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Archive for June, 2003

A Solemn Day

Monday, June 30th, 2003

family portraitMy father died 30 years ago today, at the young age of 40. (Family portrait was taken about two years before his death, about 1971.) His best friend died of cancer the day before and he couldn’t stand it… sort of died of a broken heart.

Dad knew me well. He loved me in a hands-on sort of way, teaching me things he loved. He taught me about the stars in the sky, about plants (mostly flowering bushes which he loved, and fall flower bulbs). He taught me about music: I strongly remember the lessons on syncopation and how to sing harmony. Now I sing harmony with Brian. For pay. For fun. For love. Thanks, Daddy.

I’ve been eating a lot of black licorice lately. For one thing, it’s a snack I can actually eat with all my food restrictions. But the more important reason is that my “Daddio” used to buy it for me, when I went to church camp each year. He would put candy in my bedroll (and my brother, Eric’s) as an “I love you and I’ll miss you” gesture. He called it our “sneakies.” We knew if we told Mom we all would get into trouble (she was very strict about snacks and we did not have candy in our home except for special occasions). So the licorice is comfort food today.

I actually cried out loud about losing my Daddy two weekends ago. Today I cried when I heard Katherine Hepburn also passed away. She is an example of a woman who knew who she was and stood tall with that knowledge, even though she did not really fit in. And she was loved for it. I struggle to stand tall as she did, because I, too, do not fit in. I feel the loss of this strong woman today, as I feel the loss of my father.

I miss you, Daddy.

Home, Wonderful Home!

Sunday, June 29th, 2003

Well, I’m home from camping with Brian’s family. There is nothing like camping in the rain to make you appreciate the great INdoors. I am not much of an outdoor grrl anyway (OK, that is an understatement), but the weather was not at all lovely most of this weekend.

Extreme Late-June Weather
We did what we could to wait for the severe thunderstorm warning to pass by before we left Grand Rapids for Ludington. Brian did, in fact, put up our tent when the rain had stopped for a while last evening. It was just chilly and damp last night while we were hanging out. It was 60 degrees but we could see our breath because of the humidity.

This morning we awoke to thunder and rain. Brian had me get up and run to his parent’s camper trailer for cover and breakfast, which was a blessing because they had a heater. I stayed there a good long time, even was in there alone with my knitting for a bit, but came back out when the rain stopped. It stayed chilly until noon or so when the sun started shining a little through the trees.

Bless my beloved husband, Brian. Even though it was drying up, he took me out to lunch (with two of his sisters, Jennifer and Kathleen) so I could get a hot cup of tea. The food was not all that great (wet burrito at a local sort of breakfast diner) but it was food and the waitress had it together.

The rest of the day was mostly uneventful, but the sun did shine in the afternoon. I made dinner and then again Brian, Jennifer, Kathleen and I went on an adventure to the Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s a lovely beach. I left for home from the beach and they walked back, not very far, to the campsite.

It was 70 degrees as I passed the bank on the way out of town. Much better, but not close to my personal favorite temperature, 85 degrees F. OK, I don’t like doing physical labor at that temperature, but at that point I don’t feel like my body has to protect itself against the environment. I know that others have very different ideas about what is best… this is just my own opinion.

(I think I may never understand why people pile into vehicles with tons of stuff and drive hours and hours, to get away from it all… and they end up at a state campground where the population density is very high, with people jammed in like sardines and cars everywhere. It just doesn’t compute in my way of thinking. I guess there are a lot of trees, and a beach is nearby, but I don’t have that gut need for water that many people have… I’d rather have a view from a skyscraper or mountain. Heights excite me, water is somewhat neutral… beautiful but not necessary to my happiness or sanity. Give me a city with skyscrapers, art museums and ethnic restaurants any day! And a subway if possible… that would make it extra special. I collect subway tokens, a bit haphazardly but I love them.)

Knitting at Camp
During the weekend I did finish a pair of sox for Brian out of Confetti yarn (the ones for which Sarah Peasley gave me black Wildfoote for the heels/toes back a while ago). I also started a sock three times, for a friend I’m trying to swap with. I kept getting the number of stitches wrong… once too few and once too many. I guess being cold was distracting even when I was knitting alone!

I also tried to start a second stole from JoAnn’s yarns in a different colorway (colors my mom would really like, mostly blues and greens), but I just didn’t like one of the five yarns with the mix. Ripped it out, tried with a different yarn. I like the new color very much and the texture a little better, but I’m not sure it’s good enough for me to live with it. I may have to go visit JoAnn’s on Monday to see if I can do better than this. The yarn snob in me is coming out this time. I just couldn’t get another set of 5 yarns in textures *and* colorways I loved, to go together the way I liked. I think this is why I dye yarns, because I just can’t get what I want sometimes.

