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Archive for April, 2006


Thursday, April 27th, 2006

Packing clothes is relatively easy… but what yarn/needles do I pack? I have too many choices… but this is a high-class problem.

I’ve been emotional all day. I did not realize until now, how much this particualr performance meant to me. It is a major hassle (and expense) to go to NYC and find a place to stay, parking, clothes that are just right for stage, plan food and knitting, and make plans to be away from my normal work routine (what I do does not allow for a substitute teacher).

Right now I have to say that I am OK with the inconveniences. Singing in New York? That was my childhood dream. I’m living my dream. How cool is that?

I’m so glad my dear friend April (and her family) is literally next door. I know the home front is well covered while we flit to a near-fantasy gig. Well, wearing formalwear for hours on end, three days in a row, is not my idea of fun, but all the rest is great by me.

I’ll write here when I can get an Internet connection, but I may not be as dependable as usual.


Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

Uke Jackson (ukulele player, DJ, and organizer of NY Ukefest) writes:

Over a year’s planning, and now it’s here www.nyukefest.com

The posters are up. The theaters are ready. We we chosen by The New Yorker magazine as one of the top 5 events of the week, on their Going On About Town page! I hope to see you there.


uke jackson

Fabulous HeftonesBrian and I (as The Fabulous Heftones) will be playing the Vaudeville Review, four sets on Friday and four on Saturday (noon-5 is the timeframe). We also will be hosting the Open Mic on Sunday night and will be on the main stage Sunday night. (Open Mic and main stage overlap a bit so we will be running between stages to do this. They have arranged a sub emcee at Open Mic while we’re singing the main concert set. That’s show biz!)

The Sunday Night Main Stage Concert is available as a separate ticket. The other events we will be playing require a Ukefest all-weekend pass. If you follow the ukefest link above, they link to a ticket-selling site if you are interested.

My mom and Fred are coming. Brian’s sister Jennifer is coming with a beau and a friend from Long Island. I hope to connect with a few New York friends when I’m there although this is becoming more and more difficult to work out. There will be no time for any yarn shops but hopefully at least a coffee shop/teahouse will be in my weekend.

We hope to sell at least a few CDs, and I have at least two Hershberger Art Kazoos to sell. I hope to make at least one more but time is running short…

Excitement!!! We leave tomorrow. Can I finish everything on my to-do list before I go??? Cross fingers for me.

Short Note

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

I usually have Tuesdays off, at least during the day. Today I started with a gift massage from my friend Ulyana who took pity on me. I called her to find out any stretches that would help a crick in the neck and she gave me a short but focused neck massage. Early. I didn’t mind at all.

Hershberger Art KazooThen it was car repair time and a million other errands to prepare for New York Ukefest. I love my repair shop (yes I said that) and they did a great job. Brakes are costly but that’s not their fault, they would be costly anywhere. These people are just plain good, honest folk and they deserve my hard-earned dollars if anyone does. The shop is owned by a woman, Betty. I heard about her through two women I used to work with at Foster Community Center. I used to go all over town for this or that repair, but now I’m loyal. They are great.

Anyway then my First-Time Toe-Up class. Three great folks in that class, and they did great. Loved it, as usual.

Then home for dinner (take out from Altu’s restaurant) and music rehearsal. And now the plan is to make a few kazoos to take to NYC to sell at the same table with our CD’s. It’s past 11, but this is not late yet for me. We’ll see if I get any made once I get away from this computer. I did make a promise to Mysterious John of Shorty Long, that I’d bring him a Hershberger Art Kazoo. So we’ll see if I get on a roll or not, after John’s very special instrument is finished.

Photo: Kazoo I made a long time ago. The digital version of the photo is dated 2003, but I’m not sure if maybe it’s older than that.

Back to Business

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

After much of a week focused on dance, now I’m back in my regular work for a few days before we do another much of a week on music. I do love my regular work. This Monday was a good day.

