Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Not Feeling the Bern

I know I haven't posted in ages, and I apologize, because I'm diving right into politics. So if you're just here for the yarn, you can skip this one.

Because tomorrow is election day, and I'm still undecided.

I think Bernie Sanders is a great person. But the closer I get to election day, the less likely it looks like that I will "Feel the Bern." And I want to. I really do.

And now I'm realizing the reason I don't feel it.

The phenomenon of  "feeling the Bern" seems similar to the fervor over Obama's "Hope and Change". Even though I liked him in 2008, I just couldn't believe in him the way other people did. I didn't believe in revolution.

I voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary, but I liked them both and had trouble choosing one. (Details here. Have I really had this blog for more than 8 years?)

Four years later, I was so thrilled with Obamacare (and other things, of course) that I volunteered for the Obama campaign for the 2012 election. And one of the things I did was call people who had previously volunteered. And over and over I heard the same thing. The previous volunteers were disappointed that everything they thought was going to change didn't. So they were going to begrudgingly vote for him, but they wouldn't be volunteering.

They honestly expected everything to be rainbows and kittens and sunshine from here on out. He was supposed to clean up the entire political system and change the world. And although the Obama administration made some amazing strides, things that made me jump up and down and volunteer my time, they saw it as a failure.

So if you're feeling the Bern, ask yourself, if he gets elected, what will you do in 4 years when the revolution doesn't happen?

And let's be honest, it won't. I'm not saying he couldn't make headway. But we don't have a monarchy in the country. We can't expect one president to solve all our problems, because he or she doesn't have the absolute power to make unilateral decisions. (Don't forget, the president's ability to make change has a lot to do with all those other races on the ballot.) And he may be up against a Republican congress.

But if he doesn't deliver everything he promises, if only manages to get the minimum wage up to $10.10, if college becomes more affordable, but not free, if he spends more time protecting the progress we made with Obamacare than moving toward universal healthcare, if congress blocks him at every turn, even if they agree with him, will you still be behind him? 

Bernie has gotten a lot of people to stand up and get involved. And if he accomplishes nothing else, that's something pretty amazing. But if you're one of those people who stood up, will you keep working for change? Will you keep his legacy going? Because the revolution won't automatically happen just because you elect him.

We don't like to talk about compromise, but that's what Obama did. And I think that's what made him a great president. He managed to make change despite the odds being against him. Think about it. It's been documented that the Republicans vowed to block his policies, even if they were policies their party agreed with. So even though I agree with term limits, I still wish I could have four more years of Hope and Change with Obama.

Back in 2008, I was expecting universal healthcare to be the big fix. But when Obama said in a speech that both sides would have to compromise, I remember deciding that I would be willing to compromise, and take an imperfect solution. I still want universal healthcare to happen, and I agree with Bernie's criticisms of Obamacare. But Obamacare has done so much good. He made a real difference, because he compromised.

I know Hillary is seen as the establishment. She is realism, while Bernie is optimism. And realism isn't as glamorous, but it may be a route for change. And yes, she has baggage. But she also has experience and ability. Which is why her beliefs have evolved, and her promises are more modest. 

As much as I want everything to happen without dealing with lobbyists and donors and making compromises, at some point you have to play the game before you change it.

I think Hillary has been unfair by implying Bernie would tear down Obamacare, but he has talked a lot more about the end solution and how problematic Obamacare is instead of talking about how we'll get to universal healthcare.

If I could ask both candidates a question, I would ask them how they would improve on Obamacare specifically. Would you close the Medicaid gap? How do you plan to do that? What is the next step? Give me just one thing.

Whoever wins, I will get behind. I hope I'll be able to phone canvas again. And if it's Bernie, I'll be excited. I feel hopeful about both candidates. I just don't believe that Bernie can change the world all by himself. But I'll be calling for him four years from now.

Don't forget all the congressional elections in November. A Democratic Senate would sure help Bernie out.

So there it is. You have until Tuesday around 5-ish to make me feel the Bern. Tell me about Bernie's belief in science (more on that below), his plans for health care, etc. Tell me that he will compromise to make change happen. Also, bad mouthing Hillary is unlikely to sway me.

