Musings and Motion

Thoughts on knitting, sewing, and fitness…

Spinning Silk Hankies

I had been resisting the urge to learn how to spin because I knew there would be a steep learning curve, and I already knit, sew, run, teach, parent, etc.  However, when I walked into Yarn on Youree, my LYS and saw the display of drop spindles, I was undone. A few weeks later, I had a medium weight spindle and some Shetland roving from Blue Moon Fiber Arts to practice spinning. I was hooked! I find spinning on a spindle very relaxing and rewarding, even if I had to watch a few videos and a read some books to find out how to begin.

This May, my mom, a friend, and I attended the Magnolia State Fiber Festival in Vicksburg, MS where I purchased an orange silk hankie from Spinning Straw Into Gold and a very lightweight spindle from Louisiana Lagniappe. Silk is my favorite thing to spin so far because I was able to draft if very thin and spin it very fine as a beginner. I plan to spin silk hankies in rainbow colors and use them to knit the Rainbow Dots cowl by Janina Bottger

Skeins of silk, singles waiting on a bobbin to be plied, and spindles in a bowl.
Skeins of silk, singles waiting on a bobbin to be plied, and spindles in a bowl.


Torching Ten

In an homage to the Zen Runner’s Burning Twenty podcast and a real need to lose ten pounds, I am launching the blog series Torching Ten. The main purpose is to be accountable here for my weight loss, but also to serve as a collection of weight loss research, conversations, and inspiration. Feel free to Torch Ten with me here and on twitter, where I am @musingrunner.

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver Used with permission under Creative Commons
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver
Used with permission under Creative Commons

For the first bit of weight loss research, this was in my blog reader this morning via Science Daily: Soybean oil causes more obesity than coconut oil, fructose.  To summarize this article, mice given a diet rich in soybean oil gained 25% more fat than mice fed a coconut oil rich diet and 9% more than mice on a high fructose diet. The high fructose mice gained 12% more than the coconut oil mice.

Now, a mouse model is not a human model and no one is saying to go coconut oil crazy. Also, correlation does not prove causation, or just because two events are linked does not mean that one caused the other. Further, one research paper is not enough data to prove anything scientifically, so we should be careful about drawing conclusions from them. However, common sense will tell us that snack foods, where high concentrations of soybean oil can be found, are NOT good for us, especially if we are trying to control our weight. Didn’t we know that already? Yes, but sometimes it is nice to be reminded, even if it is by mice.

Work in Progress – Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig

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I have been knitting for a while on the Featherweight Cardigan by Hannah Fettig, using Lost City Knit’s Oak Barn Merino Lace. I met Denise of Lost City Knits at the 2013 Magnolia State Fiber Festival in Vicksburg, MS. I was impressed by her design skills and her dying skills (more on her design skills later). This is a long-term project on which I have no self-imposed deadline. I have separated for the sleeves and need several more inches of body.  The lace weight yarn is challenging to work with as it is so light, but I think the finished product will get lots of wear because of this characteristic.

The Week in Motion – Crossfit

As the calendar marches toward fall and fall races, I have been dabbling in some Crossfit training to shore up my running. I tried a workout at a semi-local box called The Barn, and loved it, but driving one and a half hours round trip for a 45 minute workout doesn’t seem to make much sense. Especially when I can do most of the exercises at home with stuff we already have.

So, I have been using workouts from Crossfit Quest of Humble, TX. I really like the way they structure their workouts; they all include a warm up, strength component, and then the work out of the day (wod). There is usually some sprinting in the warm up and the wod, which I love.

My non-running fitness goal is to do a handstand pushup. As my regular pushups are far from perfect, I have a ways to go, but expect photos when I get there. Happy week in motion!

The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham

School has begun here and the last month I have been consumed by teaching. This week I am musing about The Writing Thief by Ruth Culham.

Image from Amazon
Image from Amazon


In chapter one she lists some ‘ zombies’, routines that should be dead in any classroom but keep coming back. Most of these zombies are dead in our school, with good reason. But when I saw vocabulary lists as a zombie, I had some questions.  I give my students lists of vocabulary words from texts that we are reading in class and academic words that they will need in all subjects. We work on these words all week.  I don’t assess students on these words with a quiz, but they do need to know them for other assignments and to read other texts. I don’t make students copy dictionary definitions like I did as a student, but we draw pictures of the words, play games with the words, make sentences with the words, discuss roots, synonyms, antonyms, and origins.


