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Archive for November, 2004

Emily’s Beautiful Stole/Beautiful Gift

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

Emily was in my pilot class when I tested the ColorJoy Stole pattern. She came to me with some yarns in colors she normally would not wear. She had a stretch to get a combination of yarns that looked great together. It’s hard for all of us to work with colors that aren’t our most flattering, that is just how it works. We know “our” colors best.

Fortunately, this class is a group experience. The others in the group encouraged her and helped her find the right combination.

I’ve shown this stole before, but not being worn. Emily decided to give the stole to a young relative who was going to a wedding. And here is the lovely young lady in her gift! Isn’t it just as perfect as it could be? I’m so happy that Emily found a way to use those yarns from her stash that were not her standard colors… and in such style, too!

These stoles feel like magic, somehow. When I wear mine, I get to meet people because they must tell me how they like it… and often they tell stories about knitting or crocheting while they are at it (it happened at the grocery store today… a lady showed me her project that she had with her, a crocheted multi-yarn scarf in project with some eyelash in it). It clearly was magic for this young lady, as well.

By the way, my friend got her “hug” mostly-alpaca stole last night and she called me. It’s warm and pretty and it pleased her. And she definitely understood it was a hug. I was so happy to have the opportunity to talk with her before I left on my trip. And I’m so glad my work can bring colorful comfort to her during the cold months.

Sushi for Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

My Brother, Eric, came up from Ypsilanti for Thanksgiving. We had heard that the new Armenian restaurant (House of Kabobs) was going to be open until 4pm and we figured we’d check that out.

Well, we got there at 3pm and they were just closing up for lack of business. You know, when I was in college I worked at fancy restaurants, and I always had to work on Thanksgiving. And the places were always packed. However, that was in the days before all the chain restaurants. I wonder if that has something to do with it.

So… we were all set on Armenian food and we had to go “hunting nuts and berries” as Brian sometimes puts it. We drove to all the places in town where we know that smaller restaurants (often ethnic food) would be… Michigan Avenue on the East side, Frandor, Trowbridge Road, Downtown East Lansing, Hannah Plaza. We found that there were two sushi places, both on Grand River Ave. in downtown East Lansing, that had “OPEN” signs lit up in the window.

We found ourselves at 541 E. Grand River, at a place that appears to be called “Sushi and Deli.” They had Korean and Japanese food. Brian had a bowl of noodles and eel in Korean style (it looked good but didn’t sound like something I wanted). Eric had a Korean chicken dish, and I had asparagus rolls and avocado rolls, with steamed edamame (green soybeans steamed in the shell, you peel the shell and eat the center… I really like these).

The food was beautifully presented, and everyone loved what they got. I shared my rolls with the guys. Sushi for Thanksgiving! I was truly thankful.

I heard today on the radio that over 92% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving day. Personally, I was really happy to have this food. I like it much better than what I make, and I have never been fond of fussing in the kitchen. It was a perfect Thanksgiving. A meal with my favorite guys, and no cooking, and great food. Sigh…

Maybe You Know?

Friday, November 26th, 2004

Hi, Friends. I’m doing as much as I can to prepare for a trip that I can’t really prepare for. I have promised pictures if at all possible…

I will be in Africa with a digital camera, and using someone else’s computer (perhaps a different place each time I connect). I don’t know if they will have photo editing software on their machines.

Does anyone know of a service where I can upload images and resize them on that website, for web use, while I’m away from my own machine? I would even pay a small fee for this service if there are no free spots out there, but free would be grand! If you have used the service personally, I’d especially love input… but anything folks out there know, I’d love to hear.

My comments are turned off for now. Therefore, if you have input, please send an email with ColorJoy in the subject line (I may not recognize your email address and I would hate to delete your note thinking it is spam), to: Lynn AT ColorJoy DOT com

Thanks to anyone who might be able to help.

Thankful for Much

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the USA. I have much to be thankful for. The most important of them all, is the quality of my relationships right now. My husband, my family, my friends, are all top notch people who give at least as much as they receive from me. I am an equal, a member of a mutual-admiration society. What else could a person really want?

Brian took this photo of the snow that came on Wednesday. It has been very warm, and when the cold hit, the humidity dumped all this on us in a very short time. I went out in the morning without gloves! How things can change, and so fast!

