Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Knit Sub Book Review: Son of a Witch

This is the first in a series of 12 book reviews I plan to do in 2009. My choice for January was Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire.

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Son of a Witch is the second volume in what is now a trilogy of books in the Wicked series. The story follows the life of Liir, the probable son of Elphaba Thropp, famed Wicked Witch of the West. Throughout the novel Liir struggles to find himself and his purpose in life while making his way through Maguire's vividly imagined land of Oz. On his journey he encounters an unusual cast of characters which include some old faces from Wicked as well as some new ones. His actions are set against the backdrop of a political and religious upheaval in the Emerald City. This is a bildungsroman - a story of growth and development for the main character.

Let me open this review by saying that I am huge fan of Wicked, Maguire's first book in this series. I have read it multiple times and found something new to love about it in each reading. When I finally settled down to read its sequel, I was excited to travel into Oz once more and find the answers to some of the questions left unanswered in its predecessor. I was to be disappointed.

My criticisms of this novel must begin with its plot. Son of a Witch is unbearably slow and plodding. It also suffers from being terminally uninteresting. The entire first half of the novel is composed primarily of Liir's memories of the events occurring immediately after Wicked's conclusion, including what happened in the aftermath of Elphaba's demise, Liir's travels around Oz, and his eventual career in the military. While these memories provide essential background knowledge to the story, they are disjointed and rambling. I felt as if I was waiting for the "real" story to begin throughout the first 200 pages, and that's a long time to wait for a novel to catch up to real time.

When the novel does finally break from memories into current action, that action is slow and forgettable. The plot of the novel is tenuous at best and incomprehensible at worst, involving a new flying menace, the religious mania of a new emperor and the social upheaval of an Oz in transition that the reader never seems to know enough details about. It skips from one event to another with little to connect all the pieces together in a way that is satisfying to the reader.

Some plot points in Son are brought up and then disappear as the story lumbers on towards its conclusion. Many questions raised by the novel remain unanswered, and not in a good way that leaves you wanting more. The mysteries in this book are left unsolved in a way that leaves you wondering why you slogged through this book all the way to the end only to have it not explore its most interesting points. I found it very hard to find something to care about in this story.

The reason for the dullness of the novel's plot is undoubtedly Liir, who can not carry a whole novel by himself. In Wicked, Liir was a damaged child. He suffered from the neglect of his mother and the general uncaring attitudes of the people around him. Going into this book I expected him to still be pathetic in many ways. The nature of his upbringing would naturally leave him scarred. However, I did not expect Liir to remain useless and pathetic for the entire novel. Maguire never allows Liir to grow a spine, and Son suffers for this. Liir can't make decisions, has next to no talent at anything, lets everybody down and is generally boring to read about. This kid is even wishy washy on the subject of his own sexuality.

Liir doesn't make too much happen - things tend to happen around him and he reacts, usually in the most unsatisfying way possible. He struggles to find a path in life, but he dosen't seem to have strong enough feelings about anything to decide on a specific future. Even in the end of the novel, when Liir has supposedly grown and changed, his actions don't feel real or meaningful. Maguire was so successful at making this character a dud that his ending feels forced and imaginary.

The other characters in the book don't fare much better in the character development department. There are no characters to love in this novel- only ones to put up with as they pass through. The few characters from Wicked that appear in this book, such as Glinda, Nanny and Chistery, seem to function only to remind the reader of how much better they were in Wicked and seem oddly out of place in Son. There is a cloud hanging over this book that dulls even these very well developed and colorful characters.

Aside from Liir, there aren't really any other major characters to come to know. The handful of people we meet are all flat and uninspired. So much attention is focused on Liir that the reader doesn't really get a chance to enjoy reading in depth about anyone else.

The two exceptions to this are Candle and Trism, who have major parts within the plot. However, despite their integral roles in the story they are never given enough time or attention to develop as they should. Too many questions are left unanswered regarding these two. Both of them are far more interesting than Liir and I wish I had gotten a chance to learn more about them.

