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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Passing it on...

Check this out...Whose nimble fingers could those be?

The fingers of my 5-year old son, Iain, of course. While big brother was out playing with friends, Iain expressed an interest of learning how to knit. So - with some chunky yarn and size 13 needles, we were off. He's a quick study and quickly proclaimed "I'm getting the hang of this!"
Even the pros need a little help. Here he's asked me to 'frog' a couple of rows to fix an oops. Yes - he even knows the knitting lingo. First he learns the lyrics to Duran Duran songs & now he's knitting. What's next? I so love this age - where their minds and will are so pliable!

He says he's making a scarf - I'll let you know how that works out.

Meanwhile - here's some big kid knitting:

Socks complete to count for November credit for the SAM4 and the pair for Sockin' in to Maggie. I even finished by the deadline & before the yarn ran out - whew!


Pattern: Broadripple (modified) from

Yarn: STR lightweight in "Spot Rock On" colorway.

Needles: Addi Turbo Size 1 US. Magic Loop method (of course)

Modifications: The original pattern calls for a heavier yarn & knit over 56 stitches. I CO 72 & increased the number of knit stitches between the decreases and yarn overs by 1. I'm happy with the way they turned out - no pooling this time!!

Works in Progress:

  1. Fetching Pair #2 using Mission Falls 1824 wool
  2. Mystery Fair Isle Hat
  3. Child's French Sock from the Vintage Socks book by Nancy Bush
I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We certainly did - a fabulous dinner with my parents & some great friends, knitting, soccer (Orion scored his first goal!), and the Nutcracker. We certainly are thankful!

The secret to a moist turkey is the pre-baking massage.

The 23 lb bird in all it's post-baking glory


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blog Worthy

As the Yarn Harlot said in her Nov. 19th post - sometimes the blog just writes itself. Oh yes - how true that is. I've been busy w/life, work, etc & haven't felt the urge to post until a visit to my parent's house this past Sunday.

Wow - so much blog material.... where to begin?

How about here:
My stepmother is very generous & likes to make things for the family. Before she married my dad, she was a professional designer - trained in Japan (she's Japanese). So - she often hems pants for me (I'm only 5'2"), etc. However, sometimes she comes up some interesting projects. For instance - she felt my husband needed an apron. Yeah right.... Wade needs an apron like a 'fish needs a bicycle' (verse from the U2 song "Trying to Throw Your Arms Around The World"). But of course, she didn't use just any material to make his apron. She used this:
Yes - nothing screams masculinity like an apron made with Transformers material. She's a crafty, creative one - that stepmother of mine. :0) Wade was a great sport & wore it during our entire visit & for the hour long drive home. He's a good son-in-law. Wade wants to me to make it clear that he can and does (upon occasion) cook...

Next up: Eau De Skunk...
Did you know you can purchase essence of skunk? Yeah - neither did I. One of the reasons my father decided to retire in Alaska was the opportunities for hunting and fishing. He's since expanded that to trapping. He's planning on trapping marten out at the cabin, so he made these:
The poor critter doesn't stand a chance - food is placed in the top of the box, a scent stick (smothered with the eau de skunk) is inserted into the box, and the trap is set at the bottom. When the marten enters the box to get to the food - SNAP! - Bye-Bye little marten. Sorry.... For the record, I'm not a fan of wearing fur, etc.

And then - after the critter has met its demise, my dad removes the skin and slips it on to one of these:
Frightening how similar it is to a sock blocker! When I mentioned this, my father & brother shot me interesting looks, but trust me - it works on the same principle: slip the skin onto the blocker & let it dry.

Knitting Updates:

Finished These:

(ignore the snoopy band-aid)

Fetching - knit using yarn from the stash. What a cool & fast knit. Well - it's fast as long as you remember the last cable row on Fetching #2 & don't have to "un-bind-off" and re-knit. I figured I've made progress as a knitter as the thought crossed my mind when I discovered my error that I could just leave it be & reknit an entire new one. Not that it would have been faster to do so; it's just going back to fix mistakes is just so humbling. I'm planning on making more pairs for gifts. I'm considering altering the pattern to include a removable mitten top. I figure that would be more practical for Alaska's cold weather.

