Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Year, new camera, new knits, new courses

Today's photos are brought to you courtesy of my new camera, a Nikon D40X, which I hope gradually to master, eventually perhaps getting beyond the Automatic setting to take full advantage of its abilities. For now, I'm mired in instruction pamphlets and new software, and reminding myself that learning curves require patience and time.
Given that this is what I see outside today, can you blame me for staying home to work on my course outlines rather than heading up to the office? Luckily, we went to town yesterday and I picked up much of what I needed to be able to get these done -- tomorrow, I'll go in and get copies made, but for now I can just stay where it's warm.

I did manage to get out for a longer run today (twice around the island, about an hour), but after my shower, I got back into my jammies figuring there are almost no days like this left before school starts. Then I got serious about finishing up the course outlines -- two of the three I'm going to stick to the same syllabus as I've already taught, so all I had to do was switch to this year's dates, change times for classes and office hours, and I was good to go. The third course (we usually teach four a term, but I'm doing a 4th-year course this term and we get a release for upper-level classes, so I've only got three courses this term, whoo-hoo!) is all new for me -- at least, most of it's material I've taught before but not in this particular combination or context. The course is a first-year literature-survey taught as part of an Arts One grouping designed around First Nations issues; I'm filling in for the colleague who usually teaches this (she's on leave this term) and using her readings, with some changes, as there didn't seem to be much point putting together my own coursepack for a course I wasn't likely to teach again.

So I spent a few hours this morning thinking about, looking at, and reading through some of the texts and deciding how to best sequence them, making them work for the term's dates. I've got most of my assignments adapted from my files, although there's still some tweaking to do before next Monday. Still, I feel I've worked enough to feel justified settling in my easy chair with a nice steaming mug and my Jack Reacher mystery.

Next up, I might do a bit of knitting. Here's the start I've made on the Dollar and a Half cardigan after a few annoying setbacks. I had started this back in early December but then set it aside in favour of gift knitting and when I picked it back up and counted the ribbing stitches to see what size I was making (yes, I'm sure there are MUCH more efficient ways of doing this -- what's your point!?), I discovered I was out by two stitches no matter what size. So I ripped and started again. Second annoyance was having the previous row's yarn snap on me twice, requiring me to very carefully rip back and then put an ugly knot in the middle of the work -- not endearing me to Garnstudio's Silke-Tweed at all! But I do think the yarn is well-matched to the project -- I've just realized that I've photographed the wrong side for you, and I promise to do better next time.

Here's another shot of the stormy seas -- definitely a fireside day!

And here's a picture of the Cabled Vest which I've mentioned before and which I stubbornly and foolishly kept knitting even as I became more and more sure this wasn't going to fit attractively.
Way back here, I worried about a certain coyness about size and fit implied by this photo from the Fall 2007 KnitSimple. Nevertheless, apparent optimist that I sometimes am, I went ahead and knit, and cabled, and knit, and cabled, and now . . . .Why, now I'm going to be frogging! Unless you know someone who wants a short, squat, very purple, cabled vest. My dad was about 5'5" (on a tall day) and over 200 pounds -- 17 1/2 neck, 48 inch chest. I think this would have fit him, but he didn't wear much purple!
Oh well, the cables were some fun.
Possibly next up: Megan wants me to warm her up at her ski lodge by sending her some legwarmers (the last pair I made her having apparently been subjected to amateur night at the laundry -- oh, the muggles!). And she also thinks her absent boy would appreciate another toque to keep him warm and feeling loved in Toronto. We'll see -- as she says in her last e-mail, Note to self (Megan, that is): Your mom is not a store! (yes, she's very cute, that one!)
Anyway, the steaming mug isn't steaming anymore but Jack Reacher still beckons, and I'm an obedient mystery reader, so that's it for now.


  1. Happy New Year. And congrats on the new camera - I was debating the d40x before I bought the Canon. Next recommendation - macro lens. It will change your life.

  2. Thanks Thomas -- I'll have to come over and wish you Happy New Year at your blog. I debated the Canon, but ended up deciding between the D40X and the D80 (which got rejected as just being too big and heavy for my hands). A macro lens, eh? Life-changing, eh? I suspect this may be true, but there are many learning curves ahead of me first!

  3. I am ridiculously fascinated by your description of putting your course outlines together--likely in part because that's what I intended to do when I sat down to the computer this morning. I'm also fascinated by the gorgeous color you picked for your dollar-and-a-half cardigan. The pattern has been in my Ravelry queue for a while, but I'm in some kind of strange sock land now, and some of the Ravelry comments on the pattern seemed...frustrated, so I've been hesitant to cast on. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

    Good luck with the new classes--that first nations course sounds fascinating.

  4. Sounds like you've accomplished quite a lot! Hooray for your new camera! Lovely photos. And the knitting in progress looks lovely too. I feel like a slug, compared to all you've done in one day!

  5. Puttermeister: Turns out (surprise to me!) that the dollar-and-a-half's the third cardigan I've made in a very similar shade! And yes, I was nervous about the pattern after checking out Ravelry and the KAL, but I've also seen Veronik Avery give some helpful feedback so I'm taking my chances. I'll hit the back decreases in the next few days and then we'll see . . .
    Tara: Oh, if only I could turn out photos like yours! At least now I can't blame my camera when mine fall short.

  6. What a wonderful view! I would avoid the office at all costs if I could work looking out at that view. Good luck with the Dollar & A Half Cardigan -- think of it is your January Mission Possible!


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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