Maguire's writing style is complex and intricate. There can be no doubt that he is a talented wordsmith, but the joy of deciphering his text is completely lost within his boring storyline. This novel demands your full attention to understand and gives you little in return for your investment. I distinctly remember that it took multiple readings of Wicked to pick up the little nuances and references in Maguire's writing, and I'm sure that Son is much the same. This is a novel that probably becomes more comprehensible through re-reading, but it is so uninspired that I wouldn't want to read it again. Maguire's superior writing is dulled by his weak plot and weaker characters.

Despite my heaping helping of criticisms, there were some things I liked about this book. The richly imagined setting was one of those things. Oz remains as vivid and interesting as it was in Wicked. Everything from politics and geography to economics and religion has been detailed and presented to us. Oz feels like a real place. It is, in fact, the most developed character in the novel. It is this fully created and explored world that will lead me to read the third book in this series, A Lion Among Men, in time. I also loved the closing sentence of the novel. It is only four words long, and not entirely unexpected, but it makes up for a lot (and it opens up the door for - may the Unnamed God help us - another sequel involving Liir).

The novel interestingly concludes with an excerpt straight from Wicked. It is a touching passage between Elphaba and Fieyero that reminded me of how truly great that book was. Was it an apology from Maguire for the quality of this obviously inferior book? Most definitely not, but I couldn't help feeling that way as I read it and remembered how much I loved Wicked.

At the root of it all, the most disappointing thing about this novel wasn't just the plot or just the characters, it was how inferior it was to its predecessor. Wicked is one of my favorite novels, and Elphaba is one of my favorite characters in all of literature. While I understand that Son is very much its own novel, I was expecting the same quality of writing and sense of adventure that characterized the first book in the series. This novel is nowhere close to the greatness of that book. It feels as if Maguire wanted to capitalize on the success of the broadway adaptation of Wicked and pump out something quickly to sell a lot of books. The plot is boring, the characters are flat and the whole experience left me wanting more.

For the many faults I perceived in this novel, I'm going to give it 3 brooms out of 5. It was going to get 2.5, but the last line of the novel boosted it up a bit. I would not reccommend the purchase of this book to anyone, but if you are a fan of Wicked, it would be worth checking out of the library just to see how the story continues.


Sub Hell

So, jobs have been hard to come by lately. Perhaps teachers are taking fewer days off in the month after Christmas break, or perhaps since I've been exercising and knitting more I haven't been able to put the same effort into looking for them. It's probably a combination of the two, honestly. In any case, I haven't been working as much lately and this worries me. This worry led me to take a job for a vacant position yesterday. This meant that I would be going into a class for which they had no regular teacher. The subject was math.

When I got to the school, the principal's secretary informed me that there should be lesson plans in the room and they were looking for a long term sub for the job. My ears perked up at the possibility, but I held my tongue. Quite wisely, I decided to see how the students were before asking for more information on the job possibility.

When I got to the room I found that there were indeed lesson plans there. I fastidiously wrote the student's assignments on the board (this was sixth and seventh graders) and created an in-box for them to turn in assignments. When the room was ready, I went out into the hall to do what I always do - ask the teachers around me for assistance in case I had an unruly child throughout the day. I've found it's a good idea to ask those around me for help BEFORE I run into problems. While I was doing this, the teachers informed me that I would have a very hard day ahead of me. These students had been without a teacher for three weeks and they were completely out of control. They wished me luck with pity in their eyes. This couldn't be a good sign.

From the very first period (out of six I would see that day), things were a complete disaster. My good pencil and pen were stolen before the bell for first period had even rung. That's never happened to me before. The students themselves were a nightmare. The notion of getting them to do an assignment was a complete joke. They were loud, aggressive and out of control the entire time they were in my classroom. Apparently, they've had several subs go through this class and not stick around because of the bad behavior. Heck, their own teacher retired in the middle of the year! I didn't stand a chance.

