Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas Fun!

Merry Christmas to you from the Denney Family! Our Christmas card this year was a picture taken at The Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. We toured the home in June on our Washington D.C. vacation and the tour was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. The photo was taken by a kind and unsuspecting tourist who did not know we would hold him hostage until he got the shot just right. Thank you to whoever you are!! My son then Photoshopped (is that a verb now?) the photo to create differences in a second photo. Both went out in the card.

There are 8 differences between the two shots...did you find them all? Answers are below.

1. Santa's sleigh
2. Wreath over door
3. Missing tourist
4. Other tourist's shirt turned pink
5. Missing window under gable of the house
6. Extra spot on tree where branch was trimmed
7. Darin's watch is missing
8. A letter on Connor's shirt is changed

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Knitting is Tight

This is what one of my students declared the other day. He wasn't talking about tension or gauge, though, of course, sometimes knitting can be loose or tight. No, he was talking about the cool factor of knitting. The Online Slang Dictionary lists this as the first definition for the word tight: very good, excellent; COOL, HIP.

When applied to knitting, I must agree.

And here we go with our latest gallery.

A "very good" dishcloth.

A most "excellent" sweater.

A "hip" teddy bear.

A couple of "cool" hats.

More "very good" dishcloths.

A "hip" cell phone holder.

An "excellent" Steelers hat.

"Cool" Bunny.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

If You HAD To

I used to tell my own kids how lucky they were that 30 minutes of reading was assigned to them for homework each night. That I wish someone told me that I had to read. I would gladly stop housework chores for 30 minutes, plop down on the couch and read. Just think how many books I'd read if someone told me I had to?

Now what if someone told you that you HAD to knit for one hour each day. I think I would let out a large exaggerated sigh, "Oh I guessssss so!!!" (So as not to let on that I secretly like the idea--they might not make it my requirement anymore.) Just think how much knitting would get done!

This is how it is for my students. They spend one hour (or thereabouts) each day in a situation where they are required to knit. Rough life eh? But just look at how much gets done!

A lovely dishcloth.

Some awesome fingerless mittens from 101 Designer One Skein Wonders.

A sweet baby hat.

A racer stripe dishcloth.

A very warm beanie.

Monster bear sporting a cool outfit.

Super soft baby blanket.

Yet another great dishcloth.

A very bright and warm beanie.

And the famous sweater that has the whole school talking.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back to School

The 2008-09 school year is well under way. Once again I have a great class with a mixture of knitting skills and abilities. Several have returned from last year eager to move on in their knitting and to make some exciting projects and several this year are brand new knitters. I would especially like to welcome our 5th graders who have joined the class and already they are doing quite well. Here is what is in the works already:

The Monster Bear lives on.

Our first class sweater in progress.

A pretty handsome hat.

Go Lemoore HS!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


As with the end of each quarter and particularly so with the fourth, there is a frenzy of knitting. Students are desperate to finish just one more project. There is a surge of needle and yarn purchasing and discussions amongst themselves of which new tools they now own. The projects came in steadily and now we've had our last day of knitting class until next fall. Here are the goods.

These two pair have ended the Second Sock Syndrome for our class. They are the first two seconds ever completed.

Here is a fine example of how one mistaken purl row on the knit side becomes a design element when we add another in a strategic spot. We all think this dishcloth is cool.

Worked with three skeiens of blue and knitted up VERY fast.

A dishcloth knitted surprisingly fast by a student who wasn't in the class the full nine weeks. Well done!

Knitted and embroidered for HIS mom for Mother's Day. Ok everyone say, "Awwwwwww." Who wouldn't want one of these!

A Nordic and very well knit earflapper.

More socks. These socks were knitted by 7th grade boys and both are determined to return to knitting class next year in order to give their socks a mate.

You'd think I was running a sweatshop for hats if you knew the speed at which these were knit.

This one is so soft.

I'm especially fond of this one.

And finally...the amazing piece of the year is this gorgeous bag! This student sort of designed this as she went adding an inside pocket and a color coordinated bottom. There is a LOT of knitted stitches in this project.

