Through the Back Loop

Adventures in knitting, fiber arts, and family.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Chicago - Part II

Sick Day:
The trip to Chicago left me with a massive sinus infection and my asthma wasted no time kicking in and leaving me stuck in one room for two days now. Despite Prednisone, nebulizer treatments, sinus medicine, tissues and throat lozenges, it's now the afternoon, and I haven't really done anything. I hate sick days. I always think that I will enjoy sitting and knitting and watching daytime television, but I end up sleeping most of the time and don't have the ambition to even look at yarn. It makes my head hurt even more.

Chicago trip: Non-knitting:
Ok. we left home Wednesday afternoon and the trip that normally takes about 3 hours took 41/2 hours. At the state line between Wisconsin and Illinois, the snow started and traffic on I-94 south was backed up, going 10 - 15 miles an hour all the way from the first oasis near Gurnee until O'Hare. It was nuts. My mother was sitting next to me, and the things she hates about traveling are driving in the dark and in the snow. This was a double whammy for her.

I knew my aunt would make a turkey dinner, but I didn't expect it to be on Wednesday night. I felt just terrible knowing that they were keeping that food for us and we were stuck for hours. When we arrived we had a feast - turkey and all the fixings. She had cooked all day. I was so pleased and so upset at the same time. I didn't want us to cause her any fuss.

We got up the next morning after 4 hours of sleep to catch the train into the city for the parade. It was freezing, but somehow it was warmer in the city and the parade was great. Anna was disappointed because SpongeBob didn't make an appearance, but the other inflatables were great, although not inflated enough. The cute dog had to be carried down the street, and the worker in charge of it kept telling the volunteers to, "let it go... let it go on its own" as though it would miraculously inflate on its own.

After the parade we went to the ChristKindelMarket and had a blast. The workers were from Germany, and reminded all of us of our trip there in the summer of 2003. We walked back to the train station, chilled but happy. Leftovers for supper and another late night. Alicia wasn't feeling well, she had gotten a cold, and she rarely gets sick. The entire trip was for her birthday, and we were supposed to go to the Art Institute the next day. We agreed to put off that day until she felt better, left her at my aunt's house and went into the city to the yarn shops. It was raining most of the time, and we didn't have an umbrella. To add to the chill, I had found that my right shoe had a huge split in the side and all of the water came in, keeping my foot wet all day. Charming!

The Water Tower area was beautiful, and we took Anna into the American Girl Place to treat her for being so patient all day with Mamma's yarn shop fiasco. We came home and there was another huge meal waiting for us. Mostacolli. Yum. My aunt sure knows how to spoil us. Alicia was feeling much better, so we planned the trip for the Art Institute on Saturday, then planned to drive home that same day.

Saturday took us into the city again. I think I could love riding the train, except for the crappy air quality. By this time, I knew that I was getting sick. As we walked through the rooms of the Art institute, my husband and now 12 year old stared at the art work and discussed techniques and details while my 9 year old and I searched for empty benches to sit on. I became sicker and sicker. I had brought in my knitting, and I'm sure the people wondered why on Earth a person would walk around an art museum knitting. I started a baby cap and made a lot of progress.

We went home and packed up after some sandwiches. I dropped off my mother at 10:30pm and we got home at about 11:30pm driving in the snow AGAIN! Sunday was spent taking medicine and trying to walk about 20 feet before coughing. Today I can walk about 30 feet, so I'm improving.

Well, off for a fresh cup of coffee, a hit from my inhaler, and another throat lozenge. Maybe I'll feel good enough to knit. I hope so.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Chicago.. Chicago... that toddling town!

Part I: Knitting

Trains. I love them. Commuter, subways, Amtrak, in Germany, London, or in New Zealand. That is the way to travel. I never get tired of it. On the 45 minute ride into the city from Downer's Grove (where we stayed with my aunt), I finished the first Fuzzy Foot for my mother-in-law. I started the second, and ran out of yarn. A definite excuse to find a yarn shop in the city. After all of our traveling, and me never getting to a yarn shop, DH insisted that we spend one day in LYSs looking around - to shut me up. I had prepared for this by printing off a list of Chicago yarn shops from Rosemary's site. Big. Mistake.

