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Archive for January, 2006

Scoop: First Peek

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

yarnOK, I updated the Cushy ColorSport yarn page on my site to show the new yarns that are ready right now. I have two other colorways drying right now, one in a half pound and one a full pound (in half-pound skeins).

I also have seven colorways of fingering wool/nylon sockyarn coming tomorrow. But for now, you guys get the first peek. It really does go fast so I want you to peek first. Tomorrow is Socknitters ad day so I’ll be posting the sockyarn there.

Thanks for sticking with me!!! More updates soon.

Finally, Sunday Details!

Monday, January 30th, 2006

darnersI finally am sitting a minute while I wait on my yarn that is steaming to set the dye… more yarn, I’ll tell that story in a minute…

But first let me tell you about Sunday at Threadbear. I got there to teach my Darn That Sock! class and Dotty (Dottie, Dotti?) came to talk with me, and show me some darning eggs she has collected over the years. Wowie, was that a feast for the eyes!

She had glass, wood, ceramic, metal darning “eggs” (some did not look egglike at all) and some were truly art masterpieces for common use. My personal favorites included a multicolored glass one with a globe shaped working area, and a wooden one made in Norway (the printing on it was in English so perhaps for sale outside the country) where the handle was a woman dressed in traditional Norwegian clothing.

darner from NorwayI recognized her clothing as Norwegian immediately. When I was in middle school, my mother and I created an outfit like this for me to wear on Syttende Mai, (Seventeenth of May, Norwegian Independence Day). I believe that was in May of 1971. We modeled my outfit on a doll made for me by Ingeborg, my great-great-aunt (I think) who was the only one who ever knit for me that I recall. She was born and raised in Norway, and came to the USA at age 16 according to family lore. She passed away in the mid-1970s and had no family other than a brother, so I don’t know much more than that.

Ingeborg made me a doll with very detailed clothing like the area of Norway where she was from. When I’ve gone looking online recently for Norwegian outfits, the style of my doll is shown only on girls, not women. However, the darner appears to be an adult female guessing by her shape. More mystery, maybe never to be solved.

Dottie (drat, I never asked how to spell her name properly), I’m so very happy you took the time to bring your darners for us to see them. What a treat that was!

darned socksAfter the feast for the eyes, we got down to business learning two ways to repair worn socks. Kathi did a great job learning both methods. On her red sock here at left, you can see the woven version easily because she used both a red wool and a yellow nylon reinforcing yarn I brought with me, as her darning thread. For the thin, small spot where she did duplicate stitch, you can not even see where she did the repair work unless you are under the lights at a close range. She did a great job.

While I was at the shop, I took an opportunity to take a photo of my Multicolor mohair Bloom Shawl, on the mannequin. Now you can see her in all her glory! I had some trouble getting color right on this one, it’s sort of soft turquoise throughout, with undertones of purple, blue, aqua, and yellow-green. Gorgeous. And look at how beautifully it can drape! It’s sort of a wonderful bonus that the shawl is very easy to knit… garter stitch short rows for those who know what that means. It means “quick knit” to me!

darnersThis one has a crocheted trim edging as specified on the pattern, but even on the pattern it says the edge is optional. I did not crochet the first one I did. I almost never crochet, so I had to look up how to do a double crochet and triple crochet, in my Maggie Righetti crochet book. If I can crochet this edge, anyone willing to slog through not knowing for a while, can do it as well.

I’m falling asleep at the machine again. Drat! I’m going to put the date of 1/30/2006 on this entry but it’s really 2:15am on the 31st… time to crash. I did 10 colorways in three different yarns tonight, I cranked but I’m wiped out. I think I’ll be posting the Cushy ColorSport web pages in the morning, and then I’ll have my new sockyarns up on Wednesday. You see… I dyed 4 colorways, 12 skeins of my new sockyarn, and before I could even make a web page I was down to three skeins, in only 2 colorways.

You see, I told you guys I’d be posting my yarn and there was nothing really to post! It was back down to the basement studio for me… and I’ll be rinsing and drying the yarns tomorrow, hopefully photos tomorrow night and web pages Wednesday. But I’ll probably put up the ColorSport (which also makes wonderful socks) tomorrow before the other yarn is ready to go live.

