a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Tag Archives: wool

Knit the Stash 2011: the Sock Yarn

Like any self-respecting knitter, I have a stash to be proud of. It’s full and constantly demanding more storage space and knitting time. I’ve added to it since beginning my most recent phase of knitting in 2005 and it’s currently contained in a plastic tote, two wicker baskets, and a few travel bags. It contains sock yarn, sweater yarn, “I have no idea” yarn, and hand-me-down yarn. Some of it is lovely wool or bamboo, some of it is blended, and some of it is acrylic that I’ve grown out of using. I’m attached to all of it and that’s why the stash is massive.

However, it’s time to make something of the collection, thus the Knit the Stash 2011 challenge. Over the next several Saturdays, I’ll be posting photos of the stash and thoughts on how the yarn will be used. Some of it will be knit up according to the original plan, some of it will be re-purposed and matched to a new and wonderful pattern, and some of it will likely be given away (I love blog giveaways!). I may also give away many of the knitted items.

DSCN8245

all the sock yarn in my collection, less one that's in a knitting bag in my car

 

I wrangled up all the sock yarn. All told, there is wool for 13 pairs of socks, maybe more with leftovers.

DSCN8184

Jawoll Magic Superwash

 

Sock Stash #1 – Jawoll Magic Superwash

I purchased this gorgeous superwash blend at A Yarn Over Marblehead December 2010 when I was shopping with my friend Alison B to get stuff for a cowl and mitts. This is a cute little store that has a good selection of yarn in a range from wool/acrylic blends for the timid beginner to high end designer wool for those heirloom projects. There was a single cubby for the Jawoll Magic Superwash and I was immediately drawn to the skein I adopted. I picked it up off the shelf immediately and carried it around the store for forty minutes before I made a final decision. The colors are perfect for spring and I can’t wait to have it knitted up and on my feet! I need to find the perfect pattern to showcase the colors. I’m thinking a simple rib would work.

DSCN8187

worth a second look - Jawoll Magic Superwash

 

DSCN8191

Knit Picks Stroll in Grass

 

Sock Stash #2 – Knit Picks Stroll in Grass

I’ve had good luck with the Knit Picks sock yarns. I know some knitters don’t like it, and that’s fine, but I have no problems with it so far. It’s priced well and my socks knit up their wool from a few years ago are just fine still. I loved this green color and it will work well for showing off a pattern with texture. I’m thinking a lacy pattern.

DSCN8203

Knit Picks Stroll in Hearth Multi

 

Sock Stash #3 – Knit Picks Stroll in Hearth Multi

There was a sale and I got this for a good price. Orange has been my color this year. After years of avoiding orange, I’ve been craving it!

DSCN8195

Knit Picks Essential in Lumber Jack Tweed

 

Sock Stash #4 – Knit Picks Essential in Lumberjack Tweed

A basic sock yarn that will show off a nice textured pattern.

DSCN8199

Knit Picks Essential in Inca Gold Tweed

 

Sock Stash #5 – Knit Picks Essential in Inca Gold Tweed

Another basic sock yarn for a textured pattern.

DSCN8211

Plymouth Yarn Sockin' Sox

 

Sock Stash #6 – Plymouth Yarn Sockin’ Sox in ___ (blue)

I love this yarn. It has wool and bamboo! How can it get any better? The colors are soft and calming. I’m thinking a simple rib stitch pattern for this.

DSCN8217

Plymouth Yarn Sockin' Sox

 

Sock Stash #7 – Plymouth Yarn Sockin’ Sox in ___ (brown)

This is the same as the other Plymouth yarn. Brown is such a nice color for socks, especially in the fall with a wheat colored sweater and a bright scarf.

DSCN8219

Austermann Step

 

Sock Stash #8 – Austermann Step

I love this yarn! I’ve bought a few skeins and knitted it up into socks, all for gifts, and loved every moment of knitting with this stuff. The wool is infused with aloe and it softened my fingers while knitting. I can just imagine how it would be for the feet!