Monday is Haslett Community Ed. day, where I teach folks (mostly retirees) how to use computers (my only remaining computer work, really… though for about a decade I supported myself teaching computer seminars and consulting/programming/repairing). It’s really fun work, and they really appreciate me. I will not see them next week because I’ll be on my way back from New York, and so I got many hugs and good wishes as folks left. What a great life I lead!!!

Tuesday I get my brakes fixed (ugh). The car has 109,000 miles (and has been paid off for about 2 years) and these are the first replacement brakes. I figure I’m doing well. It’s just a hassle, but necessary before a trip. I hope to visit with my friend Ulyana while I’m waiting for the brakes to get fixed. That would make the experience downright pleasant!

Then Tuesday night I have First-Time Toe-Up sock class at Threadbear. I had 3 people signed up a day or two ago, so the class is definitely a “go” but there is room for more if anyone wants to join us last minute. Just bring all the double-pointed needles you have and I’ll help pick yarn in class.

Wednesday I just work for 2 hours, one a private knitting lesson and one the CityKidz Knit! program. Then I’m home to pack for New York! Woohoo! New York!

I love love love cities! Toronto was my first city. My friend Jarrettia says I’m a city collector and that really is true. I’m a subway collector in particular. I insisted on riding the subway in Cairo, for example, just to say I had done it. Not because I needed it… we had a wonderful driver. But he dutifully took us there and we rode two or three stops then came back. It made me happy (the Cairo Subway is extremely nice, for the record).

And I spent my entire childhood, singing into the mirror, practicing for the day when I would be grown up and singing on stage to an audience. And that is what I will be doing this weekend.

It’s truly a life’s dream come true, this small but satisfying singing career. We’re not any kind of famous, unless you are obsessed with currently performing ukulele acts. But I’m a very good entertainer (and my act is complete with Brian). I am fortunate enough to have audiences on a somewhat regular basis. What could make me happier than that? It’s as good as it gets.

Sleep… I need sleep…

Photo: My friend Lisa took this photo of me with my bug (1998 New Beetle, gasoline with manual transmission, named Joy) when I’d only had her maybe 3 months. I got her 1 year old. I still adore this car, it still looks and acts like a new vehicle. Lucky me.

A Peek from Backstage

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006I took a lot of photos on Saturday during the show. I did not see all the dance numbers, but those I did see I photographed. My camera is neither good with moving subjects nor low-light situations, but considering those limitations I think I did OK. Here I offer you a peek from the backstage perspective.

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006The first photo is the only one I have of me. My friend Sally took the shot while I was dancing… just as my camera was giving up from lack of battery power and a full memory card. Thank goodness for PhotoShop, where I was able to lighten it enough for you to see actual dancers. I’m the dancer second from left, kneeling with a turquoise ponytail holder.

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006My dance was a candle dance, where we held brandy snifters with lit candles in them, and danced most of the dance with those as props. It was a lovely choreography and we performed it as well as we had ever done it in rehearsal. Since we were the last dance by our troupe (the last dance in the show was by the star we brought in to teach us), we were pleased to do such a good job in the actual show. Yay!

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006There are a lot of photos here, I hope I’ve made them small enough to load quickly but not so small that you can not see what is going on. For the record, the only photo here that was cropped at all is the first one. All the others are exactly the same view I had when I was taking the shot.

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006I’m sorry to say that somehow I do not have an official program so I do not know the names of the guest troupes that I show here. I will not see any Habibis for a week and a half because of my New York Trip so I will do my best to describe what I do remember…

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006After the candle dance photo you will see photos of two cabaret-style dances by the Habibi Dancers (my troupe, which sponsored this event/concert). Then at right you will see a photo of three of the featured student dancers, taught by our troupe leader, Yasmina Amal. My friend, Debra, is at far right in the front row, in dark red. I’ve known Debra over ten years now, we used to work together at Black Child and Family Institute. Sort of “in a previous life,” as they say. For the record, the crowd really liked this performance. They clapped along with the music during the dance. I know that made the dancers feel just great!

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006Following that you see the Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble (Director, Aida Al-Adawi, based not too far from Detroit). They did a traditional Saudi dance in oversized gowns called thobes (for short, they have a longer name). The dance shows off the pretty clothing and hair and jewelry of the dancers.

