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Archive for August, 2004

Slowing Down?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

I’m trying to slow down a little this week. It worked at least for one day… on Monday afternoon, my dear friend Tony came over for tea. We drank way too much tea, ate way too many brownies, and knitted a fair amount. My stole for Heritage Spinning is nearly done, thank goodness. I just have to do about another inch or two.

I’m so glad Tony kept me sitting down and knitting for those several hours. It really helped me focus on the stole which is far overdue… plus we had a great time, talking about things that maybe don’t matter in the large scheme of things, but it was pleasant anyway. He was knitting a strap in Peace Fleece yarn, something simple to knit while we talked. I hated to see him go.

Tuesday night (August 31) is the 5th Tuesday in the month. That means that the folks who normally meet at Borders Arborland in Ann Arbor on 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, meet instead at Eastern Accents on 4th Street downtown, just east of Main and North of the big parking ramp. It’s next to a Mexican restaurant, too. I tried to find something on this business online and came up short, but it’s not terribly hard to find.

Eastern Accent is a Japanese (? asian, anyway) place, sort of a coffeehouse but with a lot of teas. They have asian pastries as well, which I’m told are delicious. It’s a nice cozy space for the smaller group that assembles on 5th Tuesdays.

I love this knitting group. I guess I just look for any excuse to be in Ann Arbor, if the truth be known. I guess I am an Ann Arborite wanna-be, yet I just can’t stomach the housing prices there enough to actually consider a move.

I go to Ann Arbor as often as I can justify it. It’s a real city, it acts like a much larger city, like Chicago (actually, it reminds me a lot of Cambridge, Massachusetts which is right near Boston)… people actually walk around on the sidewalks at night, people go into the city when weather is good for entertainment, there are all sorts of cafes with tables and it seems they are all full, even on a Tuesday. The streets of Ann Arbor do not roll up at 5pm, the way they do in Lansing for some reason. And Ann Arbor has a bit of a skyline as well. Now if it only would have a subway!!! I’ve used their public transit before, but they just have ordinary buses.

This is not to say that I don’t love my Lansing knitting friends. You know I do, you can see me choose to spend my time with them by just reading this weblog. And clearly I choose to live in Lansing, a city that always welcomes its arms to artful people, even when they are newcomers.

I have walked in, unknown, to auditions for Riverwalk Theater, and got in the show. They didn’t need to stick with an in-group. I have been welcomed into art groups, poetry and music circles. I’ve had places to display my artwork, to read my poetry, to sing my music, to do theater after 16 years off stage, to learn dance (adult ballet, jazz, modern, and mideastern) and perform dance. Lansing is a very open-arms community when it comes to the arts, and I love that. And now that we have some really good ethnic restaurants, I really am liking my city better all the time.

Yet my creative circle of friends is large. I have two guilds/groups in Ann Arbor (Borders‘ Common Threads group at Arborland and Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild), one in Chelsea (Spinners Flock) and two in Lansing (Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild and Working Women Artists). I can’t go to all of them all of the time, although I do everything I can to not miss the 3rd Tuesday Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild meetings during the school year. That is my home base.

I have a lot of errands to run on Tuesday. I must finish them all before I can let myself go to Ann Arbor. You can be sure I’m pushing like crazy to get all that done. I can just taste the Sencha tea now…

(Photo today is a detail of the garden at Mich House Co-Op in Ann Arbor, a place where my brother lived in the late 1970s. The house is on North State Street (not too far from Kerrytown, a lovely historical area), right next door to the purple house called Minnie’s Co-Op. This garden is between two sidewalks, a porch and a driveway, but is full of wild-looking flowers that are very happy and healthy. I actually took the photo in July 2003.)

The Close of Summer, Already?

Monday, August 30th, 2004

Wow, it is clear that we are at the end of summer. My schedule screams it… Sunday this past weekend I danced at Renaissance Festival, a late-summer/early fall activity. Next weekend is Labor Day weekend (I’ll be dancing again at Ren Fest on Saturday). Then the week after is Brian’s favorite weekend all year, Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan (just west of Mt. Pleasant, where my Godchildren go to Central Michigan University).

