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Archive for September, 2004

Rainbow Photo

Thursday, September 16th, 2004

I need to be away from my computer a lot for the next week or so. I’m going back and looking for photos that I took but never posted for lack of space.

This one is very recent. It is a rainbow I photographed on Sunday, on the way home from Wheatland Music Festival. We were on our way south on the highway just past Mount Pleasant (home of Central Michigan University, where I went to school and where both my Godchildren are studying right now). Notice how flat the land is here. Mount Pleasant has no mountain. In fact, it has precious few hills as well. Who knows why they named it that, but it is truly a pleasant place, mountain or not.

I was pretty glad that the rain started after all our camping gear was in the car and we were safely under a roof! The rainbow made it even easier to take that rain.

It’s too bad the photo has a highway in it rather than rolling hills, but check out that color! It was magnificent, and stretched without a break from east to west. Wonderful. As much as I complain about being out in nature, there is nothing man-made as beautiful as a rainbow. I am sure I’ll never lose the wonder of the first rainbow I ever saw. It was life-stopping at the time, took my breath away.

I hope you enjoy my photo.

Late-Breaking Photos from Monday

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

I just added photos to illustrate my post of September 14. There is one photo each for the three bands we heard Monday Night.

My town is getting good! What great musicians! I’m delighted to give them a little press.

Mid-Mitten Basketmakers

Wednesday, September 15th, 2004

Tuesday night I taught polymer clay techniques to the Mid-Mitten Basketmakers Guild. We had a great time.

One woman, Sue, had her birthday. That meant great artful food… angelfood cake with mixed fresh fruit on it, plus either hazelnut coffee or peach iced tea.

I got only one photo before my camera gave up on its battery. I’m so sorry to those who were left out of the photo (I had nine students) and very sorry for those whose heads got cut off.

Trust me, a good time was had by all, many beautiful polymer patterns were created, and the photos I didn’t take would have been grand.

Monday Night Music Scene

Tuesday, September 14th, 2004

Monday night, Brian and I did a whirlwind tour of the Lansing Music Scene. We had a blast!

First, we went to Mac’s Bar, and we saw our friends Drew, Steve and Pat (and two other guys we met that night) play as The Saltines. I ran into a few folks in the audience I’d met before, actually 4 people who I’d met in 4 different places. It wasn’t really crowded (it was early for a bar, and a Monday night) but it was a familiar crowd, for us.

THEN we hopped a few blocks down the street to The Green Door, where our friends in Steppin’ in It have a regular gig. We got there just as they were finishing up a set. The next set, however, was a real treat… they stepped aside for a group of folks playing a type of Klezmer music… danceable, modern music with generations-old Jewish roots. Our friend Drew had run down the street at the same time we did, to play the one set with this band… then he apparently ran back to Mac’s and finished his night there.

I tell you, this Klezmer band was amazing. One guy played trombone and saxophone. Our friend Tamineh (formerly of Pub Domain and The Weepers, currently in The Troublesome Lasses) played fiddle as only she can. There was a drummer, and a bass player and Drew on electric guitar and perhaps lap steel. It was intense, and they were together like glue. It was wonderful.

The next set was Steppin’ in It again. More amazing stuff. These guys know how to make a party. The place was so full we could not sit down! There were mostly younger folks than us (I’m 45, perhaps they were mostly 20’s and 30’s) and again we knew a few folks but not as many as at Mac’s. Most of the people we knew at The Door were folks who work with Brian at Elderly Instruments.

Wowie! What an intense and wonderful musical night we had. We danced like crazy. We don’t dance any particular type of dance, but we really enjoy moving to the music and being together. I can’t imagine a more enjoyable date!

I sure can’t do that very often… I usually work nights and I’ll be teaching a computer class for the next 10 weeks on Mondays… and the smoke, although not really bad, was not great for my health. But I kept saying to myself… “and this is in Lansing!” I was so pleased. This town has come a long way. Top notch stuff right in my neighborhood… I could have walked to both these bars from my old house, or from Foster Center. My kinda town!!!

