Sunday, February 26, 2017


The title of this post is to be sung to the tune of "Anticipation" by Carly Simon -- at least by those of us who remember that 1970s hit!

I have finished two shawl/scarves, Brickless and Perhaps, Perhaps, and now I need to do some serious blocking. Actually, I finished them both last weekend, but haven't begun to block.
Brickless in Wowza by Miss Babs
Am I the only one who hates blocking? At least these two projects don't need to be pinned or strung on wires. Both of these have lace or netting, so I know that I will be pleased with the results. Still, there is something tedious about blocking.
Perhaps, Perhaps, in gray and black from MadTosh and green from Sun Valley
Both of these are going to be gifts. Go me! Two holiday gifts done before March 1.  I now have a hankering for some selfish knitting.

And speaking of procrastination, I am not keeping up on the embroidery piece I'm calling "My Grandfather," which I'm doing as part of the Jewish Artists Lab. I like my idea, and I like some of the execution. But the embroidery is not fun for me to do.
See all those lines? They all have to be embroidered. And they are all in browns and black. I am a color girl. I love bright, rich, deep colors. This is the last time I'll lock myself into such a brown color scheme.  I know that all my knitting pals out there will understand. Isn't color part of what we love about yarn?

I am still feeling under the weather, and I'm finding that many others have had colds/flus that last for weeks. So tedious! I did see two movies this weekend. On Friday night another teacher and I went to see Rock Dog with two students. It was quite entertaining, and I'd highly recommend it as a family film.

Keith and I saw Moonlight last night. Mistake! It's almost as depressing as Manchester-by-the-Sea. Both are beautifully written and acted -- but SO sad. I think I'm going to get serious about avoiding depressing movies. Life in Trump's America is sad enough!

I read on Mere's blog that some Republicans want to make cuts to the school lunch program. What??? If they had to face these kids every day, they'd see it differently. There are two kids who I feed every day -- and others that I feed from time to time.  You have to have a very low income to qualify for free hot lunch; these are genuinely hungry kids! And hungry kids can't learn, which will make it harder for them to become functioning adults.

These are hard times for many Americans. Working with many poor students and immigrant students helps me realize how lucky I am.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Books and Knitting

It's been so long since I had a fever, that I totally forgot what it felt like. Thus, I was shocked at Urgent Care Monday, when they told me I had a temperature of 101.5. In case you, too, have forgotten: Just walking across a room in a major effort!

I've mostly slept the last two days and when I was awake, I wasn't up for any difficult knitting. So I cast on for one of the patterns I've been wanting to make from Island by Jane Richmond.
This is a super simple scarf knit from linen. I'd picked up some Rowen Pure Linen on sale at an LYS. The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn, but this yarn is aran. What the heck? I just went ahead and cast on. It's just a scarf.
In my febrile state, it did not occur to me that I should use larger needles. However, I am liking it so far.

I'm still working my way through It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. It's interesting, but not as good as his classic works. So I also started another novel: A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers.
It's about a failing middle-aged businessman who heads to Saudi Arabia for the deal that will turn everything around in his life. Of course, nothing is that easy. I loved Eggers' The Circle, about a young woman who is hired by a Google-type company.  I often like workplace novels; My favorite TV show of all time is The Office. I'm finding Hologram reasonably entertaining.  (I think it was made into a movie with Tom Hanks.)

I'll be linking up with Ginny at Small Things to Yarn Along.

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!