Hedgehog pocket

My friend, G, is kind enough to accompany me on fabric shopping trips from time to time.  This time, it paid off for her.  We were wandering around JoAnn’s when I heard, from across the store, “Look at the cute hedgehogs!”  G and I bolted across the store to find these adorable little fleece hedgies.  I quickly agreed to make my friend a hedgie fleece pullover. 

The pattern is sort of an old Kwik Sew that I hacked to bits over the year.  It started out as just a plain sweatshirt pattern.  I added a zipper, a collar, pockets, side shaping, etc.  Fortunately, G is close enough to my size that only minor sizing adjustments were needed. 



Hedgehog front













A pink zipper would have been awesome, but time did not permit another trip to JoAnn’s.  G is an elementary school librarian and it was hedgehog week.  I whipped this jacket together in a few hours. 

Every teacher needs pockets.  Here is a shot of the pockets:

Hedgehog jacket

As a substitute teacher, I often catch random bits of conversations between students.  This one made me laugh for the rest of the day.

Girl: Guys, did you see this [photo] on Facebook?

Friends tell her that it's been photoshopped.

Girl: But it's on the *internet*, it *has* to be real!!! 

I don't even know what it was a photo of because we were all too busy giving her grief for her comment.  She is actually a really bright girl, definitely bright enough to know that not everything on internet is real.  I am just glad she made the slip up because it totally made my day… and she will never live it down.


Posted on: 1 January, 13


Every now and then, there is project I just have to do for sheer joy of just doing it.  That was totally the case with these hedgehog mittens from Morehouse Farm.  As luck would have it, a good friend who loves hedgehogs has a birthday every year.  For once, I did not procrastinate… and that was a very good thing.  I was worried about learning how to knit a mitten, specifically the thumb part.  (There is a thumb in the photo, I just have my thumb tucked in so you can see all those quills.)  Well, a mitten thumb is no big deal, but those quills!!!  The quills were not hard, but they were time consuming… and plentiful. 


Look at all those quills.  Take a moment and look at how many there are.  I highly recommend this pattern because the mittens are to die for, but be prepared for all those quills.  They are worth the effort because look how cute they are. 

If you are making these for a gift, start early.  I started in October even though my friends birthday is in December.  Those quills take a long time.  I made lots of progress during the 24 hour gaming marathon.  The students cheered when I reached the end of the quill section on the first mitten.  Once the first mitten was completed, I had the motivation to power through the second one.  The mittens were completed before Thanksgiving.  The hard part was keeping them a secret until my friend’s birthday at the end of December.  Yes, there was lots of squealing when she opened the present.


Ok, one eye looks a little wonky in this photo.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to take a photo of a mitten while you are wearing it???  I guess I could have used the timer feature and a tripod.  Besides, the wonky eye adds to his charm.

Oh… some details about the pattern.  It was about $30 for the kit which includes the pattern, yarn, eyes, and shipping.  The yarn is quite lovely and there is plenty to complete the mittens.  The directions were fine.  It took me a minute or two to wrap my head around how to do the quills, but I soon had plenty of practice and was whipping out those little buggers pretty fast in no time.  I don’t know how warm and/or functional these would be for real mittens, but they sure are cute.  My friend is an elementary school librarian.  She does a hedgehog unit with itty bitties every year.  These will be a huge hit!

2012-12-15_15-13-31_94 It is strange to not have a family at Christmas.  I don’t miss *my* family at all, but I do miss having *a* family at times.  I have good friends, but Christmas is so family centered.  Perhaps I am partially to blame… never showing vulnerability.  I am always the tough one, the one who never cries, the one everyone else turns to for support, the one who never shows weakness.  Everyone assumes I will be fine because I never let it show that I am not fine. In my family, weaknesses were exploited and used to the advantage of others.  Confidences were kept only until they could be used as leverage in bizarre game of power and control.  The phrase, "If you don’t stop crying, I will give you something to cry about" was never an idle threat. When you are the smallest of the herd, you learn to act big and fearless.

Many years ago, I had a gun pointed at my face.  The bank robber said, "Get f*ck out my way."  I did just that.  I got out of his way so fast.  It was all over in a matter of seconds.  In and out, guns blazing, money taken, but no one was hurt.  I had no concern for my employer's deposit of several thousand dollars that I was in the middle of depositing when the gun was shoved in my face.  (The teller had already completed the transactions, so it was all good in that respect.)  The only thought that ran through my mind was, "Thank goodness my children are not with me right now."  

