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Toronto View & Yarn Images

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Here I’ve given you a brief video of the view from “my” room at the Toronto Hostel where I’m staying (my room has 10 ladies in bunk beds, I lucked into a bottom bunk).

I also include a peek at my yarn/ sock purchases thus far. Of course you are curious…?

Click the photo below to view the video on the youtube site.

toronto video class=

Patternfish Rocks! Striped Summer Socklet Sells.

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

I woke up to an email from Patternfish (Julia Grunau). They sold 45 copies of my Summer Striped Socklets in 3 weeks. Julia, when I see you at TNNA (trade show in June), I’m going to hug you for at least 45 seconds! You’ll be gasping for air when I’m done.

Summer Striped Socklets by ColorJoy LynnH

(Actually, the reason it sold so well was that Gayle Clow, the Patternfish Newsletter Editor, featured my socklet in her May newsletter. Somehow I missed seeing that newsletter when it arrived in my inbox. Maybe it was worth it for the surprise I got today.)

Summer Striped Socklet HeelIt’s a fun pattern with a variation on my Crystal Heel. Here is the Patternfish page for my design:

The pattern has a toe-up square start (a Bosnian Toe variation) with swirl increases. The heel is a variation on my Crystal Heel, also with swirls… decreases this time. It’s a fun knit. My test knitter for this project, Emily, decided to reverse her colors on the 2nd sock for more fun. I loved it, of course!

Thank you to Julia and Gayle of Patternfish for the chance to soar. Thanks to every single knitter who has considered knitting this project. I appreciate you all.

I make a living selling one pattern at a time, friends. One class at a time, one concert at a time, one retreat at a time. Every single time someone chooses my work, I am grateful. THANK YOU to everyone who ever purchased anything in my lineup of offerings. It’s a good life, thanks to your support.


A Colorama Question: Answers

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

This week I got a question from a Ravelry user about my Colorama Crescent Shawl knitting pattern. She wanted to know “how many balls of yarn” she would need to knit the shawl. It seemed like a simple enough question. However, the answer got fuzzy, fast!

Here is a photo of the shawl in 4 sizes. The edges of the shawls you can’t see in this shot, are lined up evenly. Each successive shawl is a larger size. Note that the sizes are larger in width only. Longer shawls just get in the way of using one’s hands, I’ve discovered the hard way!

So often people ask me “how many stitches do I cast on for a sock?” That answer involves the size of the yarn, the gauge of the individual knitter, and the foot size of the wearer. Of course, those 3 variations can indicate a need for more or less yarn, too.

Yarn is sold by weight. You typically can get a 50gm ball or a 100gm ball, though there are a few exceptions. For fingering (sock) weight yarn, you often get 220 yards in 50 grams (440 in 100gm) where with worsted (sweater) weight yarn you might get 110 yards for the same 50gm balls (220 in 100gm). Thinner yarn makes more but thinner fabric, compared to thicker ones. When you’re talking about a shawl, this thick/thin yarn issue plays out in important ways.

Here is how I responded to the writer:

The question of how much yarn is complicated with this shawl. I offer 4 sizes, as well as 2 yarn weights from light fingering to sport weight. Here is what I wrote in the pattern:

Sizes: Sprite (XS) / Princess (S) / Diva (M–L) / Goddess (XL–3X) All shawls shown measure 42-52” wingspan & 17-19” length, depending on yarn, gauge & blocking method. Bust appx. 36 (41/ 52/ 55)in., 91”(104/”132/ 140)cm.

MC (Main Color), solid-colored yarn. 100 (100-150, 150, 150) gm of sport weight
-OR- 100 (100, 100-150, 150) gm heavy fingering-weight/sockyarn.
CC (Contrast Color), slowly self-color-changing yarn. 100 (100-150, 150, 150) gm of sport weight
-OR- 100 (100, 100-150, 100-150) gm heavy fingering-weight/sockyarn.

Yarn Suggestions:
MC: Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool, Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport, Cascade Epiphany, Harrisville New England Shetland, DROPS Alpaca, Isager Alpaca 2, Frog Tree Alpaca Sportweight, Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light
CC: Noro Silk Garden Sock, Marks & Kattens Fame Trend, Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, Schoppel-Wolle Zauberball, Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn, Aade Lõng Artistic 8/2.

Color Hint: “Matching” makes boring here. However, unlike stranded knitting, contrast need not be strong. It is best if none of the colors in your two yarns match, but small lengths of similar colors work (shawls 1 & 2 at left).

