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

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Swap Package Arrived!

When I awoke this morning, I was confronted with beautiful skies and 'butt-cold' (pardon...) temperatures. It was -9°F & I was in search for something to warm the day. After dropping Orion off at Junior Nordic (apparently it wasn't too cold for them!!) ski practice, running errands, procuring some yummy hot chocolate for myself & the boys, I arrived home to find a package from my Vintage Sock Pal, Cinnamonamon. Talk about the perfect thing to warm the heart!! She made me a pair of Fancy Silk Socks from Nancy Bush's book, Vintage Socks. Wow - they are beautiful & fit perfectly! Thank you sooooooooooooooo much! Care to see the other schwag?

Wow - what a great package! Let's see - some Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies - my family LOVES Girl Scout cookies. In fact, I hate to admit it, but I've just ordered 14 (that's not a typo) boxes. Hey - it's for a good cause, right? LOL Hmm... a cool box w/a teaching motif, a card that reads "Knitting warms my heart, I hope it warms your toes!" How perfect to receive this on such a frigid day. A skein of Peace Fleece yarn (do I see another hat, or a pair of mittens in my future?), a book she recommends, yummy coffee-infused chocolate, a retractable measuring tape, fragrant candles (I definitely see a warm bath in my future!), nifty gift tags for my hand knits, tattoos for the boys (I assume :0) ) & a sock project bag & stitch markers - that she made herself!! WOW - I certainly have been spoiled. Thank you sooooooo much - you are a fantastic pal!

Here's a close up of the stitch markers...

I love them & think I'll need to start another pair of socks today so I can put them to use.

Again - Wow! Many, many, many thanks! My heart & toes are certainly warmed from your overwhelming generosity.

Happy Day to All! Ciao ~

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Over the years, I've had several people (mostly strangers, or new acquaintances) ask me "Why do you teach high school?" Pretty much they think you've got to be completely nuts to choose to spend a day with teenagers. Well, there are several reasons, not least of which is teens are pretty darned funny & as I see it - I'm getting paid for a day's worth of entertainment & in return I have to enlighten the masses about chemistry & anatomy. Seems like a pretty fair trade. However, some days are pretty craptastic (thanks for that word, HollyJo!) & others remind you why you stick with the profession.

For the past couple of weeks my objective has been to teach my students about the gas laws & how gases, in general, behave. It's always a plus when the kids can do more than regurgitate the information back at me. So - imagine my joy when this is how class began yesterday -

5th Hour Student: "Oh Most Honorable Chemistry Teacher, you won't believe what happened to me the other day on the way home!"

Me (ready for some sort of teenage drama): "No, Most Obedient Student, please share."

5th Hour Student: "So I was walking home & instead of complaining how cold it was, I said to my boyfriend 'Boy, these gas molecules sure are moving slowly!!'"

Pick me off the floor & shut my mouth! This student was actually listening! More than that - she actually learned something & applied her new found knowledge outside of class in a totally new way!

Wow - if she's thinking about chemistry on her own time, I must be doing something right. Yes - I do love my job!

By the way - for those of you who haven't studied chemistry in a while. Basic Kinetic Molecular Theory of Matter states that the velocity of gas particles is directly related to the temperature. So - when it's cold (lack of thermal energy) - gas particles move more slowly than when it's warm. Remember - we're talking about Anchorage, Alaska!

Knitting news: Frogged stole due to new error & desire to obtain pointier needles. Just a couple of more inches to do on the back of the sweater & sock #1 of 'Teatime' (The Knitter Sock of The Month pattern) is well into the gusset....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I'm always up for a fun, good natured game of tag. I came upon this while visiting a fellow SOSii participant's blog Knitting and Spinning with Ewe

4 Jobs I've Had

High School Chemistry/Anatomy Teacher (Current job - I LOVE it!)
Princess Tours Motor Coach Tour Driver
Cafeteria worker at UCSD (helped keep the food bills low during college!!)
Summer Hire for The Corps of Engineers

4 Movies I Watch Over and Over

Princess Bride
Any of the Harry Potter Films
Life is Beautiful
Love, Actually

4 Places I Have Been

The Philippines
Seoul, Korea
Tokyo, Japan
Prague, Czech Republic

4 Places I Have Lived

Anchorage, Alaska (Current home)
Okinawa, Japan
San Diego, CA (in college)
Mt. Clemens, Michigan

4 TV Shows I Watch

The Amazing Race
Grey's Anatomy

4 People Who E-mail Me Regularly

Fellow teachers
Parents of my students
My Husband
Knitting Friends

4 Favorite Foods

Chicken Curried Rice
Baked Potatoes with all the fixings!
Spaghetti w/homemade Bolognese sauce

4 Places I Would Rather Be

Wow - I'm pretty happy where I am. However, places I'd love to be any time...