Chicago Yarn (or supposed yarn) Shop reviews

Off we went, in search of Plymouth Galway Heather. First stop, East Adams Street by way of free trolley. The stop was about 3 buildings away from the Chicago Fabric and Yarn shop. Finally, my moments of waiting for big city yarn shopping would be realized. Unlimited time to poke and ponder future projects. We walked up to 72 E. Adams St. and... WHAT? It was a jewerly store. Not to be put off with a first attempt, I went inside and asked, "Wasn't this a yarn store?". The shop attendant wasn't sure, but one of the women in there (she must have been a fellow knitter) chimed in that it had been. She told me that the shop had moved one block. Off we went. Yes! There it was. Chicago Fabric and Yarn. But what was this? All that could be seen through the window were bolts of fabric. I didn't give up. Inside I went and asked if he had any yarn.

"Of course," he told me. "They are in the back corner."
My youngest daughter scurried back to the corner with me. Waiting there were 5 skeins of some nice alpaca wool. That was it! On the way out, my daughter said, "That yarn shop wasn't very good. They don't like yarn much if they hide it in the corner". I was so proud. Neither of us could understand exactly what the criteria was for being able to call yourself a "yarn shop". Obviously, if you had any yarn, you qualified.

Strike one for yarn shopping.

Next stop. We're in Stitches, located at 5301 N. Clark St. Back on the trolley, we stopped at Daley Plaza. We had been there the day before, but this will be Part II of my Chicago story. We walked the one block to Clark St. I was surprised to find that this was the start of the North side of Clark, I thought it would be the south side. But there was no way to get to the 5300 block on our finances, so that idea was scrubbed.

Strike two.

Definately a time for re-grouping. I looked at the trolley map, and looked at Rosemary's list. Tender Buttons on Rush St. would work. The trolley took us to WaterTower Plaza. I called the shop to make sure they would be open. They would. We walked through the neighborhood. It was beautiful. Not far from the Water Tower, we found Tender Buttons. The shop was exactly that. Buttons. No yarn. Again, I went in and asked about yarn. I asked why this shop would be listed on an Illinois fiber sources list. They were as surprised as I was. They told me that there was a yarn shop just down the street and gave us directions. YIPPEE!

Down Oak St. about a block away was We'll Keep You in Stitches. The name meant YARN!
In we went, up to the fourth floor - and there it was. My first yarn shop on a family trip. I was in heaven. There was floor to ceiling stacks of wool. There were women digging through boxes of recently shipped yarn to get the good stuff before it was gone. There were two women helping the eight or so women who were shopping. There was another yarn husband sitting in the corner, trying to stay out of the way. My husband and he shared a knowing glance right away. They instantly said, without words, "Yes, this is going to be awhile."

I got busy looking for the Galway, but couldn't find it. I asked one of the women if she had Plymouth Galway, and she kind of scoffed at me, saying, "No, we don't have that". Hmmm.... is Galway just some crappy country bumkin yarn? Had I immediately given it away that I wasn't a classy, city knitter? I hunted on my own and found some Plymouth yarn. I sighed with relief, if they carried Plymouth in general, I couldn't have looked too foolish for asking about the Galway. Well, it looked like I wouldn't be able to finish that second Fuzzy Foot on this trip. I started looking for some of the New Zealand baby wool I had used for my friend's grandchildren. I needed more of one of the colors, and the dye lot wouldn't matter. I hunted through the beautiful selection of baby wool, but no match. I started talking to one of the women working there about the project she was working on. It was a garter stitch shawl that she was casting off for a customer that I had seen sitting with her earlier. I commented about how different the yarn looked and, true to my yarn loving self, reached out to feel it. This must have been taboo, because she turned her back to me and kept working. There was a huge selection of novelty yarn, but I'm a more traditional knitter, and there wasn't much out in the open for me. I didn't feel like digging through the new shipment boxes, so we left. My husband gave the other man in the store a look as if to say, "My wife can shop quicker than yours." At least that was a victory for me. I liked the shop overall, but didn't feel at all welcomed there, and it was crammed so full of yarn, that it was difficult to move around. They need to do something about the layout.

Rosemary's list sure was not accurate. I think I may have to e-mail her and ask for her to send me some medicine to help me get better after walking around in the rain and cold most of the day on Friday.