In this photo (shown above) (a)ll shawls are lined up on the edge you can’t see in the photo. The sizes are laid on top of each other to show how much larger around each consecutive size is.

The first shawl on the left (smallest) is Silky Wool/Kureyon Sock, the second is Heritage/Step, the third is Nature Spun Sport/Kauni, and the last is Drops Alpaca/Mini Mochi.

Of course, some balls of these yarns are 50gm and some are 100gm. As I recall, none took more than 100gm of any one yarn, so 200gm would be overkill unless you choose much more heavy/dense/thick yarns than I did.

I hope that is helpful. Happy knitting!

This may look like a lot of words about one particular question. However, the concept should be useful to many knitters no matter what project they make. If we use a different yarn or get a different number of stitches per inch (row or stitch gauge) than specified in the pattern, we may run out of yarn or buy too much.

In this society, we are so used to manufactured items and true/false tests that we forget that there may be “it depends” answers that don’t fit the picture we have in our minds. One response to this “problem” is to insist on the exact yarn that was specified in a commercial knitting pattern. However, even if you use the same yarn, and the same needle size the designer calls for, you may end up with the same number of stitches but a different number of rows per inch than specified.

Knitting is an artform, something which was learned for centuries by word of mouth, one person at a time, one on one. Yes, it is practical. Practical arts are called “crafts” in this society (the “Museum of American Craft” was just down the street from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City… now it’s called the Museum of Arts and Design – it held quilting, baskets, silversmithing, jewelry and textile work – I saw the Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting exhibit there in 2007).

I’m sharing more photos of Colorama Shawls… can you see why it’s a good thing to not lock ourselves in to what this mere designer could imagine? Look above at 5 of my knitting guild sisters who wear their own Colorama Shawl… some were gifts and some were knit for themselves.

And look at the one at right! Elizabeth knit it in one “double evolution” ball (560 yd/ 140gm) of Kabam yarn (fingering weight 60% Superwash Merino/30% Bamboo/10% Nylon) in “Circle” colorway from Twisted FiberArt. Twisted is an amazing company with incredibly perfect dye techniques. With that ball of yarn, one needs to knit just a few rows fewer to have enough yarn for the 2nd-largest shawl size (“Diva”).

Rock on with any creativity you have! Understand the nature of art and accommodate the possibility that answers may not be precise! Let’s hear it for individuality, yes?

(Edited 5/14 to add the question which prompted this post… thanks to Diana/Otterwise for prompting me to fix that. Also fixed wrong yardage for fingering weight yarn; thanks to Judi A. for catching that hiccup.)

Goodbye Party for Yarn bOMb at MSU

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Local Lansing, Michigan friends… it’s time to take the sweaters off the trees at Michigan State University. They are warm enough and want to grow again.

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go visit our ColorJoyful Yarn bOMb page and smile.

Will you join us tomorrow/Saturday, May 4? We will meet at the garden around 11am (stragglers welcome). Link to Map, for Horticultural Gardens (Children’s garden parking… free on weekends. We hope nobody will park there for graduation.)

We will un-sew the “ace bandages” around the trees so we can wash them and reuse them in later projects. I expect it willtake a few hours.

When we’re done I’m buying a round of tea/coffee at a local gathering place. We’ll either go to Chapelure (the closest), Wanderer’s Teahouse, or Gone Wired/The Avenue. They are all locally owned.

Cry not, because we have more Yarn bOMb projects in the wings. A semi-secret smaller one is planned for Memorial Day… stay tuned.

Adios to Being Perfect

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Imperfection can be outright beautiful. I didn’t know this for most of my life.

I still struggle. Part of me is a kind of imperfect I am not proud of. Part of me is very good but I always wish those strengths were stronger yet. There is no way to make that work. The only way to make peace is to let go, not to attain that perfection only seen in my own head.

There is No Perfect

I have a saying these days: “There is no perfect” (…except perhaps in tiny emotional moments.) The concept of perfection is not useful in living life. Discovering this was profound for me.

No person, place or thing can ever be perfect. Never. And really, isn’t perfection what manufactured items strive for? I’m no longer interested. I want to be handcrafted, not machined. As Joni Mitchell said in Big Yellow Taxi, “give me spots on my apples, but give me the birds and the bees.”

Striving to Avoid Criticism

That said, letting go of the possibility I can be perfect enough to never be criticized? It’s very hard. I work with kids and they seem to get grumpy and fragile about 6th grade. They try to blend in or at least look like the others, or the cool others (whatever seems cool at the time). It’s no wonder this is a time when they start making social judgements about what is good and what is undesirable.

