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Archive for November, 2005

Catching Up? Not Really.

Saturday, November 19th, 2005

starI have so much to tell you and I have been out more than in lately, little time to edit photos or even write to you.

Here’s a very sad little star I knitted. This was the project we did at knitting guild on Tuesday (almost a week ago). The guild is making a garland of these stars, knit by many members of the group.

However, the yarn I used here was dyed with Kool-Aid by my CityKidz Knit! program a few years back. (We used Canadian Kool-Aid sent by an Internet friend, and yarn donated from a knitting buddy either locally or online, I don’t remember any more.)

I decided that it would be most appropriate to give the star to my supervisor at Foster Community Center. She really does appreciate things just like this, handmade (she is a crocheter, herself). And she likes to decorate for holidays.

I was right, she loved it. And it felt right that she have it since the yarn was from the kids, anyway.

Social Butterfly Day

Friday, November 18th, 2005

I had a wonderful Friday. I slept as long as I could (the city furnace inspector called before I really wanted to wake up but I did scribble lacesleep longer than usual). I got enough sleep to shake off the 2-day headache, which was great news.

Lunch with Tony
I had a small late breakfast with great tea. Then I went at noon to New Aladdin’s at Frandor to meet my friend Tony for lunch.

I had not seen Tony in months. I missed him. He is such a fine individual, and very good company as well. We had a great lunch and then we went to Rae’s Yarn Boutique across the street (how convenient that she is right in “my neighborhood”). It was quite the scene there today… I saw someone I’ve known since the late 1970’s, and saw Sarah Peasley and Sharon P. as well.

Knitting Time/Talking Time
And then my friend/student Sue came around, and we knitted and talked and knitted more. Sue started a new scarf with gorgeous thick/thin yarn in pinks and white and greens.

Fiddling/Revising Scarf/Hat Set
At the same time, I finally finished the skein of yarn I had on the 2nd Ebeneezer Project scarf… and it made a fairly short scarf. So to make the scarf better, I took some stash textured yarn in almost the same color, picked up stitches at the bottom of the scarf ends. I knit another 3 garter ridges and then 3 rows of looped knitting (Rae showed me how, it was easier than the looped cast on I did once). Then bound off.

scribble laceThe looped fringe was cute on the scarf. But then the hat didn’t really match… Tony suggested a pom pom and I ended up making one with loops rather than cut ends (the stash yarn would have ravelled if cut).

The hat is way more cute than it was with a button on top. The pom pom is just adorable! And actually, the looped fringe is good as well. It did make a scarf with a right side and wrong side but that’s not so bad, really, as when we wear a scarf one side is out and one is not visible. I hope it makes someone really warm, the base yarn is Lamb’s Pride Worsted wool/mohair.

More Proof that Lansing is a “Small Town”
So then I walked across the street (I told you this is my neighborhood) to get groceries at the health food store. And ran into two young ladies I used to know around 1990 or so when I worked at Black Child and Family Institute. I’ve run into them and their parents from time to time so recognized them. We got talking and talking, there is so much to share sometimes! It was wonderful.

Home, Sweet Home
Then home, and a simple dinner of pasta and italian red tomato sauce, with fava beans for protein in the sauce. And some knitting. (Later we also practiced our music… a wonderful way to really feel married, if you ask me.)

Happiness is Knitting without Deadlines
I got a lot done knitting today. Since Friday is a day I designate ss a day off, I mostly worked on items not for work/yarn shops.

Besides finishing the charity hat/scarf set, I finished grafting together two parts of the Watercolor Bag (I took photos of the whole process if I ever get the time/inclination to edit them). It’s ready for me to start knitting the bottom of the bag (it’s top down).

I also swatched a bit more on the Indulgence yarn from my friend Rob at Threadbear. I like the two choices I swatched a day or two ago, but now I am trying a few more stitch patterns before I decide. It will be a LOT of knitting. I want to really love the process of knitting it, and I want to really love the result. Swatching now will help me love everything about this project.

Extra-Fun Knitting Project for Myself
And best of all: I started a Scribble Lace stole from Debbie New’s book “Unexpected Knitting.” Of course, I am not following the instructions literally (and I can not believe Debbie would expect me to). However, it’s really beautiful so far.

I am using a thick/thin yarn in white, dark blue and bluish-turquoise (I got it in Indianapolis), along with a very thin laceweight fuzzy mohair yarn in a medium-light purple (from Rae). The purple is just the foil for the blues (I am the only person I know who does not like standard blues at all, though I like teals and purple-blues if they contain very little gray).