Wheatland always marks the end of summer. But where did it go this year? We have had spring rains for months. The allergist says that the mold count is staying at levels common in May, it hasn’t let down yet. We had so many mosquitos in the spring that I didn’t get much time in the hammock as I typically do… that is my holy space, in many ways, and I have had precious little time there. Summer got so busy, as it often does… business slows down, so I have to move faster to make a living, althugh it is fun work. And now the trees are changing colors and the local peaches are in the marketplace. I did have peaches for breakfast today but I need to use up the remaining fruit quickly as some are starting to turn bad already. That’s what happens with truly ripe fruit, you don’t get long to use it!

The week after Wheatland, we are going the Ukulele Expo in the Pocanos of Pennsylvania. This one is sponsored by the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum. We have chatted with these fine folks (the folks who run the Museum, which as yet is online only) in emails, but it will be fun to meet them in person. And a weekend of ukulele folks, well, they are just fun people. Sort of a “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” crowd in the best way. Love it!

Special Announcement!
The week after the Ukefest, on Saturday, September 25, we will have a very special musical event! We will be be performing with Mystic Shake, a fine local band with the theme “Rhythmic Fun,” in an intimate house concert setting. The event is called Music Under the Pines, because the setting is just beautiful. We hope for good weather so we can perform outdoors, but we do have an alternate indoor spot onsite in case of rain.

The concert has such limited seating that we will be taking reservations. You need only ask for an invitation, but we need to know how many chairs we need to rustle up for the event! Once you ask for the invitation you will be given directions to the location, which is a private home rather than a public space.

We are looking forward to this event. Brian has performed with Mystic Shake on occasion, and is on one of their CDs as well. These guys seem to be many places we are… Ben and Pat also perform as Blue Jello, a duo act that sings at Altus. Dick Johnson works with Brian at Elderly Instruments. Dick Rosemont lives near my mother’s home and his wife, Jane, is a fabulous artist in town who I run into sometimes at artful events. Ben and his wife Barb often come to our Fabulous Heftones performances, and we seem to see them at every music event we attend.

Lansing is a nice town this way, it seems artful people make a very nice and comfortable small community within a community. I think a concert with Mystic Shake and The Fabulous Heftones makes so much sense! I’m excited. More information will surely follow as the date gets closer, but if you want an invitation send me an email at Lynn AT purpletree DOT com and I’ll send you what you need to find the venue.

Photos today: folks dressed in costume at Renaissance Festival, the Turtle Race games at Ren Fest, Mystic Shake: Top row, Pat Malloy, Dick Johnson; Bottom row, Dick Rosemont, Ben Hassenger.

Another Good Time at Altu’s

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Well, Saturday night at Altus was again a great time! My mother, bless her soul, must have invited every person she knew. By the time they all got there, her friends and their friends, she had filled two booths and a small table with ten people!

Carl and his date came, with a list of requests since they clearly listen to our CD’s. Carl works with Brian, and he got a pre-release copy of Brian’s almost finished solo CD entitled “Everybody’s Doin’ It,” so he requested a number or two from that as well.

Brian’s bosses, Stan Werbin and Sandy Dykins of Elderly Instruments, came… Stan has been just the most wonderful supporter of our act, since the very beginning… he was the one who convinced us to go to Midwest Ukefest last October. It was wonderful to have them there.

And last but definitely not least… Rob and Matt of Threadbear Fiberarts came out to hear us. So often when I see them, there is a crowd of knitters and we are all distracting one another. In this case, they sat in a corner right next to our stage and I could sing directly to them at times. At one moment, I had an inner chuckle while singing… they got out their knitting and somehow their yarns got tangled between them. It was pretty entertaining while they straightened all that out. But how delightful to see them take a few minutes off from their new space, and enjoy the food and music at Altu’s. They clearly enjoyed both!

It is always a delight to play for a room full of friends. Of course, the applause is deeply authentic when the crowd is so full of people who love us, and we really had a wonderful time.

Our next dates at Altus are October 9 with Abbott Brothers band, and November 13 again with The Fabulous Heftones.

Fabulous Heftones at Altus Tonight

Saturday, August 28th, 2004

OK, it’s Saturday. If you are reading this in the Greater Lansing, Michigan area, and you are reading before 6:30pm, please consider joining Brian and I (as The Fabulous Heftones) at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine for an intimate concert while you eat dinner. The show is at 6:30-8:30.

