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Archive for February, 2006

Whoops! & New Group for Team Michigan

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

Teresa L. asked to be on the team days ago, and it was just when I was leaving to see my In-Laws. I somehow just realized I never added her to the team web page. I’ve just corrected my mistake.

I also just started a Yahoo Group for TeamMichigan, and if you are on the Team page you should have already received an invitation (assuming Yahoo is timely today). Chat among you and share photos, point to blogs or other photo locations, and I’ll join you when I can.

That said, I have 14 folks on the page and I think I have everyone. If you think you asked to join us and you are not on the Team Michigan page right now, please send me mail and I’ll get you there. I’m intermittent online again until late Sunday, probably, but I’ll get you there.

If you want to join and have not done it yet, it’s not too late. Send me an email and I’ll put you on the team page, plus invite you to the group. Once you’ve been approved as a member of the group you can post messages and photos as you wish.

Kirsti Joins the Team!

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

Late breaking news: Kirsti R of Kirstiknits joins the team…
She is knitting Threadybear – the fair isle teddy bear sweater designed by Matt from Threadbear

Welcome, Kirsti.

Welcome a New Team Michigan Member

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

Susie of Grayling, Michigan has joined our team today. She has a blog at To Knit, Perchance to Dream. Welcome, Susie!

Team Michigan now has a dozen members. We’re still open to more. Looks like those who can come to Lansing will be having two knit-in’s at the Gone Wired Cafe’ on Michigan Avenue just west of Frandor/127. One will be on Monday night (President’s Day), from 6:30 to 8:30.

I believe we’ll also have one on Saturday, February 22. That one will need to be in the afternoon (probably 3:00 to 5:00), as I have a performance in The Fabulous Heftones, at Altu’s restaurant, at 6:30 that night. It may be a small turnout for that one, as the Lansing knit guild is having their knitting retreat that day, out of town.

Of course, any knitter who wants to join the knit-in experience, Olympics or not, is welcome. (Please pop me an email if you need specific directions.)

Private Concert Day, Knitting Success

Friday, February 17th, 2006

huge poinsettia bush in Bahar Dar, EthiopiaBrian and I played three private concerts on Friday, two at a school (for kindergarteners), and a house concert at my Mom’s place for over a dozen of her friends. Fun, Fun, Fun!

When the House Concert guests went home, we watched a little of the Olympics. I finished the back of my top/vest before I went to sleep. That was a major deal, because I think the last inch of the top (the shoulder shaping) took longer than the seven inches before. I had to count and count and count… not used to that, and then doing it while watching snowboard cross means I lost count a lot. Nothing like ripping out to truly help you understand and enjoy your yarn!

We’re still at a point where we have to scrounge up wireless internet connections as we travel from point to point. Friday wasn’t a good day for that, but Saturday morning/noonish is a little relax time for us before getting in the car again. At least car travel time is good, solid knitting time.

I *just* realized that I’ve forgotten the small needles for casting on the first several rows of the edge. Ack. I do have some 7″ long double points and I can put stoppers on one end, maybe that will be enough to cast on one front at a time. I hope. Otherwise I knit socks until we get home, or if we find a chain craft store where I can buy needles. The nearest yarn shop is 20 minutes from where we are as I sit here typing, and where we go later today is even further from anything I know about as far as knitting goes.

I did bring yarn for my brother’s socks but I realized a few days back that I don’t have his foot length, just the circumference. I have knit toe up on both feet but will have to stop that fairly soon since it’s big yarn. Good thing I brought the size-zero-needle project for my mom, some golf socks with afterthought heels I’ve been working on intermittently since last April or so. I didn’t even remember I’d brought those, so I’m very grateful. If I had no knitting, I’d be a caged bird in that car today. Whew!

Of course I left my camera at Mom’s and I’m online at a restaurant in town (I’m even less organized on vacation than usual) so no pics of my work right now. They will come, in time.

Mom has a big poinsettia plant at her place… I didn’t get a photo of hers, but the photo here is an even bigger one we saw in Bahar Dar, Ethiopia (the northern historical district where we saw the Blue Nile) in December, 2004. I think it was about as tall as me!