I have a good handful of Godchildren. I’m not a traditional Godmother but we chat about standing tall. We discuss figuring out who we are and what we believe, then staying strong with those beliefs when others poke and prod and tease.

At least one kid came back to me with an example of how she took that lesson into her life and felt stronger because of it. I was delighted. One life a little more centered (especially in middle school) is a gift to not just that person but those around her. The child is now in her mid-20’s and still doing a great job of being her true self. (Photo of me with her at age 15, together in Montreal.)

‘Fessing Up: the Theory

I think opening up to our imperfections and mistakes is really hard. Starting in Middle School, it seems that we become so insecure of ourselves that we don’t want to have weak spots in our armor. Actually speaking out loud about those weak spots is scary!

Yet, look at the yarn bombed trees here. The pieces we had to cover the tree base below were imperfect at best. They were the right color but did not “match” in size or type. The shapes were odd. This photo was taken a few months after the initial installation, and the pennants at the base of the tree clearly were blown by some stiff winds. Yet, the tree still has its decorative sweater. It still is a sunny counterpoint to the monochrome winter colors around it.

I might even argue that its imperfection gives it more interest, more value. If it were “perfect,” it would not catch our eye. It would not look handcrafted. It would not have the desired energy.

‘Fessing Up: A Personal Story

I’m starting to believe that my becoming a true adult was when I learned to admit my mistakes. When I’d say “Wow, I wish I’d done a better job of this but I messed up. What can I do to help the situation as it stands now?” It never stops feeling fragile and scary to speak my imperfections out loud. However, when I do, at the end of the day I have no secrets and feel good about my integrity.

Once I made a very big mistake at work, one which required phone calls and paperwork to correct. A task I needed to do was so confusing I put off doing it past a deadline. I tried to hide it from myself and others, but of course the missed deadline was discovered in spite of me.

Wholehearted Living

I’ve been reading Brené Brown, a woman who researches shame and wholeheartedness. Oprah asked her the difference between embarrassment and shame.

Dr. Brown says that embarrassment or humiliation might be saying and acknowledging “I made a mistake.” Shame, on the other hand, manifests as the belief “I *AM* a mistake.” Wow. I clearly was confused on that count at that job, when I didn’t know how to do this task. I felt ashamed to ask for help.

In that situation, I was gifted with the right boss. He knew I was not the mistake and treated me respectfully. He had me sit in his office while he made all of the phone calls to make it right.

I got to see what a person who wasn’t afraid of imperfection would do. I watched a grounded, fully-adult person ‘fess up to making a mistake and ask how to make it right. It was a powerful lesson.

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.
— Brené Brown

Saying it Out Loud

I now admit my weaknesses to the room, though sometimes I wish deeply that I didn’t have them. I admit I can get loud (a good feature for a singer/teacher but not so good in offices or some mellower public spaces).

I admit I can be distractable. I tell classes that I can get so into teaching the material that I can forget to give them a break until late in the class. I let them know that they can ask for a break if they need one.

I admit that being on time can be very challenging for me (this is related to being distractable). These days I use my iPod to set off a series of alarms for me all day long, to make sure I change gears when necessary. Admitting this coping system might just help others who fight the same tendency.

Our Strengths are also Our Weaknesses

All of these weaknesses no longer define me. All of them are less of a challenge now that I speak them out loud. They are part of the package. Part of why I’m distractable is because I am passionate and creative. I see things everywhere that inspire and interest me. I also can get into a flow with a task so that I don’t think of the time.

Our best features are also our worst. Being bold can be perfect at a networking event, and a challenge at a funeral. Being focused on relationship is great for teachers and restauranteurs but a challenge for jobs where one works alone or has a constant stream of people coming through that they will never see again.

The hardest part still, is when I mess up things that impact my beloved Brian. Telling him that I messed up is still horrible. However, I’m glad our relationship is so precious to me that I am not willing to have any shame secrets in it. I may put off the telling for a little while, but I choose to let him know. I regard not telling as a “lie of omission.” I value our relationship too much to keep secrets. He needs the whole me.

The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.–Anna Quindlen

Except, ironically… you are perfect just the way you are. Stand tall, my friend, and go forth with truth and courage!


If you want more on Brene’ Brown, Oprah interviewed her two weeks in a row for Super Soul Sunday. I had trouble streaming the video after the fact, but it is worth the hiccups to listen. Highly recommended.

