Archive for March, 2008

Endless Entertainment

March 29, 2008

Another one of my girls has made some serious knitting progress. She brought her project to me and asked me if I could end it for her. You know . . . “make it done.” I showed her how I was binding it off, pulling on the yarn when I finished to show her it was “done” and it wouldn’t unravel.

“Cool!” she said. “Can I take it home today?”
“Of course you can,” I told her.
“Great!” she said with excitement. “I’m going to use it as a . . .

. . . bookmark!”

“What kind of book will you use it for?” I asked while digging my fingernails into my palms to stop me from laughing.”

“Just a normal book. I’ll probably have to fold it.”

And now we move on to the dress designing talents of the former Bikini Girls.

During an indoor recess, two of the designers decided to have a contest. They each created a dress for a 16-year-old princess, complete with accessories. They worked on opposite sides of a white board so they couldn’t see each other’s designs, and their outfits would be judged by a third, impartial designer.

Here’s Design A:

Notice the beaded embellishments. Notice the ring. Notice the earrings. Notice the bag.

And don’t miss the tiara.

Now let’s take a look at Design B:

Notice we have a strapless dress with floral embellishments.
Notice the necklace. Notice the earrings.

And please, please don’t miss the pockabook.

The judge chose Design B. I’m happy that I didn’t have to judge, because it would have been impossible to choose.

I’ll leave you with this . . .

I spotted this in a friend’s classroom. While she was tutoring a 3rd grade boy, the boy’s 1st grade sister wrote on the white board. As most kids do, she played teacher, writing a version of the morning message her teacher writes to the class each morning.

A FLIED TRIP! We love flied trips.

You Knew This Was Coming!

March 25, 2008

You knew that I’d soon show you photos of my 3rd grade knitters’ projects.

WARNING: The images you’re about to see may cause serious knitters to experience nausea, headaches, ringing of the ears, and tingling of the spine. Please stay seated while viewing these images. These images may cause non-knitters to spit liquids out of their noses, so please refrain from drinking while viewing these images.

Proceed at your own risk.

Really.

I warned you. Can’t say I didn’t. The above piece was made by an enthusiastic 9-year-old knitter. I had cast on 10 stitches for her and she somehow ended up with . . . um . . . a lot more than that. When asked how she added on the additional stitches, she replied, “I have no idea. It just happened.”

Take a closer look.

Lacework! I’m such a good teacher!

Below is a funky new stitch.

Anyone recognize it? Does it have a name?

Now take a look at the skein of yarn.

Notice anything?

That’s what happens when you knit outside during recess.

Here’s another knitting sample. From a distance, it’s not so bad.

Let’s take a closer look. Shall we?

That’s what happens when an 8-year-old knitter knits with dirty hands.

Are you okay? Still with me? Should I change the subject?

Before I do, in my own defense, I need to tell you that the OFFICIAL knitting club has not yet started. I’ve given some of the future knitters a quick lesson and they’ve been working on their own. They are no way considered to be under my direction supervision when it comes to their knitting. I take NO responsibility for the appearance of these knitted . . . um . . . objects. None. Not me. Uh uh.

Next subject. Now realize I’m really putting myself out there. I’ve shown you evidence of what a wonderful knitting teacher I am and now I’m about to show you what a great teacher teacher I am. Be nice to me.

As teachers, WE often give our kids fun worksheets to do. They allow the students to do some coloring and have fun as we reinforce skills. Sometimes, WE, as teachers, quickly select the worksheets without . . . um . . . reading and reviewing them carefully. Sometimes. This, I’m afraid, was one of those times.

I present to you . . . the Quilting Bee, published in 1999 by Tribune Education in a Grade 3 workbook. The skill: identifying the number of syllables in a variety of 1- to 4-syllable words. Looks good – right?


Take a closer look:

Can I just ask . . . WHY? Why on Earth would a 3rd grader need this particular word. Are there no other 2-syllable words that were available? Pleasured. Not pleasure, which is also a 2-syllable word. Pleasured.

Go ahead. Use pleasured in a sentence. Really. Go ahead.

