Monday, August 20, 2007

Back to the Salt Mines

Sadly, summer has come to an end. Officially, summer doesn't end until the Autumnal Equinox, on September 23rd this year, but summer ends for teachers when they go back to work after a too-short summer break. This year's break was impossibly short: the last day of school was June 16th, and we were required to be back at work this morning, only nine weeks after leaving books, grades, and students behind. The students have only a slightly longer break; they'll be in class tomorrow morning at 7:50 a.m., and the treadmill of the school year begins once again.

Summer has wrapped up in a rush, with moving to a different classroom across the campus from where I've been for the past 10 years, getting used to working with a new group of teachers, and getting ready for the new challenges that come with teaching a new grade and subject (9th grade Geography) with brand-new books and materials. No matter what, everything that needed to be done by this afternoon was finished--the kids arrive tomorrow morning, whether I'm ready for them or not. Fortunately, school starts slowly, and the first week is spent on "resocializing" the students after two months of them running wild. During that time, I can make decisions on how to start tackling the material, getting books passed out and assigned, and training my "little puppies" to start acting like the adults they so desperately want to be treated as.

Meanwhile, I wrapped up the fiber tasks that had to be completed before work again moves to the center stage. The black Romney is washed! I followed Paula Schull's instructions for washing fleece, and the entire fleece came out incredibly clean and soft, with 97% of the lock structure intact. I spent part of yesterday combing about a pound of clean fleece, and there's very little waste; I'm going to end up with about 80% of the fleece turned into buttery-soft sliver, perfect for spinning. The question now: do I comb it all before starting to spin, or do I spin as I comb? Time and inclination will tell.

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to work on the pinwheel sweater. It is growing, slowly. I'm now past the point where the sleeves go, and am now working to make it large enough to close in the front. It's incredibly boring knitting (good for meetings), so I keep telling myself "Done is beautiful," so I'll finish it before I start on another project.