My blog about knitting, teaching, and being a mother to two energetic young boys.

Monday, April 30, 2007


Knitters Attention Deficit Disorder - yup, I've got it & I've got it bad. It should be apparent from the date of my last blog - uh, over 10 days ago, that other things have captured my attention & prevented me from sitting still long enough to write. What could have been s darned important? Well...

Trip to Chicago to see the Bodyworlds exhibit. Very cool! As an anatomy & physiology teacher, I find the human body such a marvelous machine! If the exhibit is near you - I highly recommend you go and see it. Lots to learn about your own body! In addition, I was in the windy city mainly to visit with my great friends Jen & Steve & their darling little girl, Maddie.

Here they are after our visit to the Shedd Aquarium.

The "Bean" located in Millenium Park - very shiny....

Our reflection in the bean...

Me, standing with the Chicago skyline in the background. Do you notice the shorts (ignore the pasty arctic white legs...) - warm enough for shorts in April!! Hot dog! - Remember - Anchorage still has snow on the ground in many parts of town...

While in Chicago, my friend Jen and I visited the yarn shop "Knitche" where I purchased more yarn (oops) & a 40 inch circular needle. Isn't Knitche such a great name for a yarn shop? I just loved it!! Go figure I had to travel 6 hours by plane to find a circular long enough to knit socks in the Magic Loop method... Of course - Jen bought some yarn & needles too... (I'm a bad influence) so I taught her how to knit socks. I'll have to get an update on how they're going - with a wee one running around, finding knitting time is tricky!!

So - my wee one is ready to get out of the bath, so I must sign off. Pix of knitting projects in progress (two more pairs of socks...) and a downtown moose coming tomorrow...


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spring Update & I.A.P. Part Deux

The view from my front yard - the alpenglow was amazing. This photo was taken around 8:45 pm. It's too bad that my little digital camera couldn't capture the true pink hue reflected off the Chugach mountains from the setting sun. Breathtaking!

My front yard as of Monday, April 16th. The snow is going & can you see it - grass!! I give it another week before the yard is totally clear.

Another great day of I.A.P. for our S.W.S. students. No knitting updates on my part - still very busy helping students learn to knit. One student finished a mitten in class today, while others are very, very, close. I'm still not a fan of the short row w&t in the Fiber Trends pattern - still created a hole because the 2nd w&t is hard to see when you're knitting back around. Oh well..

Enjoy the photos from day 2:

Children's Literature - two students reading Dr. Seuss' tongue twister "Fox in Socks".

The Chocolate class - Yum!! Students are learning how to make scrumptious desserts & chocolate goodies from our very talented Food Science Guru, Rebecca Jesse. How come I wasn't quick enough to supervise this class?

S.W.S. freshmen girls working away on building benches for the S.W.S. commons. Girl Power!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Best of Days... Worst of Days

Greetings. Well - I have to start out requesting a moment of silence for my newly departed kitty, Machiavelli or as we call him, "Mac". He was a geriatric kitty (~16 years old) that we had put to sleep today because of a raging infection his little body could not fight off. Needless to say, today wasn't the best of days. I'll leave it at that - any more and the flood gates will open again. I know my 5th hour class was wondering why my eyes were so red today. What we professionals won't endure to provide quality education. If you're a kitty owner - give them an extra hug & serving of tuna today.

And speaking of quality education - check out the photos below! This week is our I.A.P. week - which stands for "Independent Activity Program" week. This is a week where the School Within A School program takes a 'break' from serious academics and allows students and staff members to explore different activities. Students, staff, and members of the Anchorage community at large volunteer to teach different courses. Examples include Alaskan Native Art, Fly Fishing & Fly Tying, Archaeology (learn how to spear a Wooly Mammoth), Scrapbooking, Seminar Coaching, Yoga, Children's literature, foreign exchange, and Hip Hop dancing. I am teaching two courses: Knitting and Mask Making.

Above is a photo of students learning how to be coaches for the Socratic Seminar process. Using Socratic Seminar is an integral learning process of S.W.S.

Here is the pattern we're using: Fiber Trends Snow Country Felt Mittens. The mitten examples are a pair my dear friend & fellow knitting instructor made YEARS ago, but just can't bear to throw in the wash & felt. She used a strand of hand painted mohair & just can't bear the thought of not being able to see the beautiful detail of the yarn & its fabulous colors. It has been suggested that I steal these mittens & felt them myself. Watch out Margaret!

Here is my student T.D. working on casting on. She first tried the knitted cast on until I showed her the long tail cast on. She thought that was pretty cool.

Here are some knitting students - all newbies! One student will be attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the fall, so she could certainly use a pair of warm woolen mittens. By the end of the day her ribbing on the cuff was complete - she was bummed that academics were going to eat into her knitting time. Ahh yes - the force of knitting has struck again! Also - look closely - teenaged BOYS who are learning to knit! Yup - the force is strong here.

My good friend Margaret (of the mitten fame) helping R.G. with his mitten. Isn't this cool?

Spearing a wooly mammoth is more difficult than you might think! Here S.M. shows proper form. Many students exclaimed they would have starved 'back in the day' if we had to rely on their spear hunting skills for dinner.

Mask making 101 looks awfully like getting a facial. Of course, I had to throw in that while the plaster of paris in the gauze hardens, heat is released thus the activity is an example of an exothermic reaction. My students were not shocked how I found a way to incorporate science into this I.A.P. class. I guess academics weren't completly on hold.

I hope to visit more classes tomorrow & provide a glimpse of the cool things our students are exploring. I'll also update the progress of our new knitters, my 2nd sock, and the new sock I've started using the Magic Loop Method.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring Has Sprung ?!?

