Tag: Knitting

On the Flip Side

No, I’m not dead, just buried. Freelance work seriously picked up and then I went home for six days. Now I’ve returned and started to make sense of the disaster zone also known as my desk at work, and have hope that the living room floor will be reclaimed within the next 72 hours. And so I get back to my writing, yours obediently.

I had the chance, early in the month, to attend Wisconsin Sheep and Wool. It was a bit of a drive but the day was lovely and I was on a mission. At the Jefferson Fairgrounds I found two large buildings full of vendors with all manner of woolly goodness. That I succumbed only to some beautiful pale seafoam green alpaca, some tweedy alpaca, two skeins of coarser but delicious Icelandic wool and a couple of bars of soap should be applauded. Apparently I’m now collecting bars of great handmade soap, but at least it gets used and cleanliness/godliness and all that.

Also I met some sheep. There were a lot of sheep that looked like ones that I imagine in my head when I think of those wool-providing creatures. Then there were the ones as pictured here, who looked a lot more like goats that someone stuffed into a woolly pillow. Doesn’t that look like a fluffy Alpine to you?

The majority of the sheep were friendly and happy to discover whether or not I tasted like a salt lick. Fingers are always an acceptable nibbling treat.

I finished my first ever pair of socks! It came about entirely as a coping method one day, when I had so much running about in my brain that I quite literally could not do anything else. I sat and knit just plain stitches, one after the other, around in a very small circle. 52 stitches per row. Who knows how many rows because I didn’t count. Just one more needle, one more row. My brain ran on at insane miles per hour and my physical self worked stitch after stitch.


They haven’t been blocked yet. The yarn is Sanguine Gryphon Eidos in Alcibiades using the numbers/pattern from the Tsock Tsarina’s Tsock 101 Kit for those of the knitterly persuasion playing along.

And then it was back to Queens for two days of Indian summer and the first chills of fall. I stayed with the Brunette and Husband and new roommate. The Actor convinced me that singing for Rock Band, in public, was somehow acceptable. I made my way through Evanescence and No Doubt before it was decided that my rock repertoire was rather limited. (I knew this, they didn’t believe me. When Rock Band comes out with the 24 Italian Songs and Arias for Medium-High Voice version, call me.)

The Blonde, Brunette, Husband and I went apple picking upstate, in/near Warwick, NY. It’s a combination apple picking, rose garden (small but great colors), winery, and homemade donuts place. We stood for over 40 minutes waiting in line for fresh donuts and agreed that it was a form of unusual punishment to wait and be able to see and smell hot donuts but not buy nor taste lest our tongues be burnt. But warm apple cider donuts and great wine, as well as quite abundant apples, made it well worth the trip. (The two bottles of wine survived the plane trip home!!!)

Me in the obligatory “put your head in the cutout” –as required by the Blonde.

Finally, I headed into the City to meet up with My-Friend-the-Lawyer (who these days is more like My-Friend-the-Student, but he’s almost done with that) and eat amazing Lebanese food at Naya. The desserts were incredible.

So that’s where I’ve been.

Last Kids Knitting for Spring

Tuesday will be the last Kids Knitting Day for Spring 2009 and it’s been a successful third round for me. I’m finishing with about 20 kids who have attended more than once or twice, with an average weekly attendance of 14.

Achievements for this spring:

We had crocheting lessons, and at least one girl took to it like a duck to water.
My lone boy learned how to do stranded colorwork.
We had a really successful competition.
The local newspaper featured the group in the paper.
I was interviewed for a local women’s magazine in reference to the kids knitting group as well as the Knitting in Public Day.
I’ve taught several kids how to knit and myriad other tricks of the trade.
I now have a library of circular and double pointed needles I can use for teaching/loan as needed.
I’ve managed to acquire a swift (winder will be coming), so they’ll be able to use the library one rather than mine.
I’ve book-talked huge piles of books, encouraging them to try new series, new titles, and to trust me to introduce them to new books. A number of them now seek me out regularly in search of something new to read, or willingly accept when I shove a book at them and say “this one made me think of you.”

It’s not a particularly aggressive program, which is one of the things that works nicely about it. I’m ready for a brief break after five months but am looking forward to a break as a chance to plan new and exciting things for them. This fall I’m scheduling two sessions of an advanced techniques course.