Woohoo! Online Again.

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

sock pattern by LynnHGeek, Geek, Geek
Brian is a wonder. We went into town and found yet a fourth wireless modem card to try in my laptop. That was all well and good, but my laptop requires an add-on gizmo to read a CD, and that gizmo is not with me today. Brian figured out how to get the files a few at a time from the install CD to a USB flash drive (on his laptop) and then transfer them to my machine. After several tries, I was able to install the program and now, miraculously, I’m using my own computer. Yippee!

sock pattern by LynnHPhotos from You
I am now downloading 350 email messages. Please forgive if you’re expecting one from me, I’ll get to you as soon as I can, between times I can get online. Brian’s Brother and family will be coming in an hour or so and we’ll be on the road a bit later today. Busy, busy!

sock pattern by LynnHI finally can show you some photos of ***You*** valuable and appreciated readers, knitting my stuff. In this case, it’s Sharon M. with a gray version and Deb L. with a pink version of my First-Time Toe-Up sock pattern…

sock pattern by LynnHand Rachel B. with a finished Turkish-Style Toe-Up Sock in my handpainted Cushy ColorSport yarn.

Thanks for sharing your photos, you guys! Nice job, indeed.

My Knitting
At least I finished that pair of Bingo Socks on Tuesday. I also started a pair for my brother but it turns out I don’t have all the measurements I need for him. I’m doing toe up and I don’t have any length information for him, only circumference. I have knit for him before but it was several years ago. I’m delayed on those… well, I have a few inches left on the second sock before I have to stop and get measurements. The socks are the “knit and talk” project so I’m cranking on those with all the visiting we’re doing right now.

However, I finally feel like maybe I can finish this Olympic Challenge during the proper timeframe. I gave up on purling with my yarn around my neck. I enjoy that process very much but the way I do it versus my other purling method (unlike anyone else’s that I’ve seen, but it works) is way slow. Now that I’m back to my familiar purling method, I’m going a little faster.

I actually am on the decreases for the armholes on the back of the garment right now. I have 3 more decrase rows (5.5 total rows) before I can knit 7 inches and then I’m at the shoulder slope. Cool. I can do this. I think I can, I think I can (imitating The Little Engine that Could, a children’s book).

I’ll do my best to get photos of my knitting here in the next few days. Meanwhile, Knit On!!!

Sleeping In, Relaxing

Wednesday, February 15th, 2006

Well, I am learning again how to do vacation. I find that I love my work and I work at home, and therefore I rarely take time off. Lately, though, my brother has noticed that I am not allowing myself to slow down even when it’s really clear I must for my health, be it physical or emotional.

So here we are visiting Brian’s parents and we slept in today. Brian’s Mother is a quilter so we slept under two pieces of art, a soft warm colorway and a rainbow/stained glass colorway. I woke up slowly and we chatted while I was still reclining. It was the ultimate way to wake up.

Today the sun shines. I can’t have a better thing to say than that.

For the record, my computer will *not* go online, we tried three different wireless cards and it’s very frustrating. I’m using Brian’s machine right now, so it will be short and sweet and without photos. This means a delay once more of a Team Michigan page/group but I will keep at it. We do have a few more folks who have joined the team in the last day and a half. Welcome to everyone!

Off to laze around some more. I have been knitting, both my Olympic piece and a sock for my beloved brother who I’ve only knit for once. Actually, I also knit half a cuff on a pair in Bingo for me, and bound off yesterday in transit. That’s pair 124 since I started, and the first pair this year. A lovely way to start a vacation, I’d say.

I’ll catch up with you as soon as I can. I’m hoping I will be able to buy a new wireless modem card before vacation is over. Meanwhile… remember to breathe!

Hugs on Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

heartMy friends, it’s that odd holiday called Valentine’s Day again. I’m lucky, I have a sweet hubby this year (and the last nine) but I know that’s not common. It’s a crummy day for many, who might like one special beloved and don’t have one. I remember a year in my previous life standing at the greeting card display trying to find a card that was honest (“here’s to all the years together”) rather than gushing happy love stuff. Because we weren’t happy but I still needed a card. And there are those without a partner at all.

