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Archive for February, 2004

My Pattern is Official

Sunday, February 15th, 2004

It’s Official: the preview of Dawn Brocco’s Heels and Toes Gazette is up. The pattern several of you have been asking for is going to be published in her March/spring issue. It is the pattern for my Turkish-style sock knit in my ColorJoy yarn. I’m busy preparing for a dye day to create more of this yarn, in anticipation for those who will want to knit the sock in the original colorway or perhaps a different colorway of the same yarn.

Here is a picture of the sock flat. The preview page shows it on a foot mannequin so you can see it in a different shape.

An interesting point: The yarn I have been selling as Cushy ColorSport was sold to me as a sport weight yarn by the manufacturer. However, Dawn is really good at finding inconsistent classifications of yarn. This yarn, when measured by wraps per inch, yards per pound and gauge when knit into a satisfying sock fabric, is clearly coming out as a DK weight. Wowie. So ColorSport is not really sport at all. That is a mess for me, but I’ll figure something out. ColorDK just doesn’t have a ring to it at all!!! In any case, it makes a wonderful cushy sock, without having to knit as many stitches as a fingering yarn would require. And a small size takes only one skein… a medium would come out of one skein with a slightly shorter cuff. Not bad for a thicker yarn, I’d say.

If you don’t subscribe to the Heels and Toes Gazette yet you love to knit socks, do consider a subscription. Dawn is a very observant and detail-oriented designer and editor, and she is a delight to work with. She did an issue several years ago which detailed some peasant/afterthought heels in her signature star-toe/heel. I knit socks from that pattern about a year ago, which turned out beautifully.

This current issue also has a sock designed by Bonnie Franz who publishes another small sock publication called Stranded (focused on stranded colorwork/fairisle knitting). Her pattern here is one-color lace, rather than a colorwork design. Do check it out.

A Busy Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Saturday was busy! I got up early (for me) and Tony and I went to the Spinners Flock sale in Chelsea, Michigan. I got four sets of Brittany Birch double-pointed needles (including two size 0 and one size 1, which are being discontinued because they break easily). I also got a beautiful ball of fiber from Moonstruck (Rose Perkins). It is hot yellow-green, aqua, a little blue-turquoise and fuschia. More yellow and fuschia, actually. It’s Romney wool and kid mohair, perfect for socks. Very springy and wonderful!

I can not really imagine what this will look like spun up, and there were no samples to view, so I’m going on faith that I love the colors so much I’ll actually finish the spinning (color entices me to return to the wheel when duty cannot). I have found that I do not enjoy spinning thin at all. Since I love knitting socks, this is an issue. I am going to try this time, spinning a single ply that is about a DK weight yarn, and I’ll knit it up from one strand. They warn that single ply yarns sometimes “bias” or twist in knitting. Therefore, I’ll knit a toe that is a six-part star heel so that it does not have a specific up and down side to it.

I saw four folks I’d met the night before at Heritage Spinning. Pat and Debbie (she wasn’t in my class but was at the shop) were there when I first walked in. Later I saw Suzanne and Elaine. It was great to see them again.

After Spinners Flock I ran to the Otherwise Gallery in Old Town for “Burning Desires,” their annual fundraiser of erotic poetry. Incredible talent, incredible readers, poets, the whole thing. I just love this event. It seems I never get to stay for the whole thing but I adore it.

My friend Ruelaine Stokes was one of the poets (I’ve shown you her photography here before). She is the best. She can read poetry so vibrantly that you can see pictures in your mind for every phrase. You are totally in her world when she speaks. I got there just in time for her last poem. That was a disappointment, but the poem I did hear was wonderful, about the magic of being with someone in a restaurant, how the outside world can go away when we connect together over shared food. I can’t describe it well, it was her poem, but I loved her description of the warmth at the table in spite of the cold of the outdoors.

