Is it unrealistic to assume or expect that 7th graders would know the definition of the word “textile”?  Not one in any of the three classes today could give any kind of answer that didn’t include dinosaurs or diseases.  The class in question is social studies and they are beginning a chapter on the Industrial Revolution. As you may or may not know, The Industrial Revolution began with the introduction of textile mills in England.  I was not a history major, nor do I claim to be exceptionally brilliant, however I was rather unsettled not only at the children’s ignorance, but that the person teaching the class had never heard of the term Luddite.  Nobody is expected to be, nor should they be, a walking encyclopedia, but a little preparation and research goes a long way when speaking in front of a group… even if the only three people listening  wonder what dinosaurs have to do with early English machinery.

My role in this classroom is to assist students who require extra help with reading, etc. With my own little group I began explaining some of the processes and terms vaguely referred to in the textbook.  More and more students wandered over to see examples of fiber, a.k.a. roving, knitting (yes, I carry a drop spindle and sock-in-progress in my enormous bag), etc. Eventually the teacher came over too and the result is that tomorrow I’m bringing in my spinning wheel (none of them, including the teacher, knew why old, unmarried ladies were called spinsters) and some old industrial bobbins for them to look at. 


Maybe when they see how long it takes for one person to spin a single strand and then imagine a row of these simultaneously collecting yarn then they’ll get an idea of just how big of a deal this really was. Or maybe I’ll get a clue that nobody cares about any of this stuff and that I need to join the rest of society in watching American Idol and playing video games.  Care to take any bets on which will happen first?  My guess is neither.

Now for something completely different. A2 finished painting her cigar box guitar for the science project that’s due tomorrow. Rather than letting her risk taking her instrument on the bus she will be driven to school in the morning.  She really wanted to show all of her friends on the way there, but tempting fate isn’t wise or optional.  Once graded she can play with it in any safe (no ka-bonging any living beings, including her sisters) way she chooses.


I ran out of yarn for my cardigan in progress, but more is on the way from Knitpicks. I added some of their new Harmony  sock needles to the order too.  Hopefully everything will arrive soon and the needles will prove durable and comfortable.

P.S.  I know that I’m not Irish, but I shunned green today in hopes of a little pinching action (not by the students of course).  Alas, I remain unpinched and ignored.  Hmph. Lousy holiday.



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4 responses to “Seriously

  1. Nan

    Did you find me when Mrs. Fife told you about a contest 2 weeks ago? 😉 Just my guess! I put your link on my blog roll at your old blog address though I think, I’ll up date it next time I add new ones!

  2. I am truly impressed by the cigar box guitar. It’s beautiful. I love it. She should be proud. Great job. I’ve given up being a part of our so-called society. I refuse to watch most television(excluding Law & Order: Criminal Intent)and the average vocabulary is embarrassing. I can’t tell you how many times people have just looked at me when I used a word they didn’t know. Oh, sorry, rant rant rant. Do you collect antique spindles? You have quite a collection. And, I cannot wait to see your new needles? BTW, did you get yarn in the box I sent? I don’t remember putting it in the box. I think I’m losing what little mind I have left.

  3. You won!

    Email me at Ruth AT 5elementknitr DOT com to give me your addy and so I can get an idea which yarn to send.

  4. I have a 20 minute presentation that I do to 7th graders on fibers and clothing in the Middle Ages. It includes a brief description of processing flax, which was the most common fabric used besides wool. The processing takes weeks–growing, cutting, retting, drying, breaking, spinning…gads, it takes forever! Check out this site:
    Pinch! Pinch!
    From your half-Irish goofball friend,
    Karen O.

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