Good Night
I am Soooooooooo Glaaaaad that I am home and dry. I may even go to bed early and pile on the blankets tonight! Brian won’t be home for a few more days so it’s quiet and peaceful here, which is welcome after all those people crammed in to camp.

Ahh, peace and quiet, and a warm bed. This is the life!

Goodbye for Two Days

Saturday, June 28th, 2003

I am off to live in a tent for two days (I’m sure I will survive, I’m just positive- I’m bringing my allergy pills along). I will see you back here on Monday.

A Wonderful Day

Friday, June 27th, 2003

Authentic Socks from Turkey, via turkishculture.orgWell, I had a wonderful day. I slept late after having jackhammers wake me up early twice this week. Then I went to a client where I really enjoy being there. Then I went to a store I’d never visited, to get supplies for another client/friend whose computer was having serious problems.

Great Stores, Wonderful People
This store is called Ozel Computer Solutions. They are located on Trowbridge Road behind Apple Sports, for the local folks. I so enjoyed being there. First of all, they had what I needed for this client, which wasn’t a big deal purchase but it was so very convenient. And convenient was the driving force today, I was trying to get as many things crossed off my list as possible (and after a late start).

I had been to my primary computer supplier yesterday, Cyber Exchange in Okemos (they are in the same complex as Yarn for Ewe). I have had wonderful experiences with them – especially for Foster Center’s classroom. I buy as much there as I can, but I didn’t feel I had time to drive out there again today by the time I got started.

But what I enjoyed most about Ozel was the two men working there, not my purchase. They are from Turkey, and we got talking about Turkish tea, Turkish dancing and Turkish socks. I love talking to people who were not raised in the US. I always learn something.

They were pretty surprised I knew anything about their homeland. Well, as you know, I really love Turkish socks. One man said that he had never really thought about the Turkish socks as special, they are just what he is used to. I think I got him to see how special they are. We even surfed to my earlier blog entry about my “Turkish Zig” sox that were knit in a top-down, western knitting style, but with a cuff inspired by a Turkish knitting pattern. We had so much fun! (Pictures are of authentic Turkish socks, from http://TurkishCulture.org

Authentic Socks from Turkey, via turkishculture.orgGood Ethnic Food Markets
After I left there, I went to the asian market next door, and then I went down the other way to the Indian market. I got green tea with ginseng, fortune cookies, flavored tofu and a few other things at the asian market, and I got split green peas, assam tea, and sugar coated fennel seed (candy) at the Indian Market, Swagath Foods.

I was totally in heaven, all those world cultures in one building! And my, the good meals we will have because of this adventure! I just love the small markets in Lansing, they are getting better and more plentiful. It makes me feel less stranded in this size city. It makes me glad I live here.

Blessed Quiet Time
Tonight Brian went back to the Bluegrass Festival and I stayed home. We will be camping with his family for the next two days (I will be away from my computer, I’ll see you back here on Monday). That means I needed some serious alone/quiet time before leaving. You know that I get around a lot, because you read my adventures. But this grrl needs serious quiet time as well, and I usually get only one day off which is Sunday.

If I am going to be in a large family gathering all day Saturday and Sunday, I need to store up quiet time now. I’m from a very small family and these gatherings, while pleasant, are overwhelming sometimes. I want to stay pleasant when I am with these people I truly like. I just like them one at a time… all of them at once is quite overpowering for me!

I tend to just stay at the edge of the crowd, so that I have a little more personal space, and that helps me a lot. Yes, I’m very social, but I tend to socialize one-on-one, or at gatherings where there is a structure for what we do and when (such as guild meetings). I am sure I will have a good time this weekend, but I’m also glad that I got this peace and quiet tonight.

Authentic Sock from Turkey, via turkishculture.orgSpinning Success
So tonight I sat down and spent 45 minutes spinning. I finally got it! I am spinning sockweight yarn (it will be two-ply). I’m pretty sure the green/aqua/turquoise superwash merino I was working on for my mother, will be more like sportweight yarn unless I knit it as a single ply. But this is a wonderful hot purple romney, handwash, just for me. And I am spinning thin enough for a two ply yarn to be about fingering weight, even on my newer wheel which is fast and pulls the yarn harder than my old wheel. I learned to thread my ply on the bobbin hooks to slow it down a bit, but on top of that I just finally understood with my hands what to do. And that 45 minutes just flew by.

Tony’s Garden
Oh, my friend Tony popped by for a little bit, too, early this afternoon. It was so good to see him. I gave him a cup of tea and we talked of many things for nearly an hour. What a worthwhile distraction that was. He is working on his yard and garden these days and his plans are very interesting. He is considering constructing some containers for plants. He showed me a book with some ideas of this type and they look very interesting.