Photos: The Saltines at Macs – Drew at left, seated, Pat in back on drums, Steve hiding behind his bass, and two front guys in white shirts whose names I’ve unfortunately forgotten already; Klezmer band – Trombonist I didn’t meet, Tamineh, drummer who I don’t know but who apparently started up the band, bass player I don’t know, Drew on guitar; Steppin’ in It – Andy, Joe, drummer I haven’t met, Dominic and Josh.

Wheatland 2004, Chapter 3

Monday, September 13th, 2004

Saturday night at Wheatland, during the dinner break for the main stage, our friends have traditionally had a potluck. Now, preparing food on the 2nd day of a warm weekend is a challenge, so we are getting a bit simpler but the food is great quality no matter.

We often have 25 people in a crowded space under the trees, and it’s great fun. We eat and sing and laugh. This year one of the kids (who is at least as much of a ham as I, but more bold in asking for an audience) asked us to listen to her play recorder. Mind you, she doesn’t know any songs so she just tooted into it in a decent rhythm… but she did not want to stop at all. Finally she took a deep breath and someone started clapping very loudly so she would know her time was up. This kid is going to go somewhere, I can tell it already! She is a smart and interesting child, and it was good to have her with us.

I have no photos for the next, big highlight of the weekend (I left my camera in the tent and was unwilling to leave the scene to get it). Our friends, Andy and Joe Wilson, are in a really hot young band called Steppin’ in It. They had one show this weekend… at 7pm on the 2nd stage. The concert was in part to celebrate their new CD, Hidden in the Lowlands (which I happen to be listening to right now as I type this).

Andy and Joe used to work at Elderly Instruments with Brian, and I got to know them then. We used to go to the same parties in the summer at Mike Cutler’s place (but Mike moved back to Colorado and the party scene has not been the same since). These days I see them in the newspaper more often than I see them in person.

Steppin' In It's Hidden in the LowlandsI tell you, this band is SOOOOOO fab! They are so hot, and so together, and so musical and so whatever you could possibly want in a band, I just love it when I can hear them play. They play at the Green Door on East Michigan Ave. in Lansing every Monday night, but I seem to get so dratted busy (you certainly believe me if you read this blog) that I just haven’t made it over there yet. I’m not much for bars (I don’t drink and I avoid crowds when I can), but the Green Door has come a long way in becoming a welcoming sort of neighborhood spot with great dance bands in the last 20 years. They have a decent kitchen now, I’m told, and the few times I’ve been there I’ve felt comfortable and really loved the music.

Well, Steppin’ in It took over the world there for an hour at the 2nd stage. It was magic and it was electric, and all the other things a dance/party band could want to be. Andy plays an amazing set of harmonicas, in addition to pennywhistle, accordion and trumpet. The crowd went crazy for some of his solos. Dominic, the bass player, doesn’t sing but he’s just captivating to watch, smiling and going at that bass as if there were no better thing to do on this earth (I’ve felt that at times, but it seems to glow permanently from Dominic).

Josh, who wrote a good number of their songs and sings lead most of the time, is quite fine to look at (as a lead singer often should be) and his voice is just the right combination of mellow and earthy. And Joe… well, what a talent. He sings the tightest, most excellent harmonies that just blow me away… while he’s simultaneously playing steel guitar or dobro. He used to play trombone with the band sometimes, but did not play it on the CD (or this concert) at all, so maybe Andy is a one-man brass section these days.

These guys just played their hearts out! And the audience got up on their feet, until there was no more dancing space available. When they were done, the crowd went wild. The announcer (whose job it is to make sure they stay on schedule for the following bands) allowed an encore. They played that, and the crowd STILL went nuts. I’ve never seen this done, but they allowed a second encore. And after that second one, they got off stage *fast* so they wouldn’t mess up the schedule… but that crowd did not want to hear no for an answer. It was wonderful. I was so happy for the band, and for the audience. And next time, I think Wheatland Music Organization will have to answer some serious questions if they don’t put this band on the main stage. It must be because they are a) young, and/or b) from Michigan, that they didn’t look like main stage matierial. I can’t think of any other reasons… and of course, neither is valid. Main stage in 2005, I say!

