I want to thank everyone who has commented on my two recent non-knitting screeds - I truly appreciate how thoughtful each post was, and how much I know many of you are thinking about this issue. I also want to thank everyone who is being so patient with the total lack of knitting content. It's not because I'm not knitting!
I am, though (I must confess), knitting less than I usually do. There are several reasons for this, all of which have to do with trying new things. I have never been someone who believes that you can't teach an old dog new tricks - in fact, I think that learning new things, maintaining that childlike enthusiasm and wonder for the world, is one of humanity's most important traits, when humanity can hang on to it. And really, doesn't it make life more interesting?
Of course, I really should do a better job of rationing my new things so that they don't happen all at once, across multiple areas of my life. I've been trying some new behaviors on a personal level, ones which feel more coherent with the person I am, and while I won't go into details here, I think I'm not alone in finding that sort of thing extremely difficult, and in finding that it doesn't always go smoothly.
I've also been trying some new pedagogical techniques. One of the hot new teaching tropes these days is "flipping the classroom" (go ahead, Google it, I'll still be here when you get back). For better or worse, everyone's talking about it. So I've been paying attention, and have attended a few Faculty Center seminars on it, and I think that there are some techniques from this movement that I can use in the classroom, especially in the area of developing group work which pushes students into interesting new areas. On the other hand, I have to admit that my very first question when I heard about the concept of flipping a classroom (to take the "lecture/information acquisition" part of learning out of the classroom, so that students can do more interesting and higher-level analytical and applied work in the classroom, facilitated by the professor) was, "Isn't that what a seminar is supposed to do?" You know, you have the students read something outside of class, gain a basic understanding of that something, and then come to class prepared to do something more analytic and challenging in class.
Except that begs the next question: what do you do when they don't do the bloody reading before class? (!!) So I'm trying some new things, including creating short little introductions on YouTube to each of the course readings, to move that out of class and give us more time in class for the stuff I love the most - the hard analytical and applied work. Of course, that requires me to create one of those little videos for each of the class readings. Doh.
So that's work and emotional lives. What else could I add? Well, inspired by my sister-in-law, I have been working to increase both my distance and speed when I walk. I managed nearly nine miles at under 13-min/mile on Sunday, so that's coming along. But even better is this:
That's Older Daughter, finding her focal point. I think I mentioned a few posts ago that the girls and I are taking horseback riding lessons every week, and we are loving it. We've all three agreed that it's just about the best two hours of our week. Last week, we spent the whole drive home giddily saying, "We trotted! We trotted!" (Until Younger Daughter pointed out that, actually, it was the horse that trotted; we posted.)(Pedant.)
So with all of that new, my knitting has not been of the challenging sort. I finished and blocked the Shattered Sun Shawl. I think it turned out fairly well (bad photo notwithstanding). This was a nice knit. The pattern was clear, not difficult, and the results are lovely. I used Jade Sapphire Silk/Cashmere, and it took just a titch less than one skein (whew!).
I also finally cast on for a sweater that I've been wanting to knit since seeing it in the Fall KnitWear. It's Katya Frankel's Gathered Blouse.
I am taking a bit of a chance and knitting it in cotton, rather than in the wool blend of the sample in the photo. It is possible that the weight of the cotton will change the drape of the neck enough that I don't like it, but I also need more cotton sweaters, and I'm risking it. I have split for the sleeves, and I think that what I need to do is to not knit it for a night, and to (dorkily) wear it around the house to see what happens when the weight of the cotton pulls down on the sweater. We'll see.
I'm knitting it out of Cascade Ultra Pima, which I had in stash (I have been trying to be better about using stash yarns), in the 35 3/4 inch size. There are a number of clever things that I like in this pattern, including the use of short rows to raise the back of the neck, and the pleats along the sleeves and front, but I am finding that some of the numbers aren't right in this size of the pattern. When I am done, I will try to put those together on my Ravelry page for this project. (Again the color isn't too close above...it's more of a seafoam green, which I very much like.)