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Archive for March, 2006

Friday Pictures

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

Friday night the Habibi Dancers took over New Aladdin’s restaurant at Frandor shopping center. Lauren and I danced the first shift, and she and Lorice danced the second shift…

For the second show, most of the troupe and many significant others came to bid Maya goodbye. She’s moving to Tucson (where two of my former dance buddies have moved, so at least she’ll know a few folks there and have someone to dance with). Sad but festive… all at once.

Here are photos of Lauren and Lorice last Friday. They were so beautiful to watch. Lorice has the most beautiful smile of any dancer I’ve ever seen. She just glows. I realize this photo has her eyes closed, but doesn’t she look just as happy as a person can be? She’s gorgeous, and I liked this photo even better than the more traditional (eyes open) ones I took.

And last, but significantly not least, is a photo I took of Maya a few years ago. I love her much and will miss her deeply. Good-bye, my friend!

Added Photos

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

I just added photos to the entry from March 4… knitting class, plus music photos from the Ann Arbor Uke-athon. My, that was a fun time!

(I’m disappointed that all my photos of Peter Madcat Ruth did not turn out well enough even for the web. Perhaps you’ll click the link to his website and see his smiling, beautiful self. This man smiles from his head to his toes. And on top of that he’s an incredible musician…)

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

Saturday I taught a Watercolor Bag class at Little Red Schoolhouse. I had fun with Lisa and Linda and their beautiful color combinations. I got photos of their yarn choices and will show you soon, when I have time to sit at the computer longer than a few minutes.

When I got home from class, we (Brian and I) piled into the car and went to Ann Arbor (just over an hour away) and participated in the Uke-tacular Uke-athon sponsored by the Ann Arbor Music Center (a school that teaches rock guitar or ukulele among other subjects).

The venue was a lovely small space typically used for chamber music, called the Kerrytown Concert House. It’s literally an older house kept up well, in an area of Ann Arbor I know well and adore. It was an enthusiastic crowd indeed.

Kerrytown Concert HouseWe got to hear Peter “Madcat” Ruth who I’d not heard for a while. He plays a mean harmonica which is how I knew his name… but he plays uke just great and did a wonderful, energetic, good-feeling sort of set to start the night off. Wonderful!

Fabulous HeftonesOther performers were The Fabulous Heftones (us), our friends from the Dearborn/Detroit area (a club, they perform as Uke ‘n Sing), Gerald Ross on uke and Hawaiian steel guitar, Geoff Davis, Howie Clark and Howie Vogel from Indianapolis, with a cameo solo vocal by Kathy Gravlin.

UkesOf course a few of us gathered together afterward and jammed past midnight. And I work at noon. So again, photos later. So sorry.

Sunday noon I’m off to Threadbear to teach Polymer Clay beads and buttons class. I have seven students, this is going to be one fun Sunday!

Ukes(Dating this post Saturday since that’s when the content happened. Photos after class…)

Photos (added Sunday in the wee hours): 1 & 2) color combinations used by Lisa (left) and Linda (right) in Watercolor Bag class at Little Red Schoolhouse. 3) Kerrytown Concert House. 4, 5, & 6) Fabulous Heftones, Uke ‘n Sing, and Indiana/Ann Arbor contingent (Left to right, Howie Clark, Howie Vogel, Geoff Davis of Midwest Ukefest, Gerald Ross, Kathy Gravlin).

People are Good

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

Contrary to our fears, most strangers are good. Since small kindnesses don’t make it in the papers, I figure I’ll share them here when I encounter them.

I went to the grocery store and bought more than planned. I had too many bags to carry but still decided to carry rather than push a cart to the car. This would have been fine except 1) the ground was wet with puddles so I couldn’t put down anything to open the car door; and 2) the door of the car was frozen shut.

So here I am in the parking lot trying to balance too many grocery bags (paper) without putting them in puddles, while yanking on the door to the car, trying not to drop anything. (Yes, I’m sure I looked ridiculous.)

And a woman getting into her car in the next row, came over and offered to help. At the moment her assistance might have been accepted, the car door thankfully let go of its ice and I didn’t need her. But she never had to do anything but chuckle at my predicament, or just go on her own way (I’m big on boundaries so I wouldn’t blame someone who did that).

