The Politics of Teaching


Back home and back in the classroom today. It was a very good and productive day at the capitol. As I reflect back upon the good work accomplished and think about how flawed systems can be and how flawed we are constantly reminded that the education system must be, I wonder if everyone knows that the criticism is of a system which operates mostly on volunteer hours. I wonder what the system would be like if we tightened it and teachers, staff, and administrators clocked in at 7am every morning, took an hour to themselves at lunch then clocked out at 4pm to never attend a meeting, worry about a student, create good policy, grade, or professionally develop beyond the 5 day 7am-4pm work day. The pay per hour would certainly look a whole lot better and teachers might really get summers off. Imagine that.


Four - How did you learn to crochet, or who taught you?

My mother's mother, Dorothy Jewell Bates taught me to crochet. She crocheted all the while I knew her.  The above picture is of my grandmother holding my mother.

Here she is at my parents' wedding with all of her children: Nadine, Robert, Kathleen, Irene, Kenneth, David, Ronald, Mark, Doreen and William and here new son in law, my father, Dale.  My mother is the oldest of ten.  

My mother said that my grandmother never used a pattern.  She made doilies, blankets, bed dolls, toys, Christmas ornaments, shawls, and much more.  Here are two shawls she made for my mother who has passed them along to me.

She had many children and grandchildren.  As far as I can tell, she made a blanket for each one of us.  Mine is a sweet hot pink and light pink granny square blanket with a crazy daisy in the center of each square.  There is fringe all around.  My brother's is a granny American flag blanket.  My Aunt Kathy has a beautiful poinsettia blanket.   

Somewhere along the way, when I was young, she taught me to chain stitch then single crochet.  It was years before I tried again.  Grandma had already passed on.  Even though she is gone, her passion lives on in me.  She is always with me through crochet.  I think of her each time I pick up  hook and yarn.  She is missed, but I enjoy the craft she has passed on to me.  

I am trying to pass along her love.  Here is a blanket I made for one of her great-great grandchildren.  

Are you up for a challenge?  Join Red Berry Crochet for her 52 Week Crochet Challenge.


February Six Inch Block - 2014 BOM CAL

The February Six Inch Block is the HDC Mitered Square by JudyK.  It was an easy block to work up, and even though is was not my favorite design, it is beginning to grow on me.  I am learning that if there is not a flower in the middle of the block, I have to really work to like it. I do like flowers.

You can find JudyK's blog here and her Ravelry design page here and the block pattern here.   It is never too late to join the fun, so sign up for 2014 BOM CAL today.


Three - In Honor of Spring

 I have trouble ridding myself of things that are still perfectly good, perfectly usable.  I often make plans for those things that no longer apply to life, but struggle to follow through on those plans as life moves swiftly and busily.  I just never get around to making the plan an action.

One such project was the upcycle of an old lamp shade.  This hot pink, fuzzy lampshade had once belonged to an inexpensive lamp that years ago lit my daughter's little girl bedroom. 



Eighteen months ago, I played around with some yarn leftover from another project.  I made as many rosettes as I could from the leftovers.  I made a plan then tucked the plan away for another day.


Motivated by Red Berry Crochet and her 52 Week Crochet Challenge, I trimmed the ends off my many colorful rosettes and scavenged for the long forgotten lampshade.  This week's challenge was to create a crochet flower to celebrate Spring.  I think I met the challenge.

I played around with arrangement.

Then attached the rosettes to the old lampshade.


I was unhappy with the bottom edge, so I made a little yellow ruffle to trim the bottom of the shade.


I am excited about the results and it was great fun to make then photograph.  It is still sitting in the bright light of my home office and every time I walk by and see it, I smile.  It makes me happy even though I have no ideas where in my home this bright shade will reside.  It will be interesting to see how it looks this evening when I flip the switch and see the shade lit from within. Happy Spring.


Two – Start a crochet notebook, journal, scrapbook, or blog.

I have these already; although, none are crochet exclusive.  I have nurtured my blog off and on for several years.  You can check out a few of my crochet projects here, here, and here.  I keep track of my projects on Ravelry.  And have a super fun inspiration board on Pinterest.  If that’s not enough, I have a few non virtual creative spaces as well.

One of my favorite artists, Leonardo Da Vinci, kept many, many notebooks.  It is assumed that he began creating his sketchbooks to work on improving his painting.  He sketched anatomy invented machines for healing and machines for war.  He thought with quill and paper about things that seemed in impossible but are now reality.  Tucked between unbelievable images and the curves of human anatomy were grocery lists, to-do lists, notes about solicitors, benefactors, and others who passed through his life.  His sketchbooks were mirrors of his thoughts, his life, and the happenings he ventured. 

I have several sketchbooks filled with inspiration.  I wish I spent more time with these tools than I allow.  I have a small notebook which you may have seen here. This notebook is easy to slip in my yarny-to-go bag.  This is where I have recorded the details and notes for the 2014 BOM CAL. 

This small notebook also includes patterns I create such as the blanket I made for my parent’s to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.   You can see the finished blanket here.

I also have sketchbooks I use for costuming.  A few years ago I designed a production of Tartuffe.  The 1950s-60s was my inspiration.  You can see how these ideas played out (excuse the pun) here, here, and here.

Three years ago, I enrolled in a painting class at my college.  It was a way to push myself out of my comfort zone and opportunity to remind myself of the perspective my students bring to my own classroom.  It was a summer course, and I was saddened for it to be over so quickly.  The course required that we keep a sketchbook.  I fell in love with this creative process and spent a good deal of time playing in it.

Artist's Study -VanGogh - Blue Vase

A few months ago, a puppy we were loving, made a chew toy out of my sketchbook.  I have gotten over most of the trauma and have even entertained the idea of re-doing the sketchbook into a new one.  Don’t worry.  I came to my senses.  Sketchbooks are not always beautiful, not always organized.  The chewed book is part of my story and I am good with that.

Although I appear organized in my creativity, you should know that there is much evidence that I buy into the idea of creative chaos.  Life is good that way.  Thank you, Red Berry Crochet for challenging me to look in a new way at my creative life.  I encourage my creative friends to join the challenge.  To do so, click here for details.