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Archive for September, 2005


Friday, September 30th, 2005

cloudsI met with my Toe Up Socknitting class at Foster Center again tonight. Just because we wanted to meet… since the class was officially done last week.

Brenda wore her finished socks, complete with a picot edging… and why did I not take photos??? Drat! Trust me, they were as cute as can be.

Lori also came. She had finished her first sock last week, and she started the toe of her new sock tonight. We talked and laughed and had a great time. I am so glad we met!!! It was no hassle, really, because I was at Foster Center for open computer lab until 6:30 which is the starting time for knitting class. So I was already there anyway. What a pleasant night we had together… but I wonder why I didn’t get that photo? I guess I miss a few sometimes. I try to be a good reporter… sorry, Brenda!

For a photo I did take… Today when I was driving from place to place, I just could not believe the beauty of the sky. The clouds were so big!!! I rolled down the window and took this picture. It is actually a decent image of what I saw… but in real life the clouds went on and on as far as the eye could see. Breathtaking.

The Knitted Wedding

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Mary Anne/Knittingbunny in Richmond, BC Canada, wrote me a few very kind and lovely notes this week. She really made me feel good. I love it when you guys out there take a minute to write! Someday I’ll have my comments working again, but meanwhile notes are few and far between. Thanks, Mary Anne.

I checked out her blog and followed some links… and found myself at The Knitted Wedding. It is pretty incredible, a wedding with knitted everything. Or so they say. Even confetti to throw will be knitted. Check it out.

Chilly Lynn

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

catOh, I’m such a spoiled citygrrl! It is 50 degrees F outdoors right now and 65F indoors… and since my favorite temperature is 84F I am feeling bummed-out and cold. I even saw my breath a minute ago.

Even if I wanted to turn on the heat, I could not. This is because we are at this very minute having a new furnace installed.

I have mixed feelings about the furnace. My favorite thing to do in this house in wintertime has been to sit like a cat on the old fashioned cast metal heat vent, with a blanket over me, baking happily. New furnaces do not kick out heat of that high temperature anymore. They tend to blow longer at a lower temp. This means we’ll save money each month on the fuel bill, but “Lynn the Cat” will be no longer.

The furnace was starting to crack and soon we would have had a carbon monoxide problem, so keeping the old one just was the wrong idea. Brian, good man that he is, planned ahead and got three estimates when it was still hot in Michigan, so we are having the furnace installed before we had even needed to turn on the old one this year.

Socks from Tracy AI recall that the one thing I really missed about my house when I was in Africa, was central heat. In Africa when we were cold (it was about the same temperature there after sundown as it is here today, maybe a little colder) we wrapped up in good handwoven Ethiopian blankets called gahbi’s and we sat around a space heater warming our hands. There was no dial on the wall to turn, to create comfort. I missed that luxury. It had not seemed a luxury to me in Michigan, but now I thank my lucky stars every time I turn up the dial.

Other people like this weather, right? I’m happy with everything else in my life right now but the cold is bumming me out. At least I got to wear my alpaca/kid mohair sweater yesterday, and that was warm and soft and it did make me feel better. Let’s hear it for animal fiber clothing!!!

Altu and Lynn in Alexandria, EgyptRight now I’m wrapped in a commercial angora beret, a thick knit synthetic wrap I bought in Egypt (it was cold there, too, at night) a huge sweater/jacket, legwarmers from Philosophers wool, and two pair of handknit socks… one I knit and one was my sock swap pair that Tracy knit for me 2 winters ago at the Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild. I think they have alpaca in them. In any case, they are super-warm, super-soft socks.

And by Friday night we’ll have a new furnace and I can warm up in part with heat that comes from a thermostat. Not a dial anymore (boo hoo, I like dial-controlled things best of all) but a digital wall thermostat with up and down arrows instead.

This house is very old, we think the front 3 rooms were built around 1910. There are drafts, especially in the area I call my office (which is where I am about half the time I’m at home). I think in the end I’ll appreciate heat that is more evenly produced.

Photos are my late cat, Muffett (the only pet I’ve ever had), who taught me about the pursuit of pleasure; the socks Tracy A knit me a year and a half ago; and a photo of Altu and me (wearing the wrap I’m wearing today) in Alexandria, Egypt, in a castle with the Mediterranean Sea behind us. Egypt is so interesting! It’s located in Africa, it calls itself Middle-Eastern as well, and it is on the Mediterranean which ties it to Europe (we saw old headstones with Greek engraving on them at the Christian burial grounds). What a fascinating place it is!

