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Archive for October, 2003

Midwest Ukefest

Saturday, October 18th, 2003

UkeFestWe (Brian and I, also known as The Fabulous Heftones) are seriously considering going to the Midwest Ukefest (Ukulele music and related fun) in Indianapolis (at least for one day). It’s the weekend of Halloween, from Friday, October 31 to Sunday, November 2.

Is anyone out there reading this, within meeting distance of the Indiana State Museum? It would be cool to meet someone while we’re out on the road. We probably wouldn’t have lots of time to chat, but the event should be its own reward.

Ukefest will feature a large variety of acts, from the elegant and jazzy Jim Beloff to variety and novelty acts, to traditional Hawaiian music, and Deb Porter playing the songs of the Carter Family. There will be no way to be bored.

I wish we could go for the whole weekend, but I schedule my classes at Foster Center months in advance (I’m already committed through the end of March) and we didn’t find out about Ukefest until I was booked.

The Fabulous HeftonesHowever, the class that I have scheduled that weekend doesn’t have enough people signed up (yet, anyway) to “go,” so we have a slight chance we will have a few days that weekend free.

I’d just as soon make a living, of course… a self-employed person such as myself embraces work heartily. However, if a class cancels, what a great consolation prize it will be! We can go play music for a while with others who understand that we play what we play because it suits us perfectly, and we are serious about it. Not serious as in grim, but serious as in focusing on this artform and giving it our best efforts.

Somehow when we show up at gigs with a ukulele and a Heftone, people are not sure if we are some comedy act until we actually start playing and singing. (OK, maybe I’d be confused, too, because the visuals are somewhat goofy. That’s why we usually dress in formalwear, to make a point.) Once the music starts, our focus is clear. We smile and have fun, but we are no joke.

I am sure we can go for one day, anyway. It will be a lot of driving but we enjoy traveling together. And Brian is so sweet, he often drives a lot of the way so I can knit in transit. (I have the right man in my life… have I said that in the last few days???)

Indianapolis bloggers/blog readers, are you out there?

Art from the Outdoors

Friday, October 17th, 2003

Here is a leaf I found on the sidewalk at Foster Center yesterday. We don’t have to go very far to find art in our lives, do we?

It’s sunny again, a real gift, and I’m awake far earlier than usual. I looked outside and something looked strange. I’m not used to seeing sunshine coming from the east! The light seemed wrong to my eyes, but that was all it was. How funny!

Brian tells me if I am upset that the days are getting shorter, I should wake up sooner and be awake for more of the daylight hours. I think my body rejects that idea violently… I’ve been a night person all my life… but I think he has a valid point.

Have a great day. I hope you also have sunshine and colorful leaves.

Quotations Site

Friday, October 17th, 2003

I followed a link today from somewhere, which found me at a site full of quotations, called Wisdom Quotes. I love quotes, I collect them from time to time. Here is a wonderful one:

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning….
Gloria Steinem

Exhausted Eudora

Thursday, October 16th, 2003

Well, yesterday was jam packed for me. On one hand, I had a pattern deadline for a publication (cross fingers, she said she wanted it but I know I’m not published till the issue is public). And on top of that, the Habibi Dancers had a fundraiser last night at the 5th Element in Grand Ledge.

I dressed up as Eudora again yesterday. I had not performed since Labor Day (August 31) when I went to the Renaissance Festival. I have not really pushed myself very hard since I started feeling better two weeks ago. I have attended one dance class, and did some aerobic scraping and painting of the house with my hands over my head last week (really… that was exhausting after a while).

So last night it was fun to put on all the glitter and glitz of Eudora, and dance again. It wiped me out, but I loved it. We had a sell-out crowd. My mom came with Fred, and Brian came, and several dance friends who are not in the troupe. And a couple who we camp with at Wheatland Music Festival (Brian sat with these folks).