On the last day of our trip, we were heading home, and we must have found the knitting car of the train. Another woman was sitting and knitting away, so of course, we sat in that car. It was great. She was sweet, working on a hat for an 8-year old in a varigated yarn. I worked on a new baby cap with the color I still had. The women on the other side of the train car started talking about knitting. It was a perfect ending to the trip.

On the drive home, we passed the same van about 6 times (not on purpose, it was just the way traffic worked). They had a flip-down television screen and were playing games (side comment: from the very first day these became available in cars, I swore that they wouldn't last long. They are a safety hazard. How can I watch the movie in the car next to me and still keep my eyes on the road. I've tried it. It's impossible. Not to mention, the other people never roll down their windows so we can hear, so we have to work hard to follow the movie). As we passed them on the driver's side, my youngest daughter said, "Hey mom, that lady is knitting in there." We couldn't see her until the 4th time we passed, and sure enough, there she was, knitting away by the light of the overhead light. She looked very cozy sitting there, as the kids next to her nuked each other out on the video game.

Today is my daugther's 12'th birthday. The Chicago trip was really for her (we went to the yarn shops while she stayed at my aunt's house eating chicken dumpling soup to get over a cold... which has how been passed to all of us). DH is taking the girls to his parent's house while I try to get better (asthma is terrible. I can't walk from the bedroom to the bathroom without a coughing and wheezing spell). He is going to the country bumpkin yarn shop to pick up the yarn I need. Isn't he wonderful? All he said was, "Give me those papers that go around the yarn, and I'll ask the women there to find it for me."

When he gets back we are off to Appleton to eat at Noodles & Company, the birthday girl's pick. I'll have all I can do to go along, and tomorrow work is looking doubtful.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Over the River and Through the Woods

SpongeBob says, "Hey there, Happy Thanksgiving. I'll be seeing you at the parade in Chicago!"

Here is the itinerary:

1. School's out at noon, and then I get the hair colored to get rid of the greys so I still like a goddess for our fabulous trip!

2. At about 2:00, we will leave to pick up my mother on our way to Chicago. (The plan before she was invited was to stay at a downtown hotel, but now my aunt won't hear of us spending that kind of cash, and I have to admit, I'm happy to spend it on something else).

3. With good traffic (I'm praying), we will get to Aunt Dolores' house in Downer's Grove by about 5:30 p.m. She will have some huge meal for us as usual, even though I have told her not to bother. Oh, darn, twist my arm, I'll eat!

4. On Thanksgiving morning at 6:00 a.m., we will be bundled up, fed another huge meal, and rolled off to the train station to catch our train into the city. There will be knitting on that train!Of course the temperatures in Chicago and here in Wisconsin have been very warm for weeks, but tomorrow that will change, and the lowest temperate so far this Fall will be when, you ask? You guessed it, Thanksgiving Day, the day we plan to be outside all day. Of all the nerve. Who ordered that weather?

5. We will watch the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade until our fingers or toes freeze off (I'm packing the instant handwarming packets to buy us a few more minutes).

6. After the parade we will duck into some warm place and have a nice beverage and then we are off to the Christkindlemarket, an open air German market in Daley Plaza. This will be our Thanksgiving meal. I'm hoping it will remind us of our trip to Germany in 2003. Hopefully we won't notice that when we were in Germany there was a heat wave and we sweat to death with temperatures in the upper 90s for both weeks, and in Chicago it will be freezing. Who will notice?

7. We shop. Period. Maybe a yarn shop, if I'm lucky, but I'm sure they will all be closed.

8. We head back to Aunt Dolores' house and crash. Of course this will happen after she insists we eat all of the leftovers she cooked just for us, even though I told her not to.

9. Friday morning, after a ten-course breakfast (do you get that Dolores likes to cook?), we will head back into the city for my daughter's birthday present. We will spend the day at the Art Institute. Alicia loves art, this was pretty scary at first, I dont know of any other ten year old who had to be dragged out of the museum in London. She spent at least ten minutes staring at each work. Three hours later, we had to force her out of the building. She has never been to this museum, so it will be a long day. I'm not into art, so I plan to do some serious knitting in there.

