Monday, December 27, 2010
Per usual, we came slamming into Christmas. Although in truth, we were more ahead of the game than usual. The cards had been sent, all the shopping and some wrapping was done and cookies were distributed to the neighbors. Now, all the presents have been unwrapped, the games have been played, most of the cookies have been eaten and it's time to get serious again about running! Only, we got socked with a wicked snow storm today. Pretty to look at, fun to play in but not conducive to hitting the pavement!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
forgot to take pics, but here's the pattern link:
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I've decided I need a change in attitude. I've been feeling a bit holiday overwhelmed. Sort of like heading toward a wall at 102 miles an hour with no breaks. Can't get it all done fast enough and I want to just sit back and enjoy Christmas instead of running so fast I can't soak it all up. Then I realized - Christmas is here. I'm not preparing for something, I'm in it. This is it -- all the shopping, writing Christmas cards, wrapping presents, making holiday school bags, visiting Santa, making sure a little elf moves every night ... we're here and I can either savor it or let it fly right by me. I feel like there is so much to do to get ready - but "getting ready" is Christmas, not something to be rushed through.
The harsh reality is that my regular life is so busy that you throw something like Christmas in and it seems nearly impossible. I wasn't wasting time before so how can I fit anything more in? Be that as it may, here we are - trying to make this season special.
According to my Christmas philosophy, it's already half over :( But, it's been good so far - we went to cut down our own tree, I've gotten together with cousins in Boston, we've saw the trees lit in our little down town center, I've gotten private shopping trips with each of my girls and I've already gotten a few holiday cards.
Friday, December 10, 2010
Pine nuts apparently. I had a few the other day when I was trying to decide if they would go with salmon.
This is just one of the many articles I found:
This was the fate of San Francisco-based chef and food critic Jenna VanGrowski, 30, who suffered from a bizarre taste disturbance last month known as "pine mouth."
Various "palate cleansing" foods failed to get rid of the metallic aftertaste, known medically as metallogeusia.
When even the taste of toothpaste was "almost unbearable," she says she started to worry.
"I'm a chef, so I started getting really scared and frustrated because I need to be able to taste to do what I do. I had no idea what the heck was going on."
Van Growski works for ChefsBest, an organization that judges food products.
But as she soon found, she was not alone.
A quick Google search uncovered dozens of others on blogs and Facebook reporting her same symptoms and calling it "pine mouth syndrome."
The cause? It seemed the handful of pine nuts she snacked on days prior was the unlikely culprit. (the rest of the story.....)
I share this first because I want a pity party - it's the holidays for crying out loud. This is the time to be eating all sorts of scrumptious things. (Then again, maybe this is a blessing?) and second just in case it happens to you or anyone you love, you can assure them that they aren't dying and that it will (most likely) go away.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
I love the idea of Internet shopping - no crowds, no parking, no stops for OMG priced gas, BUT, then I get the message from Littleknits that they aren't shipping the orange yarn I ordered more than a week ago after hunting through bunches of stores both land and online until Friday. The cousin for whom I needed it to make a scarf is coming on Saturday to celebrate Christmas. Hmmm. Without a time machine, I am obviously not going to have the present done on time!
Then another package I ordered to be sent to my mother in Wisconsin for her birthday arrived here, in Massachusetts. So much for the free shipping, which lured me in to ordering it in the first place.
Still, I know she will love it - no spoilers though, mom!
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
Maybe it's just the cold weather, but I have an undeniable urge to knit hats. This is my first of the year. I finished it during an overnight stint with DD17 in the ER while watching an endless loop of Wizard's of Waverly place. I loved the color, loved the concept, but on my head it looked more sloppy than slouchy. The yarn just didn't have enough stretch so it just sort of plopped on my head. Not wanting to frog and not having any other brilliant patterns in mind, I came up with an alternative - a fleece lining for the headband part. It's now stretchy and warm. The pattern is based on a formula from Crazy Aunt Purl.
The photo was taken by DD17 having recovered from the infection that sent us to the ER. We were out chopping down the Christmas tree that is now sitting rolled up tightly on our porch because we haven't had the time to put it up. How sad is that - we cut a tree so it will be fresher and then let it sit. Deep sigh.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
They looked at me with their bright shining eyes and asked ever so sweetly, every so slyly if I couldn't help them sew the bags they had in mind.
My studio is mid-renovation (as it has been for month) my supplies are scattered about the house. I have no idea where any suitable material is, but they are so earnest and it is the end of second grade.