There is no cover charge. There *is* great food, and if you’ve never had this kind of food before, Charles (Altu’s brother in law, the front-end man at the restaurant) will be happy to explain it to you as much as you choose. No, not everything is spicy, there are some truly mild but tasty dishes as well. The restaurant is on Michigan Avenue, at the border of East Lansing and Lansing, just east of The Dollar, not far from Frandor. Phone 333-6295.

We are ready to roll. Brian is actually in the process of recording a new CD, entitled “Everybody’s Doin’ It” and we will be performing the title cut from that album. We also will have our old favorites from our Moon June Spoon CD, all those lovely tunes of romance… and our longtime standards including a few novelty tunes and a few Annette Hanshaw melodies.

Last time, Regina was there, I know she reads this weblog. My mom is planning to bring as many as 8 at her table, bless her sweet heart! Anyone else want to join the party???

(Sunday I will be gone to Renaissance Festival with Habibi Dancers, and I’ll miss all the daylight hours in Lansing with that trip. I may not be posting an entry Sunday, we’ll see how I feel when I get home. Oh, in the photo from last year that is me, second from left, wearing blue. Yeah, blue… someone loaned me the costume! I wear more color variety as Eudora the dancer, than I do as LynnH the artist. Tomorrow I’ll probably be wearing orange, imagine that!)

Real Summer, and Performances

Friday, August 27th, 2004

Aaah, the joys of summer. It is hot and sticky here. It has promised to rain but none has actually come down since Wednesday. I love hot summer weather, although I do not work as quickly when it is this warm.

Wednesday, I stopped in at ThreadBear to prepare for my ColorJoy Stole class (date to be announced). I ran into several folks I knew, some from other parts of my life. Very cool. I picked out the yarns for the sample stole they will have in the shop for my class, and thankfully I don’t have to knit it. That is good for my schedule, and also it is good that one more person will check out the clarity of my pattern. The more eyes that see the pattern, the better it will get!

When I was at ThreadBear, Delores mentioned that she had purchased a wonderful bushel of peaches at VanHouten produce on South Cedar, not too far from my house. I made a quck call to my friend Ulyana, who loves to cook, and we determined to split a bushel. When I got home, my dance friend April was home so I gave her a dozen from my batch (half a bushel is a LOT of peaches for two people if you are not planning to can or freeze them). I have been eating these nonstop since I got them. I just love Michigan peaches more than any other fruit. When they are just picked, and picked close by enough to transport when they are juicy, they are better than any other fruit.

I like fresh raspberries, too, but often at the store they are not in good shape. When I lived in Williamston, I had a huge red raspberry patch. The people who bought my house mowed them down, and I was heartbroken, but it wasn’t my land anymore. I felt so rich having all those berries all summer!!!

Thursday I had to work at Foster Center from 1:30pm to 9pm. I got so cold my hands needed to thaw out, because of the air conditioning. The building has only had air conditioning for about three summers now. I preferred open windows and fans, personally, but I know I am in the minority. I know I would like it better if they just used it to take the moisture out of the air, but they cool it down to something like 65F when in the winter we heat to 72F. It makes no sense!!! What a waste of resources. I do know that the building is old, and making the airflow work properly is hard. I need to give them the benefit of the doubt.

That night I also started a new class teaching Toe-Up Socks, at Foster Center. I had three students, a fun and cozy number. I finally met Betsy, who I met online through the Freecycle list this spring. She has been donating canvas bags to my knitting program for the kids. It was great to meet her!

Then at night, also Thursday, it was just a little too warm in our upstairs bedroom to get a good night’s sleep. We could have put the air conditioner on, but the room is so tiny that even when the small unit is on the lowest setting, I wake up from the cold. We tend to use it when the heat and humidity are health-threatening. Just the same, this afternoon I ended up taking a long nap on the couch. We have the window open in the bedroom, since it’s cooler outside right now, so that hopefully the room will cool off enough to sleep better tonight.

