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Archive for May, 2006

Good Teaching Day at CityKidz Knit!

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Watercolor BagToday (Thursday) I had an extra special day with the CityKidz Knit! program at Foster Center. One 4th grader finished a bag of her own design (with my assistance) which she will be felting tonight. She is determined to take the bag with her tomorrow on a field day, to carry her water bottle. Go, Kid!

I have another girl in 2nd grade who is really progressing well. She is the first I’ve ever had to finish two wristwarmers, and now she is knitting a bag to felt. She always has so many dreams of what she wants to knit… three on the very-soon list are a hat in the round, a backpack, and socks.

But the very most exciting thing today was my middle-schooler who has knit with me on and off for several years. (She had a purse in a recent photo here.) This young lady finished a pair of toe up socks today. They are bulky yarn (which was donated by Kim of Yarn Garden in Charlotte, MI), a wool/acrylic washable blend.

The socks have a very short rolled cuff. Kids like footies a lot so this worked very well for her. They fit her great. I sent her down to the office to show (off) Susan and Robin what she had done. I’m so proud of her, and she’s proud of herself which is even more important.

I’m working like crazy making my patterns into .PDF files for download at http://KnittingZone.com and this is taking all my computer time. No time for photo developing today, except a very quick attempt at capturing the Watercolor Bag I knit for Tamsyn this week. I did get photos of the two big projects at Foster Center and will bring them to you very soon.

The Perfect Music Gig, or So It Seems

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

In the Garden, by The Fabulous HeftonesWe (Brian and I, as The Fabulous Heftones) are very excited about a new performance we have been asked to do. We will be playing at Applewood Public Gardens (part of the Ruth Mott Foundation) in Flint, Michigan.

The event is called “Celebrate Spring!” It’s this Saturday, May 20 from 2:30-3:30. (Well, that is the time we are performing, although the event is from 10am-4pm.)

The location is what once was the Mott family home (Mr. Mott was the VP of General Motors when they lived there). I remember talking with someone about these gardens about a year ago… they have many historical apple varieties on the property, I bet it is gorgeous. I’m very excited to play there.

Rebecca, who contacted us to perform, had never heard of us until very recently. Someone had passed her our card saying we’d be perfect for the task. She had no idea that our new CD was entitled “In the Garden.” I sent her a CD… she sounded pleased and surprised with how perfect we really are for this, when she called a few days ago to confirm details. Singing garden songs while in a garden. I’m very excited about this!

The gardens will be open to the public free of charge at this time, and we will be playing acoustic music in a gazebo on the grounds. If any of you out there are inclined to have a lovely garden experience Saturday, we would love to serenade you! Consider joining us.

In a Great Mood

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

What a good day I’ve had today. I tell you, I did not get much sleep because I was still knitting the Watercolor Bag for my bag swap buddy in the knitting guild. I was so close with it on Sunday that I didn’t push and I found myself knitting till 3am Monday night/Tuesday morning. Got up on Tuesday and kept going. Finished the bag at 10:30am, then had to knit ten feet of 5-stitch I-cord for a handle, which took approximately 3 or 3.5 hours and I was already into early afternoon (the bag was due at 7pm).

Two times through the wash in my “new” washer (I love this machine) and it was felted just great… but somewhat wet (thank goodness wool doesn’t feel very wet even when it is). I had to sew a little and shape it at that point, so I took it with me to Altu’s restaurant to get a meal and sewed while waiting. She was extra-fast serving up the food, on the one day I could have used more time!

But I got the sewing done and left the bag in my warm car (we had rain and then sun and then rain and sun again today, the first day in a week with any sun at all). And the bag dried enough to be gifted. Whew!

Actually, in there for about a half hour I detoured from my knitting project, though. The best honor I can think of is having a toddler want my time. My friend/neighbor April called to ask me if I wanted to go for a walk while the sun was shining. I said of course. So she and Isabel (just barely 2 years old) came over to pick me up for a bit of a walk.

April says that Isabel has been asking for me. What an honor! She really is a child who hangs very close to her mommy, so any attention I get from her I treasure. She’s a ray of sunshine with a big smile, and I love her company.