(Michigan residents, make sure to check out Steppin’ in It’s Greasy Spoon Atlas for the scoop on breakfast joints all over the state. They have covered the state well, with a few entries from the Upper Peninsula as well as lower.)

Saturday evening after the concert, we played more tunes, as we had expected. We found the same spot as the night before on Workshop Lane. Our friend Bob McCarthy joined us again, and our friend Willie T (who used to be in Abbott Brothers before I knew Brian) joined us with his keyboard. Oh, my, was that a good time! We had a good crowd around us much of the time.

Early in that jam session, the young man (Cameron, age 14) from the night before came up to me with a box the size of a Ukulele. Turns out he had determined to learn this instrument after watching Brian for 2 hours the night before. He was so determined to get it, that he sold his ocarina (that he had bought for himself at one time earlier) and his walking stick, to earn the cash for the uke. He came asking Brian to show him some things.

Brian tuned the instrument and showed Cameron a few chords and invited him to play along with us. Cameron sat next to me and I did my best to encourage him. I told him what I tell my young knitters… that when you learn a bicycle you are not good at it right away, that you need to practice before you know if you are good at it or not. I encouraged him not to quit too soon, before he had tried enough to play it. Brian told him “Don’t watch TV, play uke.” Strong words, but said without a thread of doubt, and excellent advice for a kid that age.

I gave Cameron a copy of our CD and our business card so he can contact us if he wants. He did OK for a first night, so I am hoping he’ll keep up the enthusiasm long enough to play well. It was fun to sit next to him during the jam. I kept telling him what chord I was playing and he did his best to chase the chords around! I understand what it’s like to not know, and he did pretty well.

We played there until about 1:30 and then we went to see our friends from Kalamazoo and Bay City. It’s mostly women at that camp, a big change of pace from our other musical circles. The women sing wonderful songs, in wonderful harmonies. Lots of the songs are sentimental or sad, and so one of their male friends who hangs out sometimes, tells them to stop playing all that “whiney shit.” So we call them the whiney grrrlz sometimes. I love these women, and I don’t see them much, usually twice a year. We stayed until we got cold and our voices were giving out, about 2:30am.

Sunday morning I opened my mouth to sing and nothing came out. I sent Brian off to find music to play without me, because I knew if I took my bass and went with him, I’d force my voice and that is a bad idea. I want to be strong to sing at our upcoming fall Ukulele Festivals, so I held back one day at Wheatland and I’m glad I did. I went over to the whiney grrlz’ camp and listened to them play music while I knitted. When we all had to sort of break it up (some of the folks at that camp had to drive long distances home… one woman 8 hours) we did our hugfest and I was back on my way to our camp.

I could not find Brian at all. It turns out he had gone back to Middleground and I had not thought to go there looking for him. So I checked out all the artists’ booths and talked to one jeweler for a while. I got some iced tea, chatted with a few friends I came across and took some photographs of the crowd. Finally I went back thinking I’d start carrying things to the car in anticipation of going home. I found Brian when I got back to camp.

It was a grand time, even if I did complain a lot about being outdoors. I don’t like dirt on my feet and face, I don’t like port-a-potties, I don’t like sleeping in tents. But I do love the music and the comaraderie. I love the food my friends bring. I love the colorful clothing, the youthful energy I find, the fabulous tunes we play with folks we don’t see elsewhere, and the artfulness and joy I find at this festival. We’ll go again next year, for sure.

Photos: A toast at potluck, recorder concert at potluck, cover of Steppin’ in It’s new CD, art fair section of the festival (complete with tie-dye customers), two pictures of tunes at whiney grrlz camp (with two token men for balance).

