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Archive for April, 2004

Summery Weather

Sunday, April 18th, 2004

Today (Sunday) I am going to be dancing all afternoon at a workshop. When that is over, maybe I will pop into the Working Women Artists if I have time at all (they usually meet 2nd Sunday but with Easter they moved to this already-too-busy weekend). For sure I’ll end my public day with knitting at Emil’s, with my few friends who go there. It has never been more than 4 people but it is good food and relaxing knitting. That will be fun.

I’m dragging my feet going out this morning. We got home at nearly 2am from the concert and cast party. It was great fun but I’m wiped out. I always deplete my physical energy from the push toward our concert. But this year we also have a 2nd day of workshops on Sunday and it’s hard to get up and go.

I looked out the door today to say something to Brian, and lo and behold… our grape hyacinths which came up in the last few days, had some sort of bee or other stinging insect, actually two of them, enjoying the flowers. Here is a photo, I’m happy with the way it came out.

Brian says the thermometer says it is 80 degrees F. That is downright warm, true summer weather. Too bad I’ll be inside air conditioned buildings without windows, most of today. Sigh… Enjoy your day whatever the weather might be.

This Proves It’s Spring

Saturday, April 17th, 2004

Friday I saw spring everywhere. Our thermometer read 77.5 F outside and 77.5 F inside. The sun shone all day. I saw three preschoolers going down the sidewalk with their hot-pink hula hoops. I put up the hammock for about 5 minutes and had my first hammock day of the year.

But proof positive it is spring: My friend April (who is also a Habibi Dancer, and now my next-door neighbor as well) had her baby! Isabel was born at about 10:45pm Friday night. Everyone is healthy and happy. Daddy was beaming! I am so happy for them all. Sigh… that makes it as perfect a spring day as I can imagine having.

Tonight’s post needs to stay short… I got home after midnight Friday after Habibi rehearsal and other responsibilities, and I need to be at the Habibi workshop Saturday between 8am and 9am. Whee!!! Luxurious sleep needs to wait until Monday, I guess, since we have workshops Saturday and Sunday, and a concert on Saturday night.

Photos are from last year… me on the hammock in August, and the Habibi Dancers in our annual concert last year in April. I’m second from the right, in a ponytail.

Jaye, are you out there?

Friday, April 16th, 2004

Someone named Jaye wrote me a note about my yarns. I returned the email and hotmail is bouncing my note back to me. Jaye, if you are out there, will you contact me again with a working email address??? Or leave me a comment here, if you would, about how to reach you, please. Thank you.

It’s Seriously Spring, Folks!

Friday, April 16th, 2004

Wowie, what a glorious day it is here! This morning we spotted a woodpecker in our tree, the first time I’ve seen one although we’ve heard them for several years. Then I went outside and saw that our periwinkle (myrtle) groundcover was blooming already. Everywhere, there are bulbs blooming and forsythia bushes in full golden glory!

Yesterday it was around 68 degrees F, around “room temperature” which is a little chilly for me. Today it is 75 degrees, which means it is actually quite warm in the sunshine, which thankfully has been out a lot today.

We have a very large squirrel enjoying himself in our yard (and on our roof, unfortunately). He has never been this fat before. He looks almost as big as a small cat, I am amazed.

Folks are pushing babies in strollers. Kids are riding bicycles (or they were yesterday, it’s still too early for that today because they are in school). Yesterday near Foster Center I saw a retired couple planting in their garden. Today I heard my first lawnmower of the season (oh, well… there is some bad with the good.)

The Habibi show is this Saturday (tomorrow) and our guest star, MoMo Kadous, is originally from Egypt, now living in Germany. I am delighted he can see my city this weekend rather than a week or two ago. It just doesn’t get much better than this!!!

My camera is out of batteries and I haven’t found the right battery in the first two stores I tried. You will have to get by with my descriptions of the beauty, today.

