Knitting Injury

Let’s start with the good news: the long holiday weekend gave me so much knitting time that I was able to complete two socks! It was very satisfying, as I’m sure you can imagine. One is a plain vanilla sock in KnitPicks’ Felici Spaceman, and the other is a Strutting Peacock in KnitPicks’ Chroma in Lakefront.img_5260-1img_5261-1Sadly, last night I noticed that the middle finger on my left hand was hurting, especially when I closed my fist. I picked up another sock project to see how I hold my fingers while I knit, and discovered that I keep that finger bent when I knit socks on little DPNs. So it would seem that I need to take a break from knitting. I’m hoping that if I rest it this week, I’ll be good to go on Saturday. We’ll be on a day-long road trip for the girl, for All-State Band Auditions, and I need to be able to knit that day, otherwise I might actually go crazy. For this week, then, my lunch break project is crochet, an Artfully Simple Angled Scarf in Zauberball. I chose it mostly so I could use my new Furls crochet hook.img_5262-1Give me some hope: who else has had minor knitting injuries that healed quickly?

 

 

Black Friday Fun

I spent too many years working retail to ever want to go to a big-box store or mall on Black Friday. Instead, we continue a tradition started by my husband and mother-in-law when I had to be at work, and we go to a small town with a charming downtown of little independent shops. We eat at the same cafe every year, where we’re waited on by the same sarcastic, funny waitress every year. We get a photo with Father Christmas and buy fudge at the corner ice cream parlor/sweet shop. And we walk around and admire neat things, and usually buy a few things.

I found a lot of fun sheep/yarn related things…actually, the husband pointed out a couple of them! The only one I actually bought was the sheep teabag holder, because how could I resist that?

Lucky me, I also found a store that sold crafts supplies like buttons, ribbon, wool, and yarn! There were some big brands, indie dyers, and an in-house yarn. This is what jumped into my arms, Malabrigo Rios in Aniversario (all that PINK!) and Hedgehog Fibres Sock yarn.

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They’ll both probably have to wait until I’m done with my Christmas knitting. I’m not sure I’m going to finish all the socks I wanted to make, but I’m not giving up yet. I made good progress on my Strutting Peacock this weekend. I’m past the gusset and just zooming along on the foot right now.

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I did make a small modification, and I’m just doing stockinette on the foot instead of the zigzag pattern. It’ll be smoother in the shoe, nobody else sees that part, plus it’s a lot faster, so I know I’ll be able to get this pair done well before Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I did spend part of the holiday weekend putting up some decorations. No tree yet, because I don’t have the energy and I have a crazy dog that I’m afraid will eat the tree. But I’ll get there. Until then, I have my favorite part: my Santa collection!

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Now, I just need to make sure I can keep Duncan away from it…

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To all my U.S. friends, I hope you’ve had a lovely long Thanksgiving weekend!

More Socks

Sometimes being a knitter comes in handy in unusual ways! We did Senior Photos for the girl over the weekend, and for one photo she needed a conductor’s baton. We didn’t have one of those, but guess what? A 14″ straight knitting needle fits the bill in a pinch! Fortunately we were close enough to home for me to go fetch one, since I didn’t have one on hand. All the other photos went smoothly and I can’t wait to see the official photos.

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I managed to fit in a bit of knitting as we drove between locations, and during the kids’ concert on Sunday, so I made good progress on one of my socks. This will be a plain vanilla sock, my first Felici sock, and so far I’m pretty happy with it.I’m trying the baby circs again, and while I still don’t love them for socks, I am getting more used to them, and I can tolerate them when I need so many socks on the needles.

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This pair is another gift, and my first sock with Knit Picks Chroma. I love the colors in the Chroma, but the yarn isn’t as nice for me as the Felici. It’s fuzzier, more sticky, so when I have to tink, it’s a bit tricky. (Haha! I made a little rhyme!) I probably should have done a plain sock for these too, but I have a vision in my head, and I really want them to be Strutting Peacock socks. And once I get into the rhythm of the pattern, it’ll be fine.