Sorry, Mom. I know I told you I wouldn’t blog about this, but I couldn’t help it. Had to. It wasn’t a pleasure, though.

Knelley’s Addiction

March 24, 2008

I’m hooked. How could I not be? Look at this!

It’s my new favorite thing. I love this tiny sock. Love it. I used a different pattern this time – Cidermoon’s Tiny Socks. I knit a few extra rounds of ribbing at the cuff, but then I followed the pattern exactly. I can’t wait to go knit another.

No school for me today. I’m home with my sick boy. He has the flu, but has such a rotten sore throat that I had to take him to the doctor to be sure he doesn’t have strep. No strep.

We’re so sick of the flu. It’s been getting lot of people we know – and it knocked me on my backside for days a few weeks ago. To mark our displeasure with the flu, some of my SnB girls challenged me to write a flu limerick. I’ll share it will all of you, too.

It’s torture – this horrible flu.
Makes everyone feel like dog doo.
The whole body hurts. Ouch
Can not get off the couch.
Oh when will flu season be through?

Hope my little knitting girls at school haven’t tied up the substitute teacher with their tangled yarn.

Wee Tiny

March 24, 2008

Can you stand it? A wee tiny sock.

I just joined my first swap – an easy one. All I have to do is knit one wee tiny sock, mail it off to a swap pal, and wait for another wee tiny sock to show up in my mailbox. So simple. My kind of swap. As you might expect, it’s called the Wee Tiny Sock Swap 2008. Sign-ups close on March 27th. Pal info will be sent the following day. Knit a wee tiny and mail it off on Monday, March 21st. Short and sweet.

I won’t be swapping this first wee tiny. It’s less than perfect, and even if it was perfect, I wouldn’t be able to part with my first one. I’ve started a second and I’m playing around with it to see how I’ll like it best. It’s a fun knit – all the sock satisfaction I could want in less than a sixteenth of the time.

I finally finished the second Baby Cuteness Cardigan for the twin Baby Angel Babies. The sweaters will be off to their new home tomorrow. The babies will need some time to grow into them, but the Cutenesses will be patient.

I’ll leave you with Emmie, trying to figure out how to make the printer go back and forth and make that fun noise again.

It’s hard to make her out, but her entire head is inside the opening of the printer. Such a dork.

Welcome to the Club

March 20, 2008

My teaching life interferes with my knitting. I have to get up early, go to school, and teach 3rd graders all day. I would love to stay home sometimes and knit. When I’m in school, and have a few minutes of downtime, I often find myself thinking about my knitting. Wanting to knit. Planning my evening’s knitting. Looking forward to my knitting time.

I have found times that I can knit during the school day. Once in a while, the entire school will assemble in the gym for a concert or special performance. I used to bring papers to correct so that I felt like I was making good use of every moment of my time. Then it hit me. I could knit. The last few times we had assemblies, I brought my knitting and happily clicked my needles while I watched my class and watched the performance. I’d see little necks craning to see what I was doing. I’d see little faces staring at my hands. I’d hear little voices saying, “Look! She’s making a hat.” “Look! She’s making a sweater!” Look! She’s not even looking!” Lots of little girls, and more little boys than I expected, were fascinated with my knitting. Cuteness.

This week, one of my girls came in with a knitting kit that she’d received as a gift. It had fat needles (17s?) and super-bulky yarn. She proudly showed me the kit, in a fancy clear plastic zippered carrying case. “Do you think you could teach ME how to knit?” she asked. It warmed my little heart. Then I spent about 20 minutes of my prep time untangling her blob of yarn.

Outside during recess, I casted on 5 stitches and knit a few rows to get her started. Then, I showed her the knit stitch. She fumbled and fiddled, trying to get used to holding the needles and keeping control over the yarn. I showed her again. She gave it another try. She got it. I watched as she knit a few rows, and then she headed over to sit on the blacktop with her back against the side of the building. She kept on knitting. By the time we had to go back inside, she had knit several inches. The other girls were oohing and ahhing all around her.

The next morning, this little darlin’ came in to the classroom wearing her brand new scarf. “I knit it while I was watching Dancing with the Stars,” she told me. “You sound just like me,” I told her. “Can you start another one for me?” she asked. “Absolutely, I answered.”