No Comments Until January, at Least

Thursday, November 25th, 2004

Well, I am getting over 100 junk spam comments per day on this weblog. Considering I get not even one true comment per day, on average, from you cool folks out there, I have chosen to turn off the comment feature. I will not be able to go in and delete hundreds of unwanted junk comments per day (as I do now), when I am on the road.

I expect that perhaps I will take the time to do research when I get back (at least I hope so). Maybe I can figure out other ways to tame the spam comments yet still allow you folks to write me by clicking on a link. For now, though, you will have to go through a little work to send me a hello. I will be disappointed at the additional slowdown that will cause my comments, but I really need to do this while I am gone.

For now, you will have to use your email program to send me a comment. Make SURE to put the word ColorJoy in the subject line so I don’t accidentally delete it (I throw away up to 400 messages a day in my email program, too). Send notes to Lynn AT ColorJoy DOT com


Polymer Buttons and Beads at Threadbear

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

I taught polymer clay buttons and beads at Threadbear this last Sunday. We had a fabulous time. I had seven participants, and we all did things just enough differently to make things very interesting.

Here are two of the three trays we baked during class. They also took a bunch of work home to bake as well. Didn’t they do a nice job? I sure had a great time.

Oh, and also take a good look at Bev’s sweater. She made it up, bless her heart. Looks like a Nikki Epstein book come to life, in technicolor. It would even stand out in my very colorful closet!

The closures in front are buttons, which are covered up by leaves that have slits in the underside as buttonholes. Very clever indeed. The truth is, she wouldn’t need the buttons and beads class if she did all her sweaters this way! I’m glad she makes all sorts of sweaters, so I could have her attend my class.

Bev likes the back of the sweater a lot, so I made her turn around and let me get a photo of that. I told her to flirt with the camera. I think she followed instructions well!!!

Random Catching-Up Items

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Oh, there is so much wrapping-up to do these days, before my big trip. Here are a few random photos from my last week or so.

The first photo is a few of my CityKidz Knit! participants, from last week. This week was the last session until January. I started with 16 kids and it filtered down to less than 10 who kept coming back… today I had four total, three of whom were actually signed up.

However, one little girl has been asking me to knit since summer. She is officially too young, because she is 6 and the program requires age 7 or older. However, today I had such a small group (I’m sure it was because of the holiday) that I let her join us. She took to it very well, really. She didn’t last the whole hour because the friend she came with, left the room for another distraction and she had to go find her friend. I’m encouraged, though. I think she will be back. She is a regular at the center, and always comes to computer lab on Thursdays. I will hope for her to return in January.

The next photo is the “portable hug” I made for my dear friend who lives out of my state. I wish I could go visit with her, but it is just too far to make that feasible. Therefore, I did the next best thing. This stole has more animal fiber in it than any other I have knit. It has several alpaca yarns, a llama/wool blend, a silk/wool blend, some soft wools and three different eyelash yarns (all synthetic) for a little glamour and color. I’m very happy with the end result. I sent it to her Tuesday. I hope she is home for the Thanksgiving weekend, to receive it! I can’t seem to catch her by phone.

By the way, two of the yarns I used in this stole were sent to me by Cyndy, a regular reader of this blog. The Dazzlelash added a little gold spark to the stole, with it’s long, sweepy lashes. And the Crystal Palace Fizz in cobalt blue really rounded out the colors very well, and kept the stole as warm as an eyelash can.

The last photo is something I rarely do anymore… rubber stamping. A friend did me a very, very large favor. I spent far too long trying to think what I could possibly say in a thank you card that would mean anything close to what I wanted to say. Some things don’t have words, you know?

So I got out the rubber stamps. A picture paints a thousand words, right? I found a dancing girl looking pensive, and a teapot in the shape of an aladdin’s lamp. Some waves that could double as steam, and two palm tree stamps.

Most times if I stamp these days, I use stamps I carved myself. So working with commercial stamps was oddly freeing this time. The only stamp here that I did myself is the waves/steam stamp. Everything else is commercial. Most of the stamps I actually got from Susan Hensel when she moved to Minnesota from Michigan.

So I made the dancing girl look like she was coming out of the lamp, like a genie. And I said something like “you created magic for me” inside. Dorky but at least I got the card done that way, and to my friend who really deserved acknowledgement of his help that I appreciated so much.

