Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Snort Alert: If you're drinking a beverage while reading, put it down now or risk having to clean your keyboard.

My job-sharing partner was discussing a book with the grade twos this morning. She asked if anyone knew what light-headed means. One of the boys said, "I do. It's like feeling your heart beating but it's in your head. And, it's weird, but sometimes I feel it in my privates too."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Drumroll please......

With the help of an online sequence generator, I am pleased to announce that the lucky winner of the Lisa Souza Sock! merino yarn is Pamala Brown. Congratulations Pamala! I'll be contacting you for mailing information and your new yarn will be in the mail shortly. Enjoy!

Thanks to all of you for the comments! There are so many that it won't be possible to respond to each one individually but I have read them and appreciate all that you have shared with me.

It's All Relative

Today's pics are provided by my sister Darcie.
Her family welcomed a new sheltie puppy, WillowGlyn 4 Off The Floor, before Christmas. Meet Kai....

I love this "attack puppy" picture.

Kai did not receive the warmest welcome from his new big sister Mikki (WillowGlyn Asian Sky), whose nose was seriously out of shape for a while. While she still isn't thrilled that "it" is staying, she's warming up to the idea slowly. Some days. Maybe. Sort of.

My niece Katie with the dogs.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


It took many tries but I finally got a couple of headshots of Robbie where he was actually standing still! Got to love the digital camera where I can erase all of the wasted shots.

The flying sheltie shot. Look at Poke's face - "Eeeuuu! Don't run into me, you maniacs."



Not much knitting progress to report. I eventually got frustrated enough with the Regia yarn to cut off the knotted mass. What a waste. I won't be using that stuff for trying a new technique. It looks cool but it seems like it knots if it's exposed to oxygen. It's very loosely plied. The 2 socks on 2 circs will be tried with this Meilenweit 6-ply yarn. I think it patterns the same as the beige and gray socks that I'm using to making my sister's socks but I'm not sure. I discovered a knot in it while I was winding it and there was one in the beige and gray skein too. I hate knots in self-patterning yarn. Other than that, it's a nice sock yarn - sturdy and quite soft.

Don't forget about the blog anniversary contest! I'll be making the draw for the Lisa Souza yarn tomorrow (Sunday) evening. I'll be randomly selecting a comment from those that I received from last Tuesday until 6 pm CST Sunday.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Yarn Flu

You know when you reach into the factory-made center-pull skein of yarn to find the elusive end and can't feel it so you pull out a bit of the middle and a whole wad of tangled yarn comes out? I have heard it referred to as yarn vomit. A most apt description for this.

I decided to wind this Regia 6-ply into two equal center-pull balls on my ball winder so that I could try making Queen Kahuna's 2 socks on 2 circs. Good grief. I have been trying to untangle this mess for an hour and haven't gotten very far. Note to yarn manufacturers: please wind the yarn into a normal skein. Your center-pull skeins don't work. Even if folks don't own a ball winder and swift, it is still easier to wrap a skein around a chair back and wind it by hand than to have yarn vomit all over the place.

Back to untangling....

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blogger Shenanigans

Some people have found that their comments aren't automatically linking to their profiles and contact information. I have been getting all the comments as they are forwarded to my email address but not all of them are showing up on the blog. Unfortunately I'm not always successful getting a link to your contact information from your comment, even from my email account - I'm getting error messages.

Probably the safest way to ensure that I have your email address in case you win the sock yarn is to include your addy in the comment, not relying on the automatic linking. If you've already commented and your contact information doesn't appear to be showing up on the blog comments just drop me an email to and please let me know what name was on your original comment.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Holy Cow!

How does Yarn Harlot do it? I spent most of my available time the last two days just reading comments. Yarn Harlot gets hundreds of comments on her blog every day!! When does she sleep, eat, knit??

Here's what I have recently learned from my blog:

1. Knitters really, REALLY like Lisa Souza's yarn! Especially if it's free.

2. Knitters like animals. Lots of you had questions about my dogs. The formal introductions are

-Multi Group Placing, CKC Champion Ajax's SS Hocus Pocus, almost 10 years old, Bichon Frise

-WillowGlyn Patriot Games (Harrison), Shetland Sheepdog (sheltie), 6 years old

-Multi Group Placing CKC Champion and Best In Show UKC Champion WillowGlyn Oh Behave (Austin), sheltie, 3 years old

-WillowGlyn Serengeti Nights (Robbie), sheltie, almost 2 years old

3. A lot of people knit socks.

4. A lot of people read blogs. Many of them also write blogs.

5. Google Analytics is really fun! I just installed it on the weekend and you can see the stats about the hits to your blog including a map of where they originated. Amazing!

Chris asked whether I spin the dog hair. I am saving the undercoat from the shelties as I brush them. It's lovely and soft. I haven't started spinning it yet but I will.

Thank you for all of the lovely compliments about the dogs!

The first Meilenweit 6-ply sock is done. I started it for me but it will be for my sister. Unfortunately the STR Granite (see Jan. 31/07 post) sock was too big for her and this one was roomy on me so she'll get this one and the Granite was frogged for use at a later date. The more socks I knit the more I am discovering that I like my socks snug.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Blog's First Anniversary - A Prize!

Today is my blog's first anniversary! To celebrate, I have a beautiful skein of Lisa Souza Sock! Merino yarn in Violet's Pink Ribbon colorway to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog from Tuesday, February 20 to Sunday, February 25/07. I'll randomly pick one comment to win. Please make sure that I have contact information to let you know if you win.

Family Day

Yesterday was Saskatchewan's very first Family Day, a new provincial holiday. Dan and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and went for a walk in the afternoon. Although it had become cloudy, it was mild and calm.
We are so fortunate to live at the edge of the city adjacent to a large park along a creek. We frequently see muskrats, beavers, and a large variety of birds. Our neighbors told us that they spotted a trio of coyotes at the end of our street one winter evening. We only saw a rabbit today.
The little pink arrow above shows the back of our house.

