Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lace, and ramping up

I mentioned lace in my last post, and that's because I actually finished something, and that something is lace. A whole object (not just the first half of a pair), yay! It feels like it's been a while since I've done that; this whole summer has been about trying things out and playing a bit here and a bit there, practicing my dillentantism, but the school year approaches, and I'm finding myself slowing working my way back into a more disciplined mindset. (Slowly, I said, slowly; so don't go expecting any imminent miracles of productivity.)
This is the Pear and Trellis scarf (one of Anne's patterns). I hadn't knitted this pattern yet, and goodness knows why, because it's completely addictive, and very intuitive, and the results are lovely. It seems to work nicely with this variegated yarn (not all lace does), but I'm betting it would be equally gorgeous in a more monochromatic yarn (a silk blend, mmm...).
The ends are pretty all on their own, which is nice. And the lace pattern was intuitive enough that I had no trouble tracking what I was doing -- I knitted most of this while watching the Tour, with its many exciting moments between Schleck and Contador, not to mention the need to watch Cav come out of nowhere to take sprint finish after sprint finish. I miss the Tour already...
So, to recap, this is the Pear and Trellis scarf (Rav project page here), knitted for my friend Vivienne's birthday (she doesn't read the blog, so no spoilers here). I used Punta Yarns Merisock Handpainted yarn, on a size four needle. It knitted up quickly and blocked beautifully. I loved the yarn, and am very happy that I bought a skein (in a different colorway) for myself.

In other news, I'm ramping up for the school year, which starts for Older Daughter on Tuesday (an ungodly early date to start school, if you ask me; we're just starting to get our first beach-worthy days around here!). Although Younger Daughter and I don't go back until the end of the month, I put my syllabi together last week, just so I could see how all the dates work out, and I typed up all the end-of-chapter exercises from the new edition of one of my textbooks, so I could see how they go, and post them online for easy access. Of course, the posting part has been delayed by the fact that we are switching our online class support program again. This makes the third time since I started here. I always wonder whether our administration realizes how much time that takes; it certainly isn't something for which there's a code in our workload reporting -- just one more time sink that no-one acknowledges (like the difference between teaching the same class to 35 vs 45 students; no-one wants to admit that it takes more time to do that, even though it seems eminently obvious to me). Ah, well. I have a few more weeks to wrap my brain around that, and to build my containers before classes start.

We are also still hanging fire with regard to Older Daughter's orchestra, although it looks like the superintendent has succeeded in entirely gutting the middle school music program, as well as the majority of the high school music program. He has also cancelled the technology class (it's supposed to get folded into science; one wonders if those teachers are getting paid more for their increased workload), and he combined (get this) foreign language and PE (so students spend half of the period time during the week doing one, and the other half doing the other). He insists that it's to allow students to spend more time on the basics (because it's all about the test scores, doncha know). Furthermore, they've put Older Daughter into algebra again (the usual eighth grade math) even though she took that class last year and passed it. I've asked Rick to do battle on that one; there's only so many windmills at which I can tilt at a time. When did we become a nation with no regard for education? (Nota bene: I don't consider passing standardized tests to be "education"; I freely admit that this is a personal bias.)

I will defer the full-fledged rant for another day, I think, and go and spin some lovely BFL instead.

21 comments:

scienceprincess said...

The scarf is beautiful, and I will rant along with you about education now that I have a functional blog again. Some day this week I'll pick an education topic -- I think it might be normative testing and the idiocy of using that to determine education. Either that or 21st century skills, which it appears your superintendent is completely disregarding . . .

Also, I don't know if you saw my laceweight post from yesterday. If you have time, some advice would be fabulous.

Take care.
Sarah/scienceprincess

FUZZARELLY said...

Love that lace pattern!

And what are we as Americans doing to our children's education? At least you and Rick spend a lot of time with your girls, and expose them to so much art and culture.

My parents exposed me to neither, and I am so glad to have had an excellent art and music opportunities in junior and senior hight school.

When are we going to start protest marches and sit ins? Oh, yeah, everyone is too busy working and trying to make ends meet...

Miss 376 said...

One of the reasons I kept mine at home!
That lace has worked up beautifully, I could spend ages looking at it

A Bitter Knitter said...

Beautiful scarf. That yarn really does look nice with the pattern.

...more reasons why I didn't get my credential. But, as you said, it is a rant for a different day.

lori said...