Me, Efficient? No… So Where DO I Get the Time?

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Someone yesterday told me that I must be very efficient to get all these different things in my life done. I tell you what… nobody has ever called me efficient before!

Once I was called lazy by someone who was trying to insult me. I just laughed out loud! I work almost every minute I’m awake, but I am not always well-focused. Lazy, never. Inefficient, OK. Yet I must get more creative work done than some folks, because this question continues to come up. People want to know how I do “it.”

treeI am convinced that morning people are more efficient than night people, yet I’m a night person. I sometimes have to stop myself and go to bed at 3:30am while I’m doing something focused like balancing my checkbook in Quicken. I just go to bed even though I don’t feel all that tired. Because if I don’t, the next day will suffer… and only because of that.

I do NOT wake up fast. It takes me hours to feel like myself. I usually sleep 8 hours, which means I wake up between 8:30 and 10:30am most days, yet I don’t feel awake till maybe 1 or 2pm.

In the morning while I’m having my first cup o’tea, I’m reading my emails from the night before. If I have orders for patterns or yarn, I might make up the package (at least the label/envelope) for that order and I do other kinds of routine work.

In the middle of the day (starting around 1pm or so) I either do production work at home (like dyeing yarn or making buttons) or I do rounds, getting from this shop to the next, teaching if I am lucky enough to have a class or two fill.

I typically finish that phase of my day at around 9pm. I make dinner between 9pm and 10pm (if I didn’t buy dinner on the way home, that is).

After dinner (when many people are going to bed already) comes the most focused part of my day. I often write my blog at this time (which can take over an hour if I have lots of photographs to edit) and I check more emails. On a day off I might sit at the knitting machine. On a work night I might focus on a new pattern, either knitting up a sample or corresponding with test knitters, writing instructions, taking a zillion digital photos and editing them for the pattern. Or I might skein yarn that has been dyed, or continue dyeing a batch, or make some buttons.

Often Brian and I rehearse at night, usually between 11pm and midnight. But when we finish the rehearsal I’m not done. More emails, more knitting, more order fulfilling. And good ol’ paperwork, financial records, that sort of thing. After midnight. That’s just a good time for me. My physical body has slowed down enough to sit still but the mind is still in prime shape.

You will notice here that I do not have children to take care of, or deliver to any place. My husband does not expect me to take care of him, although I typically make sure we have some dinner (if I’m not going to a guild meeting). I sometimes buy food on the way home from a class rather than cooking, though.

I have a low-maintenance car, a low-maintenance husband, no children, no pets, no houseplants. My hair is drip-dry, my clothes easy care, I wear no makeup, I might plug in an iron 2-3 times a year (for stage clothing). Part of the year I water outdoor plants. I do volunteer occasionally with my guilds, but I choose work that requires my time once a month or less. I am really clear about my choices in this phase of my life, and I consciously make choices that do not require lots of time.

I also have no interest in TV and movies. I’m just not a spectator by nature! The last movie I saw was the Lion King and that was before I started dating Brian (about 10 years ago). I don’t miss movies. I get upset easily, and I do not appreciate paying people good money to get upset. It’s not like I am choosing to not go when I want to go, it’s that I stopped going when I realized I didn’t enjoy it.

We own three TV sets, but all are black and white (they are very pretty manufactured sculptures, but not so good for watching shows). The last time I turned one on was before I went to Africa in early winter 2004. (I did watch some TV in Africa, as I was a guest and therefore was not in charge of my environment… I did learn a few things by watching it there.)

Well… true confessions… I love Teletubbies on TV though I rarely remember to watch them. Nothing bad ever happens in Teletubby land. I don’t worry or get upset watching LaLa dancing with her little tutu on! And if they spill anything or make a mess, the NuNu (sp) comes over and cleans it all up! No problems, only “big hugs.” Even in black and white, it is a feel-good experience. If all TV were like that, maybe I’d never get any socks designed!!!

I don’t have much interest in sports, don’t choose to attend football games or anything like that. Well, once we got free tickets to the Lansing Lugnuts (local minor league baseball) and had a great time watching the scene and the crowd, not as much the game.