According to my calendar, spring officially began March 22. I wish Anchorage was aware of this date! I live by my calendar - if something is written on the calendar, it's like it's written in stone - it's a firm committment, a date. You never break a date that's been written on the calendar. So - is Mother Nature aware of this? I mean, what would Miss Manners say if she knew Mother Nature was not upholding a committment. Arghh.

So - since nothing is really new on the knitting front, I thought I'd post photos/comments on "Springtime in Anchorage". See the photo - that was taken this evening around 8:30 pm. See our fence? Well - it finally reappeared a few days ago - we've had soo much snow this winter, that the fence has not been visible since last November. Good to see it's still there & that the road plows haven't knocked it down. My oldest son was surprised to see a piece of his purple saucer sled poking out of the snow - he wondered where it had gone.

Anyhow - I'm still knitting along on sock #2. I'm desparately trying to finish it so I can post to the SKS KAL and the SAM3 KAL for April credit. I think I can make it - after comparing notes from sock #1, I think I have 4 more repeats of 8 rows before I turn the heel. It's always the heel gusset that makes me feel like I've entered the black hole of knitting.

The high school soccer season has begun. Things are a bit backwards up here - our soccer season is in the spring rather than in the fall. So - the players have to practice inside & don't have any outside playing time prior to their first game on a regulation field. I used to coach the J.V. soccer team & I remember how frustrating it was when my players weren't used to utilizing the entire field. Not to mention having to wear long underwear under coaching clothes was just plain wrong! I'm thinking about heading down to watch a game this weekend. I thought I could perhaps knit while I watch, but got to thinking that cool (cold!) air and metal needles might not be a good mix. I figured that out when I thought I'd knit while ice fishing. Duh! (Ice fishing is a lot of "hurry up and wait")

So - send warm thoughts North - I'm ready for this snow to GO AWAY!!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

My New Toy

I've done it - I've purchased my very own swift and yarn winder. (Ignore the mess surrounding the toy - I was too excited to clear the space before I took this photo. )Hooray! Now I can zip in and out of the yarn store (yeah, right) and wind up my ball all on my own. :-) My kids think this is uber cool - I have to keep reminding them that it is not a toy, but a necessary piece of knitting equipment. Of course, my husband responded that he could have made me one & we proceeded to find a link describing a swift made from legos! (Right up his technology alley). Oh well - I'm happy with my new toy, er... piece of serious knitting equipment. Wind on!

How cool is this? This is my youngest son with my toy. The swift is a great way to tear my kids away from their Game Boy & to get them to get jammies on lickity split! All I said was "Okay - if you hurry up & get your jammies on, you can come down & wind a ball of yarn for me." Never underestimate the power of yarn! Great knitting mojo!

Here is a finished sock & the 2nd one on the needles. The sock is knit using the double needle method on size 2 24" circulars. I'm using Koigu KPPPM yarn - very soft! The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks - the Elongated Corded Rib. Of course, even after knitting a gauge swatch (a new one for me!), and measuring all important aspects of my foot - it still took slightly more than 50 g to knit one sock. Curses for the large foot. Anyhow - glad to report that the 2nd Sock syndrome has not taken hold!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I'd Rather Be Knitting!

Wow! What a day.... we've started our mandated graduation exams for our sophomores, so my morning is more of babysitting rather than teaching. One student actually showed up to the exam 2.5 hours late & 'finished' in under an hour. Can you believe it? So glad to know students are taking these tests seriously.

But wait - it gets better!! When picking up my oldest son from school, his teacher stops me to let me know she was about to phone home. (Gulp!) Apparently my son brought a blade to school today! Ahhhhh - he's only in 1st grade! Is he sliding down the slippery slope to dinlinquency? Arrrhhh!!! After a very intense interrogation - I determined the blade was a scalpel blade he picked up off of my desk in my classroom this morning while waiting for his ride to school. The shiny rectangular package looked like a piece of gum. Boy wasn't he surprised when he opened it & found an extremly sharp cutting implement. I asked what he planned to do with it after the disappointment of finding out it wasn't gum - he calmly answered "I was going to dig with it." Dig with a scalpel blade? Ahhh - only 7 year old boys would find such a use for it. Can 1st graders get expelled from school? How ironic when he and I were talking about scholarships and how he needs to start preparing NOW! Hopefully all is better, he learned some valuable lessons, and tomorrow will be a better day...

And the coup de gras (okay - it's been many moons since I've formally studied French). A colleague recently announced there was room in a pottery class she teaches at a local rec center. My husband Wade & I thought this would be a great time to go & do something fun together. Hmmm - let me start out by saying the times for this togetherness is every Tuesday & Thursday from 4:30 - 9:30 - yup, 5 hours each night! Egads! Well - it was fun, but not the sort of fun that makes me want to spend 10 hours a week and pay a babysitter 7 dollars per hour. I never did get anything that resembled a pot, or a bowl, or a plate. Do I really need more bowls, pots, or cups - NO NO NO! A few lopsided lumps of clay and a huge mess to clean up later. So - the bottom line is - I'd rather be knitting! It's portable, it's practical, more fun, and way cleaner!! So - I'll stick it out for the rest of the month (Wade will go on Thursdays, I'll attend Tuesdays), but then it's sayonara! (Who knew I was trilingual! )

The Yarn Harlot's newest book arrived today - I'm off to the warmth of a bed to dig in. Sock #1 (see older posts) is almost done - just the toe to do. I cast on a baby bootie this morning.