DSCN8222

a hand-spun hand-dyed gift

 

Sock Stash #9 – hand spun and dyed wool, green

I was given this wool as a departure gift when I left my teaching position in Maine. My mentor teacher was also a knitter and she spun and dyed this for me. Aww!

DSCN8228

a hand-spun hand-dyed gift

 

Sock Stash #10 – hand spun and dyed wool, purple

My mentor teacher from Maine spun and dyed this one for me, too!

DSCN8230

Cascade 220

 

Sock Stash #11 – Cascade 220

I bought this stuff out of the “orphans” basket at Fiberphilia in 2007. I intended to make socks out of it, and still do, but I’ve started and frogged a few other projects with it in between.

DSCN8234

self-striping sock kit dyed for me as a gift

 

Sock Stash #12 – hand dyed wool, multi

Another hand-dyed gift from my mentor teacher in Maine. She used one of the self-striping kits from Knit Picks and went to town with the dye! It’s a crazy hodge-podge of color and I love it!

 

Opal

Sock Stash #13 – Opal

I bought this yarn at the Yard Goods Center in Waterville, ME back in 2007. I just cast on a pair of socks with it out of the Nancy Bush book, Knitting Vintage Socks.

* * *

So that’s the sock yarn stash! I’ll be knitting exclusively from the stash this year to whittle down the collection.

I also have a book goal but I’ll be writing about that on Sunday.

What are you working on this year? What ideas do you have to use what you have and save money? What are  your productivity goals?

Advertisements

Mittens: A Knitter’s Journey.

Image from the pattern of my favorite mitten "recipe."

 

I grew up with two grandmothers whom loved knitting. I was lucky to have them as mentors. Nonnie, my mother’s mother, sent boxes of mittens to us every winter in every color and size imaginable. Some of them were knit in acrylic, some in wool. I didn’t know the difference in material then, but I did know the difference in quality. The mittens Nonnie made lasted longer, so long as they didn’t get lost, than gloves or mittens purchased from a store.

Nana, my father’s mother and the knitter I thank for teaching me, as far as I remember anyway, knit sweaters mostly. She was working on a brown and pink cardigan for me in her final days of a losing battle with lung cancer; she never finished it. My aunt, Kelly, finished it. She, too, knits and would send us boxes of mittens each winter as well.

When the mittens arrived, I would study them carefully and wonder that anyone could make such things! I had no idea how one would go from cuff to thumb to fingertips. All I could manage at the time was miles and miles of flat garter stitch on my powder blue size 6 Susan Bates needles Nana gave me.

I began knitting at Nana Sirois’s knee in Byron on those size 6 needles when I was about the same age as the needle size. Wrapping the yarn around my finger, then transferring it to the needle opened a doorway to a world of creation and meditation that I hope never closes. Those beginning days of learning the knit stitch are still with me:  up through the window, around the back, down through the window, and off jumps Jack. With brows furrowed in concentration, I murmured those words as I taught my fingers to coordinate the needles and yarn.

My second year of college I grew weary of garter stitch pot-holders, dish clothes, and scarves and yearned for something more challenging; I had been knitting nothing but garter stitch for about fourteen years at that point. The resident assistant on my floor in my dorm knit and proudly showed off her hats to admirers. I asked her to teach me.

Then I knit boxes full of hats and shipped them off to shelters and other need-based organizations accepting donations.

I soon grew restless again. It was time to learn to make mittens.

Scouring the web, I found patterns but none that gave me the support I thought I needed to learn how to make this particular garment. Then I came across Katharina Buss and her book on knitting. This book is where I learned how to knit by gauge, how to adapt patterns for various sizes, and how to knit colorwork. And yes, she taught me how to knit mittens.

That first pair though. Oy! It pains me to think back on that pair now.

By this time, I was in graduate school. I cracked open Buss’s book and set out to make my first pair of mittens. I had a lovely lavender wool to work with and I was off to the races.