It’s odd, because the peaches and the turning colors of the leaves remind me that the heat will be gone before I know it. We had almost no summer weather this year. Today it was 89F at our house but that may be the first time it has been that hot. I’m already sad for the cold weather and it has not even arrived yet! Silly me. I’ll be warm enough on Sunday, dancing all day.

That reminds me… Brian and I are performing as The Fabulous Heftones at Altus Ethiopian Cuisine tomorrow night, 6:30-8:30pm, at 1312 Michigan Avenue next to The Dollar, between Harrison Roadhouse and Frandor.

And Sunday I am going to the Michigan Renaissance Festival with Habibi Dancers, to perform all day. We usually have about 3 shows plus a parade and what they call “the smoker” which is one of our dancers performing alone for a pay-to-enter venue on the festival grounds. I leave my house at 7:45am and get home around dark. It’s a Loooong day. I’ll be there next Saturday as well, during the Labor Day weekend.

It would be lovely to see any of you at these performances. Of course, if you prefer to put your feet up in the hammock on your porch, or weed your garden, or something else, I understand. But just in case my performances might be just your cup of tea, you now have the information.

Allegan, Part 3 (The Final Chapter)

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

Saturday and Sunday I did not have any classes to teach so I set out to meet people and see what goodies were for sale. I also spent time learning some things about knitting from Annie… learned some things she includes in her lace and increase/decrease classes, which she explains very well… learned how to knit with wire and beads because she gifted me with a kit for a beaded wire necklace.

I didn’t finish the necklace until I got home (that was one thing I actually did accomplish on Monday, perhaps the only thing) but her booklet and materials were just the trick to learn both beads and wire in one fell swoop. She was very thoughtful, and gave me what she felt was her most colorful kit. I think she succeeded. The wire is cobalt blue and the beads are all sorts of brights. I think this will be a great necklace to wear when I’m dancing in a more folkloric costume.

I made my way around the festival and talked to so many people. I saw Joan Sheridan Hoover of Heritage Spinning, and also her colleagues Jo and Chrystal. I talked to the lovely ladies at Ellen’s Half-Pint Farm, who I had met the year before. I found Kim from The Yarn Garden in Charlotte, and her friend/helper Melanie. I spoke with Traci Bunkers of “Bonkers!,” first briefly and then on Sunday in depth, which was very enjoyable. I also visited the booth of In Sheep’s Clothing, the store in Marshall, where my friend Sue was last year. She has gone on to other things (forensic archaeology in London for 6 months if I remember right) but I did run into her on Sunday and she looks great.

But the coolest thing was meeting people who read this weblog. There were so many I am sure I’ll forget some (I did not take notes and I should have). It was so cool… I’d just be looking at some bit of wool or some beautiful yarn, and someone would come up and ask me if I was LynnH! Sure enough I was… and the story was always the same. They read this column right here and they were able to recognize me.

You know, I have a goal of writing 28 columns a month. I get fewer than one comment a day, but my web service says I am currently getting almost 900 requests for pages on my fiber website every day. So I know there are a few of you out there reading this, even if you don’t write to me. It was extremely wonderful to meet some of you this week!!! Thank you ever so much for stopping to say hello. It meant a lot to me.

The names that I’m remembering right now are Laurie (Lori?) Knupka(?), Tonya (Tanya?) from Cadillac, and Carey from Alma. There were at least 5 of you, so I’m forgetting 2 names already and I’m so sorry! Please write me and remind me so I won’t forget very long.

Another cool surprise was when Deb came up to me and said, how do we know each other? Well… she figured it out. She was my assistant manager when I took a holiday job at Casual Corner back in… get this… 1987. How did she remember that? Now she doesn’t live in the Lansing area anymore, even. She and her husband, Bob, raise Llamas. This world is getting smaller every day, isn’t it???

I had a great time. I bought two more copies of Annie’s book (on her life and Combination Knitting). I need one for me, because I’m knitting combination when I knit flat stockinette pieces… and one for a student who instinctively started knitting this way. I got to know Annie. I got to talk to some great people. I got to teach some great people and encourage their creativitiy. (I got to dodge a skunk early one morning on a restroom run, but I am trying to forget that part.) I got to listen to some music, touch some wool, buy some lovely things, make new friends, and have as much fun as I’ve had in a very long time. I hope to repeat the fun again next year.

