Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WIP: When Knitting Attacks

On and Off the Needles
I've finally finished my Stitch Surfers. I'd accidentally misplaced t at the bottom of a multi-project project bag (never again...) and had thus gotten behind. Fortunately I was missing less than I thought, so I still managed to finish it before the end of October.

My first Hundred Acre Wood sock is also close to being done. As I am already a tad uncertain about the sizing, I decided to go ahead and knit a well-known FLK-heel instead of trying to heel flap and gusset described in the pattern. I hope to finish this by tomorrow, but as we're having company over tonight, that might not happen. We'll see.

Finally, I've been working on my second pair of "One Step Ahead" boots. This pair will also be a gift for a friend of mine, and as she's crafty herself, she offered to seam them up herself, so I just had to do the knitting. Easy-peasy :) Again, I hope to get this off in the mail tomorrow, provided I have a suitable envelope around. Otherwise it'll have to wait until next month.

When Knitting Attacks
Unfortunately I'm having serious doubts about my $5 in Paris. I loved the first one I knit so much, but this second one just didn't quite come out right.

First of all, I'm not sure about the colours on me. I might be too pale to pull off grey and white together.

Secondly, and more important, the sweater stretched waaaaay out when washed and now feels like it fits about as well as a sack of potatoes. It is slightly possible that I'm projecting here, and that it's not quite that bad, but it's definitely too big for me, and has to be pulled back into place constantly. I accidentally knit the body of the sweater at too large a gauge. It didn't matter too much before washing, but washing it caused the drape to change significantly, and now... I just don't know. I've tried running it through the dryer to see if that got it to snap back into place, but without success.
I haven't made any decisions yet, but am seriously considering frogging this and reknitting it in a smaller size... or just use the yarn for something completely different, since I already have enough yarn in other (and better) colours for another two versions of this one ;)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Readathon Wrapup :)

Books read:
"Auggie & Me" - R.J. Palacio
"Destiny's Song" - Audrey Faye
"Veronica Decides to Die" - Paulo Coelho
"Cancer Vixen"
most of "Stray" - Andrea K. Höst

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WIP Wednesday - Blanketpalooza

On the Needles
I decided to dedicate the weekend to my Cozy Memories Blanket and really put a dent into this. The result being that I got an extra 18 squares knit, and it now almost covers the seat of our couch!

I still have a loooooong way to go, so don't expect to finish it neither this year nor the next, but I'm loving the way it's turning out, and it's a nice and relaxing knit, so I don't mind. It'll get done when it gets done - no rush.

I haven't really touched the Stitch Surfer socks at all this past week, but instead decided to work on my "Hundred Mile Woods" socks... with the result that I ended up knitting way past the point where I had to start the heel. *Sigh* I was planning on doing the pattern heel for once, instead of (as usual) substituting the fish-lips-kiss heel. Guess habit took over, and since I absolutely cannot be bothered ripping back, I'll just stick with the FLK-heel once again ;)

Off the Needles
After not having touched it for MONTHS, I finally finished my Nostalgia Shawl! I'm SO pleased with how it turned out. It's huge, and looks totally awesome :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WIP Wednesday - LOVE this!

My Spring Showers cardigan finally finished blocking last week, and it is without a doubt my favourite thing that I've knit all year! The colour is great on me (if I may say so myself ;) ) and the fit close to perfect! The sleeves could have been a tad longer, but considering I only had 5 grams left as it was, I'm glad I didn't try to stretch it further.
And even with 4/5 length sleeves - I absolutely love it!
Modifications: I added ~10sts to the length, and took most of that length out of the wedges, as I didn't want it to flare quite as much. I knit seed stitch instead of garter stitch for the lower hem, and made long sleeves instead of short. If I were to make it again, I might leave out the wedges entirely - I don't think it necessarily needs them.

I also managed to finish the Olivia Cardigan for my niece this past week - or rather, it's currently blocking, so I'm waiting for it to be dry enough for me to sew on the buttons. Not a fan of sewing on buttons, but there are only three of them here, and they're so cute, so I think I'll cope ;)
This really turned out amazingly cute! I couldn't be happier with it! My sister and I are talking about whether it'll be best as a cardigan or a dress (would be easy to sew up the bottom half of the cardi), but it's hard to tell until my niece has tried it on. May turn out that she's much too long-legged for it, by the time it fits around the chest!

And as always, when I bind off one thing, I have to cast on something new. This time it's the "One Step Ahead" socks for a friend of mine. I've already knit these once, and they go even faster the second time around.