I don’t know this woman. I wouldn’t recognize her if I saw her again. But she was a stranger to me and that didn’t keep her from offering assistance.

So there you go, friends. Some of you tell me you tune in here because you need a dose of optimism to start your day. It’s not a momentous story, just a glimpse of compassion in the middle of a parking lot. I think that’s newsworthy.

Wiped Out!

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

I wasn’t kidding last night. I hit save on that entry and didn’t even proofread the final result. I had a typo making two links into one long one, which is fixed now.

I slept like a log, I was so tired! I was asleep long before midnight (this grrl usually doesn’t even think about sleep till 12:30 at the very earliest, often more like 2am).

Then I dreamed I was an hour late for work. Well, I did wake up to the alarm clock, thank goodness. Was only a touch late due to the sheet ice on the car (a New Beetle seems all glass when scraping ice) and slow traffic to match. I could have slept another several hours had I been able. I do feel better and the headache seems to have left me for a good while (I hope).

Thursdays are busy for me. I had a First-Time Toe-Up sock class, followed by a short lunch with Altu, then CityKidz Knit! program and computer lab for 3 hours at Foster Center, then another sock class at Rae’s. Since all the things I do are within a few miles of each other, it works out fine, but the car gets a lot of trips that are just a couple of minutes long.

I can’t seem to get time to work on the Olympic top now that the Olympic push is over. The project takes concentration and I can’t knit it when with other people around, I’m just not that kind of knitter.

Since today I knit at lunch with Altu and at CityKidz Knit! program, I didn’t exactly have time to knit the top. I did keep going with knitting the bulky Aspen sweater. Luann asked about the sweater. I looked all around the internet and I can not find a photo of it anywhere.

The pattern is free with yarn purchase at Threadbear, it’s called “Ecru Sweater” which is sort of too bad considering the Ecru is the ugliest of yellow-beige colors there are, and the Aspen yarn comes in many beautiful colors, enough that I had more than one that would have made me happy (no turquoise but two great pinkish variants that were intense enough for me, I picked soft raspberry).

The “Ecru” sweater is more than simple, really. It comes in only one size intended for a bust of 34/36″ but my gauge is making the sweater a little roomier and I’m quite fine with roomy.

The gauge is 4 stitches to the inch. Dang! And that’s measured without stretching the rib at all! Huge.

The basic sweater design is a Knit 1 Purl 1 rib on the entire garment, with the exception of a large ten-stitch-wide cable at center front. Fitted sleeves, and a fold-over turtleneck that I’ll be modifying to a mock turtle since the yarn is so fat already.

The front, back and sleeves are knit separately flat until armholes, then joined together in a tube for the “yoke” area and collar. The concept works fine in my mind, we’ll see how it goes once I start trying to follow the directions! It’s funny how I’m already diving into another sweater/top pattern while I’m still stuck on the first, isn’t it?

The yarn looks like a really smooth and resilient tube. It is dense and essentially doesn’t split at all, and shows excellent stitch definition. On a size 11 needle, this means there is a bit of air between stitches so it will need to be worn with a close-fitting turtleneck or other knitted shirt under it, or so I imagine.

OK, finally, photos from the last week and a half. 1) Rae and I at the Tuesday Knitting Olympics knit in (two Tuesdays ago already). She’s cute as a button as always, and I’m a bit goony but happy, can’t complain. 2) Brian and I on stage at the Temple Club. 3) Brian and I on stage at Altu’s last Saturday (me singing with mouth open and Brian looking blissful).

4) Friday night Jam session in our living room. Top Left, Fred Fallin the magnificent, from Chicago; in red at center, Brian Hefferan picking up a second ukulele; at right (feet and uke, anyway… face out of frame) Bob C. from Cincinatti who seems shy to go on stage though his talents are multitudinous; front left with back to camera, Bob M. of our Abbott Brothers band. Out of photo is Stan Werbin, uke player/Brian’s boss at Elderly Instruments; and myself at the camera shutter. 5) Second photo of jam several hours later. Bob M still out of focus (nice shoes), Fred strumming his own inimitable way, Brian singing, Bob C’s feet and uke, and the barest hint of Stan’s eyeglasses in bottom right corner. (Spooky, huh?)

