Archive for September, 2008

The Blues

September 28, 2008

After a long and challenging week of 3rd graders, I woke up on Saturday morning looking forward prepared to sitting on the couch in my jammies all day with my knitting in my lap.  Then I got a better offer:  a message in my Ravelry mail box from my sister Kim asking, “Do you want to go to WEBS today?”  I picked up the phone and called her.  When she answered, all I said was, “Okay!”  And so we went.

Kim and I both ordered from WEBS several times, but it was our first time actually going to the store.  I had high expectations.  I’d heard great things and had seen some really beautiful fibery purchases come out of that store.  I knew that we’d fine a yarn shop in the front of the building with a yarn-filled warehouse at the back.  I pictured a regular LYS-kind-of-shop – something on the small side.  We were wowed when we walked in.  (Just met my letter W quota for the day.)  It’s a beautiful store with tons of stuff to look at.  I didn’t know where to start. 

We oohed and ahhed up and down aisles and around displays.  I saw so much that I wanted but I didn’t know what I wanted.  I knew I wanted worsted weight yarn for the February Lady Sweater and more bulky yarn for another yet-to-be-chosen sweater, but I was overwhelmed.  I had a moment of panic thinking that I might not be able to choose and I’d walked out empty handed.  Wat – did you just snort?  Did you?  Oh, sorry . . . that was me. 

I found plenty.  More than I could carry.

There’s this:

10 skeins of Valley Yarns Northhampton in Dark Periwinkle, destined to become the February Lady.

12 balls (balls!) of Cascade Bollicine Revolution in a dusty blue.  These balls (balls!) will become another sweater.

3 skeins of Reynolds Lopi in a purply-periwinklish color.  No idea what they’ll become, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they grew up to be a felted bag.

Can’t wait to fix up the yarn wall with these new additions. 

I also bought:

Two shawl pins.  Love them.  Couldn’t decide on the color . . . so I bought both.  Only $6.40 each!

And two buttons, shown resting upon their future home – Juliet.  She’s coming along.  I’ll get to the lace part of the body today and I’m all excited about that.  Can’t wait.

After we spent nearly 2 hours in the store, we were ready for food.  Kim and I were both hungry when we arrived, and we were starving when we left.  When we took the exit for WEBS off of I-91, there were signs telling us that Northampton had FOOD and ATTRACTIONS.  We found neither.  We drove up and down the main road, finding no food other than Friendlys, McDonald’s, and Burger King and nothing at all that we found attractive.  We got back onto the highway and ended up at Uno’s at the Holyoke Mall.  Good stuff.

Today, I’m knitting on Juliet and stalling to avoid my schoolwork.  I have lessons plans to write and then need to read a pile of my kids’ stories.  Might have to get out my decoder ring to get through some of them.

Ready for today’s Cuteness? 

A second grade teacher at school did a lesson with her class where the children had to write and “If I were . . . But . . .”  For example, I might write: “If I were a slacker, I’d stay home all day every day and knit.  BUT I’d lose my job and I’d end up doing my knitting in a cardboard box.”  Get it?

Here are two examples from the 2nd grade bulletin board:

Sweet, isn’t it? 

But this one is my absolute favorite:

Egg and ronies, we’ve come to learn, is a delicious dish that this little girl’s mother cooks for her.  She loves it and she’d miss it way too much if she could never have it again – even if she could go to the bathroom wherever she wanted. 

Please be sure to go back to take a close look at the illustration.  Snort.


And the magic word is . . .

September 23, 2008


She would look at people’s diaries

Believe it or not, my boy (!) figured it out.  I asked the author today to tell me what she’d look at with that third eye on her forehead, and it was, indeed, diaries.  I brought the journal home with me on Friday because I knew my boy had a pretty good record for decoding funky spellings.  He did it.

Trying to take advantage of every minute of knitting time.  Some progress on the French Market Bag:

And my sister tipped me off to a great close-out price from WEBS on Cascade Bollicine Revolution, so I ordered a whole bunch of it to knit Juliet

I’ve also started on a shawl as a contribution to the Comfort Shawl Project, a project sponsored by the Milford Jaycees to provide shawls to cancer patients.  Several of us girls from SnB are knitting them and we’re happy to be able to wrap some hugs around the shoulders of people who are putting a whole bunch of energy into kicking cancer in the hindquarters.