See you tomorrow.

Photos: 1) Darners (darning eggs) from Dottie’s collection. Forgive the size of the photo, I thought you would want to see the detail. 2) Close up of Norwegian doll darner. 3) Kathi’s first knitting repair project (red) and my sample repair sock (aqua) on top of my magenta pair that has been darned at least 4 times and still going strong. 4) Bloom Shawl on mannequin at Threadbear.

Gloomy but Good Day

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

I taught Sunday at Threadbear, have many photos and stories to share. I had Kathi and Dottie (Dotty? Dotti?) at my “darn your sock” table. Wonderful. Will do pics tomorrow. I’m soooo tired I can barely keep my eyes open.

I wore my re-made “Turkish Sock Sweater” to class, it was a hit. They saw the before/after versions and of course like the current version best. It’s great to have friends who say the right things!

I’ve been making web pages for hand-dyed yarns, thought they would be up Saturday but still working. Soon, very soon.

It has been totally gloomy weather here, though very warm (in the 50s F). We have mud everywhere instead of normal January snow. Driving is bad in mornings from fog, and at 4:30pm the streetlights were on because the cloudcover blocked the sun so fully.

Sleep…. seeya tomorrow.

Turkish Sock Sweater is Remade!

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

sweaterWell, my friends, I made lots of noise about going to bed early to get enough sleep. Then I gave in to the obsessive thoughts I had about the sweater I was remaking. And I stayed up till 2:30am finishing the remake. I hate to admit I don’t regret it at all!

I call this my “Turkish Sock Sweater” because several of the motifs knit into it, are motifs I’ve seen at least in photos of Turkish socks. However, the sweater (which I got at Scavenger Hunt, the most fun and funky resale shop in the Lansing Area in my experience… for only $5.00 USD) is labeled as handknit in Bolivia.

The yarn is handspun and no doubt hand-dyed. Some of the yarn is very low spinning quality (particularly the light yellow paired with the purple, it is spun so tight it has corkscrew bits sticking out of the fabric, and that is after it was plied). Some of the yarn is much better than that, particularly the purple and green are very nice.

But I just LOVE clothing that was handmade in other countries! I think about who might have made it when I put it on. I am glad to be the custodian of this item, as imperfect as it is.

Well, the reason it would have been at the resale shop, even if the owner loved handmade things, is that it would not have fit most people in this country. It is long but the tube is pretty tight. I have smallish hips and the sweater barely makes it around them, but even if I had a longer waist it would have been too long to wear with the rib at belt-height as many sweaters are worn. Never mind the shoulders are too wide for most folks with smaller hips than me.

On top of that, the sleeves were fully six inches too long for me. I cut the cuffs off and put little rolled edges on instead (using some Manos Del Uruguay yarn, adding one more country’s handmade items to the mix).

The neck fit fine but was knit from the scratchiest wool in the whole sweater. The neckline style was high enough to touch bare skin under my neck. And the edging on neck, cuffs and bottom rib was a dark burgundy-mahogany yarn, not my color and out of place on the rest of the sweater. The cuffs and rib were not too scratchy but were not at all colorful (and the rest of the sweater is so electric it looks acrylic rather than wool).

So I unraveled the neck, and knit back up a softer neck that won’t touch my skin. Then I knit down from the hem as far as I could go. I could see I’d run out of the first skein and I didn’t want to open the second one. So I got out the last small ball of Manos del Uruguay from my last remade sweater (sweater-turned-skirt-and-legwarmers). I used the leftover reddish Manos to make a stripe in the bottom rib, then went back to the teal for the last 3 rounds and bind off. I think it looks pretty nice. It’s imperfect, but it’s much more wearable than when I bought it. And wowie, is it warm! I’ll be wearing this to Threadbear on Sunday for sure!

Project Spectrum

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

LollyKnitting has a new idea. It’s called Project Spectrum. It is dedicated to celebrating the colors around us. Who can argue with that idea?