Well, today when we left my house for our walk, Isabel grabbed one of my fingers with her whole hand, a very strong grip. And we went for a walk around many blocks, and she did not lessen that grip the whole time.

She is turning into a bit of a chatterbox. She doesn’t make sentences but she has lots of words… step, shoes, socks, flowers. She loves socks… my kind of kid!!!

A walk with a toddler who wants to hold my hand? Who can beat that? It was a great way to start the day.

Back to knitting, though: I did get photos the bag I knit for Tamsyn and the incredible Panes Bag (pattern designed by my friend Trish Bloom) I received from Teresa Lee. I will get you some soon… but I’m not done working today. I’m preparing my patterns to be PDF downloads at Mary Moran’s KnittingZone.com website. Mary is the listmom for the Socknitters Yahoo email group, and someone I’m delighted to begin doing business with.

So I’m off to make more PDFs for Mary… I’ll let you know when the patterns appear on her site. Very soon!

A Day of Gifts

Monday, May 15th, 2006

It’s not my birthday but I had a day full of gifts. Breakfast was the last little bit of Rhubarb crisp I made from rhubarb my mother gave me. Lunch was squash soup made from scratch (even the chicken broth was homemade) by my friend April. When I went to work, a student who is originally from India, gifted me with two beautiful outfits from India (long tunic/dress with pants underneath that match, and one has a very large matching “scarf” as well).

And then I called my friend Altu after work and she invited me over to her home. She made me wonderful black tea with spices like they make in Ethiopia, and some fresh beets with carrots and beet greens, and spices as only she can do.

There was a time when I thought I could not be someone’s friend unless I always gave them more than they gave me. I’ve learned over the years that if someone wants to give me something, the appropriate response is to say thank you and cherish the caring that is inside the gesture… even more perhaps than the actual gift.

Today I feel blessed with my relationships. The gifts just are the outside obvious part of my new life. Where I have people who care… and sometimes I give and sometimes they do, and nobody keeps score.

It is wonderful to be me, today.

City Energy: New York, Part 4

Sunday, May 14th, 2006

Thanks to those of you who have been waiting patiently for the final New York report. I’m working hard on a big website change for my patterns/kits/yarn/buttons, and even my weblog will change (finally I’ll have comments again, whenever I can get it all in order). So I’ve been focused on techie things when I’ve been at my desk, not the lovely memories/photographs of NYC. Thanks for waiting.

NYUkefestSunday was our big performance day. We got up as early as we could considering we had left the theater past 1am. We did not have to be there and dressed in stage clothes as we had on Friday and Saturday, because we were scheduled for the night concert instead. Very exciting, indeed.

On the way to the theater, we passed by a corner park near the hotel. A group of ukulele folks who were staying at the same place as us, were jamming in the park. Most or all of them were from England if I remember right.

For lunch, we met Brian’s sister, Jenny, and her sweetheart and a college friend of hers. The friend lives on Long Island (Jenny is in Washington DC and came in for the event). The friend knew about a Moroccan restaurant within walking distance of the theatre, so we met them at the restaurant. The food was very good and the place had a nice city energy about it. (It’s on 6th Street just east of 1st Avenue on the north side of the street, if anyone wants to go looking for it… I have no idea what it was called, unfortunately.)

After lunch, the three of them went for a walk and we did join them for a while. We found a very nice park.not far from the restaurant and walked through, taking in the scene. There were performers in the park and also joggers, bicylists, families, you name it.

NYUkefestWe then went back to the theater. I mostly watched our table of CDs and Brian jammed a bit with folks in the lobby areas. At one point we went out on the sidewalk in front of the theater and played to the passers-by. That was perhaps the most fun I had all weekend other than playing the Sunday night concert. We could not stay out there too long, though, because when buses went by it was quite loud. I could have lost my voice very easily trying to sing over that!