My Stitch Surfer socks are coming along nicely. I finished the first one on Thursday, and - thanks to a knitting-and-coffee-date Sunday - am about one third of the way through the foot on the second. It's my goal to finish before the end of October, which is looking VERY feasible.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Podcast - September Wrap-up and October TBR

Cooking as Fast as I Can - Cat Cory
A Gift of Magic - Lois Duncan
All Clear - Connie Willis
The Thing About Jellyfish - Ali Benjamin
Manga adaption of Jane Austen's Emma
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

Still making up my mind what to pick for Dewey's Readathon :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Day

Apparently today is World Teacher's Day, and I've been invited to share a story about teachers who made a difference in my life. Don't mind if I do :)

Fortunately, I've been lucky enough to have a number of really good teachers through the years. There was Minna, my math teacher in primary school who definitely influenced my love of math. She was also the school librarian, and once I was old enough, I was invited to be a student librarian, and be responsible for the library in some of the lunch breaks. I LOVED that :) At that age I was certain I wanted to be a librarian myself at some point.

Peter, my English/music teacher in primary school was also really cool. Definitely the most amusing teacher that school had, and I think pretty much everybody liked him. He'd do odd things like wait until the class was completely silent, engrossed in reading or writing something, and then take a stack of dictionaries and throw them to the floor, making us all jump! Sounds childish when I think back on it, but we loved it :) He'd say things like "Write, until the blood springs from under your fingernails!" ... which sounds a lot less cumbersome in Danish, and I promise, wasn't nearly as creepy as it sounds! He liked joking around with us, and was one of the most respected teachers in school for actually taking us seriously.

In high school I had some really cool teachers as well, both in my Danish and New Zealand schools. Inge taught me Danish for two years of high school. She was strict, but passionate about her subject, and I really liked her. In New Zealand I was taught English by Mrs. Y. - a wonderful eccentric teacher, who'd come into the class singing, teach a class completely in rhyme, and enter the class saying "Class, I have a wonderful surprise for you! We get new dictionaries today!!!". Mr. Holm taught history and was perhaps just a step above eccentric. His classroom was off by itself, and outside the door was a sign with "Welcome to Holmania". He was brilliant at making history come alive and could make pretty much everything a teaching experience. He'd have people enact certain periods of history, and when some classmates of mine wondered how on earth the war in Ireland could be about religion "since they were all Christians", he started a religious debate in class, just to show us how quickly it could get heated - even among people who liked each other.

However, my hands-down, all-time favourite teacher would have to be Mrs. Jane G. who taught Std. 4 at Winchester School in 1990 and who thus became my main teacher for all of that year.

Let's set the stage: imagine teaching 20-25 kids age 9-11. They're mostly good kids, but a handful as any large group of kids that age would be. Enter the challenge... a pupil (me) who knows perhaps 10 words of English, who has to be brought up to speed and taught together with the rest of the kids in the classroom. It didn't register at the time (let's face it, I was an egocentric ten-year-old), but looking back at it, I am so grateful to her for how she handled it. She seemed to know exactly when to let me cut corners in order not to get too discouraged, and when to encourage me to push on, knowing I'd get there in the end. And since she was so sure I'd get there, I obviously had no choice but to live up to her expectations! She knew no Danish herself, but found ways to help me translate words into English regardless. Part of that was making me look words up in the tiny Danish-English pocket dictionary I always had on hand, but more often, she'd help me in other ways in order to help me figure out what the words meant for myself and thus allowing me to feel like I'd accomplished something - no matter how small.

I remember one specific situation in particular.

One day in school we were told to write a paragraph about the earthquake that had hit the evening before. I looked at her questioningly - while I had my dictionary, I couldn't even begin to guess how that word was spelled to look it up (and given the size of the dictionary I'm not at all sure it would have had it anyway!). She must have noticed my blank stare, because as the others started writing, she came up to me.
"Maria, did you feel everything shake yesterday?" she asked, giving my shoulders a small shake.
"That's called an e-a-r-t-h-q-u-a-k-e," writing down the word as she spoke, so I could see how to spell it.
Light bulb moment, and while I still had to consult my dictionary many times in order to write a very grammatically flawed paragraph, I never again forgot the word "earthquake" - nor even how to spell it!

I've since been told that I hardly said anything the first 2'ish months, and then suddenly I was fluent and wouldn't shut up ;) Kids always have an easier time learning a new language - especially when forced to do so by being totally immersed in the language - but there is no doubt that Mrs. G. made it a lot easier on me that it could have been. She never seemed frustrated by my haltering attempts at communicating, and was always ready with an encouraging word and a compliment when I got something right. All in all resulting in a teacher I got to respect and like, and whom I still consider my favourite these 25 years later. She still teaches as Winchester, and I try to drop by whenever I'm in the country. Last I met her was in 2004 for our honeymoon, but I hope to get to catch up with her when I go to visit next month.

Mrs. G. - you're awesome! :-)