There was a time when I went to local theatre and local music concerts. I go to concerts now less than I used to, and usually get my music fix by going to Altu’s restaurant on Saturdays. I do go to hear friends play elsewhere at times, and when there is a music party I usually go if I am not working.

However, I would rather be at home with Brian than anywhere on the planet. Even if he is editing our CD with earphones on all night and I’m busy typing or knitting, I just like being where I can see him if I turn around and look.

I have finally chosen a simple (low-maintenance) life. Therefore, I have time to do art as a living, as a lifestyle, as something I live and breathe. I dream about knitting sometimes.

I love it this way. My personal life and my professional life are so close to the same thing, I’m very happy. I keep separate bank accounts, even two wallets, one for work and one for pleasure. I keep things separate for our friends at IRS. But there is nothing like doing what you love best, as your livelihood. It doesn’t feel like working overtime when you are happy!

And there you got more words than you needed, about something you maybe didn’t ask!!!

The photo is one tiny maple tree turning red, in the middle of a neighborhood where all the rest of the trees are still green. It really caught my eye today.

A Chilly Morning, A Perfect Day

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

leafWell, it is undeniably autumn here. The leaves are not really colorful yet from any distance. However, the chill is in the air in the morning now and I don’t want to get out of bed.

Therefore it is no surprise that I am again creating wool knit longjohns (long underwear pants) in my mind. I have talked about this now for three seasons, I realize. I have written myself a pattern for the knitting machine and a yarn that I already own and have already swatched.

Yet Tuesday when I was cold all the way to my feet, I felt driven to write myself another knit pants/leggings pattern (for outerwear). I planned this time to use thicker yarn, my own handpaint Cushy ColorSport which is actually a DK weight despite its name (my manufacturer swore it was sport weight, but it has since proved otherwise).

I admit, that the time it took to write a second pattern was a good bit of the time it would take for me to just start knitting the first leg of the already-existant pattern on the knitting machine. And heaven knows that I have too many unfinished projects already started! I guess I felt warmer sitting at my desk fiddling with a pattern than I thought I’d feel sitting at the knit machine in the kitchen (right next to a window, in a room which has no heat vent).

The good news is that it did warm up and the sun came out. When I was driving my car to the west side at 6pm, the sun was shining and it was warm. There was little or no breeze, Lansing was as beautiful as it ever gets, the radio was playing an old favorite song, and there could have been no better existance than to be driving on I-496 (in my wonderful 1998 New Beetle, Joy) on the way to teach toe-up socks!

After my class, I bought some dark purple Lamb’s Pride Bulky yarn from Linda (Little Red Schoolhouse) to go with the leftover multi-colored yarn (from Rae’s) I used to make my first charity hat (see top hat, no button, in yesterday’s post). I’ll make a garter-fabric scarf with the eggplant and a stripe of the leftover multicolored yarn at either end, to make one charity hat/scarf set.

Then I popped in to Threadbear to get another skein of the llama/wool yarn I’d used for the second charity hat (yesterday’s post, center bottom gray-green with blue & green button). They had the same color number, and the dyelots were so close that a scarf of this yarn (in garter fabric) will go great with the hat (in stockinette fabric) I made of yarn I bought in Jackson.

Of course, Threadbear is always a social butterfly place. I was delighted to see Marcia Bailey, another knit teacher who works there sometimes. I also saw Noel, who had taken my class on feltmaking (without knitting) back on July 31. It was great to see her again! I also saw Sabrina and Judith, who are there so often that I don’t always mention them here in the blog. Hi, guys! I saw others, I hope the ones I’ve unintentionally left out are forgiving of my short memory…

The Fabulous Heftones at Elderly InstrumentsNow I’m at home and wearing my favorite legwarmers (from the Sally Melville Knit Stitch book) and a huge, lightweight green mohair sweater. Wearing bulky footies I made in a First-Time Toe-Up Sock class I taught last year, which are making my feet very happy if not totally warm yet, and a hat and a stole. Um, and a lap blanket. I’m toasty warm even though it is autumn. In winter, I’ll add a second pair of socks and wristwarmers, but it’s too soon for that, thank goodness.