I must mention how great the other musicians were as colleagues. I had placed our CDs for sale near those of James Hill and Bliss Blood of the Moonlighters. When they were gone I took their payments and when I was gone they took mine, and we all got along so well helping each other when we could. Everybody is just as warm and approachable as you could possibly want. I just love that part of these festivals! Having peers that are so kind and welcoming, when we are definitely the new kids on the block so to speak, is really heartwarming.

Sunday night came and it was our turn to play. We were scheduled to be the hosts of the Open Mic in the next theatre, and they had scheduled a volunteer to handle that stage while we were performing on the main stage.

As it turned out, that volunteer was there all day but not at the opening of the evening shows, so he must have not realized he was scheduled. We asked our dear friend Fred Fallin of Chicago (who had played main stage during the earlier Sunday show) if he would step in and help. He agreed, and he did a wonderful job. In fact, he handled most of the open mic show, we got there toward the end of that timeframe. Big hugs to Fred for being such a good sport at last minute, with a smile on his face. Talent and a good heart… I love that guy.

NYUkefestMy mother came to say hi before we went backstage. She then ducked out to get some Thai food with her beau Fred and a family friend from my father’s graduate school days.

We changed into our stage costumes, put together a set list, and waited our turn. It went so fast! I made sure to introduce my mother to the crowd, since she paid for umpteen voice lessons starting when I was 14 years old.

It’s funny… last October, someone asked me before the Midwest Ukulele Festival, if I tend to get nervous. I didn’t think I did, and I watched myself during the concert to see. I honestly did not get nervous even though that was a very large and very full auditorium. You see, the crowd at a ukulele festival wants to love you. This is not the gong show, this is a concert of the mutual admiration society, so to speak.

But New York? I spent my whole childhood dreaming of singing in New York. There is so much emotional and sentimental content attached to this location. So it is perhaps not surprising that I had some flutters going on inside. I loved it, I ate it up, the crowd was wonderful, we had a blast singing songs we love to sing. But I must confess that I attach a lot of importance in particular to singing the song Tiptoe Through the Tulips (complete with full introduction, performed much as Annette Hanshaw sang it in 1929) in New York City. And I did choke up at the end of the last note of that song, I had to cut it just a tiny bit short.

But why not? Isn’t being an artist about embracing the emotion of life, at least in part? Being in the moment, feeling things as you experience them? I was fully in the moment, knowing that I was singing perhaps my favorite song. In New York, with my beloved Brian. I hope I never get too jaded to stop feeling these feelings. It makes me really happy to be in this place in my life.

Unfortunately, we did not get to hear very many of the other performers at either one of the Sunday shows. Fortunately, some of them we have heard before and some of them played more than one show so we had seen them that weekend on a different concert.

We finished up by going back to our assigned open mic. Brian went in to join Fred right away, I ran to our CD table to see if I was needed. A man was standing there reading Brian’s “Music Box Rag” CD cover. I asked if I could help him and he wanted “this guy’s” email address. I told him that the guy he wanted was on the open mic stage in that room over there.

It turns out the man in question (Brian has his name, but I’m typing this as Brian sleeps) is a musician from San Francisco who was apparently in NYC for a performance. He did not know anything about the Ukefest but was walking by, saw the Ukefest promo sign outside the theater door and wandered in. He saw Brian’s CD on the table just before I came by. Well… he also loves turn-of-the-century (two turns ago now) rags. He plays some of the same numbers Brian recorded. He learned them from the same recordings Brian learned them from.

So we talked him into coming in and he played open mic with a borrowed uke. And then he asked Brian to sit with him and play. It was wonderful! If any of us were not awake before that, we woke up in a hurry! It was great, one of my favorite memories of the festival.

After it all closed down (boo hoo) we were going to go out with our friends Jim & Pat from NJ… but it got so late they had to go home before we could go out. They did offer us a ride back to the hotel in their vehicle with all our stuff, and we did accept. That was a real gift that late at night, to not have to cart everything almost a mile on the city sidewalks. We did have rolling carts/suitcases but we just had so much stuff… including a Heftone bass. It was really great to have that lift.

