Thursday, January 5, 2012

Getting Primed: Vogue Knitting Live

My students and I began our spring semester this week.  For me, the first day was coupled with the onset of yet another nasty virus—one characterized by congestion, exhaustion, and a renewed niggling pain in my ribs.  This discomfort was brought on several weeks ago (before Christmas break) when I was overcome by a violent coughing fit in the midst of my first period class.  I recall being bent double in pain, nearly hacking my brains out onto the floor, as I waved away an urgent student request to "borrow some White Out."   

Mustering up the strength and enthusiasm to teach high school, especially to begin a new school year or new semester (when teachers here have new students and new classes) is a formidable task when one is well, but pair this activity with ill health and the result is a challenge worth of any reality show competition.  Teens, so absorbed in their own trials and tribulations, are often not sympathetic to the mental or physical state of adults.  And, at the beginning of a school year or new semester, first impressions count, so when adolescents are presented with a washed-out, fatigued teacher, the resulting dynamic won’t be good.  Young people have an uncanny ability, sort of like that of wild animals, to smell weakness, and woe to the individual who isn’t physically or mentally up to the challenge of managing a classroom.  I have seen such a scenario in practice, observing substitutes and interim teachers crumble, self-esteem crushed, due to the cruelty of a pack of predatory adolescents, who, scenting fear, banded together and went in for an attack. 

In the midst of summoning up the strength to go back into the classroom while avoiding such a situation, I am also preparing for a trip to Vogue Knitting Live.  This upcoming weekend jaunt was impetus for me to go to Urgent Care two nights ago to arm myself with antibiotics and codeine-laced cough syrup, in the hopes that I will be in fighting shape before embarking on a journey to the frigid North.  I haven’t been in the Manhattan since 1995 (I grew up in NJ and worked in the city for five years), but I do remember that icy January winds sweep down the streets, piercing one to the bone.  Of course, I do have the advantage of possessing an impressive stack of woolly knitwear to arm myself against these blasts.

I haven't worn this over sized cowl/hood yet, to which
I've added an I-cord drawstring (to keep it snugly on),
but even though it's not black and chic,
it should be just the thing for NYC in January.

In the midst of worries about weather and health and about how I can lose 20 pounds in a week (so I will be recognized by an old friend I plan to meet in NY whom I haven’t laid eyes on in over two decades), I received an email yesterday that brightened up this demanding time for me, one that said that I need to bring size eight needles for a class I will be taking with Debbie Bliss.  This bit of correspondence, a bright reminder of this class in shaping knitwear with cables, lifted my spirits when I first read it and made me think, “How amazing is that—a class with the Debbie Bliss?” My curiosity is also piqued even more than it already was when I registered for this class, as I now wonder what kind of yarn we will use.  Luckily, I received a gift certificate to Cottage Yarn from my husband for Christmas, so last week I was able to purchased much-longed-for interchangeable Harmony needles.  I should now have no trouble locating some size eights easily, rather than foraging through storage boxes filled with a mish mash of knitting supplies.
Harmony Needles.  Image from Beautiful Knitting.

I’ve never been to Vogue Knitting Live, nor have I ever had the good sense to plan a plane trip in mid-January, the time each year, like clockwork it seems, North Carolina experiences an ice or snow storm (a storm which sends everyone scampering out for milk and bread and then shuts down the schools and hampers plane travel).  But I will remain positive.  I’ll get better.  The weather will cooperate.  Next week, I’ll rub shoulders with the knitterati and learn some new skills.  I’m come armed with new needles and return home, I hope, with fresh inspiration and renewed spirits to tackle the challenges of both the classroom and my knitting projects. 

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