My Garden
I love planting my flowers in containers. I get very large pots and fill them with “container soil” which has little nodules that soak up moisture like crazy and then hold it there for a long time, so things don’t dry out much. I have had much success, both in sunny and shady areas, with this approach. My sunny area has Geraniums, mostly. My shady area has impatiens. Both are sort of a pinkish-coral color, sometimes with a spot of white.

I am still trying to figure out flowers on the dark violet color range to put with them (love those colors together). The last few years I got purple lobelia which I adore. However, they want to be watered every day, so they get really thin fast, the way I water.

I’m thinking maybe one velvet-purple petunia in each container, or maybe pansies. I like the petunia idea (other than I don’t like their smell) because they can cascade over the edge of the pots, and they seem to thrive no matter what, in other folks’ gardens and containers. Maybe I’ll do this, or maybe I’ll stop the gardening for the year and try that next year.

I did not get to my own garden today at all. Of course, it poured just buckets and buckets for a very long time yesterday, but I will want to water everything before we leave tomorrow morning. When we get back I will plant the last few plants of the season. These are a beautiful perennial Marlene gave me with yellow flowers (they grow well near hostas and I have many happy hostas in my front yard), five Stella D’Oro daylilies, and nasturtium seeds. I have never planted any seeds as an adult, so I am hoping I can do these well. I’m crossing my fingers.

The lilies and the nasturtiums (nasturtia?) are for a very sunny patch of lawn by the street, where the grass dies every late July. These plants do well with lots of sun and don’t need constant attention after they get established. I’m hoping I do a good job- we will see how I do.

Socializing Today

Thursday, June 26th, 2003

A Shopping Trip
Today I got to see several knitting people in my life. I stopped by Yarn for Ewe to pick up a pattern which has haunted me for maybe a month since I saw it there… I wasn’t intending to get a pattern then or now, but it just won’t leave me alone. Ruth was there, as she often is, and she did some good sleuthing trying to figure out what pattern I wanted by my very sketchy description of it.

It’s a sleeveless top by Artful Yarns, with v-neck in a partial-garter-stitch pattern, knit on diagonals. It might work with my wonderful yarn that Jillian gave me, mixed in with the other yarns I have which will be pretty together. I am not sure if the gauge given will work for the yarns I have but we will see how I can deal with that issue.

It’s always good to talk to Ruth. She knows so much and one only needs to ask. I just have not been on that side of town lately, and I had to miss the knit in this month because I was out of town dancing, so I really had not been there in a while. I got to show off the eggplant hat I made for Anne’s baby, which was fun. I made it with Tahki Cotton Classis for the main hat and then couldn’t find the green Cotton Classic in my stash for anything, so I substituted a green Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and it worked just fine, though more matte finished than the planned yarn. Very cute indeed.

Marlene and WWA guild
This evening I went to my friend Marlene’s home and we talked about everything. Our purpose was to start as a team to do the newsletter for our Working Women Artists guild. This will be our first newsletter, as our friend Marian has done it for a good long while and it was time to pass the baton, as they say.

Working Women Artists (WWA) is an extraordinary guild. It is an art guild, which does not focus on what medium the artist is using at the moment. Most of our meetings are led by members of the guild, teaching some art method to the rest of us. I have done polymer clay, wet feltmaking, eraser-carving (custom rubberstamps) and knitting. We also have done glass fusing, collage, photography, needlefelting, and a zillion other things I can not remember right now. Once someone even did lithography, which took two sessions because it is so involved. I was just fascinated, since I have never taken a printmaking class.

If any Artwomen out there in Lansingland are interested in joining us (WWA) for meetings, it is usually held the 2nd Sunday of the month at 6-8pm at Bare Bone Studios on Turner Street in Old Town. We love to see new faces, any age. We have high school girls and retired women in the guild. It’s just a great place to meet folks who are creative. Please join us.

Of course Marlene and I ended up talking about plants and food and knitting and feltmaking and spinning… and life. I just love Marlene, she is a gift to me. How wonderful it is to have a friendship with someone who shares so many common interests! We just don’t seem to connect as often as we might like, but it is always as if we never missed a beat.

Oh, So Tired!
I am just plain exhausted after having 25 computer kids today at Foster Center, and then an adult class, then all the things I’ve listed here. I have a computer to fix tomorrow and some small gardening tasks. We’ll see what I get finished after that. We are going camping with Brian’s family for the weekend so I’ll probably post tomorrow and then miss a few nights here. No doubt I’ll return with a picture or two.

Day of Errands

Wednesday, June 25th, 2003

My, I had many errands today. Among them was a 3.5 hour visit to the VW dealership to fix (replace) the car stereo that was damaged in my accident. A tape got stuck in there and the computer said “NO TAPE” when I tried to eject it. Fortunately, my insurance company (State Farm) has been pretty great about this whole thing, a sort of good thing for them because I was ready to deem their rates too high but now I’m clear I’m paying for good service.