Here's some highlights from my day in hell:

1. Students opening the emergency window and attempting to jump out of it (Luckily we were on the first floor).

2. A student yelled at me for trying to get her to sit down.

3. Students sneaking out of the classroom.

4. Yelling, screaming, standing on desks and running around all period.

5. Kids beating on each other.

6. Complete and utter disregard for my presence in the room.

When behaviors like this are going on, me yelling and screaming at students does little to nothing to calm the situation. I know how to be a total bitch to kids and scare them straight. That tactic did no good here. It was all I could do to keep everyone as safe as possible in the classroom and wait for the day to run out. It wears you down. I am not paid well enough to scream myself hoarse for 45 minutes per period to little brats that are so far across the line of respectable behavior that they can't see it any more.

It's sad to me that this was the school day for these kids. Mixed in with the morons are kids that actually want to learn. They are the ones missing out on an education. This points to a problem with how schools treat substitutes. They figure that as long as a sub is in the room, they've covered their asses. Never mind how unrealistic it may be for one sub to handle the problems a classroom might have, as long as a warm body is in the room they figure that's good enough.

The situation yesterday was unsafe. Plain and simple. Administrators at this school knew that the class was a problem, and they actually came by a few times throughout the day to check on the kids. However, staying in the classroom for two minutes does nothing. The students resume bouncing off the walls the second they leave. This classroom needed more than one sub, or a sub with backup, like the school resource officer. To throw a sub into a classroom like that unprepared is irresponsible and unprofessional. Remember, I never would have known the situation was as bad as it was if I hadn't went outside my room, on my own volition, and talked to the teachers around me. The administration did nothing to prepare me for this.

If one of those little bastards had hurt themselves or someone else, it would have been my ass. If they had fallen out of the window and broken a leg or stabbed someone with a pencil, it would have been my fault. I deeply resent being put in that situation. This class had run off two long term subs, one of them a big coach. The school knows that the situation in that classroom is in crisis and they didn't do anything to help me. They would prefer to let the students run a riot everyday I guess.

Oh well, it's behind me now. All I can do is learn from the situation. I now know that I should NEVER take a job for a vacant position. I have also seen the very worst the job can get and I survived. I can handle anything now. Learning to accept the fact that my best isn't good enough in all situations is tough. I want to be a professional and succeed in everything I do. Some classrooms can not be tamed, especially if you're only coming in for one day. I can't change the world in one school day. No one can.

The worst thing about the whole situation? I didn't get to crochet anything yesterday. I didn't dare take anything out of my sub bag with the sticky fingers in that classroom!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Many Things

I have many things to blog about today, as I have been too busy to sit down and make entries as events occur. Bear with me.

1. The situation with Perv Boy has been handled. The next day at work, I spoke with the school's SRO about what happened. I explained the incident and told him that I didn't have the first clue about who the kid was. Luckily for me, this particular school has security cameras placed in all the hallways. The SRO took me down to his office and we watched a crystal clear tape of Pervy entering and exiting my room at the times I stated. In a stroke of pure awesome, the officer recognized the student right away. Even better - it was the big football star of the school.

I know this is small of me, but I LOVE it when jocks get what's coming to them.

Anyway, I wrote a referral for the kid citing sexual harassment and they hauled him down to the principal's office. He was suspended for three days. I think the punishment was too light, but at least he got something.

Here's the best part of the whole thing: When asked what he was thinking, the kid replied, "I was just trying to welcome her to the school." (!!!!) Now that's one welcoming committee I can live without, thank you very much! I am incredible happy that was the best excuse he could come up with, because it makes him sound like even more of a jackass than he already is.

I found out later that his mother is appealing the referral, because a sexual harassment complaint could ruin his scholarship (because of course this fool has college paid for based on his ability to throw a ball). Unfortunately, I probably won't ever know the outcome of the whole thing, but I hope this loser crashes and burns big time. Probably not, since he's a jock, but I can dream, can't I?