I got home and fell asleep on the couch. I do this from time to time, it’s sort of a luxury to me. But usually I wake up at 3am or so and go upstairs to bed. This time, I woke up at 8:45 when the sun was streaming in the windows. Lucky us, we only had one day of rain when they predicted four! But that just illustrates how wiped out I was after dancing four dances last night. I tell you, dancing does not appear to be an athletic event, but it can be.

Here are two pics Brian took last night. The first is me as Eudora, and the second is the crowd dancing at the end of the show. We got as many people out on the floor as we could. On the left is dancer Maya, then me as Eudora, then the back of my Mother’s head. Doesn’t she have the prettiest hair you’ve ever seen? I don’t understand why so many people cut their hair short just as it becomes luminescent. Good thing Mom knows about real beauty and doesn’t bow to the styles of her peers.

It was a good time for all. I just wished I could have sampled some of that good food! Maybe another time, we’ll go out there and eat dinner. They have blues music sometimes, so folks we know perform there. Maybe we’ll go when they play. Could be a fun date.

Kimono Fabric Art Site

Tuesday, October 14th, 2003

This website, Japanese Kimono Design Techniques, was mentioned on one of my dyeing lists. It shows different types of kimono embellishment, from dyeing techniques, handpainting to embroidery and even gold leaf. The shibori tiny tie-dye patterns always catch my attention.

The site is quite worth some time. Check it out.

Autumn in Lansing

Monday, October 13th, 2003

It has been an absolutely gorgeous week and a half here in Lansing. The fall colors came practically overnight, and everything is shades of gold and orange. The sky has been blue and the sun was very bright today. It is heaven.

We are supposed to get rain tonight at 2am and it is supposed to rain solid for at least 4 days. I felt such a deadline approaching… the end of the beautiful leaves. The rain will make them all come down on the ground, wet and messy. But today, it was beautiful. And I determined to make the most of that last beautiful autumn-colored day.

I went to Fenner Arboretum briefly today so I could take a few pictures. I also went to Scott Woods Park, a gem hidden behind a hospital on the South side. It is truly woods, a quite large area left ungroomed, and totally unexpected in a fairly busy end of town. (For those in Lansing, it is in the neighborhood directly behind the parking lot of what was once called Lansing General Hospital on Pennsylvania. I didn’t know it existed until Brian told me about a year or two ago.) Fenner is a larger mostly grassy area with some wooded areas and a stream, which is home to a good number of deer among other wildlife.

Both Fenner and Scott Woods are run by the City of Lansing Parks and Recreation department, if I remember right. Both of these locations are actually an easy bike ride from our home. There are some things that are pretty wonderful about Lansing, and the large number of trees and green areas count among the goodies here.

Scott woods was green and brown, for some reason. I had expected yellow and gold like those trees Tony and I saw on the way to Chelsea on Saturday.

Actually, Fenner had a few orange trees in one area and the rest was not all that colorful, either. I did get some beautiful photos of Fenner, in that area. The first one is a water hole in the center of the shortest path I’ve taken there. The second photo is the path. One wonderful thing about this path is that it is paved, and thus it is wheelchair accessible. Yet I am sure if you took the path to an area near the wooded part and sat still long enough, you would see deer. One time I took Sarah (my Goddaughter) to Fenner and we surprised a doe and two fawns. It was magic.

Even downtown Lansing was beautiful today. I went down there to go to the bank (and then the bank was closed for Columbus day so I made the deposit in the ATM). I got a great parking spot, no doubt because of the holiday. The bank is a treasure in Lansing (used to be Bank of Lansing, now Comerica) which I think has architecture up to that in any city like Chicago. I’ll have to take pictures and do that as a feature in this blog one day. But meanwhile, one of my favorite downtown buildings, as far as facade goes, is at the corner of Michigan and Washington, and is pictured here. (It sits kitty-corner from the beautiful bank.) The light fixtures on this building are brushed metal, I wish you could see how beautifully they reflect light and color.