I sacrificed a pillow case. Finding time was another matter. One sweet child , friend of dd, gave up movie time to sew hers! The other, my own dd, managed to squeeze it in just before bed time on the night before the last day of school. (a little too much like me sometimes) and that left just the bag for the one who couldn't stay to finish the project. Which meant me up late sewing a little bag the night before the last day of school!
It's on them to remembe the permanent markers and get the signatures!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The problem in finishing the project was that she, on the advice from another student, had cut the yarn after she finished the last row. One of the best decision I made, however, was to use not-superwash real wool. That meant a little bit of spit (ewwww, say my students) and a lot of rubbing and we're back on our way to casting off. (A friend pointed out that I could have used the crochet cast off, but that's a new one to me).
A few of the other seemed to sort of get the idea. I think a couple more weeks or a couple more hours of sitting with them and they would have gotten it. They could all do it with some help, but sadly, I can't split myself into seven! At least they all seemed to have fun, and at the end of the day, isn't that the most important thing? Next year or in a few years when they see some needles and yarn, I hope they remember liking knitting and that they believed me when I told them they could do it. I would do it again in a heart beat. I don't think I would do much differently. It just takes time.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
This last week, two students were absent attending communion rehearsal. I thought that would make things go more smoothly but amazingly, there was still an intense amount of energy. They are having fun and that is the most important thing. I, being ever driven, want them to learn and forge ahead, but I do recognize that they are only 7 and 8. There is plenty of time for them to pack their schedules so full that multi tasking will become a way of life. For now, they are goofy and happy to chase balls of yarn off the table and around the floor, so why not? They have years and years of productivity ahead of them.
Of course I want them to leave accomplished novice knitters. I want them to be able to cast on, knit and cast off with finesse, but that just is not possible for all of them right now. They have, however, learned to make a slip knot, finger knit and cast on. It's a good start. They've seen wool and they've been smitten with the wonderful colors. They have plans in their head for what they would like to make and they have a sense of how to do that. This is all good. So, though we're not as far along as I'd like, I think the class was a success for all of us. They learned some things about knitting and I learned a whole lot about teaching. I would do it again in a heart beat.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
I think instead that patience is more like fitness - you can become more patient with practice and determination. Last week when I was trying to explain something for the fifteenth time, I could feel my frustration rising and sarcasm bubbling in my brain. But I took a deep breath and searched my brain for yet another way to explain the same thing.
Honestly, with five children, I've had a lot of practice with this patience thing. I'm not the most patient person in the world or even as patient as I would like to be, but I do believe I'm better than when I started. Maybe it comes from exercising empathy. The more you try to put yourself in another person's shoes, the more patient you can be with that person. That and deep breathing!
So far, all six students can make a slip knot and do the backward loop cast on. From there, we've got issues. One kid is going gang busters, but I think she came to class knowing how to knit. After demonstrating over and over and holding hands to show them the process, I think I finally hit on an explanation that works. I tell them there is an old loop on the left hand needle. Put the right hand needle through that loop. Wrap the yarn around the needle to make a new loop. Pull the needle through the old loop. Then the old loop can hop off the needle. I found that it seemed to work best if I stopped and asked them to point out several times where the old loop was and where the new loop was and then explain to me what had to happen.
I think at least three were getting the hang of it by the end of the class. Just two more to go. I wish I could sign them up for another 6 weeks, but summer is coming too soon!
My own knitting has been slowed by a need to detangle the yarn DP (dear puppy) tangled on a romp through the house. Amazing how much damage can be done in such a short time. It's taken literally hours. The thing that keeps me going is that it's strangely meditative and engaging. I wouldn't think detangling yarn would keep my attention, but it does. Not that I would recommend it.
I may be doing more of it - these girls in my class have managed to make some pretty snarly messes of the balls I sent home with them. I honestly didn't know it was possible to get yarn into the jumble that they've made!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
HAH! HAH! and HAH HAH!
I had it all broken down into easy peasy steps - or at least what I thought were easy peasy steps. I was met with a uniform chorus sung by seven of, "Huh? What are we supposed to do? I don't get it." When I started to hear "I can't knit," I started to get worried. I know that a kid can get discouraged easily if she feels she can't accomplish the goal.