So today I have a new (refurbished, actually) radio/cassette player in my car. I did have to pay for this expense up front and will be reimbursed (since the work was done by a shop that doesn’t typically do collision repairs). Fortunately, I had some funds I could float for the purpose of tunes and I did that. It’s so nice to be able to play cassettes, again. I have really missed that. Commercials really upset me sometimes and I really prefer driving with some sort of music so I’ve been switching stations a lot lately.

Last night at the bluegrass festival (and in the car to and from it), and today in the dealership lobby, I knit an eggplant cap (pattern by Ann Norling, and it is elegantly simple in design, I love it) for my friend Anne’s baby. She is just over a year old now, and was only 3.1 pounds when she was born. I knit her a strawberry hat last August and she is nearly grown out of it now. Anne was lamenting the loss of the hat but now she’ll have another. I got to show it off at Habibi Dancers tonight. Everyone humored me with their oohs and aahs, and I appreciated it.

Kay, our costume queen for Habibis, brought an even better kid gift today. She had sewn a costume for Denise, who has a toddler who loves all the costumes LynnH sock #40, of Debbie Bliss DK merinoand glitter associated with our dancing. When we have rehearsals and Denise has to bring the darling child, we make sure there is an extra piece of fabric she can use as her own veil. She dances around us and with us with her veil, very sweet.

Well, today Kay brought in the cutest little belly dance costume for Denise’s sweetie, made from the scraps of the costume she had made for Denise. Now plans are in the works for a mommy/daughter costume photo portrait. I will be eager to see it. We are just afraid that the little girl will not want to take off the costume when it is necessary! Mommy isn’t as worried as we are, so I’m going to let go of that concern for now.

I got to see my friend Ulyana for a while today, also. She is preparing for a trip to learn more massage training and will be going to a contra dance this weekend on the way out there. She is pretty excited about it. I’m happy for her. I was there helping her with her computer, but it is always great to have an excuse to talk and talk.

Since I once more am here typing and Brian is out, I will share with you my sock number 40, dated April 2002. It was made with the Sole Solutions software by Mary Moran, as a toe-up pattern. I had two skeins of Debbie Bliss DK Merino (washable wool, gorgeous stuff) and was afraid I might run out of yarn if I made them top-down. I love these sox. They wash and dry in the machine and still look fabulous. They also feel really good. I am just used to making sox top down, or I would do this more. These are very nice, useable sox. And pretty, too!

Oh, and last but certainly not least: Happy Birthday to my friend JoDee, my godchildren’s mother. Jo and I were in first grade together for sure, maybe kindergarten. That is a lot of years! I thank my stars that we are still friends after all these years, so many people don’t have friendships that go back that far.

Jo had my children for me, I always say. Michael is 20 and will be attending Central Michigan University as a Junior, next fall. Sara I mentioned last week, she of the dance recital. She also is a lovely singer and a very fine, strong young woman. She will be a Senior in high school next year. Amazing.

I like to say that Michael looks like me, and Sara acts like me. Michael looks more like his own family now, but it was really true when he was a little one, that he looked more like me than Jo. Sara is a creative, talented, tell-it-like-it-is grrrl, even more than “her Lynnie.”I adore them all!

Short Check In

Tuesday, June 24th, 2003

We probably will be going to the Charlotte Bluegrass Festival tonight, so I’m checking in sort of early in case we get home at 2am, as we sometimes do. There are folks we see only once a year at this festival, people Brian has known since he was first learning Banjo. I know he really enjoys seeing them each year.

Yesterday I had 12 knitters at Foster. Today I had 12 more. Let me tell you, 12 is so much better than 22, I can’t even begin to explain!!! Luann came to help me again (bless your sweet heart, Luann… it is so good to have you with me). She stayed after the knitting and we chatted a good long time, about everything! Sometimes you need a good listener and Luann is just the ticket. I appreciate that.

We have had several finished items lately. I’ve had a good number of wristbands, a few headbands, and one item that started as a wrist band but ended up more like a triangle. It had a few yarn over holes in it so we decided it would be a really great beanie baby diaper. I’m going to bring two buttons to hold it on, next week. It should be quite cute. The girl who made it was pretty pleased that her “hiccups” turned into something quite useful and unique.

I have one girl who has cranked out several items before doing two purses in fat yarn. She was getting a little bored with all the possible choices, so I told her we should dig through the yarn and let it inspire us. She decided she really liked the eyelash yarns I’ve been using in my stoles so we found some blue eyelash someone sent (bless you) and she will be making a small purse with about three rows of the eyelash at the top for a special border. I think it will be lovely. She is pretty excited about it. I’m telling you, a few yards of something pretty is all it takes to make a 9-year-old child smile!

Off to sing and play bass. I’ll catch you soon.

Poetry on a Hot Day

Tuesday, June 24th, 2003

I awoke today singing Bob Dylan again:

She’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist… She don’t look back.