I went home after that and took a nap for over an hour. Brian came home and we changed and went to Altu’s for our Valentines Day performance. It was great fun, we had a great crowd. It was just about perfect, nobody had to wait for a table but almost all the tables were full almost the whole time. It was wonderful. We had several tables come just because we were there.

Then I went home and crashed. Fell asleep less than an hour after we got home, and slept about 10.5 hours. I neeeeded that!!! Sigh… total luxury.

Fun at Heritage Spinning

Friday, February 13th, 2004

Tonight I taught Peasant Heels for Self-Patterning Yarns at Heritage Spinning and Weaving in Lake Orion (somewhat near the Palace of Auburn Hills and the Pontiac Silverdome). We had so much fun! I had five class participants, who all knew one another. Two women were knitting with two circular needles, the rest of us were using double pointed needles. At least one person was working toe up but most of us were working top down. We had veteran socknitter, casual socknitters, and one woman who had not done much socknitting yet. We had all sorts of yarns and several sizes of needles. And we tried a technique that was new to all of them. It went well.

I had never been to this shop. I had met Joan Sheridan Hoover at Allegan and again at Mount Bruce, but never in Lake Orion (it is an hour and a half drive, just a little further than I like to drive for entertainment). I was really there to work, but I did buy two balls of Heirloom Easy Care DK cabled yarn. I just coule not resist the nicely vibrant turquoise which has more green in it than most turquoises these days (often turquoise is nearly blue).

I have made socks from this yarn before, in a muted purple. I did not like knitting it because I was working on too-small needles, but once I finished the sox they are really comfortable and they machine wash really well. Right now I have many types of beautiful yarns I could use for sox, but I’m focusing on knitting sox for me out of washable yarn. I’m almost done with my current sox, the toes are ready and I just have to finish the peasant heels. So I think the nice fat DK yarn will be a great next project.

But back to the class: several of us are on the new email list for Michigan Knitters so they recognized my name from that. And one student, Joy, was delighted when she realized that the To Bee or Not To Bee Sox pattern she had just found on the internet, was actually my design. That was fun.

Another woman said that she had seen the article that was written about me by Carla Kucinski in the NOISE had also been printed in the Detroit News (another Gannett paper) and she had read it there. How fun!

Here is a picture of me with my students from tonight. Back row: Me (LynnH), Lauren, Suzanne, Elaine. Front row: Joy, Pat.

I guess I will be seeing several of these ladies at the Spinners Flock sale tomorrow in Chelsea (I think it is at Beach School). Tony and I are going bright and early to the sale, and then I’m meeting Ulyana at the Otherwise Gallery at noon for Burning Desires, an annual fundraiser of poetry which I would not miss for the world. I guess I may actually get a little bit of a rest between the poetry reading and our performance at Altu’s. The idea of a nap sounds great, I sure am not getting enough sleep last night or tonight… but there is a knit-in at Yarn for Ewe Saturday and I seem to always miss it. Maybe if I feel perky, I’ll go over there and say hello instead.

In the News Again & Peasant Heel Class

Thursday, February 12th, 2004

Well, what do you know! A nice, big photo of The Fabulous Heftones made it into the centerfold of Lansing State Journal’s What’s On section today! Woohoo! We are playing at Altu’s for Valentine’s Day, this Saturday, from 6:30 to 8:30. I’m very excited about this gig. For one thing, we just love playing at Altu’s. For another, we just love playing music together, what a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day! And playing our retro romantic music under those circumstances, it just can not get any better than that.

Please consider joining us. The restaurant is at 1312 Michigan Avenue, between Harrison Road and Frandor/US27. She is right across from the Honda dealership, right next to The Dollar (a large dance bar, you can’t miss it). This is at the very border between Lansing and East Lansing.

I sure hope to see you folks there. Let me know if you read it here!