Oh, I did go to Eaton Rapids for the warehouse sale, too. I got some cotton/wool/nylon on cones to use for my long-dreamed-of longjohns. I may have purchased enough for more than one pair, but at $2 a pound I decided to be extra sure I had enough yarn. I also got a cone of boucle for dyeing. I had hoped to find display units for selling at art shows, but didn’t find anything I wanted this year. Last year I found a good one so I won’t complain too much now.

I went next door to Old Mill Yarn (same building, different owner) and got two skeins of somewhat-scratchy wool yarn in about sport weight for super warm sox. This yarn was $2 a skein for something like 250 yds. I got bright green and medium blue. I’m thinking of doing Tiit’s Socks from Folk Knitting in Estonia. I’ve wanted to do those for a long time. For $4 for the pair, they can sit and wait for me to decide. However, I have a feeling that those sox would go fast for me. The two-color stranded pattern would be extremely easy to memorize and I bet I’d get entranced.

After the whirlwind photo tour (which was after the yarn trip, which was after a client meeting) I had to go home and beat the sunset. I had a couple more windows to paint purple, and I realized that the peeling paint on the garage should really not be left that way for the winter. I scraped and primed the garage (I hope I’ll have time to paint over it before winter but if not, it’s still more protected than raw wood under a bubbling bit of paint). Then I painted the front set of 3 windows and the little window I had forgotten about yesterday, on the back of the entry. It looks good.

You know what? I was going to look for autumn colors to photograph in the neighborhood. Then I looked up and down the street, and I realized that our maple tree in front of our house is the most vibrantly colored tree for many blocks. Lucky us! So here is a pic of our tree (the side that is a little more greenish… you saw the orange side of that same tree in yesterday’s photo) and the house with purple windows. If you look carefully you might see the salmon pink trim on the bottom ledge of all those windows.

No knitting yet today. Last night I fussed around with the first legwarmer of what I hope will be a pair, that I knit on the knitting machine. It’s based on a Berrocco pattern but the colors/yarns are very different than what they specified, and my legs are distinctly shorter than the model’s legs so I knit fewer inches. They still are the longest legwarmers I’ve ever had, all the way up the thigh. Very cool.

The striped pattern in six yarns turned out well, but they did not look good when I seamed them the first time (mattress stitch, it should be smooth and beautiful but I think I need to try this with thinner yarn that is not super dark. Maybe I can find some sockyarn in the right size/smoothness and try again. The seam looked great until I stretched the legwarmer. Does anyone know if there is a better seam than mattress stitch for items that take a lot of stretching?

Actually, I’m really tired and I still have one more job to do for a client. See you tomorrow.

Purple Windows

Sunday, October 12th, 2003

Today I spent the whole day outside painting the trim on our windows. I surprised myself a few days ago by choosing purple as the main color, I thought I had decided that purple was the accent color (next to a sort of salmon pink). The purple looks good.

I finished all the windows on the main floor except a grouping of three windows which are on the porch (I counted those three as one window when I counted yesterday). I found an extra window I’d forgotten, on the back of our entryway/mud room on the back of the house. That window was sadly in need of scraping and priming, so I did that.

Brian also carried and positioned the two-story ladder with stabilizer, up to the second story window (which lets sunshine into my printmaking/mailart/polymer clay studio). That window was peeling badly at the base, so I climbed up there and scraped and primed the whole thing (see picture). When I was done with the priming and the purple paint, I used the salmon paint to trim the bottom ledge board of all the purple windows. I think it looks good.

I’m feeling really good about how much I got done. I had been scheduled to go to Detroit to a few art galleries today, but the trip has been postponed until spring. It would have been a glorious day for driving, for sure. Yesterday Tony and I really enjoyed the tree colors on the highway, gold and orange blaze all the way to Chelsea and back. Last year we didn’t get much fall color but this year is making up for it. But as it was, I enjoyed the blaze of my own maple trees in my own front yard, and I put more color into my environment that will last long after the leaves are gone.