When people found out what happened, there wwere lots of "thank goodness you are okay," but that was quickly followed by "Well, if anyone ever pointed a gun at me, I would….."  Everyone had an opinion on how they would have handled the situation… better, more bravely, more boldly.  When the gunman told me to get out of the way, I quickly exited the bank, but hid in behind the bushes to get a description of the getaway car and note in what direction they fled.  No, I did not take the down the gunman with a kick to the groin, but I did give the police information that was helpful and I did not get myself shot.  I call that a pretty good day.  

As the stories come out of Newton, CT of what those brave and bold teachers did, I do not second guess their actions.  Their actions were indeed brave and bold.  Instead, I question, "What would I do?"  If a shooter was terrorizing my school, what would I do?  Would I stay calm and ease my students fears?  Would I take a bullet for my students?  

The school has lockdown drills.  I know the mechanics of locking the doors and moving the students to a closet or storage room, if possible.  We have actual lockdowns.  Thankfully, those usually involve an escaped criminal hiding out in the woods behind the school or a small (unarmed) fight on campus.  A couple years ago, a student "accidentally" discharged a gun as he was exiting the school bus to come into school.  The alarm sounded right before the first bell of the morning.  I knew this was not a typical lockdown.  I was in the counseling office with a handful of students, most of whom were Burmese refugees, brand new to our school.  Welcome to America!  I did my best to explain what was going on as we sat in the dark, listening for approaching footsteps and possibly gunfire.  At that point, we had no clue as to what was going on outside that wooden door.  I admit, my thoughts wandered to where my own children were.  Had they made it to class yet?  Were they safe in that part of campus?  Was any part of the campus safe?  I whispered reassurances to the students with me.  I don't know how much they understood.  I watched them carefully for signs of anxiety or panic.  There wasn't much else to be done as we sat and hoped for silence in the halls.  Finally we received word that we could turn on the lights, but everyone had to remain in place while security and the police made sure the buildings were secure.  I reassured the students that we do this to be safe, to be certain that they are protected from harm.  They shared bits of their life before coming to America, some good and some bad.  

I did what I was suppose to do.  I locked the door, turned off the lights, and kept the students and quiet and calm.  Every time I sub, I always assess the room for a potential lockdown.  Is there a closet or storage room large enough to hold all of the students?  Where is the emergency folder?  Where are the keys to the lock the door?  Do I have an accurate accounting of students in the room?  I know the mechanics.  Had that student been able to get that gun from the bus to the hallways, would I have been as brave and bold as those teachers in Newton?    

It saddens me that we live in a society where lockdown procedures are part of my morning routine.  It saddens me that students are all to familiar with lockdown drills and actual lockdowns.  When new teachers are being interviewed, do principals need to ask the question, "Would you take a bullet for your students?"  Would I take a bullet for my students?  I would like to be confident and say, "yes, of course I would!"  Until you are looking down the barrel of a gun, you just don't know.


I am knitting as fast as I can to finish some holiday gifts.  In the meantime, here is a sock that I finished ages ago, but never got around to posting. 

The pattern is Jaywalker, which I found on Ravelry… which is where I find almost all of my knitting patterns.  Super easy pattern that knits really fast.  The yarn is Berrocco Comfort Sock, English Garden colorway.  It is not a fancy yarn, but I love it.  Smooth knitting and oh so comfy to wear. 

I had tried a couple other patterns with this yarn, but it really needed a simpler pattern like Jaywalker to take advantage of the self striping. 

The holiday edition of the pattern books is always my favorite of the year.  So much glitz and glam.  The last couple of years have been so disappointing.  Has fashion taken a wrong turn down the Retro Path?  Has the economy dampened the creative spirit?  Am I getting old and cranky,  no longer able to appreciate the changing trends?  

Most of the holiday collections are simply ho-hum.  There are very, very few patterns that I MUST.  BUY.  RIGHT.  NOW… like almost none.  Several make me believe someone is trying to sabotage the home sewing industry.  Seriously, with patterns like these, who would ever want to sew their own dresses.  (Not that the selection at the mall is any better… wow… so much ugly on the racks.)  

This monstrosity… where to begin…  


The giant floral background is such a distraction, but, considering the dress, perhaps that was intentional.  The fabric and lace look so cheap.  Budgets are tight, but when sewing samples to be photographed for the pattern catalog, the pattern companies should spend a few extra bucks and go for more luxe fabrics.  The necklace does not go with the dress.  It is so heavy and casual for the delicate lace.  The necklace is so heavy that the model cannot stand upright.  

Okay… the bow.  The. Bow.  What an awkward placement.  Without the bow, it would be a cute enough dress.  With better fabric, it could be a really cute dress.  If the bow were at the waist… maybe, just maybe it could be okay.  If the seam fell just below the bust/bow… maybe… possibly.  If anyone has a very large bust, please, please run away from this pattern.  

I have to stop writing.  I cannot look at this photo for another minute.  


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