So I love the color combination and I love the very intriguing/textured fabric. I can guarantee that when I was a child, this fabric would have really bothered me because it is not even or orderly at all. Right now, it is the right kind of wild!

I am just sure this will be a very warm stole with the fat wool and the mohair. Mohair is so very warm even when extremely lightweight! I’m excited… who knows when I’ll finish it but I’m sure I will, it’s so beautiful. The down side is that it really requires looking at the knitting as you work, and I’m not very good at that. I’ll have to have other “on the road” projects.

I’m expecting a good-sized stole. The thick-thin yarn in the book was Colinette Point 5 which has 54 yards in a skein. This yarn I’m using is GGH Trikolore and it has 77 yards (70m). The lace mohair is Kid Merino by Crystal Palace with 240 yards in 25gm.

I’m knitting 2 rows of the mohair on size 19 US/15mm needles and one row on size 15 US/10mm, plus one row of thick-thin on the size 15, and that is one repeat. It looks like I have a very close to perfect ratio between the yarns for that repeat sequence, and I’ll have a significantly larger wrap than the book shows. I’m looking forward to wearing it already!

The Scribble project goes really fast, on those huge needles. I just started the project after dinner, and I have almost a foot (30cm) of fabric knit already (only 56 stitches per row, 16 rows knit thus far). Wonderful!

Photo Status
I’m still sort of overwhelmed with how many photos I’ve taken in the last few days. I’ll eventually get you a great photo-essay of the cutting/grafting of my Watercolor bag, and some photos of at least one class, and perhaps some scribble lace (so far the only lace that attracts my eye in any real way). For now, it’s already bedtime again.

(OK I lied, I amended this entry to show one close-up of the scribble lace around midnight… then another larger view added on Saturday just before noon. Fun, huh?)

Tired from a Long Work Day

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

Well, I had a looooong day. I had a computer training job for a client I used to see weekly, but haven’t seen in months. It was SO good to see them again, and we had a great and productive day. But our appointment was at 9am, and I don’t usually wake up until after that time. So that alarm went off mighty early! No problem, I’ll do whatever this client wants. They have been good to me for more than a decade, and they feel more like friends than just clients.

After that appointment, I had a quick lunch with my friend Altu and then went to Foster Center for the rest of the day. I first had CityKidz Knit! program, which is just more wonderful every week. Then I had a computer lab (with hangers-on knitting during computer time).

And finally I had the first session of my Hats and Bags class. Two of my students are doing my Watercolor Bag. This is quite flattering, since I allowed them to choose any project in the round they wanted. I’m excited to see how their bags come together, as they chose very different colors than I’ve chosen thus far (I do tend to go toward intense colors with blue undertones).

I’d say it was as successful and busy a day as I could possibly wish for. I loved it all… but I’m tired!

Unfortunately, underneath it all I’m fighting day 2 of yet another allergy headache. Therefore, I’m going to bed before midnight and I’m not taking time to process my photos today.

Stay warm, everyone! It was 21F at 9am here, and snowy. Ugh. At least the roads, where I was driving, were not slippery.

Off to sleep…

Colorful Knitting and More

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

hatAs you may know, I love two-color knitting… specifically, “stranded” knitting which is sometimes called Fair Isle. I love Turkish socks, Norwegian mittens, Estonian, Latvian, any culture’s knitting which does this.

I just got a book on Andean knitting (also stranded) today, through the mail. I’m only on page 23, the history behind the book is wonderful. The book is called Andean Folk Knits by Marcia Lewandowski, and I got it on Overstock.com (thanks to another blogger’s mention of it). So far, so fabulous!

hatWell, as I mentioned earlier, I taught at Rae’s Yarn Boutique on Monday. And my! did she have some fine knit items hot off the needles! There is a red and cream hat with stranded knitting and a “braid” detail. This one is in a more traditional handwash wool, very warm and springy.

And then the luxury of the next set: Louisa Harding yarn (a blend of cashmere, microfiber and merino wool which is delightfully machine wash/machine dry and comes in 2 weights and bunches of colors) in a hat and matching glove (soon to be two gloves, I’m sure). This yarn is squishy, dense, soft and warm. Total luxury. And lovely too… no? She says the specifics on the pattern and yarn, etc., are on her blog, Extravayarnza, if you are interested.

In other knitting news, I’m nearly 3/4 of the way through my Watercolor Bag for Threadbear. I gave in to temptation, as well, and I wound one ball of the Cascade Indulgence… and knit a hefty swatch in two different stitch patterns (both variations on ribs). It looks promising, at leat before handwashing/blocking.

I’m 1/3 of the way through my 2nd charity scarf. I’m very ready to be done with this one… it’s a color that I don’t love but it’s warm.