Thirty minutes into the class, I scrapped the cast on and switched to the backward loop. I don't like it for learning since it's so loose, but there wasn't time to teach the knitted cast on and I really needed them to make some progress. It's relatively easy to learn - certainly easier than what I was trying to do anyway. Most of them got it but we had just 15 minutes for the actual knitting part. I can now definitively report that this is not nearly enough time. Just as my young students were sort of starting to get it, their parents were arriving to take them home. I guess the good thing is that none of them wanted to leave when the class was over! (My apologies to all parents who were in a hurry)
We now have a two week hiatus for Spring Break. I wonder if some parents are going to learn how to knit just so they can help the kids along?
I need to remember to get more pink yarn. I probably could have gotten away with getting only pink yarn!
This is a good exercise for me in seeing how far I've come as a knitter. I remember those early, frustrating days of wanting to whip through even just a simple square. I also remember becoming totally addicted once I finally got the hang of it. Now I'm just trying to spready the love!
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
They are, at least, an enthusiastic bunch of girls who got just a little frustrated at not getting the knot immediately. Mostly they just seemed to have fun trying. I will say that I am glad there are no more than seven, however!
I tried showing them everyway I could think of - setting the loop on the table, wrapping the yarn around their hands and wrapping it just around their fingers. There are just only so many ways to explain it. We had barely enough time to learn that and basic one-finger finger knitting. I'd hoped to move on to four-finger finger knitting but that just wasn't going to happen. I also made the grave mistake of thinking that 15 minutes was enough time to teach pompoms. Oh no, not by a long shot. I was frantically trying to tie off bundles of yarn one at a time when parents were arriving and wondering (like I used to) why the teacher was taking so long to send them to the lobby! I think I sent everyone home with at least a little bit of yarn to practice on.
The highlight was when the cooking class in the next room started to get loud. One little girl said, "They're out of control. We're calm because we're knitting. Knitting calms you down."
Yes, that's a large part of why I knit it calms me down (when I'm not getting frustrated from having read the pattern wrong or dropped a stitch while frogging.)
P.S. I will confirm that it generally helps if you read the directions. I finally did that for the yarn meter - now I know why my count was so far off!
Monday, April 05, 2010
Saturday, April 03, 2010
I have a hard enough time picking out yarn and patterns for myself and now I have to do it for six little people I've never met! White? Pink? Blue? Purple? Verigated? Wool? Superwash? Six skeins of the same color? Six different colors? I've loaded, unloaded and reloaded my virtual shopping cart several times already! I'm spending more time stressing about this than I will spend teaching.
I forgot that I don't like this part of teaching a class - choosing the supplies. This is the only thing I don't like about teaching beading classes. I drive myself crazy trying to make sure that I'll have the right color for everyone.
In this case I have just $10 per student and six weeks so I have to think ahead to the projects.
The class starts Tuesday.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I think I'm going to start with finger knitting. It's a little more like crochet than knitting but it's yarn and loops so I figure it's a good introduction. I've been practicing. I made my daughter and her reluctant friend learn and I cornered a 9-year-old in the waiting room.
I think I've got the slip knot down - make a pond (loop the yarn into a circle) and then go fishing (for the yarn).
Then on to the finger knitting - still working on that explanation.
So that is either the first ten minutes or the first class. I really have no idea how fast (or slow) these kids will catch on. Then what? One seasoned instructor suggested casting on for them. Then once they learn to knit, it's easier to teach the knitted cast on.
I think a book mark to start - maybe knit the long way so they can have long rows. Then a small bag maybe? Pot holder? Head band? Oh my goodness, I'm actually going to have to make decisions about what someone else will knit? I have a hard enough time deciding what I should knit!
I also have to buy supplies. Needles, of course. Yarn, obviously. Needles? Pins? Ruler? Row Counter? What's absolutely essential?
This should be interesting...
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Still, maybe that early instruction set a pathway in my brain that made it easier when I took it up as an adult. So, I feel it's only fair to pay back. Which means that when I found out they couldn't find a kntting instructor for an after school program at my daughter's school I felt obliged to raise my hand.
Do I have enough patience? We'll see. First, we need to have at least six kids. If that doesn't happen, I'm off the hook. Not that I really want to be. I'm kind of excited about this. I did successfully teach Z to knit at age 7.
I think we'll start with finger knitting - it's essentially crochet without a hook. I decided today to experiment on my daughter and her friend. The slip knot was much harder for them to learn than I expected. The rest was a little bit trickier than I anticipated as well.
I will, however, have six weeks.
I'm now scouting for simple, quick patterns. Any suggestions are welcome.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Initially, I was thinking about a mermaid sock with a flipper but it morphed into a tiny flipper sock. Very much fun to design on this scale - everything goes so quickly.