New Class
In other news, I have at least 6 students for my class Friday night at Heritage Spinning and Weaving in Lake Orion (north of Pontiac, which is approximately north of Detroit and south of Flint). I am teaching Peasant (afterthought) Heels for self-striping yarns. It is just a one-evening workshop, from 7pm to 10pm, and they will be bringing a sock ready to start the heel (either toe up or top down). I just love these heels, I’m in the process of making a pair for myself (not self-striping yarns, but the same structure) right now.

These heels are great for knitting on the road. I figure out where I want the heel to start, I mark where it goes, and I keep knitting in a tube. Then when I’m ready, I can knit the heels and the toes at home. I don’t have to stop knitting until I can get a quiet place to turn a heel. I also just plain like how they fit. They look odd off the foot (they fold forward rather than sideways), but they feel good on the foot, in my opinion. The orange/green pair are among Brian’s favorites to wear.

Here are three somewhat different sox I’ve done in this technique. The top pair is in Meilenweit striping yarn, with stripes for the heel/toe. The second is in a bulky alpaca (slipper/bed socks) and I do not have the ball bands so I have no idea what yarn it was. The last pair is Regia striping yarn with solid Special Blauband for the heel/toe. I’ve also done a toe-up pseudo-Turkish pair with this heel, in striping yarns, and I’m finishing a pair in a sort of mottled yarn with the heels not contrasting at all, which should be done in the next week if all goes well.

More Access Busy-ness

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Well, today I spent most of my time working as a volunteer for Habibi Dancers. Our spring concert is April 17 and we did our big mailing of the year today. I had all sorts of mail that had come back last time we did the big mailing, dozens (felt like hundreds) of address changes and people to delete for lack of a current address. I spent hours doing data entry in Microsoft Access, then I printed the labels and the mailing went smoothly. In the end it is worth it, but it’s so much work while I’m doing it I always doubt myself.

Anyway, I did also have several knitters at Foster today for a few hours and that was lovely. Joy (one of my knitting students from JoAnn) came to help out with the kids again. They ask after her when she stays away so I was happy to see her.

The kids have been into making dolls from yarn lately. It’s basically a fancy tassel. What is great about this, is that they can finish a project in an hour. They love that part. They did a great job today.

The pictures are actually from last week. The little girl at top started with 5 stitches and ended up increasing so much that she made a triangle. She was so thrilled to bind off and finish a project, she didn’t think about it being an odd shape. The second picture was last Saturday (officially a computer day, not knitting, but they dove right in to the yarns with confidence). The top left girl was a visitor. She made four or five dolls all hanging from her fingers there. The second was wearing her doll as a hat. The girl seated in front made me a doll, gluing on buttons for eyes and mouth, sort of like a snowman. And the girl on right, is showing off her baby socks on double pointed needles. She is 9 years old, 4th grade. I told her that many grownups think that double pointed needles are hard, and she just beams. She’s doing very well with them.

Off to sleep. I keep not doing that part of a healthy life. Sleep. It’s great stuff, sleep is! I need to remember that when I feel like working longer on this or that and it is past midnight. See you tomorrow!

My Day Off

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004

Well, today I had a day off. Sigh…. loved every minute. Wish it could have lasted much longer, but it was just fine as it was.

I slept in until 10am. Then I made pumpkin-orange pancakes for Brian and I, topped with applesauce and cinnamon. They were pretty tasty but not as fluffy as they would have been without the pumpkin. I just was craving pumpkin as I do sometimes on cold days. Yum.

I did a little cleaning up and some laundry. Pretty funny… we do a light/white load, a dark/black load and then the rest divides into a turquoise load and a fuschia/purple load. It’s pretty clear who lives here, I guess! Well, I had not done laundry in so long that I had three fuschia/purple loads to wash today. And I got distracted a bit so the second one is in the washer right now.

Well, after I did a little cleaning I went and hung out with Altu at her restaurant for a couple of hours during the slow time between lunch and dinner. We just don’t get that sort of time together much anymore. It was a luxury I enjoyed. I had hoped she could come back to my house but we both had things to do before the workday ended so we just sat and talked at the restaurant. I loved being with her.

