A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

When I started knitting my first shawl, I wondered why in the world I was doing it. Now here I am ten or so shawls later and wearing one nearly every day when it’s chilly out.
The first shawl I knit was huge, 1000 or so yards. While I love it, and it is so cozy and warm, I don’t wear it very often because it isn’t as practical as some of my later shawls. Although I do love to snuggle up in it when I’m reading or watching television in my chair.

Calming Waters

As I became more skilled at knitting and realized I enjoyed knitting shawls, I started to consider how exactly to wear my shawls, and I began to really think about what I was knitting instead of being dazzled by the yarn. I really love shawls for their warmth and for their ability to pull together an outfit. I tend to be a warmer person, so I like that I can throw on a shawl on a chilly day, and while it takes off the chill, I don’t get overheated like I would in a sweater or jacket. I also feel like I’m actually dressed, even in a t-shirt and jeans, if I wear some sort of neck wear. My students would frequently comment on how cute an outfit was because of the shawl I wore with it. (And if teenager girls compliment you, you know you’re doing something right.)

Elk Tooth

I frequently see people ask on Ravelry how to wear shawls, and I found myself doing the same thing. Finally, I grabbed several of my own shawls in several different shapes and just starting futzing in front of the mirror. In doing so, I definitely figured out my preferred method of wearing shawls and also my preferred shawl shape, not that I don’t deviate from that, but it has to be an amazing pattern.

Because I’m a shawl-lover and wish I could convince the world that these are the accessory to wear, I grabbed my resident photog (Chris) and two different shawl shapes and did a photo shoot to model different ways I wear a shawl.

All stretched out

I find crescent shapes a little more difficult to wear, as I sometimes feel like they look like a bib when worn around the neck. I tend to wear them off to one side or the other.

More formal

Sometimes that gets too warm, so I just drape it over my shoulders; in fact, this is how I wore it at knit night on Tuesday. The AC was on in Panera, so there was a little chill; I just draped this guy over my shoulders, and I could knit and talk with my hands and not freeze.

Just hanging there

The great thing about longer, shallower shawls is that you could wrap them over your head and around your neck if you forget a hat. My husband thought I was crazy when I did this last night, but there have been some windy winter days where I needed something on my head.

Head Scarf

Triangle-ish shawls are typically my favorite shape. They just seem to be easier for me to wear.

All stretched out

I’ve seen people wear them tied around in back so the shawl almost looks like a shrug in front, but while this looks cute in front, on me, the back looks lumpy. Other people pull off this look, and it makes me jealous. I’m afraid the problem is my body, not the shawl.

Shrug

If someone has the secret to making this work, please let me know!! (And I made this picture small intentionally; no one needs to see this one in large-size.)

Tied in Back

This is a more traditional way to wear a shawl. I know some people think it looks granny-ish, but if the shawl style or colors are modern enough, I don’t see a problem. (Disclaimer: I am not the pinnacle of style.)

Tied in Front
More Traditional

My personal favorite way to wear a shawl is kerchief-style. It’s really easy, just a little wrap and twist, and really low-maintenance. I wear nearly all my triangle shawls this way since it is so easy to do. I also don’t find myself tugging and pulling and rearranging like I do when I wear them other ways.

Kerchief

IMG_8683

Like I said, I’m not the pinnacle of style, but I do think I might have some cred in this whole thing since my students did frequently tell me how cute my shawls looked. (Ok, maybe I don’t since I just used the word “cred”.) It took me a while to get comfortable wearing a shawl, but I really do think that’s the key to pulling it, and any style, off. My thinking is that I like it…who cares if anyone else does? However, I do love when someone compliments me on what I’m wearing, and I get to tell them I made it.

Even my husband can look good in my shawls because of his ability to rock it.

Even the husband is modeling

Title quote by Coco Chanel

Dreams like a podcast, Downloading truth in my ears.

Anymore, we rarely have the television on in our house. Most of the shows we watch are over for the season, and while Chris and I have started watching Game of Thrones, we don’t watch it every night. So, I frequently put on podcasts. I really enjoy listening while I’m doing other things, and a podcast doesn’t distract G from his playing.
I have quite a list of podcasts I listen to. I tend to lean towards knitting-related topics or trivia-type knowledge. My list can further be broken down into those I’m a devout follower of and those I’m still just trying out for whatever reason.
For those of you who are interested, here’s the list. Please, let me know if there’s something else I need to check out. I’m beginning to run out of back episodes of some of these, so I need new shows.

Knitting-Related
Commuter Knitter
Every couple weeks, Jen talks through her knitting as she commutes. There isn’t a lot of small-talk in her podcast, which I appreciate. You get a sense of who she is without being inundated.
Jen and Jane Knitfunny
I love this podcast. They’re sarcastic and irreverent and just funny!
Just One More Row
Dana and Brittany have a great rapport. Dana has her own dying business, which is really interesting to hear about. And I plan on trying her yarn at SSK Marketplace. Both have been knitting sweaters lately, which is really motivating me to work on my own cardigan.
Knit Knit Cafe
Abby tends to really analyze her knitting and spinning. For example, she was struggling to find a way to successfully tension her sock knitting, and after going down several needle sizes, re-taught herself to knit in a different way. She does have her soapbox moments, but she warns you they’re coming.
Stockinette Zombies
This is probably my favorite video-podcast. I really like both Megan and Amy, and I love that they take a few minutes at the beginning to “chat,” then it’s onto the knitting. You get a sense of who they are, but the focus is on their knitting.
The Knit Girllls
My friend Kristi turned me on to The Knit Girllls, and I love to see their knitting and spinning projects. I definitely enjoy the podcast more when they’re together versus the two different “screens”.
The Knitmore Girls
I really enjoy most of The Knitmore Girls’ content, but I’m frequently pulled out by the ads.
The Must Stash Podcast
These girls can get a bit giggly, but it’s really clear that Steph and Stacie enjoy what they’re doing. Even though I don’t spin, I’ve enjoyed hearing (and seeing) their Tour-de-Fleece progress.
The Yarniacs
I’ve only listened to one episode of The Yarniacs, but I have several more I intend to listen to.

