Life is busy. I leave to ski tomorrow. I have been frantically juggling the paperwork for that with the pressure to do something amazing for G&T, trying to teach without a whiteboard (thank you VERY much, Acer, for refusing to replace my HD for a SECOND time in spite of the fact it was the SAME error and it's under warranty, you cheap bastards - as if I can't do a system restore myself), catching up on the marking (formidable), organising several Aim Higher events, mentoring the GTP student, reining in my contempt for my tutor group (some, not all), teaching at the dry slope (and then driving one girl to Salisbury hospital with a bad sprain and living on tenterhooks for 2 weeks in case she was too damaged to come on the real trip), applying for courses, taking up tap dancing, knitting sharks, playing Scrabulous, reading novels instead of magazines and visiting Mother Hand. When the Head told me last week that if I were to organise the annual sixth form federation G&T conference in Malaysia in October, he would grace me with his presence, I actually managed to say, "I'll think about it" instead of just a straight yes. I'm getting there. Saying no straight out has got to come soon.
Tap dancing is fun. It took all my courage to go for the first time, and then I was told I couldn't just watch and I wasn't able to take part thanks to dire underpreparedness (no socks, shoes or money), so I had to do it all over again a week later, and it was not the regular instructor and the sub had no idea I was new, so asked me some quite difficult questions about steps which I couldn't answer. "What have you done before?" he enquired. "Er...well I stopped classes about 15 years ago, when I was 10," I stuttered back (note: managed to shave nearly 5 years off my age, but I think it was written all over my face). This alienated most of the other class members (apart from the very irritating tattooed hard-looking bloke who turned out to have a Fred Astaire complex and tap around freestyling in every pause we gals took for breath) who were amazed I had been recommended that class "because we're so advanced!" Ha, yes, well, I managed to keep up with that shim sham we did, better than some others, so evidently my muscles have some memory. It wasn't so good this week, I have a problem doing pick ups, which might be solved if I buy a pair of tap shoes and, yknow, PRACTISE. I think I'll stick at it. Friend Parpy Jo wants to do ballet. That'll be a hoot. I can barely manage 45 minutes of studiously ignoring myself dancing in the mirrors in sweats, let alone a pair of pink tights and a leotard.
Some of those women do that tap class in JEANS. Miss Barnes would never have allowed that.
Anyway...on with some knitting. I joined the Knittabaggamonth on Ravelry but then I messed up my January string bag project and so I think I have to leave the group now. I have knitted a hat every month so far, though. Here is January's...
Pattern: Hannah from Magknits
Yarn: Rowan Scottish Tweed in Bulky Herring...I love this colour. It's grey woven with what seem to bebits that someones swept up off the Rowan factory floor. I want to knit a whole big thing in it soon.
Mods: I knit it to pattern the first time without swatching and it was MAHOOSIVE. So I ripped it out and started again, with less stitches, and did one less decrease per round. I can't remember how many I decreased by, I think it was 10. I did some maths that made sense at the time and worked. It's still a bit too big but I am happy enough with it. I love the buttons. I hauled out the huge box of buttons I inherited from my last London rental and found, amongst the vintage buttons, a cool row counter and a lot of retro stitch holders, which is handy, since I didn't have any. (The picture is the original biggy).
Fun. It only took a couple of hours. I am speedy now, dontchaknow.
And for February....
Pattern: Shark Hat by KnittingNinja
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Heritage Blue, with some 220 held double for the mouth, and LP worsted for the teeth.
Mods: Another one I didn't swatch for properly (LEARN dammit!) but I was getting more stitches per inch than the pattern and was concerned it looked too big, so I did decreases after COn the fin, and ended up with a pot bellied shark. I found the pattern really confusing, especially over the body increases and the teeth, but I did a good job I think.
I was so happy the project came out just in time for the ski trip. I had been checking compulsively for weeks. I'm going to look great sharking it down the slopes in it, and it only took me 3 days, and that was working around work commitments and the CPH.
Ah yes, the hoody. It's looking SO NEARLY FINISHED. It's driving me a bit mental. I have seamed the sides and put on both the sleeves, and I am halfway finished with the hood. It's a good length, but wider than I expected so it's not a figure-hugger like I hoped it would be. However, I think it might look a bit odd as a figure-hugger, being the length it is. I also might put a zip on it instead of picking up the 6 million stitches for the button band, depending on how neat the edges look - then the front cables will meet and sort of match the back...it would be a perfect match if I hadn't read the pattern backwards.
It's exciting, though. An actual garment. Something that took more than two skeins. And I've only been knitting it for two months! I'm like, a proper knitter now. My seams suck and I am too slap-dash to do proper Kitchener so it will never look like it was shop bought, but it is snuggly warm and a lovely colour - the variations in the yarn have become a real feature.
Better go and pack.