Each month from March through August, she has assigned a color or group of colors. You just make *anything* in that color group, or lots of things, or nothing, in that group. Then the next month she goes on to the next color idea. It’s supposed to be no stress. If you can’t do it or that color doesn’t make your heart sing, you can wait for the next month. (August is neutrals/black & white… I’d have a very hard time with that assignment.)

I love the idea, but these days I’m practicing saying “no” to new committments. I do this cycle about 2-3 times a year. Opportunities sound wonderful, I keep saying yes to all the things that sound good, then not long after I suffer with deadlines and the fear of disappointing someone… so I say no for a while, things calm down and then I start doing the “yes dance” again. Right now I’m in the “Oh my goodness, did I really say I’d do all this? By when?” phase.

But I’m very sure that the readers of ColorJoy understand this Spectrum Celebration concept. I’m expecting that several of you will join Lolly in the color adventure. I hope you do. Take me along in spirit, if you would.

Read Kristi’s Entry on Mistakes in Knitting

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

Please, if you ever showed someone a mistake in your knitting before they commented on it, go read the blog entry on accepting imperfections, which Kristi/Reddogknits wrote on January 16. She’s right on, my friends.

On second thought, go read it even if you do not knit. We tend to be so mean to ourselves when we are not perfect, whatever that means. I figure we’re humans on earth… and both the words “human” and “earth” imply randomness and unevenness. That does not mean that imperfect is a problem. Look at trees which grow in a crooked or uneven way. They tend to be some of the most interesting plants I see.

I tell the children I teach to knit, that perfect doesn’t exist, at least not in physical things. We may feel like we are having a perfect day… feelings may occasionally be perfect for fleeting moments… but things? I think it’s impossible. Look at NASA, they strive for perfection in spaceships, and they struggle with physical limitations even when supported by an extremely large budget.

Maybe striving for perfection helps us reach higher standards, but I’m not convinced it’s a healthy goal in many cases. Olympic athletes strive for perfection, but they are exceptional by definition, and since when does a gold medal require a 100% score? They often give up much balance in order to achieve so far in one realm. They may live in a different state from their families, for example. I’ll take balance, any day.

Go on, it’s not a long entry… see what she has to say. Then prepare to be kinder to yourself. I’m working on it, myself. It’s harder than it sounds.

A Photo, thanks to Sue!

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

bloom shawlBye, Bye Bloom
I dropped off my new Bloom Shawl at Threadbear Friday. It was hard to say goodbye to it, I’ve enjoyed my day and a half of wearing it myself.

Sue took two photos of me wearing the shawl, neither is really great (they looked fine on the tiny monitor at the back of my camera, of course). I should have thought to take a photo of the shawl on the mannequin at the shop while I was there, as well.

That said, here is one angle of the shawl when it is just over my shoulders and not tossed over the shoulder just so, as I like to wear it. Can you see how at the right side of the photo the color changes to nearly purple, then moves through blue and turquoise and yellowish-aqua? It’s soooo pretty. I just have a hard time when I have to give up a little control and not see through the viewfinder of the camera! I’ll have to get more photos but for now I’m making good on the promise of something by today.

Rush to Sign Up for This!
By the way, Beth Brown-Reinsel is coming to Threadbear in March for three classes. She is well-known for her knowledge of historical knitted forms. She’ll teach Norwegian Mittens (I took this one last year, a wonderful class), Twined Knitting, and a sweater style that has roots in Danish tradition. I’ll be taking the Twined Knitting class all day on Tuesday, March 7. Trust me, any class by Beth is worth the time and investment. She’s gentle, patient, passionate, listens well, and a great teacher.

Adventures in Knit-Land/Lansing
After Threadbear I popped by the other Lansing shops where I teach, Little Red Schoolhouse and Rae’s Yarn Boutique. It was fun to run into friends at all three shops. Very fun indeed.