Knitty! My Sunberry Socklets Published Today.

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Knitting news: I have a new design published in the world-class online magazine, Knitty. Today the site went up at noon, and it has been fun to see the internet light up with enthusiasm.

Believe it or not, this is the Spring issue. I designed socklets in Yarn Hollow yarn (dyed by my dear friend Rita Petteys in the Grand Rapids area). The design is called Sunberry.

These include an afterthought heel (knit the sock, then go back and insert the heel). The heel is an adaptation of my Crystal Heel (featured in Knitty last March), with stranded knitting. This two-color technique gives extra reinforcement to the parts of a sock most likely to wear out!

What’s new about these, though, is that they are knit top down. Much of my sock-designing inspiration comes from Turkish sock traditions, where they knit the toe first.

I often explain that an afterthought heel can be added to either a top down or a toe up structure. However, until now I have never designed a top down sock with this heel.

These are a quick knit as socks go. Even though the colors give the design a  jazzy look, most of the knitting is just one color. Add in the short leg, and you’ll be ready for warm weather in no time!

Click Here to reach the Knitty page for the Sunberry pattern.
Please note that you need to print out both the text and the color charts in order to knit these without being online. I’d hate to see you on a weekend away thinking you had everything you needed, and find yourself short some charts.

For those interested, Rita from Yarn Hollow is offering special kits of yarn for this design. You can make two socks which look like the lower one in the photo above (mostly “Stormy Fuschia”), in any size, for only $17 plus shipping.

Click here to reach the Yarn Hollow Etsy Store for the kit.

All photos taken by Rachel Meyers. Photos above taken at Elderly Instruments, Old Town Lansing, Michigan . Below photo taken at Zingerman’s Deli, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Thanks to both locations for being accommodating and fun.

A Happy Knit

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Well, after 3 posts in a row about wonderful people who are no longer alive, it’s time for a smile, yes? Thanks for hanging in there with me.

The Good Stuff
I’m working now with a hand-painted dyeing company called Twisted FiberArt. It’s based in Mason, Michigan (25 minutes from Lansing). The mastermind artist behind the dye is Meg Campbell-Crowley, who once was a calculus teacher and who now uses her math prowess to design amazing colorways.

Sprite Cowl Class & Pattern
I’m teaching my Sprite cowl tonight at Twisted. This pattern was originally published in Knit Circus Magazine which no longer is publishing. Of course, this means I had to publish my own version of the pattern in order to teach it. You can buy it on Ravelry.com in PDF format here.

Also, since Twisted has a shop which only sells yarns that Meg designed (no commercial yarns like Cascade or Classic Elite), I had to knit a shop sample. It was a lovely assignment.

About this Yarn
The standard skein at Twisted (at least for this colorway) is 70 grams. When she dyes yarn with one slow color change from beginning to end, it’s called an “Evolution.” In this case, I needed just short of 90 grams so I got a double skein, 140 grams all dyed at the same time in one continuous color change.

The yarn base I’m using here is called Queen. It’s an Aran-weight yarn (usually 4.5 st/inch for sweaters, just a step thicker than worsted weight). The fiber is washable soft wool. It’s spun sproingy and smooth, with 3 plies. I loved knitting with it. Even though I had a lot of decreases to perform, the yarn did not fight me and it gave easily when I needed it to.

So since the yarn is a double-length Queen yarn, dyed in one “rainbow” of color, it is called a Double Queen Evolution. Sounds mystical, doesn’t it?

The colorway here is called Ember. Since I didn’t use the whole skein, I’ve got an amazing 50gm ball of red to red-orange to apricot, as my leftovers. My brain is cranking, trying to decide what I should make it into.

How to Get the Yarn
Most of Twisted FiberArt’s business is via the internet. You can visit her website at TwistedFiberArt.com to learn more, and order from anywhere.

If you live in the Lansing area, you can drive to the lovely town of Mason. Her shop is in the basement of Kean’s, an adorable old-fashioned “dime” store which still has a huge old-fashioned candy counter.

Kean’s also has quilting fabrics, jewelry and gifts. In years past, the toy department was in the basement where Meg’s shop is now. There are a few toys down there even today.

On Wednesday nights, there is a knit-in at the shop space. She’s got a little kitchen space with a lovely fireplace-heater and comfy chairs. I dance on Wednesdays so I don’t go, but do consider it.

In Other News
I’ve got a lot on my schedule… work is good. Off to proofread my pattern. It’s going to be a wonderful, busy day!