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006Next is a troupe in an Indian tradition, based near Lansing. I do not know much about this dance tradition, but I recall that it has a spiritual basis. They did a wonderful job, I loved it. (Most of the dancers were children, but they had great presence on stage and Brian found himself surprised to see their small sizes/ages when he saw them in the lobby after they danced.) Their costumes were incredible, too!

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006Next are two photos of a veil dance by Habibi Dancers, followed by one photo at left of a newly-formed troupe in Chicago.

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006Here (at right) you see the most talked-about number in the show. It would be none other than the snake charmer dance… four snakes, five dancers (one is the charmer, the others dance with snakes around their torsos/arms or loosely around the neck).

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006This kind of snake sees a human as a sort of tree to climb, so the dancers are in no sort of mortal risk, although any live animal is a wild card on stage as you can imagine. It went well this year. Better than could be expected, really. Notice the shadow of one of the snakes, center front in the photo.

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006Following the snakes would be two photos of a fan dance. There were three kinds of fans, it was a big job to put together this choreography but with a team they did just a wonderful job. It was great to watch, very eyecatching. We have never done a fan dance before so that was a nice new treat.

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006This shot at left is Kazna Khalil. She is a member of the Habibi Dancers but she has made a living as a dancer in Chicago for a few years now. She performed a dance in a Turkish rhythm, very difficult. She really does an amazing job playing finger cymbals while wowing the crowd with her energy. The crowd really loved her performance!

Habibi Dancers Annual Show 2006The last photo is a guest troupe dancing a traditional hula (not the kind we see most done for tourists, an older style as I recall.) I totally loved this! Not only that, it made a nice transition from dance this week to Ukulele music next week!

The Show is Over

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

Saturday night we danced and danced and danced. All day was a workshop and at night was the Habibi Dancers’ annual show. We had a great time, the show really fell together very well, the dancers had a great time and so did the audience. You can not ask for a better show day than that.

Sunday we have a shorter dance workshop (Persian dance). This means I will be going to bed earlier than usual so I can get there on time.

And the minute that dance workshop is out, I start focusing on New York Ukefest. WooHoo! Next Sunday we (Brian and I, as The Fabulous Heftones) are on the main stage, and we have several smaller performances on Fri/Sat as well. It should be great fun.

Dress Rehearsal

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

dance with snakesFriday Habibi Dancers had dress rehearsal. Saturday night is the real thing (read the entry for April 20 for details). Here are some preview photos for you.

First two dancers from the snake dance (there are four dancers with snakes, and a “snake charmer/sorceress” in the dance). Yes, live snakes. Who can and do whatever they want while the dancer tries to make them behave. Not to worry… they think a person is a tree, not food, but they like to try to hide under vests or climb up stage props/sets. Total wild cards.

The dancers who dance with snakes tend to be some of the best in the troupe (though there are some mighty fine dancers who say no, thank you to this idea). Worth a peek right there!

dance with snakesThe other photo is April, right center in hot pink, wearing the vest/jacket I made her last night into the wee hours. It fits, it’s not her favorite thing but it looks fine from a distance as you can see. And I’m really glad I did the work, it would have taken her so long to do and it was even a hassle for me because the fabric was so difficult. The pattern was not too bad, but I had to make a few alterations and then deal with the super-stretch fabric.

For those who sew, it’s a crushed velvet with two-way stretch, and a grain. The grain meant it kept scooting one way and not wanting to go back to where it belonged. The stretch meant it did not want to be edge-stitched without stretching out a lot. The pattern called for a lining and so I cut apart an old turtleneck in 100% cotton, which I’d retired because of frayed edges. Cotton is at least less stretchy than the velvet.

For the record, April and Marie made April’s skirt Friday after I did my part. April’s so pretty here in her pink, dancing with Marie in orange. Don’t they look great?

Sock Class Anyone?

