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A Blogger-Filled Weekend, Part One

Carla, Jillian, Amy and LynnHWow, I sure overpacked my weekend. It has been fabulous… though I really do need to start admitting that I need to get sleep at night! I seem to want to skip that essential part of a busy person’s life.

Crochet Class
Saturday morning I got up too early, and went to Ann Arbor to meet Carla, Jillian, and Amy, for a 90-minute crochet class. Sort of amusing, since the round trip is more like 130 minutes for me!

Definitely I was doing this as a social visit, since I can learn crochet from any number of sources, including books and Luann who helps me at Foster Center. Jean, who helped out last summer, tried to show me a double crochet last year but I didn’t retain it long. I need to perhaps do a full project from beginning to end from a pattern, to see if I can really retain the crochet lesson.

I think I prefer the smooth texture and stretchiness of knitting for most things. I just love knit fabric, whether handknit or purchased yard goods. But sometimes stretchy is not the right answer.

After reading Carla and Amy not liking the looks of crochet at all, I must say that I think I like it much better in Brown Sheep Lambs Pride single-ply yarn, than I did when all the crochet I ever saw was variegated acrylic in double-crochet. I don’t like double-crochet much, and surely do not like it in multicolored yarn as it was done when I was growing up. I will never like a granny square as long as I live.

However, I can see a wool crocheted rug as a wonderful thing, or a crocheted backpack. I think a *knit* backpack almost needs to be fulled/felted to be the right texture for carrying things like books. (This rug pattern Jillian found looks fun, but who would make a rug in alpaca??? It could cost more than the house payment!)

So I think crochet is a limited-use skill but I’m not convinced all uses of it are ugly. I will use crochet when knit just won’t work. I can imagine a coat might be more sturdy in crochet, for example. I’m trying to make up a crocheted beret right now… but I’m feeling that it looks too bumpy for my taste, even with fuzzy mohair. I do think that a rug is a cool idea.

And I like the rhythm of making crochet, as Amy mentioned. It seems hard on my wrist, but it feels calming to my insides to make the loops.

My favorite viewSomeone asked to see a picture of the crochet product I made in class. It’s a tiny strip about 2″ wide by maybe 9″ long, one row chain, one row single crochet, and about 3/4 of a row of double crochet. Nothing to write home about and not worth a picture here when there are other interesting things to show you… such as this picture of us, from left to right: Carla, Jillian, Amy, LynnH. Thanks to our teacher, Bonita, who took the picture for us. And thanks to her for being so patient, as well.

Sweater Machine Demo
I hit one-lane traffic in two places on the way back to Lansing for my USM demo, but my supervisor at JoAnn was very understanding. The demo went fine, I had a good time, and I made the body and bottom of a backpack. Now I get to figure out how to connect all these pieces and make handles and a drawstring, but hey… It’s looking pretty good.

As usual, I made up the pattern as I went. This can be very good or very bad depending on the day. We’ll see how well everything fits when I get that far. That’s one problem with machine knitting, the knitting takes so little time that the finishing takes a huge percentage of the whole project’s time investment. I don’t mind sewing needles much, but since I’m not a sweater knitter, I have to get friendly again with mattress stitch and other such moves.

Oh, one spectacular boo-boo: I asked Jillian in the morning what I should look out for, so that I would pull off the demo without a big hitch. She warned me that it is really important to get that very first stitch before working the row. I knew that (or I thought I did), so I thanked her and didn’t worry.

Temesgen Hussein at Altu's RestaurantLittle did I know! My demo went mostly without incident and I talked to interesting people. But at one point a man stood there sort of staring at my machine, not saying anything. I guess I got a little nervous (I don’t do well when people don’t communicate with words sometimes). So I smiled and said “I’m using a knitting machine!” And I ran that carriage from right to left with a smile on my face. But I didn’t catch the first stitch. And the carriage detatched all the stitches, one at a time, perfectly. And the knit fabric I had been creating, with its heavy weighted bar, went “CLUNK” on the floor. Just like that.

I must have had a paler face than usual, as I gained my composure. I told him, “well, that is what happens when I try to show off!” And I proceeded to slowly re-attach each stitch to the machine again, one at a time, by hand. Too funny, in retrospect.

