Knitting Up: Academic and Advent Seasons

I was happy to find my grandmother's angels where I'd left them in the attic. 

     Most people graduate from one level of school or another and then join the ranks of adults--thus forever forgoing the student's dread anticipation and excitement at the beginning of the school year and subsequent bone weary exhaustion at the end of the year or semester.  Teachers, though, never get out of this sort of experiencing and measuring of time.  At present, I’m in the midst of the semester's end tying up stage and have two weeks to grade assignments, prepare and give exams, and turn in all grades.  Then it’s a little time off (less than two weeks this year) and then a new group of students and new classes begin in January. 

     Typically, due to general malaise paired with sensory overload (a product of encountering too many raucous high school students anticipating a break from school), I am not among the ranks of people who host holiday celebrations or even decorate their homes much for Christmas.  I tend to sit around and knit or read over the holidays, with some eating out and trips to the movies thrown into the mix.  Sometimes I’ll manage to do some cooking, but usually any elaborate recipes or large meals are done after I’ve had time to rest, after Christmas Day has come and gone (hence my family often has a post-Christmas turkey or roast beef purchased on sale after everyone else is subsisting on leftovers or beginning New Year's healthy eating regimens). 

     This year, however, my husband is in his first year of retirement, and since he’s taken over much of the domestic and chauffeuring duties of my household, over this past weekend I actually dragged down boxes of Christmas decorations that hadn’t seen the light of day in probably five years.  I also sent out invitations to a little knitting (or learn-to-knit) brunch get-together.  To make my cards, I used a vintage photo from

These decorations were my grandmother's. 

I enjoyed creating these invitations and
can see why cardmaking is such a
popular craft. 

     A couple of weekends ago, I was also able to spend some wonderful quiet time in the early morning working on some needle felting.  Great Britain blogger Elizabeth (a.k.a ThomasinaTittlemouse) who has a visual treat of a blog that shows step-by-step photos of crochet, cooking, sewing and other projects (paired with prose that is witty yet poignant at times, too) graciously sent me some felt she’d purchased in Germany, where she was vacationing. After weeks of contemplation about what to do with this wonderful, thick blue substance, I used it to make some eyeglass cases for small gifts, using a template from to cut out the thick felt.  While these small cases took a few hours to make, they certain worked up in a speedier manner than the many unfinished knitted gifts on needles that are located in various bags strewn around my bedroom.

I bought this great reference book at Goodwill a couple of years ago
and used it to refresh my memory about how to work a blanket
edging stitch.  This book is also a comprehensive source of knitting
and crochet information. 

     Due to my recent crafting and preoccupation with decorating and menu planning, along with gathering and purchasing enough needles and yarn to share with guests, I don’t have much in the way of finished projects to share in the knitsphere.  I did, however, find a great source for inexpensive yarn--Smiley's Yarn.  This company has a minimum purchase amount of $50.00, but offers amazing deals such as skeins of quality yarn for as little as $1.50 each.  In addition to scouring the Internet for yarn deals, I've been casting on some projects and putting the finishing touches on a sock monkey I started a couple of weeks ago.   Barring any unforeseen holiday mishaps or illness, after I host my gathering I’ll be sure to post lots of pictures and a recap of the event. 

     Perhaps after my guests have gone and final exams are graded and recorded, when presents are wrapped, and when Stella, Maggie, and Streaky (our family pets) are lazing (languishing is perhaps a more apt term to describe their postures) in various locations around the den, I will pause for a moment and quietly ponder the coming of Christmas.

I'm nearly done with the May Queen
Mouse.  I think I'll add a headpiece
 or veil and make her a
bride, though, and put her on the
Christmas tree. 

This yarn came shrink wrapped with a magazine.  The
pattern for the fingerless gloves was inside.  These
are easier to make than they look and might make a
nice Christmas present for someone . . . if I get them finished. 


  1. What lovely vintage decorations! Things like this handed down in the family are very special. Love what you've done with the blue felt - those cases look wonderful! The needle felted details are to die for - I want to have a go at needle felting but haven't had the chance yet. Your knitting / learn to knit brunch sounds such fun - enjoy! Thank you for your such kind words. E x

  2. Wish I lived in your area.. would love to go to a knit-together with you :) I am looking forward to hearing how it turns out.. Also, love your little mouse, so cute :)

  3. That needle-felting is amazing! I keep meaning to equip myself with the tools to have a go, but like you I'm also up to my ears in marking and assessments at this time of year. I too look forward to doing nothing more in the holidays than sitting, reading, knitting, sewing and watching TV. I actually try and avoid being invited out anywhere - I want nothing more than to be in my own home at this time of year. love from Judy.

  4. So so cool that you have your grandmothers decorations. I"D love to have them from my grandmother.....she was from Ireland


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