I realize I still have a little bit of primer left to do. The back window of the entryway has glossy black trim on the window, to make it look less old fashioned (from when small windows became uncool and large plate glass windows became trendy). I need to do just that small bit of black trim, and I also have a spot on the garage which needs priming and repainting.

I spent so much time (two years in all) totally scraping and priming and re-scraping and priming and painting that garage… I just find it hard to believe that it could ever peel again. I can not believe anyone could have done a better job than I did. I guess that goes to show how much nature is in charge, how little we have control when it comes right down to it.

So I need to do yet more painting if I can eke out any time before the cold comes. It was 77F yesterday when I was painting. Today it only got up to 67 but by the time I got inside it was down to 59 or thereabouts. Downright chilly! I use very good paint which can be applied down to about 50 degrees. I have pushed very close to that temperature limit more years than I care to admit. One year I painted my back door and then dried it with a hair dryer when the temperature cooled down before it had formed a film!

I’m hoping this time I can get the job done before I’m crossing fingers for a warmer than average November day! It would be great to just get this done quickly for once.

At this point if I ever wanted to be anonymous and invisible, it’s too late. I’m finding out I stand out no matter where I go, but until recently my homes have escaped that uniqueness, at least on the outside. In this neighborhood where there are 5 houses in a row painted white, on both sides of the street, the small bit of purple is a dead giveaway that an artist lives here. As Brian says, it looks like “Lynn Lives Here.” Could be worse.

Whee! Fun, Busy Day

Saturday, October 11th, 2003

What a day I had! Tony and I went to the Spinners Flock guild meeting (we decided to skip the warehouse sale so we could have more time at the guild, and he didn’t want anything from the sale… I’ll consider going on Monday). That was great fun. He tried out a different sort of wheel that someone brought. He enjoyed that.

I ran into Carla at the guild. She brought her kids and they were great. It was good to talk to her if only briefly. I had not seen her since the day we took crochet class together, maybe two months ago.

At the guild, we have vendors who sell fiber and related goods such as books. I try to get my books and magazines there if at all possible, to support these lovely folks. I got an INKnitters magazine and the Maggie Righetti book “Crocheting in Plain English.” I love her books, they are so no-nonsense and understandable. I am actually reading “Knitting in Plain English” from cover to cover, I’m a little over half way. She’s wonderful. I figured if I were to get only one book on crochet, this should be it.

We found traffic backups in three places on the way back to Lansing so it took almost 2 hours instead of an hour to get home. Brian reminds me that in many places, this is commonplace. I am not used to so much as a slowdown except going out of downtown Lansing around 5pm. Even so, we don’t have a “rush hour” we have “rush minutes” in this city, and I know I’m spoiled. It stressed me out to be late, that is just so rare that I didn’t expect it at all.

I got to Foster at 3pm and I had kids waiting for me. One girl came and waited an hour to knit, and had just left just before I got there. That saddened me, but I know she did get the news that I was stuck in traffic so at least she knew what happened.

However, once I got there, it was so much fun that I totally lost track of time. My computer lab is open from 2-4pm on a regular Saturday. I figured I just would work one hour today and close at 4 as usual. Then I had three kids finger crocheting, one kid knitting and two kids playing computers. I knit a little on a wristwarmer I’m making to inspire the kids to make their own, then I did a little single crochet on the scarf I started at Borders last Tuesday. By the time I looked at the clock, it was 4:45! We all were having such fun, the time just flew by. How lovely.

I ran home to change clothes and prepare for our Abbott Brothers’ performance at Altus. Then Brian got home and we loaded his car and headed to the concert. It was fun. My mom and Fred came, and then Brian’s parents walked in not long after. We had other friends who came and that made it a very friendly crowd. The place was pretty busy and the audience was wonderful. And after the performance we got to eat a wonderful vegetarian combo plate as a group. Yum!