During snacktime, I got scarf #2 going for her while she walked around the room showing off her scarf to her classmates and . . . get ready for it . . . taking orders for scarves! She had a clipboard, paper, and a pencil and was writing down each person’s name and the quantity of scarves requested. Then she grabbed a calculator and totalled up the orders. 32. I only have 19 kids.

She sat down at a table and began to knit. A bunch of the girls and a few of the boys gathered around her, watching and asking questions. I got a kick out of it, but I had papers to correct, so I sat down at my desk and got to work. A few minutes later, there were two girls standing in front of me. “Can you teach us to knit, too?” That’s when I noticed they were each holding two pencils. “We can use these as knitting needles!” A-freaking-dorable.

Let me just say . . . pencils . . . not so good for knitting. We tried. We wrapped blobs of masking tape around the ends of the pencils. That was good. The wood tips kept catching the yarn. That wasn’t good. I tried to assure the girls that knitting with needles was easier. “Can you teach us? Can we have a club?”

So guess what? I’m starting a knitting club.

To gauge their interest (ba-doomp-boomp), I brought knitting needles and yarn to school with me the next day, and sat with a group of seven (!) kids trying to teach them to knit. I did all the casting on and knit the first few rows of each, and then proceeded to . . . um . . . teach. Under the fence. Catch the sheep. Back we come. Off we leap. I found that rhyme on a few different blogs and message boards and thank goodness I did. The kids loved it and said it really helped them remember what to do. A few of them picked it up right away. A few of them . . . not so much. The great thing was that both the confident knitters and the strugglers asked to take home the needles and yarn so that they could practice at home. Some of the needles were plastic ones that I had bought for myself, but others were needles that originally belonged to my mother. She gave them to me when she taught me. (Thanks, Mom!) I told the girls that they needed to take good care of them and be sure to bring them back to school the next day.

This wasn’t an official meeting of the Knitting Club. We won’t start the real club until the second week of April. I sent home information and permission slips, and in addition to several of the kids already signing up, I had two moms ask if they could come, too – to learn. Thankfully, one of the girl’s moms wrote a note on her daughters permission slip saying that she would love to come in to help. Did you hear that? The angels are singing. I wrote her an email that started with “Have I told you lately that I love you?” She wrote back to tell me that her daughter “feels so special that you let her borrow your mother’s needles.” I love that this little girl realized the importance of those needles. Another mom wrote to thank me for teaching knitting to her daughter, saying she wished she knew how to knit so her daughter would be able to say, “My mother taught me.” I’m so glad that I can say that. I’m lucky.

So again, the next day, the girls brought their yarn and needles. A few had knit up all of the yarn that I’d give them (just little balls) (balls!) and were ready to bind off. I did it for them and then cracked up as they tied the two not-woven-in-yet ends together to make blindfolds and headbands.

I had gone to the store and bought them each a skein of Jiffy bulky-weight yarn. They acted as if I’d just given them a year’s worth of No Homework Passes and 50 pounds of candy. So excited. I got them all started again and they sat there knitting and talking like a miniature version of SnB at Panera.

There are, though, a few things that take a little bit of the smile off of my face.

1. They keep trying to knit when they’re supposed to be doing their work or participating in a lesson. (“That’s going to have to come live at my desk for a little while,” I tell them.) The principal even had to “speak” to them when they were trying to knit during play rehearsal during Drama Club.
2. When they mess up, they all seem to mess up at the same time. Sometimes, I can figure it out and fix it. Sometimes, I have to do the best I can and have them continue on. Sometimes, I have to frog it and start over. This is hard to do when there’s a girl standing at each of my elbows saying, “I need help.” “I messed up.” “Am I doing this right?” One girl’s knitting was so tight that she couldn’t get the needle tip under the stitch. I frogged it and started it over, showing her that she had to try not to pull the yarn tightly. She insisted that she wasn’t pulling it tight. A few minutes later, she was back with a tight mess again. “I’m not pulling it tight!” she said. I started her again. “Show me,” I told her. She was only inserting the very tip of the needle into the stitch, wrapping and pulling it through. She was making teeny tiny little stitches. I showed her again. She tried. Tight. Almost some tears. (Hers – not mine.) We’ll get there.