Wheatland 2004, Chapter 2/Middleground

Monday, September 13th, 2004

Day two of Wheatland was Saturday. I slept in until the tent was too warm from sunlight, to stay asleep. I think that was 11am or something decadent like that! I got up slowly, woke up even more slowly. Brian, the sweetie that he is, made sure I got a cup of good strong tea as soon as possible. The tea helped considerably. I am quiet and grumpy in the morning (that is, before noon). I was happy that the people we stayed with knew that my normal self is not like that! Sometimes I feel like a toddler who was taken from her nap too soon!

Fortunately, the sun shone and the day was beautiful. We got what food we could find, and talked with folks we knew (Hanno was there, the host of the party on Labor Day weekend where I took the pic of the kids with squash). We listened to a little bit of music here and there, and then Art and Marlene told us that we needed to go over to Middleground and check out the scene.

Middleground is a relatively new thing at Wheatland, but it’s a wonderful thing. It came out of the fact that there were teenagers feeling out of place at Wheatland, with nothing they really liked to do, and they would get in trouble because of boredom. Well, that is all different now. Now the folks like us with gray hair want to be at Middleground where the teens and college kids hang out!

There are all sorts of free craft activities, from making felt (and then making the felt into purses if you wanted), free henna tattoos (long line for that one), free make your own tie-dye shirt (also over an hour wait), hair wraps, hemp bracelets/necklaces, hacky sack, juggling African dancing and much more. How cool is that? The thing that got us out there, was that they have an open microphone going the whole festival. Anyone who wants can get a 15-minute slot, you don’t have to be under 30 years old to do it.

Our friends encouraged us to sign up, so Brian went over and got us a 4pm time slot. We told as many people as we could, and we headed over there to play. It was very fun. It’s a small stage and it’s surrounded by all these great activities. The long line for henna tattoos was right next to us so those folks were happy for a distraction, and a handful of our friends (including Andy Wilson, member of the band Steppin in It) were there. It is so fun to play to friends!!! We had a fun time.

After we played onstage, there was a young man telling jokes, wearing fingerless gloves and a skirt (so smart, it’s a shame more men don’t dare do this, but you see young men wearing skirts at at festivals all the time… they are so much more cool in hot weather than shorts). There was a young lady who sang original material, singing guitar with a friend for harmony. Then our friend Art sang a few songs he wrote himself… always with a big grin. He’s so easy to be around, and the crowd liked his songs.

It is a long walk from Middleground to The Pines (Wheatland is on what was once a working farm). It seemed everyone on the path had to ask me about my odd-looking bass. Art was walking with us, and he was showing us off, so we did little one-song concerts on the way back. Pretty fun.

Photos, all at Middleground: Juggling crowd, lovely young lady listening to original music on stage, The Fabulous Heftones, Art singing his original song, juggling crowd, joke teller.

Wheatland 2004, Chapter 1

Monday, September 13th, 2004

Well, here is the scoop on Wheatland 2004. It was a wonderful time, really. Friday we got there before dinnertime and Brian got the tent up in record time. Marlene and Art got there the day before (when you volunteer you get one day of lead time) and they found a great spot between the Musicians’ campground and the main stage. That means that we got to hear the music all weekend by hanging out at our campsite, if we didn’t want to go sit in the crowd. That was particularly nice this year, since the sun shone a lot and even I got a little sunburn (and I’m really careful to stay out of the sun and cover up my shoulders with a sarong when I’m out running around).

I wandered over to the common area Art and Marlene had set up, and lo and behold they were eating homemade california rolls that Marlene had made and brought with her. Sushi at a campground? I was amazed, but that sort of tells you the company we keep at this festival! They had good wine going all weekend, too, but I’m not a wine drinker so I can’t report on that part. I had a california roll just to say I had sushi at Wheatland! It even included some cucumbers from their garden. How great that was.

Then I made Brian and I some rollups with baked italian-flavored tofu and spinach, and Marlene gave me a small tomato from their garden, just picked. Another gourmet treat the first few hours at camp! We really enjoyed that dinner immensely.

After that, we wandered down to the food vendor/stage area/art fair and took in the sights, saying hello to many friends on the way. Brian found some more food and I got a cup of tea. Then we went looking for tunes (a jam session).