The cuff knit up just fine in a basic knit two, purl two rib. But when I got to the thumb gusset, that’s when I made my first error. I misread the pattern. It told me to increase by one stitch on both sides of the first thumb gusset stitch. No problem. But then, I continued to increase by two on both sides of the gusset, not the one stitch on each side as the pattern meant. By the time I had knit up the rows in the pattern, I had something like 50 stitches for the thumb, instead of the 15-17 that is typical! And I didn’t know the difference somehow. I continued knitting along and thought everything was fine. I made the second mitten for the set to match. Ay-yai-yai! The thumbs on that pair of mittens would have been appropriate for someone who’d just smashed their thumb with a hammer.

Luckily, the next pair was better and I learned. I’ve been cranking out the mittens since.

My most recent breakthrough with this garment, and the inspiration behind sharing this history of mitten-making, is learning a more effective and aesthetically pleasing way of making the thumb gusset increases.

I just finished the first mitten of a set for Gabe and when I came to the thumb gusset increases, instead of wrapping the yarn around the needle to make a new stitch like I would have in the past, I decided to try another form of increasing:  I picked up the back side of the stitch on the row previous that was between the stitches where I wanted the increase. I used this method through three rounds of increases. On the fourth, instead of correcting the twist from picking up that stitch, I left it twisted. This created a hole-less and smooth increase. It looks great!

For those embarking on the journey of mitten knitting, I’d like to share the mitten recipe that will help you make mittens for everyone you know! Classic Mittens from Free Vintage Knitting. If you have questions about mitten knitting, or knitting in general, please feel free to contact me via the new contact form on the “About The Girl” tab.

It’s Saturday! Enjoy your day! I’ll be knitting. 🙂

Yule Preparations

I’ve been coughing up my intestines for about nine days now, and felt crummy for about a week before that. It’s that time of year. I’ve been through more boxes of tissues than I’ve managed to keep track of. It’s been oh so fun.

While I’ve been sitting on the Queen Anne recliner in the living room working through my Netflix queue, I’ve been working on the reversible cable and lace scarf in Frog Tree Alpaca (fingering weight). I love the pattern. After about five inches, I memorized the eight rows (four really, as on the second row four, you cable twist and that’s the only difference) and it’s knitting up fast. I just attached the second skein and will probably be through it by the end of the day tomorrow. Photos to come.

Read more of this post

Discovering Home

What a week and weekend! So much to share that this is going to be a long one. Stay with me, it’s worth it.

The Seaport is a fun area to live in. There were free concerts from some of the biggest names in the music industry all summer so long as we opened the living room window. We are mere paces from some of the finest dining establishments in town and the T gets us everywhere else we would want to go. It took a long time to get used to having a 24-7 concierge, the computer lab, and an in-house gym, though. It’s been great fun, but it didn’t truly feel like home until this past week.

I’ve been complaining to Gabe about how much I miss Gulu Gulu Cafe and Jaho in Salem, especially Gulu. Sit down with a book on the big orange couch and coffee comes to you in an endless stream. I spent hours there with novels or my laptop. It’s one of the first places I went when I was considering moving to the area when I was in Maine, the first place I went when I took up residence, and now the place I miss. It helped make Salem feel like home. And I miss that.

Read more of this post

Dreaming in Color.

I ❤ Autumn.

I’ve knit four feet on Gabe’s scarf. The colors are intoxicating. Why don’t we weave more color into our lives? Live in full color instead of monochrome? I have a lot of existential questions on my mind. That’s what happens in the fall when the leaves start swirling around my feet. The crisp cool air and the increase of orange in the landscape leads my mind back to the search for knowledge.

This urge to dig into books and steep meaning from the pages has me melancholy. A teaching position just doesn’t seem to be working out, again, this year. Lots of reasons:  the economy is still tough, saturated market, etc. But that doesn’t make being sidelined another year any easier to swallow. So, instead of stewing in my misery and getting depressed, I’m getting mentally active.