Tiny Nap on Hammock
I got home in time to take a small nap on the hammock before Brian got home. I took a picture, this is my favorite view in Lansing! My feet, my hammock, my porch. The wind chimes, the trees across the road. And cardinals singing their wonderful songs. It’s a good life on my porch. Remember that song “Up on the Roof?” Well, that’s how I feel about my porch.

A Meal, Two Concerts, and a Cup of Tea
We went to dinner at Altu’s. I was excited, because the publicity I had done this time got Temesgen Hussein’s picture in two local papers: The City Pulse and the Noise. He’s a very talented man doing a type of music that is dying out in Ethiopia, and it’s wonderful to hear him perform.

The picture is Temesgen playing his larger instrument, which has a low resonant tone to it. His voice is very low also, and they resonate together wonderfully. Both the instruments he played are a sort of harp with gut strings and a resonating chamber that sits on the performer’s lap.

The Weepers at Ann Street Plaza, East LansingThe restaurant was almost full when we got there, a very good thing for everyone. I had the Saturday special, which is a garlic lentil stew. Wonderful. Brian got ground peas with collard greens, and it all came with cabbage, salad and Ethiopian bread. Delicious.

We left a little earlier than we might normally have, because The Weepers were playing their last concert in East Lansing. Funny, we heard folks at the next table saying they were going to re-group over at the Weepers concert themselves.

Once, Brian and I opened for a Weepers concert at the Creole Gallery in Old Town. They are a fine band, and their breakup is a loss for the local music community. The concert was wonderful. It was perfect weather, a few of us folks were dancing on the street (and the toddlers were having a wonderful time dancing and running to the music). The square was well packed for the event.

Pictures show the crowd (notice the group on the second floor balcony of the Marriott Hotel behind the stage) and then a close up of the band. Members pictured are, left to right: Drew, Tamineh, Mike, Pat and Steve. Steve moved just as I got that shot so his face is hidden. It’s really hard to get both drummer Pat and bass player Steve showing their faces in the same picture! (Pat, by the way, is the husband of knitter Terri, whose picture you will see tomorrow in the pictures of the PicKnit.)

Drew, Tamineh, Mike, Pat and SteveAfter the concert we talked to a few folks and then decided it was too early to head home. It was a sort of sweet romantic night for walking so we strolled over to Beaners (a 24 hour coffee house where many artists like to hang out) and I got a cup of Long Jing green tea. Brian had some odd juice with spirulina and all sorts of juices. I think Spirulina is algae or seaweed or something. His juice smelled really sweet but it was green and I just couldn’t taste it on that mellow night. Maybe some other day I’ll be more daring!

After that, we went home and I just collapsed from lack of sleep and over-excitement during the day. What a grand day it was.

Tune in Next Week… Um, I mean Tomorrow…
I have too many pictures here, so I will save the other six or nine photos for PicKnittomorrow. Suffice it to say that Tracy/Sweatergirl created a wonderful picnic for bloggers and other Lansing knitters. The weather cooperated and I met even more bloggers for the first time. Rob and Matt (the designer of the Sigma Tank I’ve been playing with… on Knitty.com, Amy‘s site, and a fine site it is) came up from Indiana! They used to live here but I had never met them in person before. It was as if I’d known them a good long while.

Lots of pictures tomorrow… they are already on my web server but this page will never load if I put them all up at the same time. Here’s just one preview pic: from back left, Marcia (purlsb4swine), Debi (TrixieChick), Daphne (SerialKnitter, hiding behind her lovely hair), Sarah (Handknitter). In the front, Left to right, the back of Ann’s head, and Jessie. Much more tomorrow!

One Response to “A Blogger-Filled Weekend, Part One”

  1. Ruth in Houston TX Says:

    You will never like a granny square. I can understand why. But I have a fond fuzzy memory of a granny square afghan my great grandmother made when I was about 5 (I’m 52 now). It was a gift for my mother for Christmas. My mom was so please to get it and I must say it was beautiful. Done in very thin yarn with the black borders on each square. The colors were a rainbow. The ones I have seen since are too large to gaudy.

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