2. My resolution to help my husband lose weight is going really well. We've been running more or less regularly and eating much better. We've put a moratorium on restaurants until Valentines Day, so we've been cooking healthy more and eating greasy fried food less. He's lost 10 pounds already. I don't have much to lose, but I feel better and I look pretty good if I do say so myself. :)

3. My January book, Son of a Witch isn't going so well. I'm very close to being done and I'm just not impressed. I am going to post a review when I finish. I also added a sidebar to the blog for a list of my reading by month.

4. My Charms OWL continues to go well. So well in fact, that I decided to take on a second OWL, in Potions. This one requires me to complete a granny square afghan. My mom has been bugging me for one lately, so I figured now was as good a time as any to start preparing for her birthday in May. I've got three squares done so far and I'm LOVING the color combo I chose.

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I'm making it out of Caron Simply Soft, to keep the cost down. Hopefully I will be able to take this project out on jobs with me, to finish it faster.

5. It's almost February already! I can't believe that I'll have another whole round of HPKCHC projects to work on soon. Time flies!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh Good Lord

You would not believe the way kids behave in school these days.

I feel like I'm about 100 years old saying that, but I am truly shocked by the behavior I witnessed today. Prepare to be disgusted.

On Tuesday I started a sub job that will last through Friday. The first day went really really well. The teacher I am subbing for teaches Television Production in high school. His students produce the school's morning show. They are pretty independent and function decently without much intervention from me. I'm having the standard trouble with getting kids to come back when they use the restroom pass and getting them to stay quiet, but on the whole they're a good bunch. I can sit and work on my scarf basically all day while keeping a watchful eye on the kiddos doing their busy work. Yesterday I was praising whatever cosmic deity gifted me with such an easy position. Today, I don't feel so lucky.

The real trouble started after school, although the school day didn't go as well as yesterday did. I had a few kids sneak out through the production room exit (not even in the same room as the regular classroom so it's impossible to monitor everyone at once), and they were caught dallying in the halls and brought back by an administrator. Then I had too many kids figuring out how to play violent games on the bank of computers in the classroom. Yeah, I could go apeshit on them and kick everyone off the internet, but what would that accomplish? The kids have to do something and their teacher did not leave enough assignments to cover the period. This particular school is on block scheduling, so there are four periods in a day and they are each an hour and a half long. I don't care if I'm the Wonder Woman of substituting, I can't come up with enough crap to keep them busy that long (and frankly, it's not my job to do so anyway). I was too chill with the kids on Tuesday, and now I'm seeing the effects of that. You give them an inch and they take a mile every time. I'm going to have to be a Nazi tomorrow to recoup my losses.

But anyway, getting back to the real trouble of today. After the final bell had rung and the kids had left the classroom I was packing up and preparing to go home. A student suddenly entered the room and sat down in the chair next to my desk. I did not recognize this kid at all as he wasn't in any of the classes I am covering this week. So naturally, I lead off with, "What are you doing here?"

This particular student was a big tall guy. Much bigger than me. My alarm bells started going off when he replied, "Why do you have to be so mean?" in a flirty tone of voice. He continued with, "I'm here to show you a little lovin because I find you attractive."

I was in complete shock. I couldn't think of a good thing to say, so I sputtered out a lame "You can't talk to a teacher like that! You have to get out of here!"

He was unfazed and continued on with, "Damn, you're mean! I'm 18, I can say whatever I want. What, you mad cause you got a boyfriend?"

My senses finally started to return at this point and I answered with, "I have a husband, not that it's any of your business! You have to get out of here!" I was trying to be casual and mean, because at this point I was getting a little afraid. This student could easily overpower me and I was all alone. I wanted to be mean enough for him to get the point, but aloof enough for him to just give up without getting hostile. This was the best thing I could think of to do at the moment.