In music news, I’m right now listening to the current edit of our upcoming CD, “In the Garden.” (The Fabulous Heftones, that is.) Brian is in intense editing mode these days working on it and I am loving the result. This CD was my concept from day one (our first CD, Moon June Spoon, was Brian’s brainchild).

There are so many songs from the 1920s which are about flowers, gardens, rainbows! I started collecting songs about flowers first. We have Tulips, Daisies, Roses, Violets, Daffodils, Lilacs. And rainbows, bluebirds, gardens, sunshine, rain, other romantic images of this type. Some of the songs are more obviously garden-like than others, but they all have a connection. I adore the idea, the songs, the execution.

Yet the CD will take as long as it takes. We record something, perhaps there is background noise or a flubbed note (not me!), so we have to do another take. Then Brian has to make that new take mesh with the previous tracks, which is sometimes harder than other times.

There is no rushing this work. On the other hand, probably it could be edited for 3 years and we’d still find things to fuss with if we didn’t just decide to stop sometime!

The good news is that when I was listening to the CD, listening to find anything that needed fixing… well, I got carried away singing along. It is such fun music! I guess that means that we’ve got a few things right anyway.

I’m told that other performers hate listening to themselves on recordings. Well, I understand because there are a few things I think I can never really sing the way I hear it in my head. As a trained singer, those moments are very frustrating. Luckily they are also far between.

But then there are a few songs where I just love them so much… Brian sings one (Halfway to Heaven) that is such a favorite I actually backed up the CD player today at one point so I could just hear it again. OK, so I’m a dweeb, but a happy one!

(Remember, I used to go to Brian’s concerts when we both had different lives… I adore his music, his choices of tunes, his presentation, his uke playing. I loved his music when I didn’t even know him personally. He played Halfway to Heaven and The Old Ohio where the Shy Little Violets Grow, the first time I ever heard him perform… and both are on this album. Happy me!)

Pictures today are a fall leaf and Brian and I/The Fabulous Heftones performing at Elderly Instruments in 2004.

Random Things, Random Thoughts

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

hatsSo much to say, so many things going on! I’m very scattered although things are good.

I’ve been continuing the “get it out” houseclearing, although I’m finding it’s easier to do little things like throw away that almost-empty tube of toothpaste in the back of the drawer than it is to throw a once-favorite sweater. So I’m throwing away tea I found was not tasty, and rice noodles I found I can’t cook in a tasty way. It’s a start, no matter where I work, and now my cupboards in the kitchen and bath close better, with no real difference in useable content.

I have made some new Chunky-Funky buttons but not nearly enough. I am too distracted to sit down and do a whole day of buttons so I will sit for half an hour here and there and do what I can.

I am so fascinated by the Equilateral Vest that I have actually done a half dozen triangles a day for maybe 3 days in a row. This is amazing considering how little knitting time I have these days. I’m down to about 3 more triangles before I need to really pay attention to the pattern every time I knit a new triangle. I’m sort of sad for that.

But really, I need to untangle the yarn I got for my knit “grass” skirt so that I can maybe actually wear it at the Midwest Ukefest which is in a month. A tiny little month. It’s good that the skirt is intended to be short, because on size 9 needles it will contain a good number of stitches (considering the yarn is so finicky that I can not imagine taking it out in public where it will tangle into major messes in the bag).

Rae this weekend showed me how she deals with this sort of yarn. Even though it’s already in a center-pull ball (that self-destructs when the wind blows) she re-winds it on a center-pull ballwinder. Then she puts a lightweight rubber band around the outside of the new ball. I figure if I do that and then put the new ball in a little ziploc baggie with one corner cut out, I can thread the working yarn out the corner and hope it won’t be a disaster.

hatsBut the easier-to-handle yarn I used last time I knit this masterpiece (Bernat Boa), at least at the gauge I used, made a gorgeous fabric that was totally awful wrapped around my hips. It was more like wearing a dense carpet than a skirt. Mind you, my hips are a lovely size and shape, and I don’t mind accentuating my curves but it was more like construction material than fabric. I’m considering making the old “skirt” into a sort of carpetbag, because I do love the fabric…just not as a garment!!

This new yarn (Online Linie43 Punta Rayon/Nylon/Acrylic, which I bought from Kim at Yarn Garden in Charlotte) is wonderful and soft and squishy, with very little depth to the fluff when knit. I think it won’t make me look like I gained 300 lbs. We’ll see if it looks like gauze, I hope not, but right now I think I have a yarn closer to the Surf & Turf sample garment on Knitty‘s pages.