Pandemic Flu and the Intersection of Science and Politics

A friend of mine, Gwyndolyn Jones, posted something very important on Facebook when voting started. Important enough to share:
Today begins early voting in Texas. As such, I have a friendly PSA that I would like to share. 
I want you to think about your most important issue in this election. Is it gun control? Taxes? Immigration? Whether or not Obama should nominate the next Supreme Court Justice? 
What I want you to know is, there is an issue much, much bigger than anything we can come up with. That issue is Science. We can worry so much about the economy over the next eight years or which people have healthcare or guns, but none of this will matter if we don't act now. In fact, if we continue down our current path, we will certainly cease to exist. 
There are so many problems that scientific study and research can solve, but we have to have the funding and resources to do so. I could spend this entire post just rambling on with statistics and facts, but enough people do that on the Internet as it is. Just think about climate change or overpopulation or taxing of natural resources or the end of fossil fuels. Not good enough? Maybe you think you won't be around when changes come to pass, so why care about it? 
Okay, fine. What about this? Remember how the dinosaurs died due to a pesky little asteroid problem? Well, it's a problem we still haven't solved. If we don't up our technology to the point where we can detect and deflect an asteroid, we will still go extinct. Nevermind the fact that we've created new ways to wipe ourselves off the planet - we haven't even solved a problem from millions of years ago! 
I can list a bunch of other issues, like superbugs or mutating strains of influenza or insect-borne diseases that have the potential to destroy society as we know it. The point is, there is only one solution. We must vote for candidates who are scientifically literate and friendly. We must change the face of science education so that our children are equipped with objectively verifiable truths, even if they do not become scientists themselves. Perhaps this means not voting for a candidate you like or one who is running in your party, but if you use your voice to tell the candidates that science is more important than any other issue, eventually they will listen. 
Before anyone gets mad, I'm not supporting any particular party or candidate with these statements. Both liberals and conservatives have done their fair share of damage to scientific research and innovation. We need lawmakers all the way from Congress down to the local officials who will make changes so that we can all continue to live on this planet. 
And if you think that scientists will just figure it out on their own and save all of you when something bad happens, remember that we don't yet have the flying cars or hoverboards we were promised in 2015. But we could have, had science been more of a priority. 
We have the chance to create a wonderful, beautiful world beyond all imagination, and I hope we can all agree to do it. Please, whatever you do, go vote. Thanks for listening to my rant. So much love!"
I have been thinking more and more about this. 

Popular Science called Obama a pro-science president. I'm not saying it's not true, but it doesn't take much to earn that title in this political climate. Just believe what the scientists say, instead of assuming they are part of a vast conspiracy. Then try to fund their work.

Gwyn says it isn't about the parties, but I think the Democratic party is the pro-science party, but we have weaknesses. We freak out over things that don't seem "natural", just because of a small amount of evidence. Taken to the extreme, we get people who don't vaccinate their kids.

Some recent anti-science stuff has been going around lately in places I didn't expect. A democratic friend I have a LOT of respect for, who normally doesn't go for these things, posted a video about a crazy conspiracy theory that involved lots of lying scientists. Another democratic friend talked about the health advice they got from a random stranger at the grocery store that they are more inclined to believe than their own doctor. (They haven't even talked to the doctor yet, but this stranger has convinced them not to take medicine if her doctor prescribes it.)

And all of this has made me reflect on my own little adventure with one of the science topics Gwyn mentioned, pandemic flu, a topic that hasn't been discussed much since the Swine Flu pandemic in 2009. 

I was going to save this stuff for the book I will someday write. But I think this is relevant to Gwyn's point. It amazed me then how little people understood about the science. I dread what I will hear when it comes up again in the national discourse. 

In 2006, they were saying that the Bird Flu was going to be the next pandemic. At the time I was a reporter in Florida, and I ended up doing several stories on Pandemic Flu, attended several meetings of the community and health department on the topic, and even watched a TV movie about a flu pandemic that still scares me when I think about it. They said we were overdue for a flu pandemic, and the next pandemic could be "the big one."

In all these meetings, they were warning us to stock up on food, water and medicine in case the big one stopped normal activities and forced the whole community to stay home. Stores would quit stocking food, schools and work would close, gas would be scarce. Basically, when the big one came, everything would stop because so many people would be sick, and they would be trying to prevent others from getting sick. 

The TV movie was about "the big one", which, for the record, has yet to happen. It depicted the end of civilization as we know it, and while I hope it was an exaggeration, it talked a lot about the things these health department officials were warning about. 

Ironically, despite all this education in 2006, I managed to get the flu twice in the three years I worked at the call center from 2007-2010. 

At first I still forgot to get my flu shot most of the time despite all my education about the importance of it. My family was really good about making us all get flu shots, so I hadn't had the flu since elementary school. But it wasn't until the I missing my flu shot resulted in me getting the flu, and dragging myself to the pharmacy with all the fever and aches to pick up my own Tamiflu prescription, and using my precious Paid Time Off, that I vowed to never, ever, ever miss my flu shot again.

In the fall of 2009, they were talking about pandemic flu again. This time the Swine Flu, H1N1. The pandemic we were overdue for. Now I remembered all those meetings. And like I had vowed, I got my flu shot nice and early. But that was the year everyone needed two shots, one for H1N1 and one for the regular flu. And they were rationing the shots because of the shortage at first. Babies and pregnant women only. 

During that time I got the swine flu, and I had trouble breathing. When I called my doctor, they were full because, well, there was a flu pandemic. And when they heard I had trouble breathing and a history of asthma, they suggested I go to the ER.

I was trying to protect my family, who also had not had their H1N1 shot. So I took myself to the ER. And then the next day I took myself to the pharmacy to get my own Tamiflu prescription, just like I had done before. And everywhere I went, everything I touched, I thought about that stupid bird flu movie that I had watched and how I was going to kill us all.

When I recovered and returned to work, I realized that ridiculous myths were going around the office along with the flu.

1. People talked about how they didn't need the flu shot because of their immunity. They were healthy and ate their broccoli, not weak like me. Everyone is overreacting.

Maybe you are a little less likely to get it, but you have a chance to stop the spread, and you're wasting it, even if it isn't a pandemic. If you don't take it, you are increasing the chances that babies, little old ladies and asthmatic knit bloggers will end up in the ER. 

I hope you get the flu, have to drag yourself to the pharmacy with all the aches and fever to pick up your own Tamiflu and use up all your own Paid Time Off.