Thankfully, he left. Now that it's all over, I've thought of a million better ways I could have handled the situation. I'm mad that I missed the opportunity to really let him have it. In the heat of the moment though, I wimped out because I was afraid of him. Am I really cut out to teach if I am so easily intimidated by a student?

I didn't get into teaching to ward off sexual advances from idiots. Unfortunately, I'm not finding very many of the reasons I did get into teaching in any of the classrooms I cover. There are no eager students. There is no respect. There is absolutely no intelligent, creative or original thought anywhere to be found. There are plenty of mind games and lies though. Plenty of nasty, disgusting behavior and, apparantly, plenty of sexual harrassment. I'm disheartened and confused, to say the least. Can I possibly make a difference to any of these types of students? It honestly seems like most kids come to school for the free meals and babysitting.

So, after all that, I'm nervous about tomorrow. I have to go back for the next two days and I don't want to run into this kid again. I don't know his name to report him to anyone, so that option is out. I don't even know if I could pick him out of a lineup. I see so many different kids at every school every day. They all look the same to me.

Oh well, at least I have knitting to get me through these terrible days. My OWL shawl is growing steadily longer and it looks pretty good so far.

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I haven't made any more dumb mistakes, so progress has been good. I'm near row 70 now. Still many more rows left to go.

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It's tough to see the details of the pattern right now, since it's not blocked. Here's the best I could do by stretching it lightly:

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In other knitting news, the new assignment for History of Magic has been posted in the HPKCHC. It is to make an artictic representation of any character from the series using any craft medium. I have no idea what I will do for it yet. I like to do a little smbroidering, but my skill are still subpar in that arena. Good thing I have until Valentines Day to turn it in.

This will take some thought, as I don't like to do anything half assed. We'll see what I come up with . . .

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Good Week for Yarn

This truly has been a very good week for yarn. Early in the week (after a particularly nasty sub job, might I add) a box arrived for me from Knit 'n Knibble (a LYS). I hadn't ordered anything, so I was mighty curious about what was in the box. Imagine my surprise when I opened it up and found this waiting for me inside:

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Two skeins of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Oceanos

and . . .

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Two skeins of Malabrigo in Citrus

It turns out that the mysterious yarn was a gift from my DH "just because." Do I have the best husband in the world, or what? Not only is he attentive enough to know that surprise yarn is the BEST GIFT EVAR, but he also knows that Malabrigo is my new favorite worsted weight yarn.

I have no idea what I'll make yet with the Citrus, but I know I'm making a hat for the best hubby in the world with some of the Oceanus.

This was obviously the best start to a week possible, but my good yarn fortune didn't end there. This weekend I got to take a trip to my favorite LYS, Uncommon Threads, and pick out a few more skeins.

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Firstly, some Dream in Color Smooshy for some new socks.

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Secondly, some more Malabrigo because I apparantly have a serious addiction to this yarn. This time the color is Emerald Blue.

Between all the stashing, I finally got started on my OWL shawl. After several hours of intense concentration, this is what I have so far.

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It's not much to look at yet, I know. I had to rip back four rows last night due to an incredibly stupid mistake (I read a row in the wrong direction and all my beads were shifted over one stitch). Thanks goodness for lifelines! I've got about 50 rows down. Many, many more left to go.

This is by far the most difficult project I have done. There are so many little bits of info I have to keep straight in my head! Remember 2 stitches on each end for the selvedge, remember to read the chart right, remember to knit a stitch for the center, remember the YOs at the beginings and ends of the rows . . . arg! It's enough to drive a girl batty. I'm hoping that after I work on it for a while longer I wil memorize more of the pattern and get into the flow of the piece without having to think about it so much. Each row takes intense amount of concentration right now. This is not a casual project! It will be worth it in the end though I suppose.

I start a 4 day sub job at my old high school on Tuesday. I'm wary. These long jobs have the potential to go really bad. If I don't mesh with the class, or if they just plain don't like me, each day will get worse and worse. This teacher teaches Television Production, so I have no idea what type of plans he will leave or what types of students he has. It will be an experience, that's for sure.