So I’m here to tell you that you folks out there reading this, make me feel loved. You make my day, my life. When I go to this or that coffeehouse or yarn shop or fiber festival, and you come up and ask me if I’m LynnH, and that you read my blog… well, that gives me all the wonderful warm fuzzies a person could need.

So remember, there is warmth and love around you even if you have no special happy individual who is your beloved. I feel you are beloved to me in a smaller but important way. And I acknowledge you all here today. Thank you for your loyal readership.

OK, everyone… go buy yourself a flower or a piece of Godiva chocolate or one small special something today, even if it’s just a special kind of coffee at the coffee stand at work. Treat yourself as your own valentine, regardless of your love interest(s) or none. You can love yourself with a sweet something today. Do it, sweetheart or not.

On the Road Again

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

MombasaBrian’s dad had his 70th birthday yesterday. We’re off to visit and wish him many more years. We’ll see some other relatives at the same time.

Because we’ll be focusing on family for about a week, I may be less accessible. I have photos from a few people who are doing my First-Time Toe-Up sock and I will put them up here as soon as I get time to edit their photos.

I’ll also do my best to get that special interactive space going for Team Michigan in the next few days, but I can’t promise when because of the family stuff. Which is good stuff, for sure… just distracting.

I did get some knitting done on my Olympic project yesterday. I feel very behind but it is still in the do-able range, because I can knit when hanging at Mom’s. I knit my first sweater (a knit-to-fit tee from a Sarah Peasley class) in large part at my Mom’s several years ago. I’ve knit a little over five inches so far, on the back which is the largest piece.

I’ll post later, I promise…

Photo: Since I have no time to edit pictures, here’s a recycled photo taken in December 2004. It’s a street scene in Mombasa Kenya, a town on the Indian Ocean, about 10-12 days before the Tsunami. Can you see the little boy blowing up a blue balloon behind the woman? This is one of my favorite street scene photos of my entire Africa trip.

Team Michigan is Alive and Well

Monday, February 13th, 2006

We are up to 10 members of Team Michigan, and welcoming more as they arrive. Thanks for everyone’s support.

Sophie suggested that we do a knit-together at the Gone Wired Cybercafe sometime. I’m going to be unavailable for about a week in the middle of all this, but Saturday the 25th in the afternoon appears to be a possibility at this time. Second choice would be Monday, the 20th, in the evening. That is President’s Day, which means I won’t be teaching my normal classes in Haslett.

I may not be replying to emails as quickly as usual in the next few days, but I promise to get back to you. Please keep the correspondence coming!

Team Michigan is Born

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

Team Michigan ButtonWell, I got a few bites on the Team Michigan idea so I’m going ahead with it. My web page listing the Founding Five is at http://ColorJoy.com/olympics/teammichigan.htm

I know the button is hokey and imperfect (especially the upper peninsula) but I don’t want to take myself too seriously and I think it’s funny that people in my state show each other where they live by pointing to their right palm (assuming the lower peninsula, anyway). I had never seen this portable map thing until I went to college and it sort of still cracks me up. For those far enough away to not know what my state’s map really looks like, Peek Here.

I’ve lived in the Lansing area (Lansing is the capitol city) since approximately 1962 (was born in Minnesota in 1958, then lived in Boston for the year before we came to Michigan). Well, for 2.5 years I lived in Mt. Pleasant, which is an hour north of Lansing, then I moved back here. I’ve been within 25 miles of the Capitol building pretty much all of my life, though I twice have been convinced I was moving… once to Chicago and once to Mexico (the country). There must be a magnet in this town, because I never seem to really leave.

I’m going to set up either a yahoo email group or something like a Myspace web page for the team to use for communicating if they wish. However, I’m working in a half hour so that needs to be delayed a bit.

If you want to join, read the web page and let me know you are in. For now you will need to send me an email with your details. Tell me what project you’re working on if you wish. Photos optional but welcome.

