The Blocked and the Beautiful (and wise)!

I know,  I know- Jan’s Doily II was a pain to make- I whinged and whined over it for the last few months. So I feel a little embarrassed to now be so very very proud of it! After blocking it is STUNNING (if I do say so myself, but Wonderful Husband (WH) agrees, so does Little Tacker(LT)). Thinking about my PhD research into what motivates people- there is a lot written in the education world about having challenges just at the edge of our current abilities (Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development ZPD) – that sweet spot where you know the task is a little harder than you expected, but you know if you persevere you can complete the task. As a teacher I feel pretty confident in finding that ‘sweet spot’ for my students and designing tasks that will support them to their next level. It is a good reminder that we all are constantly learning in life….however I wont be rushing to do another Jan Doily in a hurry…I’ll need to work up to the next one 🙂 Blocked Jan Doily ii

My next “ZPD” challenge is in Crochet. A friend of mine gave me a ‘Star Wars amigurumi’ kit for my recent birthday-

2015-05-30 19.01.37So, of course, it has distracted me for the last week as I learned new crochet stitches and techniques to make this little ‘wise’ guy 🙂

yoda for blog

After making one Yoda (WH claimed him) I had friends (and LT) who wanted one too. As it is winter in Australia at the moment there is a lot of wool at craft shops- so it wasn’t too difficult to locate ‘yoda’ coloured wool (there was a larger than I expected range of Green coloured wool!). So, I started a ‘yoda production line’ which was fine, until I was up to the feet…they are the ‘new stitch’ and the point where they are stuffed and embroidered. Below are pictures of the ‘heads’ and ‘bodies’ ready for the next step. As it is a long weekend in Melbourne- I hope to finish all the feet today and get onto the arms and ears too…I will post when they are done. yoda heads

Bodies, they now have! Feet tomorrow, I will make!In keeping with the ZPD theme of this post, Kersti over at Craftree has started a ‘Mystery Doily Tat along’ which she has tailored patterns for both beginner and advanced tatters- needle and shuttle. It began last week and so I made a start on it yesterday. Round one is cupping (as expected from reading the discussion forum) and I hope to get the second round completed today. I urge you to join in- or at least come and join the fun in the discussion forums on Craftree 🙂  2015-06-07 09.54.33-1

I wonder- what craft has recently pushed you to work in your ZPD?

Until next time- Happy Crafting

Fiona T



Filed under Crochet and other craft, Eye Candy

8 responses to “The Blocked and the Beautiful (and wise)!

  1. Barbara G

    I think it turned out just beautiful…! I like your other little things that you made to. It’s Winter by you…! No kidding…, now I’m glad it’s in the 80’s here…, sorry!
    Good work as always..

    • Thanks Barbara, so 80 is around 26 degrees Celcius- lovely days for your summer. We don’t get too cold in Melbourne by comparison to you winter…usually between 1 and 18 degrees Celcius (32-60 degrees Fahrenheit approx). It is rare for it to snow in Melbourne- but we do get snow in our mountain areas from July-September usually. 😉 Hope you prize parcel arrives soon 🙂

  2. I so agree with all you have written, Fiona !!! ZPD – yes, that is exactly what I look for in tatting, even when the pattern is clearly spelled out ! That is what keeps me interested, challenged, & excited.
    Your Jan S doily is deservedly the center of attention 🙂 I looks super special & worth all that trouble/niggling !
    Enjoying your progress pics & obvious fun in amigurumi 🙂
    Almost finished Day 5 of the Mystery TAL at Craftree. I’m envisioning it as a sunflower ;-P

    • Thanks Muskaan, I have been levelling up vintage patterns by using split chains and split rings so I don’t have to cut and tie rows. We all need to keep challenging ourselves or we get bored I suppose (though I can’t imagine being bored for a second now I am an adult!) I have loved amigurumi for a long time, and am really happy I can now crochet well enough to make some of them. I must get onto the mystery doily for round 2 and 3…I haven’t printed the next rounds yet 🙂 I am enjoying seeing everyone’s progress though.

  3. Judith Anderson

    Congratulations on the blocked doily.

    Ok, you posted that ZPD link, so I can’t help responding.

    Real scene: Large urban school. Begin with an average mix of abilities and development. Admin gets special funds to help the gifted move faster and achieve more. Gets special funds to help the physically, mentally, socially handicapped/ special needs, where each student gets aid. Very low students/teacher ratios. Students are assigned to a ‘gifted’ /accelerated/college prep group/strand/stream or special ed, or “the rest” and put all in the same classes, with fewer students in the gifted classes. Other ‘average’ classes will have higher pupil to teacher ratios. Result: There are no capable peers in the non-gifted Algebra, Geometry, etc.,classes to offer each other the immediate assistance among those remaining, many of whom will need either peer or teacher one-on-one. Since the students are not identified as qualifying as ’special needs”, the teacher will not receive any classroom assistance from the Special Ed funds, such as an aide, or another teacher, nor will there be any reduction in class size. The result is that the entire class level of success drops. Not only that, but the teacher will have to move more slowly, get more questions in classes, and not have time to get around and answer individual students problems. A colleague from the “Special Ed dept” sat in on my beginning algebra class; he was about to start teaching a special ed algebra class and realized that he hadn’t done any algebra for over 30 years — he needed a refresher! Now, tell me that he would have been able to select material in the ZPD for his students. What he noticed was that there was very little difference between his SE class and mine in terms of the students’ need for assistance and progress. It was great while he was in my classroom, helping to answer questions [he kept wanting to only answer questions from the five or six SE students], and it was a real slump when he felt he knew enough not to need the refresher any more. He stopped coming but the SE students stayed.. after all, they fit right in!

    My point? Theory is great, but reality and politics intervene and the unintended consequence of abandoning the middle level student to work things out for him/her self is a disaster.


    • Hi Judith,
      You obviously needed to get that out of your system! There is nothing wrong with the theory- but I agree all classrooms can be tough. The “politics” and “rhetoric” of schools means that we as teachers have to be more creative in how we craft our lessons/time with the students for them to get the assistance they need, both from us and others. There are issues with teachers who ‘teach out of field’ also- and their content knowledge can inhibit their work with students too (like your colleague perhaps). As a teacher I am not a big fan of streaming kids, and have been lucky enough to work in schools that don’t use this method extensively (streaming is different to students self selecting subjects of interest, of course). At the end of the day, it is how well we can help our students progress- despite the politics and time constraints- that makes teaching rewarding. By using theories like ZPD to support my decisions in the classroom, I always feel I am working along side students and other teachers to progress each student in their learning journey.

  4. totally impressive and worth all the pain!

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