Same, but Different

I’m pleased to say that I’ve moved on from feeling heartbroken about not being in school this semester. The time I spent attending class and doing assignments has been replaced with some wonderful things! One of those wonderful things is that I have more time for my knitting. Case in point — these socks were lingering on my needles since last year. When I had a break from my studies, the idea of making tiny stitches on size 0 needles and thinking about heel turning, gussets, and all of the other mechanics of sock knitting was not the appealing thing. But now that my time and mind is much freer — it’s exactly the thing! My mind likes to figure out knitting stuff just as much as rhetoric stuff.

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I really like the way these socks are the same but different — when you start a sock with self striping yarn, you can choose to start with the same colors for each sock, or you could take a chance and see how starting with different colors will play out. That’s what I chose. See how the heels are the same but different?

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and the tops?
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and the toes?
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That fills me with glee! These socks are going to be so fun to wear. I used a pattern from Nancy Bush’s book Knitting Vintage Socks (my favorite because she is a friend of the tiny needles too, plus her patterns are always clear and perfect). The yarn is Kaffe Fassett sock yarn (of course — those colors!). I had the yarn, so no coupons used.

I think “same but different” might be a little mantra of mine in the coming months. I’m wondering if I should go back to school at all now. I did some math, and finishing a graduate degree will cost $10,000 even after my tuition reimbursements at work. I have already learned a great deal about writing and research that I can take to my own projects. Instead of writing articles for academic journals, I can make my own little books. Instead of shooting videos to include in multimedia projects, I can make them about how to bake bread. You get the idea — same, but different. And I think that difference is really, really exciting.

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5 comments

  1. Hmmm . . . not going back to school? I can certainly see why you’d be ambivalent but I hope you keep thinking about it. You get so excited about ideas and academe needs that! And I like your socks very much!

    1. I’ve been going back and forth about it constantly. I am a very decisive person, but this is the one thing I can’t seem to make up my mind about! It’s a huge financial (at least for me! I’ve been attending school out of pocket and this semester is the first one since I started attending that I was able to pay all of my bills without taking something from Peter to pay Paul — because I didn’t have a tuition payment! This is even with the added cost of my husband’s insurance) burden. I am sleeping so much better knowing this. I have to ask myself is it worth it? Especially after what I know about higher ed from working in higher ed administration? (the job deficit, the overwork, the politics…) I think right now I need to take another semester to think… I would love to hear your perspective as a former professor. If you have any time over the next few days — jmanni AT uarts DOT edu if you have a minute to discuss this privately. I value your opinion.

  2. “Same, but Different” I really like this thinking!!! As I’ve always believed in education for education sake, I know the draw of formal education (she says whilst taking a break from her masters dissertation). But I’m also acutely aware of the limitations of institutionalised education and how, in some respects, it has become part of the commoditised world I struggle with.

    For my creative endeavours I sign up to short courses at community colleges or private one-off workshops to build up skills and understand how tools/materials work. I use books (often old ones) and youtube tutorials to extend this knowledge. I also ask a couple of friends of my parents who have an amazing skill set between them – they were from the generation that just figured it out as they had no choice. And then I wander of off on explorations of my own and magpie-like draw in bits and bobs of knowledge/experience/perspectives I’ve picked up from all manner of sources along the way, weaving seemingly unconnected strands of creativity and rigour together.

    Amy Twigger Holroyd of http://www.keepandshare.co.uk/ speaks of Folk Fashion. I like to think that this concept extends to many arenas, incl. Folk Schooled. I prefer to use the word school rather than education as the ancient Greek ‘schole’ meant free time and I love the idea that learning/education is the luxury that goes with free time! And yes, for me, experiencing the creativity, engineering and magic that goes into creating a 3D object out of yarn and how it must have intrigued, stretched, entertained and puzzled generations of knitter is a form of schooling!

    1. EXACTLY — formal, credentialing education as a commodity — you’ve hit the nail on the head. I have been feeling this sorely especially since I work at a college and see the behind the scenes works of the machine so to speak. I also am a little angry about the financial gatekeeping function of master and PhD programs. My professor encouraged me to talk to a PhD program a few states over that he thought would be perfect for me. It would as far as my research interests go, but they don’t allow part time study, and a teaching assistantship (how pretty much all students go through the program, giving cheap labor to teach “lower” level courses) pays $16,000 a year. My mortgage laughs! I couldn’t even entertain this as a 45 year old working person. My husband did this for his graduate degree, and it was hard financially even when we were in our early 20s and not homeowners yet. I know we need a roof soon — how could I possibly do something like that. And now I’m just rambling. I am going to check out Amy Twigger Holroyd now for some folk inspiration!!!! 🙂

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