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I have one more set of sock needles available; I just need to decide what pair to cast on, and who they’ll be for!

Socks, Finished and Unfinished

I have a new FO: I finished my Basket Weave Rib socks last night and I love them quite a lot. They are delightfully thick and squishy and soft, and the rib pattern is unusual without overpowering the yarn. These are for my gift pile, and I really hope they fit the recipient!

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But yesterday I also got new sock yarn, thanks to the big sale at Knit Picks. I want to make some Christmas socks, but didn’t have a lot of sock yarn to choose from, and definitely not much in colors other than purple. I came home to a lovely box full of yarn:

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Who doesn’t love those mail days, right? I dug right in, excited because I’m trying some Felici for the first time. I’ve seen socks made with it, and I love how it looks and feels. One color is for a gift, the other is for me (but mine will probably have to wait until after Christmas).

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Now my challenge is to figure out how many sets of sock needles I’ve got, so I can cast on as many socks as possible. I know I have at least three, maybe four. Hm, maybe I should add more sock yarn needles to my Christmas wish list!

Scrappy Cowl

I’ve got a new project on my needles, a scrappy cowl. I needed something completely and totally mindless, something I could knit without looking at 95% of the time. Sometimes at work I go to seminars and talks, and I’m listening but my hands are free, and I wanted a project that I could work on without people thinking I’m not paying attention. Thus, my scrappy cowl idea!

I don’t have enough sock yarn scraps yet to do one in fingering weight, so I decided worsted weight would be my base. I pulled out my bins of yarn balls and started sorting, and it was so much fun. This is going to be like a memory quilt of beloved yarns and projects! It is probably 75% worsted weight, with some Aran weight thrown in, and then I decided I could do a few DK and light bulky yarns too. img_5093

The one pattern I looked at suggested tying them all your scraps together to make a yarn ball, but I don’t have the patience for that. I’ll just tie them together as I go, and randomly pull balls from the project bag when I need a new one. I want it to be as random as possible, because it’s really hard for me to relinquish control, even over something as simple as color order. Some of my scraps are bigger than I’d like, so I might not use them all at once. I haven’t really decided yet. I know for sure I’d like to use up all the little scraps, because what else am I going to do with them?

There’s no complicated pattern here. I did a provisional cast on of 56 stitches on 16″ size 8 needles, joined in the round, and started knitting. I’ll knit until it’s long enough to wrap twice or I run out of yarn, whichever comes first. No, that’s not true. If I don’t get it long enough to wrap twice, I’ll just leave it unfinished and add to it as I finish other projects. And someday I’ll have a weirdly beautiful cowl that will go with everything and nothing! img_5097-1

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Mother Scorned

Mom-fury is real, guys. I’ve been a mom for almost 18 years now, and I’ve been mad on my kids’ behalf before, but yesterday was the first time I felt pure white-hot blinding fury. I have calmed down some, but the anger is still there.

Someone treated one of my kids badly. Someone in a position of power decided to lash out at my child in front of their peers and at least one teacher. Someone let their emotions take over, and let them spill out in an unreasonable, unprofessional diatribe that devolved into criticism unrelated to the trigger. This person saw that my child was upset, that my child was *crying*, and kept going. Not only kept going, but told two other adults there, “Oh, I made your kid cry” like it was something to be proud of. This person texted me later, “I am so sorry I upset them” but didn’t have the decency to apologize directly to my child, either by text or in person.

Just writing this is bringing the fury back. I have no idea what possesses someone to treat another person, a STUDENT, that way. I have no idea why the other adults present didn’t do anything, didn’t ask her to stop, didn’t intervene to mediate, didn’t at least suggest they go somewhere private.

Let me stop here for a caveat. This is important: this is not a teacher at the school. I don’t believe this person is officially employed by the school. This is a person who is only there very part-time, working with a very small group of students.

