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Allegan, Part 2

On Friday I taught my ColorJoy Stole class. This class is near and dear to my heart. So many of us have been taught to make things “match” when matching makes things less than interesting. The stole class is about color and yarn structure and texture for the morning session. It’s about getting the guts to break free from matching, and learning to choose with more variety, in order to create something artfully different than we have made before.

I have studied color for years, and it is my delight to explain what I know to my students. It was wonderful watching them drink it all in, and take the courage it took to try something new and exciting. When we learned about color and texture, and then we also looked at the yarns in front of us (and we are all so different, we really learned from one another), then we took ourselves into the marketplace where all the vendors were, and found good yarns to go with what we already had.

Two students brought an assortment of handspun yarns they made themselves. One chose to use all of her yarns and just add some eyelash for color and texture, to pull it all together (see photo). She was pretty surprised at how easily it all went together, when she started actually knitting her stole. The other one with handspun decided to use that yarn for a later project, and she started from scratch. She started with a lovely multicolored brushed mohair in pastels and worked out from there. She ended up with a lovely combination.

Another student came with some black/white yarns, some soft blue yarns, and an intense pink/orange/blue skein of Noro single-ply yarn. She was the most courageous of them all, perhaps. She decided to put the black and white yarns with the blue yarns (tied together with a railroad yarn that was white and multicolored), and then she started a whole new colorway based on the Noro handspun (see photo #2). Her pink/orange/vibrant stole is definitely pure ColorJoy! I was happy for her… she really understood the lessons. Both stoles worked well, and they were very different from one another.

My student who added the class after taking my polymer clay session the day before, had not brought many yarns with her to Allegan. She started with two mostly cream yarns with blips of color in them, mostly teal, purple and burgundy. She found two colors of shiny ribbon, one teal green and one berry, and she found a teal eyelash to tie it all together. She will surely have a nice project when she is done (see photo #3).

I didn’t think to get a group photograph of my stole class. I really enjoyed each and every one of them, and they were on their way toward their own artful creation as they left. I really hope folks send me photographs when they finish. And I hope they feel free to write me with questions if they get hung up on anything. I had friends and family test the pattern over and over so it would be as good as possible, but there is always room to interpret some words in more than one way, and I would hate to have anyone feel stuck.

After class, I wandered outside and heard music. I realized that I’d heard some of those songs before. My first instinct was to think that maybe Brian would know these musicians… he has been a musician in Michigan so long that he knows a lot of folks. Well, when I got there I knew two of the musicians myself! They were just taking a break, so Kathy and I sat down and did three numbers with her ukulele and our harmony, and that was great fun. Then I came back just before they ended for the night.

They invited me to join them for a trip to downtown Allegan. They went to a good ice cream parlor near the boardwalk, and then we walked down to a park with a gazebo where they have music on Friday nights during the summer. This night, the band was the Otsego Jazz Ensemble, a band I’d actually heard of in past years. It was quite the scene… folks of all ages. My friends knew the words to some of the Frank Sinatra-type songs, and really enjoyed that. I actually sat and knit while listening… still working on the ColorJoy stole for Heritage Spinning.

I was so tired it was no trouble to fall asleep much earlier than my usual time that night. It was really chilly (46 degrees F) that night so the cold woke me up once in the middle of the night, but otherwise I got a very good sleep.

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