And I was thrilled today (the first day we’ve had any snow at all) that I found my second bulky alpaca wristwarmer (in my dance bag… the first one was in my purse). It was missing for a week and I missed it.

Oh, the Places I Go!

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Scarlett Runner Band
I’m in catch-up mode again with my photos. I went to Altu’s on Saturday to hear Scarlet Runner String Band Play. They did a great job. Here’s a close up of the guys playing.

Sunday I went to Working Women Artists. The project of the month was gourd art. Oh, my! I had no idea. You can carve them, dye them, color in other ways, drill holes in the edges for added basketweaving (or crochet/knit though nobody did that). Some of the patterning added was wonderfully detailed. I actually sat and knitted (I’m really trying to finish a lot of my promises so I can knit for myself again) but watching was a feast for the eyes. Other folks took photos, but I don’t have any of my own.

felt projectsMonday (before my computer classes in Haslett) I taught a wet-felting class at Rae’s. This was a wonderful thing, where Betsy and Erin wrote me an email asking for a class. We found a day when we all 3 were available, and then I called Rae (she was geographically in the right neck o’the woods for me to teach and then pop over to Haslett and teach my night classes). Rae had room in her classroom so we made it happen.

I will do this for any two or more students wanting a particular class… let me know how many are guaranteed and what class you want, I’ll find the most appropriate location for a classroom and we’ll make it happen.

Photos: 1) Scarlet Runner String Band at Altu’s. 2) Betsy and Erin’s feltmaking projects. They first made small mug-rug type multicolored pieces. Then they made small felt balls, followed by felt-covered Orangina drink bottles, and finished with some alpaca-blend fiber (the darker honey colored items) where we made little pouches out of felt.

Lansing Guild Meeting

Monday, November 14th, 2005

Tuesday, November 15, we will have a Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild meeting. It is at the University Lutheran church on Harrison Road not far from Trowbridge, between the United Methodist church and the Islamic Center. We meet in the basement social hall.

Meeting starts at 7pm (ends 9pm) but folks roll in before that and sit and knit. The snacks are always artful and tasty, and the company is grand. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never been there, you’ll be welcomed warmly if you just say hello. We are all re-learning one another’s names frequently ourselves.

Please consider a visit if you are within driving distance. We’d love to have you join us.

Upcoming Big Weekend at Threadbear

Monday, November 14th, 2005

polymer clayThis upcoming weekend is a big one for me. I’m teaching my two most popular classes at Threadbear Fiberarts in Lansing, Michigan.

polymer claySaturday 11/19 will be Polymer Clay for Fiber Folk… mostly Buttons and Beads, but I’m not limiting the ideas at that. There is no way to have a bad polymer clay class… people can do wonderful things the very first day, learning how to combine colors so that they can make buttons to “go” with if not match a favorite handknit item. Class is from noon to 5pm.

ColorJoy Stole by LynnHSunday 11/20 I’m teaching my wonderful ColorJoy Stole Class. This class should really be called “Combining Colors and Textures” because at least half the class is about this subject. Many folks are not experienced mixing yarns so we practice and learn together.

Sharon and SheridaThe second half of the day I teach techniques for this project… including how to fix dropped stitches in textured yarns/garter stitch, and other knitting hints. Often my students will make a date to have dinner with one another in a month or so, to show off their final projects. It’s as much fun as one can have with yarn! This class is from 11am-5pm.

Since both classes are a solid day, you’ll need a bit of a break in the middle. Either bring lunch or plan to go out and find a little take out on the west side of Lansing. I stay in for the duration to handle any questions.

Write Rob at rob@threadbearfiberarts.com to sign up, or call 517/703-9276. I can’t wait to have you join me!

Photos: 1&2) student projects from an earlier polymer clay class at Threadbear, 3) Sharon and Sherida in late September showing off two of their four ColorJoy stoles that they have knit since class in July, 4) extra-warm stole I knit for my friend Elizabeth in 2004.

Knitting Like a Fiend

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

hat & scarfI sure have been making a lot of stitches on the needles lately! Finally it looks like I’ve finished a few things.

Shown here is a bulky hat/scarf set for the Ebeneezer Project (a charity supported by Threadbear)… destined to a New Orleans Refugee now living in the Lansing Area. The yarn for the hat is a variegated bulky from Rae’s, and I almost ran out of that yarn. I divided the remainder into two equal balls and then knit each half as a stripe near the end, of a solid eggplant Bulky Lamb’s Pride yarn I got from Linda at Little Red Schoolhouse. Both yarns are a single-ply bulky wool and it worked very well, I think.