We didn’t find anyone right away who we knew, so we found a spot on workshop lane (a place in the pines camping area where they set up benches in circles for workshops during the day), and we played together until we attracted a few friends and a few musicians we had not met yet.

We were at a sort of well-trafficked area not far from the main stage, so we had a lot of folks stop and listen before passing through. It was great to have an audience, and everyone was so responsive I really enjoyed it. Eventually our friend Bob McCarthy (from our Abbott Brothers band) came by, and a gentleman with a guitar who played a lot of 70s popular/folk music I knew a little bit, and a few others who came and went.

And a young man, age 14 (we learned later his name was Cameron), plunked himself on the ground sitting with his back against a light pole, and listened for hours. When we would stop he’d talk to us for a while. At one point he said he thought his fingers couldn’t fit on a ukulele keyboard. I told him that Tiny Tim, a famous ukulele player, was about 6 feet 4 inches tall, and a large man, and he played it just fine.

After that session sort of broke up, and the main stage was silent (after 11pm) we found our friend Dick (also Abbott Brothers band) and we found a few chairs in the audience area of the main stage where we sat and played tunes until about 1:30am or so. It was quite wonderful. We only ended because it was getting chilly out. Actually, I went to bed at that point but Brian got a few more layers on him and he went to the musicians’ campground and found a jam session that went on a few more hours. I would have enjoyed that, but my voice and my body needed to rest.

Photos: 1) Sushi at Wheatland… left to right is Chuck , Dorothea, Annie, Brian, Art, Marlene, Dietrich. 2&3) Two Garden Spaces created by RV/trailer occupants at another area of the festival. They went all out making it home, didn’t they? Can you see the wrought iron posts and the potted flowers? 4) the Footworks dance troupe, doing a Gumboots dance (from South Africa) which was not nearly long enough for me!

Wheatland 2004, Overview

Sunday, September 12th, 2004

Well, we did our annual trip to Wheatland Music Festival this weekend. As always, I loved the friendship and music and struggled with the camping and porta-potties. It was great fun in spite of my grumpy acceptance of the sleeping quarters (tent with slightly leaky air mattress). The company is so very good, and this year it was not too cold to play music at night. I really enjoyed playing music a lot this year. And the food… the people we camp with are such good cooks! That is always a major treat.

We lucked out this year with weather. It was a bit chilly the first night, better the second night, and sunny and gorgeous all three days. The second night was great, we stayed out until 2:30am playing music before we started to feel cold (I was wearing a *lot* of wool, but not as much as last year when it got down to about 42 degrees at night). On our way home just before dusk, we hit some rainstorms in Mt. Pleasant, which is the northeast corner of our driving path. That was the only rain we saw all weekend, and since I saw almost all of it safe from inside a car, I was just fine with that.

Sunday we got home at dusk, I made dinner, we dragged all the camping gear and clothing in from the car, took baths, and then promptly discovered some problems connecting to the internet, for no apparent reason. I maintain two phone lines, two modems, two internet service providers I can call to connect (when you make part of your business on the internet, you can’t afford to lose your connection for any reason). We tried all sorts of combinations, but it was very slow going getting all my email downloaded… it either would not connect or it would disconnect a little while after connecting. Thank goodness, it seems to have fixed itself!

The two photographs I’ll share with you today, are Brian and I performing at the Open Mic stage in the Middleground area of the festival… and a child who was with our group of campers, showing off her felt purse she made (also at Middleground, which is sort of a festival within a festival aimed at activities younger folks would enjoy). She made the felt and then sewed it together and sewed embellishments on it.

The child is also sporting the unofficial clothing of Wheatland Music Festival. It seems that one out of three people walking around the festival, is wearing some sort of tie dye. Color reigns at Wheatland! It’s a lovely change of pace.

I’ll write more in detail Monday. Thanks for coming by!

A Woman Weaving (and Spinning) Dreams…

Saturday, September 11th, 2004

Marcia, who is on my Dyehappy yahoogroups email list (mostly for dyers of animal fiber), is just starting her adventures with spinning yarn and dyeing wool. She has been writing and documenting this process lately. I wish I had clued you in on this earlier, because some good pictures seem to already have disappeared from her blog page.

