Making Hay While The Sun Shines!

Next year we upgrade: push mower!

It’s no secret that my health has been – iffy – the past year, especially since October when I tumbled into bed after a looooong teaching trip only to rise as my own self in late January!

So many things seem to be part of this Fibromyalgia experience.

I have memories of meals I enjoyed immensely, only to feel absolutely terrible; ill, achey, feverish, flu-ish a few hours later.

I now realize it was the massive amount of wheat / gluten that I inhaled during those most enjoyable meals.

I think back to a slight case of the cold, or  flu that seemed to expand and explode into a pain filled three week voyage.

I realize now that my immune system doesn’t work the same as it did 5 years ago (or the same as most folk’s immune systems work!) This fibro is VERY clever at exploiting any chink in my health armor to tackle me into submission.

Submit I will not.

When it’s warm and I feel that I can rule the world and save the universe – all from the comfort of my bike seat – I have to dig deep to remember just a few weeks earlier when it was below freezing here and I could barely move.

On a rainy and cold day like today, in the middle of a warm Spring, I feel practically paralyzed with stiffness every time I try to move.  These episodes now make sense to me.

That doesn’t mean I enjoy them any more, but it DOES mean that I know it will end, and I will be able to move again.

Sadly, I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that as much as I love cold weather (and I adore it) I usually do a bit better when it’s not clammy & wet & cold all at the same time (like today.)

Our family is NOT contemplating a move – we ADORE Minnesota and we’re doing well here – but it does mean that I need to take advantage of the warmer months for the more physical aspects of my job.

So my own way of making hay – of putting up a harvest to live off of through the Winter – is teaching.


I’m teaching in May (Ireland), June (Columbus), Aug (Scotland) & Sept (Italy).  I’m a little concerned about my ability to swear off of wheat while teaching near Rome, but it must be done or I’ll do precious little teaching.  Maybe I’ll go on a sacrifice pasta bender my final night?  I’ve already sworn off Guinness whilst in Ireland.

However, I’ve scheduled only one engagement per month, quite a reduction from previous Summers.  In recent years I’d teach 2 weekends a month, or go on long trips where I’d do 6 or 7 engagements in two weeks.  That’s not going to be happening any time soon.

I know now that I can’t push it. I will suffer, as will my students.

And that makes me immeasurably sad.  But I must be realistic.  Learning to do what I can do, and to stop doing things that make me sicker, is going to be a long journey.

I can’t stand the thought of being disabled – even partially – or what that would mean to the kids (with their father already out of commission) so I’m working hard to squeeze in enough work during my up times to make both ends come together nicely.


My only scheduled in-person teaching event in the US in 2010 will be in Columbus on June 10 & 11.  The design group I belong to, The Stitch Coop, has rented space at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Columbus, OH, so we can teach to anyone who wants to come and have an awesome time learning new knit techniques!

If you’ll be in or near Columbus and are interested in taking some wonderful classes (not just mine, but so many classes by other SC members!) please check out our offerings and sign up!  We’re limiting the size of the classes, when they’re full, they’re CLOSED!

For folks who sign up for my classes at my website, I can offer you a bit of a discount.  Use the code word “tnna” and you’ll get a cool 10% off of the price per class.

If you know what class(es) you want, you can sign up here.  For more information on my classes, visit and you can sign up there, too!

Combination  Knitting
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I hope to see you in Columbus.  (Or, perhaps in Ireland, Scotland or Rome!)


Not to go all Katie Couric on you, but get a Colonoscopy.  Seriously.

Colon Cancer is a terrible disease, but your chances of surviving increase by 90% with proper testing.  If you are in your middle years (the guidelines now say age 50) please get yourself a colonoscopy.

My mother died of this horrible disease (complications of it led to her liver and lung cancer, too, a pretty awful way to pass) and my recent colonoscopy turned up a pre-cancerous flat polyp that was 15mm, pretty large.  It was removed, but I’m supposed to have another test every 3 years.

I shudder to think what would have happened if I had skipped this necessary test (as I considered doing) before my health insurance runs out on July 1.

Duck, Duck, Spruce!

I’ve been trying to get my ducks in a row, using organizational skills to help me re-align my always-too-high expectations of myself.  It’s working, but mentally it’s difficult to re-frame how I view myself.