Oh, we asked Brian’s dad to sit in with us on one number (see picture, left to right: Brian, Me, Dad, Bob). He sang “Just Because” and he played the Heftone Bass I usually play. He invented and built the instrument, and he’s rightfully proud about it. Since I didn’t have an instrument, I sang harmony with him. It was good fun!

Painting the House

Friday, October 10th, 2003

Today I readied myself to paint trim on the house windows, and realized that there was some boring white primer I had to do first. Not only that, but the primer is oil based which is a sticky nasty mess, and it required climbing up to our second story on a ladder.

I had not been able to reach part of the porch overhang with the equipment we had last year. We had a lot of trouble trying to figure out what we could do to make it so I could reach. Then when we were at one of those mega-house-fixing stores, we found a “ladder stabilizer” which basically is a sort of U-shaped thing you clamp to the ladder and it holds you out about a foot from the house, as well as making it harder for the ladder to fall down. It was not all that expensive, but it did the trick. Until then I thought our choices would be to a) hire someone, b) rent a scaffold, c) rent a “cherry picker” automated lift. None of those choices sounded simple or affordable. This solution was just the ticket.

The good news is that I finished the white primer and then I got to paint two windows on the side of the house. I had thought I would paint them salmon pink and then do a little purple trim. I realized that the front porch had a salmon horizontal line because I painted the ledge at the top of the porch wall that color. So what I ended up doing was painting the windows purple (which echoes the rectangular purple doors) and then I painted the bottom ledge under the windows with the salmon paint. Now there are unifying horizontal salmon shapes and unifying rectangles in purple. I may need to do a little more salmon to balance the percentages but I will decide that when this phase is done.

It looks pretty good so far, although the house has ten windows… one I painted last year, two I painted today, and eight more need paint before winter. I am booked solid tomorrow so I guess Sunday will be the day. My plans for Sunday have changed anyway so that will work out OK.

My arm is now tired from being over my head so much today. My hair is full of sticky drips of primer and paint. I need to get cleaned up, and then tonight I get to play! I will either spin some yarn on my lovely Louet wheel or I will perhaps start a project on one of my knitting machines.

Oh, and my beloved Brian took me out to dinner tonight after all that work. I tell you, I married the right guy. No cooking for me after all that painting today!

Tomorrow Tony and I go to Spinners Flock, and then I have a lab at Foster Center. I get out of Foster at 4 and then we perform at Altus at 6:30. Whew! It will be busy but fun.

And that warehouse sale I mentioned somewhere last week… I thought it was last week but it’s Saturday (tomorrow) and Monday this week, I think 9:30am to 2pm according to my notes. It’s at Davidson’s, the warehouse next door to Old Mill Yarns in Eaton Rapids. Huge bins of coned yarns sold by the pound. I went last year and there was little to make a wool fanatic who mostly knits socks, happy. As I recall it was mostly cottons and tiny, tiny, weaving yarns. If Tony wants to go tomorrow, I’ll check to see if there are any yarns for dyeing or machine knitting. And if I’m lucky I’ll find a display unit or two, as I did last year. Since I am planning to do more shows, that may be a worthy purchase.

The phone for Old Mill Yarns is 517/663-2711, I don’t have an address but it is just south of downtown Eaton Rapids on 99, turn left at the Little Caesar’s pizza as you leave downtown (just past Burger King on left) and the store is at the end of the first block on the left side, an old red brick warehouse. Warehouse on left, store on right.

Off to play with yarn.

A Day at Foster Center

Thursday, October 9th, 2003

I spent most of my day at Foster Center today. My computer classes are going great, after three long terms of slowing down almost to a standstill. I love teaching, I’m very good at it, and it was sad to not teach much this last year. I’m thrilled to be back at what I do well, for people who really appreciate it.