More Yarn bOMb photos

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I have SO many photos of the Yarn bOMb at Michigan State University Horticultural Gardens! It’s quite a lot of visual input to sort through. I’ve had several folks request more… so here you go.

The parking lot, before you enter the main space. Some of the pennants were sewn from a sort of lining fabric by one very enthusiastic contributor, Maggie. They originally had large magnificent blue and sparkly silver bells hanging from their tips, but since these are easily reached the bells have since been “harvested” by passers by.

These pennants were carefully sewn on to the line by Brenda W. Many of the knitted and crocheted pennants in this space were made by my sis-in-love Diana /Otterwise and members of the Rae’s Yarn Boutique Thursday Night knit in group, as well as participants of the October Yarn Shop Hop who stopped by at Rae’s shop. Some of those names include Elizabeth, Rita B., Mari, Rae, Joanne and more. I definitely have not included them all.

Here is another longer view of the line in the parking area:

Here are a few close up images. Notice some of the flags got caught on the line. There had been some wild winds blowing, and the bells and trinkets hung from the tips of the triangles occasionally got caught on the line. I freed them up after I took these photos (almost 2 weeks ago, 2 weeks after the initial installation).

The trinket reminds me of a Boston subway token, but actually says “Thoughts.” The pennants with these word-tokens were crocheted by Diana.

Above: “Artful.” Below: “Genuine.”

Here is tree #1 inside the gardens:

If you click the photo above, you can see a larger version of it. Those lovely ladies looking at the tree are Cynthia B. and Becky, who both were contributors to the project.

Below is a detail from the same tree. After we sewed together all the pieces, there were yarn ends all over the place being a bit messy. Marlene C. got inspired to braid them together and then sew them on to the tree scarves, rather than cutting them off. Lovely, yes?

There are more photos… but it’s 4am and I give up. I’ll be back, I promise.



ColorJoyful Yarn bOMb before/after

Monday, October 29th, 2012

The Yarn bOMb went in on Friday, and we celebrated Saturday. As we should!

It was FUN! I have to thank so many people I can never do it properly.

Here is the before photo:

The crew sometime in the morning (folks came and went all day as they needed to do other things).

Josh controlling the cherry picker while I installed pennants. He was SO into it. He has a toddler daughter who loves the gardens, and it was cool to him to contribute back. I love meeting guys who love being daddies! The best.

Brian (my husband) and friend Hanno preparing to play music under tree #2. This was at Saturday’s happening / celebration.

Brian and Hanno serenading tree #2

Becky enjoying the Bee Tree (#3). Most of the yellow yarn we had went here. It is near some bee hives (white boxes behind her at left of photo).

My friend Brenda knit something like a dozen bees for the project. Some are sewn to the tree scarves and some are hanging loose under the tree, “flying.”

Becky Enjoying Bee Tree #3

A long view of the final project. I will share more later.

Yarn bOMbing at MSU gardens, after.

Fun in the Yarn bOMbed Garden Today

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

It was fun. I’ll get up a bunch of photos tomorrow, but for now here is an overview:


If you are within the Lansing, Michigan driving area, I hope I can see you today.

Art Installation Opening Party in the ColorJoyful Yarn bOMbed MSU Horticultural Gardens today, 2-4pm. I’d love to have you stop by.

If you are a musician, bring fingerless gloves and an instrument. Anybody, if you want to dress in a Halloween costume, go for it!

Bring kids… there will be activities thanks to an enthusiastic MSU student organization. I’ll bring donuts and some sort of juice. Please come on out and say hi!

Here is where you can get directions (the RR tracks are wicked, don’t let them eat your vehicle):
No parking fee/token needed this weekend in the garden lot.

Google Map and GPS fans, there is a new street address for the garden:
1066 Bogue Street, East Lansing MI 48824

Please consider a visit!

PS, Brian and I sing as The Fabulous Heftones at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine tonight from 6:30 – 8:20 or so. Great food. Come there if you can’t make the garden?

This is Marlene Cameron putting finishing touches on tree #1. Children’s garden in the background. I sure had a lot of helpers yesterday, some for many hours. I’m very grateful.


Yarn bOMb Make-A-Longs Start Today

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Hello, dear friends!


Things are just humming along with this grand fun Yarn bOMb event. There are knitters in many places just having a good time making pieces for the trees. This will be a fine, colorful space in the wintertime, long after the opening reception is done.

Knit/Crochet/Stitch with Me?

