Tuesday, October 02, 2018

You Spin Me Right 'Round....

I've been spinning. A lot.
What is it about spinning, whether it's on a wheel or a drop spindle, that is so soothing and balancing? I should ask my sister, who knows more about those things, what she thinks it is. But, I tell ya, that process of moving all four appendages and sitting in front of a spinning wheel is entirely mesmerizing and healing.

First, I spun half a fleece processed into a carded roving. I have always been a very controlled spinner, proud of my fine spinning. Hmmm.... go ahead and read all kinds of Freud into that.
Image result for freud

I decided to spin that fluffy rambouillet long draw (so messy!) and fat. It was fun.

Then I went back to my zen mode of fine. It'll be great to choose a project and then dye it exactly the colors I want. This two-ply is a weight I use a lot for cardigans, hats, and handwear.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

"My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”

Newt Scamander says that in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay,  J.K. Rowling.

I have a lot in common with Newt Scamander. It's not just the fascination with animals, or love of blue paired with brown. No, it's that people find me annoying. Not everyone, but quite a lot. Looking back, I think it's the competitive, take-charge type of person, maybe even women in particular.

I'm a huge defender of justice. If I notice anything that seems lopsided or unjust, I will do whatever I can to restore the balance of the justice scales. Sometimes it looks like competitiveness but it's not. Competition makes me sick, literally nauseated. I avoid it at all costs, unless I see that I can restore balance.  I like things to be calm, pleasant, happy, and, most of all, fair. Bullies and other controlling, bossy type people like to try to upset that and clearly find me irritating, like a bug that needs to be squashed.

Newt is confident in his passions and allows that passion to drive him into doing what he firmly believes is right. I haven't always been very good at that but it's much better lately. I can think less of what other's perception of me and more of the goal I'm working towards.

Still, I can be annoying. So what?

Thursday, September 06, 2018

A Fail

I've put off writing too long. Now I have multiple topics to mull over.

Newsy News

First, I'm headed back Cortez, Land of the Good JuJu. My friend is dealing with chemo as well as can be expected. She's the bravest person I've ever known. She won't be able to come out with us, but we'll stop by to say hello.

Fibery News


Have you ever found yourself needing to vent? I do, often, and will preface it for my listener, typically my daughter or husband, with "This is venting..." That way they know their role is to just listen. I don't need help or even input, but just need to purge.  I did that a couple weeks ago here and planned on just leaving it in the oblivion of "draft." Only it published. 

I suppose it wasn't all that bad. I didn't say anything horrible but I was just so WHINEY

I took it down as soon as I noticed but AAACCCKKKKK!!!

Now *that* story wasn't about fiber but it's related to this one which is...
I love the möbius strip. It was brought up in discussion via forums about a favorite podcast of mine, The Unraveling Podcast. I first learned how to construct it in knitting from Cat Bordhi and it was  brilliant.  Then I heard that Elizabeth Zimmermann also had a möbius scarf pattern. I made the mistake of not reading it and assuming it was a scarf with a twist. I was wrong. 

I was wrong in front of the people I connect with the most. 

OF COURSE, Elizabeth Zimmermann knew what a möbius strip was and would not misuse the term. She's absolutely brilliant. 

And, now, I feel like an idiot.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Ley Lines

Here I am, in Cortez, Colorado. It’s one of those few places where I feel that hum. You know what I mean? The places where there’s that hum of life and zen, good juju, or whatever it is that resonates with you, as an individual, to feel at peace with the world. It’s not an especially fancy place or an art mecca like Taos or Aspen, even though Telluride is roughly an hour away. It’s often called the gateway to the southwest. It’s where you’d stay if you wanted to see Mesa Verde or on your way to the Grand Canyon.

I came here when I was twenty something by myself to see Mesa Verde. I had amazing memories of a family trip and my dad being his best historically obsessed self. Back then, the Park Rangers let you climb all through the ruins. It was as if I was thrust back in time. When I went as a young adult, the ruins were carefully guarded as I’m sure they had discovered not everyone respected such an impressive piece of history as my dad did and taught us to do. I felt absolutely safe even though I was a young woman traveling alone. It’s important to know I never felt safe, ever, but I did here.

My besty from college, Mel, moved here June 2016 and I’ve been visiting as often as I can. It’s an eight hour road trip so it needs to be planned but I’m always happy when I make the time.

Trips took on a new importance when Mel was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She was hoping surgery could wait until the school term ended when I could come help. Things moved faster than expected and she had a bilateral mastectomy in April. I wanted to be there but was glad her father and his girlfriend could stay with her. What amazed me was the public outpouring of support and love. I didn’t need to worry about people caring for her at all. Her coworkers organized meal preparation and delivery for herself, her dad, and his girlfriend for several weeks so no one needed to buy or cook any meals. She has visitors almost every day and a few friends who rotate taking her to her chemo appointments. Even during this trip, I’ve talked with three different people who stopped by in the two days I’ve been here.