For the record, I'm a big fan of broccoli.

2. Others said we should all be washing our produce with diluted bleach and healthy people should be wearing gloves and masks to the grocery store. Everyone is underreacting.

Diluted bleach on food? Is that safe? This is probably overkill unless you have a major issue with your immune system. And stuff like this is why so many people do nothing at all. It looks like hysteria, and they tune out.

3. Several said the flu shot gave them the flu.


Flu shots sometimes miss their target, but they don't give you the flu. You just remember the one year you got a shot and got the flu, and not all the years the shot worked.

4. They said the flu mist they had for kids was dangerous because the kids would inevitably sneeze or pick their noses and kill us all.


If you don't believe me, I'm sure we can arrange for some little kids to turn you into a human tissue at the next flu mist clinic. Then you'll see.

5. Worst of all, on Facebook, parents of newborns, for whom they had rationed the vaccine, thought it wasn't safe. I had the flu, so they could have vaccines for their babies (I don't remember the exact recommendations for babies) and they didn't want to get them.

You really think the CDC is lying about this one? That they would hold it for you if it were dangerous? Or if it weren't worth the risk?

I know it must have been scary having a precious delicate baby something that has so many myths surrounding it. But calm down and trust the science, for the sake of your delicate, precious baby.

So this is just one of the many science issues Gwyn brought up, and it could be the end of us all. Especially if congress believes the myths above. Then we won't be ready when it happens, and while it probably won't be the end of society as we know it, it will surely be a mess, and lives will be lost. 

And I can just imagine it. 20-30 years from now, we are heading for the next pandemic, and congress is holding up vaccines and refusing to make plans because they believe in the myths above, and surely others Rand Paul will come up (He's a doctor, you know.)

If the (non-existent) dangers of flu mist come up again, perhaps we can Rand Paul and some other Republicans to participate in my human tissue experiment.

And for the record, I haven't missed a flu shot since 2009.


Monday, October 6, 2014

October and November Knitting Class Schedule for Michael's in Sunset Valley and Westlake

I guess it's better late than never. The good news is that because my October calendar is late, I also have November dates ready as well, although not all of the listings are online yet. (I'll add the links when they are available.) I'm also excited to have classes available for the Monster Tail by Rainbow Loom. I've been having a ball with mine.

Here's what's coming up:

I Love Yarn Day

October 10 is I Love Yarn Day, according to the Craft Yarn Council of America. In honor of the day, I've squeezed in an extra Knit Beginner 1 class and Kids Weaving - Monsters class. Who knows, I might even bring a snack.

Upcoming School Holidays

October 13 and November 11 are student holidays for both the Austin Independent School District and the Eanes Independent School District. Also, Eanes Independent School District has early release days on October 22, 23 and 24. If you're looking for something for the kids to do, how about signing them up for a class? I've scheduled Monster Tail and Weaving classes during those times.

October and November 2014 Class Schedule


Beginning Knitting - No Experience Needed

These two classes, Knit Simple Scarf and Knit Beginner 1, are designed for students with no knitting experience. However, they are also good for those who haven't knit for a while and need a review, or people who are having difficulty learning on their own. Of course, anyone who wants to join us to make one of these projects is welcomed.

Each class offers different projects that teach the same basic skills. Both classes teach casting on (putting stitches on the needle), knit stitch, binding off (taking stitches off the needle), weaving in ends and a basic understanding of yarn and knitting tools. Knit Beginner 1 also covers basic seaming, and the Simple Scarf Class teaches how to make fringe.

Also, if you want to take the Ruffled Scarf class, these classes will teach you the prerequisite skills you need.

Knit Beginner 1: Hat or Mitts - $25
Friday, October 10 from 5:30 pm to 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley (October 10 is I Love Yarn Day, the perfect day to learn to knit!)
Saturday, November 1 from 3 pm to 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, November 2 from 2 pm to 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Select your favorite colors and start making your own hat or wrist warmers that you'll be proud to wear or give as gifts. You choose one project for the class, but you will get patterns for both. You can look at the sample hat and cuffs I made here.
 photo b19dfa82-d6e5-41b2-9c19-570ce8e27dbf.jpg photo 3c9177a3-0aa7-4a18-a68a-31c8772f2214.jpg


Knit Simple Scarf - $25
Saturday, October 18 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, October 19 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Saturday, November 8 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, November 9 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit on large needles with fringe accents, this scarf drapes beautifully and is the perfect accessory for any outfit.


Knit Simple Scarf photo K18_CYC_Knit-Simple-Scarf_0.jpg

Arm Knitting - No Experience Needed - $10
Wednesday, October 15 from 7 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Thursday, October 23 from 7 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Friday, November 7 from 7 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, November 9 from 5 pm until 6 pm at Michael's in Westlake

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Arm knitting combines several things that are appealing to millennials: crafts projects, chunky knitwear (featured on the fall 2013 runways), social media and instant gratification." Of course, this innovative new craft is for people of all ages who have two arms.

Choose from four different projects using different types of yarn, including three cowls and a shawl. Pick one for the class, but you'll receive patterns for all four projects so you can try them all. (Pictures of more of the patterns are coming soon. However, the left picture is me arm knitting at a demo, and the right picture is the Sashay Arm Knit Cowl sample I made.)