I’m glad I did this. It freed me from the stuck place I had been in, needing the perfect card. I just grabbed some stamps, most of which I’d never used before, and stamped away as freely as I could. On the envelope I also tried out a flamingo stamp from Sue that I had not tried yet. And then I used clear embossing powder to make a raised surface where I’d stamped color. It turned out pretty well for a free-form job, I think. And now my friend has been officially thanked for a good job.

Holidays, Already

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

My family always does an early holiday event. We combine my birthday (November 28), Thanksgiving and Christmas. We call it Thanks-Christmas. I get a pumpkin birthday pie and we do presents. We did this last week and really enjoyed ourselves.

I have a very small family. We have Mom, Eric, and I, plus our respective partners/spouses… Fred, Diana, and Brian. That’s it for Michigan in our family! I really enjoy the peacefulness of a small family gathering (hey, six people is a lot to me sometimes). We take turns opening presents, we get to see everyone open what we got them, we get to relax as we go around the room. I have been to larger family gatherings, and it is just plain impossible to take turns with twenty people… you would never get your dinner that way! But I really enjoy the leisurely pace of our events, in an otherwise crazy life that I live.

Last year, Diana could not come up for our holiday gathering, but this year she was there. I really was glad to have her company. Eric and Diana definitely had the best gift of the year. They made up shirts that show Brian’s “Heftone Banjo Orchestra” which is really a composite of about seventeen photos of Brian holding different banjos… some of the photos with long hair, some with short. I took all the photos and then Brian composed the image on his computer. A smaller version of this is the front cover to Brian’s “Music Box Rag” CD, and it sure gets a lot of comments when folks see it.

Here is a photo Fred took of the rest of us wearing our Heftone Banjo Orchestra t-shirts. Now, don’t we look cool? We’re the best, I’m just sure of it. OK, pretty geeky but still very cool with our exclusive shirts!!!

Sock Pair #97, Sara’s Footies

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

Speaking of holidays, this is the week of my Goddaughter Sara’s birthday. She is away at college now but I did get to see her on Saturday. Back last summer she requested another pair of footie socks from me (she has the original socks for my Sherbet Socks, and she is wearing them so much she really wanted another pair).

Considering that when I did laundry today, a “turquoise” (and blue and green) load, I had 17 pair of handknit socks in it between Brian and I, I figured I could make Sara one more pair.

Yet I had to restart this pair SIX times. I just could not get my gauge and the number of stitches to make it the right size. Even doing the math and swatching does not make up for the fact that my gauge changes by the hour. It was very frustrating.

The good news was that I did finish a new pair for her. I got this yarn at Yarn for Ewe, I think in July. Finally I finished these, and about 45 minutes before I met Sara to give her the sox as her birthday gift. I’ve been so busy knitting store samples for classes that I’m going to teach, that I had a hard time finishing Sara’s sox. (The last pair I finished were in mid-August, for my Mother’s birthday. The first year I knit socks, I averaged one pair every 10 days… you can see I’m living a different life now.)

But they are done and she absolutely squealed out loud in delight. She put them on right away. Gotta love it. Makes you want to repeat that action, you know?

Here are pics of the sox up close, and “My Sara” wearing them. I’m glad she likes them so well.

Oh… and since I’m going on this trip, they gave me my birthday/Christmas gifts while I was there (the family did). Sara knit me this wonderful scarf, all by herself. I taught her to knit a few years back and she really was good at figuring it out but didn’t seem too interested, other than doing something with me. I figured she gave it up. But this year she’s making scarves.

This one is very warm, and it’s a really great combination of turquoise, blue and hot green. It’s loopy and textured, and I couldn’t tell at first through the texture if it was knit or crocheted (I would have bet on single crochet). It’s garter stitch but you can’t see the characteristic ridges because of the yarn’s texture.

She’s also working on a scarf right now in rainbow worsted weight yarn, in a K1P1 rib knit. And she says she has one scarf done except for fringe, back at the dorm. I’m glad I showed her a bit of knitting when I did. I sure do treasure this scarf! There have been very few times in my life when someone knit for me, and this is especially sweet because it’s a hug from Sara every time I wear it.