Since what I just told you might make me sound like a mature, respectful grown-up, let me give you some further insight . . .  Today at recess, I saw one of my girls standing off to the side, head hanging down, tugging at the bottom of her t-shirt.  She told me that she’d split her pants in the back.  I told her I’d been there myself (terrible memory – rollerskating at Rollerhaven – fell down – backside of pants ripped open – song that was playing:  “Bustin’ Loose – it was brutal) and suggested she go to the nurse’s office to call home for a change of clothes.  Nope.  She didn’t want to.  Shirt was long enough.  She’d stick it out and be fine.  Later, when the kids were reading silently at the end of the day, this little girl was laying on her stomach on the floor, resting on her elbows, with the seat of her jeans fully exposed.  BIG hole.  Hot pink underoos. 

I snorted.  Loudly.  Covered my face and faked a coughing fit.  Whispered to the para-professional in my classroom.  She looked.  Snorted.  Tiptoed across the hall to grab the teacher who was with me at recess.  We giggled.*

I’m a mature, respectful grown-up.  I SO wish I’d had my camera.

*No feelings were hurt during the making of this silly business.  I promise.

And for those of you who have never seen me in real life . . .

this is what I look like.

Copycatting . . .

September 19, 2008

. . . again.  My sister knits something.  I knit it next.  My latest “next” is the French Market Bag from Knitty.  Kim just finished one and it’s a beauty.  I need to knit one, too.  I started it last night, knitting it with Farmhouse Yarns Fat Sheep that I bought last weekend at Yarn LLC in New Haven.  (I was getting a little twitchy because I hadn’t bought any new yarn in a few weeks.  I didn’t need any new yarn, but I wanted some.  In my yarn world, when it’s want vs. need, want always wins.)  The picture below shows one of my three skeins of Wildflowers (on top) and a skein of Roses on Brick.

I love the colors and I’m proud of myself for getting away from my usual blues and purples (although . . . um . . . there’s that order I just placed with WEBS . . . ).  Here’s the beginning of the bottom of the bag:

(If you feel an overwhelming urge to comment on the center hole and mention that it reminds you of a part of the human body controlled by a sphincter muscle, please bite your tongue.  This was discussed in person at SnB last night, and hopefully not overheard by the non-SnB, just-wanted-to-have-a-nice-meal-at-Panera- Bread customers last night.  If you do, however, wish to tell me that it looks like a boob, I can accept that.)

I’m looking forward to some good chunks of knitting time this weekend.  The 3rd grade teacher part of me has become a big thorn in the side of the knitterly part.  I’ve been teaching, correcting, managing, controlling, cleaning, organizing, copying, and planning myself into exhaustion each day.  I love what I do, but I miss my knitting needles and yarn. 

Hey – maybe you can help me out.  I was reviewing my students’ journal writing today and came across a response that has me stumped.  The journal prompt for today was: Would you rather have three eyes or three legs?  (Now I know that sounds wacky, but the kids love these kinds of prompts.  Yesterday’s was Would you rather be a bullfrog or a butterfly? One boy wrote that he’d rather be a bullfrog because if he was touched by a human, he’d still be able to hop, but if he was a butterfly and a human touched his wing, he wouldn’t be able to fly.  So there.  Good stuff, huh?)  The three eyes or three legs prompt jumpstarted some interesting writing.  A girl wrote that she’d rather have three legs because if she had to run in a 3-legged race, she wouldn’t need to have a partner.  She also wrote that she knew she’d need to buy two pairs of the same shoes.  A boy wrote that he’d like to have three eyes, with the third eye on the back of his head so that he could see who grabbed his shirt during the football game and he could tell the referree.  

This little darlin’ had something else to say.  This child is one of those kids who I just melt over.  She’s a sweet, quiet, and beautiful little girl.  She’s just not a speller. 

“I woed rly like to have 3 eisse or 4.  I wode have them on my frrede and on the erigley plass.  I wode loak at peplss birreyss.”

Maybe looking at the picture will give us some clues.

My grade partner and I read it again and again and again.  Here’s what we’re guessing: 

“I would really like to have 3 eyes or 4.  I would have them on my forehead and on the regular place.  I would look at people’s birreyss.”

Still can’t figure out the birreyss.  Any help?

Maybe, like another girl explained on her math paper . . .

. . . it’s very quiet easy.

Gotta Love Jay Leno . . .

September 13, 2008


Zzzzzz . . .

September 7, 2008

I’ll try to stay awake long enough to write this post.  I think one of my 3rd graders must have slipped something into my Crystal Light.  Zonked.  I slept late yesterday morning, sat on the couch and knit, tried to read a book, and woke up a few hours later.  It was a good day for doing nothing.   The rain and wind from Hanna postponed the Relay for Life, so I didn’t have to go anywhere.  As much as I was disappointed that the Relay wasn’t happening, I was so relieved.  I would have been crabby and miserable because I was so freakin’ exhausted.   I think I’m suffering from back-to-school-overheating syndrome.  The combination of trying to get back into the swing of school while sweltering in the heat and humidity destroyed me.  I was surrounded for four days by 21 little radiators.  Those kids give off some serious heat. 

While awake, I got some knitting and felting done.

Here’s my Ruffle Bag.  I’m happy with it.  I think.  Now that it’s done, I wish I’d place the handles in a little further from the sides.  It also needs a snap to close it.  And a lining.  I like it.  Really.  I do.

Here are the details:
Pattern:   Romantic Ruffles Felted Bag
Yarn:  Farmhouse Yarn’s Lumpy Bumpy by Charlene
        Trim & handles-Knit Picks Wool of the Andes double-stranded
Needles:  Knit Picks Options Harmony US 13
Modifications:  I knit a garter stitch rectangle bottom and picked up stitches all around – 32 st. X 13 st.
Pre-felting:  bag: 15.5”h x 15.5”w – i-cord: 72”
Post-felting:  bag: 9”h x 12.5”w – i-cord: 58”

After I read Crazy Aunt Purl’s Drunk, Divorced, and Covered in Cat Hair (borrowed from Wife,”Mom,”Knitter – thanks!), I wanted to make a bracelet bag.  So I did.

Pattern:  Easy Felted Bracelet Bag
Yarn:  Cascade 220 – double stranded
Needles:  US 13
Modifications:  None
Pre-felting: 11”h x 6.5”w
Post-felting: 6”h x 5”w

And then I made another one.  This one used up lots of my leftover wool yarn (Malabrigo, Fat Sheep, and Lopi) – double stranded with Malabrigo throughout and mishmash spit-spliced bits of the other yarns.  I love love love it and I can’t wait to use it.

I modified this one to knit magic loop-style, rather than knitting from end to end, so the color changes would be the same around both sides of the bag.  I knit the two handles separately and then joined them together, just like the Dumpling Bag pattern.

Pre-felting: 12”h x 6.5”w
Felted: 7.5”h x 5”w

Ready for some 3rd-graderly cuteness?  We wrote addition and subtraction story problems on Friday.  The kids wrote some tricky problems for me to work on this weekend.

Here’s one from a kid who is obviously making an attempt to secure a spot as Teacher’s Pet:


And here’s one from a boy who I predict will provide us with endless entertainment for the next 177 school days:

Just in case you need a closer look:

I’m going to bite my lip about this one.

Back to Reality

September 2, 2008

That’s my boy’s first-day-of-school picture for 2008 – 10th grade.  Off to a great start.

He was actually happy about going back to school.  He just thinks his mother is a dork for trying to take first-day-of-school pictures past elementary school.  I’m not a dork.  I’m a mommy.  There’s a difference.

The boy was in a better state of mind about school than I was this morning.  I was nervous.  I think I was more nervous this year than ever before.  Maybe I am a dork.

We got off to a good start.  One of my girls brought me an apple.

Isn’t it a beauty?  I’ve never been given an apple on the first day of school before.  Sweet.

Each year, I put up a bulletin board in the hallway outside of my classroom to welcome the kids.  This year, I have 21 of them.  I put up a big sheet of paper for each child with an adjective and their first name, both starting with the same letter (like Friendly Frannie).  During the day, I have each kid draw a self-portrait to put on the board. 

Care to take a closer look at some of the stand-outs?  I thought so.

Here’s a boy who loves pigs:

Here’s a boy who is doing a flash-forward to his college days:

Here’s a boy who made a really good attempt at getting the glasses right:

Here’s the girl who brought the apple: ( I sure got the adjective correct!)

Here’s a girl who I’m still trying to figure out.  She’s in front of a castle, but take note of the skull on her dress.  I don’t get it.

Here’s a boy with a tiny little L-shaped nose:

Here’s a girl who things the letter h is a good nose shape:


Here’s a boy who is . . . .

white!  I don’t get this one, either.  I really don’t.

I love them all already.  They’re really an adorable bunch of kids and I know we’ll have a wonderful year together.  Cuteness.

And since Knelley knits, here’s the latest:

I finished the ruffle bag last night.  Just need to knit 80 bajillion inches of i-cord and felt both the bag and the cord and I’ll be done done done.  So far, I love love love.

Now I’m going to bed.  Children exhaust me.