I invite you to go to Marcia’s page (Women Weaving Dreams), and start reading from the bottom of the weblog to the top. What a courageous and creative person Marcia is! She dives in with full gusto, and doesn’t look back! I’m happy to know her, at least in a small way.

More Good Food, Sock Class & Giving it Up

Friday, September 10th, 2004

What a busy day Thursday was! (It’s always busy, really, since We are going to be quite distracted the next several days (you may not see me back online until Sunday afternoon) and so I tried to do everything possible today. It didn’t work!!!

I did get to go see a computer client today, someone I’ve worked with on and off for maybe a dozen years but mostly off lately. We really like one another, and it’s a shame we haven’t been able to say hello much this year. However, that visit (it was work, I’m not complaining) meant I was busy until afternoon had already begun.

The great part about that, was that the client is in Old Town and that means I had to go past the City Market on the way home. What a great excuse to visit Magda of Seif Foods! I had an incredible chicken in honey mustard sauce on cous-cous with vegetables. Wow, it was wonderful. What a great week I’ve had in the food department!!! (And actually, Brian took me to Altu’s for dinner at the end of the day so I just had it made, for sure.)

After lunch I came home and dug out a few rosebushes. We have these wild climbing old-fashioned roses with the tiny flowers in bunches. They grow everywhere, wild, by the roots. We have so many, and some are actually growing up in the grass which can be painful when I’m walking barefoot! So when someone on the Freecycle list asked for climbing plants for the fence at her new house, I figured it was my time to give rather than receive on Freecycle. So today I dug out five or six small bushes for this person. I hope they grow well for her!

But my day did not end there… Altu called me and asked to go to coffee. I had about a half hour so I met her at Frandor Panera’s… I got a tea and she got some sort of iced coffee thing with whipped cream (sort of a surprise, since she tends to love her black hot coffee when we go to Beaners). We sat outside and chatted as long as we possibly could, and then I went to work at Foster Center. How convenient that Panera’s is so close to Frandor. I don’t normally go there but it was the perfect location today, especially with the outdoor tables.

At Foster I had 13 kids who came in after school for computer lab, and one former computer student/retiree who had some questions because she is actually using her new computer quite a lot. That was great to talk with her.

Just as lab was wrapping up, a girl I call KK (from CityKidz Knit! program last year) stopped by to ask for a small ball of purple yarn to make a wristband for a friend. It was wonderful to see her again. She has grown several inches over the summer and is smiling from ear to ear. That made my day, to see this child!

THEN at 6pm I went to the room next door to the computer lab, and I taught the final session of the toe-up sock class. Except that one student was ill and couldn’t make it, and another had already told me she would be gone this last week… and so Amity and I had a private lesson. It worked out great.

She had actually finished her husband’s sock (I have got to hand it to her, she had a lot more knitting to do for his foot than I do for Brian) and so we discussed several possible options for socks she might make in the future. Then she asked some great questions. She wanted to know how to knit a basketweave so I showed her how I had done the sock she was admiring with the basketweave on it. Then she was interested in cables, so I showed her how to do that. She did a little swatch, and did a great job. What fun that was! Cables are sort of magic, once you figure them out.

We talked about working in ends on a sock (knots are an uncomfortable option so we did other methods) and several methods of binding off for toe up sox. Since I bind off tightly most of the time, I need to worry about this. She bound off her normal way (with a crochet hook to make it a little looser) and it fit well when her husband tried it on. For someone with hard-to-fit-feet, I know from personal experience, it’s a treat to have socks that fit so well!

Congrats to Amity on the sock well done! Check out her sock here, plus her cable/basketweave swatch. (I believe her sockyarn was Reggio, which I’m pretty sure she got at Yarn for Ewe in Okemos. I surely loved my striped version of this yarn, and I bet her hubby will love his socks.)