Friday, April 21st, 2006

socksI start a new First-Time Toe-Up Socks class at Threadbear this Tuesday night. Here’s what Rob said about it in his weekly newsletter:

1) First-Time Toe-Up Socks with LynnH–Tuesday nights 5:30-9 on April 25, May 2, and May 9. Make a pair of custom-fit socks that require no gauge swatch, and can be made from any weight of yarn from fingering to bulky. Lynn’s pattern has 13 photos to walk you through when you need it outside of class, as well. $30 plus materials (dpns, pattern, and any weight of yarn, tho Lynn recommends chunky/bulky yarn for quick success)

(Actually, the class will last only 2 hours for the first and last sessions, and the second session is better when we have 2.5 hours. So we will go 5:30-7:30 all but the middle session which may go from 5:30-8:00.)

socksIt is a great class, I’ve taught it a lot. I’ve helped people make socks with this pattern, when they were frustrated by other patterns. Once you make the foot (out of any size yarn, and any shoe size) you can make any cuff you desire. A lot of folks make their first pair out of bulky yarn (you can see stitches easily and the knitting goes faster) and then make a rolled cuff as sort of slipper-footies.

But then again, some who are already very comfy with socks and are just taking this as a new “flavor” of socknitting, sometimes work with thinner yarn. Sometimes they will make a ribbed cuff or other decorative stitch pattern.

socksWhy mention this class here? When so many of you reading this don’t live within driving distance? Well, what seems to always happen is that I offer a class, and it starts (or there are not enough students to make it a “go”), then the next week or two it seems everyone in the the Lansing-Knitting-World asks me when I’m starting that very class next. And it’s too late for them to sign on at that point. So we wait another term, and so it goes.

So… local knit buds, don’t say I didn’t let you know!

Photos? Three First-Time Toe-Up socks I knit for myself. At left, eggplant/purple Bingo washable merino, bulky yarn… and fingering weight wool/nylon Opal Handpaint sockyarn, plus slipper footies at right, knit of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted yarn.

Yarns acquired from Threadbear Fiberarts (the Opal was a lovely welcome-home gift from Rob when I returned from Africa just over a year ago).

Sewing, for a Change

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

For those who don’t read here often, I’m in a middle-eastern dance troupe called Habibi Dancers. We have our annual concert *this* Saturday at the Hannah Center in East Lansing. We have our dress rehearsal tomorrow/Friday night.

For anyone who is interested in attending, here is the schedule:
Evening concert
Doors 7:30 PM
Concert 8:00 PM
East Lansing Hannah Community Center
Albert A. White Performing Arts Theater
819 Abbott Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823

I asked to only be put into one dance this year. I just get so crazed trying to make all the night rehearsals between teaching classes, and trying to remember dances when I don’t really have enough rehearsal time to do more than one dance justice. I’m really enjoying this season better than ever… after years of 2 or 3 dances to remember.

Each dance we are in requires a special costume. Often we make new costumes for this show. This year I lucked out, and I got to borrow part of my costume. The other part my friend Marie is making (she’s making five costumes that match, and I promise I’m telling her how wonderful she is every time I can). This is the first year I have not had some serious sewing to do.

So my friend April is in two dances. And she has a fulltime job at a hospital, and a two-year-old toddler who is very insistant on Mommy’s attention when Mommy is home. Add to that, April has done quite a bit of altering costumes that were already made, but not too much with sewing from patterns, from scratch.

I don’t sew much any more. In fact, I have only taken out my sewing machine for dance costumes, in the last ten years or so (I actually own three machines, from my “previous life”).

But once upon a time (before Brian, polymer clay and my current knitting obsession), my primary creative outlet was sewing. And some things you have done a lot in the past you can remember easily, like riding a bicycle after years of not doing it.

I decided to help out. I went to April’s house (across the street) last night and helped her cut out part of her skirt. Tonight I went back over there, got the pattern (which needed altering, something I was never experienced at doing), altered and cut out the pattern.

Now I’m off to un-bury a sewing machine which literally is hiding on an old typing table in the corner of an attic room. And sew a little bolero jacket for my tiny friend. ‘Cuz it’s easier to sew for her than babysit, if I want to be helpful. Her child is wonderful and loves me, but she really likes being with Mommy more than Lynn. And this is as it should be. Besides, I can sew faster than April can, so it will be done sooner this way.