Kauai, Hawaii
Southeast Asia
Anyplace with my family & friends

4 Things I'm Looking Forward To

Madrona Winter Retreat next month
Summer Vacation
Traveling with my family again in our VW Eurovan
Finishing my first sweater!!

4 People to tag

Winston's Mom
Midwife Knits

Have fun!! Ciao

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Secret is Out!!

Secret of the Stole ii has begun. Hint #1 was released yesterday & already some people have completed all 54 rows. Geez.... This is my first lace project, so needless to say - it's going very S-L-O-W-L-Y... However, I made it through 10 rows this morning. Take a look...
I was feeling pretty good until I read today's digest for SOSii. Someone had mentioned how they were confusing a SSK with the s1k1psso, so they ripped back 13 rows several times. Ahhh - I thought to myself, "Self - where was there a s1k1psso? I sailed through 10 rows without any problems." Then - I went back & looked at the minuscule print of the pattern (I MUST enlarge it for Hint #2!) - well, sho' nuf - the 2nd half of the row calls for a s1k1psso decrease, & I just kept on K2tog. Argh - why do the symbols have to be so darned similar? Well - I'll tell you what. I'm NOT ripping back - I only really messed up on 2 rows. I figure it shouldn't show too much & really - who's going to be looking that closely? So - I've written a big ole note to myself reminding me that on the 2nd half of the row, I'm decreasing a different direction. Should be good enough I reckon & then the decreases will lean the correct way.

Live and learn... In other knitting news, I've been moving along on my knit-o-lutions to knit a sweater. Here's the almost completed back for "Not Your Average Sweatshirt, Take Two" from the book "Yarn Girls, Beyond the Basics". It's a pretty quick knit without being terribly dull. A little cable every so many rows to keep you interested. I've decreased for the shoulders already (I think the edge isn't very pretty, but Margaret assured me it won't show when I finally seam the pieces together). Here it is:

Oops - that last photo is a little washed out. Oh well. The yarn is Classic Elite - Dutchess. I ordered the yarn online & thought I was ordering a pale green. The actual color is a bit brighter than I'd hoped for, but it's beginning to grow on me (like moss, eh?).

Well - must run. It's Ski - Soccer - Saturday. That means we're up & off to Cross-Country ski for an hour & a half for Junior Nordic in the morning & then off to coach the boys' soccer games this evening. Somewhere in between I have to find time to eat, do laundry, perhaps vacuum, and do some knitting. Of course - not necessarily in that order. :0)

Happy Day - Ciao!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Knitting Friends & FO #2

Happy Sunday!! Last Friday was the 1st meeting of the East High Knitwits for 2008. There are several teachers at East who knit, so we've decided to get together on a regular basis to knit & unwind after a week of teaching teenagers. The East High diehards were there - WinstonsMom, ravelry's Iknitforella, and blogless, Angie. I do need to clarify that Angie does have a blog, it's just not about knitting & pertains to the classes she teaches. So - if you'd like to know more about the foreign language program at East High, go here. An all-call was also put out on Ravelry, hoping to encourage other local knitters to join us. What fun when HollyJo and LisaW joined us! It's fun to meet in person folks you've only known via their blogs. HollyJo has encouraged me to plug away on my minimalist cardigan & Lisa has inspired me to perhaps try the Tilted Duster. She knit it up using Noro & it turned out ab-fab. So... we'll see what happens in 2008.

While hanging out w/my knitting and teaching friends, I finished these:

Child's French Sock


Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Marble Colorway. **Everything you read about yard shortage w/this yarn is true!! I had to frantically order a 2nd ball to finish sock #2. So - the feet don't exactly match, but I'm hoping that subtle difference won't show since the recipient will be wearing shoes.

Needles: My trusty Addi-Turbo US #2 - Magic Loop, of course.

Pattern: Child's French Sock from Nancy Bush's book, "Knitting Vintage Socks"

Size: Knit over 72 stitches for a size 10 foot.

Modifications: I went up a needle size to accommodate the recipient's foot.

Recipient: My secret pal in the Vintage Socks Swap. I'm terribly late mailing these - they should have been sent last Monday. Hopefully she'll forgive me with the other goodies in the package.

Here are the socks outside at -3°F. (Yup - the (-) sign is not a typo - it's darned cold outside!!

So far so good with my 2008 knit-o-lutions. I've finished sock #1 for SAM5 & have cast-on for February's sock & have almost completed the back of two sweaters. Yeah me!!

Also - Yay Chargers!! - They squeeked out a win over the Colts to move on in the playoffs. I don't normally watch American football, but since Wade & I attended college in San Diego, if the Chargers are heading toward the Superbowl, we've got to do what we can to support them. Too bad the Seahawks didn't pull through against the Packers.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Scavenger Hunt Swap Questionnaire

1) Do you knit, crochet or both? How long have you been doing it?

