Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Naughty Kitties

We have two new additions to our family.  Actually they cam  home with us a few weeks ago, but have been a little skittish.  I'm not quite sure how we ended up with them......We decided one sunny Saturday afternoon to go for a walk as a family.  We set off and were enjoying the sunshine and conversation.  The younger ones were running everywhere, playing some imaginary game that only they knew what was going on.  At some point, we decided (the youngest) that it would be a great idea to go get ice cream.  So....we reversed direction and walked toward one of our favorite ice cream stores.  In the same strip mall as the ice cream store, is a pet store that just so happened to be having a cat fair that day.  The kids begged us to just go "look" at the cats - they just wanted to look at them and hold them.  My husband and I fell into this trap and said, "Sure!  Why not."  HAHAHAHA
 Meet "Motor".  He is most likely almost a year old.  His original name is "Honey Bee" and the kids still call him this sometimes.  I call him Motor because he has the loudest purr that I have ever heard.  When he gets going, you can hear him in another room.  This picture doesn't show just how pretty he is - his tail has lots of grey hairs in it and he is so furry!  He loves to lay on this little guys bed a bedtime and J reads to him.  Otherwise, he meows outside my oldest's room (while she is playing the violin) because he likes to be in her room while she practices.
 Meet "Tux".  This one is a true kitten.  Her original name was "Kate", but of course that wouldn't work because the dog is Kate.  This kitten is so cute, but such an imp!  She is a hunter and continually "hunts" the parakeets (poor birds!).  She is always underfoot attacking our legs and feet.  She sits under the table at meal time and tries to jump in our laps so that she can peek out and steal the food off our plates.  All that is very cute.  She has one other habit that is not so cute.....
 I know this picture is very dark, but can you see that one broken warp thread on my table loom?  We can thank Tux for that.  I caught her chewing on the threads!!
See this broken thread, this is another one.  She was running under the loom and then would jump up through the threads and out the top.  The kids think this is hilarious - me...not so much.  I took my handy dandy spray bottle that I use with water for ironing and sprayed her every time she went under the loom.  It only took about 3,769 times but she stays away from the loom now.  It's sure a good thing that she is so cute!!

I haven't been reading much in the line of real books.  Been working on "Carrie" by Stephen King.  I had been cleaning out some things and came across it - I remember liking it a lot, but I think my tastes have changed over the years.  I am almost done with it and have not enjoyed it as much as I thought I would.  Other than that, I have been reading my crochet and sewing magazines and planning for my daughter's sleepover birthday party this Friday (she is turning 11) and then our annual family Thanksgiving party on Saturday.  Please don't ask me why I thought having a birthday party on the eve of the big family Thanksgiving party was a good idea!!  Obviously I am a little addled!

Hop on over to Tami's, Ginny's, Kristine's, and Sue's places to see other great projects.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Knitting Class

When I decided to teach knitting to elementary school children, I had no idea what they should start with.  I learned to knit as an adult and I started with a scarf, but even as an adult, it seemed to take FOREVER to finish that first project. 

I thought about why a scarf might usually be the first knitting project.  I believe it is so that the new knitter can become proficient at the "knit" stitch and create something in garter stitch.  A scarf provides lots and lots of practice in this one stitch.

I wanted my students to get the same kind of practice, but be able to successfully finish a project a little more quickly to keep them interested and excited.  To that end, these patterns were born.
 The Stuffed Monster.  Just rows of garter stitch which is cast off, sewn up, eyes and mouth added, stuffed and finished.  They learn a lot and can finish in a 4 week class.

To my surprise this was not the most popular project picked on the first round (for session 1 or now for session 2).  The kids that did pick this project and finished it, elected not to add the teeth.  One of my students has made a few of these (a "family") and she did not want to use the pom poms, so her eyes are just buttons.  I must say her little "family" of stuffed monsters is really cute!
 Wrist Warmers - this project has turned out to be the most popular.  About 80% of the students pick this one first.  None of the students have actually made these yet.  They get to the length of one, and are ready to cast off, but don't want to knit another one so we turn the piece of fabric into either a bag or a monster.
Bag-this is the project that has been made the most.  It is just a simple little bag, but the kids who wind up making it are so happy.  I have a boy in this second session of classes and by the time the first class was over, he was half way done with his bag.  He is in the third grade.  Next he wants to knit a hat and I think he can.  Another student has made several of these, but she modified the pattern so that the bag is much smaller to hold her little animals at home - each one needs a bag.  She was totally surprised that I was unaware that each of her little animals needed a bag to sleep in - I guess I am totally clueless :o)

I leave my class completely jazzed and excited about what these kids are doing.  I can't believe that they have so much concentration at this young age.

My first class of the second session was especially amusing.  There are four girls who know each other pretty well and they all sat by each other.  Well, after they cast on and figured out the knit stitch, they sat there knitting and talking the whole time.  They compared their knitting and helped each other out.  Just like I do with my knitting group.  A new group of knitters is being formed!!

Head on over to Tami's,  Wonder Why Gal, Linda, and Sue for other finished lovelies! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doin' My Own Thing

It's been quite awhile since I last posted.  So many good things have been happening!!  And crafting has been going gang busters - but not in the traditional "I made that" kind of way.
 I started teaching knitting to elementary school kids (2nd grade through 5th grade) once a week after school for two hours.  It has been such a blast!!  I had no idea how it would go or even it there would be any demand for this kind of thing.  I created a flyer and sent it out.  I advertised for 8 spots.....20 kids requested to be in the class!!  I took 12 of them and started a wait list.
 Today I am starting the first class of the second session and again I have 12 students.  7 repeats (kids who want to continue) and 5 new ones.  How great is that!!

Each kid gets their own "kit".  I make them one of the Capri Sun bags to carry their knitting in (all knitters need a bag!) and I include needles, yarn, scissors and a darning needle.  I think the kids like the bag as much as anything else.
 They all start out making either a purse or a stuffed monster pillow.  Rectangles of fabric which are then sewn into something useful.  This is just to get them started on the garter stitch fabric - so they can practice without having to knit a whole long scarf.  In the first session, all 12 students finished a project.  One of my students finished a purse and has started a hat!!

I made this sample bear to show them that each piece is just a "rectangle".  They have watched week to week as the knitting progressed.  They saw when each piece was completed and I showed them that each piece was indeed a rectangle and they each were capable of making it.  I can't wait to show them the bear in completed pieces and next week they will see the completed project.

I did it this way for a couple of reasons.  The most important was to show them that it takes awhile for a project to go from start to finish.   I made sure that it took all four weeks (and more) to get all the pieces done.  I also made "mistakes" and ripped them out right in front of the students - everyone makes mistakes and it's all good - it's just a form of learning how the stitches work.  And I wanted them to feel like it will be a real possibility for them to make one of these too.  The student who is working on the hat wants to make one of these and I believe she can do it!!

I can't believe that I can make money at something I enjoy doing.  I love to work with kids - I love that "lightbulb" moment when they "get it".  There have been so many of these over the last month.  And of course I love to knit.  Such a win - win situation.
Don't you just love that little face?!!

Head on over to Tami's, Ginny's, Sara's and Kristine's to see more works in progress.