Off to make a lovely hot pink crushed velvet jacket.

Susan Luks at Kaleidoscope this Friday

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

Susan LuksSusan Luks' DesignsMy friend Susan Luks is an amazing artist. She makes beautiful garments using so many techniques I don’t know how to describe her work.

Susan really makes fabric, out of other fabrics. Then she makes wearables out of that fabric. It’s something like quilting, but she’s not really a quilter in any traditional sense. She works in texture and color. She is a woman of talent who lives her talent.

I’ve known Susan since the 1960s, her older sister was in my 3rd grade class. We keep running into one another… and this is a very good thing!

Priscilla has known her since she and Susan were college-aged, anyway. Priscilla reads this weblog, I met her at Rae’s one day when she recognized me.

Priscilla writes:

Did you know that Susan will be a vendor at the Kaleidoscope conference on 4/21 at the Kellogg Center? She’ll be showing (and selling, I hope) her fabric creations. I think the vendors will be set up in the lobby.

Even people like us (you know, people off the street) can stop by to see the vendors. :-)

P.S. Susan thinks the vending portion of the Kaleidoscope conference will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For the record, Kellogg Center is on Harrison Rd., near Michigan Avenue, in East Lansing at the edge of the MSU campus. Thanks for the lead, Priscilla!

Photos: Susan wearing one of her creations, left. Two other creations, right.

A Shortage of Bobbins

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

bobbin with yarn(Prepare to problem solve, friends. Ready to put your thinking caps on? I clearly am not experienced enough to solve this mystery myself. Or maybe it’s just I’m too tired right now, who knows?)

Now what? I have a lovely spinning wheel with huge bobbins. I have two bobbins full of one-ply lumpy-bumpy goodness that I intend to ply together with one another. And then I have two bobbins half-full of very skinny single-ply goodness that I never probably will finish spinning.

fiber to spinWhy? I tried to make myself spin sockyarn. Twice. And I can do it, but it honestly bores me to tears and I stop halfway, long before I can knit anything with it. Ugh.

So what shall I do? One of the abandoned projects is some wonderful 100% hot-purple mohair I bought two August’s ago, at Allegan/Michigan Fiber Festival. Gorgeous. The other one is green/blue superwash bought for me by a student. Again, really pretty but I’m not finishing it, at least not the way I started.

Too bad that they probably are not so good to be plied together. If I had just one empty bobbin I could then ply the green/blue with the purple on it, freeing up the two now half-occupied so that I can ply together the yarns I really think will be nice plied together. That I made to ply together. That I need two bobbins to complete the plying. Or one bobbin filled twice, anyway.

I do have three tools that I could use to make this work. I have a skeinwinder, a swift, and a ballwinder. I’m thinking maybe wind from the bobbin to the skeinwinder? And just make the finished projects into single-ply skeins (two-yard hanks)?

I don’t spin enough. Does anyone know something obvious that I don’t know? What is the best way to proceed?

My email is Lynn AT ColorJoy DOT com if you feel like giving input.

Photos: 1) The first of the two Bonkers’ Fiber (super-soft handpainted superwash wool) bobbins… in many shades of berry. 2) Packets of three different colorways (purple, turquoise and green) of the same fiber, waiting to be spun up into the second bobbin full. Pretty!

Rae’s Sock Design in MagKnits

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

Slinky Socks by RaeHey everybody! Lansing’s Rae Blackledge, proprietor of Rae’s Yarn Boutique and my sometimes-boss, always-friend, has a design in MagKnits!

What’s MagKnits? It’s an online knitting magazine. What’s her design? Socks! Not just any socks, though. Slinky Socks. In eight (count ’em) sizes from an infant to Ladies’ XL. With a cool cuff that looks Rainbow Brite or something fun like that, but with no purling (tricky grrl, that Rae). Not one purl in the whole design, though it looks as though there are many!