This is normal here. Like I said, there’s all the good juju here. There’s just something about this place, as if it’s where all the good spirit magic come together in giant ley lines.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What Makes a Good Teacher Great?

It feels like the first week of summer break. Wait! The last day of school was May 24th. That was almost a month ago. Hey, it’s better than past years. I remember a time when the entire month of June was spent in a zombie-like haze, sleeping and binge watching all the shows I missed during the academic year.

Anyway, I had a couple days then took my daughter to her NASA Internship at Ames Research Facility. Yep, I’m still incredibly proud of her achievement and the opportunities she made for herself. Then I had a few days to complete a knitting goal of mine. Then I was off to a professional conference, InnEdCo. I left there with several new ideas and hopes for the fall. Any time I attend a training, professional development, or conference, if I glean just one new skill or idea, I call that a win. The people I meet there are amazing; the vendors, presenters, and fellow attendees. Once again, I learned a few new things, made great contacts and hope to maintain some of the new friendships I made.

Now I’m home again. I don’t have any concrete plans until early August when I return to school. What do you, teachers, do with your summers? There are many who make wonderful travel and vacation plans and recharge. They put education out of their minds for the actual six weeks-ish we have off. Some like to, or need to, teach summer school. I definitely recharge during this time but recharging has a different definition to me. I try to bring new methods, ideas (those great ideas I got from the conference or pd), to my teaching and improve the classroom experience for my students. 

I’ve been teaching in my school for two years now and noticed a bit of routine and complacency towards the end of this year. It’s time to try to amp my teaching up and take it to the next level. Over the last two years, my focus was on engagement and conveying the course information in new ways. I found supporting media and collaborated with my Social Studies colleague to redesign curriculum and co-teach. That was great. I tried some things that I’ll abandon but there was also much I’ll keep and build on. But, now I want to turn the focus to the students, not simply “engage” them but to hand them the keys to the bus, so to speak. To be a guiding teacher instead of the one-way delivery then check for understanding type of teacher.

A guiding teacher prepares carefully, presents a seed of content, then prompts the students to discover and dig deeper in class while guiding the process. I’ll need to really think about my existing plans and modify them to suit that kind of interaction. My students are required to take a final but I’ll find some project based or interaction based means of learning content as opposed to the alternative media I’ve been using.

Hmmm….this will be quite a bit of work but I’ll enjoy it. 

Summer’s also the time to learn new craft/art techniques. Two years ago it was Kumihimo. Want a bracelet? I have soooooooooo many. And, beads, lots of beads. Last year I rediscovered the pleasure of stranded knitting. I’m still on my mitten kick. I don’t think that will die down soon. I’m jonsin to cast on the Gates of Moria mittens once my current projects are finished. Mittens are my reward for knitting something not stranded. 

Spinning….. (chirp chirp chirp) My wheel is neglected and the fiber in The Fortress of Solitude is yet unspun. Tour de Fleece starts up soon and I’m planning on participating and hoping to get my spinning mojo back in gear (get it? Tour de Fleece/Tour de France...GEAR? Bicycle gear?).
The new technique I hope to try is a specific style of dyeing on silk. I’ve a fair amount of experience with acid dyes and a bit of experience with natural dyeing, but this would be a whole new way. I might or might not get to it, and that’s okay. It’ll still be there when it’s a good time to try it. 

The last thing I like to use my summer break for is to reevaluate my health or something personal. This is the first summer my close friends have fallen ill to some pretty horrific diseases. My heart aches for them and the complete helplessness I feel in trying to support them. There’s really nothing I can do except love them and pray for recuperation. Personally, I have pretty strong genes and there are things I can control for the genetic weak points. My dad battled obesity, heart disease, and strokes. He smoked, like so many of his generation, and continued to smoke after two multiple bypass surgeries. He also gained a lot of weight after he became inactive and settled into a desk job. I don’t and never will smoke, or vape, or intentionally inhale anything which might even remotely be harmful..nuh uh, never. I’ve noticed I can easily maintain a comfortable weight when I’m active daily but struggle to be active when overweight. Over the last year, I kept a journal and carefully observed my food behaviors. Just as an alcoholic avoids alcoholic beverages, I need to avoid refined sugar and breads. They set off very self destructive behavior in me, so I’m cutting them out. This will certainly improve my health (number 1 goal), prompt weight loss, which will make activity easier.