One Lovely Blog, A Nomination

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The amazingly talented Josiah Bain from The Sock Monkey blog has nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award. His kind description of my blog was: “Alaska Knits: A knitter who loves to read and has a lot of really fancy degrees. She lives in Alaska.” A very true and simple description of myself and my blog. Even the hyperbole of about my fancy degrees, I like the sound of that! From his description of the Award it seems that I am supposed to list 7 facts about myself and continue the train of nominations in lovely blogginess.

The Facts

1. I am an avid reader, my favorite book is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

2. I have been blogging for seven years now! So many changes in that time, the only constants have been my love of knitting, reading, Alaska, and my blog title “Alaska Knits.” When I began blogging seven years ago I was a sophomore in high school setting off for a year’s adventure in Hungary! Since then I have also gotten my B.A in English and am working on my Masters in Teaching!

3. Like my nominator I am also quite the geek. My fandoms of choice are Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, and Classic Sherlock (also bbc sherlock).

4. I love old movies, vintage fashion, and stockings with a stipe up the back.

5. My boyfriend and I are currently in the process of planning the construction of our future tiny home. (Walls to up put up fall 2015)

6. At the end of this year I will have my Master in Teaching and be certified to teach Middle School and High School Language Arts! Hopefully this time next year I will be completing my first semester as a full time teacher!

7. Crafting and DIY is an addiction of mine, and my favorite is knitting! I’ve been a member of Ravelry since it was in Beta, and has it been the best fuel for my knitting love!

For my nominations! I cut 15 nominations down to 5 as I have been a little out of the blogging the past few years and am not familiar that many blogs. These 5 blogs are certainly the cream of the crop! I will add to my nominations perhaps over the next few weeks.

No need to accept or decline but it you’d like to participate please do!

1. The Crafty Side of Life : Anett is my knitting idol. She was one of my first friends in Budapest and the core of Budapest craftiness. A talented and kind Budapesti, who blogs in both English and Hungarian so don’t be afraid to check out her blog!

2. Kimberly Reads: My sister, fellow English Major, and bibliophile Kimberly’s Tumblr. Everything a bibliophile’s soul requires.

3. Reisball: Julie loves Cats and other cool things, this is evident in her Tumblr

4. Eleven Stitches: A lovely knitting, sewing, and crafting blog.

5. Milliini: Knitting and other craftiness. All in Finnish, but great despite my lack of understanding.

Thank you Josiah for the nomination! Congratulations must also be given for the inclusion of his beautiful sock pattern Tauriel in the newest edition of Knitty! I can’t wait to have some spare time to make a pair of these!

He nominated me several weeks ago and I apologize for the length of time it has taken me to write this blog post up. I have been manic with finals for my second to last semester as a graduate student! Luckily at this point in my school career my finals are all long papers and projects, no threat of the dreaded high stakes final exam.

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Exeter Hat

The Exeter Hat created by John Horigan is my favorite basic ribbed hat design that I have come across. I have made different basic ribbed hats before, but they all have the same flat stockinette top. This flat top is probably unnoticeable to the recipient non-knitters, but it has always kind of bothered me. The beautiful thing about the Exeter pattern is the ever so simple way that it carries the ribs to the very top, joining and arching them. I can not recommend this pattern enough as the go to for the man or woman that is happiest with a simply ribbed hat in cold weather. This pattern is also easily customizable for size and yarn weight. For both Jake’s and Wiley’s hats I used worsted weight yarn, size 5 needles, and cast on 112 stitches.

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I am including pictures of the hat I made for my friend Jake for his birthday this last week. I gave it to him at truly Alaskan birthday celebration so brilliantly planned by his girlfriend and my dear friend Chandler. The small flat rectangle you man notice on the front of this hat is for the duplicate stitch I am going to add with the label JAKE in red. I see him weekly usually so I did not want to wait to give it to him before adding that quick final touch. Forgive the darkness of a beautiful november evening (still snowless though strangely). Jake’s Hat

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I also made Wiley a blue Exeter hat for Christmas. Here is a few shots of him.

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Sassenach Cowl

15193148354_76d2b35cd8_oMy beautiful sister and fellow english, literature, and culture nerd turned 25 a few days ago. Not only was she my original friend and advisor she has also introduced me to a large portion of my favorite books, movies, and TV shows. A combination of two of these categories, books, and movies, encompasses my newest obsession with Outlander. This began this fall with Kimberly telling me that I must watch the first episode of the new Starz show Outlander in order to watch the second and all subsequent episodes with her. (First episode still available on Starz here!) Kimberly can usually be assured that I will jump onto any period piece or scifi show/movie/book bandwagon. A combination of these two genres in Outlander made it an instant favorite. This fall kimberly and I watched the first eight episodes of the starz adaptation and I took my addiction to a higher level reading the first three books in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Unfortunately the next eight episodes of the wonderfully engrossing and visually stunning starz adaptation are not going to be aired until spring time starting in April. One aspect of the show that I love is how many beautiful knits are used in the costume design. Kimberly as usual always has an eye out for her knitting requests (although she is a potentially potent knitter herself) and saw this beautiful and super chunky cowl worn by Claire in the first episodes. I immediately set out to find a pattern to guide me in replicating this cowl for Kimberly’s birthday. Lucky as I am to be apart of the amazing Ravelry community of knitter’s I found the simplest pattern from the wonderful Pollyfoofoo. Her Sassenach Claire Starz Outlander Cowl was posted free within a few days of the episode with the cowl in question’s first appearance. With the help of my dear Wiley in making size 50 needles, and two skeins of super chunky barley yarn, I whipped this cowl up in less than an hour. I finished it several months ago and was super happy to finally gift it to Kimberly on Sunday for her quarter century birthday. Now with about five months left until the final eight episodes of season one air on Starz, Kimberly will have to be held over with her outlander cowl, and I will continue reading the never ending saga of Jamie and Claire.