               Arm Knitting Demo            Sashay Arm Knit Cowl at Demo - 5/3/2014

Beginner Classes: Learn the Purl Stitch


These classes are designed for people who have taken Knit Beginner 1 or the Knit Simple Scarf Class or knitters who know the knit stitch but haven't gotten to the purl stitch yet. As always, any knitter with the prerequisite skills can join us, even if they are more advanced. In these classes we will focus on learning the purl stitch, a skill that can be used to add new textures to your knitting.

Knit Beginner 2 - Neck Warmer or Tassel Hat - $25
Prerequisites: Casting On, Knit Stitch, Binding Off
 photo 451ebf09-39f9-4c23-93e5-2bce52d90c86.jpg photo 60d9a448-9798-405a-a129-54f3bb80f5bf.jpg

Now that you know the basics of knitting, you are ready to learn the purl stitch! Create a hat or neck warmer. You will choose one pattern for the class, but you will receive patterns for both projects.

Advanced Beginner Classes

This is your chance to take your knitting to the next level. These classes cover skills like Cables, decreasing, increasing, cables and working with specialty yarns. Be sure to check the prerequisites before signing up.
        
Knit Ruffled Scarves (Discover Time Knitting) - $25*
Prerequisites: Knit Stitch, Binding Off
Tuesday, October 7 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Tuesday, October 21 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Friday, November 14 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, November 25 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Ruffle yarns and ruffled scarves have become very popular recently. This is a chance to make your own ruffled scarf and get comfortable using these yarns. To get the look in the picture below, use Patons Pirouette, but you can use any ruffle yarn for this class, including (but not limited to) Red Heart Boutique SashayPremier Starbella and others. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to try them all. (I know I did. Or at least I got pretty close.)

*This class is listed as "Discover Knit: Time for Knit" online.

 photo d75c98db-d63e-4167-912e-e5120894b035.jpg

Knit Slouchy Hat - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off
Sunday, November 23 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

 photo SlouchyHat.jpg

Wear this slouchy hat in a number of different ways, and you'll be right in fashion.

Knit Baby Hat and Booties - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off
Wednesday, October 8 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Thursday, October 9 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, November 18 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Thursday, November 20 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley



 photo BabyHatandBooties.jpg


Keep your favorite baby warm with this attractive hat and booties set. Makes a perfect gift, too.

Intermediate Classes

If you have the prerequisite skills, don't let these classes intimidate you. Everything you've learned so far has laid the foundation for skills like knitting with double-pointed needles and stranded colorwork, which are covered in these classes.

Knit Cup Cozies - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off*
Thursday, October 30 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, November 12 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Thursday, November 13 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley

 photo CupCozy.jpg

Dress up your coffee or tea cup with one of these festive chevron cozies. Make several and give them as gifts!

Prerequisite Note: Increases (Make 1 or M1) and Decreases (Knit 2 Together or k2tog) are recommended prerequisites, but not required.

Kids Weaving Classes – Recommended for Age 7 and Up 

I'm offering classes for kids using Clover Weaving Sticks. When you use these weaving sticks, the “warp” yarn is thread through the holes at the bottom of the sticks, while the “weft” yarn is woven in between the sticks. It’s a twist on traditional weaving that is fun and quick.

Kids Weaving - Monsters - $15 
Friday, October 10 from 3:30 pm until 5 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley (October 10 is I Love Yarn Day, the perfect day to do some weaving!)
Monday, October 13 from 1 pm until 2:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley (Student Holiday for Austin Independent School District and Eanes Independent School District!)
Wednesday, October 22 from 1 pm until 2:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake (Early Release Day for students in Eanes Independent School District!)
Saturday October 25 from 3 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, November 5 from 4:30 pm until 6 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Tuesday, November 11 from 12 pm until 1:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley (Student Holiday for Austin Independent School District!)


Kids Weaving - Monsters photo W1_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Monster_0.jpg

These wiggle-eyed monsters will be a child’s best friend and perfect for decorating a backpack.

Kids Weaving - Monster Scarves - $25* 
Friday, October 24 from 1 pm until 3:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake (Early Release Day for students in Eanes Independent School District!)
Sunday, November 16 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Friday, November 21 from 4 pm until 6:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley

Kids Weaving - Monster Scarf photo W2_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Monster-Scarf_0.jpg


Kids will love this scarf with its fun monster mitts! (*Monster Scarf classes are more expensive than the other weaving classes, because the project is bigger and the class itself is an hour longer.)

Kids Weaving - Headband with Bow - $15 
Thursday, October 23 from 1 pm until 2:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake (Early Release Day for students in Eanes Independent School District!)
Saturday, November 15 from 2:30 pm until 4 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, November 19 from 4:30 pm until 6 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Kids Weaving - Headband photo W3_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Headband-with-Bow_0.jpg

Choose your favorite yarn colors and wrap it around four weaving sticks to create this eye-catching headband and bow.

Rainbow Loom Monster Tail Classes* – Recommended for Age 7 and Up


From the makers of Rainbow Loom, the Monster Tail is here! Bring your Monster Tail loom, hook and rubber bands in the colors of your choice. Taking classes in order is suggested, especially if you are not familiar with either the Rainbow Loom or the Monster Tail, but it is not required.