The club will probably be a little bit stressful, but there’s more good to this than bad. I love that these kids want to learn to knit. And if just one of them keeps at it, or goes back to it when she’s grown up, and says, “My 3rd grade teacher taught me,” that will make it all worth it!

Alphabet Soup

March 17, 2008

Thanks for the tag, Yankee! Here’s my Alphabet Soup meme.

Here is what you do. Use the 1st letter of your middle name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real places, names, things…nothing made up! Try to use different answers if the person you took this from had the same 1st initial. You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

1. Middle name letter? A
2. Famous artist/band/musician? Abba
3. 4-letter word? The only 4-letter word I know that begins with A has 7 letters.
4. U.S state? Alabama
5. Boy name? Andrew
6. Girl name? Annabelley – okay, just Annabelle
7. Animal? Aardvark
8. Something in the kitchen? Applesauce
9. Reason for being late? Another bad hair day
10. Body Part? Oh come on. I’ll play nice and say Aorta.
11. Drink? Appletini
12. Something you shout: Ahoy, matey!
13. Something you eat? Angel Food Cake
14. A movie you’ve seen? An Officer and a Gentleman

My job now is to tag 3 people, but I think my blogging friends have been tagged already. Anyone want to play?

Ouch

March 17, 2008

A knitting injury:

I seem to be poking a hole in my index finger with the tip of my needle.

I don’t know if I’ve always done this, but I’ve been pushing the left needle tip with my right pointer finger in order to drop the just-knitted stitch off the needle. It may have started when I was knitting with a cotton yarn that didn’t want to slide and now it’s become a habit. I have to put a bandaid on my fingertip when I knit because I keep jabbing it. It hurts! I’m afraid I’m going to end up with a gaping, cavernous wound – or worse – I’ll poke straight out the other side of my finger. My goal is to break this bad habit. I’m trying, but still . . . jab, jab, jab. It’s not easy being such a fragile flower.

Now, let’s look at a baby. Shall we?

This is the darling daughter of a teacher-friend from school. Her proud mama gave me a photograph of her wearing my very first Baby Cuteness Cardigan! It really is cuteness. Of course, I covered the baby’s face with a napkin before taking a picture of the picture in order to protect the innocent. What a bundle!

I leave you with this:


Emmie has taken control of the mitered mitten. I haven’t been able to knit it at all because every time I go to pick it up, she’s on it. She’s there again as I type – right next to me, curled up on the mitten.

I think I need to get her a kitten.

Take a . . .

March 14, 2008

. . . guess. What do you think it is? Any idea?


Is it a purse?

Nope.

Is it a broom cover?

Nah.

Is it an upside-down hat?

Not that either.

Ready?

It’s this:


It’s a nutty little elf-like slipper.

I had to make myself finish the first one completely before I decided if I wanted to knit the twin. I will. I already cast on for it. Don’t know if I’ll ever wear them around the house, but I might. They’re called Pocket Book Slippers. I found the pattern through Ravelry. I don’t know how – I wasn’t searching for slippers. Just stumbled upon it. Really easy. Knit it in a few hours today during a long, boring stint at jury duty (jury doodie). Used Sugar’n Cream cotton and Us 7 needles. Plastic circular needles that could not be used as a weapon at the courthouse. No sharp, pointy objects, please. (Believe me, if I had a sharp pointy object with me today, I would have used it to jab myself in the thigh to check if I was still alive. Thought my body might shut down after sitting in the same chair for hours with a roomful of crabby people. None of us wanted to be there and the grumbling didn’t make it feel any better. Good news is that I was sprung at 3:15. Not needed for a jury – not even questioned. Sorry SnB girls, I didn’t get to try out the thinking cap. Next time!)

Another wacky view.

I found some cute charms at Joann’s the other day, so I hung one on the Baby Cuteness Cardigan that I knit for a friend to give as a gift.

Here’s a close-up. Made with love. So sweet.