I’m working on a second set (Lamb’s Pride Worsted), the hat is done but not the scarf. The purple made me more interested, the second set is a soft gray-green that is not my style and which wouldn’t take Kool Aid dye when the kids at Foster Center tried to overdye it in blues and greens… but it will be warm anyway.

I also finished a sample hat for Rae’s Yarn Boutique for this pattern I’m working on. Hers is in Debbie Bliss DK Alpaca/Silk. It’s like touching air, really! So soft! She carries the yarn so she can use the sample right away and I am finishing up the pattern as quickly as is practical.

I’ve finished the three skeins of yarn required for the sides of my Watercolor Bag for Threadbear. Unfortunately, after picking yarn, changing my mind and getting new yarn, knitting the “new idea” fully… well, I don’t like it. I’m not the only one, either, as I’ve shown it around and it just doesn’t work well. It is right now two different colorways of a Knit 1 Crochet 2 brand slow-color-change feltable yarn. I just couldn’t find a good pairing of colorways that I could stand to knit together.

The Watercolor Bag was originally designed for Noro Kureyon yarn. That yarn has colorways with sometimes a dozen colors of wool in one ball. I designed the bag to combine THREE different colorways (though many students have chosen two balls of one colorway with a different one in the middle). Because the Kureyon has so many colors in it, the change between colorways is undetectable most of the time. In fact, Linda at Little Red Schoolhouse has to go out of her way to convince people that I used three different color numbers for the sample bag at her store. It works well.

But this K1C2 yarn is much more controlled, it has very even changes from color to color, and in most of the colorways it does not have much contrast, is mostly similar colors near one another on the color wheel.

So I used a colorway that is not far from the Noro idea, it has pink and purple and blue… and I chose that for the top and bottom yarns. Then I chose a colorway in blues and greens for the center “stripe.” And the blue/green is almost flat, nearly no contrast next to the first multicolor. And it just plain looks like a mistake. Even though there is a color that is in both yarns, it isn’t enough to relate them together.

SO… I will cut out the middle skein, graft the third skein to the first with a sewing needle (I actually enjoy handsewing so this is no problem) and continue knitting at the bottom of the bag. Using three balls of the same colorway number. Hey, it’s pretty that way so I will not knock it!

Off to knit more on my gray-green garter stitch charity scarf. Good thing I totally love both my vintage plastic needles and the texture of the yarn I’m knitting.

Even More Indulgence!

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

Oh, wow. I am in the process of trying to re-organize my yarn area, it’s just so messy I couldn’t find things easily. And I was pretty darned sure I had another hank of pink Indulgence.

I found one! And (drum roll) it’s the same dye lot as the four skeins Rob gifted me with this week!!! Whooboy, I’m living right or something. So it’s official: I have 1230 yards of this heaven-in-a-skein.

Laurie says I should consider a shetland lace shawl. She says they are easy to knit without needing to carry around a chart. I don’t even know anything about how they look. I like some geometric lace, am not fond of flowery/girly lace, but she thinks I can find something I like. I will have to go looking around.

I like entertaining the idea of a sweater of some simple sort… but this will be really warm fabric so eyelets make sense… except that there is that “I don’t really like lace” thing again.

A ballet-type wrap sweater sounds great but that would fit too tight for the garment to breathe, I think. I also tried on that greek-inspired sweater that was in Interweave Knits (Fall 2005)… when the actual sweaters were at Threadbear for a trunk show. It was really cute on me (I’d pass on the chiffon edging), but again it fits really close with stockinette fabric, and would probably be too hot in this yarn. (I can’t believe I actually am worried about being too warm, but this is alpaca/angora so I think even for me this is an issue to consider.)

Good thing I don’t have to decide right away! I sure don’t have time to knit it right now, anyway, but the planning is just as fun as the knitting and the wearing, you know?

Off to listen to Scarlet Runner at Altus…

Scarlet Runner at Altu’s this Saturday

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

Scarlet Runner Stringband at Altu'sBrian is in many bands, and one he has played in for a long time is the Scarlet Runner String Band. They usually play instrumental music for Contradances. Sometimes, however, I’m lucky and I can snag them for a concert performance at Altu’s. This Saturday (today, perhaps, depending on when you read my blog), they are playing again for Altu.

I’m really excited, I love to hear them sing for a change! Larry does a bunch of numbers but I love his cowboy song best of all. Brian sings/plays all sorts of variety, and Mike sings/plays some originals and some jug band/”old-timey” music. I love how Mike sings. He’s doing a solo performance for Altu in December, which will be a treat. Meanwhile, please join us this Saturday for good food, great music and great fun.