At this time of change, this is a wonderful message for me to retain. I’m an artist. I have everything I need.

I’ve been reading poetry the last two days. It’s finally around 80 degrees F and sunny here. I wait all year for this. I’ve spent parts of two days in my hammock on the porch. It’s almost like a womb, a cocoon. It’s a wonderful, comfortable, safe place where I nap and read and knit and plan. It’s the best place I have for poetry these days.

Here is an excerpt from Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, I Sing the Body Electric:

I have perceived that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful curious breathing laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them . . to touch any one . . . . to rest my arm ever so lightly round his or her neck for a moment . . . . what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight . . . . I swim in it as in a sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking on them and in the contact and odor of them that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the sould well.

Here is ee cummings:

seeker of truth

follow no path
all paths lead where

truth is here

And Adrian Keith Smith (Age 4 at time of writing, 1966, in the book Miracles):


The rain screws up its face

and falls to bits.

Then it makes itself again.

Only the rain can make itself again.

Summer Plans and Thoughts
Tomorrow night we will attend our first music jam fest of the summer, the Charlotte Bluegrass Festival. I don’t know as much of the music there as Brian does, but we know a few people who find a quiet corner and jam all styles of music, not just bluegrass. This festival marks the beginning of summer, for me. I never seem to feel I have time to go, but not going would be unthinkable. I think this festival was maybe the second date Brian and I ever did together, so it’s very special to me.

Brian is listening to some wonderful bluesy stuff right now on the stereo. The front door is open allowing a summer breeze to cool the room. There is almost no breeze so the wind chimes are silent. My flowers have been flowering this week: geraniums, impatiens and finally the climbing roses.

I welcome the summer with my open arms! I need warmth to feel whole, to feel as though I am fully Lynn. What a relief it is, to have warm weather. My psyche sighs a huge sigh of relief. Others complain and I dance!!! May you enjoy it as I do.

MelottFest Sunday

Monday, June 23rd, 2003

Sunday we got all dressed up and went to the Wheel In Campground near Leslie, to open the Sunday set of the MeLott Festival. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. The sun was out but it was not too hot, and there was a small breeze. Yesterday was good for them, too, although we didn’t make it because of family obligations.

The pictures here are somewhat fuzzy but it’s all we have, so sorry. In the first picture, you see Brian and I as The Fabulous Heftones. I am wearing the stole I made from the beautiful hand-dyed “froofy” yarns that Nancy McRay hand-dyed. I will be teaching a class related to this stole at her store, Woven Art, this summer.

We had a somewhat small but enthusiastic audience. Some folks came out just to see us. Of course, seeing as we were the first band at a festival where there were no doubt a good number of night owls, it seemed just fine. They kept filtering in during our set, so the crowd was much larger as we finished. (Second picture in the front right corner with the hat on, is Ken Knott, member of the band the Monokulators, and one of the organizers of this event. We met Ken through Wally Pleasant perhaps six months ago.)

The third picture is also pretty fuzzy but it is a picture of Wally Pleasant with Brian as backup man. Wally and Brian have played a good number of concerts together so they sounded just great. I surely enjoyed the performance. My mother came, she brought a car with three folks to attend the performance. She is a big fan of Wally’s so she was happy with the way the concert was scheduled!

The next picture is the crowd under the wonderful tree which provided perfect shade for the concert.

The final picture is me talking to Theron Melcher. He was the other organizer of the festival (MELcher and knOTT makes MeLott, the name of the festival). It turns out that Theron and I have several people in our lives in common. For example, I know his parents, have worked with his father on a computer client project and took dance lessons from his mom. Small world!

It was a good time, with just perfect weather and a receptive crowd. I’m glad we were invited to join in the fun.

Oh, of course I continued to knit on the way down there and back, and a little while listening to Wally play. When I got home I finished the stole I’m making out of yarns from JoAnn Fabrics. I tied the fringe and trimmed it all to the same length. This stole is just the right size, just the right weight. It is fuzzy but not too heavy, and will really do the ticket against air conditioning during the summer. I’m very pleased with it. Now I need to write up the pattern and test knit it again with a different colorway (darn). Should be fun.

Wild Weekend

Sunday, June 22nd, 2003

What a weekend we had!

Saturday my mother called to say my brother would be in town for a short while, did I want to stop over and see him? Of course I did! He’s my best friend in the world (he was my “dude of honor” at our wedding, even). So off I went to see Eric, and his wife Diana.