Here's to hoping it's not a disaster and that the kids are good enough for me to be able to read and knit the hours away.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Parade of FOs

This past week has been jam packed full of knitting! I've barely had any free time to sit and blog in between projects. Today I've come to a bit of a resting point, so it's time for my parade of FOs!

First is the hat I finished up for my Charms assignment in the HPKCHC.

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You've got to love an assignment where the only criteria is that the item you knit must be for yourself. As previously mentioned, I knit the hat out of Malabrigo. Wonderful stuff. My hat is smooshy, warm and not itchy. The perfect hat trifecta. And on a slightly off topic note, how awesome do I look in that picture? Sexy knitter alert!

Next up are the fingerless mitts I made for my DADA class. The pattern is Fetching, from Knitty.

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I'm mostly happy with these. The thumb gussets are bugging me because they aren't perfect. I don't know how people get their thumbs to look like a natural extension of the glove. I can't manage to crack that secret. I suppose this is one of those areas where practice makes perfect. I hope to make a hat to match these eventually. Maybe by next winter I'll have a nice set.

Last in the parade is my little bookmark, my assignment for Arithmancy.

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I crocheted this project for a change of pace. It only took a few hours and it came out really cute. I never think much of the bookmarks I make with crochet thread, but they seem to be far and away the favorite projects of my family. My husband and mother absolutely gushed over this and requested their own. I can spent weeks knitting a scarf or a hat and I get a "nice." I spend three hours crocheting a bookmark and they rave. Go figure.

The colors and design elements of the pattern all relate to my Arithmancy numbers. You can read about all that here.

Up next on the needles is my OWL project, the #10 Triangle Lace Shawl, which I have three months to complete. It will be my most intricate project ever. I'm using some beautiful soft Alpaca with a Twist Fino and some pretty purply beads. This should be interesting to say the least.

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Let me just say I am REALLY happy that I started participating the the HPKCHC this year, because it's getting me focused on my craft. I've already completed four projects and the month isn't half over yet. This is shaping up to be a productive year.

Of course, this week wasn't all good. Sandwiched in between the knitting triumphs was one of the worst sub jobs in the history of sub jobs. It was a three day assignment in a middle school band room. Why oh why do so many band teachers miss school? I've had too many band jobs in my short subbing career.

There were some nasty pockets of kids in these classes. Of course, nearly everyone is nasty when there's a sub around, but some of these kids were especially bad. The teacher left movies to watch all three days. Of course, it was movies the kids had seen 100 times before (and let me mention, 2 times before so far in that exact class alone). Basically, day one was a disaster. I was trying to gauge the class and I wasn't as strict as I should have been. The kids had movie poisoning and they were climbing the walls. One period was especially interesting. There was a faction of cool kids and a faction of nerds and they were absolutely at each other's throats all period long.

I was determined to make the rest of the assignment bareable, so I entered complete Professor Umbrige bitch mode for the other two days. I was loud, I moved seats and I ran the classroom instead of the kids. They were so afraid of me I was able to finish a good portion of my Fetching Mitts while they were cowed into being pin-dropping silent. In the period with the warring factions, I put a quick end to the feud. Naturally, I let the "cool" kids have it. As soon as the ringleader of the cools started in on making fun of the nerds, I said in my best (mean) teacher's voice, "Excuse me! There will be none of that today. If I hear another word from you about them you will be out of here! Yesterday was a joke! Today will be different!" There weren't any more problems.

I really hate having to be a total ogre all day, but there is no other choice. I am a small, young woman and the kids don't respect me. I can't joke around and be relaxed or they walk all over me. It is draining and sad to have to be so mean, but it is a necessary part of subbing. If I was taller, looked older, or even if I was a man, things might go better for me. As it stands now, I have to make up for my short stature by being loud. Oh well.