OK, what else is up? I made 4 hats, one for a sample of my yarns/buttons, one for Altu’s Nephew who I need to find soon as it’s cold enough to need it… and two supposedly for Afghans for Afghans, but I thought the deadline was 9/29 and it was 9/26. Which I found out on 9/26 when I looked up the mailing address. Welcome to my life! Too many facts to keep in a brain sometimes doesn’t work.

I figure now that I’ll make matching scarves for the Ebeneezer Project, a pet charity of the boyz at Threadbear. They have been asked to coordinate 50 sets of hats/scarves for the survivors of Katrina who have been resettled in the Lansing Area. Fortunately I have a little bit of the multicolored yarn left and I can use that as trim on a solid scarf. For the green solid hat I got the yarn at Dropped Stitch in Jackson (40 minutes away) but Threadbear has the same line of yarn so maybe I can get a close enough match there. I hope.

Oh, the unfinished red hat? That’s for my beloved Brian. It matches his coat pretty darned well. He likes red coats, which is good since he walks on his lunch hour almost every day and that makes him easier to see in downtown/old town traffic. I’m finding the K2P2 boring, but I never find kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk stockinette boring at all! I guess it’s because stockinette requires no focus at all and K2P2 requires only a tiny bit but it’s distracting. I like the worry-bead stockinette process a lot.

Never mind if it’s boring, the hat is almost done anyway. I need to start some decreases soon. I am making this up as I go but I figure I’ll decrease in some of the purl ridges, with some sort of logical pattern so that it looks intentional. We’ll see how it goes.

And my last photo is just pleasing to me. I was in Jackson a month or so ago and found a resale shop (who me?) where they had this amazing coat for sale. It was clearly handcrafted with handstitching and no label. It has a super thick lining (fuzzy on one side and shiny on the other) and the fabric is backed, it may have been upholstery fabric perhaps. It is small. Very small. I tried it on and even with my tiny shoulders, it pulled between the armholes. I have always had a rounded back and so when I knit I often make the back a little bigger than the front… and on this coat it made me uncomfortable.

But my friend Marlene C, who I mention here often (she was the one dancing with Ben in the picture of Saturday’s events), she’s tiny. So tiny that when I hug her I always notice how little she is. She has more square shoulders than me but is generally just a bit smaller than me in other ways… and the coat fits her perfectly! And is good colors for her, to boot! Isn’t she pretty here? Mind you, she was modeling it on a warm day in front of a Beaners, so it’s not quite the season for it yet, but an artist with an artful coat (even if we don’t know the creator) is just rigt, to me.

Sock Class, Anyone?

Monday, September 26th, 2005

LynnH First-Time Toe-Up SockI’m teaching my wonderful “First-Time Toe-Up” Sock class at Little Red Schoolhouse on Tuesdays, starting tomorrow, for 3 weeks (classes September 27, October 11 and 25). The class is from 6pm to 8pm, and the cost is $30.

This is the class I am just finishing up at Foster Center, where you just saw the great results of my current students. These socks are great for a lot of reasons, but one is that you do not have to knit a gauge swatch before knitting, to have them fit well.

First-Time Toe-Up SockI recommend making the first pair with a short rolled cuff, out of fat wool yarn. These make great warm slipper-footies in winter over regular socks, and are fast to knit (and it is easy to see the stitches as you work). However, you can make them out of any yarn weight you like, and you can make any cuff you prefer.

I had at least one person ask me about when I was offering this class, when I was at Knitting Guild the other day. Now I can not remember who it was. Drat!!!

First-Time Toe-Up SockIf you can not make this timeframe, I’m also teaching an abbreviated version of this class (make a baby sock or ornament using the techniques, go home with a pattern that works for any size foot) on October 22, a Saturday, at Yarn Garden in Charlotte (10am-4:30pm, fee $35).

(I’ll again be teaching my standard 3-week version on Friday nights, November 4, 11, & 18 at Threadbear as well. I’ll remind you of that class again, as the date gets closer.)

The pattern/handout for this class is one of my best selling patterns. It literally has 9 pages and I think 13 photographs to walk you through things once you’re home on your own. Even if you do not live near me, you can buy this pattern and get more of a workshop than just a pattern.