Now comes the hard part: how do I respond? I didn’t do anything yesterday; I knew that was a bad idea. My gut tells me to email this person and let her know how angry I am, and that her behavior was appalling and unacceptable. My gut tells me that I need to write a complaint to at least one authority figure, because it’s not right that this person is allowed to interact with students and treat them like this without being held accountable. My gut tells me this is bigger than my child, that I have a responsibility to speak up when something bad happens.

BUT. Doing all of that could create problems for my child. Working with all of these people is unavoidable, and it could make relationships with them awkward, and have repercussions for my child’s success both in and out of school. Speaking up very likely would result in no changes, because this person is respected for their experience and knowledge, and no one wants to rock that boat.

And that alone infuriates me too. Why should this person not be held accountable? Why should this person get away with this behavior? No, my child was not physically harmed. But in my mind, it was bullying. The action that prompted the tantrum in no way warranted a full emotional meltdown in front of other people. It was a minor disagreement that should have been handled privately. Thankfully my child is strong, and has a wonderful support system, and they will be all right. But will the next one? That is one reason silence feels wrong. This is about more than my child. This is also about the next child on the receiving end of a humiliating tirade. If we never speak up because we think nothing will change…well, we’re right. Nothing will ever change. And I’m not sure that’s the world I want to live in.

To be clear, we WILL address the situation with this person. We are just trying to figure out the best way to do it. I want to address it immediately and directly and make it clear exactly how wrong the behavior was; my husband wants to be more strategic and try to guide the relationship to a better place. He wants to address it without pissing off this person, because that likely will not help matters. I can see the benefit of his strategy. But it doesn’t satisfy my mom-fury. I still want to take it further.

So, I don’t know. It’s a really complicated situation, and I can’t tell if I’m blowing it out of proportion because of my mom-fury. I am conflicted. I am sad and angry and frustrated. I am going to sit back for now, and try to come to a resolution that feels right for all of us.

It’s a Flute Party!

Have you ever been to a flute party? No? What, you don’t know what a flute party IS?

Don’t feel bad; I had no idea before yesterday either! But now I know, and it was pretty fun. We decided that we wanted to upgrade the girl’s flute for her graduation present, since we felt like she had outgrown her current flute. She’s going into music education in college, with the possibility of music performance as well, and we want to send her off as well-prepared as possible. And given all the things happening this year that might impact her college admissions and scholarship opportunities (State Band, honor bands, music school auditions) we chose to do it now, rather than at the end of the year.

Now, with other things, it might be simple. You go to a store, pick one out, and buy it. But instruments are different, because each musician is different. The musician has to find the instrument that’s right for her. So her flute teacher arranged for us to attend a flute party hosted by a woodwind dealer/repair specialist. There would be a variety of brands to play, plus we’d have other expert ears to help us decide. We also borrowed a flute from a local music store (so generous of Palen Music. We love them.) and ordered one on trial from Flutistry of Boston.

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We showed up to the hotel and found our way to the room, which was just a hotel suite with two bedrooms. There were two sales reps there, one from Altus and one from Miyazawa, and there were two tables full of beautiful shiny flutes. There were lower end flutes all the way up to an $11,000 gold flute!

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We quickly found ourselves in one of the rooms with several flutes, and it didn’t take long to narrow it down to four. But that’s when the work began. There were six of us listening, and while of course the girl’s opinion was the most important, her flute teacher was also very vocal. The sales reps were great, really only offering opinions when we directly asked them. And they each declined to comment on their own flute, which I thought was very classy.

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And she played the flute. Over and over. Rotating between all four brands, trying to hear differences and preferences. I can’t imagine how it must have felt, to be presented with four beautiful, high-end instruments that all play well, and say, “Here, pick one!” But that was the goal, so we kept playing. Finally we did brackets, and compared two at a time, picking one from each bracket. Then when it was the top two, which happened to be the ones from the reps, they left the room and we brought in the party host to be an objective ear.  Finally, after two pieces played on each flute, we had a unanimous winner, and my daughter finally relaxed enough to be excited about her choice. I think she’s going to do amazing things with this flute, and I feel really grateful that we’re able to do something like this for her.