10. More shopping. More walking. Definately a stop at a coffee shop! At 4:00, it's back to Daley Square to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree.

11. After another 13-course supper and a 10-course breakfast, we will head for home on Saturday, with a possible stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum (this is a surprise.. Alicia doesn't know about it yet).

12. Sunday, is her actual birthday. Exhaustion will set in. We definately will not eat solid foods for at least a week.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Gator and Crawfish

What a beautiful day. My favorite, cloudy and breezy. The perfect Saturday weather to sit and knit while watching movies all day, which is pretty much what I did. The girls are both gone for much of the weekend, last night they were both at my mother's while DH and I went to Appelton and hung out at the Vegas Lounge with Mix 95.9 They were offering two trips, one to NYC and one to LA. We had tried to qualify everyday. I never did, but DH was lucky caller number 9 a couple of days ago. We went early and had supper. He ordered the alligator and I got the crawfish. Check it out on the menu. Both were delicious! It reminded us of our time in Savannah, GA when we ate at a restaurant where, no lie, they cooked up the alligator "Joe" caught from the river out back. We didn't win the trips, but we had a great time. Today, Alicia came home and had BBall practice and horse-back riding (she rides Dressage). Now she is gone to a friend's house to help feed baby kittens during the night and we are home alone again. I'm enjoying the quiet, we haven't had the house to ourselves in 7 years, this is HEAVEN!

Today, I knit on the pink and blue baby cap. I hope to finish it tomorrow. It's great brainless knitting and the Ooooohhhh and AAAAhhhhh factor when people see it done is the greatest! I also managed to get my swim in today. It went much better. No cramps, and I swam 3 out of every 4 laps freestyle, so that's already an improvement. I'm posting my times in some swims just so that I don't forget them, they aren't anything to be proud of, but they are a great place to start. The 50 yd freestyle (without a racing start) was done in 50 seconds, 50 yd breaststroke (also without a racing start) was done in 1 min 10 seconds, and the 50 yd backstroke was done in 1 min. These were done at the end of my workout, and I was wasted when I did the backstroke. Next practice is Tuesday.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


We arrived at the pool, and I was ready to get in and start my first true swim practice in about 18 years. When I came out of the shower room, both lanes that had been set aside for lap swimmers were filled by other people. DH said I should just get in there and start my practice, but I hadn't done this in so many years, and I didn't know these people. Surely they would be done with their workouts before the pool closed in two hours. An hour later they were still in there, and now a 4th swimmer had joined them. I sat shivering in the water, not wanting to waste my energy before my workout. Finally, I decided I needed to start or else I wouldn't finish before pool closing. I asked the nice man if I could share his lane. "Of course," he replied. This was it.

I started with a 300 yard warm up. 300 yards is 12 laps. I haven't swam more than 2 laps without stopping since high school. I was pretty nervous. Instead of swimming it all freestyle, I decided to swim the odd numbered laps freestyle and the even numbered laps breast stroke to be able to rest a little bit. It worked. I was so pumped that I could swim 12 laps, even if I had to change the workout a little. Next came the 100s. Six of them, with 45 seconds rest in between. As the workout went on, my breathing became better, and I wasn't feeling exhausted. This was great! I could do it! Next was the kicking and pulling reps. Again, it felt great, and I was sticking to the practice just as it had been written, except for changing every even numbered lap to be breast stroke instead of freestyle. The last part was the 50s. 4 sets of 2 laps each. On the way down I was supposed to take it easy and really push it for the last lap, rest one minute and do it again. I knew I could do it. I pushed off of the wall, having decided that this time I would swim both laps in freestyle, after all, I had a whole minute to rest in between. The first lap felt good, I was cruising and getting ready for the big push. I did my turn and turned on all the power I had. It felt like I was a high school student on the swim team again... I was motoring, until OUCH! EyeGahValt! Double charlie-horses! OH MY GOD did that hurt. I reeled up in the middle of the lap, gasping in pain, managed to get to the wall and try to stretch out the charlie-horse. I told my husband that this had never happened to me before. DH sat with a grin and said, "You know, you're not that young anymore". He's lucky I didn't drown him. I finished the last 3 50s without pushing as hard, and did my cool down. Overall, I'm pleased that I could follow the workout pretty closely to how it was written. When it was time to get out of the pool, though, the lifeguards had to call SeaWorld to borrow their whale lift to get me out of the pool, I could hardly stand up. All day on Wednesday, my legs felt like jello. I go for my next practice on Saturday.