Included as an addendum in this pattern/workshop is a chart/grid I use to determine sizes for infant 0 to ladies’ adult large… circumference and length of foot. I think this is worth the price of admission, if you ever knit for other folks besides yourself.

I hope my local readers might consider joining me for one of these sessions. I would love to have you there!

Ho-Hum Meme Result

Monday, September 26th, 2005

Turkish Zig Sox for Jane, Copyright 2002 LynnHTrish tagged me for a meme. It says:

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five some other people to do the same.

OK, now… I’ve been doing this since November 28 of 2002 and I write almost every day. Some days I write more than one post. I have 1054 posts to date. Moveable type doesn’t number posts and makes it sort of clumsy to get to the first ones… but I did it. This post was originally written on December 27 of 2002.

So here’s the nonsensical sentence:

However, that doesn’t mean I can’t knit it myself while I’m waiting to hear!

I was talking about my Turkish Zig sock design (my sock pair #64), which at that time I’d submitted to a book. I came in sort of “runner up” for the book I think primarily because the sock used two-color stranded knitting and would be perceived as difficult.

The book was aimed more for the young, hip, cool new knitter crowd. As if young and hip people would only want to knit fat yarn in one color? But it was not my book and I was not in charge of their decisions.

However, at that point I was told there was another place where the pattern would be used. It was to be released in October of 2003. Well, that did not happen, either. So this pattern has been sort of in limbo, with me not knowing what to do with it. I still have not really decided but I’m leaning toward self-publishing it (for one reason, because the whole design has been viewed by the public which is not looked upon well by a potential knit design purchaser)

I have self-published over a dozen designs (most since this blog entry was written), some of which are doing very well. Many of my sock patterns call for DK weight yarn and Turkish Zig calls for fingering, so that would be a nice addition to my collection.

But I’m not working on this pattern this week. I’m getting ready for the sewing expo in Novi next weekend. My friend Deb/Scarlet Zebra is having a booth there, and I can sell things in her booth. (I’ll be working there with her on Friday if anyone out there is planning to attend.)

She has historically done well selling kits for me, usually sock kits (either Turkish Toe Up with one color of my handpainted yarn, or Barberpole socks with two colors). This year I’m planning to make hat kits with yarn, a button and a pattern. The focus is hats for children, a quick and colorful knit. I may also make wristwarmer kits for the show.

So Turkish Zig waits even longer for its day in the sun…

The last bit of the meme is to tag other folks. I just don’t feel right giving someone else an assignment, so I will be passing on that part of the game. It was fun to play, though.

ColorJoy Stole Class Reunion

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

Sharon and Sherida in ColorJoy StolesOn Sunday, I had a fun time reuniting with two students from a ColorJoy Stole Class at Threadbear last July 24. Sharon and Sherida met me at Emil’s Restaurant on the East Side, my old neighborhood (a handful of blocks from Foster Community Center).

We ate the pasta special and talked and laughed and exclaimed. Sherida makes gorgeous jewelry, so we got to see some of that. She also made *TWO* ColorJoy Stoles. Two. Both neutral tones/cream… one dressy one including glittery gold fibers entwined with a lot of eyelash/fur yarn (see photo in link to class above), and one in more cushy and durable yarns with a touch of eyelash, lots of texture rather than glitz (in photo here).

Sharon made a beautiful dressy stole, glittery and in peacock jewel colors… turquoise, cobalt, emerald, purple and more. Gorgeous. She said she also has knit a dressy triangular shawl in black with rainbow flag accents, since we saw her. She did not bring the shawl for show and tell, unfortunately.

This event was Sharon’s second time wearing this stole, and I’m sure she’ll wear it more. She said the first time she wore it was with an aqua t-shirt and jeans, and this time she was more dressed up. It works both ways, and seems just exactly her style.

Here is a photo of Sharon and Sherida on the back step of Emil’s restaurant. Don’t they look fabulous???

Fun and Busy Saturday

Sunday, September 25th, 2005

What a fun-filled Saturday I had. It was busy, no time to breathe almost, but there is no more fun than knitting and music all in one day.