Way to go all of you! You've done me proud.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hard Up For a Swift

Well, this isn't a product of junior highers, but it is made of a child's toy. I had heard about this before. It's not my idea. But it is my own design, as I was so desperate for a hank that I pulled out the Tinker Toys and started building without bothering to look up an already established design. I guess I literally was re-inventing the wheel.

I just purchased nine beautiful hanks of Cascade 220 to make a tote bag to felt. After touching the yarn and admiring the hanks (I do love the way yarn looks in a hank), and making everyone else in the family touch it and admire it, I pulled out my ball winder and began to plan the pattern. With everyone at work and school, there were no extra hands to help keep the yarn in line while winding. So out came the Tinkers. It took only minutes to build and a few adjustments before I was winding. I even saved some for later so the whole family could see what I built and how it works. Of course, my son had to give it a try too. Although I love the way swifts look and have considered buying one, I especially love the resourcefulness of this one. It cost no extra money and will take up no extra space. You just can't beat that.

Productivity is good for the self esteem.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tech Savvy Knitters

So I'm thinking it went something like this:

Student A: I need some needles.

Student B: Get some on ebay.

Student A: I don't shop on ebay...I'm...12.

Student B: I can get you some needles on ebay.

A few days later...

Student B: I won the ebay auction for some needles.

Student A: How much?

Student B: $1 (plus $7 shipping)

Student A: Cool.

A few more days later...

The needles are in! Six pairs of straight needles, a gauge tool, and a stitch holder.

You know how you get excited and motivated when your shipment of yarn or tools comes in? Check out where this guy's (student A) motivation led him.

He MADE THIS! His own needle holder out of a binder! Look at the staples to divide for the needles. This is genius. It really is. In addition to the needle holder, he also made this:

A wallet of his own design. It's two knitted rectangles, from different color yarns, perfectly dollar bill size and very neatly sewn together. And to top it off, he sewed on the coin pocket. At his unveiling of the wallet to the class (he made most of it at home), he was immediately commissioned by another teacher at our school to make an identical wallet for purchase. The wide-eyed class was in awe.

I have another tech savvy student who is whipping out iPod socks with cables.

Her own design and it fits the Nano perfectly.

Finally, my fearless beginning knitters are making SOCKS! It took me 15 years of knitting before I attempted socks--before I even thought socks were a worthwhile project (since you can buy socks for $4). But these students have totally bought into the idea and we currently have three socks in progress.

My students are stealing my heart.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Speakin' Their Language

Once the students finish their dishcloth, I have them work on the "Advanced Sample." I implemented this a few quarters into this job as I was pulling my hair out trying to teach K2togs and YOs one at a time to students who were trying new patterns a bit above their level. So I decided to put some common stitchery into this one little swatch and it has really paid off. Now when they graduate on to a pattern of their choice, they shouldn't get too stuck with some of the basic stuff. The advanced sample actually is based on the sample from the Sweater Workshop, by Jacqueline Fee. In her book, she takes the reader through a series of ribbing, increases, decreases, buttonholes, and more. The idea is that when you're done with her sample, you have all the skills you need to make a sweater.

So our sample is scaled down, but same idea.

We have a cabling section, ribbing, color change, increases, decreases, fairisle, and YO buttonholes.

As one of my students was on the decrease section, she pointed at the pattern and said, "I don't know what that is." The pattern read: k1, s1, k1, psso. So I slowly read it to her pointing to each letter: "knit one, slip one, knit one, passed the slipped stitch over." Her response? "OMG! It's like IM!" I was actually very impressed with myself for knowing what she meant, though I have never texted anything in my life. But it got me thinking. This junior high group of kids, so quick to learn new technology--even when it means learning a new language like text messaging--will learn this knitting technology in the same way. Once they complete their advance sample, I can speak to them in knitting language. When a student asks, "What do I do now?" I can reply, "You will K2tog at the end of needle one and SSK at the beginning of needle 3." And they will understand MY language!!

I enjoy their look of understanding as I speak this new language and also the look of confusion and awe from the newbies, which, in turn, adds to the esteem of my more advanced students.

Well, got to go, talk to you later. Oh...I mean GTG TTYL!