Guitar Trim Hats from Thursday

Saturday, February 11th, 2006

Guitar Trim hats by studentsFinally, I am trying to catch up on my photos. Then of course I’m just having bad luck… I edited these hats once. However, PhotoShop crashed when I went to save them, therefore requiring an entirely new edit. I’m not feeling well (one more allergic reaction to something is slowing me down) so of course a hiccup like that doesn’t roll off my back as well as it might some other time.

Luckily, the second time was the charm. Here are the hats from Thursday night Guitar Trim Hat class at Rae’s Yarn Boutique, in all their glory! Clockwise starting at top left is a hat from Fran, then Deborah, then Mary Fran, then Lori. They had taken the first class just one week before… I’m just amazed at how far they got so quickly. In fact, Fran was working on her second hat when I got there at the beginning of class.

The students, for the record, ran the gamut from fairly new knitter to seasoned-but-always-learning knitter. I was delighted to see how well it went. I think they were all surprised how much they enjoyed the colorwork once they took the jump. I had several comments about how they would be looking for more projects of this type. I know there is at least one Dale of Norway baby sweater (with their adorable ladybugs) in the plans.

Isn’t it great to see how the same design can look so personal, with color choice? Just beautiful, ladies. Thank you SO much for taking my class!

Behind

Friday, February 10th, 2006

Abbott BrothersI’ve done a lot in the last few days, and been away from the keyboard.

Thursday afternoon I had a wonderful CityKidz Knit! program. One of my knitters is going to make her first sweater for the Knitting Olympics. Go, Grrl!

Thursday night I had Guitar Herringbone Hat class at Rae’s, four women with a lot of knitting done. One complete hat, four more on needles, some almost finished. Totally different colorways, and I was so pleased for them. Great work. Took photos, will post Saturday.

Friday early afternoon I met Sharon P at the Gone Wired Cybercafe for a few hours of talking and knitting. I was swatching for my knitting olympics. My knitting is SO uneven, I just can’t tell you how much knitting I had to do (about 4 hours off and on) to get a reasonably close gauge… but it could change any second, I’ll have to re-measure when I have some real knitting on the real needles.

Friday late afternoon Altu and I went to dinner at Omi sushi restaurant in East Lansing and both tried new things we’d not tried before. Part of it was easier than others, but we did try much and we ate more than half of the far-too-much we ordered. It was a lovely special date for us, we talked and talked and talked. We loved it.

Friday evening I cast on for my knitting olympics and then went to Abbott Brothers rehearsal. We play at Altu’s restaurant tomorrow night/Saturday from 6:30-8:30pm for anyone who is interested.

Then back home I went to watch more of the Olympic stuff and I saw the torch being lit. Spectacular, really.

So far the olympic knitting is boring and tiny. I cast on 90 stitches, knit 4 rows in reverse stockinette, did an increase row (now I’m at 100 stitches), switched needles and knit another 4 rows, this time in stockinette rather than reverse. Same number of purls, either way!

I’m bored already. This yarn is gorgeous but it splits so I have to look at every single purl stitch. I am doing OK knitting without looking.

The cool part is that I’m knitting on ebony straight needles. My mom-in-law gave me a bunch of knitting stuff from a friend of hers who passed away… I think they gave both knitting and quilting stuff to MIL and she quilts but isn’t much of a knitter. So I got some great retro patterns and a really beautiful stash of old knitting needles. Including four pair of long ebony straights. Two of which ended up being the right size for my vest.

So I am enjoying the feel of the needles and the color of the yarn. I’m excited about the prospect of the vest/top itself.

In other interesting news, I decided to purl with the yarn around my neck rather than doing combination knitting. I really love purling this way, it’s as easy as knitting for me. I don’t think of doing it when I’m doing small things with just a few purls, but when I’m doing 100 purl stitches in a row I really enjoy the yarn around the neck. Nobody ever taught it to me, I just heard about it once and tried it. Sally Melville mentions it in her Purl Stitch book. I’m almost as fast purling this way as I am knitting, and I’m really fast at knitting because of how I hold my yarn (very low, over my left hand index finger, almost touching the left needle). Since when would I do things like other people, you know??? :-)

Time to sleep. pictures tomorrow, mostly of knitting other folks have done, either with my yarn, my pattern(s), and/or my classes.