At Rae’s I ran into Kristi/RedDogKnits who had writen me about a week or so ago, that she’d seen me at knitting guild but not had a chance to say hi. Well, Rae wanted me to meet someone and that someone was Kristi. She (and Bethanie will be doing my First-Time Toe-Up socks in a fun self-striping yarn, for the Yarn Harlot Knitting Olympics challenge. We chatted a while and I think she will really have fun doing this project for the challenge. I was so glad she made sure to let me know who she was. Hi, Kristi!

Sunny Day, Tired Lynn
It was sunny today, which was very nice. I tell you what, though, the second the sun went down I felt like it was time to sleep. Me, the stay-up-past-1am-almost-every-night grrl. I have had several early mornings this week and the last two days I half-awoke before the alarm rang, afraid I’d miss my first appointment of the day. I’m just wiped out as though I didn’t sleep at all! This, too, shall pass. I fell asleep on the couch last night just around midnight and if I can stay awake that late tonight I’ll be shocked.

Tomorrow is a new day. I have a helper coming over to wind yet more sockyarn for dyeing while I finish up the sale web pages for you guys on the first batch. Slooooooow going, but I keep plugging.

And Sunday… Sunday is my Darn that Sock! class at Threadbear. Please join me, the class is definitely a “go” and we’d love company. Only $20 to learn how to fix your handknits in one session, and you’ll feel smarter than the average knitter for sure! No need to knit a replacement pair if you can fix the pair you already love… Come on down! Please join me.

Sunshine Makes Me Sing!

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Gondar view in EthiopiaThe sun shone Thursday, a lot! It was just around freezing and I was pretty happy with the weather. It’s nice to start with good news like that!

I started the day with a mailing for Working Women Artists. I always enjoy this, because it is an excuse for me to see my friend Marlene C., who works on the newsletter with me. Actually, I keep the mailing list and she does the layout, I print on my printer, we both do a bit of the writing. It’s a good team and I love the part where we come together to stamp the printed items for mailing. It is a good way to start the day.

After that there were what felt like a million errands but then I got to have lunch with Altu. That’s another wonderful part of my week. What a friend she is. We went to the city market to visit our friend Magda today. Magda has a restaurant booth called Seif Foods at the city market.

Magda is from Alexandria, Egypt, so has some excellent mideastern food (with a twist for those of us so accustomed to Lebanese cuisine). She also specializes in foods that folks with allergies can eat (cookies for those who can not eat wheat, for example), and so I always eat like a king when we go there! And we talk and talk and talk. Aaah, the simple pleasures of life. Food, tea, company. I am a rich woman indeed.

Mid-afternoon I had CityKidz Knit! program, and following that a computer lab at Foster Center. I had 8 knitters all told today. The ability levels are varied but the enthusiasm is the same. My newest three knitters are such happy kids! Two of them bring a grandma along for the program. In fact, I had three grandmas today. How cool is that? I surely did not learn to knit from either grandmother or my mom. I’m so glad that for at least a few this can be a shared experience.

And then the day ended with a class at Rae’s Yarn Boutique. I got to show off my new Bloom Shawl all day, which was most fun with this class (where they really do understand). And after class I ran to the grocery where a young woman stopped to say how pretty the Bloom was, and did I make it myself? Whee!

Gondar view in EthiopiaAs far as my projects? I’ve been putzing around a little with the remake of the “Turkish Sock” sweater, but it’s slow going.

I also took out the finished funnel neck pieces last night to do a little sewing and it looked just too much for me. I was tired enough to make mistakes since this is something I don’t do often.

Thank goodness I have the Toe-Up sock I started in the class at Threadbear the last several weeks. The foot of the sock was done Sunday, but it needs a cuff so I’m just knitting away until I run out of yarn. I had lots of waiting in line time today so I got a few inches done on that.

Tomorrow I go to Threadbear and will beg someone to take a photo of the beloved Bloom in Multicolor mohair (so you can finally see it). I’m so glad I got to wear it for a day! I’ll get it back again soon enough…

Photo: Once more no current photos of my life. That means you get photos of Africa! These were taken of a vista in Gondar/Gonder. This is in the historical northern area of Ethiopia. There are three castles and several outbuildings here, built by kings: father, son, grandson.