Mostly I have retired smart women, who haven’t ever been trained to use a computer… how to turn it on and off, how to click a mouse, how to save a document. They are usually quick studies and soooo appreciative! My students often bring me gifts in appreciation. it’s lovely to do what I do. I also offer advanced topics, but the ones which fill up time after time are the “I don’t want to be scared of computers” classes. And anyone signing up for a class like that, is going to be a very interesting person. I love my students!

After computer class was knitting/computer lab. This brought me about 8 kids, mostly knitters. Yesterday I had ten. It’s great. One girl just started last week and fell in love with knitting right away. She took home her wristband to finish and today came in with really too much knitting for it to fit well, but I could tell she just had not wanted to stop!

I asked her what she wanted to make next. We went through the usual suspects, which are beanie blankets, small purses, more wristbands. Thought of a scarf but that sounded like a lot of knitting to her. Finally we got out the Melanie Falick Kids Knitting book and she just had to make a backpack.

I had a whole bin of Lopi-type yarn that is bulky and perfect for backpacks. She chose four colors and dove right in. I taught her to cast on and that went well. She had already knit about two of the four and a half inches she needs to complete before she sees me again. Her mom said they would come in on Saturday when I have computer lab, so she can keep on going. With a kid that enthusiastic, and a mom that encouraging, this child will make a backpack easily, second project or no!

Another girl, the one who has already made several backpacks, is working on a mohair hat. She had to learn how to purl which she did easily. She had to learn to use stitch markers to remind her when to increase. She had to learn to use double pointed needles (we are working top down so she doesn’t need to do a gauge swatch before starting the project). She is doing wonderfully. And the mohair, donated by one of you out there (bless you), is a gorgeous pastel rainbow of fluff. She is loving every minute of it, even though she has to really watch her stitches more than she ever has before.

Oh, and it was so cute. The three-backpack/hat girl is the oldest of at least four girls in a family. The dad drives them in from a nearby town to knit with me. Well, the four year old has been finger crocheting with us for the last few weeks. And now the one younger than her wanted to come and sit with us. She just sort of doodled with some yarn while the 4 yr old made her a finger-crocheted bracelet to tie around her wrist. It was just adorable. Dad was in the room the whole time, so I didn’t have to really watch the little ones, but they were very well behaved and loved being there.

I love days like this.

Tomorrow I paint the window trim on my house. I painted the primer last year around this time of year and then it got too cold. (Brian took this picture of me behind our house yesterday morning. Notice the side windows are still white, though the door and back window are colorful. Someday I’ll paint the back steps purple, too… but that will be a big job and I am not looking forward to it.)

This year I was going to start earlier and then I was sick. The weather is good this week and is not supposed to last. So tomorrow is big push day! I need to go to sleep. Daytime will be precious to me tomorrow.

Puppies!

Wednesday, October 8th, 2003

I was occupied with work, both computer and knitting today. I had 10 kids knitting at Foster Center, and 3 were boys. That was great fun.

I guess I have little to say today so I’ll offer this picture. A friend just got two Sheltie puppies and I took a few pics of them earlier this week. How cute is this? They are just adorable… untamed as yet, but adorable. I love their energy. What is it about fuzzy beings with big eyes, anyway? I’m entranced.

Borders Away

Tuesday, October 7th, 2003

Tonight Tony and I went to Borders in Ann Arbor for the knit-in. It was fun-fun-fun, as usual. I love that group. My friends Mary and Fran and Riin from Spinners flock were there. (Fran and Mary just won awards for skeins of yarn they spun at a recent show… how cool is that?)

Tony talked to Heather for a long time and I met a new woman, Renee, who has only lived in Michigan for a few weeks. She has lived all over the world and is a musician. I really enjoyed our talk.