It was great to see them. It was also great because I tried Diana’s new sox on her and they fit great. She liked them so much, she took them home with the ends not yet worked in. She is a quilter and has done some knitting as well, so sewing in ends will not bother her much. And she knew that would get her the sox that much faster. It was a good deal for both sides. I took pictures with my conventional camera so I’m not sure how long it will be before you folks see those pics.

food from Eastown Deli & RestaurantSaturday afternoon and evening we went to Grand Rapids for a graduation in Brian’s family. This is the first year the nieces and nephews are graduating, it’s a pretty big deal for the parents! We played some music and I got a lot of knitting done, both in the car and at the party. And then on the way home we ate at Eastown Deli & Restaurant. I loved it. I had chicken biryani, an Indian rice dish with spicy chicken (I usually get the veggie version but now that I can’t have corn or potatoes or mushrooms I am sort of stuck even though I like veggies better).

Brian had a Chicken Schwarma sandwich, a mideastern treat. And then I ordered something I’d never had before: Foul Dip. Sounds funny in English, but it’s a dip made of Fava Beans, one of my favorite foods (in Egypt they call fava beans “foul moudamas” hence the funny-sounding name of the dip… hope I spelled that right). It was made of Fava beans very lightly blended, with spices and olive oil and a layer of veggies on the top: green and black olives, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. Yum. (Not at all like hummous which is a chick pea dip but which is put in the blender so long that you can’t see it used to be beans.)

That dip was so good I could have had just that. And the pita bread was made to order. In fact, it all was made to order as the proud gentleman explained. I was very happy we stopped there. For those in the area, it is at 410 Ethel Avenue, SE, not far from East Grand Rapids.

Sunday was its own reward. I think I’ll close this entry now and do another just about Sunday.

A Note, Upcoming Classes and Events

Friday, June 20th, 2003

Linda in MN writes (about my Fast Florida Footies, a free pattern… see picture):

Saw your note on the Socknitters List about the heel on your pattern — which reminded me to write and thank you! I love the pattern and have made two pairs of footies from Fixation with it — one for myself and one for my MIL. A very enjoyable, well-written pattern, and one that I’ll definitely be using again in the future. Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us!

Fast Florida Footies, Free Pattern by LynnH
I made the first pair in March, when my family and I were on a cruise with my in-laws. My MIL is allergic to wool, so when I saw your Fixation Footie pattern a few days before we were due to set sail, it was a godsend! On the first day at sea, I showed her the yarn — she loved it, and was always checking on my progress to see how the footies were coming. I finished them on Day 5; she tried them on and they fit like a glove. She’s told me that she uses them as “sleeping socks,” when the temperatures take a dip. I was so happy with how her pair turned out that I started a pair for myself on the ship as well. I absolutely love them! I went to an antiques fair the other day where I knew I’d be doing a lot of walking in 90* heat — I wore the footies with my clogs and my feet stayed cool and dry.

Unfortunately I don’t have a digital camera, so I don’t have any pix of the footies. I’ve just ordered some more Fixation from an online vendor, to make several more pair.

Thanks again, Lynn — it’s a great pattern!

Well, it always tickles me to no end when people knit my patterns. My friend Marilyn also wrote that she is very close to finishing a pair of my Barberpole Sox and will be sending a picture. I’m beaming!!!

The Fabulous Heftones in the News
Our radio spot on Wednesday night went well. Now we are preparing to be on stage Sunday noon. (If you have missed my incessant talk on this, the festival is MeLott Festival near Leslie, Michigan.) We also will be performing at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine again on July 26 from 6:30 to 8:30 for any locals who are interested but can’t come to the festival Sunday.

We made three newspapers this week, too (because of the Fest): The City Pulse, The Noise, and What’s On (Lansing State Journal). That was pretty exciting.

Thanks to Sarah Stollak (of the band Millenary, she is a singer/songwriter in her own right) who wrote a nice article in the What’s On, there was a little deal about us being a “retro” band, etc. Our picture also made it into another article further up front in the publication. Why is it so cool to see your own image in print? I’m so excited!

I will be eager to see how many people make the festival, it could be a great time. It is on a campground, so people who want to make a weekend of it can hang out for both days. Sort of a mini-Wheatland, perhaps, but more on the Rock and Roll/amplified end of things (Wheatland is more old-timey and folk/blues/world music, more “unplugged”).

Setting up Housekeeping
I’ve been spending a lot of time and funds on setting up my dye studio for a higher level of production. The computer business is always dead in the summer with my corporate clients, and this summer the community education classes I offer for adults have also dried up substantially. My other “geek” friends have had similar downturns, many have been laid off since Y2K so it just got to me a little later than everyone else (because I’m self employed, primarily).

I do have my work a few hours a week with the kids at Foster Center, but I’m gearing up to dye wool in much larger quantities than I have in the past. This is one reason my blogs have been a little shorter and fewer photos in the last week or so. I am gearing up to be an almost-full-time fiberartist this summer, and probably full time in the fall.

Gearing up to Teach
When I have been knitting in public this week (I am doing almost no knitting at home) I have been working on a stole with yarns available from JoAnn’s fabrics. I will be teaching a class there September 24 at 6pm, to show folks how to knit up this fun thing. This class will include a pattern I will provide, which specifies how many skeins and how many rows, and whatever is needed. This will allow folks to knit a stole (rectangular shawl) without planning… other than choosing a colorway (I will be offering at least three or four colorways).

