Thursday, January 12, 2012

vk live, take 2

Vogue Knitting Live is taking place this weekend. It's the second time this knitting mega show will be hosted at the NY Hilton.  Last year, I wanted to attend but didn't plan it because we began getting snow early (if I recall correctly, we had snow by Thanksgiving 2010) and the arches of my feet were just approaching their healing from a few years of torturous pain.   So, I was disappointed but planned not to attend.  This year, of course, when first I heard about VK Live, I thought, why don't they move it from January? The weather is always a question, but on reflection, I'm sure there are enough knitters right in Manhattan proper, to fill the show to overflowing, and I'm also sure knitters from all over will flock to the show.  The weather's going to be great this weekend, but still I'm not attending.  

The truth is, I'm keeping my spending on a tight leash.  I've recently dug around my stash, just to assess what I've got, and there is absolutely nothing I need.  I just purchased 3 skeins of a quite pricey yarn on Ebay, because the Buy It Now price was crazy and the shipping was free. Aside from a killer deal on a yarn I know I will use, I simply can't justify shopping for yarn.  

Of course the fashion shows will probably be as spectacular as last year, the kniteratti will be there and the vendors' displays will be a celebration of colorful eye candy. Still, if I  were to go, I might not maintain my resolve to not add to my stash... and I might not maintain my resolve in a big way, which would not be good for my character nor budget. So, once again, no VK Live for me.  Maybe next year.  

I will look forward to the blogs and podcasts about it and I'll watch the Tweets with interest when I'm not busy.  

learning challenge

Last night I finally had a talk with a student, who struggles with her lessons.  Let me re-phrase that. She struggles like no one I have ever witnessed struggle learning to play guitar, and I've been doing this  for a long time.  I know learning music is not her gift, but this is a much bigger issue than not being endowed with the brain bundle that allows one to process the "language" of music.  Things are complicated because I'm a close friend of the family. I have said to E-Rex, that if my student was my child, I'd have her tested because I have never seen a kid her age so incapable of retaining ANYTHING.  She's so easily confused, that when first we began guitar together, I thought it was just a phrase she threw out - I didn't think she was REALLY confused by simple things. 

When I gave her a lesson a few days ago, and she said she was so confused -- about what notes are in a scale she has been "playing" or has been asked to play, since August -- I decided to breech the subject of how hard music lessons are for her and how hard school work is for her.   We talked for over an hour. Unfortunately, she was in charge of her younger siblings because Mom and Dad went out on a free movie date night.  (They need it.  There are a lot of stressful things going on in their family.) 

We discussed that she can't retain what we do week after week, how she struggles and everything takes her longer than everyone else in school, how when she looks up a word she doesn't know, the definition is like  a bowl of alphabet soup and although she can read every word of the definition, she can't make any sense out of it. 

I was so glad we had the chat. I told her I wanted to talk to Mom and Dad - mainly because she needs some help before next school year, when she will begin high school, as well as that she needs to have a normal life and be able to learn. She was all for it and said it would be fine to talk to her parents about it with me. She seemed totally appreciative for my love and interest.  Then, I went to my next lessons.

I received a text from her dad a few hours later, saying he was sorry if she put me in the middle of something and that it was probably PMS.  I told him it wasn't PMS and that I have wanted to find a way to speak with them about her for quite a while.  I'm hopeful that they are going to listen to my observations. They see her every day and probably can't see that she's different from her peers, in her ability to  retain information. She said that she can't retain  when she reads and always has to look back if she has questions to answer. If she has to read and interpret what she reads in order to answer a question, she can't do it. If the words of the question are not in the passages she reads, she is clueless to draw a conclusion. 

I'm hoping to meet with the mom, dad and my student to discuss this before the week is over. Guitar is the least of my concerns for her.  My student told me her dad thinks she's just a distracted, day dreamy teen.  He doesn't realize the degree to which she is challenged.   It will please me to  be instrumental in helping to turn this around. It's painful to witness .  Down the road, I'm looking forward to a smile on her face and peace of mind, rather than the hopeless stress that's swallowing her up now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


The sign at Grace last week and this week (because I'm not going to be changing it - scheduling issues) was:




Since September, I have been conferring with Pastor Jeff, and have usually been putting up a sign that alludes to what his sermon will be on the following Sunday.  Last week, he didn't want to put up the subject, which was marriage, divorce and remarriage as Jesus taught it in the Beatitudes, for several reasons. Mainly because there wasn't a way to make it pithy and also fully understandable. 

There has been and there still is so much mystical hype about 2012, we thought this sign was the best counter to all that speculation and credence in pagan prognostications. 

hello, cash. bye bye, stuff

So, the seals I purged from my collection sold. One set of 3, which were really nothing special garnered what they were worth. But the 2 vintage peace sign ones were a big hit and fetched a pretty penny. Yay! While I was auctioning, I also sold a pricey pair of Birkenstocks that I bought at Steppin' Birkenstock in Ridgewood last year, just before I switched to wearing and getting total arch relief from Orthaheels.  Literally, I wore them about 3 times and they were in like new condition.  My auctions ended Monday and I shipped Tuesday and today. Everyone got a good deal and I picked up a little play money.  It's true I love those Barnes and Noble gift cards, but I love the sound of cha ching even more.

love those Barnes and Noble gift cards

A student's family was very sweet to have given me some fabulous Mary Kay Satin Hands products (Mom's a rep) and a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas.  The Mary Kay Satin Hands is extraordinary. It's a 3 piece  set, most notable of which are the cleanser and the all-day non-greasy moisturizer that withstands hand washes.  Marvelous!

I used the gift card for a couple of books I have wanted to have, rather than visit in the library.  The first, joins a few other books I have by its author, Edie Eckman. The book is a small one, but a good reference. It's The Crochet Answer Book

I skimmed it.  As a proficient but not extremely experienced crocheter, I like Edie's style of writing and diagramming her designs. I'm sure it's going to come in handy as I progress in my crochet technique.  What I really like about crochet is that it's extremely sculptural and how much faster it is than knitting.  Over the past 5 or 10 years, crochet has evolved a lot and innovative stitch combinations are resulting in drapey and comfortable fabric that is well suited to garments that are not only on trend, but that look "boutique."  My Own Little Crochet U is in stall, just because life happens, but for it, I'm crocheting every motif in Edie's book, Beyond the Square. I also plan to do My Own Little Crochet Grad School by crocheting through her, Around the Corner, Crochet Borders. (Don't ask me in which life.) 

The other book I purchased joins another by that author, too. It's Ann Budd's Sock Knitting Master Class.  

It's not as though I have a shortage of sock patterns or that I'm unhappy with the techniques I already use to  knit socks. I heard two podcast reviews of this book, by extremely competent sock knitters, and they both agreed that the variety of techniques (there's that word again) that were presented, in combination with the DVD that is included,  make this an invaluable tome for every sock knitter.  Just as I'm fond of Edie Eckman's crochet books, Ann Budd is another knitter/author whose work my brain processes well. The other book of Ann Budd's that I have,which is sort of more like a recipe book than a pattern book, is The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  Unlike what its name suggests, it' isn't best used as a pattern book. What it enables an adventurous knitter to do, is customize patterns or design them with ease. Don't like the neck on the cardi you're knitting?  Put a shawl collar on it if you prefer it.  Want to make a gloves out of worsted rather than fingering?  No problem, there's a gauge chart for that. Making a Tam?  Well, do you desire a swirl, wheel spoke or circular center?  Ann's got you covered.

I'm looking forward to using both of the Barnes and Noble gift card books. I survived not knitting for almost everyone this Christmas and plan to continue knitting and crocheting garments and accessories for myself.  This book will be just what its title says, The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns!

easy quilts review

Several months ago I joined to Fons & Porter's Quilters Club of America, not that I needed Easy Quilts, the publication of the club, but primarily for the JoAnn VIP card, which entitles the bearer to a discount. I calculated a very conservative year of purchases and the membership cost was less than the savings.  Although it's only  early January, the Spring, 2012 issue of Easy Quilts arrived a week or so ago.

I'm more a process crafter. Teach me the technique and leave me alone so I can create my vision with it. It's rare that I will actually use a pattern as it is written, with the exception of a large knit or crochet garment. I haven't plunged into designing large garments. Too much time and stash involved. At this time, I want my crafting time to yield something that pleases me.  Designing for my own use may be down the road when I have less on my plate.

All that being said, there were a couple of quilts that were interesting in the Spring 2012 issue. I think my favorite was Modern Maze. By favorite, I mean, I could see myself making it and using it. 

The other 2 quilts, the techniques of which I can imagine myself playing with are  Buttons and Blooms, because I have a soft spot for yo-yos, and Hearts and Flowers.

This Hearts and Flowers quilt is cute and takes me back to the 60's/70's.  My version, were it to be made would take the opposite approach to color, and it would employ psychedelic, hot colors - not insane, but surely bold.  I would also probably replace the corner hearts with smaller versions of the center motif and add a wide border of a bold color wavy print. I think the pastels used in the magazine are 

I still haven't finished the 3 cloches that are nearly done.  I'm hoping to sit back down to the sewing machine this weekend. Perhaps as soon as Friday. 

most recent posts: