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Archive for June, 2005

Two Pairs of Sox for Brian

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

I present to you, pairs 115 and 116, both for my beloved Brian. (Pair 117 I already showed to you on June 16, Pair 118 is finished but the photo is not web-ready yet.)

Sock117 by LynnHPair 115 (green solid) has what I think is an interesting story of evolution. It occurs to me that some of you might be curious how I made decisions along the way, to create the socks as they turned out in the end.

They were for his birthday, and I always wait too long to get started. Therefore I chose fatter yarn than usual (washable 100% wool rather than “sockyarn”) since I was on a deadline. I had used this yarn once for myself and loved it, so it was a good bet for Brian.

I decided to do the C-wrapped cast on that I use in my Turkish-Style Toe-Up sox, because I can get the fussiest part of the knitting done faster than if I used the stockinette-square toe in First-Time Toe-Up socks.

In my “Turkish” pattern, I do the increases in four equal parts for a “swirl” toe. This time I chose to increase in a more standard wedge shape. I do like how this toe looks, and with yarn that I think looks somewhat dressy I was satisfied with the look of those features.

I was knitting a lot when Brian was not there to try on the project. I know his shoe size so looked it up in a chart. Well, I forgot that the shoe size is the *length* of the foot, and he has thinner feet than a standard chart would show.

Needless to say, I got knitting them and it just seemed after a while that they were wrong. They seemed too big. I went on far too long, really, after doubting myself. And since I had a deadline, I didn’t want to rip out, when after all they might really fit!

Finally I checked with Brian. We determined they fit, but more loosely than would be ideal. I decided to keep going, with Brian’s OK.

And then I couldn’t live with it. At the point of no return, where I was going to put waste yarn for inserting the afterthought heel (we both really like the fit of that heel), I thought better of this idea to keep on going. I decided to make a retrofitted K3P1 rib, by dropping every 4th stitch, running the stitch down to the toe, and then latch hooking it up with a crochet hook from the inside to create a purl column.

Sock117 by LynnHThis actually was just the answer to the slightly-too-loose problem. I did the rib just on the instep, and inserted the waste yarn in the heel area to add the heel later. The retro-rib pulled the fabric in just enough to be a more comfortable fit.

I continued up, again knitting stockinette in a tube. I knit a lot faster when I knit all knit stitches and no purls, and since I’d made the foot purl columns by running them down, I decided to do the whole cuff that way when I reached the top. Retro-ribbing is a little looser than purling as you go. I wanted the cuff and foot to match.

I had purchased two 50g balls of the fat yarn for this, and had chosen toe up so that I could just knit till I ran out of yarn. When I got to where I ran out for the first sock, Brian tried it on again. He said the length was OK but a little short. He could live with it either way. Since the sock was fatter yarn, it seemed smart to go ahead and make them taller for colder weather.

So off I went to Threadbear and bought another ball of yarn. And I added to the top of both socks, retro-ribbed the entire circumference of the cuff (not just the instep as I had on the foot), bound off, and voila! They look great, fit very well, and Brian really likes them.

And that’s the story of LynnH Pair 115.

I’m sorry to say the other pair is less interesting. I started them last year and put them away when I went to Africa for the holidays. I forgot all about these, until I was cleaning up my stash boxes and found them. Top down, afterthought heel socks finished except for the heels.

So I added heels really quickly, and Brian got 2 pair in a week. Never mind it turns out last year I didn’t knit him any! (Whoops.) He has plenty in his sock drawer, don’t worry about him too much.

Short Update

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

I had a busy day out of the house, and when I got home I decided that for once I was not going to work after dinner. What a lovely evening I had!

I’ve wanted to try Tapestry Crochet for a long time. I have some colorful cotton berets done in this technique, basically a single crochet with colorwork. I’m trying a Spiral Basket project by Carol Ventura, a beginner project.

So far, so good. I’m doing it larger than she is, with Tahki Cotton Classic and an E hook (3.5mm) rather than the Speed Cro Sheen and size 1 steel crochet hook. I’m using yarn leftovers from my most recent fruit cap, very nice. I may never finish the basket as she wrote it, but I am learning what I want to learn.

I’m too tired to post much. I haven’t forgotten the promised pictures. It has to be another day.

New Handpainted ColorSport Yarns!

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

ColorSport YarnWell, I sure did guess my timing about right. It’s 12:01, midnight. That would be late Tuesday, or just past it by a hair. I thought I’d be here late Tuesday. Very close, though later than I’d have liked.

My new handpainted yarns are up and ready to sell. I will be announcing them on Socknitters on the 1st of July (Friday morning), so you loyal readers here get a first-dibs on them for a couple of days.

I was happy when I was working with these yarns again this week. I decided long ago that I might dabble in a few random yarns, but I really needed to pick one yarn that I loved, really loved, and make that my signature.

ColorSport YarnThis yarn is wonderful. Even though it’s called ColorSport, I find that it really acts and knits like a DK weight yarn. It makes springy, comfy socks. It fits in most shoes comfortably. Sharon P. made it into a very nice scarf a year or so ago. It would also make a drapey, lovely sweater or baby blanket, or sleeveless top. In fact, I’m finishing a baby blanket and getting ready to make a top for myself soon, from Cushy ColorSport. In my spare time, right?

This yarn machine washes and dries beautifully. It gets a bit of a soft halo, but no pilling, and I think it looks prettier after the process.

ColorSport YarnYou can read here for free, and never buy a thing. I do try not to do commercials too often. But a handful of you have been loyal as rain when it comes to my yarns and patterns, and I appreciate you… and I want you to have first dibs on the new pretties. (By the way, you can buy the TeaCosy pattern and the Garden Capelet pattern although I have not yet put up web pages for those items.)

So here is a special just for my weblog readers: If you mention my weblog, and buy $50 or more in yarn and/or patterns, you will receive a free pattern of your choice. I do need to charge (USPS Priority Mail) shipping if you buy yarn. This deal is good through midnight, July 1.

Also, I am still offering my “buy 2 (or more) patterns, get free (First Class) shipping to US or Canada” deal. That special goes for patterns only, no yarn. And I don’t have a specific expiration date on that one.

Thanks to all of you, every one who reads here, for supporting me. Whether you read silently, send me email, or buy my yarn/patterns, I appreciate you all.


Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

river trailDrat, I just wrote you a post and hit Ctrl-W on the keyboard. Which means “Close Window.” And it did. I am not confused how this happened, I’m really clear, even though it was totally a typo and I am wishing I’d saved a draft while I was working as I usually do.

So… I’m working on new yarns, they will probably be up for sale tomorrow night, maybe late. I have some skeined but not all, then I have to photograph, then I do web pages. Then you’ll hear here, first. Socknitters email list gets the leftovers on the 1st of July.

Mom says she and Fred enjoyed eating “The Tomato” tonight. I’m glad. I know how much she likes them.

It was 99.7 degrees today for hours on end. My classroom was then 64F, and we all froze (well, I brought two sweaters and wool sox and still was chilly, I gave my extra wrap to a student who appreciated it). Now I’m back home, it’s 76 F outside and we have windows open, it feels almost cool. I think I’ll sleep OK tonight. Last night was too hot and we both slept poorly.

After the yarns are up, I’ll get back to the photos you are waiting for. I’ve got two new pairs you haven’t seen yet. Soon, I’m sure of it!

Photo is one I took in July, 2003. It is a shot of what we call the Riverwalk, but is officially titled River Trail. It’s a cool and pretty place to be when temperatures get this high.

Still Happy

Monday, June 27th, 2005

crocheted bikini topI’m still in love with summer. It is cooler today, in the 80’s F instead of 90’s, a welcome rest for the slowed-down-by-heat body. Flowers are still busting out everywhere. We took a walk tonight for a few miles and the gardens were magnificent.

My fruit cap class cancelled today but I decided to go calling on a few of my yarn shops, the ones where I was scheduled to be this weekend anyway. FIrst I visited Linda at Little Red Schoolhouse. I got there at just the right time. She had time to talk a while.

We sat on the couch and knit, and looked at knitting magazines, talked patterns, talked yarn, plotted for dream projects yet to be. It was relaxing and enjoyable. Too bad now I have plans for more things to make than I’ve got time to make them in! Here I am in the heat, talking both cotton (who, me?) and alpaca. Alpaca! That’s definitely winter stuff.

Then I found myself driving home past Threadbear maybe 10 minutes before they closed. I decided I had to show Rob the socks (pair #118) I finally finished last night… from the yarn he gave me in January. We all agreed that they are perfect, at least perfect for me. I was going to share a photo of them with you tonight, but after I spent the time to airbrush out the background, PhotoShop crashed without allowing me to save. That needs to wait another day, I’m afraid.

I had a nice time talking to the boyz at Threadbear. I rarely get to talk to them without a horde of other knitters also there… good distractions, to be sure… but it was great to have a little while just three of us talking.

Then I went home. And I dyed some yarn. This time I get to keep some (lucky me), but most will be up for sale. Looking at what I’ve done and the time I have to complete web pages so you can see the newest colors, I bet I’ll have yarn for sale Tuesday night late or Wednesday. That is my best guess at this time.

The most curious of you lucked out… I didn’t lose the photo of the crocheted bikini top in the PhotoShop crash. I’m sparing you a photo of me modeling the thing, but here’s proof I did the job. The next one will be WAY different, but this one does fit, in a technical sense. Not in an aesthetic sense, but I’ve got time to try a few more. Crochet is so dratted quick! (The next one will be knit, or so I’m planning, but this crochet one took an amazingly small amount of time to do the bulk of the work. OK, it was fewer stitches than a sock, by a long shot, and that helped as well.)

This top was inspired by a bikini top in Family Circle Easy Knitting Spring/Summer 2004, but only the basic shape came from them. Theirs called for 2 layers of scallops and ruffles. Later! Ugh. No lace for me!

The FCEK instructions for straps made no sense at all… I had to make up something that would work. I mostly used slip stitch with a little single crochet to edge, make straps, and connect the parts. I couldn’t do it again if I tried, so please don’t write me asking for “the pattern,” OK? I’m pretty darned new at crochet, but it’s a really good technique for making things up as you go. I enjoyed that part. I didn’t have to stop when the pattern instructed me to do something I did not want (lace), I just turned it into something I could like.

The good news? The hot weather is a perfect excuse to wear this around the house. It’s nice to be able to wear something new, as soon as it is finished.

P.S. The Tomato

Monday, June 27th, 2005

Oh, by the way… I did not plant yesterday’s tomato from seed. I did not even buy a small plant. I bought a biiiiig plant for $15 at the local greenhouse, and it had about 5 small tomatoes growing on it when I took it home on May 31. It is a bit early for tomatoes here. That is, if I did any of the work of starting the plant as others do.

You see, I don’t even like fresh tomatoes. This plant is all about beauty. About outoor decor. I love it when I get pretty red fruits, to look at. As a bonus, I can give away the fruits in any way that seems right to me at the time. Or cook them, if I get the inclination. That is, if Brian didn’t eat one for himself, which he does less often than I might expect.

Fun Day

Sunday, June 26th, 2005

projectNeedlefelting Class
Saturday afternoon I had a Needlefelted Embellishments class at Threadbear. I originally had two folks signed up, but it ended up just me and Sheila. We had FUN!!!

I forgot my camera at home (I almost never do that) and so I don’t have a photo of Sheila’s project, but here is mine. I “doodled” on a section of a sleeve from a shrunken commercial sweater I picked up at a thrift shop for a few dollars. It’s a nice two-toned red, which looked really nice with the teal yarn (Cascade 220). The larger, brighter colors were multicolored rovings I got from a dyers’ swap. The plan is to cut this into two pieces and make it into a scented pillow.

The Fabulous Heftones at AltusSheila took a turn teaching me after class… a very good explanation of kitchener stitch/grafting toes of socks. In my case, grafting two afterthought heels. I can do kitchener but always need to check my notes to get started. I can graft flat fabric just fine, but on needles, as Sheila pointed out, the far needle I’m really looking at the purl side of the fabric which was messing up my understanding considerably.

Well, I did the first heel with Sheila at the shop. Then after midnight I did the second one alone and without notes, and it looks great. Between Gilda A. and Sheila doing a lot to help me “see” the stitches even when half of them are hanging backward and upside down (like bats, I swear), I did it without notes. Woohoo! That means I finished pair #118. I’ll have pictures soon.

After class, I ran home and changed into “Lynn Heftone.” Brian and I sang at Altu’s and it was really fun.

tomatoSince it was 97 degrees F when we left the house at 6pm, we decided to forgo our normal formalwear (tux and gown) and wear cooler clothes I had purchased for us in Nairobi, Kenya last December. Mine is a rayon floor-length caftan, his a lightweight cotton shirt. Even in cold weather sometimes performing warms a person enough to get uncomfortable on stage. We made the right choice.

Mom came with Fred, and Mom’s friend Barbara. Brian’s sisters Jennifer and Kathy came, with Kath’s husband, Pedro. These are three of my favorite people in the world, and they had never seen us play at Altu’s. Jennifer lives in DC and Kath and Pedro are in Florida, so we don’t see them enough. It was really wonderful to have them there.

First Fruits
Oh, big news in the garden… today I picked the first tomato of the year. I took it to my Mom at Altu’s. Mom didn’t get any last year, we had bad timing that way. This year she gets the first one. She loves fresh tomatoes, I really don’t. I like them cooked, but people who like them fresh should enjoy the ones I grow, I figure. These are an interesting size, half the size of beefsteak but at least twice the size of a cherry tomato. They work great on the back landing of the house, in a container.

Cooling Weather
It cooled off tonight a bit. We heard thunder, so someone nearby got rain and it cooled us down… though we did not get so much as a drop. I think I’ll sleep better tonight than in a while. I’m still not complaining, I like heat better than cold any day, but it really does slow a woman down!

Performance at Altu’s

Saturday, June 25th, 2005

Moon June Spoon by The Fabulous HeftonesBrian and I will again be performing tonight, as The Fabulous Heftones. We are at our home venue, Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine (on the border of East Lansing and Lansing, just east of Silver Dollar Saloon on Michigan Avenue).

We would love to have you folks join us! Please consider a great meal and some cooling music in air conditioning, from 6:30-8:30pm.

A True Summer Day… Wonderful

Saturday, June 25th, 2005

gardenOh, my! What a wonderful thing summer can be. It was HOT HOT HOT here, requiring hiding in shade, drinking iced tea, hanging out in the hammock on the porch again, and soy “ice cream” bars. OK, real ice cream would be better, but I was really happy to have it.

I slept in (was up far too late in the lovely silence of night), then knit a bit, worked on the computer a bit, and worked on some of my unfinished items I listed yesterday.

gardenI am now wearing my single-crocheted bikini top. It doesn’t fit perfectly but it’s very cool on a hot day, and it stays up where it should. Today was the perfect day to put it to the test. I’ll make another, for sure, with several adjustments. My next try at a bikini top will be a knitted pattern which specifies Cascade Fixation. I got the pattern at Yarn for Ewe. No photos of me in the top, you need to just believe me!

gardenI decided to wait for the sun to go down before I did any real physical work, it was too hot to be anything but lazy in the physical realm. It was 98 degrees F today (36.33C for those outside the USA). A little humid, and thank goodness, a little windy, but hot. The car key nearly burned me when I touched it after driving a few miles, or so it seemed! And my handwashed clothes line dried in nothing flat, outside in the windy heat.

gardenI am nearly done with one of my Opal socks, maybe 5 rounds left on one heel. My goal is to finish these before I go to Threadbear tomorrow at 2pm, to teach my Needlefelted Embellishments class.

gardenI’m just now crocheting a chain for the tea cosy, as its bow-tie. Maybe I’ll take this one to Threadbear and switch it with the sample that is there right now. For some reason, this class isn’t as popular as some of my other classes. I’m hoping it will be a good holiday gift class in 6 months or so. It’s a really cute project that doesn’t take long to knit.

gardenAnd that will take 3 items off the “unfinished” list. Woohoo! The baby blanket is more than half completed but I didn’t knit a stitch on it today. Well, maybe 20 stitches. But with over 100 stitches per row, that is not enough! I’ll get back to that one tomorrow. I just had to get some things finished. I do that in spurts, as you probably have noticed.

gardenFriendship of Neighbors

You know, in non-knitting news, I have really enjoyed in the last few days especially, knowing my neighbors well enough to call them friends. I have not had that experience since I was a child.

April and baby Isabel have popped over a few times to say hi and chat a bit, and it just makes my life better to have them so close. Isabel took her first 3 steps alone this week, and it was great to hear the news the very next day. She came over today (with her mommy) and was cooing at all the beautiful flowers in our lawn. What a happy baby she was today!

The days are long, the weather is finally not too cold for me, and the flowers are just busting out all over, as they say! I just LOVE love love this time of year!

Photos are of my yard. My own, very own, very small yard, with beauty blooming everywhere. It’s not very well groomed, it’s sort of unruly like me, but it is truly full of beauty. Most of these plants came with the house. Only the containers and the hosta/coral bells are my design/handiwork (and some of Brian’s elbow grease). I’m a lucky woman.

Current Projects

Friday, June 24th, 2005

Well, time to ‘fess up. I’m a multiple-project junkie. It actually works for me, and I don’t think it particularly a problem, as I do finish most of the items I start. I get bored or I get stuck solving a problem, so I move on to the next thing so as not to waste any sitting-still time that might be used for knitting. I celebrate all my fiber projects, and they do really bring me happiness, finished or not.

Things I don’t finish, for the most part, are things that went wrong somehow and need to be ripped out. That final rip takes a while to build up to, so I have a good pile of projects “aging” long enough for me to let go of the dream they once were.

As a boredom-breaker that took little concentration, today I did a one-hour project during CityKidz Knit! I made a “mug rug” out of some Kool-Aid dyed sportweight wool from last year’s group. I did a single crochet and then hand-felted/shrunk it. I figure I can use practice at crochet.

The mug rug is just fine. The color is a little subtle but it’s plum and pink and white, which I can live with. It’s big enough to hold my most riduculously huge coffee mug (I fill it with tea, but teacups are little dainty things). And dense enough to not be bumpy and dump over my smaller cups.

One of my CityKidz did a mug rug at the same time, knitting but also using the Kool-Aid dyed yarn (from last week). He was in love with shrinking his piece, it truly is magic to feel it shrink between your fingers. Much fun.

What other items have I touched in the last 3 weeks or so? Quite a few.

Pending Current Projects:

– Afterthought Heel sox in Opal Handpaint, need heels.

– Bikini Top in Cotton-Ease, single-crocheted, needs neck straps.

Tea Cosy, needs braided or chain-crocheted tie.

– Baby Blanket, experiment with my new yarn dyeing process. Halfway knit, looking good, a zillion stitches to go or so it seems.

Equilateral Vest, swatch done and gorgeous, trying to put on back burner to do more work-related items first.

Colinette Tagliatelli yarn, planned shrug. Swatch knit and blocked, picture in my mind needs planning out as a sort of pattern so I can knit the thing. One ball of the yarn is wound into a center-pull ball. Needs to wait till after baby blanket is done.

Semi-Recently abandoned projects that need finishing:

– Tank Top in Fixation (color 9942, hot pink/periwinkle/pewter), turning out pretty large, deciding whether to rip or go ahead and finish with crossed fingers. (The swatch shrunk by a full stitch per inch after getting it wet, so I may plow ahead.) Only the back straps left to complete.

– Swatch for Arial, retro design based on 40s short sleeved sweater. Swatch is good for gauge but now I want to overdye the yarn before knitting. And I need to spend my dyeing time making yarn for other people, not me.

Ancient projects recently re-discovered:

– Socks started for Brian at least 6 months ago. Regia Antik Color 5756, sage green and neutrals. Cuffs nearly done. Cuffs a little loose, may retro-rib them.

– Sally Melville Asymmetrical Vest (from purl stitch book), swatch made in Africa last December. Requires a lot of purling, not too excited about that but after this baby blanket I may be better at purling than any time in my life.

– Socks knit in Africa (8 pair)… one pair promised to Altu. Can’t give to her till I document what I actually knit so I can make it into a pattern. I knit something like 8 pair in 5 weeks and I haven’t written a single pattern out for any of them.

– Ruana I want to knit with yarn bought in Egypt, plus a few yarns purchased to go with them since I got back. Brushed mohair in turquoise and fuschia (with railroad ribbon in same colors). Will be comfy and gorgous. Will wait to knit till it’s cooler.

Photos: 1&2)Mug Rug, before/after. Next to my Cell Phone to show relative size between shots. I decorated the phone two January’s ago at my Mom’s house in Florida. It’s fabric paint and it has stuck very well, as you can see. Yet it would scrape off with a fingernail if I were determined to remove it.

3)Swatch of my Colinette Tagliatelli handpainted wool tape. What incredible stuff, it’s like a spring! You can’t see it but at the top it is a K1P1 rib, the middle is garter stitch and the bottom third is stockinette. I like them all, but the rib appears to take less yarn for the coverage, and I have very little yarn. Probably the rib will win out.


Friday, June 24th, 2005

sunset Ann ArborI usually work hard at posting happy thoughts. If you need a smile, please go on to my next post, OK?

I’m sad that the little boy lost in the mountains, saw rescuers but did not call to them because he was afraid of strangers. He was lost for days and still did not call out? Wow. There is a difference between teaching children safety and teaching paranoia.

It’s good to have a child realize parents are the ultimate authority. But how sad is it that this child could have died, afraid of the strangers who came to rescue him?

Humankind is mostly full of good people who care. Who would never hurt a child. Yet we live so afraid that we train our children to be afraid.

My father had a habit of chatting with whoever was in line ahead of him while waiting for a cashier… at the grocery, the hardware, wherever. Strangers. OK, we didn’t go home with them but we had some good laughs. With strangers. This is one of my most fond memories of my father. He liked everyone.

Funny. My biggest fear in traveling, is that I’ll be in barely-occupied territory, hit a white-tailed deer, and be stranded where nobody will ever find me. I’m most afraid of being far from humankind. However, in cities I usually feel safer… I feel best when I know I can call out for help and be heard.

When I was single, I traveled alone often in my car to many big cities. My car ended up with 250,000 miles on it, and it had maybe 14,000 when I got it originally. Most of those miles I was alone.

I went to Boston five times in 3 years. I didn’t know anyone there, really… had one friend 40 miles outside of the city. And the first time I went, I made friends at a bead shop. I ended up teaching (polymer) for them on my next 4 trips out there.

In Boston, I met a woman with a bed and breakfast, who would let me sleep on her floor for $10 a night. She took me to places in the city I’d never have seen without knowing a local person. Some of the best memories of Boston I have were because of this woman.

I’ve never been hurt by others in my travels, but I’ve been helped by strangers over and over again. Good news is more common than bad, but it does not make the news. I had a friend who left her suitcase on the Toronto Subway and got it back. I have left my purse on the top of my car… twice in maybe a dozen years. Both times I had someone call me and let me know they found it.

People are good all over the world. People have been so kind to me in Mexico and Ethiopia and Kenya and Egypt… in fact, I remember a hotel maid chasing me down the street in Merida, Mexico, to give me back the hat I’d taken off for a moment. People in Ethiopia are like that, too. I know an Ethiopian man who had a beggar tell him his money was falling out of his pocket, rather than collecting the bills. He shared some with the beggar, of course.

US map on Etch-a-Sketch toyI’ve traveled alone to Chicago and Toronto untold times, Boston five times, New York three times, plus Washington DC, Minneapolis, Albany, Buffalo, Toledo, Montreal, San Francisco, Portland, OR, and Detroit. I’ve had only one experience where I was a little too close to something shaky, and it did not last long. The shady stuff was across the street and nobody was paying any attention to me. I *was* happy to get away, but nothing happened to quiet me who was blending in with the scenery. (Yes, I’m capable of this when need be.)