And don’t worry . . . I put a note in to remind baby’s mommy to remove the charm before putting the sweater on baby.

Now I’m going to watch last night’s Lost episode. Goosebumps are popping up on my arms already.

You Can Almost Fool Me Once

March 11, 2008
I’m going to share something with you. I’m hesitant to tell you this because I don’t want to gross you out. Please don’t be grossed out.

I have some . . . um . . . warts on my left hand. I hate them. I’ve had them frozen off by the dermatologist twice and they’ve come back both times looking for a fight. They’re bigger and badder than ever. I’ve tried the apple cider vinegar treatment, putting the vinegar on a little piece of cotton ball, putting it on the . . . um . . . offending area, and covering it with a bandaid. It works – somewhat. The acid of the vinegar eats up the . . . um . . . bad spot. Unfortunately, it also eats up the innocent skin around the wart. Ouch.

Next attempt: duct tape. Supposedly, if I cover the offending areas with duct tape and keep them covered, in about a week they’ll have been suffocated. It could take longer, of course, but the duct tape thing is supposed to work.
Why am I telling you this?
On Friday, I was sitting in front of a computer (and no, I wasn’t on Ravelry) in my classroom during snacktime. Two girls came over to me and one of them asked, “Do you have any duct tape?”
Hmmmmmm, I thought. I think I might have duct tape. I was pretty sure that I had my roll of duct tape with me, at the ready to cover my . . . um . . . imperfections. Yes. I knew I had my duct tape with me.
“I think I do have duct tape in my bag,” I said to the now excited girls. I stood up and started to walk toward my desk. I stopped. Duct tape? Scotch tape, always. Masking tape, maybe. Duct tape? Wait.
“What do you need duct tape for?” I asked with a confused look on my face.
“Oh, we’re going to play this game where we have code words and if someone says a code word, we cover their mouth with duct tape.”

“Um . . . no.”

Can’t believe I almost gave them duct tape.

And what if the New Haven Register or the Connecticut Post found out?

March is for Mittens

March 10, 2008

Another mailbox jackpot. Opened my box to find Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac. I ordered it from Amazon solely for the Mitered Mittens pattern. I fired up my US 7s and cast on with my Knitpicks Bare Kool-Aid-dyed yarn. I knit this much while I was at birthday dinner day at my sister’s house today:

I love them. This pattern makes me like my yarn more than I did before. I’ve come to accept the purple. It’s not as bad as I thought.

I had cast on 48 stitches, as the pattern stated, but after knitting a few inches, I thought the mitten would be way too big. My gauge was a bit off, but I was on the greater side of the stitches-per-inch count, so my mitten should have been smaller than EZ planned. Oh well. It was BIG, so I frogged and started again with 40 stitches. Perfect. It’s going to have a nice, snug fit.

Although this patten is easy – simple to knit and simple to memorize, I’m getting a little nervous. The thumb. I’m frightened of the thumb. No, I’m not worried that it will be a wacky, way-too-long, no-human-ever-had-a-thumb-like-that thumb like my friend Yankee Lagniappe knit. (Boy, I wish she’d posted a picture of that. Thumbs up, girlfriend!) I’m afraid because EZ tells me knit the entire body of the mitten and fasten off. Then she says I should do this:

Try on, snip 1 st. at joint of thumb, unravel in both directions to release 15 sts, pick them up on 3 needles, blah blah blah.

Okay, she doesn’t say the blah part, but snip? Snip? Snip a stitch in the middle of my pretty mitten? Is she nuts? I’m not snipping anything. Instead, I’m going to try her other method – the thumb trick. As I’m knitting the body of the mitten, she tells me to use a piece of contrasting yarn to knit 7 stitches at the place I want the thumb to start. Then I put those 7 stitches back on the left needle and knit as normal. Later, I’ll go back, pull out that yarn, and use the stitches to knit the thumb. That still sounds scary, but at least there’s no snipping involved.

Here’s a view of the inside of the mitten with my 7 stitches with waste yarn.


Okay. I did that. I might need some help from SnB friends on Thursday night to make this work.

Bed time. This lose an hour thing has messed me up. March is for mittens and messed up sleeping.