Started these:

They are the pattern "Child's French Socks" from Nancy Bush's Vintage Sock book. I'm stash busting & using a ball of Colinette' Jitterbug that I purchased during the road trip this summer.

This is the progress I'm making on Nobleknits Fair Isle Mystery Hat. The outcome isn't much of a mystery to me as I surfed the web to see the finished product after I completed part III of the pattern. My colors are slightly different, but oh well. I love how they work together & I love the Mission Falls 1824 wool. However - I was informed by my knitting pal Mags that a true fair isle uses only 2 colors of yarn at any one time. On some rows I'm using up to three. Mags also passed on to me a nifty way of preventing long ugly looking floats. Take a look...

Making Progress on this:
The modified Broadripple using STR lightweight Spot Rock On. I'm trying to finish these by the end of the month to receive credit for November in the SAM4 & to send off for Sockin' it To Maggie.

Don't ask about the Minimalist Cardigan...

As you can see - my KADD (Knitters Attention Deficit Disorder) still rules my world. I'm looking forward to spending fun times with my family & friends tomorrow & indulging in some productive knitting time.

Weather update:The weather has taken a turn - warm Chinook winds are gusting through Anchorage & melting the glorious snow we received two weeks ago. Argh... Snow doesn't stand a chance in 45.7°F temperatures. So much for the Thanksgiving skiing plans...
Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's Here!!

... and blasting through my stereo! What is it, you ask? Well - if you've been following my missives, at the top I've been tracking the days until Duran Duran's release of their new album Red Carpet Massacre! After dropping off the kids this morning, I hurried to a local music store to procure the goods. Alas - they did not have it!! I like to support the local businesses, but hey - I'm not above heading to the box stores to get my Duran Duran fix. Thank you Fred Meyer!

In one word: Awesome!

Not the Duran Duran we (okay - me) all know and loved from the 80's. They've stepped up the funk a bit - great jamming tunes. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland have added their musical talents to the album. While I don't think Simon, John, Nick, and Roger need extraneous help, perhaps the addition of Justin & Timbaland will help the younger generations realize what they've been missing. I'm so sad when all my students know about Duran Duran is that Hungry Like the Wolf was on Shrek 2. It's not even one of their best songs (in my humble opinion), even if it is one of their most popular.

I have a brief confession - I've been listening to their album for the past couple of weeks as someone recorded one of their concerts on Broadway & uploaded the concert. How fun it's been to be able to sing along (in my car) to the new songs as soon as I popped the CD into my car's CD player. I think Iain can even sing along - he's been overhead singing some Duran Duran tunes while playing in his room. Yes - indoctrination at a young age, very good, yes yes - very good indeed.

So - go out & get this fun album. I guarantee you won't be able to stop tapping your feet & bee-bopping around the room. If you happen to live in San Diego - they'll be in concert there Dec. 9th. I'd love to go, but can't justify the expense to fly down & buy tickets right now. I hope they'll be on the west coast again & I can plan ahead. Dec. 9th is just too close to semester exams to be gone from school.

Yes - good knitting tunes! I think my speed as increased while I've been listening - I'm halfway through Fetching #2.

Yes - It's a good day!!! Thank you Simon, John, Nick, and Roger

More about knitting & registering for the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival (argh) next time - right now I just want to hang out & jam.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Finally - it's snowing! You'd figure that living in Alaska we'd be inundated with snow by now. Yeah - this year - not so much. In fact the temps have been above average for the past week (meaning above freezing) which also means - no snow. When there is no snow in November - it's dark. Dark is dreary. Dark is no fun. Winter in Alaska is no fun without snow. Snow is fun. We like snow. Okay - I'm writing like a 2nd grader now. Geez -

The topic of today's post was going to be "Where the heck is the frickin' snow?" I guess that had to change. However - I won't hold my breath - the temps could shift & then all the glorious whiteness will melt away. *Sigh*

This is the backyard. Unfortunately my little camera won't actually capture the small flakes of snow drifting to the ground. Look carefully & you can see the grass (green!) slowly disappearing under the soft snow.