I hadn’t been there in a while, so I had a lot of things for show and tell. We sort of laughed about that… the two weeks I was sick, I really finished a lot of items. Since I hadn’t been there in two months, I could have probably taken up an hour with show and tell myself… I had to keep it as short as I could. I brought my cabled sweat socks, my Fast Florida Footies, my Turkish-style Seaside socks, two stoles, my September-to-September sweater, two pair of wristwarmers, the machine knit French beret and some of my handpainted yarns/fibers. What is nice is that everyone is genuinely appreciative. I don’t feel as though I shouldn’t have shown it all, people are interested in everything. What a nice group it is.

Some folks there gave me more yarn for my kids at Foster Center. Since I forgot my current socknitting project and had no knitting with me, I started crocheting a scarf from a more fluffy yarn that might be hard for the kids to manipulate. I’ll make that a project I can do in the classroom during quiet times and then it will either go with our donations to the homeless or I’ll make it some sort of prize for one of my knitting kids. I’ll have a bit of time to decide what it will be, as I am working on it. I’m doing it in a single crochet since I like that stitch and so it will take a bit longer to do than if I did double crochet. The yarn is very tweedy and looks absolutely gorgeous in single crochet. Yippee for that!

I spent all last night rearranging my yarn stash. It was kept in about 9 clear Rubbermaid boxes (two full of spinning fiber and handspun yarns, one with yarns destined to be sweaters, one full of fingering weight socknitting yarns, one with fatter yarns for socks, hats or legwarmers, and one only half full with decorative yarns and alpaca… and the rest held unfinished projects or leftover yarns from all sorts of projects I’ve completed).

We got new storage units (sort of for our anniversary) which hold about 3 of the plastic boxes’ contents per unit, and so I sorted and sifted and threw away a little tiny bit, and emptied six boxes. The new units function as window seats as well as yarn storage so this makes our living room look much less messy. If the living room is where yarn must go, it might as well not look like the garage or junk room, I figure. I’m so very bad at being “Suzy Homemaker.” (Suzy Homemaker was a brand name on a line of toys for girls to practice ironing, cleaning house and the like, when I was a girl in the USA in the 1960’s… I never got properly trained/indoctrinated at a young age and I’ve not adjusted well since, either.)

I’m sort of between big knitting projects. I do have some sox in process about 3/4 done for Brian, the yarn from Threadbear in green, orange and navy. In addition, I want to do another machine-knit hat. I want to do some machine-knit legwarmers.

And I’m sorely tempted to try knitting the cover sweater-dress from Sally Melville’s new The Purl Stitch book, out of some mohair yarn I have in storage intended for sweaters. I have two different mohairs, one lightweight and one heavyweight, both fuzzy brushed yarns. One or the other is sure to work up OK in a gauge that works for that dress.

However, that dress idea probably will need to wait until after the holidays. I’m now in “oh no, I’m selling at art shows this season” mode. I committed to doing a show called “Art for the Soul” which is the weekend after Thanksgiving. I need to crank out some merchandise between now and then. I have some handpainted yarns/fibers but little else. We’ll see what I come up with in the meantime.

Our Anniversary

Sunday, October 5th, 2003

Seven years ago, Brian and I were married. It seems like yesterday, yet it seems as though we’ve been married a lot longer at times, too.

I was unhappy for many years, for many reasons which do not need to be spelled out here. However, I am happy now, and a big reason is because I have Brian… who totally believes in me.

What else can I say? I’m grateful.

A Very Good Day

Saturday, October 4th, 2003

Great day starts at Foster Center
What a great day I’ve had. I got up early to go to work at Foster Center. I had expected three students but when I got there I had five. How wonderful that was. The students were just perfect for what I teach. I enjoyed them, and they appreciated what I was teaching. (This is a class for computer novices to learn what Windows is, how to interact with it starting with how to click, drag and double-click, and ending with how to work with menus and a brief overview of what a program such as Paint looks like.) I am very good at this sort of basic class (my students are typically smart retired women who never had a chance to learn computer skills on the job, they drink in the information eagerly) and I just haven’t had many students in the last year. This week I had eight on Thursday and five today. I was thrilled.