Knitting news

I finished the first baby cap for the little grandson. Here it is:

and here it is on a cute stuffed animal:

I showed it to the grandmother, and she said that I was right. It was too small. EyeGahValt! I started a new one that will be bigger, and this one I gave to a friend who's nephew just had a newborn boy diagnosed with a hearing loss. I'm a teacher for students with hearing losses, and I think it's sweet that this little boy will wear my cap over his ears.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Baby Caps or Swim Caps?

The New Zealand wool is working wonderfully for the baby caps. It's very soft. I finished the first one, for my friend's only grandson, using the periwinkle and orange. It is really cute, but looks a bit small for a 6 month old. I will have to show it to the grandmother and see what she thinks. I started the second cap last night while watching How Clean is Your House and Mondo Magic. The wool is so soft that I have to wrap it around my finger an extra time to keep control over the tension or else it slips right off of my finger while I'm knitting.

I finished the first cap while taking the girls roller skating on Sunday. We went for the family session (parents skate for free), and four hours later, my feet felt like they were the size of elephant feet. It was tons of fun, but last time I went skating with them it didn't hurt nearly as much. I must have aged a lot in the past three weeks!

Tonight I start my swim training. For a few years, I have thought about joining US Master Swimmers and competing again. I was on swim teams from the age of 11 until I graduated from high school, and it's about the only sport I like, especially now that I am too old to roller skate pain free. I had promised myself that I would start practicing in October, well better late than never. January is the first meet, and hopefully I'll be ready. I was able to knit at the roller skating rink during my breaks, I wonder if I will be able to knit in the pool as I rest between laps? Hmmmm.... I'll have to work on that! Maybe I could knit a plastic swim cap? While underwater?

I'll have to let you know how sore I am tomorrow after this new adventure!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Honor our Veterans!

I'm remembering:

My father - who was in the Navy in the Pacific during WWII ( he died in 1977)

My father-in-law - who was in the German army during WWII (he is now a US citizen and I honor his service, too!)

My brother - who served in the Navy

My brother-in-law - who served in the Army during the Vietnam War.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Shock and Horror - I Really do Knit

For months I have brought my knitting bag to school with me, thinking that during lunch I could knit a few stitches. I never have. Not one stitch. Today, I convinced myself that the reason I had never knit at school was because I didn't want to have to tink out rows of the argyle sock after knitting in mistakes during the day. My smart solution - start a new project (oh yeah, twist my arm!). The two projects I have going right now, well, they suck. I can't be any nicer about it. I'm tired of the Sassy Shawl that I have been working on since March.. no really for over a year. And the sock, well it isn't fun, and it's only one sock for the TKGA Level II, it will never be part of a pair because who in their right mind would actually make a second one if they didn't have to? Maybe I can donate it to some poor soul who only needs one sock.

Anyway, at morning break, I took my project into the lounge, had some snacks, and sat down to cast on a baby cap. A friend asked me what I was making, and I was only too happy to tell her. At lunch, I brought it in again, and a few people stopped as they walked by to stare, jaw wide open, at me. You see, the sight of me knitting defies everything they know about me. I'm sarcastic, I have a sick sense of humor, they know that I have a sailor's mouth, and I come off as pretty rough around the edges (for example: some lunchtime conversations I have started are "How old were you the first time you were picked up by the police?" , "How old were you the first time you got drunk?", "Wouldn't everyone love to be a semi-truck driver?", and "If you were 18 again, what body piercings and tattoos would you get?") For many of the people I work with, these questions are just shocking. (I would have a ring in the eyebrow, and some cool tattoo. I like the tattoos on the small of the back, but then I would never see it... and YES I KNOW... I am never too old to get one, but now the pain involved makes me unwilling to do it). Well, two people picked up their jaws from the floor and said, "I CAN'T believe you actually do that. I mean, I know you talk about knitting all of the time, but to actually SEE you doing it is.... well it's just STRANGE!"