Oh… and the Giving it Up part of the title today? There is no way I’m going to get my new handpainted yarn website together for you to see it until Monday at the very earliest. I have had good things that have taken me from the studio (primarily the computer work, for which I’m grateful) and that means a delay. So sorry, for those of you who are waiting.

Great Food & Continuing Yarn Preparation

Thursday, September 9th, 2004

ExoticHere is a picture of where I ate dinner on Tuesday, on the way to the Borders Arborland knitting group. It’s called Exotic Cuisine and Bakery, and it is Syrian (mideastern) food. Yum! Big, huge Yum!

They are on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, just west of the Islamic Center maybe a half a mile, if that. They are not too far west from the Knit-A-Round shop. I half wish they were in Lansing, and I half am glad they are not because I’d eat there a lot and quality has a price. Oh, my goodness, the food was good as it always is!

I like Makmoor best of all, a rich eggplant and tomato stew. I also got a lentil and pasta dish that was very flavorful, just brimming with all sorts of flavors… lemon and garlic at the very least. I also got a green bean with tomato dish, which was very different than the Makmoor, perhaps a little more “fresh” and light… less cooked down even though both were based on tomato flavor. That one also had lots of garlic, but cooked so that it was not overpowering.

Then I went to the great and wonderful Borders gathering at Arborland. And I got home past midnight and didn’t regret it at all, even though I still had work to do with my yarns. Those people are so wonderful, they just feed me. There are so many folks I want to talk with I get a bit confused.

I don’t love crowds, you know that (I like people one on one… or in tiny groups, if I get my way), but I deal with it sometimes to be around groups of other knitters. In two weeks I’ll be seeing my local Lansing guild again at our first formal meeting all year. That is similar… something like 30-50 people and I get overwhelmed knowing who to talk with next. Worth it, but exhausting!

Wednesday I did paperwork and computer work and I wound a bunch of yarn into small skeins (I had dyed in skeins over 1000 yards long, about a pound each). I will have larger quantities of yarns this time, and they are ever so lovely re-skeined off the larger skeins. I’m in love. It’s so good when you make something and it’s all said and done, and it’s at least as good as you imagined it might be.

Cyndy wrote and said she’s waiting for the yarns to make their first appearance. I have one more repeat customer waiting in the wings as well. You guys are the greatest!!!

Time to sleep so I can do more yarn prep. on Thursday. I know this is my Thursday post, but I’m posting it verrrry early in the wee hours of Thursday so I can spend time away from the computer tomorrow.

I’ll be in touch, I promise.

Final Labor Day Pictures

Wednesday, September 8th, 2004

Well, here are a few pics from the Labor Day music party we attended. The food was as good as the music, trust me! It’s pretty hard to take a good photo of a group of people sitting around playing music, but these give a little feel of the spirit of the day.

I need to get right on publishing my teaching schedule, I’ve fallen behind in part because I have kept on adding classes, it seems there is no end to it (and I love that). Last week (I think) I got my newsletter from Nancy McRay of Woven Art in East Lansing. Then Sarah Peasley published her schedule online. *Then* I go to my post office box yesterday after the long weekend, and I have FOUR new yarn shop newsletters. I got the Yarn for Ewe newsletter I mentioned here a few days back. I also got one for Stitch in Time in Howell, Knit a Round in Ann Arbor, and Heritage Spinning & Weaving in Lake Orion. I guess it’s that time again.

It really *feels* like that time again. This morning it was 55F at 10:30am, pretty darned chilly (by comparison, it was in the upper 80s F late last week). I got out my mohair sweater and thick wool socks with legwarmers. My body does not do well the first month or so when it has to start keeping itself warm. Something is wrong with my inner thermostat, and they have done a million medical tests to be sure nothing serious is wrong. I just get really cold when other people are not cold at all. This means I’m a big fan of wool, mohair and alpaca sweaters! (Especially alpaca… yum!)

