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Archive for November 8th, 2005

I Have the Best People in my Life!

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

I tell you what, in spite of my complaints about cold weather and being tired during this allergy season, I’m a woman with a great life. I get to teach people who want to learn what I know, I get to hang out with other creative people, I get to work for people I consider friends, not just business partners, and I just plain have great folks around me nearly all the time. And that surely includes my cyber-friends as well.

giftDoor #1
I’ve had actual gifts lately from people in my life. When I went to CityKidz Knit! program last Thursday, a student came in who I had not seen since last spring. She’s still knitting away at home, so she honestly doesn’t *need* me much, but we like to be in the same room knitting together, and occasionally I can help her out (though it’s becoming rare). I do delight in supplying her with yarn (which comes from my knitting friends here and in cyber-land) when she needs more. She made a backpack which I’ve not seen yet, and she’s busy on a baby blanket for a sister in law who is expecting this spring.

This young lady brought me a thoughtful gift. First, she apparently purchased a blank white gift bag and then artfully rubberstamped it herself with flowers and a “thank you” word stamp. Inside the bag was a pair of knitting needles in a pretty green color, and further inside was a funky, fun metal VW bug toy. Which opens up and begs to be stuffed… with something. Not sure what yet, but something. Fun! How personal and keyed to the real me, that gift was. (I drive a blue 1998 New Beetle.) Thanks, sweetie!

giftDoor #2
Then I visited my friend, Sue, who I met originally as one of my computer students almost 10 years ago. She’s now a friend and a knitting student of mine (at Foster Center in the night beginning knitting class). I’ve also recently done a little computer-related work for her. It’s really great to be seeing her more often again these days.

So I go to her house to see her new computer in action… and she bought *me* a gift! Cuddl Duds, which are a luxurious version of long underwear, one long-sleeved top and one longjohns. They are cotton knit on the inside and somehow the outer surface of the fabric is a nylon shiny material almost like a dress slip, which means I can wear the longjohns under a skirt to be warm, and the skirt does not get all tangled up sticking to my legs as I walk. Ultimate luxury, these are!

I wear longjohns all winter (knit long warm undergarment pants for those outside the USA who may have a different name for them). I swear I never have enough to go around. Two years ago I bought 100% silk stockinette knit ones, thinking they would be warm and slick. However in fact they are “grabby” from static electricity. I like the cotton/nylon version significantly better. I have had two long-sleeved Cuddl Duds tops before, but I wore them until the seams literally disintegrated. It’s a delight to have one in good shape again. What a gift this was! And perfect timing, I’d say.

giftDoor #3
But I’m not done… I received another gift. I went to visit my friend Rob at Threadbear this week and he gave me four hanks of the old style Cascade Indulgence. He just gave them to me, it’s proof he loves me for sure!

I must admit I bought a few skeins of this very yarn from the Boyz at Threadbear when they were still in Indiana. He knows I adore this yarn. It’s 70% Alpaca/ 30% Angora. This is like touching air!

The yarn used to be put up in 100gm hanks (which is what I bought and what Rob gave me), now it comes in 50gm balls and I swear it felt better in the old put-up… I haven’t bought any more since the new balls came out.

Rob must have found this yarn in a stash somewhere and he determined that it was mine. It’s almost my birthday (I’m a “Thanksgiving baby” sometimes, November 28) but he didn’t give me this yarn for that reason. He clearly just knew I’d flip! I may have another skein or two somewhere in my stash, either this same pink or purple or hot green… I know what box it would be in but haven’t had time to dig in there yet (two boxes sit upon the box I need). Can’t wait to know for sure.

Advice, Please
Any suggestions on what to make out of 984 yards (or more in contrasting colors) of superfine alpaca/angora yarn would be much appreciated! It says size 7 needle for 5 stitches/inch, so that would mean worsted weight, though it looks light for worsted to my eye.

I’m thinking it wants to be a sweater and a turtleneck would be so luxe, but this stuff will be baking-hot even to me… Therefore, it probably needs a v-neck or a cardigan front, or (oh no) maybe some eyelet holes to let a bit of air move so it doesn’t feel like a plastic bag holding heat in? But then again I do adore wraps of all sorts… so I could go with something in a geometric-patterned lace (I’m not a flowery sort except when singing) might work?