Yep, I 'm a freak!

I now know that the real reason I have never knit at school is because I didn't want to experience the complete confusion it would create for everyone who thought they finally knew me!

Well, I got a few rows of the baby cap done, and it felt great. I found my day going a little more quickly (and right now they are DRAGGING along because of standardized testing). A little brain dead knitting will do me good!

Monday, November 08, 2004


They found her. There was a long high speed chase over the couch and up and down the stairs, but eventually they found her. She was hiding under the bed, sniffing her last ball of yarn. They had quite a fight on their hands, but finally she gave in and went downtown with them. Her yarn stealing days are over! Thanks to the Local Yarn Authorities, my stash is safe and breathing easy once again. Shortly after intake, they snapped her mug shot.

She wasn’t willing to admit to her crimes.

At the court hearing, the judge was lenient. This was her first conviction after all, but I provided testimony of her many other yarn indiscretions. I told the judge about the poor yarn stash victims that could not be saved. The many lives that have been lost at her paws. Still, he slapped her with community service and a 12 step program.

Because she is in my care, I am responsible for payment of her rehabilitation. I had to buy yarn! It’s her fault that I bought the yarn you see in her mug shot. The Local Yarn Authority knew she would have to participate in a 12 step program, so they made me start her rehab as soon as possible.

After thirty-five hours of rehab, she fell off the wagon and became an offender again. I’m documenting it for the court.

Meanwhile…. On the knitting needles,

Progress is excruciatingly slow with the ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHyle sock. I am only a little over half way on the second diamond pattern (there are three). I learned that it is possible to knit this pattern without mistake at 1:00 am after being up for 19 hours straight. Amazingly, I did better at 1:00am while sleep deprived than I did at 8:00pm when I was wide awake. Clearly I need to watch insomniac theater until the sun comes up and just finish this intarsia!

I bought the yarn pictured with Holly for Christmas presents. The people they will go to don’t have Internet access, so it is pretty safe to talk about them here. Besides, my mother-in-law told me that I’d better be making her some Fuzzy Feet or else! She’s been eyeing my first attempts at Fuzzy Feet which didn’t felt evenly because I used two different brands of wool. She would take them regardles, but I have learned that lesson….. only Galway was purchased for the Fuzzy Feet this time. I love the way it felts. The man of the house has been whining about having no slippers, so I will need to correct that situation, too.

The baby yarn is for (I am embarrassed to even say) my friend who became a grandmother in June???? YIKES! I might as well make adult aran sweaters for these babies at this rate! She became a first time grandmother when her daughter had twin girls. A month later her son had a son. She is an instant grandmother of three and loving every minute of it. I promised her baby caps, and I haven’t delivered. I feel just awful about it, so I will have these done, hopefully, before Thanksgiving so that the babies can wear them right away. I was thinking of the pink and blue for the girls, and the orange and blue for the boy. The yarn is from New Zealand, which makes me feel homey (not homely!).

Friday turned out to be a surprisingly good night. After a health scare with my father-in-law, my husband needed to unwind. We had a Wisconsin “fish fry” at our favorite restaurant, walked up and down the boardwalk, and on the way home I stopped at the LYS (he looked at new cars). I bought some yarn and it turned out that there was a deal! With $25 worth of purchases you got this:

I haven’t had it framed yet, but I love the print and it will look great in our kitchen. The colors match exactly and we have been waiting for a wonderful print to put up there for eight years now. After putting my treasures in the car, I headed off for home, only to notice that the old abandoned business on the corner had reopened as a Wine Bar! Could this be true? Could I, on my next trip, cuddle up with yarn, earn another free print, and stop off for a glass of wine? HEAVEN!

I’m sure I will have to go back and buy some yarn soon. Holly’s rehabilitation is sure to fail!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Of all da nerve

I completely agree with Teresa who posted, "They Said She Was on Her Way -
Where is that bitch Hope? Personally I think she's been on a drunk in some back alley bar in Boston since the convention."