I started out at Rae’s Yarn Boutique where I taught a ColorJoy Stole class. I had two students on the class list but Deanna was the only one who made it. It turned out to be fun, just the two of us. It’s an intense class and she definitely benefitted from the special attention!

Here I’ve got a photo of Deanna starting her stole with the yarns in front of her that will become her ColorJoy Stole. The second photo is a close-up of her progress at the end of the class. You can see already that these very different yarns are combining into an amazing fabric with its own personality. I’m sure she will really love this wrap, and if my experience is any indication, I’m guessing she will wear it a lot.

After that class, I ran home and changed clothes… switching personas from knitting-teacher LynnH to singer “Lynn Heftone.” We headed over to Altu’s for our performance as The Fabulous Heftones. As always, we had a great time.

What is happening more and more these days, is that when we perform we have folks come out to hear us, who only know us as musical performers. These are not friends, not Mom’s friends, not my computer students or art/knitting students. I guess we’re accumulating some genuine fans! There were three tables of folks who came out just to hear our music. This is very satisfying for me to see.

Our guest artists, the McKinney Washtub Two (Judy and Whitt McKinney) also brought a small crowd of fans, family and friends. They put in a very fine performance, and I hope they will be able to return again (it’s quite a hike for them). This weekend they combined this gig with a visit to see their daughter and two other performances in the general lower-Michigan area.

I took some photos of the scene and the McKinneys in action. The closeup is artfully blurred, but the look on Judy’s face is dead-on. I had to include it for you here. Yes, it was fun!

After our Altu’s gig, we went over to the Cappucino Cafe’ on Lake Lansing Road. Our friends, Mystic Shake, were finishing up their performance of the night. We sang and lauged and danced and shook the traditional Mystic Shake cans (pop/beer cans full o’beans and painted fancy, like artful, handmade maracas). A good time was had by all.

Check out these last three photos from the Mystic Shake event. You see the guys in action, a Mystic Shake can ready to shake, and Ben Hassenger (of Mystic Shake) dancing with my friend Marlene Cameron (in the back with big smile on her face) and his wife, Barb. I love this shot!!!

Student Socks and Natalie Wilson

Saturday, September 24th, 2005

sockOn Thursday night I had the third session of a toe-up sock class at Foster Center. We are having such fun that even though we’re officially done with class, I didn’t have anything scheduled next week Thursday so we are going to get back together and knit. For fun.

One of my four students was ill, but of the three remaining, two finished a whole sock. The last student did not complete any whole sock but she had *two* done as far as the heel turn by the time we left class, and was decreasing for her gusset on one. She has very little knitting left before she has a full pair. Quite impressive, I’d say.

I have photos of the two completed socks here today.

sockI also had a delightful surprise on Friday. I was doing a few rounds, stopping at a few of the shops where I teach, and I popped in to Threadbear. I’m making some buttons for one of their store models which is in process right now, and I needed to see the yarn colors.

NatalieWell, while I was there I looked up, and there was Natalie Wilson! Natalie is a knitting designer from the Detroit area. I met Natalie last year when Threadbear was very new and she came up to deliver a few store samples. (At the time I met her, she had designed the front cover sweater for one of the top national knitting magazines that month. She’s prolific and talented.)

Friday she also had some samples to deliver… and was happily checking out colorways in the Colinette corner as well as enjoying other yarns in the store.

On this visit, Natalie was wearing her lovely floaty-mohair Tsubasa Shrug that was a favorite store sample (I think this spring).

It was great to chat with Natalie if only for a short while. She had business to attend to, and so did I. But how lucky I was to be there again when she came by (it’s quite a haul to drive up from where she lives, maybe an hour and a half if I guess right).

Here is a photo I got of Natalie wearing her masterpiece! It is more floaty and more green than you can see here, and infinitely wearable as well. Great design.

Now, if you don’t know Natalie’s work, please go and check out her website, iknitative.com

Oh… for the record, Natalie has done a good number of patterns offered for free (personal use, yadda yadda) which you can find on her Patterns Page on her site. This includes an impressive number of designs for the popular online knitting magazine, Knitty.com

Fabulous Heftones at Altus Saturday!