I have learned to be smart when traveling… keep any extra money under the inserts in my shoes, dress like locals when possible, do not dress as though you are rich. If you carry a laptop computer, don’t carry it in a case obviously made for a laptop. Don’t look at a map on the street (clearly you don’t belong there if you need a map), and other city survival skills.

If I feel afraid of pickpockets, I carry two wallets so I won’t lose the whole thing if somebody walks off with one. However, the only place I’ve ever been pickpocketed was in Lansing, my hometown which is considered very safe. In 1980, 25 years ago. The only time I have lost a laptop was in Lansing, too. I’ve had no trouble in other cities, and I sure have been to plenty of them.

Unfortunately, the broadcast media make a living keeping us glued to the screen long enough to watch the commercials that pay for shows. They do all sorts of things to get us up in arms, amazed, appalled, whatever it takes to keep us tuned in.

The news about someone who gets their suitcase back from the subway is not enough to keep us glued. Therefore, that news goes unreported. Unfortunately, unhappy events that are so rare they might barely deserve an instant of attention, become a too-large percentage of what is seen on broadcast. And watching/listening to this stuff breeds fearful human beings. The same ones who would not hurt a child. And who apparently can’t believe that most others might be like them?

Fear is a cancer which tears down good people. It can deteriorate the possibility of human connection, when isolation is not necessarily appropriate.

playgroundOnce at CityKidz Knit, during the sniper events out east, I had a middle-schooler tell me she was afraid to walk from school the half mile to Foster Community Center. She was afraid that the sniper would come to Lansing and kill her.

She was watching a lot of TV and was not mature enough to run the information through a “reasonableness filter.” She was internalizing the danger she watched on the tube as if it were her own personal life.

I told her that life can never totally safe, but she’d more likely get hit by lightning or a falling tree than shot by a sniper, and I’d never known anyone to have either of those happen. I explained that we live life in spite of knowing that we can’t be safe all the time, but we do what we can to be smart about those things we *can* control. As in looking both ways before crossing a street.

Truly, most people are good. The world is overwhelmingly friendly and safe. Even in big cities. Even strangers. I love this beautiful, friendly world! I wish more folks saw things as I do. Our children do not deserve to be scared, so much, so young.

End of rant. I’ll quick go post something optimistic now.

Photo: 1)Sunset after a rain, in Ann Arbor last Tuesday. Right over the Borders Books where I go to knit, with wonderful people from all over the world. 2)Found art: An Etch-a-Sketch upon which someone did a sketchy but decent map of the USA. It was just sitting on a bookshelf at the allergist office today with other toys for children.3)Kids swinging on the swings at Foster Community Center.

An Art Exhibit in Washington DC

Thursday, June 23rd, 2005

NOT THE KNITTING YOU KNOW – Sculptural Knitting and Crochet

This is amazing. Fifteen artists using knit and crochet to make innovative, sculptural pieces, From objects we recognize (corn stalk, tank top of wire, 2 foot insects, lizard), to purely sculptural artforms.

This is deep and profound, to my mind. I’m delighted that the Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space was open-minded and forward-thinking enough to spend the effort making this happen.

My sister in law lives in DC. Maybe I’ll have to make a point to take a trip before the show closes in early September.

Classes, Classes, Classes! And a Concert!

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

needlefelted embellishment on beretI just updated my Classes page for those who are interested and local. Here are the next few weeks of classes, in my mid-Michigan life:

Tea Cosy: Saturday, June 25, 10a-1p, Threadbear

Needlefelted Yarn Embellishments: Saturday, June 25, 2p-5p, Threadbear

Ann Norling Fruit Cap: Sunday, June 26, 1p-5p, Little Red Schoolhouse

Toe-Up Socknitting: Tuesdays, June 28, July 5&12, 7p-9p, Little Red Schoolhouse

Fast Florida Footies: Saturday, July 9, 10a-1p, Yarn Garden

Darn that Sock!: Sunday, July 10, 1p-5p, Threadbear

needlefelted embellishment on beretFor those of you out of town, I do have a lot of these available as patterns. And don’t forget, I’d love to schedule a time to come into your area and teach. If you have a shop or guild that brings in instructors, I would be delighted to travel and meet you.