Photos: Beaded wire necklace I knit from a kit I got as a gift from Annie Modesitt. Two felted sculptures on display, created by schoolchildren. Signs of fall in the air, on the way back home… leaves turning due to cold snap, apples on the trees turning red, and wildflowers in front of a ripening field.

Allegan, Part 2

Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

On Friday I taught my ColorJoy Stole class. This class is near and dear to my heart. So many of us have been taught to make things “match” when matching makes things less than interesting. The stole class is about color and yarn structure and texture for the morning session. It’s about getting the guts to break free from matching, and learning to choose with more variety, in order to create something artfully different than we have made before.

I have studied color for years, and it is my delight to explain what I know to my students. It was wonderful watching them drink it all in, and take the courage it took to try something new and exciting. When we learned about color and texture, and then we also looked at the yarns in front of us (and we are all so different, we really learned from one another), then we took ourselves into the marketplace where all the vendors were, and found good yarns to go with what we already had.

Two students brought an assortment of handspun yarns they made themselves. One chose to use all of her yarns and just add some eyelash for color and texture, to pull it all together (see photo). She was pretty surprised at how easily it all went together, when she started actually knitting her stole. The other one with handspun decided to use that yarn for a later project, and she started from scratch. She started with a lovely multicolored brushed mohair in pastels and worked out from there. She ended up with a lovely combination.

Another student came with some black/white yarns, some soft blue yarns, and an intense pink/orange/blue skein of Noro single-ply yarn. She was the most courageous of them all, perhaps. She decided to put the black and white yarns with the blue yarns (tied together with a railroad yarn that was white and multicolored), and then she started a whole new colorway based on the Noro handspun (see photo #2). Her pink/orange/vibrant stole is definitely pure ColorJoy! I was happy for her… she really understood the lessons. Both stoles worked well, and they were very different from one another.

My student who added the class after taking my polymer clay session the day before, had not brought many yarns with her to Allegan. She started with two mostly cream yarns with blips of color in them, mostly teal, purple and burgundy. She found two colors of shiny ribbon, one teal green and one berry, and she found a teal eyelash to tie it all together. She will surely have a nice project when she is done (see photo #3).

I didn’t think to get a group photograph of my stole class. I really enjoyed each and every one of them, and they were on their way toward their own artful creation as they left. I really hope folks send me photographs when they finish. And I hope they feel free to write me with questions if they get hung up on anything. I had friends and family test the pattern over and over so it would be as good as possible, but there is always room to interpret some words in more than one way, and I would hate to have anyone feel stuck.

After class, I wandered outside and heard music. I realized that I’d heard some of those songs before. My first instinct was to think that maybe Brian would know these musicians… he has been a musician in Michigan so long that he knows a lot of folks. Well, when I got there I knew two of the musicians myself! They were just taking a break, so Kathy and I sat down and did three numbers with her ukulele and our harmony, and that was great fun. Then I came back just before they ended for the night.

They invited me to join them for a trip to downtown Allegan. They went to a good ice cream parlor near the boardwalk, and then we walked down to a park with a gazebo where they have music on Friday nights during the summer. This night, the band was the Otsego Jazz Ensemble, a band I’d actually heard of in past years. It was quite the scene… folks of all ages. My friends knew the words to some of the Frank Sinatra-type songs, and really enjoyed that. I actually sat and knit while listening… still working on the ColorJoy stole for Heritage Spinning.

I was so tired it was no trouble to fall asleep much earlier than my usual time that night. It was really chilly (46 degrees F) that night so the cold woke me up once in the middle of the night, but otherwise I got a very good sleep.

Allegan, Part 1

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

Well, I had such a good time at Allegan! Now that I have rested a bit I will take the time to tell you all about it.

Wednesday I got there in the afternoon and got settled in to the trailer, onsite, where Annie Modesitt and I were to be roomates for the duration of the Festival. I went down to Annie’s classroom but she was surrounded with students at rapt attention so I left well enough alone and waited to meet her until after class. We have corresponded off and on for a couple of years and it was exciting to be able to finally meet her and get to know her.