Friday, September 23rd, 2005

The Fabulous HeftonesBrian and I, as The Fabulous Heftones, will be performing at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine tomorrow, Saturday, September 24. Show is 6:30-8:30, dinner hour. For those who don’t read here often, this is a wonderful restaurant in East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

We will also be enjoying special guests/friends performing tomorrow, the McKinney Washtub Two. We met Judy and Whitt at the Dulcimer Fun Fest in Evart, Michigan, a few years ago. They are a polished act, and great fun.

They live much more north in Michigan than we do, and so we do not get to see them often. However, their daughter happens to go to MSU and they happen to be coming down to visit her on a weekend when we are performing! Voila! A double-bill at Altu’s! How fun this will be.

McKinney Washtub TwoExtra Bonus:
If you can find a copy of the City Pulse local free newspaper, Altu has placed a coupon in it. It is inside the front cover, very easy to find. However, it looks to me like an advertisement, not a coupon. Tear it out, my friends, and bring it along to the event! There is nothing like getting a good deal on a meal and a performance, that you might have enjoyed even without a discount!

I hope to see some of you there.

Dance Time

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Habibi Dancers(More pictures, I’m catching up…)

Wednesday nights, if I’m in Lansing, I’m at Foster Center rehearsing with the Habibi Dancers. It is sort of exciting right now, because we have a new batch of apprentice members and the dance room just is brimming with women each Wednesday. Such fun!

Habibi DancersWe have had a lot of performances this summer, and are not done yet. Here are two photos of women practicing for a cane dance, a traditional dance where canes are used as props. We balance them on our heads to show our skill as dancers (we move a bit underneath our steady head, and it shows skill when the cane stays put). We also dance with baskets on our heads, and sometimes glass jugs. Or nothing as the case may be!

Dances with props are fun, and quite interesting to watch. It’s a challenge practicing in cramped quarters when swinging a cane around, but perhaps that is part of the fun. And I tell you… knowing how to balance a basket on one’s head is a useful skill to know!

Picture Time

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

guildOK, I finally took the time to edit some photos for you guys. Here you go!

Tuesday night I went to the Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild in East Lansing. The theme was “What I did on my Summer Vacation.” I didn’t take summer stuff, I wasn’t thinking back that far… so I took three hats I’ve made recently and the partly-finished Lucy Neatby Equilateral Vest.

Now I’m bummed I didn’t show off my Kelly tank and my Fixation dance top. Maybe next time!

guildAfter guild was over, Rob and Matt of Threadbear invited me to join them and a small handful of other knitfriends for dinner at Oodles of Noodles, just a block or so from the meeting. I always enjoy the company of these great folks, so of course I went.

Now, Chinese food is a challenge for someone with a list of food allergies that looks like a chapter of War and Peace. Actually, most restaurant food is impossible for me (which is why I eat at Altu’s and Aladdin’s so much). But I don’t go to dinner for the food, I go for the company. I drink tea, which is totally my favorite “comfort food” anyway. And last year Rob figured out that I can eat the fortune cookies (depending on who the cookie-baking company is, anyway). So we go to this restaurant and we spend the first 3 minutes reading the label on the fortune cookies. This time I was lucky and they brought me 3 cookies to eat while others had dinner.

And then I saw that there was one meal that came with a half-orange on it as decoration. I determined to eat it… and then I dropped it on the floor. So my dear friend Rob asked them to bring me another orange (never mind it wasn’t even really the meal, just a decoration). So they brought me the most beautiful presentation an orange could have… with the bulk fruit cut into 4 pieces and a little plastic sword with which to stab and eat the pieces. So pretty, and so… well, so extra. Not required at all, but this place is just plain known for good service and caring.

guildAnd the orange? It was the best orange I’ve had in years. Really. Maybe since I was in Mexico in January 2000 (the citrus in Mexico is so good you almost can’t recognize it as the same thing we eat here).

Here are photos of my Tuesday night. First, Sharon Winsauer, the Alpaca fanatic (she raises them). She usually handspins laceweight yarn and makes the most amazing lace shawls. This time she wove this piece she’s holding up, after dyeing the yarns with natural dyestuffs. The woman is a talent, no doubt about it.

The second photo is Rob of Threadbear, just after he threatened my life if I took the photo. Of course I took it but I did wait till he had his shawl obscuring the view. He won’t kill me, and I know it! In this photo, at the left of Rob is Matt, also of Threadbear.

The third photo is the famous orange. Isn’t it a ColorJoy piece of art? Trust me, it tasted like art as well.