I ran a few more errands, including popping in to JoAnn to see about the schedule. They do the schedule on an Excel spreadsheet… well, I’ve taught Excel since Windows 3.1 (spreadsheets since Lotus 123 for DOS)… and I was able to answer a few questions right then and there, which were really helpful to the person doing the schedule. That made me feel good.

More errands, then I ran home. Found that I was falling asleep at my keyboard at 6:15pm so I took an hour nap, what a luxury that was! Then Brian came home and I made a nice little bow-tie pasta dinner with black olives and italian-baked tofu and roasted red peppers. It was pretty darned good, for how fast I put it together.

Then I was all ready to finally machine-knit my wool/cotton longjohns. And I tell you, I can not find the pattern I wrote for anything. I have gone through pile after pile of books, magazines, papers on my desk. I actually did some filing of financial papers thinking I might find the pattern. I know I had it a few weekends ago when I thought that Tony was going to come over. Now I don’t know where that one piece of paper has gone. I’m so bummed!

So instead I am doing more housekeeping, more email, more filing of papers (this is really good because I need to get taxes together very soon). I need to go look in a box I haven’t checked, now that I remember that box. But why would it not be with my knitting machine? I am so confused!

I was glad I did not have to drive far this morning. It snowed pretty steadily from the time I woke up to about 2:00pm. It was pretty, light, fluffy snow, the kind they show in movies. Just the same it does make the roads slick.

I am ready for winter to be over. I’m glad my brother and I are going down to visit my mother in Florida on the 23rd of February. I just need to hang on for two more weeks. Meanwhile, here is a picture of my flowers (and flamingos given to me by my mother’s friend, Fai), that I took this last July. Remember, gardening is art, food is art, knitting can be art. Life is definitely art… I hope you had an artful day, too.

Shopping for Entertainment

Monday, February 9th, 2004

Well, I worked for an Access database client today and got out just after noon. I did not have any other appointments, so I took myself to lunch at Mid East Cafe on the west side. They had a special called Foul Moudammas (actually that is just the name for Fava Beans) which was a fava bean dip. I tried that and a small bowl of lentil soup. Notice that I got so excited to eat the dip, that I didn’t remember to take a picture until after I had already dug into it.

My goodness, did I get full! The soup had green lentils rather than the orange lentils used at Aladdins for their lentil soup. The green lentils are a bit more filling, and the soup was quite tasty. But the dip… that was even better than I thought. It reminded me of the restaurant in Grand Rapids where I’ve ordered Fava bean dip. I like the one in G.R. better by a little bit, but it was such a treat and I really enjoyed my meal!

After that I went briefly to JoAnn Fabrics on the west side and then to the pretty large Salvation Army store behind the Lansing Mall. Wowie! I found some great deals. I found a gorgeous dark teal blue doubleknit wool A-line jumper from Lord and Taylor, for $2.99. Then I found a matching merino wool turtleneck in teal and black stripes, also from Lord and Taylor, for another $2.99. These garments are made so well I’m just thrilled to have them, and they will fill a spot in my closet that was not filled. I occasionally need a dress in winter, and I only seem to wear skirts in the summertime. In the winter I tend to dress in leggings and long sweaters so I don’t have much else. This was just great!

I also found a Lizwear (by Liz Claiborne) sweater in hot turquoise blue with all sorts of other bright colors and flecks of color, marked at $1.99 but the sweaters were half off. So it was $1. The sweater is 80% acrylic and 20% wool, not as much wool as I prefer, but it is a thick and substantial sweater that fits me very well. I think I’ll wear it a good deal. I’m going to handwash it and rinse it with hair conditioner, to give it a nicer feel. Acrylic feels so dry when it has been dry cleaned! I’m actually wearing this sweater right now. For some reason, things made by the Liz Claiborne companies just fit me really well, in addition to being brighter colors than a lot of other clothing. My fave sweater and my wedding dress are both by Liz.

