A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Sunday, October 01, 2006

And The Winner Is....

.... answers are waiting over at my new home on the web, here!

It does not look so nice yet, and I still have to unpack my boxes and put pictures on the walls, so to speak, but please head on over and bookmark my new location so that we don't lose touch with each other.

This site will remain!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Morning in the Mountains

I am not usually at work early on a Saturday morning, but this is what the view from my office door looked like at 7:30 AM today.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Teaching and Learning

From the wild sheep's fleece in olden times,
The wool was won and washed and spun.

Sheep gave the wool,
people gave it form.

With link on link
And row on row

The one long thread
Begins to show

How the work of our fingers
With patience transforms;

Now the wild sheep's fleece
Can clothe peoples' forms.

This verse, my adaptation of the original from Gertrude Madey, is the one I use with my second grade handwork class to close each lesson session. I am finding my work fun and rewarding, but the time for each lesson far too short. Through it all, children learn, and most especially in this situation is knitting about process. Stitch counting helps with math, sitting at one's desk, using both hands to concentrate on creating an object is a grounding and centering activity for the young child, and of course there is great excitement and pride of accomplishment at finishing a project.

Sara and I met this afternoon to review the curriculum I am piecing together; she taught at Live Oak Waldorf School for several years while her two sons, now 28 and 30, were in elementary...

We discussed the differences and similarities between the public version and work within the private Waldorf setting, as well as the changes that have taken place with a new generation of parents bringing children, and also needing for both to work full-time. There are far more separated families, for example.

I am very fortunate to have a group of parent helpers, fulfilling their volunteer hours that are required for their children to attend a public charter school of this type, with me through each and every lesson, and we still felt pretty overwhelmed as our group of 30 first-graders all made their first attempts at a garter stitch this morning. Out of that number, I was delighted to see that there were five with previous knitting experience, through their families, who were capably charging through three rows in the same time the very beginning students were struggling through their first few stitches.

Sara and some of the staff have also cautioned me to set limits on the out-of-class I devote, and so "correcting" will mainly take place during classes, so that I don't become a slave to re-doing, fixing, etc. Sara had several examples of her sons' stuffed animals, made during their early years, and a few "next step" projects for my second grade students, a few who are close to exhausting the steps taken in previous years.

Teaching is always an adventure involving staying a few steps ahead of your students, no matter how familiar the subject or how long one has been teaching it. Sara reflected on how much that is the case in teaching adults in the fiber arts as well. A wonderful, end-of-summer meeting of the minds at one of our lovely outdoor cafes in Nevada City, before winter sets in... thanks so very much for your generous gift of time, Sara.

A last note, to remind all who haven't done so yet... there is still time to enter my 375th Post Contest; I haven't gotten my new Typepad site ready to launch and am behind schedule, but the contest will take place on time:). There's also still plenty of time to join in the fun for the Twisted Knitters Dye-Spin-Knit Along, not that you have nothing to do!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawlette

As promised, I took advantage of the lovely autumn weather on the first day of fall to capture a few views of my completed shawlette. The pattern is available online from Susan Lawrence. I started my version the day I returned home from getting to hang out with Susan and Margene at Great Basin Fiber Fair, using yarn that Margene had dyed under Susan's tutelage in the spring. The colors reflected the Utah landscape for me, especially the trees whose leaves were starting to turn color, and the completed shawlette will wrap me in memories of that wonderful visit and all the fun we had at our spindle class together... so I renamed my personal version "Echoes of Hugs".

Glenn took this photo for me, with our Forest City high country house in the background.
The shawlette is light and lovely and a great accent with fall outfits.

Although the color doesn't quite come through accurately (it misses the pinky sunset shades that led Margene to dub this "Merlot"), the detail is very good.

This shot gives a truer idea of the lovely colors in the yarn.

The pattern was an absolute joy to knit, easy to see unfolding as I went along, and short enough to be finished quickly (just over two weeks of about an hour a day). The instructions include a great tutorial for those who have never knitted lace before, and although I have knitted quite a few lacy items over the years, this is the first finished piece that done in laceweight. I loved the edging, which is a creative extension and finishing off of the pattern, and the two-row bind-off allowed the edging to remain elastic, while being easy to complete. The points all finished blocking very nicely!

In fact, I loved the pattern so much that I started a second one, a gift, in a dusty green Misti Alpaca, re-learning that not all laceweights are the same, as this second version needs a needle size smaller, which I will have to pick up tomorrow. I highly recommend Susan's pattern for those beginning to think about gift knitting!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Smoky Saturday Sky

This Saturday sky is pretty ugly with brown smoke (that smudgy layer just above the mountains), although the visibility has increased since 24 hours of high winds blew our smoke somebody else's way... a shot taken from the pass on Mountain House between the North Yuba River drainage (which we are looking up) and the Oregon Creek drainage (behind me while I was taking the photo). The Bassetts fire is about 8 miles as the crow flies, now 70% contained, but not after threatening homes, camps and resorts in the Lakes Basin area since Tuesday afternoon.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Twisted Knitters and a Shawl Drying

Yes, I DID finish my shawl and no, I am NOT posting a picture of my Forest Canopy shawlette that is blocking today up in my studio; I am making you wait to see a real photo shoot of it, to take place this weekend.

I just wanted to give you a heads up to check Margene's announcement about a neat, new KAL and consider joining in the fun and sporting the snazzy button I just put up! I will be linking to the blog for this KAL just as soon as it is ready, so check back regularly to watch us all dye, spin, and knit together.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Forest Canopy Is Closing In On Finish!

This is one of those teaser posts where my time would be better spent in knitting, as the lovely Forest Canopy shoulder shawl, from Susan Lawrence's pattern, is almost done, in fact I have only a few more border rows and blocking!

Why am I typing and not knitting, you ask? Well, I have learned the hard way to faithfully follow the "No Lace After 9 PM" rule, having found that my eyes and my concentration both weaken and mistakes happen (that ugly "M" word). However, getting caught up on email and blogs after 9 PM works pretty well... I also had to read all the latest fire news for California as the smoke was thick today from a fire at the crest of Yuba Pass, east of Downieville, forcing one dear friend from my crafts co-op to evacuate with her husband to their other house in Reno (for their health from the smoke; their house is safe so far).

I will probably squeeze in one, last purl row before bed, and finish the edging tomorrow, so watch for a FO by this weekend (doing a little happy dance:)