I am actually able to breathe a little after voting night. I thought I would hold my breath until Kerry won, but after cooler heads prevailed, it didn't seem like that would help. I really agree with Iris, too many Bush supporters are feeling justified in claiming what they call a "moral victory". I have morals, too, even though I didn't and never would vote for any Bush, but I don't think my morals should be governmentally mandated. I have strong family values, and that doesn't mean I had to vote for anyone in particular. I have debated about removing a link on my site to someone who was morally "righteous" about Bush's win, but it is time to heal. I have four years, and moving to another country seems like it might help me heal. I dunno. On another note, my nine-year old daughter has a future in politics. We had to force her to go to bed on Tuesday night at 10:00pm while she demanded that we tell her who won our county and who won our state. She sat on the Internet all night, checking the CNN county by county results for different places around the country. If you asked her a question about the results, she could tell you. I'm very proud, and also very scared.

But, on to knitting content.

1). A story about a fellow knitter, one who I taught last year.

2). a "where are they now" story about a school knitting class I was involved in with 4th graders.

3). my knitting struggles.

1) Last year I started an after school knitting group for other teachers at school who wanted to learn how to knit. Of the four women who came to the group, one was relearning. A year later, two of them are still at it, and are putting me to shame with the amount of things they make. The one who was relearning has stopped knitting. She caught me in the hall the other day and asked if I would do her a favor.

Being the incredibly smart person that I am, I quickly answered, "It depends. What do you need?"

"Well, I was wondering if you would be able to knit something for me by Christmas." She replied.

Thank God my brain was working. Now, she didn't know that I haven't been knitting much lately and that I could probably finish something for Christmas. I have been a crazy knitting fool in the past, taking on more projects than I could handle and staying up till al hours of the night. Been there, done that. But suddenly I rememebered that I want to make Fuzzy Feet for my mother-in-law and maybe some socks too, and I would like to finish the Master's II and learn how to spin before next year. I have also promised myself that I would not add things to my life that would stress me out. I haven't been great at avoiding additional stress, but I try. Who needs that?

The smarty-pants side of my brain kicked in with "Oh, I have so many of my own projects I'm working on. I'm afraid that I wouldn't be able to finish something for you by your deadline."

Are you sitting down? No, really, sit down! She then said, "Oh, too bad. I wanted to make a poncho for (whoever it was she needed to give the gift to) and I thought you could make it with REALLY FINE YARN." She must be nuts. It's November 4th and she thinks I will have time to do anything in REALLY FINE YARN before Christmas? The insanity!

2)Where are they now?
Because of all of the knitting going on after school last year, some teachers who hadn't knit in a long time also picked up their needles. We became a group. The group fizzled as the year went on, so I stopped setting up the meetings, but many of them kept knitting. As part of art class, one teacher (who was a return knitter) decided to teach her 4th graders how to knit. She approached the art teacher (who was part of my "learn to knit" group)and a class was born! The students made their own needles, and for a few days, my "teacher students" helped teach the 4th graders how to knit. It was fantastic! We even had a retired teacher, who is an incredible knitter (and has had patterns published) come in and help that day. The kids loved it. The boys even loved it, especially when we told them that hundreds of years ago only men knit. Women weren't allowed to, it was a man's job.

Now, those 4th graders, well 4 of them anyway, came up to their teacher and showed what they made over the summer. One of the 4 is a boy who spent many weekends at his grandmother's house knitting with her. He is not afraid to knit in public. Way to go!

The teacher is planning to teach her students again this year, but with a twist. She is planning to spend a day at our school forest, get this - knitting. The day's curriculum will focus on knitting, with lots of time to practice, relax, and socialize. If it is nice outside, we can schedule in a walk. The 4 kids from last year who are still knitting have asked if they can come along and help teach this year's 4th graders. I'm pretty excited - all of this because I brougth my knitting to school and showed people.

3). I haven't knit. The ARRRRGGGGHHHyle sock was attaked by Holly, one of our cats. I found it bleeding and gasping for life on the living room floor the other morning. It had been jammed underneath the coffee table after Holly had made sure it was near death. I'm not sure if I have to rip out or if it will be ok, and I'm afraid to look. I can't look.

Meanwhile... I'm putting out an APB for Holly. The picture below is the most recent one taken. It was taken Easter of 2004, see the Easter baskets?If you see this cat, be sure to report it to your LYA (Local Yarn Authority).

She doesn't look very scared, does she?