I started taking a serious look at grad school again. I have no idea which program(s) I’ll apply to, but I’m looking. I would *love* to do an English lit program. Special Education would be worthwhile, too. But, I always wanted to go all the way with English literature. When I started my Bachelor’s program, I saw myself going all the way to a PhD with it. My roommate at the time, who was also an English major, but later dropped out for a radiology program, always a very practical person, asked me, “So, what are you going to do with it?” I never had a good answer. But I do now:  to enrich my life and my inner world. To give voice to and unleash the insatiable thirst for knowledge that I’ve always had. So I’m looking at schools.

In the meantime, I’m still reading for my blog project of pairing the cryptozoological adaptations with the classic novels. I’m knitting. I’m tidying and organizing the apartment with Gabe’s tireless and cheerful help. I run and plan for road races. And I dream.

That’s what I’ve been doing the most lately. Dreaming. And it’s been wonderful.

I can smell autumn. Can you?

The salty air is weighty; heavy enough to keep this wandering spirit in once place and not feel trapped. The old promise of travel and adventure offered by the waves keeps this fiery spirit satiated. I fell in love with the saline-imbued air when I first moved to Salem a year ago and I’m in even deeper now that I can see the waves from my new vantage on the roof deck while knitting one stitch at a time. I’ve had ample time to knit up here lately as I’ve been home from work for a little over a week now. I once thought I’d love to be a home maker and have no responsibilities other than running the dishwasher, making tasty treats and ironing the laundry, but now that I’ve been at it for a week, I am chomping at the bit to get back. But it’ll be some time before I get there.

Remember the few posts I had back around March about health problems? Well, they never went away, and in fact, have gotten worse. I am now at home, “stepped away from the classroom” as I put it in an email to my curriculum coordinator, with a calendar full of appointments and reminders of things I have to do to get ready for them. But this isn’t what I want to write about.

There has not been a day that the breeze did not blow down here in the seaport. It took some time before I realized that this is just how it is. Despite living in Maine with a long history of marine trade, I was inland and isolated from the personal knowledge. The closest I got to ocean life was reading Elizabeth Oglivie and her novels about lobstermen and their strong wives, though she and I have done quite the opposite:  she was born in Boston and went to Maine. I was born in Maine and came to Boston. The breezes not only brings the smell of the ocean, but also of the autumn weather that is creeping up on us as the light ebbs at the outer edges of day; perfect weather for my woolens.

Oh, what shall you become, Mohair?

I pulled out my wool basket that had been sitting ignored since I moved here and spread everything out. I frogged old projects that lost the original charm and piled up stuff that I’d been carrying around that I never really liked to begin with. I grouped it all up according to weight and project type and saw the spectrum of possibility that has been dormant, waiting. Many knitters have done this with varying levels of success before me, but I’m going to give knitting only from my stash this fall and winter a go. The only exception I will make is picking up fiber for specific gifts in preparation for Yule if I don’t see something fitting in the stash.

Noro striped scarf for Gabe

While knitting on Gabe’s Noro striped scarf the last few days, I’ve been watching movies from my Netflix queue. I’d been carrying around “Cries and Whispers”, a 1972 film by Ingmar Bergman about three sisters who are brought together for the first time in ages because of the terminal illness of one of the sisters. I watched it three times back to back. I still don’t think I’ve processed it enough to give it an adequate review. It’s quietly disturbing in it’s portrayal of the relationship of these sisters. This is one of the many reasons I love Bergman. His work is like steeping a cup of tea: it takes time for the flavor to develop and is subtle.

Noro striped scarf

I’ve also been working my way through “I Know This Much is True” by Wally Lamb. People have recommended his work to me in the past but I didn’t actually crack one of his books open until I moved here. Now I can’t wait to finish this one so I can move on to the next. I love the people he populates the story with and how honest and real they are. He inspires me to write.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope all is well with you.