This photo is of the Scarlet Runner Band, playing at Altu’s in July of 2003.

A Date with “My Sara”

Friday, November 11th, 2005

LynnH and SaraFriday was wonderful. I slept in and worked at home, ran just a few errands, and then had dinner with “My Sara.” That is, dinner and a stop at Rae’s Yarn Boutique then knitting at Starbucks in East Lansing till past 11pm. There is no better way to spend a day, than with this young lady.

Sara, if you are new to my blog, is my Goddaughter. She is 18 and a sophomore at Michigan State University in East Lansing (last year she went to Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, MI). Her mother and I were friends in elementary school, graduated together, have stayed connected all these years. I like to say that my friend Jo had my children for me, which is not all that far from the truth.

I don’t see Sara’s mom or other family members too much any more (including her brother, Michael, who is also my Godchild), but Sara calls me from time to time, requesting my company. I am more than delighted to comply! She is the best company one could have… we are a “mutual admiration society” and just have a blast every time we get together. Which is not nearly enough, but we need to make concessions to busy lives sometimes.

Sara called before Ukefest and I just could not make time until now. She’s busy when I’m free, and vice-versa. We made up the lost time this week, spending hour after luxurious hour together. We ate at the Mongolian Barbecue where we both can eat food that we’re not allergic to, and enjoy every bite at the same time.

But Sara had a plan beyond dinner. Several years ago I showed her how to knit. She started on some socks but got distracted by life. When she went to college last year she picked up the needles again and made many scarves, including the one she knit for me at Christmas time last year.

Over the years I’ve knit Sara three pair of socks. (See the first, second and third pair.) She loves them (especially her Sherbet Sox/pair #2), and she says that they are getting thin. Of course I have encouraged her to get them to me before they are full of holes, so I can darn them for her. But now she wants to knit her own. Cool!

We went from dinner to Rae’s, got some Naturally 10 ply (worsted superwash merino) which I know makes comfy socks, and then we went to Starbucks where they have comfy chairs and room to spread out… and they didn’t close till midnight. Sara likes a strawberry drink they offer, and I get tea.

So we dove in, and by the time we left around 11:15, she had two purple merino toes on her “First-Time Toe-Up Socks.” On double-pointed needles. Go, Sara!

She’s a really fast learner with knitting, it’s fun and easy to teach her because she gets it the first time. She’s a determined young lady and I’m absolutely sure she’ll finish these… it may take time with school distractions, but she really loves those handknit socks. She’s hooked, as I am. I’m glad, because that means I’ll be seeing her soon to work on the heels.

At one point in the knitting festivities (I was knitting my Watercolor Bag sample for Threadbear), I decided to hold up my camera and take a picture of the two of us. I scrunched myself next to Sara in her roomy chair and we got this mug shot. It was fun, sort of giggly girl fun. I had such a good time!!!

Found Art

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

graffiti markerboard artOn Monday, I went to Haslett Community Ed to teach computer classes. The lab where I teach is in an alternative high school. The room is not a regular classroom, it is shared by a number of instructors if I understand it correctly. It appears that sometimes students go to this room for something like study hall.

So this week when I arrived, the movie projector screen had been pulled down in front of the whiteboard. When I raised the screen, I saw this drawing underneath. It was graffiti of the sort that doesn’t harm any surface. It will not stay there long, I’m sure, but I felt inspired to take a photo.

It looks to me as if the artist was interrupted in the middle of the drawing. Can you see that the mouth was only partly filled in?

Now you see it, now you don’t.

Isabel’s Day of Shiny Things

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005

Wednesday, little Isabel (my dance friend/neighbor April’s baby) came to dance practice. It was fun to have her there.

She has always been quite clingy to her mom when in the big group of dancers. This time was different. She saw all these ladies wearing such shiny things, she couldn’t help herself. She went from one dancer to the next, reaching out to touch the shiny pseudo-coins as they dangled freely. Such a sweetie. It was great to see her grow more confident (even if it was because of the shiny things we all love) and wander away from mommy more than ever. They do grow up!

Here is the sweet girl in a room full of dancers having a small meeting. Garnett/Yasmina Amal (our troupe director) is standing at the front of the group making plans for the next performance. Isabel is entranced by her coins. Nobody minds at all, about half the dancers are mothers themselves and the rest of us adore the babies who are not ours. I love this pic… business as usual for all but the child, you know?

And finally April holding our sweet thing. One of the dancers let Isabel play with her unused coin wrap. The baby was playing hide and seek with me using it to hide behind. Such fun!

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.