After her class, she came over to the trailer and we each made our own dinner. I tell you what… after five days in a tent last year, in 95 degree F weather, having a refrigerator, a microwave and a bed was quite a luxurious experience!!! I got good food all week (without worrying about ice melting in a cooler), which really helped my experience significantly.

After dinner we went outside and ran into Merike Saarniit, who I met a few years back and whose acid-dyeing class I attended last year at Allegan. We chatted a little bit and it was good to connect a little. Unfortunately, she apparently left the festival early and we never got to connect again. She spent the month of May in Estonia and I was hoping to see photographs. I’ll just have to take her earlier word that the trip was wonderful and leave it at that.

The next day I had my polymer clay class. I had 16 enrolled and 14 made it to class. We had such a wonderful time!!! It was really windy and I was in a sort of large gazebo with no walls, but we made the most of it, taking turns chasing down flying handouts at times. Can you see how great my students did? Here are photos of: my own workspace, Debbie with her creations, a couple of plates full of student works (check out those buttons in particular), and most of my students after class.

Unfortunately, I never did get a photo of Annie in her magnificent lace hats. You’ll want to check out her website and see those and more amazing pieces of work, including Schooner, her installation of three lace panels, placed outdoors in New Jersey. All very cool. She’s an incredibly prolific and creative woman, and I’m delighted to know her.

One of my students knew, going in to the class, that she was also taking my ColorJoy Stole class the next day (the Festival called the class “Knitting with Novelty Yarns” which sounded sort of boring to me, but 10 people signed up anyway). Another one of my students in the polymer class decided she would sign up for my stole class after spending the day with me. I considered that a very high vote of confidence, indeed. I set out to make sure she and the others would be pleased with the knitting class.

Waaaay Tired!

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Wow. I finally got home for a day with no to-do list and I really crashed. It is so wonderful to not have to stand up on my feet today! I fell asleep at 12:45 last night after I finally finished downloading my 1,935 email messages, on our 28.8 modem. (About 1,600 of those messages were junk mail, isn’t that a hassle?)

I finally woke up at 10:45, and still felt really tired, so took it easy reading a few emails and drinking some wonderful tea. I have been enjoying some Twinings English Breakfast tea today, and some Eden Kukicha roasted twig Japanese tea as well. Yum!!!

I had planned to hang out in the hammock today and knit my vest/shell from Sally Melville’s Purl Stitch book. Well, I couldn’t find my book. I wanted to knit my gauge swatch and didn’t even know what gauge I was supposed to be aiming for. I finally found it after Brian got home from work, about 8pm. Why I didn’t go out in the hammock anyway, I don’t know, but I did rest with my feet up on the couch and the front door open. Maybe I’m just tired of being out in the great outdoors or something.

What I did instead of swatch, was eat breakfast and read through my emails, and then take a nap. I slept from 2:30 to 4:45. That is almost embarrassing! I really was over-tired from all my recent travels. I finally feel better.

I did feel awake enough to go outside and water my beloved flowers and veggies/herbs. Some of them really missed me, some didn’t notice I was gone. That’s life. I’ll definitely notice which did fine, at least in cool weather in August, so I can try those again next year. I’m gone a lot every August, it seems, and this is the real test of my plants.

You know what? I realized that I had been gone from my home for 2/3 of my time in August. I’ve had 17 days where I couldn’t be home, either from 3 overnight trips, the Folk Festival (where I helped Altu all day for 3 days) and two full day-trips for my work. In the same time, I’ve had only 8 days home. I’m so happy to be back!

I am already reaching out to friends in town, some of whom I’ve not seen in weeks and weeks. I’m re-establishing my roots here in Lansing, I guess. Today was about slowing down and remembering the art of relationship and friendship. It looks like I’ll be having tea with Sharon P of Knitknacks tomorrow, and I had a nice long chat by phone with my friend Ulyana, who has also been out of town a lot this month.

Toe-Up Sock Class, Anybody?
I’m teaching a toe-up sock class at Foster Center starting this Thursday. It looks like I may have three students, does anyone else want to join us? You can call Foster Center at 517/483-4233 between 8:30am and 8pm to register. It’s $33 for people in the City of Lansing limits, and $49 for non-residents. Time is 6pm to 8:30pm for 3 Thursdays starting August 26. With such a small class, folks will get really good individual attention. I’d love to have you join me!