Also, Brian and I, as The Fabulous Heftones, will be performing the ultimate Moon June Spoon music (1920’s retro romance/novelty tunes), at Altu’s restaurant (East Lansing, Michigan) this Saturday (June 25) from 6:30pm-8:30pm. We would love to see you.

Photos: Two purchased berets, embellished with handpainted wool yarns using needlefelting techniques.

Alone, at Last.

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

signOh, I can not tell you how wonderful I feel right now. Emotionally, that is. I am sitting here alone in my house, the only sounds are the refrigerator, the computer fan, and the clicking of my keyboard. Sometimes I hear the swoosh of a car going by outside.

It has been far too long since I had a long day alone. I LOVE being alone. Me and my cup of tea, and usually some wool flowing through my fingers.

Now, I said this one day when I was at Threadbear and Rob doubted me. He sees me as a very social butterfly, someone who is animated and connected with others. Someone, I must admit, who likes to be on stage a bit. But not all the time. Stage (or teaching, for that matter) takes a lot of energy. It takes planning and then pushing until the production is done. And I do love all that. Sometimes.

But then I need to be alone. For a long time. Hours and hours alone. I can water my garden or pull weeds in the yard. I can make a cup of tea, or a whole pot. Today I plan to knit in my hammock on the porch, sometimes I spin out there.

My porch is a favorite place for alone time. We live on a busy street so sometimes I play music when I’m out there, so that I don’t notice the sounds of the neighborhood as much. Otherwise, I typically prefer to go without music.

If I need to clean house, I do play music, usually Annette Hanshaw (early jazz singer from the late 1920s to about 1930). She can keep me happy, and without her by my side I turn into the grinch when I clean. I seem to be the original anti-housework grrrl. I really like the results but I do not like being me during the process. Sweet, dear Annette’s music helps me get through the ugly times and I come out the other side glad I did the work. (I’m not lazy, but I guess I’m picky about what I want to work hard on! As if I could opt out of the things I don’t like doing? Not a chance, I know.)

Handwarmer/WristwarmerKnitting Update
I did a LOT of knitting this weekend. I knit the Ann Norling Fruit Cap in the car on the way to camping (see photo in yesterday’s post). Then that night I swatched the six triangles (photo also posted for yesterday) as my gauge sample for the Lucy Neatby Equliateral vest. It is going to be Just Gorgeous! When I get time to do it, that is.

I finished another tea cosy that I started weeks ago. I just needed to do the lace ruffle but I’m not much excited by lace so I put it aside. I also finished the cuff/body of socks for me made of Opal Handpaint that Rob at Threadbear gave me, now they just need the afterthought heels so I can wear them. I also knit some wristwarmers really really fast… bought yarn after lunch and finished before dark so I could knit longer on Saturday night without cold hands.

And then I started knitting up some prototype yarn I dyed late last week. I really like how it is turning out so far. I need to try dyeing this way a few more times to see if I can get something reasonably consistent, but I think I’m on the right roll. Pictures will only be posted here when I’m sure it works.

Tonight I go to Borders in Ann Arbor! My home. I love these friends, and in the winter I can’t always get there. I’m so pleased to go tonight.

Photos: 1)Sign in downtown Ludington. I love old neon! This one is really special. 2)One of the wristwarmers I knit. Nautical Yarns had a zillion great choices, but I picked an old favorite, Brown Sheep Lambs Pride. Nothing fancy but warm and durable. This is knit with two strands of the yarn held together as one, to be extra warm. I knit them on size 8 needles, too small really (my warmest sweater was done in two strands of the same yarn, I think on size 11 needles), but it turned out dense and warm. Bulletproof, nearly, but warm.

P.S. I just added five photos to yesterday’s post, if you are interested and missed them before.