I’ve got 4 scheduled Make-A-Long events in the Lansing area, each one at a different and wonderful local yarn shop. I’ve got yarn if you don’t. I’ll even bring needles and maybe a crochet hook or two.

The first one is today, Tuesday. Come on out? Let’s have a party!

Here is the schedule:

Tuesday, October 2, 4-6 pm
Woven Art
325 Grove St. #B, East Lansing
(Across from Grove Street Ramp)

Thursday, October 11, 3:30-5:30 pm
Yarn Garden
111 W. Lawrence Ave., Charlotte
(Across from Old Courthouse)

Friday, October 12, 6-8 pm
Sticks & Strings
1107 N. Washington Ave., Lansing
(Old Town, across from Elderly Instruments)

Thursday, October 18 6-8 pm
Rae’s Yarn Boutique
2004 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing
(Near Emil’s and Green Door, west of Frandor)

Pass the Word Along?

If you would like a poster/flier with key points (for knitters/crocheters/other fiberartists as well as opening party attenders), CLICK the image below to see a PDF. You may print these, distribute them, or just refer to it on your own machine.

MSU ColorJoyful Yarn bOMbing Flier

There will be other gatherings as well. I’ll need folks to help me make sense of the piles of wonderful contributions, before we get on the cherry picker to install the piece.

Organization/Preparation Events Coming

Tree scarves will need to be sewn together ahead of time. Other preparatory work will need to be done earlier in the week before going out to the garden.

I’m planning to add yarn ties to each pennant before going out to the garden, so that they can be tied on easily and quickly when we are on site. Also I’m hoping to add bells to many of the pennants for an added happy sensory experience. All of that can be handled before the install date.

It looks like one of the prep sessions will be on Monday, October 22, in the morning. I hope to have another session later in the week, hopefully in an afternoon or evening.

Party on October 27!

If you can’t make any of the other events, or you are not able to help out at the gatherings… you can still participate. The opening reception is October 27, a Saturday, from 2-4pm.

We are going to make it as festive as possible. Since it’s the weekend before Halloween, costumes are welcome (even encouraged) but not required.

It’s a great space for families. If you have a kid you can bring along, please do.

If you just want a little childlike joy in your life, come alone or with other grown-ups looking for a smile. There will be a lot of wonderful people there. It looks like we’ll have some children’s activities perhaps. It should be a wonderful time. Put it on your calendar, yes?

Thanks for being with me on this great adventure.

Hugs, Lynn

MSU Yarn bOMbing: Join Me?

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Friends, may I squeal in excitement? Squeeeee!!!!!!! I get to do something really fun. Not only that, we get to have fun with it, together.

I’ve been commissioned by the Michigan State University Horticultural Gardens to conceive and execute a large yarn bombing. The opening reception will be October 27. We install the day before, if all goes as planned.

This means I got 6 weeks from concept to execution. I need help. Luckily, this is the best fun kind of help I can imagine. Would you like to participate?

Bomb – (Bx2) = OM

My friend Art Cameron is a songwriter. He says that if you drop the B’s from the word bomb, you get OM. I love that.

I’ve never liked the violent words which have been used for this particular creative form. Yarn Bomb, Guerilla Knitting, Knit Graffiti. So I’m calling this one a Yarn (b)OM(b)ing. It makes me happy. Maybe I can get some yoginis to center the space the morning of the opening. It’s possible.

The Concept

I’ve got three large trees to embellish and “happify.” The first we encounter as we walk into the garden is a large, beautiful oak tree. Behind it is another tree which will drop leaves (maybe another oak, I don’t remember). At the far side, near two beehives, is a white pine. They all need to be clothed for winter.

The installation needs two different types of “garment.” One will be scarves to spiral up the tree trunks. The other is what I’m calling “pennants,” long triangles on the order of icycles, to be hung from the branches and to remain blowing in the wind even after leaves fall.

NOT Just Knitting!

Any fiberart is welcome for the pennants which will be hung on the branches of the trees. Knit, crochet, quilt, felt, weave, sew… even shrink a sweater densely and cut it into long triangles. I’m encouraging yarn ends to hang from the points, so that they will blow in the wind.

Want to Join in the Fun?


Color limits… cool tones. Blue, blue-green / teal/ turquoise, greens of all sorts, yellow-greens. (No red/ pink/ orange, that’s how I envision this piece. Yes, the other colors are wonderful. Yes, I wear them all the time. That’s not how this space speaks to me.)