There was one bright spot in it all though. One of the aforementioned "nerds" came up to me on day two and asked me to teach him to knit. I didn't have anything appropriate to teach him with on me, so I cut him a deal. I said, "If you are good all period, I will bring things to teach you tomorrow." He was absolutely silent for the whole period.

I had to hold up my end of the deal, since he behaved so beautifully. I went out to Jo-Anns that night and got some blue super bulky and yarn and arrived at school with my size 13 needles in tow. When his period rolled around I got to give a knitting lesson to him and his friends. His friends were pretty hopeless at it, but the original kid who asked me for the lesson was actually pretty good. He got it. He ended up knitting all through that period and coming back during another period to continue (his other class had a sub too and she was more than happy to get rid of a kid). By the end of the day he had produced a lumpy, uneven square. He made a bunch of accidental YOs and ended up with way more stitches on the top of his square than on the bottom, but he was so proud of himself. He said he was going to ask his dad to get him his own knitting needles and I gave him some helpful knitting websites to look up at home. It was adorable. The best part of my three day job, hands down.

He said at the end of the day, "Real men know how to knit."

"That's exactly right," I replied.





Monday, January 5, 2009

Wedding Weekend



This was how I spent my weekend last week. My BIL got married! That would be him in the picture above with his new bride. They are both so photogenic! They make me and my DH look like a pile of crap.

The wedding was big and beautiful. It was five hours away from us in south Florida. It was a long car ride, but the awesome thing about it was that I got to knit! Between the ride there and back I was able to finish my assignment for Care of Magical Creatures: Simple Rug Knit Snuggle.



It's meant to be a small pet blanket. As I have no pets of my own, I'm going to give it to my dad's girlfriend, who has 2 cats. Hey, nothing like a low-cost gift for people you don't really like but have to be cordial to, right?



I actually really like the way the colors showed up in this piece. I used two strands of some old Red Heart I had lying around in a soft blue and white. I've never carried two different colors together before, so this was an interesting experiment. It's as pretty as a cloudy sky.

We got home from the wedding festivities on Sunday, so I used the time remaining in the weekend to complete my Herbology homework. The assignment is kind of different this month: organize all knitting supplies and your Ravelry queue. I desperately needed to do this, so it's a good thing this assignment came along.

Before this assignment, I treated my Ravelry queue as more of a favorites list. I added anything that looked remotely appealing, whether I planned to make it in the future or not. This was simply not functional, and my queue was over 1100 items long. *blushes*

I went through each and every item on the list and transferred the patterns I still liked onto my favorites list (complete with tags), and I got rid of the stuff I no longer wanted. I eventually got my queue under 20 and my favorites down around 800 patterns. Not too shabby, eh?



After that I decided to add all my yarn to the stash feature Ravelry has. I had never added anything there before, but now all my yarn is up, complete with pictures. I'm glad I did this now, as I can see my stash growing exponentially in the future. It's good to start cataloguing this stuff while I still have relatively little of it. When that was done, I updated my hooks/needles list and my library. Everything on Ravelry is now up to date.

After the computer stuff was done, I tackled the physical organization of my knitting supplies. My tools and books were never all that out of order, but my yarn was stuffed randomly into a bin in my closet and a bin near my bed.




I organized my bookshelf and my needle case, cleared the clutter away from my storage areas and organized my yarn by fiber type. I also tossed some yarn remnants I know I will never use again. You know, it's really hard to throw away yarn, no matter how little of the skein is left!




The last bit of the assignment was to make a 12 month project plan. I chose beautiful patterns that I really love and assigned them each a month. You can check my queue for details. I'm going to try my hardest not to deviate from the items on the list!

That's about as far as I've gotten in the HPKCHC. Today I couldn't find a sub job (probably because Christmas break just ended), so I have a chance to work on my Charms homework, The Amanda Hat. The assignment is to make something for myself, and what is better than a hat? It is my first time using Malabrigo, which I am absolutely loving. I'll post pics when I have more done than the cast on. Hey, I'm definitely not missing the monsters of middle school today!