I got a few tops and a pair of pants for my work at JoAnn fabrics, as well, and two charcoal gray garments (one also from Lord and Taylor) out of drapey wool jersey (jersey is that type of knit used for t-shirts, where one side is stockinette and one side is reverse stockinette, in a very thin knit.). I love wool jersey more than any other fabric, but it is pricey no doubt because it would be difficult to manufacture such fine wool knit.

The long jacket has two small moth holes in the back and I am going to give it my best to repair those holes. If I fail, I will wash it in the machine (with the large wool jersey dress that doesn’t fit well but was a lot of wonderful fabric for $2.99) to shrink it up/full it and hopefully make a good knitting bag to replace the nylon bag I have been using for years. And anything else that sounds cool to do with it once I see how it turns out. I’ve shrunk wool Jersey before, and it is still thin enough to not be too stiff. Love it. I think I will like a bag made from it, we’ll see.

The second picture is a pair of sox I had forgotten I had even knit. They were not listed on my knitting log at all, but the photo was taken on August 5, 2003. The yarn is Regia Stretch which I got at Yarn for Ewe in Okemos. Brian says they fit well but are a little warmer than the other sox I’ve knit him, no doubt because the yarn has more nylon and less wool than regular Regia. I think the colors pooled in a pleasing manner that is not too distracting. I was not thrilled with the colors, but adding the green accents made it more interesting.

Tired LynnH!

Sunday, February 8th, 2004

Wow, I’m just plain tired these days. I have the high-class problem of balancing several income sources and so I have not had a day off since January 26. That is two weeks. I’ve had parts of days, and enjoyed them a lot. But I realize that most people who are not self-employed, get two days off a week. Most of them get two in a row. No wonder I’m tired!

I have an important deadline for a Microsoft Access database client Monday morning. I may have nothing else where I have to meet anybody, for the rest of the day. I’m behind on paperwork and I need to dig out a few answers for another database client, so I may do those things in the afternoon. However, just being at home working is a nice rest from all the running around I’ve been doing lately.

Sunday I worked 10-4 at JoAnn, then ran to Aladdin’s for lunch and a meeting with Sharon P, who is working with me on a presentation for the next Mid Michigan Knitting Guild meeting. We will be talking a little about software one can use for knitting. We are not experts on most of the softwares (I use Sole Solutions for socknitting when I do an unusual sock, usually for someone other than myself, but that’s all I have used). However, we are going to present information we can glean so that others don’t have to do the research from scratch.

After that I ran to Working Women Artists where I did a presentation on Polymer Clay. It was a small meeting but we had a really fun time. I just love polymer clay… when I’m at home I prefer to knit, but the idea of polymer is still exciting to me. It was fun to share my enthusiasm.

Then I ran home to deal with questions from a publisher on a pattern that is in the works to be published in the not-so-distant future. I’ve been getting several emails a day with questions in the last week. I get home and instead of resting, I deal with the questions. One can not afford to make a publisher wait.

You know, I like making up pretty socks on my needles. I like making things up, I feel as though it is art, I do it as a natural expression of my inner self, my artfulness. I don’t like taking notes, measuring, doing the numbers. I am OK at numbers, and I have a computer spreadsheet to help me chart out several sizes in each design. But hey, I turned into a published designer by accident. I would knit pretty sox and put pics on the internet, and then people would write to me asking for the pattern. So I started making patterns.

But I think I have only a few patterns where I actually wrote down the notes as I made the sock, planning to write a pattern. Most of my patterns I gleefully made for fun and then went back and documented after the fact. I’m getting better taking notes these days, knowing this is inevitable. I still like that part the least. I just like working with yarn and enjoying the wool flowing through my fingers. You know?

Picture is of the sock which was knit for a young friend, Eva. This sock caused such a stir on my LynnH SockTour with people asking for patterns, that I was inspired to create the “Eva’s Sox” pattern, my first for the public.

