I have noticed a few fellow bloggers celebrating Blogiversaries... congrats to all of us for sticking with this wacky social experiment. I am delighted to be in my fifth year of blogging, and it was especially fun to be the winner in Ruinwin's recent Blogiversary giveaway. I haven't won anything recently and had forgotten the thrill of opening an unexpected parcel to find fiber and other goodies.
In the fiber department, there was over 600 yards of ella rae Palermo, an unspun worsted that I hadn't seen before. This yarn may just be the vest yarn I have been wanting to knit up... my swatching earlier in February for a vest didn't work out quite right but I still have many wintery days when a knitted vest a la L.L. Bean is just what I am craving for extra warmth.
Then there was a book on growing basil (did y'all know that pesto is one of my very favorite most foods? well... after chocolate, that is), goddess cards, a set of bath goodies, including a great body brush, potpourri, hemp lip balm, shea butter in a little jar to carry around in my knitting bag (shea butter is the most nourishing thing a knitter can rub into her hands!), and a darling card that you can see in the top left corner... "You can ignore 80% of what your inner sheep says. Most of it's b-a-a-a-a-d advice." Gotta love it! Ruinwin, you are such a generous and inspiring blogger and thank you so much!!
As for my own knitting, I am still working on finishing up February Lady (it's close, really, but I just haven't had much knitting time the past several days), have started a pair of mitts (Ravelry link) for myself from a Ravelry pattern based on the Chevron Scarf in Last Minute Knitted Gifts out of a skein of Twisted Sisters yarn I found last week at Article Pract in Oakland, have set Queen Sivia aside (she is destined to take a long and loving amount of time, so not to worry) to work on items for my teaching schedule at the LYS, and just did the write-up for two more classes that I will instruct in March.
One will be Chevron Trim Top (Ravelry link), a Knit One Crochet Too pattern that I am using to help advanced beginner to intermediate knitters move into their first garment-knitting experience (this seems to be a stage in knitting approached by many with trepidation, if not downright fear), and the other class will offer simple lace-knit shaping, using Sivia Harding's Victorian Shoulderette pattern. If you haven't visited our shop's website, I invite you to do so as we have just gotten up the neatest feature... all of the Manos del Uruguay variegated wool swatches in color and linked to their coordinated solids. Allison wanted to offer this to help our blanket class students plan their projects, but it is such a fun color study that it is valuable just for the fun of seeing how colors work together.
The interesting thing I am finding about teaching is that I am passionately drawn to it, even though it takes away from my personal knitting time. For example, I found that I would need to rip and re-do my Triinu scarf, not just because I was having difficulty with the seven-stitch nupps not losing a loop here and there, but also because I realized if I was having trouble, having made a lily of the valley shawl, worked with laceweight, used to using tiny needles, etc., etc., then what would my students be facing? How could I break the skill sets down for them into manageable pieces?
I decided that shaping lace and teaching a smaller piece would be a reasonable step, as well as offering a basic lacemaking class later this spring that covers how to work your way down in yarn and needle sizes for those who haven't made it that far yet. Support is everything for some students, and it helped one of my students immensely yesterday when I discovered a serious mistake that led to her needing to rip out half of her project, that I could describe what I was going through working up my Triinu sample and determining to rip and re-do. Yes, my co-workers at the LYS can brag that I have close to 50 years of knitting experience, but yes, I can also tell them horror stories from as recently as last week about errors and ripping out, or choosing the wrong item in the first place and determining to abandon it rather than pursue unhappiness in knitting!
Unhappiness and whether I am on the right path has been a looming theme this month, as many more people in my life continue to be touched by the deepening recession. California finally passed last year's budget adjustments to compensate for huge revenue losses as a result of the crash in housing, an important step for many of us here who weren't looking forward to getting IOUs instead of tax refunds, however at the loss of many services most of us have come to consider a part of normal, daily life. My child care program is running out of funding and I am having trouble finding more. On top of all that, a friend passed on suddenly and unexpectedly, and yesterday was spent at her wake. Life feels especially fragile and precious, so this morning we took donuts to DD's house to share with her, her BF and his four-year-old son, and I spent the morning building with giant Legos and playing Sorry. I am grateful to have so much and need to remind myself often during these grim times.... I leave you with a photo of DH and I, taken last weekend by my SIL while we were tasting sake
We toured the Takara Sake museum and tasting room, where we learned a tremendous amount about this unique fermented beverage, and came home with a few kinds to share on cold, winter nights. I promise to share photos from our Bay Area adventures next time.