In knitting news, I bound off my toe-up afterthought-heel sox I started in Florida, and started the heels. I thought I would grow to love this yarn, which is a Regia colorway, mostly white with flecks of colors I really like.

Unfortunately, I just am not warming up to white socks, flecks notwithstanding. I may have to overdye these when I’m done so I can enjoy wearing them. They are too small for anyone but me, really, and the knitting is quite uneven on these for some reason, so I’d not really want to give them out as gifts anyway. I’m contemplating what color of dye I would like to use to overdye them with. Or maybe several colors? We’ll see what I decide when the heels are done.

Whoops, I’m Slipping!

Thursday, April 15th, 2004

I realize I have some photos of classes I’ve taught in the last several weeks, that I haven’t posted yet. These two photos were even copied out onto my web server and I thought for sure I’d put them out for you, but I find them nowhere. I am *so* glad I finished my publication deadline and my taxes. I get to breathe a little (although I do have the Haibibi Dancers’ show and workshops this weekend). I’m finally coming up for air and it’s lovely.

These pictures are of my CityKidz Knit! special two-hour session on April 8. It was spring break for most of our kids, and we used crockpots to dye wool yarns I had in stash. We did not have much, but I found one beloved bag of small balls that took care of most of the need. I had fourteen kids that day, although not all of them are in the photograph.

The first picture is me with my Kidz! Now I see why Brian always notices this sweater when I wear it… it is even more colorful than the other items in my closet. I love wearing it when I’m working with kids, though, they love color as much as I do.

The second picture is some of the yarn drying on a towel in the window. It turned out just great. About a year ago I had a conversation on Socknitters about whether the US and Canada’s food colors were very different, especially the purples. Two generous Canadian socknitters sent me some Kool-Aid with labels in French and English (which fascinated my kids… grape is “raisin” in French, apparently). I think it is true that the Canadian Kool-Aid has better purple. I didn’t have any of my old purple KoolAid roving to compare it to, but I remember how disappointed I was that it was nearly gray when I used it a few years back.

By the way, I have received two knitting-needle donations from you lovely folks, so far. I don’t have the notes here, though Foster Center will send out receipts so you know things have arrived safely.

One person sent a large priority box stuffed with canvas bags and needles. Another person stuffed two priority envelopes with needles and a bunch of bright-colored worsted weight acrylic yarns. Thank you both!!! And thanks to the others who have written to say that packages will make their way here. Even a few sets of needles really help us. With fourteen kids last week and fifteen this week, the help is really appreciated, and makes a big difference.

Many Diverse Thoughts

Wednesday, April 14th, 2004

There is so much to think about today… a class I finished teaching yesterday, toe-up socks, at Foster Center, was great fun. Here is a picture of Anna and Moni showing off their socks. Anna is knitting with yarn dyed by Nancy McRay of Woven Art. Moni’s blue sock is my Cushy ColorSox which I had dyed as flammegarn, a technique of tie-dyeing that was done a lot in Norway (and perhaps other scandinavian countries) back a good number of years ago. I learned about it in Nancy Bush’s book, Folk Socks. Moni’s neutral-colored sox are commercial yarn, I don’t recall what it was.

Moni finished the blue pair in the three week course of the class, and she also finished one of her neutral-colored socks as well. She had made a Christmas stocking once, and has been knitting for years, so she was able to work quickly. Anna finished her first sock, her first ever, and she is a relatively new knitter who is also a busy Graduate student who chooses to take knitting classes on top of her regular schedule! I admire her.

I had such fun with these two ladies, that I hated to see the class end. I told them about all the knit-in’s around town, both at yarn shops and guilds, and I hope that I will see them at those gatherings some time.