6) Olympic top as it ended Sunday, before ripping out the fronts down to armholes. 7) Close-up of neckline. The top of the “lapels” is intended to lie flat. It’s seriously rolled here, folks. Ripping was the only answer.

Bits of Catching Up

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Knitting Progress, or Not
I knit a little on the fronts of the Olympic top today while at the allergist. I’m at a point where I’m decreasing on both armholes and increasing at center front/lapel, so the knitting requires more focus than I have available most of the time. The photo I took on February 20 is just slightly shorter than where I sit today, unfortunately. Thank goodness that mistakes in knitting don’t require buying new fabric as can happen in sewing!

So of course I needed another, somewhat focus-free, project. The obvious choice was my pink/purple socks (the ones where I unreeled the ball of yarn through the parking lot and lobby of the pharmacy). However, I can’t find those socks-in-progress right now. I’m sure they got buried when we were tidying up the house for our company this weekend.

My socks for tomorrow’s classes are at the right spot for my demos, so I don’t want to go further on those. So of course I cast on something new. Of course.

I cast on merely 63 stitches for the back of the bulky (Aspen) yarn sweater. The one I got yarn for this weekend at Threadbear. And I’ve knit about 2.5 inches on the back of that sweater already. During times when I couldn’t do thinking knitting. Gotta love it.

I’m telling you, I know that a bulky sweater is not always flattering and is nearly always more costly than a similar sweater in thinner yarn. But I’d tried on the sample garment at the shop so I knew it looked good on me. And with the 20% off sale, and it being a pretty small size (requiring less yarn), the price was in the realm of possibility. I had been scheming to do the sweater and the sale was reason enough to jump in.

The yarn almost never splits. I’m using size 11 Denise circular needles but going back and forth as if they were two straight needles. The needles are plastic and have a pretty good point on them for how fat the needle is, and yet I’m having virtually no splitting trouble. This is a wonderful rest from the shiny but splitty Cotton Twist in my Olympic top.

I’m SO loving how fast this sweater knits up. I’ve done 11 rows and it’s more than 2 inches. I adore the color, it’s what makeup companies call “raspberry” in blusher colors. Soft purple-pink, a soft sort of magenta. Lovely!!!

No Show
Oh, I tried to go to The Lion King at Wharton Center for the Performing Arts tonight… but they had already sold out every single ticket. I often go to shows alone on the night of a performance, because typically it’s possible to get one single ticket somewhere even the last night. Not this show. Sigh… it’s the last week (of six) so I just plain missed out. It went so fast!

Mellow and Sleepy
I had a day with almost no headache so I’m in a better mood but I am ready to go to sleep at 10:15pm. That’s at least 3 hours earlier than usual for me.

Gold Star Button

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

Gold Star button by LynnHFor those who participated in the Knitting Olympics but did not earn a gold medal, I present to you a gold star. It seems that an earnest effort is honorably rewarded by a gold star, right?

If you wish to use the star button on your own site, please feel free, but please save it to your own server, OK?

In looking back, I almost did not sign up for the Knitting Olympics because I knew it would be hard to free up enough personal knitting time to finish a challenging project. I lucked out because we went on vacation for 6 of the 16 days which made it possible to make an earnest attempt. I’m very glad I gave it the old college try.

I am sure I could have finished by the deadline… if I had been able to analyze what had gone wrong. I was unable to reconcile the difference between my knitting versus the printed pattern specifications. Apparently I’m an optimist, because I have only made four tops in my knitting career, and all four I accomplished thanks to the encouragement and advice of knitting friends as I proceeded.

Saturday I could tell I was in trouble, and I did ask for advice Sunday (without having the whole picture in front of me, so the answer was an educated guess at that point). I still am not sure what is wrong but now I have a plan for how I’ll make it work. Remember, I found one knitter who did make this item and she did not mention anything about this hiccup in her experience. There are no errata listed for the pattern on the XRX website. I think it’s just inexperience at making tops/sweaters that is keeping me back. And it’s just a delay, because I’m clear I’ll finish now.

I’m glad I did it. I met some great people, and I challenged myself to do something (with pretty but challenging yarn) where the fun was not in the knitting process itself. I have a mostly-finished project. And I was part of a worldwide knitting party of sorts. All worthwhile.

My friends, “wear” your star in good health!