Friday, August 15, 2014

Sands of Summertime




As I look back, I can’t really label this summer as a relaxing one or even refer to it as a “break.”  On the contrary, this has been a season of muddling through a sea of outrageously expensive car repairs, unpleasant medical appointments, sundry unforeseen household expenses, a disappointing children’s school acceptance snafu, and a serious discipline issue with my older son, who, with his own car and summer job, was given enough rope to hang himself (I’m using figurative language here) and did just that.  On top of those activities, in recent weeks I painted and scrubbed in preparation for a house guest and spent weeks working on a job application.  All along, though, I found both solace and novelty in my knitting. 

Evening knitting and its corresponding release of tension came in particularly hardy the last few weeks or so, after I’d made the decision to resign from my former teaching job to accept a new position in a different county.  I walked into my old school, informed my principal that I wouldn’t be back to teach when school opened up, gleefully anticipating having a having a fourteen-day or so break before beginning a new job.  I was, therefore, taken aback by the assertion of this imposing and stolid man (whom I'd never met before this time) that I wasn’t allowed to leave until he’d found a replacement and that by law he could hold me for thirty days (something about a mysterious contract I’d signed twelve years ago).  Anyway, I have moved furniture and boxes, started one school year at my former place of employment (where school begins a couple of weeks earlier than at my new place), spent a little over a week there, had one day “off” to take my older son to a three-hour medical appointment, and the following day attended orientation at my new school. 

Happily, in the next few days, before officially beginning my new teaching position at a large high school in Charlotte, one with an excellent reputation for its strong academic programs, I hope to try to steal a little bit of summer.  A couple of days ago, I finished my Sand Dollar Tunic, made with seasonably appropriate Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton.  Yesterday I put it on and caught a matinee at my local megaplex movie theater.  I might not have been at the beach, but there is still something about sitting in the dark munching popcorn on a hot afternoon that screams summer indulgence. I saw 100 Foot Journey, suitably light and amusing for a summer afternoon.  

I also plan to spend the next few days working on my Stellina Sweater, a Louisa Harding design.  Knit with another warm-weather fiber, I hope to have this item off my needles before August is over.  As it is often in the 80s and 90s through the end of October in my region of North Carolina, I should have plenty of time to wear this garment before winter.  I also plan to finish the novel I am reading, Charles Dickens’s Old Curiosity Shop.  Last summer, a time characterized by a glorious trip to England and little serious consideration of any practical affairs, I spent a week at Oxford University taking part in a seminar dealing with Charles Dickens as a trailblazing mystery writer.  This year the Old Curiosity Shop has me on the edge of my seat regarding the plight of Little Nell, (I should know what her fate is but can only remember that thousands of people in the 19th century stood by the docks in New York—or maybe New England—awaiting shipment of the part of the serialized story that dealt with whether Nell would live or die).   I find this sentimental story another perfect and much needed summertime escape, but hope that in a year or two my feet can once again walk through London and the English countryside, rather than traveling vicariously through Dickens's world. 

Cables and garter stitch create the front of Louisa Harding's Stellina sweater.  



Until that time, I know that I am firmly entrenched in a time of duty and obligation, where I must muster strength and patience.  While a new job is exciting, I will have bigger classes and the new employee’s burden of proving myself.  I must also enforce new rules and regulations with my son.  (Placing a seventeen-year-old under “house arrest” for a month has frazzled every nerve in my body and challenged my already high strung psyche).  But my knitting, along with reading and infrequent get-togethers with friends offer bright spots along the way.  In addition, my local yarn shop is having a big sale this weekend, and while my stash is rapidly encroaching on my family’s living space, I can’t avoid attending this event, so that I connect with fellow fiber enthusiasts and escape by handling and basking in the colors of the store’s wares.  Maybe I’ll break down and buy one of the many Christmas stocking kits the owner has hanging by the cash register.  Summer’s end is almost here and December won’t be far along.  But before casting on Christmas gifts, I have to get back to a silk shell I started months ago.  I might get it done before the first marking period grades are due at my new school. 

I finished this scarf yesterday, an item made with a Louisa Harding pattern and her
Amitola yarn and pattern.  The rosette is fastened  to a pin, so it can be moved.  I should pack
this away for a future Christmas  present  for someone, but I love the colors.  



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