I’m actually pleased, because there are a handful of yarns at JoAnns that make me quite happy. I’m still a fanatical wool grrrl at heart. However, I do feel that polyester eyelash is absolutely wonderful, and there are a couple of froofy/textured yarns in colorways available from Lion Brand and Bernat that can work together.

Of course, these are the more pricey yarns at JoAnn’s, but yarn is yarn and knitting makes me happy. I can reach different students at JoAnn’s (and maybe convert them to wool fanatics over time, heh heh heh, a field trip to some nicer yarn shops is in the back of my mind). The fabric I’m making is lovely, really. It’s very different than the handspun stole or the handpainted yarn stole I made from Nancy’s store, but all of them have a very strong personality and work well to catch the eye and keep one warmer in the air conditioning.

OK, a real yarn store, be it Yarn for Ewe or Woven Art or Old Mill Yarn or whoever, will have many more color choices (and a lot more wool) than JoAnn’s, but as I said, I’m hoping to reach folks who aren’t in the guild and may not know about the better stores in town yet.

Eva's Sox Pattern by LynnHThe class I will be teaching at Woven Art July 25 and August 1 (Fridays, 6pm-8pm) will also create a stole. However, that class will cover color theory for knitters and how to choose many yarns to go together well. The stole will be knit from a formula I provide, rather than a pattern. Folks will be encouraged to bring some stash yarns to combine in a pleasing multi-yarn experience. The stole I made from Nancy’s yarns had 10 different yarns in it. The JoAnn’s stole has only 5. More yarns makes more color and more texture, and more luxury. Same idea, different outcome.

I also will be teaching Polymer Clay beads and buttons at JoAnn’s on Tuesday, August 26, from 6pm to 9pm. They carry my favorite brand of clay, Premo.

I will be doing a demo at Woven Art on circular knitting, for her second Sunday event, July 10. I think the time is from 12 Noon to 4pm, but I’m not sure.

Wow, writing all this makes me realize that I will surely not be without things to do in my new “job” as fiberartist. My real longterm goal is to travel to other states and cities, and teach knitting and color for fiberartists/knitters. I used to do this with polymer clay (I have taught in Boston, Cambridge and Chicago among other spots) and it was just wonderful.

I’m busy considering what classes to develop that would be interesting to a variety of groups. I think creating a core of patterns will help as well. I think my personality shows through the styles of my patterns (see picture of Eva’s Sox). I love teaching, it is the most wonderful thing I can do! So here’s to a future of doing and teaching the fibery things I love!!!

Music Night

Wednesday, June 18th, 2003

Tonight Brian and I went to The Impact radio 88.9 at MSU, and played a few songs to promote the MeLott Fest. It was pretty fun. After that, we went to Altu’s restaurant and had dinner. I love her lima beans (don’t scoff until you have tried these, they are creamy and flavorful) which are my favorite comfort food of all. Brian had the Wednesday special which was collard greens in peanut sauce. Yum.

While we were waiting for the food, we got out our instruments and played 3 songs to the unexpecting audience. One table was ready to leave, anyway, but the other two tables seemed to enjoy it. One of the people who stayed was a music person Brian knows. That was pretty fun, an impromptu concert. I asked Altu if she would like it, and she would, but I think Brian might have thought I was a little more wound up than usual! His typical easygoing self went along for the ride, bless his heart.

Will I Ever Sit Still Again?

Tuesday, June 17th, 2003

I didn’t get too much sleep last night. I got up earlier than usual to teach at JoAnn’s Fabrics. This was the first time I have taught for them. I am grateful for a new teaching venue, and my supervisor there is absolutely delightful to work with. It was great.

My Morning Class
The class was Decorative Stencilling and Stamping for the Home. It went very well. Two of the students I knew, one was my friend Diane and another her friend Doris who I’ve met several times. There were two others signed up but only one came to class, and she was good fun as well. The third woman was there especially to learn more background information so that she could stencil some fabric for a duvet cover, to match something else she has in her home (I think it was wallpaper).

We had a great time! I haven’t taught an adult art class in a little while (had a rash of polymer clay classes in two states last fall but it has fallen off a lot) and it was refreshing.

One of the benefits to teaching a class that is designed to sell product in a store, is that you get to try all sorts of products they carry so that you can demonstrate them well. I have been playing for about a week with new products and it was very, very fun. I had always intended to make my own stencil of a star (those sort of asterisk-shaped stars popular in the 50’s) to enhance the walls of my bathroom. Maybe now I will give it a second consideration. I feel as though I don’t have time for something like that during the warm season, but it would only take one afternoon and I’d have a different look entirely. It could be fun. We’ll see.