And what about these cool boots? More gifts from my Godchildren (Sara and her big brother, Michael) and their family. They know how much I love color. They said they walked by in the store and then turned around and decided I’d love ’em and they would get them for me. What a very cool present! I would never have splurged on something like this but they are just wonderful and as colorful as ever. Cool, huh?

Sandra’s Fast Florida Footies

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

In the last week, I have been delighted on the knitlist and socknitters email list (and at the Mid-Michigan Knitters Guild), that folks are talking about my patterns and my classes. I’ve worked pretty hard to get out there and teach, and to do as great a job as I can for my students when I teach. It does my heart good to hear folks talking enthusiastically about my classes.

Particularly, talking about my ColorJoy Stole class, which is not merely a class about knitting from a pre-written pattern. It’s about color and texture and how to put yarns together, and how to fix mistakes when they happen. I put my heart and soul into that class, and it takes a full six hours for me to fit it all into one workshop.

Well, it is also a delight to see folks talking about my Fast Florida Footies on socknitters. I have had a steady stream of folks write me over the almost-two years it has been up as a free pattern on the internet (in one small size, but many socknitters adjust for size well). From searching my archives, I’ve shown many different versions of this footie here on the ColorJoy! blog. They are:


And now, Sandra adds her pair to the list. Hers are yet again different from all the rest, with two contrasting solid colors, and with the no-purl heel but not the purled sole (although it looks like she might have kept knitting the no-purl heel stitch underneath the wearer’s heel, perhaps). Don’t they look minty and refreshing on a blah and gray late fall day?

My Big, Huge, Unbelievable News

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Well, those of you who read this often probably have noticed a good deal of distraction on my part, over the last many weeks. I have a goal of 28 posts a month, and I missed a good handful in a row, though I made up some of them after the fact. Some months I don’t miss any days. Sometimes I even have multiple posts in one day.

So what could be distracting me so much? A sort of miracle has happened. I am going to be traveling with my dear friend Altu to three countries in Africa. We leave in less than two weeks. I’ll be gone five weeks.

Altu was born and raised in Ethiopia, although she has been here in the US a long time and has been a US citizen longer than I have known her. Her parents and a sister still live in Ethiopia (I have met them all when they have visited here). We are going back “home” to visit her family for about three weeks. We will also visit a friend of hers who lives in Nairobi, Kenya. And last, we will visit Egypt for a week as tourists… we will be staying in Cairo but expect to do a day-trip to Alexandria, which is about a two-hour drive from what we have been told by our Egyptian friends in Lansing.

I love the world, I hunger to know more of it. And for the most part, I have chosen a life that has not allowed me to pursue that hunger. Well, this time a miracle has happened, and my friend and I will be leaving for places I can not even imagine in my mind. Very soon.

Brian will stay home, as will Altu’s family. She has kids who need to stay in school. (Her restaurant will be in the competent hands of her Brother-in-Law, Charles.) Brian was a competent bachelor until we married in our mid-to-late 30’s. He will be fine. Oh, yes, we’ll miss each other, but we’ll do fine separated for a while. We have traveled separately before.

This is the longest trip I have ever taken. I’ve never been gone from home more than 10 days in a row. I have never needed a passport, either. I have been to Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas, as well as Canada… none of which has required a passport. Most of those trips were because of a job I once held, where the boss would take us on great weekend trips if we made sales goals she set. (I loved that benefit, let me tell you!)

Most of my independent travel has been within driving distance of my home. I put 250,000 miles on my last car and I’m up to nearly 90,000 on the current one. Most of those trips I made alone, and I would not have had it any other way. But for international travel it will be wonderful to be with a comrade and most of the time stay with her friends and family. I think I will get a better sense of life there, by doing it this way. (Altu’s husband suggests that I will need to learn how to slow down when I am there. I hope I can learn that, I think I am ready for the lesson.)

I realize that saying “I’m going to Africa” doesn’t have real meaning to me at this time. I don’t even know what that really means. I think it may take me some time after I return to process all I have taken in. While I am there, I will no doubt be living in the moment.

I’m taking my camera but not a computer. I understand that there are cyber-cafes in all the big cities we will visit, and we will do our best to post photos and commentary when we can. But I have no idea how regularly that will happen.

I’ve been distracted with doctor’s appointments, passport photos, all sorts of things that must be done before a trip of this sort. I’ve had a series of immunizations and I’m not done with those yet.