The scale here is hard to fathom, the walls are TALL! That little speck (first photo) about a third in from the right side, in the general area of the corner where two walls meet… that is a person. The trees are so big it’s hard to get a sense of perspective here. And that sort of cloudy background behind the trees? A long view of mountainous territory far away. It was really beautiful. Photos taken in early December, 2004.

Blocking Bloom

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

I finished all the ends on my mohair Bloom Shawl. I soaked it in warm water in the sink, then I spun out the extra water in our “new” washing machine on the spin cycle. Wow, the new machine is quiet! Love that part at least.

So now the slightly-damp mohair Bloom is resting patiently, blocking flat. It is not pinned or anything, it’s just sort of relaxing a bit. I find that I am a very uneven knitter, with big and small stitches in the same row. A dunk in water, a spin to extract most of the moisture, stretching left-right and up-down, gentle tugs to put the item into shape, then a proper rest while drying, does wonders for how my work looks. It’s definitely worth the effort.

This shawl sure got a lot of attention at Habibi Dancers’ rehearsal tonight. It’s even more beautiful finished than it was in my mind. The way the colors work as they are wrapped around my shoulders, well, they are spectacular. It would be hard to find a better yarn for this project, I think. Light and fluffy, colorful and warm without weight. Yum!

It looks like I’ll be taking this one to Threadbear on Friday. Local knitters, keep an eye out for the prettiest new sample(!) if you stop by that shop. I’m going to miss this shawl… but folks tend to sign up for classes when they can see a project completed. April 1 is the class, so perhaps I’ll be able to wear it after then.

I will hope that someone at Threadbear will humor me and take a photo of me wearing the shawl, for you folks to see. It just is not as pretty flat on a table, as it is wrapped around shoulders. Photos soon… or that is the plan.

Two New Patterns!

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

Cushy BlankieLynnH Button HatI’m happy to announce the release of two new LynnH/ColorJoy patterns (my designs). Both are $5 USD each and neither is on my pattern web page yet… I expect to be caught up on that by Saturday night.

First I present the Cushy Blankie, test knit by Jessie K. She showed it off at the MMKG (Knitting Guild) meeting last Tuesday. (She also has a few photos of it on her blog.) This one was knit using two 1/2 lb skeins of my Cushy ColorSport Yarn (about 1050 yds of 100% wool, dense, DK-weight yarn). This yarn is machine wash/machine dry, with a great springy texture and soft, subtle halo after washing. Gorgeous.

Here is Jessie’s version of the Cushy Blankie, wrapped around the Teddy Bear I sewed for myself on my 18th birthday (11/28/76). The teddy (his name is Algernon, which means “whiskers”) is sitting in my very own childhood rocking chair. I’m really loving this photo!

Yes, the bear is green. I have answered many questions about this choice over the years. It didn’t even occur to me when I picked the fabric that the choice was unusual.

Since when was I going to pick brown? I was so lucky that there was green *and* yellow so I had a good contrast without going to neutrals. I was a teenager, folks, this was nearly 30 years ago… but even then I could not “do” brown if there was another choice.

The second new pattern is the “Button, Button, Who’s Got the Hat!” (In my childhood I played a game called Button, button, who’s got the button… does anyone else remember that one? I couldn’t resist the name for the hat with a button on top.)

For the record, this hat fits anyone from this 1-year-old child, to an adult with large head. It is sort of amazing how close a child’s size is to an adult size. I learned a lot this winter, designing hats for the first time. The height is more an issue than circumference, when dealing with stretchy knit fabric. No wonder we like knitting hats, they are almost sure to be a success.

I had a team of three testers for the hat pattern. Becky, Tracy and Sheila all added different input for me and it was a very satisfying group to work with.

Sheila wrote about the pattern:

I am really a newbie when it comes to using DPN’s, so I thought it would be best for me to use this technique since you want to put together kits for beginners. The appendix you included was very helpful. I have to say a big thank you for the tip you gave about joining and knitting from one needle to another. I have tried this many times previously and have always ended up with ladders. I would get so frustrated that I would give up. Your tip about knitting from underneath was just the advice I needed. I tried it just the way you explained and it worked like a charm. It would be worth it to me to purchase patterns from you just for this one knitting tip alone!