* I only teach Rainbow Loom at the Sunset Valley location. Contact the Westlake store to find out more about classes at that location. They have an excellent Rainbow Loom teacher in Westlake.

Monster Tail 1 - Squared Fishtail Bracelet - $5

 photo Monster1.jpg

Once you learn how to make this basic bracelet, you can create different looks just by changing the placement of colors. Beginners should start with this class, but anyone is welcome.

Monday, October 13 from 3 pm until 4 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley (Student Holiday for Austin Independent School District and Eanes Independent School District!)
Tuesday, November 11 from 2 pm until 3 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley (Student Holiday for Austin Independent School District!)

 photo Monster2.jpg

If you are comfortable with the regular fishtail on either the Rainbow Loom or the Monster Tail, you are probably ready to make this bracelet.

Monster Tail 3 - Zipper Pull - $5

 photo ZipperPull.jpg

You should be somewhat comfortable with either the Monster Tail or the original Rainbow Loom before taking this class. In addition to bringing the Monster Tail loom, hook and rubber bands, you will need to bring a keyring or hook and the beads of your choice. (The beads don’t have to be alphabet beads, but make sure they have a hole that is big enough to put the rubber bands through.)

Things to Remember About Signing Up for Classes
  • You need to sign up for classes and pay ahead of time. You can sign up for classes both in store and online. The links above should take you to the proper page for signing up for that class.
  • Ideally, you should try to sign up at least 24 hours before the class starts. When there is less than 24 hours left before the class, you won't be able to sign up online anymore. However, I usually accept in-store sign ups until the morning of the class, or sometimes as late as a couple of hours before the class. However, signing up at least 24 hours before the class is the only way to truly guarantee you a spot.
  • You can always get 10% off your class materials by showing your receipt and syllabus for the class to the cashier when you check out. (Rainbow Loom/Monster Tail materials are not included.)
  • I take requests! If you want to take a class, but it isn't at a convenient time,  you want to take a different class from the Discover Knit program or if you want to learn a skill that isn't covered in the courses, let me know. I can probably accommodate you.
  • Always feel free to contact me about anything related to the classes, including materials for the class, the curriculum or any basic questions about knitting in general. My e-mail is sallyvillarreal AT gmail DOT com . You can also e-mail me to get on my mailing list. Every month I e-mail next month's schedule to everyone on the list.
Thanks for checking out my classes. See you in the classroom!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

September Knitting Class Schedule for Michael's in Sunset Valley and Westlake - Plus 3 More Days to Save 25% on Classes

I'm back with the schedule for classes in September, just in time for you take advantage of the current class discount. Also, we're joining squares next weekend for Warm Up America. But between it all, with the help of my new knitting friends at Englewood Estates, I finished all my knitting student teaching hours! Once they are approved, I'll get a certificate and a pin to wear on my vest from the Craft Yarn Council, and I'll be official.

Get 25% off Most Knitting Classes until August 27*

The two and a half hour knitting classes have been marked down from $25 to $18.75. You can go ahead and sign up for classes scheduled for September now so you can get the discount.

*What does "most" mean? Kids weaving classes are not included. Also, Arm Knitting, which is normally $10, is not included. Everything else on my schedule is eligible for the discount.

Join us August 31 to Join Squares for Warm Up America

I'll have more information about this later in the week. The Sunset Valley Michael's has lots of squares for Warm Up America that need to be sewn together. You do not need to know how to knit or crochet to help. We'll be donating the blanket to Front Steps, a local organization that helps the homeless. Come join us from 2 pm to 5 pm on Sunday, August 31 at the Michael's in Sunset Valley. We'll be in the classroom.

The September 2014 Schedule

Without any further ado, here is the schedule for the Michael's stores in Sunset Valley and Westlake for September 2014:

Beginning Knitting - No Experience Needed

These two classes, Knit Simple Scarf and Knit Beginner 1, are designed for students with no knitting experience. However, they are also good for those who haven't knit for a while and need a review, or people who are having difficulty learning on their own. Of course, anyone who wants to join us to make one of these projects is welcomed.

Each class offers different projects that teach the same basic skills. Both classes teach casting on (putting stitches on the needle), knit stitch, binding off (taking stitches off the needle), weaving in ends and a basic understanding of yarn and knitting tools. Knit Beginner 1 also covers basic seaming, and the Simple Scarf Class teaches how to make fringe.

Also, if you want to take the Ruffled Scarf class, these classes will teach you the prerequisite skills you need.

Knit Beginner 1: Hat or Mitts - $25
Saturday, September 13 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, September 14 from  2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Select your favorite colors and start making your own hat or wrist warmers that you'll be proud to wear or give as gifts. You choose one project for the class, but you will get patterns for both. You can look at the sample hat and cuffs I made here.
 photo b19dfa82-d6e5-41b2-9c19-570ce8e27dbf.jpg photo 3c9177a3-0aa7-4a18-a68a-31c8772f2214.jpg

Knit Simple Scarf - $25
Saturday, September 6 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, September 7 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit on large needles with fringe accents, this scarf drapes beautifully and is the perfect accessory for any outfit.