So - what to do on a lazy Saturday? Should I tackle this:

(a box full of chemistry lab notebooks & papers)? Or this:

Yeah - that's what I'd choose too.

Happy Saturday ~ Ciao

Friday, November 9, 2007

It's a Good Day!

Oh yes - any three day weekend is good. I've mentioned before I think every weekend should be a three day weekend. But, alas - it's not. In return for proctoring the PSAT to high school students on a Saturday morning, I did not have to attend this morning's teacher in-service day. Yee haw.
Here's a sampling of what a rare morning at home during the week offers:

  1. Staying in pajamas until 9:00 am (I'll spare you photos...)
  2. Making pancakes in mickey mouse shapes for the kids
  3. Leisurely drinking a cup (or two, or three) of coffee
  4. Watching the kids use their creative energy building with legos and drawing pictures.
Iain used his "How to Draw Dinosaurs" book for his creation shown above. Look carefully and you'll spot a Ginkgo tree in the lower right corner. The other plants are ferns I think. The dragonflies and caterpillars are foam cutouts added for color.

Orion wanted to create more of a landscape using a pencil. Not too bad, huh? It could pass as the view outside our front window! He's pretty proud of it & wants to give it to his art teacher.

Leisure time was briefly interrupted so we could attend the boys' parent/teacher conferences. Since the boys attend an optional school, the conferences are student led. It's fun to listen to them explain their progress in school.

Iain is doing well and better at staying focused during circle time. He can write all of his letters (both upper and lower case) and his teacher thinks he's read for more complicated math work & expects he'll be reading on his own very soon. He's quite bright (if I may say so) with lots of energy. His teacher has the patience of a saint - a great fit for his 5-year old enthusiasm!

Orion is doing well. News on the math front is that he's ready for multiplication. Hooray!!! As a math teacher I am particularly sensitive to my children's ability to know their basic math facts. Orion has demonstrated he can do this and understands mathematical concepts. It's great fun to listen to how he figures out the answer. "I know 9 + 8 is 17 because 10 + 8 is 18 and since 9 is one less than 10, then the answer must be one less than 18." Wow! I'm not sure if some of my high school students could verbalize their math reasoning so well. Needless to say I'm pretty darned proud. He was very excited to share with us his Halloween story problem:
Here's the picture of his story problem. Can you figure out the answer?
How fun!

On the knitting front, I haven't cast on for Maggie's 2nd sock, but plan to this afternoon. I was just too darned tired after 6 hours of conferences yesterday afternoon and last night. However - when we returned home from conferences, a wonderful treat was waiting on the doorstep:
The package from the Ravelry Coffee swap arrived from my secret pal! I'd thank her personally, but she's still a secret! I know she is from Colorado & has spoiled me rotten! I can't wait until morning to try some of the coffee w/biscotti! Here's the rundown of the loot:
  1. Blue mug w/leaf - very cool & the perfect size!
  2. Rose scented soap - yum!
  3. Vanilla Deep-cleansing hand soap. I love the smell of vanilla & constantly wash my hands since I work in a germ-factory (a.k.a. - public high school)
  4. Green sticky notes - a teacher can never have too many of these & I love green!
  5. Hazelnut Biscotti - morning can't come soon enough. I must show restraint!
  6. 2 Skeins of Candenza 100% merino wool in the Dusk colorway. Gorgeous & feels so soft. Now - what to knit with this?
  7. The cutest Sheep ornament - handmade from the Handweavers Guild of Pueblo. We have an obnoxious 12 ft Christmas tree (I'll post about it come Christmas) & not nearly enough ornaments to fill it!
  8. The piece de la resistance? Coffee from Solar Roast Coffee - Bolivian and Sumatra. What to drink first?
Thank you, Thank you Ravelry Pal!!

