Waxing & Waning

I swear, I just feel like an epic blog fail these days.

Finding something interesting to write about evades me some days.  I enjoy the blogging, and I’m not going to stop, but I’m sorry that I’m not a more vivid or regular correspondent these days.

I’m definitely feeling the weather.  Cold days are hard, and this may be the year I begin wearing socks. But now that my last tie to West Virginia is broken, I guess it’s time to don foot gear.

I have been trying to pretend that I don’t feel the weather chilling up – riding my bike every day – but then I remember the paralyzed, painful period I had last Fall and I find myself a little scared.

I feel like I’m looking up a hill, and I could sit and whine about it all day, but nothing will get me UP the hill but ME.

Evidently I’m going through a phase, I’m Gibous.

And all that frenetic energy I exhibit at times?  That’s must be libration.


One thing I have been doing is setting up a new classroom structure within a domain I already own. The ning fees aren’t terrible, but they are adding up.  If I can make a better classroom AND move away from ning, so much the better. All I’ll have to pay are subscription services for various secured media hosting and my domain and hosting fees – much less than the ning fees!

I have two classes ready to go, and I figured today I’d transfer some of my free How to Knit students over.  Yes, that’s the price of the class – guinea pigginess.

I’ve got the chat working, I’ve set up a group gallery for each class, I’ve got the videos and handouts all set up (and I’ve reworked the videos at a higher resolution) The only thing I won’t have in the classes are forums.

Maybe I’m a little forum shy, or maybe it’s because they weren’t utilized very much over at my ning classroom, but I just feel I’d rather answer folks’ questions individually or have them participate in the chat.

I’m also rethinking my pricing structure.  Online class fees run a pretty wide scale, mine have hovered around $50.  I’ve never felt 100% great about that – it seems as though they should be cheaper – but I didn’t want to undercut other online class teachers and become a race to the bottom.

My Recent Fun

However, even though the classes run a full month, it’s still NOT the same as me going to an in-person event.  Once I move the classes I’ll be able to charge less because I won’t have the monthly ning fees hovering over my head (yay!)  What are your thoughts on this?

Figuring out the minimal coding has been daunting, but also exciting.  I’m a bit of a geek, but I have a tendency to learn only enough to make myself dangerous.  Since Adria Richards introduced me to Word Press (and Margaret Roach gave me an extra push) I’ve been very happy.

Finding that there are great plug-ins and add-ons which can turn a blog into a password protected classroom setup is pretty wonderful.

But, as with many self taught knitters I meet, I just have this nagging fear that I’m not doing it RIGHT.  And, as in knitting, maybe there isn’t one RIGHT way to figure widgets and categories and minimal php coding.  I mean, if the code works and if it’s not cluttered, maybe that’s the goal – reachable by many different routes?

At any rate, learning is good, and I’m getting fired up to create a few new classes this Fall.

Millinery & Beyond!

So MANY things in this great book that I want to knit!

Number one on my new class list is Millinery.  I’ve been wanting to add this class, and receiving the new book, Modern Knits, Vintage Style yesterday gave me the encouragement I need!

My Hat!

I worked this hat up out of love – I fell in love with the yarn, I have a long-standing love affair with cloches, and so I just knit it for no reason.

When I was contacted by Kari Cornell about submitting something for Modern Knits, Vintage Style, I suggested this happy cloche and she accepted it – yay!

I love that, designing for a group project rarely happens so tidily.

Offering a class on how to make this hat as an online class will be the cherry on top of the whole adventure.  It’s such a happy design, I did it during our period down at Rochester in 2007 so it bears happy memories, too!

In Other Vintage News

She looks like she KNOWS something a little evil & a little funny...

I’ve been ABSOLUTELY remiss about mentioning Knitting It Old School by Stitchy McYarnpants – and I LOVE the book so much!

I’m not just saying that because I have a piece – a crocheted piece – in the book.  I’m saying it because it’s true.  This is a wonderful little journey into some modern knits that have a certain old-time feeling (hmmm, there’s a lot of that going around…) and I found myself becoming more and more excited about each piece as I leafed through the book.

One of the hardest things about what I call Queen Midas Syndrome – turning what I love into gold – is that I don’t have the time to just KNIT something I see in a book.  Any extra time I have is usually not devoted to knitting, and any knitting I engage in is generally for hire.  It’s a trade off, and I’m not complaining.  But it makes looking through these exceptional books a little bittersweet.

For everyone whose said to me, “I am jealous you get to knit for a living!” I could respond, “I’m jealous you get to knit for fun alone!” But I can’t complain – aside from some hard deadlines or difficult pattern writing sessions, most of what I do really IS fun!

B’nai Hey Hey!

We met with our Rabbi yesterday to see what stuff we need to check off our list (or ADD to our list, as the case may be) regarding Max’s Bar Mitzvah in January.  There is a LOT of stuff to do.

First, we need to find Jews.

We have 6 Aliyot to fill, and they must be filled by Jews.  Dang.  Or should I say, “Oy!” Of course, if I’d been thinking (or if I were Jewish) I would have seen this coming, but it slipped my consciousness until we chatted with the Rabbi last night.

Since moving here almost 4 years ago we’ve made SO many friends – but not a ton of Jewish friends.  In that way, it’s much different than New Jersey.

Obviously I have no Jewish family (no family to speak of, really…) and Gerry’s family is back in NY.  I’d sort of left this up to Gerry, but last night the memory returned to me of our Wedding Date Fiasco.