I knit, although I know how to crochet. I learned to knit when I was 10 (many, many years ago), but have picked it up again seriously for the past 5 years or so.

2) What is on your needles/hook right now?

Oh boy, Let's see - I have:

  1. A pair of Pomatomus Socks
  2. Tea Time Socks from The Knitter Sock of the Month Club
  3. Not Your Average Sweatshirt, Take Two from The Yarn Girls, Beyond the Basics
  4. Secret of the Stole ii
  5. Minimalist Cardigan from the Fall issue of Interweave Knits

3) What is the most frequently used tool in your knitting bag?

Besides my addi turbo needles, I use my stitch markers & measuring tape quite a bit.

4) What are your 3 favorite yarns (fiber type or brand)? What are your 3 least favorite?

Favorite Yarns:

  1. Lorna's Laces
  2. Regia Silk
  3. Cascade 220 Superwash (for hats, sweaters)
Least Favorite Yarns:
  1. Cotton Yarn
  2. Fun Fur
  3. Acrylic

5) What is your favorite color?

Blue... no yellow... (ahhhhhh). JK - I really am drawn to greens and shades of burgundy.

6) If you had a 5 minute shopping spree in your LYS, how would you plan your attack?

Only 5 minutes? Oh - I'd first pick up more Cascade 220 superwash to make more hats. Then, I'd load up on sock yarn. I'd try not to get too distracted by petting all of the pretty yarns. I'd probably get some more addi turbo needles & if there was any qiviut - I'd snatch it up!

7) What is your favorite FO and why? (post a pic if you have it!)

I love my Embossed Leaves Socks I finished this summer. I can't find a photo on this computer - but I think it's in a July post archive. I love it because it was my first serious, somewhat complicated pattern for socks. I'm also enamored by the hats I knit in December from the Hat's On book. I was really pleased at how the color work turned out.

8) What are your favorite things to knit/crochet?

I love knitting socks. I'm trying to finish my first adult sized sweater.

9) Do you collect anything?

Besides yarn? I'm trying not to collect random knick-knack things. I do have a healthy supply of fun magnets related to travel, teaching, and knitting.

10) What are your five favorite things (not necessarily knitting related)?

  1. My family - I'm really lucky!
  2. My friends - again - very lucky!
  3. Soccer - Michael Ballack from Germany & Chelsea (EPL) is my fave player
  4. Traveling - I do it when I can. I've backpacked around Europe several times.
  5. Reading - I love Diana Gabaldon, Elizabeth George, Ken Follet. I'm currently reading the teen-vampire Twilight series.

11) Are you on Ravelry? What is your ID?

Yup - I'm ArcticKnitter

12) Do you drink tea/coffee/cocoa?

I'm totally addicted to Coffee.

13) Favorite Sweets?

Dark Chocolate

14) Any allergies?

Nope -

15) Do you have pets? kids?

Yup - A 11.5 year old black lab named Joulee (named after the unit of energy, the Joule). A tabby cat named Raja (age unknown). I also have two darling but high energy children - 7 and 5 year old sons. I'm also a high school science teacher - so during the hours of 8:45 am and 2:00 pm - I have approximately 100 kids - gotta love em!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First FO 2008

Here it is.... the first Finished Object of 2008! Details:

Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash - Have I mentioned how much I love this yarn! Have I told you I've actually (those weak of heart stop reading now) put the hat in both the washing machine and the dryer? Yup - it truly is superwash yarn!

Pattern: Combination of the Norwegian Star Hat (Cuff & Picot Edge), Doublemassa Hat (Pattern) and Danish Earflap Cap (Crown). All from Charlene Schurch's book Hat's On. (I know I've told you how much I love that book!)

Needles: Addi Turbo Size 4 US for the cuff, Size 6 US for the body & crown (switched to dpn when crown got too small for the circulars)

Recipient: Originally intended for the kindergarten aide, but after Orion saw the finished project, he wanted it for his teacher. So - Julie's Hat has become Sharon's Hat and the original Sharon's Hat became Julie's Hat (you get the picture).

Size: Medium (112 stitches)

Project Timeline: Cast On during an all new episode of ER (finally!!!) Thursday, January 3rd & finished Saturday, January 5th at 11:15 pm.

These really are quick projects!
Along the lines of Finished Objects - A Knitterly Shout-Out to my friend Jen down in Tucson, AZ who finished her first pair of socks for her 2-year old daughter! Hooray!!! If I had a photo - I'd post it for all the knitting world (okay - perhaps not all the knitting world, but those who wander by...) to see. Well done!!! I know my MIL, Sylvia, is almost finished with her first pair as well. They were without power for several days in Sacramento due to a big ol' storm, so I think we can give her a little extra time to finish. :0)

Speaking of finishing - need to wind yard & then finish the foot for Vintage Sock #2. Yee haw!

