Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Time Out


When I sit down at the computer lately, schoolwork or working on my National Board teaching certificate renewal has been first on my agenda.  My brain has been spinning with educationalese for weeks now, and my past blog writing and knitwear design attempts seem like the work of some other person, as I can't fathom how I ever had the concentration or energy to devote to those tasks in any serious way.   Lately, I stay at school late every evening and come home unable to do much but plop on the couch to ply my knitting needles, in an attempt to assuage the stresses and tensions of the day.


I put several  works in progress aside, actually more than several (and way too many to confess here), to cast on this Sugar Grove Shawl found in the spring 2014 ssue of  Knitscene magazine.  I wanted to make something quickly, that I could send to my mother who recently had surgery.  This pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn.  I used Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Superwash here and was able to finish this project in the mornings and evenings in around a week's time.   


On the weekends, I've been spending time relaxing by making trips to the knitting store, visiting with friends, or busying myself in the kitchen.  So, as this blog post reflects my life, it is a bit disjointed, with no unity of purpose.  But I'd rather post something than let my blog founder, and hope that when summer comes along I'll get back to writing something a bit more unified, or maybe actually share some instructions or patterns. For now, though, I'll just share a few pictures of life lately.  


I began work on a small quilt using Downton Abbey fabric squares.  I hope my slightly misaligned blocks (in some places, anyway) won't be glaringly apparent when this project is finished.  



This is Martha Stewart's Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake.  I've made three of these delicious cakes in the past two weeks.  This one turned out the best.  Find the recipe here.  (Note:  have lots of butter on hand and don't expect your pants to fit comfortably if you make as many of these as I did in a concentrated time period.)



I went to an antiques flea market last weekend with a friend who was in town.  These are spindles from a North Carolina mill.  These items are plentiful at such sales here as the area where I live used to be at the hub of the textile milling industry, until nearly every operation moved overseas.    

It's pretty sad when you go to an antiques flea market and realize you already own enough items of similar style and vintage to open your own booth or large store.  

I couldn't leave empty-handed, so I did spend one dollar on this pretty tea strainer.  

I have been waiting to cast on with this yarn, given to me by my friend, Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse, last summer when I was in England.  I finally found a pattern that will work with this quantity and weight of yarn.  I'll share pattern details in future posts.  


In conclusion, my odd array of activities sustains me when my work days grow longer and more demanding. In addition to knitting, reading always provides an escape from daily chores and tensions.  I just finished a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien and was impressed by the very human nature of this great man, as his biographer recounted how Tolkien always had a plethora of writing projects going on simultaneously and didn't always finish what he started. (Hmmn, he sounds like a knitter.)  I've also been watching some new episodes of Call the Midwife that aired recently.  I had to smile at Sister Monica Joan, the retired nun with dementia, who had her knitting taken away from her the other night as her fussing about it was disrupting a doctor who was giving a presentation to the Nonnatus House midwives about the connection between relaxation and easier deliveries. According to the the PBS website, Joan "has an eccentric, mercurial personality, and is obsessed with cake, astrology and knitting, in no particular order."  I hope I haven't garnered a similar reputation at my workplace (although British literature and BBC productions might take the place of astrology in a catalogue of my obsessions).  Anyway, having passions outside of the daily grind does make life more palatable, and when the school year is over, I hope to regain some creative energy and productivity.  

I've been on a yarn fast this Lenten season, but did
purchase this book last week.  I love the designs by Alana
Dokhas.  Check out her blog:  Never Not Knitting.  








3 comments:

  1. Lovely craftsy post, beautiful shawl...wonderful gift for your mother! OH! And Sister Monica Joan is my FAVOURITE character...hope to be JUST like her...soon...lol...

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  2. Gorgeous snapshots, Liz! I really enjoy posts that are a patchwork of little glimpses like this. Your quilt squares are coming together beautifully and that shawl.....!! Your mother will be thrilled with it. Going to check out that recipe - looks very yummy indeed! Thinking of you at this rather busy and stressful time. E xx

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  3. Hello Liz - if it's any consolation, I know exactly how you are feeling. At present we are on Easter holidays - 2 weeks of rest and recuperation. As far as I can remember, you don't have many holidays during the year in the US do you? I think that one of the reasons I've been making so many blankets lately is that they don't require much brain-effort - you can just sit on the sofa working away in an almost therapeutic way. I will reply to your email soon. Can't wait to see the Downton Abbey quilt - I've put the quilt I started away for a while as I too don't have much energy for big projects. I think that the shawl is beautiful and I hope your mother recovers quickly. 'Chin up' as we say here in the UK - summer will be with us soon. Love Judy.

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