In the interim, I promised snacks next week. I have to figure out what we’re having.

Kids Knitting Group: You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get

About six weeks ago I issued a challenge to the room full of young knitters. I held two stuffed animals before them, a floppy looking “dog” and a bear in a ski scarf and cap.

“Knit something for them. ” I said. “It’s due to me on the second week of April. Prizes will be awarded.”

Other than pointing out a couple of new knitting books we’d ordered that had some patterns for stuffed animals, I really gave no further directions. I offered help, yarn, pattern assistance, and said that yes, it had to be knitted or crocheted. But I wanted to see what they would come up with without my guidance every step of the way.

On Tuesday, I saw the results. And they were stunning. Pictures are available here and I really suggest you take a look at them. Keep in mind most of these kids are under 12 and the majority haven’t been knitting more than a couple of years. I was blown away seeing a knitted boat, a dress with elaborate separate collar, dresses with trim and purses, a pullover hoodie, it was truly incredible.

This of course meant I got to go to the yarn store and fuss over what kind of prizes to get. It was supposed to be an encouragement competition so yes, everyone is getting something but for those who really made an effort and reached out beyond their comfort zone–I’m definitely recognizing that. And yes, they are all yarn focused prizes, what better way to continue to inspire them to knit? One is getting sock needles and sock yarn, another materials to make a really great purse (including handles). The prizes will hopefully inspire to help them grow at knitters.

And me? Pleased as punch and proud of their work.

My Mad Skillz at Booktalking

About the only consistent group of elementary aged students I see is my knitting group, so it happens more often that I notice a book I think that one of them will enjoy. Certainly there are other regular patrons for whom I think of things, but as a group…

A couple weeks back I walked in with a pile. I usually try to talk about whatever it is I’m reading each week, knowing that that title tends to then be put on hold by a couple of people, but this time I was armed and dangerous. I talked for about 20 minutes…

Titles presented included

Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

Alexa is an inquisitive only child left to her own devices during a long hot summer. She lives in a town surrounded by walls and where you can only travel to other nearby towns on walled roads. It’s a very controlled place, a safe place, but Alexa wonders what might be outside those walls. I recommend the audiobook read by Aaste Vigesaa, she does an amazing squirrel voice.

Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

I continually hand this book out, it’s a wonderful book for guys.

My full review is here.

What makes this an easy talk to parents and kids is that Will finds his own way, and that own way is not the one he grew up thinking it might be. He dreamed of being a warrior, but physically was not fit for it. Instead he was able to find a place where physically and mentally he excelled. There’s probably a good sneaky lesson about not just turning to violence in here but there’s enough action to keep everyone happy.

Falconer’s Knot by Mary Hoffman

Again, one I’ve previously reviewed with favor. This historical novel tosses in art history along side daggers and intrigue and it points out some realities without being gruesome. It’s a good middle grades novel, not so cutting edge that late tweens can’t handle it but not too babyish for older kids. Strong male and female voice, though the female voice leads.

I pulled this one for the boy in the group–even though it’s a split protagonist. This is in the Teen section and, while I’m not sure if he’s quite ready for the “problem novels,” he’s certainly mature enough for a little older material. He just finished all the Chronicles of Pryddian. (He also got Ranger’s Apprentice)

Enola Holmes by Nancy Springer

I *heart* Nancy Springer and this series in a big way. The fact that I am the number one person on the holds list for the fifth book (cover shown here) and that my teen librarian is number two, yeah….we’re into it. It’s just such a pleasure to meet a strong female protagonist who, along with being gutsy, ISN’T out to get the guy. We’re a full four books in and there is no love interest in site. Bravo! Not to say boys can’t be introduced but it isn’t Springer’s focus. This series go home with the girls and comes back with rave reviews and “when is the next one?” About a month, ladies, about a month.

Third book review here.

Choose Your Own Adventure

And finally, I took a handful of these in. I grew up fully loving the one that was about Henry VIII and his various wives. Was it the best way to get my history lessons in? No…but I think it might be the first time I realized that not only did he behead two wives, he also probably killed two nephews. There are new copies available with up to date covers. Something to pass on to your adventurer.