Happy Day! Ciao ~

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back to Reality...

Yes - Monday arrived. More to the point, 5:30 am arrived - and way too soon. Today was our first day back at school after a glorious two week break. Ahhhh - As fortunate as I am to have all of this time off, it's still quite a shock to our systems to return to school. My students were zombies during 3rd hour (Hello? Hello? Anyone there? Hey? Is this thing on....) Yes - 3rd hour, as in 9:30ish am. Their poor bodies & minds couldn't believe they were actually out of bed, dressed, and expected to function prior to noon. Geez - what nerve! The looks on their faces when I expected them to actually do something was priceless. "Yup - we're going to work today." "Yup - please write a balanced equation... " They looked at me like I had grown a 3rd eye during vacation. How audacious of me to actually expect my chemistry students to write and balance an equation. Wow...

Anyhow - one of the great things about returning to work (besides my students - they are a lot of fun). Is that there is nothing to grade today! Who hooo! That translates into leaving the building before 4:00 and time to knit at home! yee Haw...

Speaking of knitting - other nifty things were awaiting me in the mailbox to help take the edge off returning to school:

LinkOooh - look at the pretty yarn that arrived from Sarah's Yarns. It's JaggerSpun Zephr 2/18 laceweight in lilac. The photo doesn't do it justice - it sure is pretty. If I waited for the perfect amount of natural lighting, I wouldn't be able to photograph anything until May. I think I took this photo around 4:15 - after shoveling the driveway. This yarn will be used for the Secret of the Stole ii. I've never knit a major lace project, so I'm pretty excited to begin. First clue is released next Friday (1/18), so I need to get working on my swatch.

These are new stitch markers I ordered from The Loopy Ewe. I just love the Loopy Ewe!! Sheri is so nice - she always writes a little note on the order & the turn around is so fast. One set of markers will be sent to my Vintage Sock Swap Pal who lives on the East Coast. Can't yet decide what set I'll send. Perhaps I'll have one of my kids do a random pick. Sorry about the quality of the photos - I really should take some kind of class on how to best photograph yarn & like items...

Speaking of my Vintage Sock - Here's a quick photo of sock #1:

Most of sock #2 is finished - however - I ran out of yarn near the heel. So - I jumped back on line & Jimmy Beans Wool saved my bacon!! I needed Colinette Jitterbug in the Marble colorway - Jimmy Beans had it & quickly sent it north. The yarn arrived today, so I can now finish the sock - I plan to have it off to my pal by the end of the week.

So - all in all, not a bad day. Now off to knit - it's quiet around here still - the kiddos aren't home yet. I'll report on how their teachers liked their new hats & perhaps show a photo of the last hat (actual 1st FO of 2008) as soon as I find where those photos are stored....


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Secret of the Stole ii

Come and join the fun with Secret of the Stole ii. It'll be my first major lace project (not counting socks). Yahoo group KALs have been great - lots of online support & encouragement. I've purchased my yarn & when it arrives I'll do my swatch. First clue is released January 18. Click on the above image and join the fun!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Happy New Year! With 2008 comes so many possibilities & knitting promises. While skiing the other afternoon, Wade asked what my New Year's Resolutions were. I promptly replied "To knit something larger than a hat"

So - Here's a quick list of projects I'd like to tackle in 2008:

  1. Finish my Vintage Socks for the Vintage Sock Swap. I've been so preoccupied with knitting hats, that the sock has fallen way behind. I've completed the gusset on sock #1. Doesn't look like I'm going to meet the Jan. 7 deadline. So - I vow to complete & get socks in the mail (plus some forgive my lame-ness goodies) by Jan. 15th.
  2. Complete the "Secret of the Stole" KAL on time. Hints will be released weekly beginning January 18th. I'm looking forward to this as my first major lace project.
  3. Complete at least one pair of socks per month so as to receive monthly credit on the Sock-of-the-Month 5 KAL. I made 4/5 of the months in the SAM4 KAL. Holiday knitting & the end of the semester got in my way of finishing a pair of socks for December (the Vintage Sock was intended to be the December sock. *sigh*) Firestarters, Pomatomus, and something else from IKs Favorite Socks book would be great.
  4. As mentioned earlier, actually finish a project that is larger than a hat. So - I guess that means I should actually finish the Minimalist Cardigan. I'm also planning to finish the "Not Your Average Sweatshirt - Take Two" from The Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics.
  5. Going along with knit-o-lution #3, keep up with the socks from the Socks That Rock Club 2008 and The Knitter Sock of the Month.
Well - I think that's a fairly good start. Wouldn't want to put too much on the list and be overwhelmed, right? Photos of the sock an other WIP next time.

Happy New Year!!