I had 15 kids today at CityKidz Knit! I think that is a record, at least since September. About half of the children have only knit a few times, but it went OK. A few of the younger ones get very distracted when there is a lot going on in the room. They do really well when they say the poem that reminds them of the proper movements, but when they look up they forget where they are and they just start wrapping that yarn around the needle… several times. They end up with a triangle because of all the increases, but they seem to not mind at all. As long as they are having fun, I’m OK with it, but I do encourage them to say the poem out loud if they need to do so.

After Foster Center tonight, I went to help Habibi Dancers prepare for the concert on this Saturday. We did physical work today, setting up the stage set.

If anyone in town is interested in coming to the show, I do have tickets today but may not have many in a few days. The concert is at Hannah center, doors open at 7:30 and concert starts at 8pm. We expect it may sell out, so having a ticket before Saturday would be a smart idea, or I can leave them in an envelope with your name on them at the door if need be. It is sure to be an excellent show. I’m always proud when it is done.

When I got home, Brian was recording music again. We are actually working on two different CD concepts right now, and the one we are focusing on most is music from 1890 to 1923 or so, especially if they fit into the Moon/swoon sort of genre. A few days ago we did “Come, Josephine, in my Flying Machine.” Fun song, that nobody knows anymore. However, it is amazing how many of these songs we are doing are still hanging around… people know them after all these years!

After dinner tonight, Brian had me record the bass for “Shine on Harvest Moon” and the vocal for “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” That last one is the mother of all Moon/June/Spoon songs. Here are the words to the chorus:

By the light of the silvery moon,
I want to spoon,
To my honey I’ll croon love’s tune,
Honeymoon, keep a shining in June,
Your silv’ry beams will bring love dreams,
We’ll be cuddling soon,
By the silvery moon.

That is eight times a word that rhymes with moon appears, in seven lines of text. It is impressive, even if it makes only some sense. I’m enjoying the singing of this one, though. It not only has enjoyable lyrics but a sweet melody. I just love singing this stuff! And I am counting my blessings every day that my voice is doing so much better that I can actually record now!

Last but not least, here is a picture of the yarn I spun Monday at Marlene C.’s. I measured about 182 yards/166 meters, *before* I washed and dried it. That would be enough only for some pretty short socks, although I am not opposed to that plan.

I *am* considering spinning some of my hot purple-red New Zeeland Romney wool as sock heels. I haven’t dug out the Romney yet to see if the colors will work together. It is more purple than the fuschia in this yarn. I’m not big on matching things exactly, but I do want it to “go” together. We will see what we will see. I had fun spinning the first yarn. It’s pretty but imperfect… maybe more pretty because of the imperfections, it’s hard to know.

Maybe I’ll get another spinning night after the Habibi weekend is over. I would love to get right on to knitting this yarn before I get sidetracked by something else!!! One day at a time, as they say…

Happy, Happy

Tuesday, April 13th, 2004

I am so delighted with life today. I went to my mom’s house on the way to Marlene’s last night. I found one daffodil blooming, and perhaps a half dozen promising to bloom in the next week. These daffodils were planted by my father before he died, over 30 years ago. I just love that they are still coming up. He actually planted hundreds of bulbs. The delicate fancy ones stopped first, but the last two were the large, bold red tulips and the large, bold yellow daffodils. Now even the tulips have given up, but the daffodils are happy as can be. It makes me smile, he would really like knowing this.

I also had a wonderful victory at Marlene’s. I spun a full 4oz of colorful romney/kid mohair roving I had purchased in February at Spinners Flock. It has hot yellow-green, fuschia, blue and aqua. Really pretty stuff. I didn’t know at all how the colors would look spun but I had to try.

It is very pretty. I spun fast and thick (well, really a bit of thick/thin within a range of perhaps sport to DK). I wanted to just have fun and actually show myself I could finish a spinning project.

