Actually, this is a lie.
Some of the surprises they think up make me want to close the shades and hide in bed for the rest of the day. That thing last month with the Mystery of the Vanishing Loom Parts? Very surprising, but not in a good way. Losing their grip on the Wii remotes so they fly up to ceiling and smash the CFLs in the recessed lights? Same thing. And every time they decide they are really and truly going to finally make ink from all the walnuts in the yard, my skin gets itchy all over because I know what I will end up with is three misplaced hammers, a lot of walnut lingy on the mud room carpet, and plastic bags full of moldy nut parts lying around for months until we finally conclude that the ink is a no go this year. Again.
But this week I was pleasantly surprised. Isabel's teachers offered the class an extra credit service project. Working on their own time, the kids could choose a worthy cause and raise money (or collect stuff, etc.) to support the cause. They have to document how they chose the project, how they are going to support it, and a bunch of other stuff, all of which earns them extra credit towards their grade.
This assignment came home in February and I periodically asked Isabel what her group was going to do. She would answer that they had a bunch of ideas but that they hadn't picked one yet. This is a perfectly respectable answer at the very beginning of a project, but after two months of this stuff, I began to suspect that we were looking at a walnut ink kind of project: plenty of good--if undeniably vague--intentions, but no results. I figured spring vacation from school would be the ideal time for the girls to set up their project, but when Isabel spent the first part of it in bed sick and the second part of it on the couch whiling away the hours until 3:00 when she could watch TV, I knew we were sunk. She made plans to go see one of her friends, but only for two hours and Isabel didn't even pretend that they were going to start their service project.
But they did. After several phone calls and conversations, their date expanded from two hours to six hours. There was some Skype (failed) and then some speaker phone involved so the girls could confer with their missing teammate. Then there was a heap of computer time and even some door-to-door canvassing. And at the end of it, the girls had a team name, a flyer, an on-line participant page, an Actual Plan, and (surprise!) their first donations.
They are collecting money for Action Against Hunger to feed people in Africa. Their team is called kids4kids365 (very catchy, no? 365 is the amount they hope to raise: it takes a dollar a day to feed a kid, so this would be one year's worth of food; also, there are a whole whack of other groups called kids4kids, so some adjustments had to be made to their initial --and not-so-original--name). They even have a video that Isabel's friend put together:
If you are interested, you can check it out here. And if you really want to surprise me, try making a donation.
In a less pleasant surprise, my knitting groove is fizzling.
I finished these socks for Isabel.
I didn't like the stitch pattern because it just wouldn't stick in my head and I was tied to the chart all the way through both socks. Also, I don't love the yarn/pattern combination. And I don't really like the green in the yarn. The upshot is that I was really pleased to send them packing, although I have to admit that I despise them less now that I see them on some feet.
To make up for my Green Sock Woes, I have been knitting this sock:
I love this yarn (knit picks felici; it's the same 75% wool/25% nylon combination that has been so durable in the other KP sock yarns I've used, which is my favorite thing in a sock yarn). I really like the colors, too, except for that particular shade of thistley purple, which does nothing for me emotionally. It's a good thing that I like the yarn because I knit the foot of this sock twice before I realized that it was going to be a top-down sock, not a toe-up sock. Somewhere in the blue stripe on the heel I messed up the eye of partridge pattern, but I would have cut my hair off before I ripped so much as a stitch of this third/first sock back again, and I am just pretending that the diamonds are supposed to be stripes on that part of the heel. Visual interest, you know?
I'm alternating between working on the sock and working on this:
It's the Summer Flies pattern in Dream in Color Classy, Dusky Aurora. See how I capitalized all of that? I'm really happy with the Pattern and the Yarn, and you should just be thankful that I restrained myself from EXPRESSING MY DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE IN ALL CAPS because I like this stuff enough to start shouting about it. I'm considering buying a fourth skein because Summer Flies will take over 1.5 skeins and unless I get a fourth skein, I won't have enough yarn left to knit another project like this one. Or maybe I should get a whole bunch of skeins, because I could spend a lot of time wearing a sweater made out of this stuff.
I've been spinning too, but my bobbin-in-progress pictures inevitably fail to capture the inner beauty of the yarn. In theory, I should finish the next skein this week and be able to post a picture of the final product, but I'm sure that some other project (cleaning the mud room/kitchen/garage? working? raising my children?) will hijack my time, so don't hold your breath waiting for it.
Speaking of which, my plans for this morning included lots of spinning and lots of drum carding in preparation for more spinning, but here it is 11:30-ish and I'm squandering my time again. Off I go.