So I was on rav earlier today - like you do, on a Sunday - and suddenly spotted your smiling face in the little ad on the left! It was for the Sprossling sweater, and there you were in your beautiful blue version. It made me smile, a lot. And it made me feel a little bit of basking in the reflected glory, like you're famous or something. :)

Rachel said...

I don't understand why you chose to call: I don't consider passing standardized tests to be "education" - a personal bias - anyone who believe it is education is a moron (excuse my Israeli bluntness!)

I love the scarf and how the little leaves look in your yarn as compared to the original in the pattern, they are so well defined I didn't recognise the pattern at first! A very lovely birthday present indeed :)

twinsetellen said...

The scarf is wonderful, the mess at your daughter's school a crying shame.

I feel for the principal; having spent some time in management, I now realize how hard it is to get it right especially when you are being pushed from two ends. But I feel more for the students and teachers, who are going to have to work so hard to make good come of the situation.

Mary Lou said...

If i were feeling more imaginative, I might be able to come up with some sort of black comedy sketch about foreign language and gym in the same class. But it just might make me cry. Sheesh. The school were I have been volunteering for about 7 years closed this year due to budget cuts. It's very sad. But the scarf? Not sad. Super cute.

amanda said...

Lovely Pear and Trellis! Ages ago I knit one in a solid blue (silk-cashmere blend, I believe) and I can confirm that it works equally well in a solid or variegated yarn.

I can't believe the travesties being done to education for the sake of standardized tests--or even to meet budget numbers, for that matter. I've only been out of high school ten years, yet the stories I hear (such as yours) are incredible to me that things could be so different in just ten years.

Willow said...

Don't get me started on education...there is the option to opt out and homeschool. Kids get a much better education that way, imho.

The scarf is truly lovely!

I waved :) ~~~

seashells said...

Beautiful scarf!

KnitNana said...

Lovely lace, and I can see where an intuitive pattern would be soothing in regard to what's on your plate.

"When did we become a nation with no regard for education?" It's been coming for the past 30 years...I believe it was: When the conservatives decided we needed to substantially allow charter schools and homeschooling done by parents with limited education (parents who are qualified to teach and who do so responsibly are not included in my assessment, my Mom was homeschooled thru 8th grade as were all of her siblings and they were all valdictorians of their high school classes, but her father was a teacher and minister and one tough cookie).

We also seem to value funding the military over funding education, and of course, we must protect those tax-cuts for the wealthy at all costs!

Standardized tests? Oh, please don't get me started...

Rant over.
I agree with you totally...and foreign languages and PE combined?
POPPYCOCK!

Gwen said...

Oh, I can see PE and foreign language working well together. You know, actually using the language as you attempt to run around and do whatever it is that's done in PE these days. It would be the right place for all the interesting words and phrases. Or not, of course. It's an absurdity!

AlisonH said...

PE and foreign language? Did you hear me exclaim "WHAT?!" out loud? Wow!

Nebraska Knitter said...

I think your lace scarf is lovely and your rant on education entirely appropriate. As an educator, I can tell you the teachers won't get paid for the additional responsibilities. We are raising a nation of children who will be great Trivial Pursuit players but lack critical, creative thinking skills. As others have written, don't get me started.

Laurie said...

Adding my voice to the rant...and the praise for your lovely scarf.

EGunn said...

That lace is gorgeous with that yarn! Love, love, love it. And I love what's on your wheel, too. Do you think we could make our color tastes closer if we tried harder?

I'm sorry that the school selection is still declining. It's unfortunate that one person's lack of vision is a loss for so many others.

Good luck with the ramping! I find myself suddenly glad that I'm not teaching this fall...

fiberjoy said...

The scarf reminds me of a peacock - exquisite.

How did OD survive her first day of sitting in a classroom mingling with other peers. The shambles that pass for educations are only getting worse. A good starting place would be to toss out all ideas that lack common sense. The entire system is so mucked up that it will take serious effort, determination and clear thinking. Start with firing most of the people at the top and free up those huge amounts of monies spent on admn salaries/perks.

Years ago a friend and I combined foreign language practice and walking. Neither got very far.

Rachael said...

Gorgeous scarf!

Good luck prepping for the new academic year, I"m sure you start soon. I'm on quarters so we start in late septemeber and I sort of lose track of when "regular" schools start.

Alwen said...

I love your scarf - it looks like flowing water with the sky reflecting on it.

I can't begin to express my feelings on the mess that is education today without going waaaay beyond a blog comment space!

Lynne said...

The scarf is very pretty - both the yarn and the pattern; and you're right, sometimes variegated yarn doesn't work with a lace pattern - in my experience, more often than not!