And for those who must tell me to be careful, I really do hear you. All travel is a risk, and perhaps more risk than being in familiar territory. However, something could happen to me in my own home and staying home is not a guarantee of safety.

In the end, we are all mortal and fragile. We must embrace the love of life and the world, and do what we can do to feel alive while we are here. Since I’ve lost loved ones very young, I think I have an urgency to experience things even more intensely than others. Every day is a gift, and I am aware of that as I live my life.

I have traveled alone by car to New York City, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Baltimore, Montreal, Minneapolis, and other cities whose names escape me right now. Most people would not do that, yet I would do it again in a heartbeat. At no time did any harm come to me in any of those trips. (More trouble has happened to me in my own “safe” hometown than anywhere on the road.) This time, my trip is by airplane and I will not be alone.

OK, back to the unbelievable list of tasks I must complete before my trip. Yes, it is a high-class problem to be this kind of busy! I’m not complaining, I assure you.

Tuesday Mid-Michigan Knitters’ Guild

Thursday, November 18th, 2004

Tuesday night I went to the monthly meeting of the Mid-Michigan Knitters’ Guild in East Lansing. I tell you, that group is getting BIG!!! We had about 50 people. It was a wonderful time.

The program this month was geared toward gift knitting, and so people were asked to bring in any variation on a scarf, shawl, stole or poncho that they might have made, and talk about it a bit. We had all sorts of things I’d never imagined before, beautiful scarves in particular that were really innovative. I am not much of a scarf wearer (they aren’t big enough or warm enough for this woman who always has cold hands and feet even when wearing a hat) but I was very impressed with the variety.

Before the program starts, we always have show-and-tell time, where folks bring what they have completed since last meeting. I brought the stole I finally finished for my friend who needs a hug (still no pictures, darn it), and finally remembered to bring the three pair socks I did in series for Dawn Brocco’s Heels and Toes Gazette in the last year.

Sarah Peasley and friends made “hallowig” variations from a pattern in Knitty.com and brought them in for show and tell. Sarah had the right idea, using the squiggle yarn. I LOVE that yarn, would love any excuse to knit with it. Well, almost any, because I’m not going to knit a wig… out of that yarn or any other. But I just know the ladies had fun making theirs and wearing them!!!

And look at this prize photo of Irene wearing her finished ColorJoy Stole! She completed it in a matter of a few days (remember in the photo I took at our class just over a week ago, she had already knit about five inches on it). It looks wonderful on her, just perfect with what she was wearing. Good job, Irene!

Working Women Artists Make Art Books

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

On Sunday, after I taught my rug class, I stopped by the last part of the Working Women Artists meeting. They were finishing up their second of two meetings, making art books from found objects (including the books).

Some folks just embellished a pre-existing book complete with text in it, some used a journal/book that had blank pages. Regina had a child’s book with cardboard pages, and she had sanded the pages and was putting gesso on them when I got there. We noted that the pages looked great with a little shadow of the former page showing through.

A lot of what folks did was collage, with tissue papers, fancy papers/handmade papers, and photos taken from magazines. Some folks brought press-on letters to embellish with words as well. My friend Marlene was even drawing with colored pencils. I am not describing this well, but it was a very creative and freeing process for those who were doing it.

I got there too late to participate fully (and I didn’t start with the process last month) so I knit my pillow while chatting, in between taking photos and taking a look at folks’ work.

We had a great bunch this time, including a couple of new people. One young person was around 10 years old, and there were a couple of grandmothers, and a bunch of us in the middle. I love it when that happens!

Rug Class/Party at Yarn Garden

Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Sunday I taught a Basketweave Rug class at Yarn Garden in Charlotte, Michigan. It was more than a class, though. It was a party. Kim and Pat of Yarn Garden made it sort of a “Men go hunting, women go knitting” sort of party (though we all know that it’s not as simple as that gender generalization, it turned out that only women knitters came to my class).

What a great time! It was me, and 15 other women, knitting with very yummy yarn (Cascade Magnum, a super-bulky that knits up at 2.5 st/in on size 13 needles). And nibbling, and knitting, and nibbling. Great fun for all!

I loved seeing how each person’s choice of yarn was different than the others at their table (it calls for stripes in a contrasting color). Every rug was great in its own special way.

Here are photos of the folks who came. Don’t they look content knitting away on their rugs?