Sheila’s pictures show the hat on a beautiful toddler (her granddaughter, Amelia, who is 1yr old… Sheila likes to brag about her and rightfully so). Amelia’s hat doesn’t have a button yet… I’m sending her one soon. Becky also did without a button (I’m sending her one, as well). Tracy crocheted herself a button for the top of her masterpiece.

For anyone with interest in the patterns: I am still offering free shipping if you buy 2 or more patterns from me. I don’t have a shopping cart, which confuses some visitors to my site. Just send me an email to Lynn AT ColorJoy.com saying what it is you’d like to get, and I will email you specifics for payment.

LynnH Button HatFor the record, the photos of my recently-dyed yarns are taken and mostly edited. I’ll have new yarns up for sale by Saturday at latest, as well. Whew!

Photos: Cushy Blankie on bear using LynnH Cushy ColorSport yarn dyed by me, and knit by Jessie K. Corner of another Cushy Blankie also in my yarn. Button Hats knit by Sheila, by Becky, by Tracy. Thanks guys! (Tiny hat at left is my own prototype version, with a button I made to coordinate with my handpainted yarn.)

Bloom has Blossomed

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

I finished all the knitting, plus the crocheted edging, to my Bloom Shawl in aqua Multicolor brushed mohair. I still need to work in the ends and block it, but wowie! Beautiful.

I’ll never be a crochet expert but this worked out just fine. My first version of the shawl was in very pricey yarn, Noro Blossom, and so I stopped knitting when I got to $40. This yarn is only $12.50 a ball and needs only two balls… actually something like a ball and a half, even when you crochet the trim. I figured the yarn was so light and airy, it was sort of lace-like and the crochet would look good. It does, more than I expected.

I’m just not very fond of double and triple crochets… I like smooth, opaque fabric, and big crochets make holey fabric/lace and bumps which are not my thing. But for this shawl, the crochet looks just right. Trish Bloom, the designer, did a very nice job matching the main fabric to the trim (she also suggests other trim options such as fringe or beads, or no trim at all like my first one).

This version will be a store sample at Threadbear Fiberarts, at least until my April 1 class happens. If you live in the area, you should be able to see it at Threadbear by this weekend. I’ll plan to get photos for the non-local folks also, but this huge full-circle shawl is very hard to photograph, never mind hard to block. And the yarn is so soft and so subtle, it does not show up in photos anything like reality.

Speaking of Threadbear… don’t forget, I’m teaching “Darn that Sock!” at Threadbear this Sunday. It’s a wonderful, powerful class. You can learn something that most people don’t ever learn, and you can avoid throwing away beloved handknit socks before you are ready to let go.

I’m a Sock, this Must be Rigged.

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

OK, so I visited Tracy’s blog. She took one of those quizilla tests, this one was “What Random Object are You?” She was a toaster. A shiny pretty toaster. Now, I collect shiny old toasters. We have six toasters and only one makes toast anymore… well, maybe two do. But they are pretty, shiny objects of industrial artful design. I think of them as kitchen sculptures, along with my teapot collection.

So I went to the quiz. I almost always avoid these, and if I take them I don’t bother my blog with the answer, it’s a personal guilty pleasure. So I took the test and this is what it said, I’m not kidding:

Pic of sock with details
Random Object Quiz brought to you by Quizilla

So I’m not sure I believe this “I feel lost when on my own” thing, as I put 250,000 miles on my 1985 VW Golf, alone, going to Boston and Chicago and Washington DC and Montreal (among other cities). Yeah, by myself. No friend, buddy, sweetheart. So that part doesn’t ring true…

But how the heck did I get to be a sock out of “Random Objects” when I thought it was more about kitchen appliances? And what is it that I have more of, than anything else? Socks. I laughed a lovely belly laugh out loud!

Laughing is good for your health. There was my cheap entertainment for the day!