Ode to Amy

Amy got me running about 2 years ago when she moved back to Maine from Texas. It was serendipitous that she ended up moving two blocks away in the town where I got my first teaching job. We hadn’t seen each other since a random encounter in the parking lot of Borders in our college town when she was pregnant with her first child. She and her husband stopped in for a quick book pick up before going on a camping trip. Her son was a walking-talking toddler with budding mechanical engineering skills when we were reunited.

After a few quick emails back and forth, we met up in my sparsely furnished apartment and sat on the living room floor with some chunky yarn and chunky needles to teach her how to knit while we caught up on each others lives. Somehow, someway during this conversation, she convinced me, the girl who hated running in high school for sports, to go out on a run. It didn’t kill me. I was very surprised.

Soon after, AT and his brother hauled their mother’s treadmill that was used to hang laundry at the homestead up the stairs to my second floor apartment. It took about a week for me to turn it on and run on it that first time. Staring at the blank white wall in the spare room wasn’t exactly motivational. So, after a while, I began putting motivational pictures and words on the wall to focus on instead. I kept running all through winter 07-08.

When spring arrived, and Amy was in town full-time  (it took all winter to close on the house, pack up and move back to Maine from the Lone-star State), I began running outside with her. I was shocked, shocked to realize that I actually liked running at this point and looked forward to pulling on and tying my running shoes each evening.

I felt free. I felt powerful. I felt in control. It was great.

And all Amy had to do was grab my elbow and drag me through those beginning runs, and up  hills, and into races to get me to that point.

Thank you, Amy.

And now, here I am, two years later, still running. Still loving it. And looking forward to running a 10k at the end of February with her.

Today is Amy’s birthday. I not only have my love of running to thank her for, but her unflagging friendship and support since we first met in 2001. You not only drag me through the rough spots of runs, but of life. Amy, you are the best friend a person could ever hope for. You are a blessing in my life.

Happy birthday, Amy!

A Knitting Meme

Bold = Have already tried this
Italicized = Plan to try this
Unemphasized = Have no desire to try this

– Afghan
– I-cord
– Garter stitch
– Knitting with metal wire
– Shawl
– Stockinette Stitch
– Socks: Top-down
– Socks: Toe-up

– Knitting with camel yarn
– Mittens: Cuff-up
– Mittens: Tip down

– Hat
– Knitting with silk

– Moebius band knitting
– Participating in a KAL
– Sweater

– Drop stitch patterns
– Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
– Slip stitch patterns

– Knitting with banana fiber yarn
– Domino knitting
– Twisted stitch patterns
– Knitting with bamboo yarn
– Two end knitting
– Charity knitting
– Knitting with soy yarn
– Cardigan
– Toy/doll
– Knitting with circular needles
– Baby items

– Knitting with your own handspun
– Slippers
– Graffiti knitting
– Continental knitting
– Designing knitted garments (nothing major, though)
– Cable stitch patterns
– Lace patterns

– Publishing a knitting book
– Scarf
– Teaching a child to knit
– American/English knitting

– Knitting to make money
– Buttonholes
– Knitting with alpaca
– Fair Isle

– Norwegian knitting
– Dying with plant colors

– Knitting items for a wedding
– Household items

– Knitting socks on two circulars
– Olympic knitting
– Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
– Knitting with dpn’s
– Holiday-related knitting
– Teaching a male how to knit

– Bobbles
– Knitting for a living
– Knitting with cotton
– Knitting smocking
– Dyeing yarn
– Steeks
– Knitting art

– Fulling/felting
– Knitting with wool
– Textured knitting
– Kitchener BO
– Purses/bags

– Knitting with beads
– Swatching
– Long tail CO

– Entrelac
– Knitting and purling backwards

– Machine Knitting
– Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegated yarn
– Stuffed toys
– Knitting with cashmere

– Darning
– Jewelry
– Knitting with synthetic yarn
– Writing a pattern
– Gloves
– Intarsia

– Knitting with linen
– Knitting for preemies
– Tubular CO
– Freeform knitting
– Short rows
– Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers
– Pillows
– Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
– Rug
– Knitting on a loom
– Thrummed knitting
– Knitting a gift
– Knitting for pets
– Shrug/bolero/poncho
– Knitting with dog/cat hair
– Hair accessories
– Knitting in public
– Double knitting

All in all, I’d say I’m pretty skilled and adventurous by those numbers. Not bad!