The socks also include an afterthought heel for those itching to try that technique, or for those who want a replaceable heel because they wear theirs out quickly. (Yes, they can look funny off the foot but they look just great when you wear them… I promise. The pair I’m wearing today were made this way, as a matter of fact. Go look for yourself at the MagKnits site.)

But Rae’s not the only local person involved with the pattern. My friend, Sharon P of Knitknacks was test knitter/sample knitter for the infant socks shown on the pattern page and here to the left. Cute, cute cute!

Congrats, Rae! May your website get deluged with hits because of this newfound fame.

In Love with Yarn, Fiber and Life

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

HatHow lucky I am. Yarn and working with it makes me really happy. I don’t care about diamonds or resorts or expensive bottles of wine. I love wool. It’s really easy to make me happy. Put some yarn or fiber in my hands (wool, mohair, alpaca, any animal fiber) and see my face light up!

DaffodilsApparently lately I crave more of this fiber-inspired happiness than usual. I’m knitting myself some turquoise opal socks, finished one green wool/mohair slipper-footie and started another, finished that pair of Turkish-inspired socks, dabbled with a crocheted bag whose pattern is a little frustrating, started a crocheted hat, and got out the spinning wheel for the first time in months.

FlowersI’m sitting here in a sunny window, listening to Seth Bernard and Daisy May, and spinning pretty colors of superwash wool into yarn. Drinking great tea. This is the life, as Brian likes to say.

The other day I finished a full bobbin of single ply yarn in berry tones, that I’d started before winter came. Today I’m having fun playing with randomness. I am spinning three other colorways, a handful at a time, into one single ply. The plan is to ply the multi with the berry and see what happens. Either it will be a mess or a riot of fun. Crossing fingers there! Photos when I’m further along.

Photos: 1) Almost-complete hat (ran out of yarn maybe 1.5″ from finishing hatband but this is the view you’d see if I were wearing it, from the back. 2) Daffodils blooming in my Mom’s yard. Daddy planted them before he died in 1973. I always take comfort from these flowers. 3) Flowers on table of Gone Wired Cybercafe’ on Easter morning.

Crochet and Cleaning and Brownies

Monday, April 17th, 2006

I had a lazy Sunday. I have recently needed a lot more sleep than usual, and so I slept till noon. OK, I went to bed at 2am so that’s not as bad as it might sound but it’s still noon. That sure makes the day seem short before even starting!

I didn’t work as much as I usually do on Sunday, at least not on my business stuff. Usually I teach on Sundays, but not on Easter!

Brian and I went to the Gone Wired Cybercafe’ for some nice tea… it was more busy than I expected for Easter, but they pointed out that MSU finals are in a few weeks. And not all students will go home for a “traditional” Easter, not all students are Christian even if they are near the home where they were raised. So there we were by a nice sunny window in a lovely cafe that was about half-busy. Very pleasant.

LynnH Tea CosyI knit on my First-Time Toe-Up socks that I’m knitting along with my class at Rae’s. (Can I call them that if they are not *my* first time making them?) These are a turquoise/aqua/white/blue-black Opal sockyarn, and they are knitting up very pretty, even prettier than in the ball. And somehow I lucked out and the striping matches from one sock to the other. Opal has really long stripe repeats that are hard to even find, so how I lucked out I don’t know.

But I’m also working on a new project. I’m crocheting a hat for myself in a new lightweight Noro yarn. It’s a rayon blend, not sure what else is in it but it’s very rainbow-like and maybe DK weight.

The yarn is wonderful… I have dreamed of a tank top in it, but right now I already have yarn purchased for a tank top and spring is not a good time for splurges. One skein seemed most reasonable to the pocketbook, and if the hat turns out well I’ll wear it considerably more than any tank top.

I am sort of making up a single-crocheted hat from the center out, in a spiral. The colors are magnificent. If I can get this thing to fit well (I expect I can), I sure expect to get some use of it this summer. My best hats are angora, which are pretty warm in summertime. And I wear hats almost every day… during winter for warmth, summer to protect my hair from sun.