I am also going to take credit for the warm spell as of late. I just finally finished a pair of half mitts to match my cabled hat. I've been wanting to make these all year round, but just recently got to it! Now, we're ready for shorts, hah hah.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
And the rest of this isn't Purl - it's me. We impulsively decided to renovate the office/studio. At first it was going to be just some paint, but it was going to be so much work to get the room ready for that, we decided to gut the room! At this point, most people would sort and then pack everything up. But it had taken us so long to get to this point, we were afraid we would change our minds if we didn't decisively launch into the project. I moved everything out of the room as fast as possible while Dh chiseled ugly green tiles off the walls putting us well past the point of no return.
This isn't the most organized way to become organized, but sometimes, you just have to take a leap. Already, I've sent all (yes I said all) of the knitting magazines to my daughter's school, where they have a knitting school. I've also packed up several bags of material and at least two unfinished projects for a charity pick up. These are things that have been in my closet for years and years. I feel some angst at sending them away being taught to always finish what you start. But I don't want them anymore. I'm not sure that I ever did. Sometimes I think I start things just to see if can do it and once I know I can, I lose interest. Of course, by this time I've usually invested beaucoup $$ and hours into the project. So it's tempting to just tuck it away for some day when I have hours and hours of extra time on my hands (as if that day will ever come). This time, however, I'm letting go of the guilt and the stuff to make way for new stuff and, hopefully, a wave of creativity.
I will keep my favorite yarn books and the good yarn that I've collected. I've come to the belief that yarn isn't just for knitting - it's for collecting too. It's good to be surrounded by wonderful yarn. I hope someday to find the right project for all of it, but in the meanwhile, I'll just enjoy the color and the texture and the potential it holds.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
http://yarnigans.vox.com/ Just scroll down a ways. The doll is a blast to knit too - pics coming soon.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
One of my prizes for finishing the sweater was a great apron and a bunch of cupcake cooking supplies, which arrived today just a head of the kiddos getting sent home early for a giantsnow storm (which was just rain for most of the afternoon)
Perfect activity. Some how, miraculously, I had all the ingredients for the cupcakes – but just enough butter. I used a “Boston Cupcake” recipe that called for mace, which adds great flavor. I filled up the 12 baking cups as the recipe specified and wondered briefly why I had extra batter, but I figured that happens. Well, half way through the cooking time I figured out why - I’d added twice as much milk as called for! It turns out, however, that this is okay, it just takes way, way, way longer to cook! But they are so worth the wait.
Then for the frosting – again miraculously, we had enough powdered sugar, but not really enough butter. I found a recipe that would work anyway – hot water and powdered sugar, but why stop there? I added what little butter I had left, some milk and Fluff! I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a frosting recipe calling for Fluff, but it works pretty darn good. The kids loved it. Of course, how could they not with all that sugar?
It occurred to me later that I could just have used the fluff.
Monday, February 08, 2010
Al's first article:
FOND PARISIEN, HAITI — Nearly a month after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, paramedic Anthony Croese looked into the crowd outside a destroyed orphanage near Port-au-Prince and spotted an emaciated baby cradled in his father’s arms.
The baby looked far too tiny for his eight months of life, and a short conversation explained why. His mother died in the Jan. 12 quake, and his father, Emilio Eliassaint, in the weeks since had been feeding him sugar water, devoid of the nutrients in mother’s milk.
Croese, who feared the baby wouldn’t survive long on such a diet, bundled him into a car and sent him to a field hospital that has sprung up amid the thorny trees and dried grass at Fond Parisien, near the border with the Dominican Republic. full article
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
This one is for a special certain 4 year old who loves yellow!
Check out this site: http://yarnigans.vox.com/ for the mouse pattern, a darling bear pattern and a delightful doll.
Monday, February 01, 2010
I told my friend Allison and Bonnie that I wanted to knit a sweater this year, so they challenged me to a race. First one done gets a prize from the other two. Who could resist such a challenge? We all used the same yarn, but different patterns. Mine is Mr. Greenjeans from Knitty.com.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Doing good can be good for business
Charity gives customers incentive to buy
By Jennifer Heldt Powell / Small Business Matters
It can be difficult to entice shoppers into a store in the dead of a chilly winter when they’re still tallying up their Christmas bills, but last weekend Yarns in the Farm in Beverly was hopping.
Yarn enthusiasts were drawn in by a “reverse sale.” Ten percent of everything they bought was sent to Haiti to help earthquake victims. Full Article