Hufflepuff Cold Pine

This fall I have been knitting up a storm. These past few months have been the most prolific of my knitting career! It is a roll that I would like to keep going! Eventually I will make a round up post of all the holiday knitting I have done, but not until everything has been $_1gifted. I do want to show off some pics of my lovely Hufflepuff Cold Pine shawlett! A few weeks ago I ordered a set of beautiful interchangeable circular needles set! My Hufflepuff cold pine has been the first FO to come off the needles!

With the gift giving season impending I couldn’t sacrifice too much knitting time for a personal project, so I selected a quick and beautiful knit- Cold Pine by Caitlin ffrench. This was my first attempt at a unique lace pattern. Starting with larger needles (Size 8) and a worstedweight yarn (Rowan Creative Focus Worsted in Saffron) it was not such a scary commitment to jump into. I have made several lacy scarves before but they all relied heavily on the repetition of 10 rows or so, and they were easy to master.

15575623069_6c886ee6c6_oCold Pine however is different on each line and took a bit more concentration to make certain that I had the pattern right throughout. The end result after blocking (a must with both this pattern and especially with this yarn)is perfection. A perfect explosion of sunshine to wear around my neck just as the days are getting their darkest here in Alaska. 15613459999_aebb437828_o

A Poem a Day

I spent this summer as usual serving in Seward. It was wonderful to get out of the big city, but long days serving always wear thin. Luckily I had one outlet on these long days. On days I worked breakfasts my favorite activity was selecting a short poem and writing it on the chalkboard outside the kitchen. Here are a few poems from the summer.

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First Day of School

Today was my first day of school, not merely as a student, but for the first time as an apprentice teacher. The teacher that I am luck enough to be student teaching with this first semester is thus far amazing to say the least. She is engaging, supportive, and energetic. I met with her first yesterday and she mentioned a kernel of truth I hadn’t really thought about through my journey to become a teacher. When we were speaking about me joining the first day of school she said that she was excited and reflected on why we enter the teaching profession. She said because we love school and the environment and how the first day of school is exciting for us as students, teachers, and life long learners. This is definitely true and maybe at the core of why I want to teach. I love school, and the process of learning. I want to always be engaged in a community of learners.

With my Master’s of Teaching Program I am assigned to my first mentor teacher through the first quarter (mid October) and then a second mentor through to winter break. The first semester is meant to be only about 4 hours a week in the classroom, and I am taking 16 credits at the university. The spring semester will be an intensive internship, all day in the mentor classroom and only one or two university classes.

The first school I have been assigned to is unlike any I have visited. It is an open optional school, k-12 and the most exciting and engaging school I’ve stepped into. The first two weeks in this school are used for optional intensive classes that secondary students are able to choose from. They choose one class and spend the two weeks with those students and the one or two teachers. I am joining my mentor teacher in a non language arts focused intensive called “21st Century Problems.”

Starting on September 2nd I will be focusing on a  9th grade composition class for this first quarter! I feel very lucky to have been matched with such a wonderful mentor teacher as well as the unique environment of this school.

Fingersmith

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In between finishing up my B.A and in particular dodging the remembrance that I need to pass math, I have finally finished Fingersmith by the lovely Sarah Waters. Having read Tipping the Velvet first I was really pleasantly surprised by the sweetness of Fingersmith. I enjoyed Tipping the Velvet but more often than not I was distracted by the insane circumstances that the main character Nancy found herself in as well as her decisions. Over all I found Nancy to be pretty unrelatable and after the first half of the book I was unsympathetic to her plights. Fingersmith however focused on two young women who captured my heart. Susan and her intended prey Maude were both complex characters. Both women are introduced and see each other in a clear way, thinking the other was exactly as she appeared. The book begins with a seemingly straightforward premise, Susan a young woman convinced to participate in a major con to benefit her criminal foster family. Although she was raised in a home bustling with the petty criminals of London, Susan is sheltered and takes the people she meets at face value. One of the con artists in and out of her home is a disgraced and impoverished menial member of the aristocracy known as the Gentleman. Along with the Gentleman Susan imparts on a mission to trick the seemingly innocent and malleable noblewoman Maude Lily out of her inheritance. Susan plays the part of lady maid, supporting Gentleman as the seducer.

Nothing about this story is simple of as it seems however, and both women are unaware of the truth and the depth of power between them. Because Waters presents the story in several parts alternating between Susan and Maude’s perspective the reader is kept at the same darkness as the characters making each twist a true surprise. The sweetness between Susan and Maude was engaging and believable, reminiscent of first love and the isolation of self denial.

I will be watching the film adaptation soon, and I have much higher hopes for it than the adaptation of Tipping the Velvet should allow me to have. The adaptation for Tipping the Velvet was pretty awful to be honest, it was hokey and made the insane circumstances of the book loss any hint of seriousness. There were far to many iris in and outs and well as hokey winks right at the camera. Seeing as Fingersmith was a much more engaging and sweet book overall I have high hopes for the adaptation.