Knit Simple Scarf photo K18_CYC_Knit-Simple-Scarf_0.jpg

Arm Knitting - No Experience Needed - $10
Thursday, September 18 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, September 16 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Westlake

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Arm knitting combines several things that are appealing to millennials: crafts projects, chunky knitwear (featured on the fall 2013 runways), social media and instant gratification." Of course, this innovative new craft is for people of all ages who have two arms.

Choose from four different projects using different types of yarn, including three cowls and a shawl. Pick one for the class, but you'll receive patterns for all four projects so you can try them all. (Pictures of more of the patterns are coming soon. However, the left picture is me arm knitting at a demo, and the right picture is the Sashay Arm Knit Cowl sample I made.)

               Arm Knitting Demo            Sashay Arm Knit Cowl at Demo - 5/3/2014

Beginner Classes: Learn the Purl Stitch


These classes are designed for people who have taken Knit Beginner 1 or the Knit Simple Scarf Class or knitters who know the knit stitch but haven't gotten to the purl stitch yet. As always, any knitter with the prerequisite skills can join us, even if they are more advanced. In these classes we will focus on learning the purl stitch, a skill that can be used to add new textures to your knitting.

Knit Beginner 2 - Neck Warmer or Tassel Hat - $25
Prerequisites: Casting On, Knit Stitch, Binding Off
 photo 451ebf09-39f9-4c23-93e5-2bce52d90c86.jpg photo 60d9a448-9798-405a-a129-54f3bb80f5bf.jpg

Now that you know the basics of knitting, you are ready to learn the purl stitch! Create a hat or neck warmer. You will choose one pattern for the class, but you will receive patterns for both projects.

Knit Jersey Pillow - $25
Prerequisites: None (See the paragraph below for details)
Thursday, September 25 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, September 23 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Jersey Pillow photo K19_CYC_Knit-Jersey-Pillow_1.jpg

You’ll love resting your head on this pillow because this unique yarn has a T-shirt look and feel.

About the Knit Jersey Pillow class prerequisites: Beginners usually learn the knit stitch first and then the purl stitch. However, the Knit Jersey Pillow class is designed to teach beginners how to purl first. So it can either be taken as a first class, or after Knit Beginner 1 or the Knit Simple Scarf class to learn how to purl. However, if you take Knit Jersey pillow first, I suggest taking a beginner knitting course also so you know the knit stitch as well.

Advanced Beginner Classes

This is your chance to take your knitting to the next level. These classes cover skills like Cables, decreasing, increasing, cables and working with specialty yarns. Be sure to check the prerequisites before signing up.
        
Knit Ruffled Scarves (Discover Time Knitting) - $25*
Prerequisites: Knit Stitch, Binding Off
Thursday, September 4 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, September 10, from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Ruffle yarns and ruffled scarves have become very popular recently. This is a chance to make your own ruffled scarf and get comfortable using these yarns. To get the look in the picture below, use Patons Pirouette, but you can use any ruffle yarn for this class, including (but not limited to) Red Heart Boutique Sashay, Premier Starbella and others. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to try them all. (I know I did. Or at least I got pretty close.)

*This class is listed as "Discover Knit: Time for Knit" online.

 photo d75c98db-d63e-4167-912e-e5120894b035.jpg

Knit Baby Hat - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off
Tuesday, August 26 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Friday, September 19 from 5 pm until 7:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, September 2 from 6 pm until 8:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Baby Hat photo K21_CYC_Knit_Baby_Hat_0.jpg

Baby will look so stylish in this beautiful hat, and you'll learn about decreasing. Crown shaping ensures a perfect fit. (Personally, I'm fond of the swirl that forms at the top of the hat.)

Knit Twisted Headband - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off
Wednesday, August 27 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Friday, September 12 from 6 pm until 8:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, September 30 from 6 pm until 8:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Twisted Headband photo K20_CYC_Knit_Twisted_Headband_0.jpg

It’s a headband with a twist! Two cable stitches create the design and the ribbing ensures a perfect fit. (There's also a picture of me wearing mine on my Facebook page.)

Kids Weaving Classes – Recommended for Age 7 and Up 

I'm offering classes for kids using Clover Weaving Sticks. When you use these weaving sticks, the “warp” yarn is thread through the holes at the bottom of the sticks, while the “weft” yarn is woven in between the sticks. It’s a twist on traditional weaving that is fun and quick.

Kids Weaving - Monsters - $15 

Kids Weaving - Monsters photo W1_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Monster_0.jpg

These wiggle-eyed monsters will be a child’s best friend and perfect for decorating a backpack.

Kids Weaving - Monster Scarves - $25* 
Kids Weaving - Monster Scarf photo W2_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Monster-Scarf_0.jpg


Kids will love this scarf with its fun monster mitts! (*Monster Scarf classes are more expensive than the other weaving classes, because the project is bigger and the class itself is an hour longer.)

Kids Weaving - Headband with Bow - $15 

Kids Weaving - Headband photo W3_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Headband-with-Bow_0.jpg

Choose your favorite yarn colors and wrap it around four weaving sticks to create this eye-catching headband and bow.