Four ounces of wool is considered enough for sox, but that assumes thinner yarn than I spun, I think. I’m going to weigh some fat sox I knit from wool/mohair worsted weight yarn and see what they weigh. I originally thought I’d knit toe-up sox from this yarn, as a single ply. However, Marlene showed me some yarn she plied with some really shiny sewing thread (we think it is rayon but there was no label). It looks gorgeous with the shine peeking out, and maybe is a little more strong that way. So maybe I’ll ply, we’ll see.

Here’s the bobbin, full with all 4oz of single ply. Isn’t it beautiful? I am very anxious to see how it looks knit up. It changes every step of the way.

Catching Up

Monday, April 12th, 2004

Wowie… I’ve spent several days focused on doing my taxes… doing them ourselves this year which is not much fun. I didn’t mean to ignore you guys!!! We have finished the paperwork, so now you have me back.

Tonight my reward for all that work, is to go to my friend Marlene Cameron’s home and spin a bit. I have almost not touched my spinning wheel since it was warm outside last. I’m going to try and spin my pretty wool from the Spinners Flock Sale in February. If that isn’t fun, I’m going to knit. Spinning needs to be fun or I won’t do it. Some fibers are not fun at all and I just stop, it’s too frustrating. I like spinning fatter yarns so I’m planning to make a sportweight single ply and knit up fat sox when I’m done. I’ll have more fun that way, and that’s my goal.

I realize I somehow never showed you a picture of sock pair number 89. It’s Heirloom Easy Care DK I got at Heritage spinning. Love the stuff. The sox are toe-up, peasant/afterthought heel, and roll top cuff. These are really comfy, and a little warmer than regular handknit sox. And the color! It makes me smile.

They Noticed My Mom…

Saturday, April 10th, 2004

Mom called. She has been awarded the Volunteer of the Year award, at the school in Florida where she helps kids learn to read. She has done this for years. She works with kids there when she is south, and then she also helps in Michigan when she can, at the beginning of the school year.

Mom helps them learn their letters, the sounds of the letters, and other important things like what a dime is, how much is it worth… and a nickel, and a quarter. She teaches them about rhyming. She helps them learn specific difficult words. She figures out what they are struggling to learn, and then goes after their issues until she can get them through the rough parts.

She is so excited to find ways to help these kids! She has figured out many good methods, and she loves to explain what she does to those of us who love her. I have actually sat in on one of her days in Florida before. The kids just love coming to see her, they don’t see it as demeaning or remedial. Once they learn a list of important skills, she “graduates” them so she can help someone new, and sometimes they are not at all happy with graduating.

She does it because it is in her soul to do it. She does it because reading was really hard for her, when she was that age. Not only did she fight dyslexia but she was legally blind and could barely see the words on the page. She wanted to learn so much that she kept on pushing, and she became a really fabulous teacher. She has changed the lives of untold children.

But no matter what we do, no matter why we do it… it is great to be noticed. Congratulations, Mom!

Beautiful Spring & Plea for Needle Donations

Thursday, April 8th, 2004

It was an amazing, beautiful, glorious day today. I left Foster Center after 9pm and I didn’t need a coat. I had needed one at noon when I left my home, but it kept getting nicer and nicer, and stayed lovely even after the sun went down. I was not out much today but the kids at Foster informed me it was perfect outside. I chose to open some windows a bit in my classroom, and that was quite a luxury.

It’s spring break for most of our children, so I had a lot of kids. I was busy both for computers and knitting. I am very excited because Thursday my knitters will be dyeing wool yarn with Kool Aid in crockpots. I only have so many skeins of wool/animal fiber yarn, so we will stop letting kids in the room when I have the same number of kids as skeins. I think we will have great fun. I just love love love “my kidz.” They are wonderful and I hope I let them know that.

Oh, I’m getting horribly low on knitting needles again. If anyone out there has any needles they don’t need any more, I can give you a tax deduct letter. We need sizes 6-10, straight needles either short or long, any material whether wood, metal, or plastic.

