Category Archives: knitting

It’s been awhile…

2007 has thus far been red-letter year.  It gets a bright shiny star sticker on the report card.

Although 2006 brought me an amazing man to call my own, it’s 2007 that really saw that relationship prosper.  To this day I am in love with the most amazing guy — good-hearted and charming, stable, smart and sexy — I’d dreamt about him for years, and now, a year later, here we are.  Just amazing.

And 2007 helped me to find the Capella choir.  Ten months and three concerts down the line, I am still a member and I rejoice after each rehearsal: After a five-and-a-half year hiatus, I am a musician again.  Music is once again a friend, and despite our time apart it hasn’t taken us very long to cozy up to each other.

2007 brought me back to knitting (although I’ve been a little slow on the go about this lately, too — will post some finished projects in a few days and discuss the latest works), and it led me to The Point where I’ve met some dear new friends.  Quirky, eclectic and colorful, dull shall never describe the place or the people in the knitting community here in New York.

2007 flew me back to Bath, England, where I was fortunate enough to spend one of the most memorable years of my life.  Although I was only able to spend a week there this year, I was able to spend that week with my Grandma who had never visited England before.  So even though we visited places that were common to me during my previous stay, I saw them now through her eyes and delighted in everything anew.   It was a special trip, and it allowed me to check in with some old friends as well.

Lastly, but far from leastly, 2007 landed me a new job.  My four years of teaching middle school in the Bronx have come to a end.  I want to say more about that and describe the ending with words like “bittersweet” and “hard,” but no qualifying adjectives can fully communicate the experience, so a future entry will need to address it.  Suffice it to say, I’m now teaching at a high school in Manhattan, and the fact that I’m including this in my list of highlights of 2007 ought to say enough for now about how I feel.  I’ll say more later.

And I promise that I will.  Say more later, that is.  Because of all the wonders that 2007 has wrought, a committed focus to writing is not one of them (Observe: this blog began in, yet has been heretofore untouched since January).  And this is problematic, not only because I tell people that if I were to leave teaching it would be to pursue a career as a full-time writer (whatever that could mean), but because I really like to write and I’m just not doing enough of it.  I have ideas for novels and plays, essays, what-have-you, but they remain queued up at the ticket counter in my head and never travel beyond the threshold of my brain.

The problem is that there’s never enough time — everybody’s problem, right?  What with Boyfriend and Friends and Teaching and Music and Knitting…there’s a lot to take care of, and thankfully so.  Still…  I always promise myself that I’ll use the summer to write, but I never do.  The summer calendar seduces me with its vast emptiness, then it intimidates me with its many possibilities, and by the time I decide what I want to do with it, it ends.  Big tease.

I also daydream about all the workshops and classes I should take that would make me into a writer.  This makes sense in my head, but in reality I’ve attended the workshops, the seminars and the meetup groups, and I write in spurts, but it isn’t consistent enough to be meaningful.

And yet, I still love words, and I still want to play with them.  So what am I to do?

Here’s what: I’m going to write something every day.  For the next year.  Even if it sucks.  2007 will begin my commitment, and 2008, I hope, will continue to bear all the fruit of 2007 and more.  By doing this — I don’t know… — I hope to improve my writing stamina, generate some ideas for bigger projects, and just keep a promise to myself.  This way it will be a legitimate claim when I tell people that I’m a writer, ya know?

Word.

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Scarf Surgery

Several years ago now my Grandmother made me a beautiful scarf. Like most of my winter clothes, it ended up in a plastic bin that now supports a temple of bookshelves in an effort to save space in my small Manhattan bedroom. It’s difficult to get into that bin. But I missed that scarf. Especially in these days since I’ve become an avid knitter, it seemed undignified to continue to wear the GAP produced scarf I’d been wrapping myself in. Since I’ve yet to make a scarf for myself (the others have all been gifts), I needed to resurrect my Grandma’s scarf.

Although this was easier said than done, I did do it, but found it did not make it back into the land of the wintry living unscathed, as you can see below.
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I don’t know what got into that plastic bin to eat those holes, but something needed to be done. I brought the problem to Ravi’s attention (check out her blog in my blogroll…), and together we decided that the best way to save the scarf would be to amputate the rotten bits and bind off anew. Following her advice, I used a tapestry needle to thread yarn through the stitches of a row several rows away from the last hole. I then cut below the hole and unraveled.

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With that newly freed yarn, I knit two more rows and bound off. (I’d include a pic of it here, but I can’t get that pic to resize correctly…) Fortunately my Grandma made the scarf so long that the removal of 10 inches didn’t render the thing useless, and now I can wear it proudly with any of the number of hats made for me by friends…I haven’t made one of those for myself yet either, but that’s what’s next for me to learn once I finish this baby blanket.

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Voila.

It’s late and I’m drained of all energy and good humor, but I wanted to quickly post a pic of Her Loveliness, the inimitable drama teacher extraordinaire, Ms. Lisa-Erika James wrapped in a chic li’l 2×2 ribbed scarf I made for her.

