Trouble with Trebles

This blog is to keep track of my knitting, other craft projects, and the weird bits of life that don't fit anywhere else.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Going Green

My wonderful sister-in-law has recently gone back to school to get a teaching certificate in English. As a result, she is reading lots of books for class and then passing them along to family members, like me. Most recently she gave me the book Having Faith by Sandra Steingraber. I think it's good for everyone to read, but as a mother and a scientist I was both impressed by her research and frightened by how we are killing the earth and ourselves.

Even before reading the book, I have been buying more and more organic foods and opting for locally grown when possible. Mostly, I always thought about organic food from the perspective of the direct health benefits for me and my family. However, this book made me see it from the perspective of supporting farming and manufacturing practices that reduce pesticides and other chemicals in our environment for more long-term benefit for all living things. It also made me think a lot about my parents, who not only talked about saving the environment 30 years before "going green" became the rage, but also quietly backed up their beliefs with behavior. The amazing thing is that they made the effort to live "green" even though we were extremely poor. And they did it in big ways, like discontinuing use of chemical pesticides on the crops of our farm. Thanks Mom and Dad for being such wonderful role models!

Now, to the actual crafting. I really need to make some progress on the shawl for my niece. I meant to get it done for her birthday last December, but it looks like it will be a year late. What's the problem? I keep making mistakes. The pattern really isn't all that hard, but I kept trying to do it a little at time here and there and it goes better if I give it more attention. It is the Sweet Pea Shawl from The Happy Hooker. Below is an old photo, that if you look closely has a mistake in it (the fans don't line up correctly on rows 2 and 3). Sadly, I haven't gotten much farther than this because I've ripped back to this point at least twice.

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Monday, June 07, 2010

Summer is Here!

Since becoming a professor I have looked forward to summer even more than I did as a student. In summer you can spend all day working on some obscure research idea (probably ignoring other deadlines, but who cares!), without being bothered by student emails, phone calls, grading, or class preparation. Don't get me wrong I love teaching, but sometimes you need a break, even from something you love. I also usually read at least one book on how to improve teaching, to try and keep things fresh for the next year. This year, however, I am not taking a break and instead am teaching a summer class for the first time. This was a purely monetary decision. The b*stards in administration decided (with the consent of a very close union vote) to cut our pay this year by 10%. In order to make up a percentage of my lost wages, I agreed to teach summer. So far it is going fairly well, but I do miss the leisure afforded by having no schedule. My class only goes until mid-July, after which we have several trips planned. I sincerely hope I get to a enjoy a few of those no-schedule days before fall classes begin again.

Speaking of breaks, I haven't been doing much knitting lately. Mostly, I've just been too busy, but I've also not been much in the mood. I did finish a long overdue sewing project, however. I have been working on this fleece patchwork baby blanket for awhile, but I finally had incentive to finish it as a baby gift for my good friend Theresa and her adorable new baby boy. I cut the patched from another piece of fleece, embroidered around them, and then sewed on a satin blanket binding. She seemed to really like it. Let's hope the baby does as well!