Thursday, February 21, 2013

double ended tunisian

Just learned Tunisian crochet in the round! It's easy and I like the fabric it makes. This is just the simplest stitch. I scrapped the Lion Brand All Occasion Tote for a Lily Chin design for which I needed to use this stitch. The new bag idea is the Trailblazing Tote.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I don't usually write about my students, but in this case, I can't help myself.  I was working with one of my music students yesterday.  As we get tuned up I usually make some small talk. I asked if she had any tests coming up after February break.  She said she did and when I queried further, she told me one was in vocabulary.  I like words so I probed further.  She said it was going to be a big grade and the test would include all the vocab they've done since the beginning of the school year.  I asked her if she'd begun studying for it yet and she said no.  She told me that she studies her old tests, and mainly looks at what she had answered incorrectly and the words, that although she learned  for a test, she didn't really retain. She said  she felt her vocabulary was pretty good because she's a reader.

I asked if she remembered any of the words on past tests she'd gotten wrong. One she could think of was pseudonym.  I asked, "But now you know the definition, right?"  She nodded in the affirmative with a big smile and wide eyes, to emphasize that she really really knew it now.  Far be it from me to pass up such an opportunity to be delighted at what my students "know."  So, I asked her what the definition of pseudonym was.  

She smiled that same broad smile of accomplishment and proudly said, "It's the name of a pen."  I asked her if she was sure and she said yes.  I asked her if that's what her vocab book or packet said the definition was.  She nodded and told me yes.  

I explained that it may have said the definition was "pen name" but not "the name of a pen."  I asked her if she had any idea what a pen name was.  She said, if it didn't mean a brand, she had no clue.     I asked her if her teacher explained what the 2 parts of the word meant -- especially the prefix pseudo.  She said no, they're never told what parts of words mean.  

I explained that pseudo meant imitation or fake or false or not the real thing etc.  I explained what a pseudo-intellectual was.  Then I told her that some people who are authors use names that are not their own, for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes their names are uninteresting or don't have the same vibe as the genre they write, like if Ann Jones wrote romance novels, she might take a pseudonym like Felicity Longmeadow, etc.  

I told her how the nym on the end was like the nym on the end of synonym, homonym and antonym.  That in pseudonym it means "name"  but it also sort of does in the 3 examples here.  Same name, sounds like name and opposite name and that we can think of "word" and "name" as the same thing with those 3 words. 

She was absolutely fascinated and said she'd never forget what pseudonym means, now that she understood it.  

This girl attends a "very good" public middle school.  She's bright and a straight A student.  So, I doubt that anything was offered to her to learn other than a list of seemingly random words with likewise seemingly random definitions.  I cautioned her that if there were other bizarre definitions of vocab words, to ask her older siblings or parents, because I'm convinced that without my intervention, she would define pseudonym as "the name of a pen" and still not have a clue what it means. 

It's a resounding vote for home schooling,  or at least competent instructors who actually know how to teach.

Monday, February 18, 2013

cooling off period

So there I was, relishing the 2 hour previous week's Downton Abbey  and the final episode of season 3 which was to immediately follow.  Yeah, right. Dowton Abbey has been the only TV program that has ever stopped my knitting or crochet, upon the first viewing of an episode.  I thought I could knit through the re-run of last week's episode because I had seen it 3 times last week. Then, I'd just hold my knitting while watching the season finale.

I'm working on what I only half-affectionately call the Money Pit shawl,  aka the Appalachian Shawl by Jessica Wright-Lichter for Classic Elite.  Money Pit because somehow I miscalculated my gauge and yardage requirements and therefore thought that some nice Araucania Quillay that I purchased on clearance at my LYS  and some left over skeins of superwash merino would be a perfect destashing project. 

De-stashing?  I don't even want to tell you how much more Araucania Quillay I have had to buy.  I'm so glad that Coveted Yarn had it (and in the dyelot I needed) the multiple times I ordered more.

I have knitted over 3/4 of the shawl and working it on a 40-something inch  connected to another 30-something inch long cable with Knitters Pride Cubix interchangeable tips. (I really like the square needles. My hands are much more relaxed holding them.)   I hadn't knitted for  10 minutes when one of the cables attached at the needle just let go. I gasped so desperately that E-Rex thought I was having a heart attack or lung embolism!!!  I freaked.    So, maybe 80 stitches were "loose."  Had I been working in a plain knit or purl it wouldn't have been so concerning, but  I was in a k2tog and lots of yarn overs row.  What to do?  I confess, I just looked at it for a while, partly in disbelief and partly in fear of moving and causing more stitches to escape or for the already escaped ones to mutate.  After carefully sliding out from under my work, I grabbed  point protectors and rubber bands to try to keep everything still on the cable where it was.  After they were secure, I used an old Susan Bates long, thin circular needle that I don't use for knitting anymore, to capture the loose stitches the best I could. Some were  just as they should be, some yarn overs disappeared and some stitches dropped to the row below.  At that point, there was about 20 minutes of Episode 6 of Downton Abbey left and I was still shaking my head with disbelief and muttering.

Next, I put a cable cap on one end of the cable containing the unaffected stitches and a needle tip on another 40-something inch cable and a cable cap on the other end.  I ripped back to the row below, stitch by stitch, from the Susan Bates skinny circ, to the new Cubix-ed cable.   When that was done, I reknit those stitches.  

Now, I've got 2 long cables with shawl stitches on both.  To connect them with an adapter (extender) in order to make a single long cable needle, I will have to put all the stitches on waste yarn, connect the needles and then transfer the stitches from the waste yarn to the  ultra-long needle. Do I want to?  

Last week I met with my MGs (Material Girls - friends who I met through the Embroiderers' Guild of America, all of whom do some kind of craft or fiber art) and worked on the Money Pit for a while.  At that time I said that I'd sunken so much into the yarn for it (which was supposed to be a de-stasher), that if I didn't love the shawl, when it was complete, I would rip it out and make a sweater of the Quillay.  It wasn't the first time I commented like that about the shawl.  Last night, I was ready to rip it out, rather than save the work I had already done.  

I hate the idea of having spent as much time as I have on the shawl, to never have it come to fruition.  On the other hand,  I'm really sick of it.  I'm not inclined to let it hibernate until some time in the uncertain future.  I like the yarn and want a garment or accessory made with it. So, I'll spend a few cooling off days. Of a certainty, I am not project-less.  I have a pair of socks on my needles,  I have begun crocheting the bottom of a tote that I think I'm going to like a lot, and I have my Cable Luxe Tunic (which I had hoped to wear this winter, but have only knitted the beginning of the yoke) on other needles.  

I'm frustrated and inclined to just rip the whole thing out, but I've been wearing a lot of shawls lately, and like them.  Oh, boy!

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