Happy Tuesday.

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One knitting bag to rule them all…

In spite of my novitiate status as a knitter, I have a pretty f***in’ sweet knitting bag. When I attend a group of more experienced yarnies, I feel as though I haven’t earned this bag. Be this as it may, the bag found me and decided I was to be The One to possess it. It’s a burdensome role, but, you know, it’s fate — what can you do?

Actually, it was a Christmas gift from my friends who taught me how to knit. In hopes of warding off the jealous stares, I will tell you why it’s fabulous and where you can purchase one for yourself.

So, the Eagle Good to Go Bag is a great bag because it is made of sturdy canvas (so your needles won’t poke through) and is flanked on its sides by six pockets ready-made to hold a skein of yarn each; each pocket has a hole that you can run your yarn through so that it will pull through the inside of the bag, allowing you to knit comfortable when you’re out and about without having to hold your yarn between your legs or in other strange places where yarn just shouldn’t go. On the inside it is lined with myriad pockets for your gear, as well as elastic needle holders. It’s deep so that it can hold several projects all at once.

Pretty fab, and you don’t have to take my word for it:

http://www.knittersreview.com/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=41939񒀸

And you can get it at Michael’s, either in store or online.

http://www.michaels.com/art/online/displayProductPage?productNum=nw0231

I’m not usually one to proselytize, but what can I say? I like this bag.

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All the knitters in the house say, “HO!”

As the new kid in town, I feel the need to humbly admit to you that I am new to all this, to blogging as well as to knitting. I’ve looked around at some of your blogs with awe, sometimes at your fantastic layouts with their colors and images, but more often at the beautiful crafts you display and the patterns you generously share. I read, and future projects that seemed so far beyond my ken become doable and even imminent. And not just knitting projects but the other endeavors I chase after – becoming a stronger rock climber, focusing on and finishing the novel I started, singing in a choir, teaching my students more efficiently and effectively (I am a Social Studies and English teacher of pre-pubescents…if juvenile sexual humor ever enters this blogspace, I will do my best to blame it on them…)

Anyway.

I started knitting in the summer of 2006 after I’d finally regained full motor control of my left hand, which a student in my school broke for me. I started (and have continued) my teaching career in a failing school and worked alongside my colleagues to improve everything about it, from the mood of the place to the students’ test scores. Being physically maimed opened the door for an excess of self-pity: “All this hard work and sacrifice for my students, and this is what I get?” Needless to say, this sort of attitude only served to aggravate the bad habits I had already developed, and it allowed me to righteously adopt new ones. I spent too much time and money drinking, let my unattended debts grow — you see where this is leading. I broke someone’s heart as painfully as my hand had broken, but not as hard as my own spirit had been broken. It broke in the face of the reality that I had allowed all of my dreams – of fighting injustice in the world through education, literature and art; of surrounding myself with creative and interesting people; of financial and emotional stability – to topple around me. They were replaced with cynicism and despair.

C’est la vie, n’est-ce pas?

Feeling sorry for oneself ultimately waxes boring, as does blaming others for your problems. Fixing them yourself is empowering and fun. It demands a little moxie and well-focused attitude. So I left New York for a month during the summer to detox among my family and friends (and dogs) in Ohio and Northern Kentucky. I left my bad habits and the individuals associated with them behind and I learned how to knit. That wasn’t my intention, mind you. The leaving was the important part, knitting followed by accident: Godwin, one of my dearest friends since I was 13, has been knitting for years, I said “Teach me,” and here I am now, several scarves later blogging about the experience.

Part of the joy I have found in knitting comes from having taught my newly repaired hand how to do something it didn’t know how to do before the fracture. It made the ugly scar from the surgeries somehow acceptable. Another part of the joy comes from taking a chaos of yarn and whirring it with needles into something beautiful and soft and useful. It aids in the illusion that I could possibly do the same thing with my life, and if I can’t, well, I can still knit. The yarn will be organized into a practical something, dammit! Which brings me to the joy of giving homemade gifts, of spending time thinking about whichever beloved friend or family member it is I’m knitting the gift for, of the hours of Merchant and Ivory films watched while creating. And then there is the joy of community – this is something I hadn’t guessed at. I learned to knit with three of my best friends from home, and I adore the time we’ve spent together teaching each other techniques. I never realized that I could find a similar camaraderie with strangers here in New York. I’ve found it by attending Stitch & Bitch meetings at The Point, as well as a delightfully licentious men’s night there. I have also experienced the kindness of strangers by clacking my needles at Knit New York and will attend Bluestockings Dyke Knitting Circle on Sunday.

New skills, new art, new people, new fun – these are what have inspired me in all the directions mentioned in the first paragraph. The toppled dreams are rebuilding themselves, and all I’m doing is sitting quietly with some needles and yarn conjuring a blanket.

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