Colors to use:

Colors NOT to use:


  1. Any Fiber, in colors designated above.
  2. Any fiber technique: knit, crochet, weaving, wet felt, needle felt, nuno, quilting. Hand-created in some way.
  3. Top of pennant should be in a range between 4 and 5 inches (10-12.5 cm) wide. Decrease slowly as you work, ending with a piece about 2 to 3 times longer than it is wide.
  4. If possible, leave a yarn tail of at least 4-12 inches (10-30cm) hanging from the point of your pennant.
  5. If you find you run out of yarn part way through the pennant, just join a new piece (not necessarily the same yarn or color) and keep going.
  6. Forgive yourself for imperfection. Don’t rip back, don’t worry if it’s not as you expected. Finish one triangle and go on to another. The flowers in a garden don’t match, either!


  1. ONLY standard worsted-weight acrylic “afghan yarn” such as Red Heart or equivalent. (It will stand up to the vertical gravity pull and weather.)
  2. Knitted or crocheted only, for the stretch factor.
  3. No less than 4″ and no more than 5″ wide.
  4. Pieces as long or as short as you like. Change yarn colors as you desire, within color specifications above.
  5. Any stitch pattern is welcome. I expect a lot of garter knitting and double crochet. Surprise me, if you like. Or crank out whatever is easiest for you to do while chatting with friends.
  6. If possible, leave a tail a little bit longer than your piece, attached to it. This will really help us sew things together on site.


If you can not make a piece but want to contribute yarn, it will be accepted until about October 15. Please read my specifications on which yarns we will be using. I don’t have much storage space for anything beyond the needs of this project.


If you want to make something but need a specified yarn, pop me a note. I’ll see if I can get something to you.

Where do I turn in my piece(s)?

Out of town? SEND TO:

ColorJoy by LynnH
4800 Collins Rd. Unit 26261
Lansing, MI 48909 USA

In the Lansing Area, drop finished pieces at:

  • Rae’s Yarn Boutique
  • Sticks & Strings
  • Woven Art
  • Yarn Garden, Charlotte

It’s All About Community – Make-A-Longs

There will be Make-A-Long events at all of the shops listed above. There may be other Make events not in yarn shops as well.
Do you want to host a gathering? I’m all for it. If I’m available, I’ll attend.

I Love this Community!

I can’t do this alone. I need you, love you and appreciate you. THANK YOU for your interest and enthusiasm.

Gentlemen, start your engines…
Um, I mean…

Makers, unfurl your fibers!!! It’s time to create!

Hugs, LynnH

The fine print:
  • Understand that this is a temporary installation. Your piece(s)
    will not be returned to you. There is no guarantee how your
    piece will  be installed.
  • This is a group project which requires flexibility during
    installation. I will honor your contribution(s) as I and
    volunteers install what makes most sense for the whole.

Yarn Bomb? What is THAT?

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Woohoo… big news is coming fast here at Casa de ColorJoy. I don’t have time to post all the details but will tonight.

Meanwhile, may I introduce you to the concept of Yarn Bombing? It’s also known as yarn graffiti, Guerrilla Knitting and more. It’s the idea of putting yarn (usually knitted or crocheted) in a public space, usually attached to a permanent object there.

This artform tends to be irreverent. It can be goofy, political, colorful or subtle. It can be anything the artist(s) make it be.

My Exciting Find

When I was in Montreal, I lucked out. I saw a Yarnbombed piece by the international artist OLEK. She’s originally from Poland but is based in New York City. (Photo above) She says “Art and Life are inseparable.” She’s my kind of person.

She crochets covers for many things, usually without permission. This means that sometimes the work comes down rather suddenly after it was put up.

OLEK covered the bull sculpture on Wall Street, and I’ve heard it was taken down the same day it went up. See Video of her installing the bull’s colorful coat.

Yet I found this piece on the street across from Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts. I tweeted that I’d seen it. OLEK tweeted back that she was surprised it was still there. It did look as though it had been through a bit of weather.  Above is the photo I took that day.


There is another international name in YarnBombing I follow. Her name is Magda Sayeg of KnittaPlease. (You REALLY want to click that link, the cover page is trippy and interactive.) Or watch a 1 minute Video of her explaining what she does.

Ms. Sayeg and her team recently got commissioned to yarn bomb the Air Conditioning ducts in the Etsy.com main offices in New York City. She also covered an entire School Bus in Mexico (though the writing on the bus sure looks like an Asian language).

More Images

I adore this artful category of expression. Click for a Google Image search on the words “Yarn Bomb Graffiti” – more amazing pieces.

Even Time.com did a photo essay on what it called “The Fine Art of Yarn Bombing.” Not all will call it a Fine Art, but I’m pleased to hear it from Time.

More from me soon… meanwhile. Smile, chuckle, giggle or even be disgusted. I don’t imagine anyone can feel neutral about this stuff!

African-Inspired Knitting

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

It has been a great week! I hope that my enthusiasm pours out of this screen and into your life. Things inside me are happy right now.

The African Collection (and Travel Stories)…

When I went to Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya and Egypt) in 2004-05, I promised myself I could knit whatever I wanted to knit for that 38-day stretch. A windfall had funded the trip. Therefore, I could take it as a true vacation from my business and just knit for the pure joy of it.

Usually I knit with a mind toward what is easy to explain, or what is a good teaching project. Often I find a yarn that “tells me” what it wants to be.

I rarely just get to knit whatever is in my heart. For 5 weeks, I did just that.

I didn’t worry if it was hard to explain, or if someone might run away from it because it looked complicated. I just made beautiful things, the way I wanted them to look. (Actually, I also knit a bunch of simple socks for the joy of moving my fingers… but today I want to talk about the stars of the trip.)

Knitting Purely from My Heart

Perhaps you’ve seen these two socks before?

Kenya: Nairobi and Mombasa

The green sock at left, was inspired by gardens in Kenya. The garden I spent the most time in had many beautiful ironwork gates and walls. (It also had a 2nd floor balcony, ironically, just as the house where I’m staying in Montreal does.)

Flowers grow incredibly well  in Kenya (they grow carnations commercially in open fields, without greenhouses). This sock contains my memories of that lushness.

Ethiopia: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Bahar Dar and Lalibela

The white sock at right, was inspired by many things Ethiopian. It’s in the colors of the Ethiopian flag. At the top and on the heel, the texture reminds me of shepherd’s hats I saw in northern Ethiopia. The middle of the leg was inspired by Ethiopian baskets traditionally used as dinner tables. There was a small basket of this sort in my bedroom in Ethiopia. I referred to that basket as I worked.

When I was in Ethiopia, I made “friends” with many people who didn’t speak English, because of this pair of socks. Just by a glance, they could see that I loved their country and traditions. It was heartwarming to meet people this way.

Egypt: Cairo and Alexandria

When we were in Egypt, I took notes on possible sock design motifs. I scribbled a chart/graph and tucked it into my journals. This week I got out those journals and started transcribing the notes, changing a bit as the size restrictions of a sock leg required. And started knitting a sample.

The Actual Work

The goal is a collection of patterns and corresponding travel stories. I intend to package the patterns separately, for those who want only one or two. I’m also planning a full-project e-book of all projects and stories.

(Starting this project is why I came to Montreal, to write without normal obligations. A friend of a friend had a room to rent, and I jumped at the opportunity.)

I’ve graphed the Ethiopian Basket and Kenyan Garden sock leg patterns. I also knit a sample from the first draft of my Egyptian-inspired graph.

The colorwork is reminiscent of netted beadwork. I saw a bit of this in the jewelry collection at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. This is also where King Tut’s treasures reside.

Sketching on the Needles

I’m doing a child-sized sock to test out the ideas on that one. I usually design by knitting and adjusting as I work. I’m liking how it looks, though I’ll tweak a bit in the final design.

A Potpourri of Techniques

Above are the three fanciest of the designs which will be in the Africa collection when I’m done. There are also some non-colorwork socks, in groupings. I knit a total of 10 sock designs on the trip, and also some wristwarmers. I’m thinking that this will end up being 7 designs, at least 2 of them with 2-3 variations.

The collection includes variety in structures: top down, with differing leg treatments, no-purl flap heel and wedge toe; toe-up footies with stripes and a Crystal Heel; and a thicker-yarn toe-up sock with wrapped cast on and heel flap.

The Ethiopian and Kenyan socks are top down with heel flap and turn (one is a Dutch Heel Turn, one is a standard half-handkerchief turn). The Egyptian sock is toe up with my “start with a square” Bosnian toe and a Crystal Heel.

It’s a big project. I’m excited about it. One day at a time, it’s coming together more in my mind. When I get a full picture I’ll let you know how the patterns will be released.

I currently plan to write them as individual patterns, as well as a series with travelogue stories/ photos to go with the collection. Once I get writing more, we’ll see how it plays out.

Catch you soon!