Wedding Date Fiasco

Gerry and I decided on a date for our wedding, had the invitations printed, sent them out, and THEN we were told that a Saturday afternoon wedding isn’t quite the right thing.  A marriage is a contract, and a contract shouldn’t be signed on Shabbat.

Therefore, Jewish weddings do NOT happen during daylight on Saturday, or after dark on Friday night.  It was such a forehead slapping moment, I felt absolutely humiliated that I hadn’t known that important fact.

To be honest, it only prevented a few members of Gerry’s family from attending our wedding, but it looked bad and those family members (modern Orthodox) were definitely missed.

Gerry plead ignorance, “I didn’t know that!  I’ve never been married before!”

I plead Methodist.

Live at Mount Zion! Klezmorim!

Why it hasn’t occur to me that we will need a posse of Jews to chant blessings before each of Max’s mini-portions is beyond me.  THIS is something I should know, having attended other B’nai Mitzvah.  Oy.

We may be calling on the band to come up and chant a blessing…

Speaking of the band, I attended Steven B’s Knitting & Klezmer event this summer and fell in love with the band, Klezmorim.  I’ve hired them to play on Max’s day, in this case I’d rather spend the money on good, live music than food.

Click to listen & buy!

The band is led by Judith Eisner, who is a sister of Candace Eisner Strick (small world!) and they are SENSATIONAL!  If you’d like to hear a sample of their music, you can listen here (and get the CD!)

Of course, we’ll have food, but it will be a low-key spread of salads and bagels and a big gluten free cake and other sweeties, coffee, tea, etc.  We’ve spoken to two caterers now, and I definitely have the feeling that this is something I and a few friends can do.  Our wedding was rather simple, too.

Or maybe I shouldn’t be using my wedding experience as an example…

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13 thoughts on “Waxing & Waning

  1. Panhandle Jane

    Your new class structure sounds interesting. I’m enjoying the class I’m taking. I apologize for disappearing from the chat on Sunday night. I accidentally closed while being interrupted by a semi-family emergency. I did not mean to be rude–I just hit the wrong enter key.

  2. Pam

    Annie – I took your combo class in February and thought the fee was very reasonable. You offer quite a bit between the on-line chats, videos, materials to download, and individual comments. No, its not the same as being with you in person, but you’ve adjusted the price accordingly.

    I don’t think you should even consider lowering the cost. Something to consider is that the perception of the value of your classes might be lower if the price is too low. Does that make sense?

  3. Debra Fox

    I agree with Pam- the cost of your class is very reasonable. People will pay for expertise and convenience, I know I will.

  4. bibliotecaria

    I think $50 is right in line with what I’ve seen in other places, even a little low perhaps. (I’m actually comparing somewhat with the online classes I’ve seen in the scrapbooking world, since I don’t really know of any comparison in the knitting world.)

    One thing I would suggest is that you have some way to replace the content of a forum — if someone asks a question, everyone can see the answer, whereas that information is possibly lost via email/chat. Perhaps an attached wiki (I checked and WordPress does have a plugin) or even an extra “Questions answered” blog (or perhaps just blog category) where you can take email/chat conversations and record them for other students to search and find?

    I’m actually thinking of this myself — a work situation where I am debating if a forum is the way to go for an online class.

  5. Mylyne

    So sorry to hear about your fibro flare ups. I’m currently keeping mine under control with Vit. C. About your the U-knit-versity, I am deciding to choose one of the classes to offer and am very excited about it. I’m not Jewish, but have a little knowledge about ancient customs and if I’m not mistaken the Sabbath starts from sundown on a Friday until just before sundown the next day. Wishing you the best on your wedding arrangements.

  6. Paula

    You don’t have to fill all the aliyot with family and close friends. At the synagogue I attend, often there is an aliyah at a Bar Mitzvah filled by “a congregant” where the person who is coordinating (reminding people where to go and when = floor gabai) asks someone in the congregation if they would like an aliyah at the last minute. Is there someone, e.g. a teacher or spouse of the rabbi, in the congregation who has been friendly or helpful even if you don’t know the person well that you might ask? It is an honor.

  7. Terese Douglass

    I love your classes and definitely don’t think you should lower the price of them. I am excited to see this new format. I know other teachers are trying to rework this whole ning thing.
    It is amazing how much you accomplish even with your health issues. I know very healthy people that don’t get half as much done as you do! You need to pat yourself on the back once in a while (this is the problem for working for yourself). A virtual great big “Good Job” You should be proud of yourself.

  8. Barbara

    I haven’t taken one of your classes yet but hope to someday AND I would gladly pay $50 bucks for it! Sounds like an experience I would enjoy.

  9. amanda

    though i obviously can’t help with the aliyot as my great grandmother let our jewish card lapse i am trying my very best align the stars so i can come to max’s big day!!

    love you to bits and pieces!

  10. Elaine

    Came to your blog via researching for how to knit w/wire. I was immediately caught up in your description of how you are feeling. Esp.. this:” the paralyzed, painful period.” Great words to describe how I felt at the beginning of this month. Now wondering if I am feeling “gibbous” as well 🙂 Hello! and I LOVE your work!

  11. Ruth Temple

    Hey, you know my Juuuudith! Back when I was in Mpls we’d fiddle together, some of that English Country Dance music. She also does Baroque and has a lovely little pochette fiddle. Klezmorim are *great* fun.

    I don’t see a need to lower your class price; it seems reasonably cheap to me!

    Love & Scrabble,

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