Photos today– Entrance to Allegan County Fairgrounds… love that chicken! Flowers at fairgrounds behind the animal barn. Historical village on fairgrounds. My purchases at the Festival: 75% Mohair/ 25% Romney electric purple roving (it’s more ultramarine blue than shown here, very intense), raspberry variegated superwash merino roving from Bonkers!, a natural colored skein for dyeing, eyelash yarn called Coconut, in caribbean colors, rainbow flag-type yarn called Flora, handwoven checkbook cover from Central America. Not pictured are 1lb of natural alpaca/wool blend roving for dyeing, and a couple of jars of dye powder. There were so many temptations, I did well considering… but this feels like a big splurge. I’m looking forward to spinning the rovings, in particular.

I’m Home, & Boohbah Site

Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

I’m home, it was a blast, I have pictures and much to tell. However, I’m wiped out and will post tomorrow. Thanks for all the good wishes, they did come true.

Meanwhile, this is the coolest site if your computer has Macromedia Flash installed on it… prepare to play for a while:


Thanks to my sis-in-law, Diana, for this link.

Fiber Fest, & Online Match-the-Sox Diversion

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

I am off to teach at Michigan Fiber Festival. I will be gone Wednesday through Sunday (I have been gone so much that I’m really missing Brian a lot… he stays home and I run around the world). I am teaching Thurs/Fri and I will see what else I choose to do when I get there.

I want to meet lots of people, be they old friends or people I don’t know yet. That’s my goal. Last year that was also my goal, but it was very very hot and people did not hang around. This year it is supposed to have thunderstorms off and on. I’m glad I’m not camping in a tent this year. This year I will be in an RV or travel trailer provided by the Festival. I get to room with Annie Modesitt, which delights me. We have been corresponding for a few years via email and we have not yet met in person. I think we are going to have some serious fun in between classes!!!

Meanwhile, while I’m gone… if you have five minutes to just be entertained, this match-the-sox game online is relaxing but fun.

Mom’s Party at Aladdin’s

Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

Well, it was a few days later than her actual birthday, but we had a party for Mom today. We celebrated her 70 years on this earth! Mom was not expected by the doctors to live, when she was born. She was a premature baby on the Iron Range of Minnesota. Fortunately, her mother, my Grandma Illa, had gone to college in Public Health and insisted that Mom would live. When the doctors allowed Mom to turn blue from cold, Grandma insisted that they release her from the hospital with her baby, or she was going to walk out without a release. They did release her, and she took Mom home.

Everyone in the community wanted to see this tiny 4 pound baby. Grandma wouldn’t let them near. In order for the two older siblings to hold Mom, they had to wear a mask over their face in case they might sneeze or otherwise transmit germs to her. Grandma kept Mom on top of the refrigerator where heat would rise and make it warmer for her. I sure am glad my Grandma knew that my Mom could make it and do well! Here she is, 70 years later and a prizewinning ballroom dancer among other things. I wanna be like my Mom when I grow up!!!

I gave mom a video of the Habibi Dancers annual concert we did in April when she was in Florida, and a pair of socks I knit with peasant/afterthought heels. The yarn came from Yarn for Ewe during my little sockyarn shopping spree a few months back. Eric and Diana gave Mom a book and a beautiful ColorJoy stole that Diana knit. Doesn’t Mom look great in it? You can see that the socks and the stole go great with what Mom wore today. That’s because they will look great with almost anything Mom owns. She likes blues and greens a lot, especially all together. She also wears other brights but they all look good with the blues and greens.

The meal was great at Aladdin’s as usual, and Ali, one of the owners, took this photo for us. (Left to right: Diana, Eric, Brian, Fred, Mom and I… my family and our partners… it was great that Brian could get free from work and join us at lunch like that.) Ali also gave us all a rice pudding on the house when he realized it was Mom’s 70th birthday. How sweet was that? They have *really* good rice pudding, too… the best I’ve had in Lansing.

We had a great time. It ended too soon.