This is the time of year to buy used sweaters, in my experience. I went to Goodwill the other day and found a wool jacket-sweater and a vest, in perfect condition, both in charcoal heather. Not very ColorJoy but useful enough, and charcoal just doesn’t show lint or dust at all so that makes it very practical. Then I went to 2nd Time Around, a higher-end consignment shop, and I found a fabulous heavy alpaca-mohair-nylon blend cabled sweater, barely worn, for $15. It’s in shades of natural gray, mostly lighter colors. I may overdye it turquoise, I may leave it alone. I don’t have a dyepot big enough to let something that large swim around and take dye evenly, so I’d have to paint it on a table with dyes and then roll it up and steam in the microwave. Might be more trouble than it is worth, we’ll see what mood I’m in when I have the time to do it.

Off to package/photograph my new dyed yarns.

Weekend Follow-Up #1

Tuesday, September 7th, 2004

I have been gone a lot this long weekend, and when I was home I was dyeing yarn in my basement studio, away from the computer some more.

That is to say I’m sorry for a one-photo post today. I got home Tuesday night after midnight from Ann Arbor and need to sleep, but don’t want to miss a day saying hello to you all.

Here’s a photo of three children at the birthday/music party we attended on Saturday. A couple of the attendees had a very productive garden, as you can see, and the kids just took to these beautiful vegetables. Aren’t they adorable? The children, that is.

We had a party to attend on Saturday (this was the only photo I took) and then we also went to one on Monday as well. Unfortunately, I started working on editing those photos when I was using the computer on battery power, and I put the computer into sleep mode, then lost all power even with it sleeping… so I lost the photo edits. Yes, I usually do save as I work but I confess I had not gotten very far.

I’ll bring some music-party photos to you later. However, today you get the children. I’m very fond of this photo!

More yarns are on the way, as well… Wednesday is photograph/edit yarn day. I did a few colorways in more subtle color choices and I like them very well. I hope they show up well on the web, we’ll see that tomorrow. I did a few in my normal ColorJoy intense colors, as well.

My friend Deb (Scarlet Zebra) says she just can’t get yarn in colors intense enough for her, except from me. I’m delighted for that vote of confidence! She knit a beautiful pair of socks out of yarn she got from me, and I forgot to take a photo when I saw them (and her) today. I’ll beg one from her soon enough, I’d guess!

Sleep well. I’ll catch you tomorrow.

Toe-Up Sock Class at Foster Center

Monday, September 6th, 2004

I’ve been so full of news and photographs that I have been remiss in talking about my current knitting class at Foster Center. I have three ladies in my Toe-Up Socks class. Betsy is a young woman I actually met online, through the Mid-Michigan Freecycle Network . She has been donating canvas bags to the kids at Foster Center for a while now (she goes to lots of trade shows, where every vendor seems to give them out free, as advertising). However, we never seemed to meet. She would leave the bags on her porch and I’d go pick them up.

But somehow while we got talking via email about the kids knitting, she asked if I were teaching adults as well. She especially wanted to learn socknitting. Well, I think I’m a good one for that subject, don’t you think??? So when my toe-up class came up, I wrote her to see if she wanted to take the class.

Betsy and her friend, Erin, decided to sign up for it. It turns out Erin was a horticulture student of Art Cameron at MSU (my friend Marlene’s husband) so it’s a very small town indeed! With one more student, Amity, who found me through the booklet that Lansing Parks and Recreation puts out, we had enough students for a class!

We started two weeks ago on Thursday night. They learned how to start a toe and increase to the right diameter, then they spent the week knitting to where they needed to start a heel. We did a heel flap and a heel turn this last week, and I showed them how to decrease for a gusset. They will decrease their gussets this week and knit whatever cuff they prefer (the pattern I’m using calls for fat yarn and a rolled cuff, to make a slipper-sock, but they can do whatever they like best).

Next week we will discuss the binding off of a toe-up sock, which is really important so that the sock will go on over the heel. Binding off can be a very inelastic thing, and there are some tricks we can use to make it more flexible.

I am really enjoying this group. I love teaching sooooo much!!! (Here is a picture of Amity and Betsy, very focused while turning their heels last week.)