This picture was taken on the boreal island in the park. We can see this island from the kitchen window and deck/sunroom.

Many people think that Saskatchewan is all flatland. Not so! There are many beautiful and diverse habitats in our province. The south is mostly grain farms on flat land but as you go north, it changes to a rolling landscape of bushes and trees. Most of the northern part of the province is forest and beautiful clear lakes. Having said all that, most of the land around Regina is prairie. In fact, if you were to walk a couple of blocks west of the park near our home you would see nothing but fields of grain. If you are lucky enough to have seen a wonderful little sitcom called "Corner Gas" you have seen what it looks like. We're very proud of Corner Gas. It is filmed just south of Regina.

Ta Da!

Here's Pocus sporting his new 'do. The weather is beautiful today (-10C, 14F) with no wind. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. I guess the birds survived the cold weather after all.

Harrison is digging for some enticing smell under the snow.

Austin squinting into the sun.

And Robbie who, of course, I can never photograph well as he's too busy. Here he is playing one of his favorite games, Kill The Foot.

Obligatory knitting content is a pic of the latest sock to go on the needles, Monkey sock pattern from Knitty on 2.0mm KnitPicks circs in Lisa Souza Sock!, colorway Delft.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Speaking of Strategies

Hocus Pocus' and my strategy for keeping him warm in the cold weather has been to let his coat grow out until he looks like a marshmallow. Now that the weather has become seasonable he will get a haircut this weekend.


I don't know about the rest of the world but here in Regina people worry if their kids are in a split class at school. Basically, a split is one that has students of more than one grade level in the class. Personally I don't know what all of the fuss is about. I have taught straight grade classes and split grade classes and I don't find much difference except for a little bit of extra planning. In my mind all classes are split classes as the students have a range of maturity, abilities, and prior knowledge. They are at a variety of learning levels.

Here's a little story that proves my point. I am currently teaching a straight grade two class.

We talk a lot about strategies in my class. Especially in math, students are asked to share the strategies that they use to solve problems and they are eager to do so. They often provide strategies of their own that I didn't even realize that they were using. The wonderful thing about this is that they demonstrate their thinking to teach others and they provide a lot of information for me about what they know, how they are learning, and what they need to learn next. It also provides some moments that I need to stifle my urge to laugh out loud.

We were in the gym for phys. ed. and were playing a dodgeball type of game called Benchball, a favorite among kids of all ages. There are two teams of players on each side of the gym and they throw nerf balls at their opponents. When hit, players go to a bench on the opposite side at the back of the opposing team's players. If they can catch a ball from their teammates while on the bench, they free their team's benched players.

One little girl came up to me and conspiratorily told me that she had a strategy for playing the game. I was quite interested to hear her strategy, thinking that she had found a good position on the floor for hitting her opponents while they were off-guard or for keeping herself relatively out of direct hit territory. Nope, she said to me, "I try not to get hit with the ball."

Okay, same group of kids, vastly different thought processes. A University of Regina Education student doing a practicum in my classroom was teaching a nutrition lesson. She had the titles of the food groups on the board and was asking students to provide examples of each for her to list under the labels. When she got to the Bread and Cereals group, one student offered "Bread", which she listed. Another student said, "Well, cereals, I guess." Small chuckles from the class. There was pause when she asked for more examples as the obvious ones were already stated. Suddenly one boy said, "Oh, I know, And." It took a minute for it to sink in and then I started to laugh out loud.

You can't tell me that these two kids are at the same developmental level, straight grade or no straight grade!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The birds must be crazy.

This was the scene from my kitchen window this morning. I wish that you could see the ice crystals that were sparkling in the air. It was -35 degrees Celsius here in sunny Saskatchewan. That's -31 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you Americans. Cold, no matter what scale you're using. When I took the dogs out the birds were chirping and singing like it was the middle of summer. How do they do it? Teeny, tiny little birds not only not freezing but actually singing like mad. Why don't they migrate like most other sensible birds? Usually when it's this cold the stillness outside is palpable. Are the birds telling us that spring is coming soon? Or does it just mean that all of the insane birds in the world happened to be in the neighborhood today? Whatever the reason, the birds make Harrison ridiculously happy. He really likes watching the birds sitting in the branches and, when they fly away, he thinks that they are the stuff of herding dogs' dreams.

The forecast is for milder, more normal temps starting tomorrow. Speaking on behalf of all elementary school teachers in this province, thank heavens the indoor recesses will finally come to an end!

I Was Wrong

Last summer I bought the Crazy Toes and Heels book by Mary Ann Beattie and started some toe-up socks on two circs using this method. I hated it. I had trouble making the increases without splitting the yarn, got frustrated, and frogged. At that time I decided the book was a waste of money. I put it back on the bookshelf and it lingered there. I was wrong to dismiss it. I recently bought some more of the Colinette Cadenza yarn that I made my scarf with and wanted to make socks with it. I wasn't sure how far the yarn would go as it is heavier than sock weight yarn so I decided to make them toe-up. I was pretty sure that I would be able to wear the knitted soles of this soft, thick wool so I didn't have to worry about purling the sole. I pulled the book off the shelf and tried again. This is a beautiful sock that fits me extremely well. Although I had to really concentrate on the instructions for the first sock it wasn't that difficult. I'm not sure if I am a better, more confident sock knitter than I was last summer or if the new pointy Knit Picks circs made the increases easier (probably a combination of both) but I definitely will use Mary Ann's method again and I am sorry for giving up on it sooner. By the way, I had plenty of wool to complete a generous sock using the Cadenza for my narrow, medium-length feet.