Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer's End

Technically, summer does not end until the autumnal equinox, which is more than a month away. But for me, as a child and as an adult, the first day of school has always signaled the end of summer. At my university, today was that day. Classes don't start until Tuesday (25 August), but faculty had to be back on campus today, for the first of three "in-service" days.

My professorial colleagues and I, as well as the staff, spent the day listening to a lot of people talk about things that, to me, were not very interesting. The President's "State of the University" talk was informative---and short. It was, in fact, the shortest speech of the day---about 15 minutes. The talk about student retention was also interesting and informative. But does the average professor, or the average maintenance man or groundskeeper, need to listen to an hour-long talk about what the university is doing to market itself? My opinion---and that of one of my colleagues, who was sitting next to me, and of the maintenance men and groundskeepers in the row behind us---was that we did not.

In my opinion, a large chunk of the information presented today was not relevant to a professor. All we care about is that there are students to teach, preferably better, brighter students than in last year's freshman class. (And there will be---the university's enrollment is higher than it has been in 40 years.) Oh, and we'd like to be well-paid for our work.

As a department chair, I'd also like to have a full complement of faculty, instead of starting the year one professor short. But that situation isn't going to change between now and Tuesday, so I just have to grit my teeth and bear it. Two of my colleagues and I will be teaching an extra class.

The bad news of the day was that there was no mention today of the faculty salary increases the president talked about in his address last year. There's money alloted for building dorms and athletic facilities, money for renovations to older buildings, and money for lab equipment, but salaries were not mentioned.

The good news is that I finished another pair of socks, this one for my knitting buddy, Kathy. The pattern is Wendy Johnson's Seaweed Socks; the yarn was from Kathy's stash (which is orders of magnitude larger than mine). Kathy had vowed that 2009 was going to be her "Year of the Sock", and she has yet to knit a pair, so I made these to inspire her. Hopefully, she will knit a least one pair of socks before year's end.

Ever hopeful, I am attempting to knit two pair of socks this month. After several false starts, I gave up on the yarn I'd planned to use because I could not get the correct gauge, even with US2 needles. (I was getting 9 stitches per inch instead of 8.) Instead of a lovely, hand-painted blue-green-purple yarn, I'm using a solid blue. Having used this kind of yarn for the June socks, I know I can get gauge with a US1 needle. So I cast them on tonight. We will see if I can carve out enough time the rest of this week and next to knit a pair of socks.



  1. Found your blog. I need all the encouragement I can get and I do hope to finish more than one pair but I will not swear to that, especially since I just ripped out about 8 inches on the sweater I am knitting. Thanks for the socks.


  2. Kathy, you're very welcome. I'm sorry to hear that you had to rip out 8 inches on your sweater. Ouch!!! I'm wondering if this is the vest you have been working on, or if this is a sweater I have not yet seen.

  3. um, am I misreading your post, you are getting 9sts=1" on size 2US? You would need to go to a 2 1/2US or 3US to get about 8 sts then.

    Can you call me sometime when you are free during the day? I'm planning a sock day and wondered if you could do a book review and need to discuss dates available -- looking at Oct or Nov.

  4. Lea-Ann, you did not misread my post. I was getting 9 stitches/inch on a US2. Since I was getting 10 stitches/inch on a US1, I know I would need a US3 to get 8 stitches/inch, but I don't have a US3 circular needle. Also, I don't think socks are meant to be knit on such a large (relatively speaking) needle.