Knitting Kidz
After the class was out I had a little lunch hour and then my computer lab was open to the public. It was me and two lovely neighborhood kids I have worked with for several years now. They are sisters who like both computers and knitting. They started by playing a computer game and then they asked to knit. In the end I taught them how to make tassels. The younger one made nine large tassels before she was done. The older one made a few tassels and a few small pompoms.

These elementary-aged girls have a brand new baby sister in the last few months. Well, as I was working with the girls I was putting away some new donated items. I found one bag which looks like it was donated through Yarn for Ewe. It was maybe 30 by 16 inches of a wavy pattern, mostly garter stitch, which looked like it was the beginning of a baby blanket. The donor had put the remaining yarn in a bag, pulled out the needles and put the blanket in the bag with the yarn. I put the live stitches back on a circular needle, and bound off the piece while the girls were there. It was a good size for a sort of “binky” blanket that a kid might drag around for comfort. I gave the piece to the girls to take home to their brand new baby sister. They were pretty pleased.

I often give out prizes to knitting kids, so this was sort of in line with the prize idea. It made us all feel good and now I know that the knitting that donor did was not wasted. The leftover yarn will be used by another child for another project soon, as well.

Tapestry Crochet Discovery
After work I went to JoAnn fabric briefly, trying to connect with my supervisor in the education department but I was too late. However, I found a magazine I might not have noticed six months ago. It’s called “Crochet Fantasy presents Fashion Accessories.” Well, it’s a lot of things in lacy patterns (shawls and stoles for example) and a few hats, belts and handbags. But the prize, and the reason I got it, is almost the last project in the magazine (number 18 of 20). It’s called “Gone to the Dogs Purse” and it’s done in tapestry crochet.

Tapestry Crochet! Now I have a name for the wonderful technique I’ve tried to explain to other people for a long time. This is how the cotton multicolored berets I wear all summer are made! The author of the article is Carol (Norton) Ventura, PhD and I guess she has put out two books on Tapestry Crochet by Interweave Press over the years. She learned about this type of crochet in Guatemala in the Peace Corps in 1976. I’m so glad she has taken the time to share information with us.

She has a little tapestry crochet necklace pouch pattern on the internet (picture above), for those who want to give this technique a try with only two colors and not a lot of time investment. I don’t really need more things to do on my “pending projects” list, but I bet I don’t put this off very long.

A Dinner Adventure with Brian
When I got home I curled up on the floor (we have a large old-fashioned heat vent on the floor where I sit all winter, like a cat might) and started reading the article by Dr. Ventura. I didn’t read long before Brian got home from work himself. He brought me a bouquet of hot pink carnations, my favorite. How sweet he is. He brings me carnations occasionally but went out of his way to do it this time, since it’s our anniversary tomorrow. They are just beautiful.

We decided to hurry ourselves over to Altu’s restaurant because it was 7:45 and Temesgen Hussein, the Ethiopian musician, was playing but only until 8:30. I’m so glad we went.

The place was packed. Every table was full and there was that wonderful sound of people talking to one another and really enjoying the company of friends. I just love that sound! The food was good, the music was good, the atmosphere was great. We ate every single bit of food on our plate. We got the family style meal, mild chicken with an onion-based sauce and garlic lentils (the Saturday special, a wonderful dish). It comes with salad and her wonderful cabbage as well. I’m still full and it’s two hours later! Yum.

Now we’re home and Brian is learning a new tune on his banjo so I have live music in the house. That is a luxury I know most people don’t get. I’m planning to go back down to the dyeing studio and rinse out some wool roving I started earlier. Then I may just sink myself into the floor on the heat vent again with my Tapestry Crochet article, or I may start planning the next project. I have had a few projects in the wings and maybe tonight is when another one gets a chance at making it to reality. We’ll see.