This hat is a bit like some imported cotton multicolored hats I have purchased over the years. They are really wonderful in summer but they fade in the sun and if multicolored they will run in the rain. Maybe you can imagine the hat, it’s a smaller version of the kind people use to cover their dreadlocks sometimes. My best one is pretty big for my needs and mostly fuschia with a bunch of other colors. I even embroidered on it some, to put brighter colors on top of the paler colors in the pattern.

My new hat-in-the-making has all the best attributes of these hats that are hard to find in stores. And it’s in colors I really wear a lot (one ply changes color very slowly from cobalt blue to turquoise to periwinkle to forest green and back to blue and purple… the other ply is like a bright rainbow. Gorgeous.

I do better with crochet when I can make things up as I go rather than counting stitches and matching a pattern. I even tried on this project to count, and when I did, it got a little bulged-out, although that works fine in the center of a beret. Yet when I started just working by eye, it flattened right out and looks just gorgeous.

I put my regular angora beret on the table and put the new hat on top of it, and I still have maybe two inches before I start decreasing again toward the hatband. I’m really crossing fingers that I’ll have enough yarn with one skein. If it was knit, I’d have way more than necessary, but crochet makes a thicker fabric than knitting and eats yarn by up to 1/3 more, from what I’ve read.

(The crocheted bag, now that my crochet class is over with, is sitting and waiting for me to have the patience to count stitches. It’s really gorgeous but I’m not even finished with the third of six panels (and then it needs straps). Maybe it will be the sort of thing I can work on in the car sometime when Brian and I go somewhere together. Long trips are good for thinking-projects.)

What else did I do Sunday? I cleaned… I mean I really dug down in the kitchen and moved things that have been in the way of my working on the counters. Things went on shelves or in cupboards so that I can start cooking more again. The kitchen looks like someone else’s house now! Not really, it’s still plenty cluttered but I cleared off two counters where I can work.

And once I cleaned it, I made dinner. And then I rewarded myself with brownies I made without wheat/corn/potato/yeast/egg/dairy/nuts. Yum! Good brownies, really. It takes a bit more thought to translate recipes into anti-allergy food, but then my little inner toddler gets a treat. Gotta love that!

And I’m sitting here, past my bedtime, crocheting a hat, listening to Daisy May sing one more time, and drinking some very nice Ceylon black tea while eating a home-baked brownie. Why would I want to go to sleep? This is as good as it gets.

Here’s my brownie recipe for you adventurous ones:

LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Brownies

Veggie Oil Cooking Spray (or just liquid oil)
3/4 c Oat Flour (if you are celiac, be sure it’s labeled certified gluten free)
1/2 c Brown Rice Flour
1/2 c Buckwheat Flour
(May substitute 1-3/4 c of whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose wheat flour if not allergic, for above 3 ingredients.)
1/2 c Cocoa Powder (such as Hershey’s all-cocoa powder, not hot drink mix)
1-1/2 t Baking Soda

3/4 c Dark Brown Sugar

1/4 c Light Olive Oil (or Veggie Oil if not allergic)
1/2 c Water
3/8 c Honey (or Agave Syrup, or Corn Syrup if not allergic)
1-1/2 t Good Mexican Vanilla
1-1/2 t Lemon Juice or Lime Juice (substitute vinegar if not allergic)

-Preheat to 350F.
-Oil two glass bread pans (spray or wipe with oil/paper towel).
-Combine dry ingredients except sugar, using wire whisk.
-Add brown sugar, mix well with dry ingredients using whisk.
-Add wet ingredients, mix with fork (will be fairly thick).

-Divide mix between two pans and bake 20-25 min (center will be depressed with sides higher and pulling away slightly from the edges of pans).
-Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

They cut better if cooled before eating… if you can resist! Otherwise, wet the knife before cutting and cross fingers, preparing for many delicious crumbs.

Photo: My “Cozy Corner Teapot Sweater” (Tea Cosy). Not a perfect illustration for today, but any reading is nicer with photographs, somehow. And tea was a big part of my day today, at any rate. I re-organized my teapot collection. (And drank much tea. As always.)