I realized the other day that I have been having a very hard time remembering what I do from day to day as I knit up pieces.  Work I’ll do on one day will seem like it was done by a stranger when I pull it out the next day. (That may be because I’ve been crocheting instead of knitting…)

Parts is Parts

So my worksheets have become my best friends, I take copious notes of everything that I do (I’m a HUGE fan of the iWorks application, Numbers – I’m a groupie!) and I’m realizing that this may be the best way to work for the time being.

The two projects I’ve been working on lately (a doll for Interweave Crochet and a cute little duster cover in knit AND crochet) have taken me longer than I’d expected due to the constant notation.

I’m one step away from the old guy who writes down every thing that he eats every day.

But both projects are rather small.  Working and re-working them is a good way to ease into a new mindset about my productivity.

I love color

I’m trying to view this as an example that everything is in constant flux.  Nothing is carved in stone – not even STONE

Just ask the Old Man of the Mountain!

It’s not a bad lesson to relearn every now and then.  It’s good for the soul.

My online classes are doing very well – I’m SO happy with the students I’ve had (I’ve been very lucky!) and a recent survey I sent out to former class members is bringing me a lot of great food for thought.

If you’d like to take my classes in April, though, you’ll have to move fast.  This is just a friendly reminder that I won’t be offering the Guided Combo or Handbag class in May or June, so April is your last chance to take either before July. 

The Self Guided class will, of course, be able to carry on without me while I travel to Ireland and Ohio.  Work amongst  yourselves…

I heard today from TNNA that they’ve turned down my teaching proposals.  To be honest, I hadn’t expected they’d take them.

I’ve been pretty outspoken here in the blog (and to the Offinger powers that be) that I feel it’s important to treat knit and crochet instructors as valued members of our industry.  I feel TNNA/TKGA has relied on the love teachers have for our craft to offer them less in compensation/travel & accommodation than the average yarn shop offers.

That, and my classes probably didn’t excite them very much.

All’s well, though, as the design group I belong to, The Stitch Coop, has decided to rent space and teach some alternative classes in Columbus.  These will be open to the general public (and any TNNA members who’d care to join us) and will run June 10 – 13.

Stay tuned here to my blog for registration information, and let me know if there is a class you’ve been wanting to take with me (that is, if you’ll be somewhere near the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, OH in June!)

Ultimately, I think it will work out as a win/win; more folks can take my classes, and I can keep more of the earnings for my own offerings.

Max and Hannah do their chores around the house in exchange for their allowance, sometimes Max dusts & Hannah sweeps, sometimes it’s vice-versa.

Rhymes with "Riffer"

But I’ve noticed that since I bought a name-brand duster with a handle, both kids want to dust more.

But those paper refills are really expensive!  So I worked up a crocheted version using PolarKnit polar fleece yarn (a veritable dust magnet!) and after a few washes it’s still working well.

Here’s the pattern for the crocheted version, and a knit version, too! If you use one of these handle-with-prong dusters, maybe this will work well for you, too!

Free Knitting Classes

I’m opening up a free “Learn To Knit” class, but it will be limited to 20 folks.

If you’ve always wanted to learn, here’s your chance knit like the wind!

This is a new class format I want to try out. If it goes well, it will be an ongoing free class that will (hopefully) get more folks knitting like the maniacs I know you can be!

The class will be offered through the Ning network, where I teach my other online classes. It’s free to register for Ning, you can do that right before class starts if you’re not already a ning member.

Or you could do it now.

Here’s the nitty gritty:

Class Starts THIS SUNDAY, Feb 14th
Class Ends NEXT SUNDAY, Feb 21th
(Yes I said 28th earlier – evidently I can’t count – sorry!)

Yeah, yeah, yeah… I know it’s short notice. But you’ll have 7 beautiful days with the materials!

I’ve been asked, “How basic IS this class?” To answer that, I’m offering the first PDF handout and the accompanying video here for you to watch. You’ll get a good sense from that on how basic the class is. I think it’s pretty darned basic…

There are 5 videos total, this one is an overview, and then each subsequent video deals with the techniques discussed in this overview.

All the materials (videos and pdf files) will be in the online classroom, you’ll have 24 hour access during the week of class. I will participate in a live text chat on Thursday at 8pm US Central time, and I may hang around the discussion forums sometimes.

Click on the button below, when 20 folks are in, the class is full and closed!

Okay – GO!

Annie Modesitt
How To Knit
1 Week Class
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