

I only wish I had picked up more yarn. You know I'm in pain when it interferes with yarn shopping! Sun Valley Fibers yarn has a beautiful hand and is just so smooshy. The colors are even more beautiful than they look online. The subtle colors shimmer with quiet beauty, while the deep colors are deliciously complex. (BTW, I am not paid in any way by SVF. These are my opinions as a paying customer!)

The good news is that SVF will be selling at the Madison Knitters Guild Knit-In in March!

Friday, January 27, 2017

1 Year of Stitches Update

I have not yet missed a day in the 1 Year of Stitches project. There have been days when I literally added exactly one stitch, which is the beauty of this project. It is just so manageable.
I have no idea of where this is going. I'm sure there will be more buttons and beads, but that's about all I know at the moment. I am usually very controlled about my creativity, so working on daily whims is both scary and joyful. I certainly think it's a a good creativity exercise.

I'll be heading to the Sun Valley Fibers January Thaw later. Looking forward to meeting up with old friends and making new ones!