Good Monday

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Nairobi National ParkWeather
For the record, the sun shone Monday, the third day in a row. Sunday was a little hazy but mostly sunny, and Saturday/Monday were just plain sunny! This is just as wonderful as weather can get around here, this time of year. I loved every second.

Looking at the National Weather Service, it looks like we might see a bit of sun on Thursday but otherwise Tues/Wed/Thurs/Fri will be snow or rain. I need to hang on to the memory of three luscious days, to get through the rest of the week.

New Knit Program
I had a good time with my new teen program Monday. It was the first day of the term so we had a small enrollment but it was fun. One girl wanted to crochet (fortunately one other woman working with the kids knew more about crochet than I did), and one girl asked about some necklaces she’d seen that she liked. It turned out she wanted to do macrame on tiny cord.

I know how to macrame. I never forgot. For Christmas in probably 1970, I got a purse kit and made that with fat white cord. I know I did a few other projects but I can’t remember them.

So today it was 36 years later? And I remembered. And we found the thinnest yarn in the box, which was some Lion Brand Microspun in a hot fuschia, a very nice yarn really, and I showed her how to macrame and she did a great job. Woohoo!!!

I forgot my camera. I don’t do mornings well, you know… most days I work at 2pm or later. Some weekends I teach at noon. This program is at 10:45am. No, that’s not early but I had not been awake long because I just live my life about 4 hours later than most people I know. Dinner between 9-10pm, for example. So I didn’t realize I’d left the camera on my desk. I’ll get photos soon enough, I’m sure.

Lunch with Tony
On the way home from that program, I decided I’d like to eat at the Vietnamese/Thai/Chinese restaurant on the South side, where Tony and I like to go. So I headed over there. Then I realized it was a Monday and Tony sometimes has Mondays off. I called him, he answered, he met me over there for lunch. It was just great to see him. He’s good company.

Lioness in Nairobi National ParkBoring Reality
On the way home I checked out washing machines. Mine died a few days ago, a real drag since I use it for spinning water out of dyed yarns as well as washing clothes. I found a decent cleaned-up, tuned-up used one for a decent price (six month warranty) and they deliver. I have no interest in a fancy new machine. I’m just a reduce/reuse/recycle sort of woman, I guess.

So it looks like I’ll have a “new” washer sometime soon. The one I’ve had until now is Harvest Gold (can you say 1970’s?) and I love it because it doesn’t spray during the spinning/extracting cycle, which could felt some fibers. I also can use it with the top lid open. Sigh… they don’t make them that manually-controlled anymore. The “new” one is shinier and newer by at least a decade or two, and no doubt more dependable, but I’ll have some adjusting to do.

Computer Class Happiness
After appliance shopping, I had computer class (mostly retirees) at Haslett Community Education on the far side of town. My students are WONDERFUL. This term is just incredible, and I’m loving it. My night class is full of loyal returning students, some have come to my classes for a year now and still come to learn more. Makes me feel good, I have to be doing something right if they feel they keep learning each term and keep coming every Monday. What a great life I lead!

Family Togetherness Plans
Tuesday I will be in Ann Arbor with my brother, Eric, and his wife, Diana. We all have the day off so we are going to work on some computer stuff together. They are going to show me how to sell on Ebay, and that will be one way to let go of some of the stuff I’ve been hoarding (this time it will be books, CDs and a few videos). And we’ll have a nice time together as well. They are good company, I’m looking forward to it.

Tonight I’m going to go after those photos once more, of the yarns I dyed. I crashed the computer last time I tried it and I just lost faith for a while… but I’m on it again. The workday is not done yet.

I’m totally obsessed with wanting to knit on the remake of my sweater that looks like a huge Turkish sock, but for now it needs to wait. It is so clear to me how rarely I work on sweaters, I’m sort of knitting in the dark and it looks OK but not great. One day at a time, huh? I’ll figure it out somehow. It may take a few times reknitting to get it right.

For the neckline, the first time around, I started knitting the neck before it was really ready for a collar. I can just rip back the collar part and knit more on the body and then try again for a smaller collar. But not today. I’m not good at self-control but if I want to be with my brother all day tomorrow I need to do a lot tonight on the computer.