I sent my Knitters' Coffee Swap 3 package over to Eva this afternoon. Eva lives in Germany, so I hope it arrives in good time. Has anyone else had the experience that the postal workers, while being super nice, work at a snail's pace? Perhaps that's the real reason why we call it 'snail mail'?
While I was waiting (only 1 person was ahead of me), an elderly man asked if I watched soap operas (that's a new pick-up line). I responded "no" (I do work during the day) and he said that I could be the twin sister of some gal who plays a District Attorney on The Young and The Restless (he used to watch a different one, but switched - crazy what you find out about people while waiting in line...). Hmmm - I'll have to check that out...

Anyhow - off to knit & enjoy time off from work..

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pass the Tissues Please..

Blah - yup, that's how I feel today (and yesterday, and the night before that...). Mr. (I'm certain the virus is 'male' - a female virus would know I'm just too darned busy to be sick right now) Rhinovirus has taken hold of my nasal passages. Yucko. So, in a rare move - I stayed home today. Usually I wait until I'm death warmed over, running a high fever, or worse, but with parent teacher conferences all afternoon & evening tomorrow, I thought I'd better nip this virus in the bud. So - home I am. Too many problems with staying home. As a teacher it's more work to prepare for a sub, than to go to work. I want the time my students spend in my classroom to be meaningful, so I write meticulous lesson plans for my sub & hope they are carried through. Fortunately, my sub is a former student of mine (egads - that means I am old...) & knows how I run a class & has actually even participated in the chemistry lessons outlined for today. Some days you get lucky...

The other problem with staying home is that I feel the overwhelming urge to do something productive. Like - mop the floor, fold laundry, vacuum, etc. Thankfully I was able to resist the household chore urge & put my productive energy into sitting in my favorite chair and finishing up some knitting projects. That way, I can get the intended rest a day home from school provides. Let's take a look at how I did...
Here's the Sweet Baby Cardigan - all finished. I started this project back in July during our 6-week road trip. The body of the sweater knit up super fast. I reckon the sleeves would have gone much faster had I not put the sweater in a bag & proceed to work on other projects. The Yarn Harlot first introduced me (and the rest of the blogosphere) to this sweater. It is a fun knit & the yarn (Dream in Color) is to die for. The size is intended for a 6-9 month old. So - by the time it is blocked & dried, my niece (the intended recipient) should still fit in it. The sweater came in a kit (from Coldwater Collaborative) & there's plenty of yarn left over to make something else. I had considered a pair of booties, but after perusing ravelry, I've been inspired to make a hat to match.
Next off the needles:

The Tasseled Fez (without the tassels yet...) from Hat's On! by Charlene Schurch. I was inspired to knit this by Holly Jo. What a fun knit. It's my first fair isle that actually worked out well. I used Mission Falls 1824 wool (from the stash!!) & just needed a smidge more so I can complete the tassels.
Here is an up close shot to show the detail. Of course, there are a few imperfections, but I think I staged the photo so they wouldn't show. lol - I figure, my 5 year old (the intended recipient) won't notice either... It's one of his Christmas presents. That's one of the things I love about 5 year old boys. While he was engrossed watching Pokemon (can I say obsessed by Pokemon?) - I was able to try the hat on his head & he wasn't the wiser.

Here's another shot kind of showing the three points. It's pretty fun. When the tassels are attached, I'll upload another. Anyhow, thanks Holly-Jo for the idea! I've found other hats in this book that will make great presents.

The last cast off is only 1/2 of a project. You didn't think I wasn't working on a pair of socks, now did you?
This is Sock #1 for "Sockin' it to Maggie". A bit of charity knitting as Maggie is a 17 year old suffering from Histiocytosis. A group of bloggers are knitting her socks to help lift her spirits during her treatment and recovery. So - lots of well wishes are being knit into these socks.

Details: Broadripple from knitty.

Yarn: Socks That Rock lightweight (love it!) in Spot Rock On! colorway.

Needles: US 1, Addi Turbo, Magic Loop

Modifications: I'm knitting these over 72 stitches, so I've increased the number of knits between the yo and ssk.

Overall - a fun & quick pattern. I plan to finish these up & ship them off before Thanksgiving.

Well - must run. The latest issue of Interweave knits arrived today. Yes - something to read while I'm resting up before a long day of conferences tomorrow.

Happy Knitting!