My question for you is this: How do you teach vocabulary in your classroom? How do you assess student learning? Do you periodically give them lists of words that they need to know for success in school and life?

Happy teaching!



Trying Style Arc Patterns

I tried my first two patterns from Style Arc, an independent pattern company based in Australia. I chose the Julie pant, which a slim pant for stretch woven fabrics. Every month, Style Arc give away a free pattern with each order and for July the pattern was the Emily Top, a yoked T-shirt with a twisted pleat on the right neck side.


The patterns come printed on thick paper, with written instructions and a swatch of recommended fabric. The Emily pattern is straight forward, except for the pleat detail. I found the written instructions to be confusing and when I searched the online tutorials at the Style Arc Website, I found no help. When I did a Google search for “Help with Style Arc Emily top” I found a Style Arc tutorial on their FaceBook page which was VERY helpful. However, the pattern instructions and the tutorial instructions were not the same. For example, the pattern instructions say to sew the neck binding short ends together before sewing the binding the neck edge and the tutorial tells you to keep the binding in one piece when attaching to the neck (this is the only way that works). One I got over that speedbump, the rest of the shirt came together like any other top. I do like the way it fits and think that their patterns are very original and fashion forward.

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The Julie pants I have not made a real pair of yet, but I did make two muslins and think that I have the fit down well enough to try a pair for work. I will show those when I have them completed. My first muslin was too tight in the thighs ( I HAVE been running this summer!) so I added an inch to each side and that seemed to fit the fit issue.

I think that Style Arc patterns are worth a try if you are an intermediate to advanced sewist, but proceed with caution if you are a beginner. I would try more of their patterns myself. Happy Sewing.

Sewaholic Cambie

To continue my Sewaholic spree, I made another Cambie. My last Cambie was gorgeous, but I made it with rayon thread, which breaks when you look at it. I found this lightweight cotton at a discount store and I fell in love with the bright roses on the navy background. I lined it with some sheer striped fabric that I already had on hand, and I must say I like stripes with roses. Who knew? I bought all the fabric that was left on the bolt, so the dress is too short to wear to work but will be perfect for my cousin’s September cowboy wedding. The Sewaholic patterns spoil me because I hardly ever have to adjust them to fit. The Cambie required no alterations for a good fit. I will get a photo of it on soon, I think it is the most ME thing that I have made to date. Happy sewing.

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Dark Pearl KAL Clue 3

I have finished the sleeves on my Dark Pearl cardigan by Carol Feller. The last clue is the lace front panel. I have been knitting this almost exclusively for the past 6 weeks. Once this cardigan is done I plan on finishing everything that is on my needles, which is quite a lot! I have enough current knitting projects to last me the rest of the year.  Happy knitting.


Sewaholic Outfit

All this week I have been working with another teacher to introduce fifth grade students to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The students read a Shakespeare biography and a children’s version of Hamlet, then they wrote screenplays inspired by the play, filmed, and edited videos. Today their parents came to the screening of their ‘movies’. It was a great week, but left little time for blogging!

Last week I finished my Sewaholic Thurlow trousers and am quite happy with them. I noticed, however, in the photos today that the welt pocket lining leaves a line across my rear end, so for future pairs I will get thicker main fabric. I was also thinking about trying some patch pockets on the back next time, too.  I added my new personalized sewing tags from MommieMadeIt, and felt like a real seamstress.

Today I finished a Sewaholic Pendrell blouse in a sand colored knit from Girl Charlee. I am also very happy with this top, as I have many things that I can wear it with. It was easy to sew, but has a little drama. I just realized that my next project is another Sewaholic Cambie, I am definitely on a Sewaholic roll. Happy sewing.


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Work in Progress – Sewaholic Thurlow Trousers

This Spring, I made a test pair of Thurlow Shorts, but needed to lengthen the crotch for a better fit. I used this tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch to make the changes to the pants pattern. I don’t know why I waited so long to do it, as it only took about 5 minutes. Once that adjustment was complete, I cut out my nice pants fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics.  My next steps will be to fuse the interfacing and begin construction. I am leaving off the belt loops as I do not wear belts, but that and the crotch alteration are all the changes I will be making to this pair. Hopefully I will have some work pants to show you by next week. Happy sewing!


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