Things to Remember About Signing Up for Classes
  • You need to sign up for classes and pay ahead of time. You can sign up for classes both in store and online. The links above should take you to the proper page for signing up for that class.
  • Ideally, you should try to sign up at least 24 hours before the class starts. When there is less than 24 hours left before the class, you won't be able to sign up online anymore. However, I usually accept in-store sign ups until the morning of the class, or sometimes as late as a couple of hours before the class. However, signing up at least 24 hours before the class is the only way to truly guarantee you a spot.
  • You can always get 10% off your class materials by showing your receipt and syllabus for the class to the cashier when you check out.
  • Usually, you should have no problem signing up for classes online. However, if you find a mistake in the schedule, please let me know so we can fix it.
  • I take requests! If you want to take a class, but it isn't at a convenient time,  you want to take a different class from the Discover Knit program or if you want to learn a skill that isn't covered in the courses, let me know. I can probably accommodate you.
  • Always feel free to contact me about anything related to the classes, including materials for the class, the curriculum or any basic questions about knitting in general. My e-mail is sallyvillarreal AT gmail DOT com . You can also e-mail me to get on my mailing list. Every month I e-mail next month's schedule to everyone on the list.
Thanks for checking out my classes. See you in the classroom!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

July and August Knitting Classes at Michael's in South Austin - June 30 deadline Knitting class discount!

June just flew by! I spent much of the month preparing for my parents 40th anniversary surprise party. I'll have a couple of pictures up later.

So I'm late with the July schedule. The good news is that I already have my August schedule completed, so I can kill two birds with one stone by putting them both up.

Also, I have more good news, in case you missed it on my Facebook page. You have until the end of business June 30 to sign up for knitting classes for $20. These classes are usually $25, so you can save $5. You can get this discount by signing up for any classes already on the calendar. July classes are already up, and August classes should be up soon.

New Classes - Discover Knitting classes are updated every few month, so you'll see some new classes. The good news is that I can bring back last month's classes upon request, but this month I'm focused on scheduled the new summer classes.

I'm excited because summer means kids classes! This July, Michael's is introducing kids classes with Weaving Sticks. Weaving sticks work like the bracelets I used to weave with straws when I was in elementary school. Except these are bigger and better.

I've also been doing the Passport to Imagination classes. It's been a new experience for me. I've never taught such a large group of kids. Luckily my fellow instructor is a seasoned veteran, and we've been getting in some great kids. Of course, I'm especially looking forward to the day we have a weaving project.

Let's get on to the schedule itself.

Beginning Knitting - No Experience Needed

These two classes, Knit Simple Scarf and Knit Beginner 1, are designed for students with no knitting experience. However, they are also good for those who haven't knit for a while and need a review, or people who are having difficulty learning on their own. Of course, anyone who wants to join us to make one of these projects is welcomed.

Each class offers different projects that teach the same basic skills. Both classes teach casting on (putting stitches on the needle), knit stitch, binding off (taking stitches off the needle), weaving in ends and a basic understanding of yarn and knitting tools. Knit Beginner 1 also covers basic seaming, and the Simple Scarf Class teaches how to make fringe.

Also, if you want to take the Ruffled Scarf class, these classes will teach you the prerequisite skills you need.

Knit Beginner 1: Hat or Mitts - $25
Saturday, July 12 from 2:30 pm until 5 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, July 2 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Saturday, August 9 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, August 10 from  2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Select your favorite colors and start making your own hat or wrist warmers that you'll be proud to wear or give as gifts. You choose one project for the class, but you will get patterns for both. You can look at the sample hat and cuffs I made here.
 photo b19dfa82-d6e5-41b2-9c19-570ce8e27dbf.jpg photo 3c9177a3-0aa7-4a18-a68a-31c8772f2214.jpg

Knit Simple Scarf - $25
Wednesday, July 9 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, July 20 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Saturday, August 2 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Sunday, August 17 from 2 pm until 4:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit on large needles with fringe accents, this scarf drapes beautifully and is the perfect accessory for any outfit.


Knit Simple Scarf photo K18_CYC_Knit-Simple-Scarf_0.jpg

Arm Knitting - No Experience Needed - $10
Tuesday, July 1 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, July 8 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Friday, August 1 from 3 pm until 4 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, August 12 from 6 pm until 7 pm at Michael's in Westlake

According to The Wall Street Journal, "Arm knitting combines several things that are appealing to millennials: crafts projects, chunky knitwear (featured on the fall 2013 runways), social media and instant gratification." Of course, this innovative new craft is for people of all ages who have two arms.

Choose from four different projects using different types of yarn, including three cowls and a shawl. Pick one for the class, but you'll receive patterns for all four projects so you can try them all. (Pictures of more of the patterns are coming soon. However, the left picture is me arm knitting at a demo, and the right picture is the Sashay Arm Knit Cowl sample I made.)

               Arm Knitting Demo            Sashay Arm Knit Cowl at Demo - 5/3/2014

Beginner Classes: Learn the Purl Stitch


These classes are designed for people who have taken Knit Beginner 1 or the Knit Simple Scarf Class, or knitters who know the knit stitch but haven't gotten to the purl stitch yet. As always, any knitter with the prerequisite skills can join us, even if they are more advanced. In these classes we will focus on learning the purl stitch, a skill that can be used to add new textures to your knitting.

Knit Beginner 2 - Neck Warmer or Tassel Hat - $25
Prerequisites: Casting On, Knit Stitch, Binding Off
 photo 451ebf09-39f9-4c23-93e5-2bce52d90c86.jpg photo 60d9a448-9798-405a-a129-54f3bb80f5bf.jpg

Now that you know the basics of knitting, you are ready to learn the purl stitch! Create a hat or neck warmer. You will choose one pattern for the class, but you will receive patterns for both projects.