I went to the CascadeYarns website and they have a handful of patterns for Indulgence, none of which are really suitable. For the record, I look terrible in a raglan sleeve, though drop sleeve works fine on me.

I think simple would be best with this ultra-drapey yarn. What was that we learned about stretchy/heavy alpaca and/or silk in Margaret Radcliffe’s class, Sarah P?

Rachael wrote me in comments in December of 2003, that she’d made a shawl of the Indulgence yarn and it was wonderful. I use wraps all the time… sounds like a great option. But I am open to any suggestions.

Now, I am not good at knitting things that require me to stare at a graph when knitting. I follow graphs/charts very well (made a great Norwegian Mitten a la Beth Brown-Reinsel) but I don’t knit sitting still very often. (Never did the second mitten, no surprise.) I’m mostly knitting in public, so stockinette tubes work best of all. And with this yarn, simple and elegant is the key anyway. So please, suggestions… what should I make???

OK, That is the end of the amazing gifts in the last week (extra-ordinary, though). I got to keep what was behind all 3 doors. But I’m not done with sharing happy surprises yet!

Tea and Friendship
I went to Haslett to have tea with Sarah Peasley on Monday. And I had someone come up to me from behind, saying “I read your blog every day!” What a way to wake up! It was Barb V., who has seen me teach at Threadbear but I’m not sure we’ve actually talked before. I’m so very glad she came by and took the chance to say hello. What a lovely surprise that was!

Online Surprise
And then I was at Sarah’s weblog later that night, had a few minutes I could spend online, and followed her link to AnalyzingKnitter/. For some reason I decided to check out the finished items gallery on that site. What did I find? She has knit two pair of Fast Florida Footies! How cool that was, to find that out of the blue. Whee!

More… more great stories still coming…

Warm Fuzzies
So today/Tuesday I taught a wristwarmer class at Little Red Schoolhouse and had a great class. Afterward I had a nice conversation with a young school-aged lady just starting to knit. I helped her find yarn for a scarf which will be a gift for her cousin. And after that I went home, which took me right past Threadbear.

I had planned to stop at Threadbear anyway, since I’m knitting a Watercolor Bag sample for them right now and I’d changed my mind about what colorway(s) to use.

So I stop in. And Rob is exclaiming in a loud voice “The designer of this pattern just walked in.” He was checking out someone who was buying the Fast Florida Footies pattern. Made me feel good, let me tell you! Those guys really do a good job of selling my patterns and I’m very grateful.

And behind that customer with the pattern, was Gerri (Geri? Jeri?) who had taken my polymer clay buttons class at Threadbear not too long ago. And I asked her what she was knitting. Wow, did I have perfect timing!!!

She was making a garter-stitch vest. And it was totally, absolutely perfect for the vest project OfficiallyAKnitter is planning to make. She told me it was originally from a pattern by Jamieson if I remember right, but she and a friend have made these enough times that they have converted it to a single piece (rather than left, right and back, sewn together). I am sure we can convert it to a square front, square armholes and square neck, and make a warm but simple first project for my student. Wonderful! Brilliant! I can’t wait to plot it all out.

But there’s still more!!! Behind Geri in line was Barbara Hranilovich. Barbara is one of the first people I knew in Working Women Artists, though she comes around less often these days. She was the first one to tell me there were yarn shops in town other than chain stores (back in the days when the only shop in town was Yarn for Ewe in Okemos). I hadn’t knit in a decade but I started thinking about it again… she sure opened up a nice can of worms for me, didn’t she?

Barbara is a gifted professional illustrator/artist, and she loves color as much as I do. She recently finished a series of to-go cups for Beaners, the coffeehouse Altu and I frequent together. I always smile when I see Barbara’s work in the coffee shop. She used to do illustration work for my credit union and I loved seeing her style up on the walls when waiting in line to make a deposit. Lansing’s a small town for creative folks, and it’s great to run into Barb from time to time.

OK, whew! I’m done with that story, at least for today. But doesn’t that sound great? Can you see why I get so tired sometimes??? I tire myself out just reading about my busy life… :-)

But I’m not complaining. I was so unhappy for so long, I’m living what they call “the problems I prayed for.” I’m over-busy with great activities, work and friends, all of which are good for me and make me smile. It doesn’t get much better than that.