Another benefit to teaching at a retail store is the discount! I got yarn to make a stole (hoping to teach a two-hour class in the fall and this will help sell it, plus I’ll enjoy wearing it) and a magazine. It’s great to get a discount on the magazines I usually buy, anyway (usually at Borders). Yippee.

Foster is Brimming with Children
I had lunch at Aladdin’s (what a treat that is) and then went to Foster Center. I had knitting class for the kids, and had (get this) **TWENTY-TWO** children in one hour. I joked with one of my co-workers that he should kiss my feet for taking that many kids for an activity that is so individual in nature. I mean, only about six of the kids had knit before so it was a big challenge to even get around the room once and make sure each child had some instruction.

I did have two teen assistants and another co-worker to assist me, and it was a great help to have them distribute small balls of yarn and needles, and cast on the stitches in preparation for learning. However, some kids just need a lot of repetition time with supervision and it was a challenge to get their needs met. I am very excited that twenty-two kids wanted to knit, and my supervisor assures me that they will do everything they can to keep the same kids repeating over and over in my knit program so that we can have them make some progress over the course of the eight-week summer program.

I have learned that I can sit on the floor and have the kids sit behind me, and I can use really huge needles that were donated to the program (size 17) with really bulky yarn, to show them the general idea, as well as introducing the poem I use to help them learn. But at that point I still need to go around one at a time and help guide their hands until they “get it” on their own.

Finished Projects by “My Kids”
The good kid-knitting news this week is that yesterday I had two girls finish headbands, and today we had one headband completed (she decided it was a scarf for her teddy bear so she didn’t have to sew the ends together) and one wristband, plus one girl brought in a wristband she had finished at home. One of these girls (wristband) had just learned to knit yesterday! She and her sister took to it like fish to water, and so I let them take the knitting home with them. They both came back today with substantial knitting accomplished. And a wristband completed by the end of 25 hours, is pretty impressive, when it’s the very first 25 hours that child has knitted.

Last Minute Borders
Tonight I went to Borders in Ann Arbor at the last minute. Actually, later than was reasonable. They start at 7pm and show and tell is 8pm., and my commute is about an hour one way. I left Lansing at about 7:15.

Since it was a small group this time, I missed show and tell. However, I did get to see my friend Lili’s finished light coral lace shawl (merino wool, silk and cashmere, yum). I also heard her tell tales of the renovation of her victorian house. (The original gingerbread pieces she had painstakingly refinished and repainted were re-installed on her house this week, a big victory… like putting a tiara on a beauty queen.)

Small World
Also my friend who calls herself Cher at this gathering (because there are too many with her given first name) brought her mother with her. Mother lives in Lansing, daughter in Ann Arbor. I knew that her mom lived not at all far from Foster Center. Well, I saw mom and knew I’d met her before. We went through all sorts of ideas but never pinned it down. Then while talking to others about 20 minutes later, I figured it out. I not only remembered that she was an author and had sold books at an event I was involved with around 1990, but I even remembered her first name! I was happy with myself for that.

Tony didn’t go with me, which was somewhat disappointing, but I do enjoy driving alone very much. I had a very pleasant drive in my newly-renovated bug.

Now I’m wiped out and need to sleep. Catch you soon!

Foster Center was Hoppin’ Today!

Monday, June 16th, 2003

Today was the first day of summer term at Foster. I had 16 computer kids in 2 hours (I have about 22 computers so it was not maxed out) and then I had 15 kids and one volunteer (thank you, Diana!) for CityKidz Knit!

So fun. So exhausting! About half of them had not knit before. One was 7 years old. Thank goodness some were older. I have found that 10-11 is about perfect. They don’t have any ideas of how it “should” be, and they are excited to learn, and they are not afraid of doing it wrong yet.

I had one very left handed girl who already crochets. I think I’ll be working with her again tomorrow on how to knit holding the yarn in her left hand. I knit continental style, but very different than others do, but I know how others do it so we’ll start there.

Tonight I did my last preparations for a class I’m teaching at JoAnn Fabrics tomorrow morning. Stencilling and Stamping for the home. It was great fun to prepare because they gave me this basket full of supplies (it looks like this class is supported by one brand of stencilling supplies but I don’t mind) and I got to experiment. I got to try things I would not have tried if I had to pay for it myself. And some of the work turned out very nicely, indeed. (Of course, it is hard to make an ivy vine look anything else but lovely.)

Now I’m up too late and I have to teach in 7 hours (I know, this posting says Monday but I’m finishing this up at 2am on Tuesday). I’ll let you know how the class goes tomorrow.

I may go to Borders in Ann Arbor tomorrow night. I don’t usually go on the 3rd week of the month but it just might work out that I can go. I didn’t ask anyone to go with me because it will be a very last minute sort of deal if I do it. Crossing fingers.