Photo: As usual, no local photos means I dig through my many photos of Africa. 1) This is a vista from the National Park outside Nairobi, Kenya. There are cacti at the top of the hill at left. This park is so close to the city that you can take a half-day “safari” without doing damage to the wildlife or staying in their turf. Just right for this citygrrl!

It was magnificent, and we saw so many animals! Hartebeests, Antelope, Gazelles, Lions, Ostriches, Rhino, Water Buffalo, Guinea Hens… almost anything we could imagine, but for some reason we didn’t get close to any Zebras. Go figure. We had a great guide and it was truly wonderful. This was December, 2004. 2) Lioness in same park.

Life is a Process

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

Slow Progress
I guess I am more black-and-white in my thinking than I thought. I seem to think I can finish things in waaay less time than it takes. The problem is not in underestimating the time of actual knitting, I think. The problem is in underestimating the time it takes for the distractions in the middle of the knitting. I don’t mind my interruptions. Maybe if I did, I’d get more knitting done!

Sock Class
Sunday I had the final class of First-Time Toe-Up socks at Threadbear with Jamie and Esther. Robin had to be out of town this week and we missed her. For some reason I forgot to take a picture of their socks… I get so wrapped up in teaching this happens too often. Last week I had a group photo but then I lost my good camera before I downloaded the photos. Thank goodness I still had my old camera and it is helping me limp by until I can afford to replace it again with a good one. But that means I have no photos of this class at all. Pooh!

Trust me, a good time was had by all. Jamie did a striped, ribbed cuff for her 11-year-old son, and Esther did a pair (stockinette leg with short rib at top) in tweedy natural yarn that is just perfect for her. Last week Robin showed us the Eggplant-colored Bingo socks she was knitting and doing very well with.

sockyarnBloom Shawl/Sweater Distraction
After class ended, I sat with the regular crowd and knit on my mohair Bloom Shawl. I needed to do 5 sections but I finished only 2. Again, the lovely distractions of life got in the way. I tried on a sweater in Aspen bulky merino/acrylic yarn. Oh, My! I love that sweater! With only 64 stitches on the front, mostly K1P1 rib with a large cable in the middle and a cowl neck, it could be a fast knit indeed. And I’ve looked for an excuse to get some of that yarn… I still have too many things on the “finish me” pile to buy more yarn right now for that, but I’m seriously considering it. I would WEAR that sweater. Tunic length, warm, stretchy. Yeah, I liked it!

Shopping: Anne Yarn
So then I went back to knitting the Bloom Shawl. Then I got distracted by the Shaeffer Anne sockyarn. It’s great sockyarn with some mohair in it, but I had to look a bit until I found a skein in colors I could live with. Most of the skeins have some very dark colors in them, or very high contrast. I finally found a skein in three hot pinks… a medium pink, a purplish-pink, and a coral-pink. Very nice, not too contrasty, not too dark. Bought that one! Now I have two new sockyarns in one weekend. Ack! Need to make some plans to KNIT more socks, I think.

New Program!
Tomorrow is an exciting new day, because I start a new knitting project. I’m teaching teens in the Hill Alternative High School (Lansing School District) on their lunch hours, until May. I haven’t had a chance to teach teens of this age group before, except one-on-one. I teach mostly adults at yarn shops or elementary/middle-school kids at Foster Center’s CityKidz Knit! program. This will be fun. I figure at least some teens in an alternative high school will have more inclination to be different and artful. I can’t wait to see what they start coming up with once they get a few skills under their belts.

Fun Personal Knitting Ahead
OK, off to knit another Bloom section and then play with my wild sweater. I’m making myself knit a little on the Bloom Shawl before I take the night off. I will knit on my sweater-conversion project for a while, just for me!

Photo: Two handpainted sockyarns I didn’t dye, both purchased in the last few days. Greens and cream, by Rae Blackledge of Rae’s Yarn Boutique. Pinks, Anne by Schafer yarns (purchased at Threadbear Fiberarts).