Breathing Deep

Two huge weeks have passed and I am facing an easy week of a holiday and a half-day. Not bad. I go to school tomorrow, show movies because the students are not going to be paying attention because the following day is a holiday and the day after is the half-day, and I get to come home and knit some more.

I did so much knitting this weekend. It was wonderful.

I finished (finally!) my first Snapdragon sock with the purple, lime green, and orange stripes and am half-way through the second. It’ll be done by lunch time tomorrow guranteed with all the movie induced knitting time tomorrow. And I finished (finally!!) my father-in-law’s first sock in the lozenge pattern and have the second cast on. I’ll have photos of all these fine projects as soon as I remember to recharge my camera’s batteries. I am so glad to have made some knitting progress as it seems like eons ago that I started these projects.

The last two weeks have been awful and so this weekend of knitting and election day celebrations was much needed.

I had five nights (W-Th, and then M-T) straddling the close of the first marking period chock full of 3-hour SAT Prep training sessions, complete with homework, and grading. It was lovely, I tell you, lovely. I nearly called it quits on this profession. But I didn’t. Not every school springs SAT training on its staff, just mine. Luckily, my new colleague in the English department was right by my side to commiserate with. We had a helluva time those long days.

The long days and little sunshine exposure has been getting to me. I have a therapy light but I get up so early as it is to get to school that I haven’t been using it regularly. To use it consistently, I’d have to get up at 4:30 each morning! Yikes. That’s not happening.

I realized after grumping around, knitting, and watching movies today, that part of the reason for my recent bouts of melancholy has been the feeling of displacement. I realized that a year ago this weekend I moved from Orono to Winthrop to take the job in Monmouth and I’ve been nomadic ever since with weekend trips to Orono, moving in May, and then moving again in July. No wonder I’ve been feeling agitated. I haven’t had a chance to get my bearings! I’ve been uprooted for nearly 27 years and I’m ready for my hobbit house, but it’s not time for it yet.

I’m in my second year of my career and Allan has to finish his master’s program. When he does, we’ll be looking for a new job near a college that offers a good MA English for me and a teaching certification program for Allan, which means another move. None of the schools within striking distance of our area offer decent programs, if at all, for either. We’re looking at another 1-2 years before we can even consider buying a house and settling down for 3-5 years or longer. And with this, the possibility of high-maitenance pets (dogs) and children are on hold, too.

No wonder why I feel stressed out so much lately; I feel like I’m just getting going and my entire settled domestic life is still on hold. I crave a house of my own, a garden of my own, a puppy or two, and children so much but it’s not to be for a year or so at very least.

We’ve definitely considered settling down in the area we’re in but we can’t afford the property values on one beginning teacher’s salary. In order for us to buy property in this area we’d have to take out a ridiculous mortgage or buy a fixer-upper, which we’re not enthusiastic about. In order for us to purchase a home in this area, both of us would have to have a teacher’s salary, at very least, and then we’d still be scraping by.

Sigh. At least I like where we are right now. The rest of our life will figure itself out. I’m working on being content in the here and now.

Beyond all this, I’m pleased to say that Patty over at Fibreholic has given me my first blog award! I’m thrilled and honored! Thank you, Patty!

I first started blogging back in 2004 but it never amounted to much. I was pretty self absorbed as a young twenty-something still. It wasn’t until about two or three years ago that I matured enough to realize that nodding to the reader is a must when writing in public like this. I’m pleased that I’ve reached the wide audience that I have and that people have found something worthwhile here. Again, thank you, Patty!