Here are a few pictures of the party, and a close-up shot of the socks, which makes my 96th pair so far. The picture of mom first seeing the socks I knit, was taken by Diana, my sis-in-law. Ali took the group shot (although I did crop it and airbrush out the too-sunny window behind us). The others I took.

I’m Caught up!

Monday, August 16th, 2004

I just posted, after the fact, my blog entries for August 12 & 13 (the last two days in Chicago), and August 15 (the Folk Festival in East Lansing). I was very behind on my writing since I had been traveling and working for the last week. I dated the entries for the date they happened, rather than when I wrote them, to keep them in the right order.

Today I drove and drove and drove, about 4 hours around Michigan (approximately Lansing to Flint to Pontiac to Flint to Lansing). I had to pick up things I needed for the next week or so in my fiber/teaching business, particularly items for my classes at Michigan Fiber Festival. Fortunately, traffic was not bad, as it had been on the Chicago trip. I was warned to stay away from I-75 and I did, and all was well.

I ended my workday with a dinner at Emils (a combination of work and pleasure), with Sharon P of Knitknacks, Lili, and Marlene C who stopped by for a moment. These are three of my four students in my ColorJoy Stole class. I am preparing to teach this again in Allegan at the Michigan Fiber Festival this Friday. I was tweaking the pattern, trying to make it as clear and understandable as possible. They have been just great with suggestions and input, and I have really appreciated that.

Marlene and Sharon are loaning me their precious stoles so that I can take them to the festival as examples of other student works. I’m very grateful and will guard these with my life! Pictures soon… Lili has already been pictured here in her stole, and perhaps Sharon has also if I remember right. I’ve already posted so much today, and processed so many photos in the last couple of days, that I will save these photos for later.

By the way, a couple of weeks ago there were 10 people in my stole class at Allegan with a maximum available seats of 15. Yesterday the website showed that the class was not yet full (my polymer class has been full for weeks). They are calling it something like “Knitting with Novelty Yarns” if you are interested. It is a full day on Friday… that is just a few days from now.

Who all is going to Allegan? Shall we meet up somewhere???

Michigan Folk Festival

Sunday, August 15th, 2004

I helped my friend Altu with her food booth at the Michigan Folk Festival this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I was in the booth most of the time. Saturday I took one hour to go see the Afghani musicians and their incredible dancer. Sunday I took almost one hour to dance with the mideastern musicians, at least two of whom I’ve danced to before when they played for our Habibi Dancers spring concert two or three years ago. World class, they are! It was wonderful to dance to their music again.

Also, I did get out in time from the food booth, to do a little dancing at the dance tent before things closed up for good. Brian and I danced to the Zydeco band on Friday. I watched people dance to the French Canadian band once and on Saturday I watched the polka band get the crowd going, including doing the chicken dance. Too fun! The crowd was having a wonderful time.

On Sunday at the very end, the Zydeco band was playing again. I went to the dance tent where Altu was dancing with her niece, who is about 5 years old. This child and I met about 2 years ago at a wedding shower where most of the people were speaking their primary language which was not English. I found that even if I did not know the language, I could certainly dance and have a wonderful time at the party.

So I danced. And the children danced. And later, the adults also danced. This little girl kept watching me and finally I encouraged her to dance with me. We had a wonderful time! Now she calls me “My Dancing Lady” and we dance even when we run into each other at Altu’s restaurant, to whatever music happens to be playing at the time. We have such fun!!!

Brian joined us and we danced, mostly by making a chain of three, first Brian… then me and the little girl. Brian took a few pictures while we were dancing, by just holding up his camera as we danced. I like what he got!!!

The photos here are: crowd taken by Brian; Altu’s niece spinning around with me holding her hand, also by Brian; dancing crowd including we three dancing, by Brian; a blind man I see often in East Lansing, dancing enthusiastically… you should have seen him go wild… to the mideast ensemble (I took this photo and the rest which follow); a closer look at the mideastern band; folks dancing a Lebanese line dance called a debke… many of the dancers from the local restaurant called Woody’s Oasis; the polka band playing the chicken dance and an enthusiastic crowd dancing along; and two photos of the incredibly beautiful Afghani dancer. I could do an entire page of photos just of her! I took about 20 photos of her, and there was not one bad shot in the bunch, she was so beautiful.