Knit Jersey Pillow - $25
Prerequisites: None (See the paragraph below for details)
Thursday, July 17 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Thursday, July 24 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Saturday, August 16 from 3 pm until 5:30 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Tuesday, August 5 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Jersey Pillow photo K19_CYC_Knit-Jersey-Pillow_1.jpg

You’ll love resting your head on this pillow because this unique yarn has a T-shirt look and feel.

About the Knit Jersey Pillow class prerequisites: Beginners usually learn the knit stitch first and then the purl stitch. However, the Knit Jersey Pillow class is designed to teach beginners how to purl first. So it can either be taken as a first class, or after Knit Beginner 1 or the Knit Simple Scarf class to learn how to purl. However, if you take Knit Jersey pillow first, I suggest taking a beginner knitting course also so you know the knit stitch as well.

Advanced Beginner Classes

This is your chance to take your knitting to the next level. These classes cover skills like Cables, decreasing, increasing, cables and working with specialty yarns. Be sure to check the prerequisites before signing up.
        
Knit Ruffled Scarves (Discover Time Knitting) - $25*
Prerequisites: Knit Stitch, Binding Off
Thursday, July 3 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Thursday, July 10, from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Thursday, August 7 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Sunset Valley
Wednesday, August 13, from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Ruffle yarns and ruffled scarves have become very popular recently. This is a chance to make your own ruffled scarf and get comfortable using these yarns. To get the look in the picture below, use Patons Pirouette, but you can use any ruffle yarn for this class, including (but not limited to) Red Heart Boutique Sashay, Premier Starbella and others. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to try them all. (I know I did. Or at least I got pretty close.)

*This class is listed as "Discover Time Knitting" online.

 photo d75c98db-d63e-4167-912e-e5120894b035.jpg

Knit Baby Hat - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off
Tuesday, August 26 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Baby Hat photo K21_CYC_Knit_Baby_Hat_0.jpg

Baby will look so stylish in this beautiful hat, and you'll learn about decreasing. Crown shaping ensures a perfect fit. (Personally, I'm fond of the swirl that forms at the top of the hat.)

Knit Twisted Headband - $25
Prerequisites: Cast On, Knit Stitch, Purl Stitch, Bind Off
Wednesday, August 27 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Knit Twisted Headband photo K20_CYC_Knit_Twisted_Headband_0.jpg

It’s a headband with a twist! Two cable stitches create the design and the ribbing ensures a perfect fit. (There's also a picture of me wearing mine on my Facebook page.)

Kids Weaving Classes – Recommended for Age 7 and Up 

Like I talked about above, this summer I'll be offering classes for kids using Clover Weaving Sticks. When you use these weaving sticks, the “warp” yarn is thread through the holes at the bottom of the sticks, while the “weft” yarn is woven in between the sticks. It’s a twist on traditional weaving that is fun and quick.

Kids Weaving - Monsters - $15 
Wednesday, August 6 from 10:30 am until 12 pm at Michael's in Westlake
Wednesday, August 20 from 10:30 am until 12 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Kids Weaving - Monsters photo W1_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Monster_0.jpg

These wiggle-eyed monsters will be a child’s best friend and perfect for decorating a backpack.

Kids Weaving - Monster Scarves - $15 
Tuesday, August 12 from 2:30 pm until 4 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Kids Weaving - Monster Scarf photo W2_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Monster-Scarf_0.jpg


Kids will love this scarf with its fun monster mitts!

Kids Weaving - Headband with Bow - $15 
Tuesday, August 19 from 2 pm until 3:30 pm at Michael's in Westlake

Kids Weaving - Headband photo W3_CYC_Kids-Weaving-Headband-with-Bow_0.jpg

Choose your favorite yarn colors and wrap it around four weaving sticks to create this eye-catching headband and bow.

Things to Remember About Signing Up for Classes
  • You need to sign up for classes and pay ahead of time. You can sign up for classes both in store and online. The links above should take you to the proper page for signing up for that class.
  • Ideally, you should try to sign up at least 24 hours before the class starts. When there is less than 24 hours left before the class, you won't be able to sign up online anymore. However, I usually accept in-store sign ups until the morning of the class, or sometimes as late as a couple of hours before the class. However, signing up at least 24 hours before the class is the only way to truly guarantee you a spot.
  • You can always get 10% off your class materials by showing your receipt and syllabus for the class to the cashier when you check out.
  • Usually you should have no problem signing up for classes online. Occasionally, due to typos in the calendar, you may not be able to sign up online until we fix the calendar. If you have problems, contact either me or the store, and we'll help you.
  • I take requests! If you want to take a class, but it isn't at a convenient time,  you want to take a different class from the Discover Knit programs or if you want to learn a skill that isn't covered in the courses, let me know. I can probably accommodate you.
  • Always feel free to contact me about anything related to the classes, including materials for the class, the curriculum or any basic questions about knitting in general. My e-mail is sallyvillarreal AT gmail DOT com . You can also e-mail me to get on my mailing list. Every month I e-mail next month's schedule to everyone on the list.
Thanks for checking out my classes. See you in the classroom!