Fun at Aladdin’s

Saturday, February 7th, 2004

I got to dance as Eudora Friday at Aladdin’s. It was great fun as always. There were three tables in all, of dance friends, between the two shows. Also, at the first show, Rod and Linda, a couple who often come to our music gigs at Altu’s, came to see the show as well. And Lili, of the purple ColorJoy stole from my pilot class, came with her sweetie Mike. Brian was there, of course, and a number of folks I didn’t know but who were significantly enthusiastic.

Many pictures were taken, several were pretty good. But this fuzzy photo was the best moment of all, when my dance friend Nyla helped her almost-two-year-old daughter put a tip in my belt. This baby was born at 3 lb 1 oz, just a tiny tiny thing. She is the only child I have ever knit for, except for charity socks. I knit her a peach and mint green lace baby dress, out of Dale of Norway Baby Ull, when she was first born. It was too big at first, but she did get to wear it. I didn’t get a good photo of it and neither did they, but it was beautiful and the only lace project I’ve ever knit.

I’ve also knit this child two fruit hats… one raspberry and one eggplant. She wore the first until it was too small, and I was thrilled to see that she was growing and thriving, so I volunteered to do another. She wears the hats often, I see her wearing them and it warms my heart. I know my friend really does appreciate my handwork (she does some crochet).

Isn’t this baby adorable? She’s on my list of favorite children, a sweet but also strong child, whose parents really appreciate her. I figured this picture was just too sweet to pass by, even though it did not focus well.

I’m Dancing at New Aladdin’s Tonight

Friday, February 6th, 2004

Tonight, Friday the 6th of February, I am dancing as Eudora at New Aladdin’s restaurant in Frandor (across from MotoPhoto). I’m dancing with Taahira. I always have just the most wonderful time there! I’m really looking forward to it (and the meal I will get after I’m done dancing…yum).

The shows are at 6:30 and 8:00. Shows last about a half an hour, we take turns dancing and there are six dances total per set. If you are in the area, I would just love to have you come out and see us. Dancing to friends is so much fun. Dancing to folks I don’t know can be either wonderful or a bit blah. Dancing to empty tables is discouraging, although that rarely happens.

Please consider coming out. I’ll look forward to seeing you. (Picture of Taahira and Eudora dancing at Renaissance Festival this last August.)

The Sultry Sharon P

Friday, February 6th, 2004

Sharon P. finished her ColorJoy stole. What a fabulous picture this is of her wearing it! Great job, Sharon!

You know, she likes many of the same colors I like. I just adore her version. I can’t wait to see it in person.

My stole has not had one stitch knit on it in about a week. I have too many things going and that one doesn’t have a deadline of “right now.” We are all meeting, hopefully on February 22, to show off our stoles. I guess I’ll have a deadline soon enough!

Ukulele Mailart Call

Thursday, February 5th, 2004

Geoff Davis, the organizer of Midwest Ukefest, writes:

I put out a mailart call in conjuction with UkeFest. I thought you’d be interested since your website is all that comes up when I search “ukulele mailart”.

Well, that made my day! How cool. I like being the only one. Apparently some of my monthly weblog archives have both the words Ukulele and Mailart in them (I have not yet done any Ukulele-focused mailart but now I must try). That tickles my funny bone! How delightful.

Actually, I don’t do much mailart lately. I used to mail all sorts of fun things through the US Postal Service… plastic fish, plastic lawn flamingos (without legs), styrofoam wig heads (see photo), plastic and foam balls, a plastic bleach bottle (rinsed clean), as well as more normal shapes like postcards. Often I would embellish these items with rubberstamps (either purchased or made by me by carving erasers) or stickers, or markers. It was great fun. I love hearing the stories people tell of receiving a wig head out of the blue, coming home and finding it on their porch waiting for them… or in a bin of otherwise ordinary mail at a business warehouse dock.

If you would like to read about one person’s explanation of Mailart (everyone who participates seems to have a different definition) visit this page at Tabloid Trash. The ongoing theme of Mailart, though, no matter where you read it, is the equality of a mailbox as a place for artwork. Nobody judges your work, decides if it is good enough to be included, nobody puts a price tag on the work. You send it with no strings attached and “the mailbox is a museum.” Any expression is acceptable and welcomed in this environment. I find it very freeing.

Geoff’s Mailart call says 8-1/2 x 10 inch size (letter paper) for flat pieces and 8x8x8 for 3-D pieces. Now I have to think about what to do here. 8x8x8 is smaller than most of the 3-D items I’ve sent, but I think I can make it work. At least I have a little time.

How I Felt/Full by Hand

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004

I wrote a note to the Knitlist today about knitting items and then shrinking/fulling (sometimes called felting) them, by hand rather than in a washing machine. I got some good feedback on that post, so I am going to repost it here. Apologies to those who already read it on the Knitlist.

I almost always full my knitted items by hand. My first experience with
wool (at least in the last decade or so) was felting loose wool fibers into
felt. (See my project, The Fabric of Friendship, where I felted large wall
pieces with friends as a performance art piece in summer 2001:
http://purpletree.com/friendship .)

Therefore, when I started knitting items and shrinking them (fulling is the
technical term… felting is when it’s loose fiber, but I digress), I
gravitated toward doing this by hand as well. I get more control this way,
and it satisfies my need to touch fibers whenever possible.

I really tried to let the washer shrink my items for me! But after just a
short while I couldn’t stand to not be watching the progress. I guess I am
a control freak and I want my hands on my work, I don’t want to trust a
mere machine to do it right! I guess I saved a little time by starting the
projects in the machine, but most of the work I did by hand.

How to do it? You need merely add agitation and a pH change (detergent or
soap) to shrink animal fiber. You do not need to have hot water as is
commonly believed. You can shrink wool in lukewarm water, although shocking
the wool with hot, then cold, then hot, is particularly effective toward
the end of the project. It really firms up the fibers quickly.

So make yourself some sudsy water and put the item in the water. Do all the
things they say not to do, when you try to wash a good sweater that could
shrink. You want to rub, and scrub, and wring. Make sure to do this in
different directions… turn and rub, turn another quarter turn and scrub
again. If you keep it folded a certain way during the whole process, you
will get ridges that are permanent (this can happen in a machine, as well).

Toward the end, if you have a place safe from splashes, THROW the piece or
whack it good on the side of the sink/tub. Throwing shocks the fibers into
moving and grabbing on to each other, thus really quickly shrinking the
piece. This is the most effective method I know for hurrying up the
process, but it seems to work after the piece has already started to firm
up a bit.

At first it feels like nothing is happeniing. Put on some good dance music
to keep you motivated during this process. I have a wonderful little
washboard my mother gave me, that she used in the 1950’s to wash her white
socks at college. However, you can use any ridged surface including the top
of a Tupperware container from the 80s, to rub if you have such an item.
It’s not required, you can just rub the fabric on itself if need be.

Throw and then dunk in REALLY cold water and then shock by putting in
really hot water (wear gloves so you don’t get hurt if you try this). Cold
to hot to cold to hot is a way to get a nice firm product, on top of the

While you work, check to see if you like the shape you are getting. If you
need one part to shrink more, then work that one part. If it is getting a
little lumpy, stretch and smooth as you work. I believe you get much better
results by hand-working a fulled piece, although I do have to be careful
with my wrists (wringing is particularly bad for my own wrist pain).

To stay on topic, I have pictures of a couple of hats and a pair of
slippers I fulled, on my weblog. Pictures are at:

Turquoise Hat Before (bottom of page):
Turquoise Hat After:

Purple Hat (After Only):

Fuzzy Feet Before:
Fuzzy Feet After:

Wow, thanks for this question. You can tell I’m pretty passionate about
this subject. I hope the information is helpful.