Photo: Abbott Brothers Band at Altu’s restaurant in October 2005.

Team Michigan?

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

This Olympics thing is more fun than I imagined, and I haven’t even started swatching yet. Now that I’ve picked a project, I am eyeing the variety of teams that I could join. I’m of Norwegian ancestry and like to knit with two strands of yarn, but that’s not what I’m knitting this time… so Team Norway seems out. I live for Double Pointed Needles, they are my favorite way to knit, so team DPN would be fun, but I’m not knitting this olympic project on DPNs.

There is a team Hawai’i, right now with one member… I could surely join that because I play a little ukulele, right? OK, I don’t play Hawaiian songs but the instrument I play (for fun, not on stage) has roots in the islands. That team could use some support, anyway…

I keep going back to good old Team Wales, started by Brenda Dayne, podcaster/knitter/American living in Wales. She has started a pretty open, welcoming group, where more of the knitters are from the US than the European continent. It also is a team with at least six male knitters, according to the Frappr Map for those on the team who have placed themselves there. Yay, dudes!

Here are the rules for joining Team Wales, taken directly from Brenda’s Team Wales web page:

All are welcome to join Team Wales, provided you can affirm at least ONE statement from the following list to be true.*

1. You were born in Wales.

2. You reside in Wales

3. You are of Welsh ancestry. (Surname of Davies, Evans, Morgan, Jones, etc.)

4. You have great a fondness for sheep OR daffodils OR leeks.

5. You think Wales has a really cool flag.

6. You cry every time you hear a Male Voice Choir singing Bread of Heaven OR while watching How Green Was My Valley.

7. You have attempted to sing the Welsh National Anthem, and you weren’t drunk at the time.

8. You have actually been to Wales.

9. You have always wanted to visit Wales.

10. You know where Wales is.

If you think you have what it takes to knit for Wales, read the Yarn Harlot’s Olympic Rules, grab a button, and send me a quick email with your name, and the URL of your blog or web site if you would like me to link to you.

Well, I’ve made friends with Marie Irshad in Wales, and I’ve sent a handful of shipments of my handpainted yarns to customers in Wales. I know where Wales is. I have a great fondness for the fuzzy stuff on the backs of sheep (not so big on the animals but grateful they exist). I have recorded at least two songs with daffodils in the lyrics. I own two kinds of Colinette yarn, hand-dyed in Wales, even though they really are beyond the scope of my normal spending plan. The flag is definitely cool (though I’d probably like it better in purple and turquoise, LOL). I think maybe I can qualify, given the inclusive intent behind the rules.

What do you think? Shall I go for Team Wales? Or shall I start a Team Michigan??? I know there are a huge number of knitters in my state. My local knit guild usually has 50 people there at a meeting, my spinning guild often has 100. Surely more than a handful are doing the knitting olympics and don’t yet have a team.

Anyone out there reading this in Michigan who wants a team of our own? Sarah? Kristi? Or has someone already done this and I missed it somehow???

Help Arrives Re: Cross-Over Vest/Top

Thursday, February 9th, 2006

I went to Little Red Schoolhouse yesterday to deliver some patterns. Linda and I chatted a little about the Cross-Over Top by Sally Melville. She gave me some hints I thought I could probably make work on that top for Knitting Olympics.

I posted here and on one of my email lists, about my wish to knit this piece the way it shows in the photo (rather than how the pattern was eventually printed in the book). One person wrote that somewhere on the Internet there are directions… I looked and didn’t find them yet, will try again.

But then someone who knows Cindy, who knit the Cross-Over Top herself, asked her to send me a note about it. She has provided me with good insight into the pattern. She did it the way I want to do it, with increases at the fold line rather than the edge of the garment. I think I’m going to go ahead on this one.

(Late update: Lorraine E. writes that there are notes *in the book* on how to do the increases the way I want. I didn’t see it the first and second time I went to the book, can you tell I’m not used to knitting from other folks’ instructions? I’m off to go dig through the book again, but it sounds simple enough, requiring one stitch marker.)