Yes, I know I can make needles from dowels but I just can not handle one more thing to fit into my program/budget/schedule. Actually I don’t even have a budget. They pay me 2 hours a week and all supplies are donated, that’s it. I do a lot with very little, and I’m proud of that! But I’m afraid making needles would be the straw that broke this camel’s back, I just can’t do it.

So… if anyone has it in their hearts to donate needles they no longer use, we would really appreciate it. We could also use worsted weight yarn in variegated or purple (or very bright colors), and any clean canvas tote bags you got at some conference your boss made you attend years ago, even with advertising. We can not use any thin yarns, any neutral colored yarn, or yarns that are in bad repair such as mildewed or moth eaten (it happened once… only once).

We really need needles and tote bags (when they carry knitting in plastic grocery bags, they lose the needles on the walk home). If you choose to send yarns also, we need smooth-textured yarns only, and worsted or thicker. No textured yarns (ie homespun or jiffy mohair-look), although short lengths of eyelash yarns are fine. We also take accidentally-shrunken items (commercial sweaters, for example) which the kids cut up as fabric, and hand-sew into purses/bags, mittens and bean bags.

Needles are the biggie. (Did I say that too many times already?) When kids are good enough to knit without my assistance I let them take their knitting home. If they come back without their knitting, they start a new project that stays in the building as a backup. That means each new kid potentially gets 2 sets of needles. I had something like 8 new kids last week and two today. I’m really short on needles again, even after some wonderful donations in the fall/holiday season. (Today these are older pics of my kidz, I’ve been so busy teaching new children these days I haven’t taken pictures in a while.)

Our shipping address is:
CityKidz Knit!
c/o Lynn Hershberger
Foster Community Center
200 N. Foster
Lansing, MI 48912 USA

If you choose to send a donation, please leave a piece of paper in the box with your address -or- email address and proper name, so that we can send you a tax letter. I don’t have my computer at the office even if you let me know it is coming… we go with what is in the box when it comes receipt time.

If you have nothing to share, or can’t bear to let go of your beloved knitting things, I understand. I’ll stop begging now, for as long as I can go with the supplies I have. And meanwhile, I’ll bring you photos of my kidz again soon.

Spring Report Progress

Wednesday, April 7th, 2004

There was no forsythia bush blooming that I could find today. However, I did find these two pictures in my friend Ulyana’s front yard garden. Aren’t they pretty? The ones on top at left are very tiny in person. The ones at right are hyacynths, normal size for that type of flower.

I noticed, too, that Dairy Queen is open. I figure if they are open, summer is close by. I really miss eating that stuff, it does not sit well with me and I may never eat it again… but there is something about dairy fat. It really *does* taste better than about any other junk food item I can think of. If you get to DQ yourself, have a baby-sized German Chocolate “blizzard” for me!

I had a good day today… started with more hours on taxes. They could be done already if I had done more work on my numbers during the year, but that’s how it went so I’m plugging away at the figures now. Soon, very soon…

I had tea with Sharon P. of Knitknacks today. She works for a school so had the week off for spring break. I spent the time with her, doing duplicate stitch on a sock that needed some patterning work (a la fairisle but after the knitting was completed). It was good to have her company while I did that.

After that I got a massage… aaaaahhhhh. Loved every second. I don’t do that for myself very often, and I was really having trouble with my back and neck. It really helped me. After my massage, I went home briefly on the way to my Ann Arbor Borders Books “Common Thread” group.

When I was home my bell rang. It was a neighbor, someone we say hello to when she takes the baby for a walk in the stroller… or if we all go to the corner diner at the same time. She thought maybe I was the one offering classes at Foster Center through Parks and Rec, and wanted to request a beginning knitting class. I referred her to JoAnn where I”m teaching basics at this time. I hope she comes!

Then… on the way home from Ann Arbor I had to stop and get gas. A woman stopped me to say she liked my ColorJoy stole. Turns out she’s a knitter. I gave her my little schedule sheet that I had printed out, with my knitting and music appearances. She might check out the Allegan/Michigan Fiber Fest classes with a friend. Could be fun!!!

Spring Story Update

Monday, April 5th, 2004

The weather report is this: Sunday morning the snow had melted. It was warmer but the wind was so strong, it blew my beret off my head twice in one day. The nice thing about berets, is that they fit so well and close to the head, that they stay on almost no matter what. Those gusts were rough!!!

Monday at 11am the temperature was just barely above freezing. However, in spite of that, a daffodil which is sheltered next to the house, bloomed. It is on the South side where the sun warms the side of the house if it shines. I’m delighted with my new daffodil, even though it is leaning over almost all the way to the ground.

This morning I was outside and I heard a bird song that I have never heard in Lansing before. It had the voice of a mourning dove, but a different song. It was just beautiful! I hope the bird sticks around so that we can figure out what it is.

A few forsythia bushes in the neighborhood are really close to blooming. The flowers have not popped open yet, but you can already tell they will be yellow. I’ll bet if tomorrow is warm at all, I’ll have photos for you of beautiful yellow flowers.

I’m alone at home all day today (Monday). My first instinct is to put music on the stereo, but I am actively resisting that urge today. I think some silence is good for me after such a busy and public week. I did talk to my friend Altu on the phone, and I had to go to the allergist, but other than that it’s silence for me today until Brian gets home. I think that is the right move.

I hope your weather is beautiful today, that either your spring or fall weather (depending on what side of the globe you are on) is beautiful and refreshing!

OK, I Took an Online Quiz

Monday, April 5th, 2004

I usually avoid online quizzes. For one, they often do not have answers I can even choose. After I got told I was brown Doc Marten’s I swore I was done with all that (I wear Converse All Star high-tops, anyway… I’m not a clunky boot person). The only quiz I have taken since, was a “how similar are you” to Annie Modesitt and it showed we were 97% compatible. Almost spooky, since we really enjoy corresponding but our design styles are very different. But I digress.

The sockyarn quiz actually let me choose licorice as my favorite sweet snack. Totally amazing! It didn’t have 20’s popular ukulele music as a fave, but had swing/jazz/unplugged which was in the right ballpark. I sing early jazz songs by You like fruity sock yarn. You love pink and being childish is inspiring you.Annette Hanshaw though I don’t like instrumental jazz with dissonances at all. It didn’t have turquoise. purple or fuschia, but it had hot raspberry or red and that was bright enough for me. So I got this answer, to “What sock yarn are you?” – Fruity. OK, it’s an odd word for it, but I like the vibrant picture.

I’m impressed, they did well. I’d buy that yarn, for sure. Wonder what yarn it is… does anyone out there know? It’s entirely possible they made the determination based on the color question alone, but it worked in any case and the questions were reasonable in their variety. That was fun!


Sunday, April 4th, 2004

Today is 04/04/04, no matter if you notate it American or rest-of-the-world/military style. I just LOVE number patterns. Not as much as I like color, but I find it very exciting to be living on 04/04/04. The number four sometimes signifies solidity, stableness (squares and rectangles have 4 sides and cubes, which are related, are very stable… hard to tip over). I could use a touch of stability myself, these days.

I also watch the numbers on my car’s odometer, do you do that as well? I remember where my old car, Martha G., was when it hit 234,567. I had that car for 14 years and about a quarter-million miles. I had many fun odometer moments with that car.

Oh… my brother, Eric, had his 17th birthday on 07/07/77. We thought that was cool, too!

Anyone else have any number stories?

I wonder… how could I knit in a way to commemorate this date? Knit a rib in K4, p4, k20, p04? Might look strange, could look really good, actually. What else? I don’t really feel like actually creating the arabic number shapes in colorwork. I wonder what symbolic way I can mark the date in my knitting, either socknitting or something else that doesn’t take a lot of time to put together. Hmmm… ideas, anyone?