Cyndy’s Question

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004

Cyndy wrote in comments Monday:

Do you need donations for your kids? Yarn, books, needles…tell me what they like.

I’m touched and delighted that she would ask. I tried to reply to her directly, but I must have had the wrong email address for her. Therefore, I’m answering here, hoping that maybe a few others of you would not mind reading through it. This is what I wrote to her:

How sweet of you to ask about my knitters. Yes, we do have some needs.

We always desperately need needles in size 6 through 9 especially (sizes 5 and 10 work in a pinch). Short or long are both great, straight needles preferred. We also need circular needles in those same sizes, especially the lengths that would work for hats. (Is that 16 inches, I think?)

We always need bulkier yarns as long as they are fairly smooth textured. We use up nearly any purple yarn and/or variegated yarns in any colors, worsted weight or thicker, as soon as the kids realize it is there.

They go through variegated yarns like you can not believe, especially that garish crayon-colored rainbow that Red Heart has made since before I was age 10 and learning to knit myself. They love bright, bright, bright. The more color, the better. Even my boys go for bright blue, green, red, orange. Variegated yarns really help them see when they have made a mistake, in addition to the “pretty” factor.

I also can use small lengths (or full balls) of eyelash yarns or fuzzy mohair, believe it or not. The kids like to make small purses and just put some eyelash in the first few rows as a second strand with the standard yarns. Even a yard or two is special for a kid. If I get bigger balls of it, I divide it up into smaller bits so that more kids get to use it.

Please send yarns in balls, pull-skeins, or anything that can be knit from immediately. We do not have a ballwinder or swift, so yarns in hanks, lovely as they can be, do not get used quickly. The kids don’t want to spend their hour winding yarn into a large ball, and I honestly do not blame them.

I also always need canvas totebags… clean and in good repair, new or not, with advertising or not, any size. The kidz take their knitting home (many of them walk) and if they use a plastic grocery bag they often lose a needle on the way. It is humorous how often the librarians on the lower level of the building will bring me one needle or a bunch, unmatched of course. But if kids knit at home, they get better at it, and it also gives them a sense of ownership which I want to encourage. So I let them take needles and yarn home when they get to the point where they can knit without my assistance.

Oh, if you have a wool sweater that was shrunk by mistake or you don’t mind having me shrink it for the kids, it would be used now that they understand the potential of sweaters as a raw material for cut-and-sewn bags and mittens, among other goodies. We don’t do this as often, it’s sort of a special treat when I have a small enough crowd to do justice to the value of the sweaters. They understand the economic value of the sweaters… I make sure they understand, and respect the gift properly.

And sometimes I give out little “door prizes” so even little dollar store type trinkets, or small stuffed animals, picture frames, photo albums, colored pads of paper, anything a child from about 3rd grade to 6th grade might like… those will be put to good use. These items should be unbreakable, of course.

What I do *not* need: thinner yarns than worsted weight, neutral-colored yarns, needles thinner than US size 5 or thicker needles than 10 US. No chenille or Lion Brand Homespun… I have plenty already for the few kids who can handle them. I just don’t have much space right now (they plan to get me shelves but the budget is so tight it may be August before I get them) so I can’t take anything I won’t go through fast. And it may be obvious, but we do not have laundry facilities, so be sure it is in clean and fresh condition to be used immediately.

By the way, every donation will be acknowledged with a tax-deduction letter. Please be sure that there is a piece of paper in the box with your name and address (and email address) written on it (not just on the box, please… the box goes to my room and the paper goes to the office) so that we can read it easily, and our secretary will pop out a letter to you for next year’s taxes.

If you are still inclned to help out, the address is:

CityKidz Knit! c/o Lynn Hershberger
Foster Community Center
200 N. Foster Ave.
Lansing, MI 48912

Thanks again for your interest in my CityKidz. They are worth it, I assure you!
Photos here are December ’01 and October ’02, some favorite pics of mine.)