Non-Knitting
A Way with Words
This was my very first podcast addiction. I’m a word nerd, and I’m proud of it. I can indulge in all my nerdiness with this podcast.
CraftLit
I’ve listened to the beginning of The Age of Innocence and enjoy the analysis. Another listener recommended Dracula and Jane Eyre.
Good Job, Brain!
This is trivia night meets Jeopardy! meets Wikipedia. If you do trivia teams, listen to this!!
How to Do Everything
Just a quick (15-20 minute) listen that’s about as random as it can get. The best part? The bathroom of the week!!
Radiolab
The Mister got me started on this one. The hosts edit in interviews from various parties to tell a story. Usually fascinating, but there haven’t been as many “story”-type episodes lately.
Short Cuts
Another quick listen featuring various stories centering on a theme.
Stuff You Should Know
Exactly what it sounds like. The hosts, Josh and Chuck, “teach” us about a new topic each week.
WBEZ’s Changing Channels
This is a new podcast, only two episodes, featuring three women who discuss current television news, what they’re watching, what they aren’t watching, and anything else television-related. The last episode focused on “divorcing” shows, which I thought was an interesting concept (not coined by them, but discussed in their show).

Downloaded But Haven’t Listened
The Milt Rosenberg Show
The Read
Topics with Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter
Tried this one. Wasn’t a fan. A bit too rambling and general for me. Disclaimer: I didn’t get more than ten minutes into it. I just didn’t enjoy the flow of it.
Yarnraising

Podcast

Title from the novel The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

Mothers are all slightly insane.

The decision to become a stay-at-home mom comes very easily to some women. They don’t think twice about resigning to spend their days playing cars, finger-painting, and doing laundry. I don’t mean to sound negative because, as I said in my initial post, I am now a SAHM, but it was a decision I really struggled with and still do.
I love teaching. And I was good at it. I enjoyed the time I spent with my students (most of it, anyway), and I loved trying to share my love of literature and writing with them. I usually looked forward to going to work in the morning because, despite how strange of creatures they are, teenagers are really fun. I never had the same day twice, and I always laughed, belly-laughed, at least once a day.
So, why quit?
It was different after G-Bug was born. I still loved my job, and I loved going to work. But I resented the extra hours I had to put in to do my job well. I’d spend several hours after 3:00 and nearly a full day of every weekend grading, planning, reading, contacting parents…all the not-so-fun administrati that comes with teaching. That’s the part they fail to mention in education classes. And before G was born, I didn’t mind it; granted, it wasn’t my favorite part of my job, but I did it. After he was born and I went back to work, I found out it was more difficult to juggle. I hadn’t considered it before, but I had to give up something.
Ultimately, I struggled with continuing to be good at my job and being a good mother and wife. I felt like I was failing at both. I couldn’t find a balance because something essential to both was having time for myself, as well. I needed time to recharge, and I wasn’t getting it. I spent all my time working, mom-ing, or sleeping. And I was resenting all of it.
I resented my job and my students for taking time away from my home-life. While I still enjoyed them, I found myself annoyed by things that wouldn’t normally bother me. I would get impatient with students who didn’t pay attention in class or who didn’t complete assignments. I was taking time away from my family to try to teach them, so why didn’t they care? I was angry because I cared more than they did.
I also started feeling like I was slipping at preparation and grading. I would be annoyed with Chris or G when I really needed to work, and they wanted my attention. I didn’t have the hours on the weekend to put into my job, and come Monday, I would be frazzled and felt like I was scrambling to be ready for the kids to come in.
And I didn’t have time for myself. I was always “on,” which is exhausting. I was always “mom” or “Mrs. S” and all the responsibilities that come with those titles. I wasn’t happy.
Honestly, neither was Chris; he was having to pull the weight of both of us in terms of meals and housework. Plus, he had his own full-time job and side business. He was 100 percent on-board for me to resign.
I was the hold-out. I’m well aware that I’m fortunate that this was even a choice I was able to make. I really struggled with it, though. I love spending time with G, but all day? That’s a lot of time. And a lot of diapers. And what about the fact that I actually enjoy my job? And money? And retirement? And my sanity?
I still worry about all those things. I know come August I’ll really question whether this was the right choice. But our household is much less chaotic than it was when I was working. Our sink isn’t always piled with dishes (only sometimes); we don’t eat out more days than we cook; our laundry is actually caught up (except the towels and sheets, which I’ll do today); and more importantly, I don’t find myself angry at my family for demanding my time. Both Chris and I have time to do the things we enjoy, and we have more time to spend all together. I think ultimately it was worth the sacrifice of my career.

Title from J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye