Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'm not sure how well this photo will show.It is a closeup of the birch. Have I ever mentioned that I knit strangely? Perhaps not since I didn't realize it until recently. I knit into the back of all stitches and purl into the front of all stitches. The product looks exactly the same as other knitting I have seen as far as I can tell. However, there may be a problem with lace knitting. I noticed that some of the yarn overs didn't show up very well; it was like half the pattern dissolved.

Birch in Rowan Kid Silk Haze being blocked on the sofa cushions of the guest house we stayed in for Christmas. Not only did I finish it before New Years Eve (the recipient's birthday) but I finished it in time to give it to her so that she could open it while we were still there. She was astonished at how light it was and the warmth it gathered around her. It is the perfect shawl for an older woman in a temperate climate.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wow, that was fast! He was quite biddable. These are felted slippers from in Nashua Handknits Painted Forest colourway. They are knit as humonguous socks and then felted to fit. There were some felting issues which ended up bring the first set of slippers (in Lamb's Pride) to my youngest child. LOL! and another mistake with yarn that led to one slipper being cut up and stuffed for use as a dog toy.
The hat is from Sally Melville's Purl book and the scarf uses Cat Bordhi's techniques. The yarn is a marvelous bulky extremely soft wool that I got at Maryland Sheep and Wool festival last year. It was hideously expensive but I bought two skeins because it was exactly the right mixture of blue and grey that I knew my husband would love. I have made him moebius scarves from 3 different yarns (two of which he chose) which were not satisfactory and this scarf was reknit three times to get the correct fabric, length, and width. The scarf used just over one skein, the hat took less than one skein, and I have a hefty (though low yardage) ball of yarn left over.

Knitting news without photos - I am sorry to say that I have no pictures of the Irish Hiking Cable scarf and Sally Melville Purl Stitch hat I made for my cousin/brother for Christmas.

I will see if I can get my husband to model the hat and moebius scarf that I made him...and the felted slippers he got for Valentine's day.

IKAT Scarf - From 1 skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot 60% superwash wool, 25% mohair, 15% nylon in the Pheasant colourway. This photo is too dark but I had to rush the photography when the camera battery was low. I knit this scarf in the car on the way home from North Carolina and had to gift it less than 24 hours after we arrived home. It was lovely and soft before blocking but was tending to roll a little on the edges. I have another skein of Pheasant which is on the needles now becoming socks.

IKAT Scarf - knit to the left. I love this pattern! In Noro from 2 skeins. It blocks out all lovely and soft and was given as a gift.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The thing about substitute teaching is that you aren't really teaching. As a Sheep Dog, I round up students and keep them safely within the classroom and building boundaries but I am rarely asked to teach. I am always a little thrilled when the Shepherd has left lesson plans for the day (psst! Mr. D, those photocopies of pages from p. 112 did not fool the Sheep who know that they are currently working in Chapter 10 between pages 347 and 360. Nope, didn't fool them at all, they refused to ruminate on the material.) The thrill is even greater when the plans ask me to actually teach something because at heart and by training I am a Shepherd. I got applause from one Shepherd because I followed the plans and textbook and covered perimeters in such a way that the Sheep did not need to be re-educated by the Shepherd when he returned. Woohoo! I do understand that many Sheep Dogs are not trained teachers, requirements for the position include a clean background check and a high school diploma or equivalent, and that most Sheep Dogs do not wish to teach.

Today I was Sheep Dog to two flocks of piano students. It was fine. They were well behaved and only one or two tried to bolt the field. Things were a little unsettled since school opened two hours late because of lingering snow issues. The first two periods were each only 20 minutes long and the last two periods were the normal length (2.5 hours and 1.25 hours). Most of the day I sat and knit on a sock while a room of sheep plunked away on keyboards, the quiet made possible by many headsets.

Sometimes being a Sheep Dog is easy and sometimes it is difficult. I have not had a fire extinguisher dropped on me or sexually assaulted or beaten up but I am always aware that I am only one angry or unbalanced sheep away from trouble. My instructions are to confiscate ipods or cell phones that are not put away during class. In general the Sheep comply but when they don't I step back and call security and fill out a PS74.

I was horrified by the official notice regarding breaking up fights that all Shepherds and Sheep Dogs received from the County. The County pointed out that no Shepherd is required to stop a fight and that all adults should consider the possibility of damage to themselves when intervening. Then the County made a point of mentioning that if a Shepherd intervenes to stop a fight and injures or appears to injure a Sheep then the Shepherd will be held accountable and charges may be filed. Furthermore (!) if a Shepherd does not step in to break up the fight and a Sheep is injured then the County points out that the family of the injured Sheep may hold the Shepherd accountable for any damages and may file a lawsuit against the Shepherd which the union may or may not be able to help with. Aiaiaiaiaiaiaiii! How is that for mixed messages?

I have been knitting. Some days I have lots of Sheep Dog time for knitting; it depends on the field and the sheep. Knitting pictures of various scarves, hats )maybe) and the elusive Birch will be posted as soon as the camera battery is recharged.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I'm working as a substitute teacher in a local high school and most days I feel like a sheep dog. My job is to corral the students into the classroom, keep them there or keep track of them between bells, and move them on out at the end of the class. Woof!

Often their questions and statements repeat over and over until I hear them as bleating sheep (ok, not really as sheep but I become amused). For instance:

Sheep1: Can I listen to my ipod during class?
Sheep Dog: No.

Sheep2: Can I listen to my ipod while I work?
Sheep Dog: No.

Sheep3: Can I listen to music on my ipod?
Sheep Dog: No.
Sheep3: I'll play it quietly.
Sheep Dog: No.

Sheep4: Can I listen to my ipod during class?
Sheep2: Dude, she already answered that.
Sheep4: So? I can still ask. Can I?
Sheep Dog: No.

Sheep5: Our teacher lets us listen to music during class.
Sheep Dog: (Notes large sign on the wall listing the class rules with #1 - No ipods or cell phones used during class!) You may not listen to music. Please start on your work.
Sheep5: Man, you are MEAN. You are as bad as a real teacher.


Instance #2:

Sheep1: Can I have a pass to the bathroom?
Sheep Dog: Ok, I'll need to see your ID and you will need to sign out.
Sheep1: Ok. (heads back to desk to get ID from backpack - yes, it is supposed to be worn in the open at all times)

Sheep2: Hey, sheep1, where are you going?
Sheep1: To the vending machines.
Sheep2: Can you get me a candy bar?
Sheep1: No, I'm not coming back.

Sheep Dog: I'm not giving passes to the vending machines or for people who are not returning.
Sheep1: Oh no! I busted myself.