The acceptance rules for this award are as follows:  (1) the winner may put the award on his/her blog, (2) add a link to the person who nominated you if you don’t have one already, (3) nominate at least 5 other websites or blogs, (4) provide links to the nominated websites or blogs, and (5) send the nominees a message letting them know.

I’d like to give this award to the following bloggers:

1 – My dear friend Amy of The Lawsons Did Dallas is one of the funniest bloggers I’ve come across. She’s been blogging since she moved to Texas and she’s been keeping me and her vast audience rolling for about two years now. She recently had the unfortunate life experience of having a miscarraige and so her normal humor was set aside while she related this life-changing experience. She has since reclaimed her humor but her depth and breadth of writing prowess has been demonstrated fully due to these fluctuations.

2 – I’d like to nominate Amber of Berlin’s Whimsy next. I’ve been reading Amber’s blog for a year solid now and there has never been a day when I didn’t feel better for stopping by her space. She, too, has been through many life experiences which offer depth and heart to her writing. Her crafting and photography are nothing short of inspirational.

3 – Next, I’d like to nominate Laurie at Everything in Blue, also the owner of the Ouou shop on Etsy (is it open yet, Laurie?). I first found Laurie through Etsy via her brilliant art and then followed along to her blog where she posts her art in progress and life experiences. I’ve been honored to blog on Laurie’s behalf over the last year.

4 – My dear friend since middle school out in Utah has been blogging about her family and adventures and it’s been a great way for me to keep in the loop. Leanne, you, too, deserve an award.

5 – Last, but not least, I’d like to offer this award to my dear friend Holly. Holly and I have been friends since grade school and have only recently reconnected at my second wedding reception. I’ve really enjoyed keeping up-to-date on your family through your blog!

Phew. This is a long post. I think I’ll call it a night!

Feeling Calmer

This week was incredibly busy and stressful. The quarter ended yesterday and students were cranky with me for enforcing my grading policy. It’s 10% of the assignment off per day late and if it’s not in my hands by 2:15 on day 5, it’s a zero. There are some kids who missed stuff a month ago trying to pressure me to give them some credit on the assignments. No dice.

And on top of getting a mound of assignments in, I had SAT training 3 nights in a row from 4-7. It was insane. I hate the pressure to teach to the test. I won’t do it but I will help give kids the confidence they need to feel like they’re playing on home turf. But I will NOT do an entire unit on SAT skills. Little mini-lessons here and there, and after school workshops are fine. But I will not, I repeat, will not teach SAT skills as a unit in my classroom.

I have done absolutely no knitting. I have done no housework. I have done nothing for myself in the last 10 days and it shows.

However, I did take last night for myself (and Allan). We dressed up and went to a Halloween party and it was great. I haven’t danced since high school and it felt nice to let loose a little and groove to the music.

I wish I had more time to knit. I have so many things I want to make and so much wool I would love to have, but I have no time at all. Even my 40-minute lunches have been usurped by dealing with school business in the office lately. I’ve gotta stop that. I need those lunch periods for myself. And I need to knit for at least 20 minutes every day when I get home.

And I need to start running again, too. I think I’ll try morning running, even if it’s just 2 miles; 2 miles is better than no miles a day. Allan’s worried because I get up early as it is. He doesn’t want me to wear myself thin. And it’s cold in the morning. But I haven’t run in the afternoon when it’s warm in 3 weeks because I’m so mentally exhausted that I can’t get myself out the door. I figure a short run each morning will jumpstart my metabolism and boost my energy and mood. And it’ll build miles so I can do long runs on the weekend. Come spring when it warms up and grows lighter, I’ll probably run in the afternoon and tack on miles again. For now, I’m simply looking for maitenance of my conditioning and waistline.

That’s it for now. I’ll write about seeing Michael Pollan later today or tomorrow. That was such a life-changing experience that I simply have to blog about it. But later. For now, I’m going to work through a huge pile of grading and planning.