Luckily we did not have to go to dinner alone. We ran into the folks from the band Shorty Long, and we joined them for a meal at the diner just a block from our hotel. Oh. My. Goodness. We don’t have diners like this at home!

In Lansing, the only things I can typically eat at a diner are oatmeal and salad without dressing. In NYC? They had three different kinds of fish they could grill for me without any marinade or flavorings. I tried something I’d not tried before, ever, and it was wonderful.

And the company? These folks I’m very pleased to call my friends. It was a great meal to wind down the weekend. We went back to our room and called it a night.

But Monday was still a day in New York. And there are still a few tales to tell, but not today…

Photos: 1) The British contingent (and friends?) jamming in park near hotel Sunday morning. 2&3) Park near Moroccan restaurant.

The Love of Teachers

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Today I got an email from the woman who was my 4th grade teacher. It’s ironic because today I was remembering something that happened in 4th grade… but I digress.

My parents decided that for 4th grade I really needed to go to a different school (same district) where I could interact with different students. (They were right, I typically got along with adults better than other children… my school was so small that I was in each grade with exactly the same students… and those kids did not typically treat me well.)

kidz I was initially upset about the prospect of change, as children can be. My parents were determined. And it turned out that this teacher loved me. I am pretty sure I did not get along with the kids in my new school much better than at my old school. However, I had a year of nurturing by this wonderful teacher and a year of not being in a rut in the old school.

I went on (5th grade back at the first school) and she kept teaching for years. She married later than most, had two children, and is very happy in her new life. Sometimes as an adult I’ve run into her at Wharton Center (a fine large performing space at MSU). A year or two ago Brian and I went for a walk in a cute neighborhood where we do not live, and we ran into her and her husband walking their dog. It was SO good to see her again.

You know, she loved me. (She still does.) She didn’t have to say anything. So did Mr. Johnson, my 5th grade teacher who was the one who first taught me to knit. So did Mrs. Johnson in 6th grade (who now sells real estate and loves it), and Mrs. Kauffman in middle-school gym (where I was emphatically not a star but she was kind to me). Mr. Harris, our band director in 9th grade, was so good to us we called him “Dad” even though he was in his mid-20s. Mr. Rae, the art teacher in high school, encouraged my quirky self when I took his 3-D art classes. And I am sure there were more.

I have run into all of these I mention above since I left school. Unfortunately, Mr. Harris died at age 33 of a heart attack but the others are still around. Mom runs into them from time to time (because she also taught in the same school district).

There is so much complaining in the world, my friends. There is much bad press about bad teachers, and I had a share of those as well. But when you are a child who emphatically does not fit in, who is distractable and creative, talkative and often too loud… well, you sure do notice a loving teacher. None of them ever said the word “love” but just the attention they paid to me when others did not, was very important.

My teacher wrote:

You have really found yourself and are doing wonderfully to express your artistic ability. I am very proud of you and all you have done. You have a wonderful gift and I applaud you for sharing it with others.

My friends, after all these years, she still needs not say the “L” word for me to feel a hug. Through black and white text. Don’t tell me email is impersonal!

And don’t tell me that teachers don’t care. There are still many who do. And those teachers do really change lives. I was treated well by these individuals in the midst of what was for me a socially unhappy environment. They were doing their jobs but they did it with heart. Even the influence of one person can make a difference. Especially the influence of a teacher.

Thanks for the note, Mrs. B!

Photo: Neighborhood kids around 1969, probably I was in 5th grade. I’m second from right, behind my brother who’s wearing red… in the very back row, long dark blonde hair.

Found Pre-New York Photos

Friday, May 12th, 2006

Aaah, it’s nice to feel like my normal self again, with a reasonable to-do list and a found camera. Sigh…

I had a great day knitting at Foster Center for my CityKidz Knit! program, I had seven participants today. It was great. Two of my girls are knitting socks. Yes, really. One is in 7th grade and one is 15, whatever grade that is. They are extraordinary knitters and I’m very proud of them.

I also have two younger girls knitting feltable/shrinkable bags right now. They are very excited to see how their bags will shrink. I have never seen such enthusiasm for large numbers of stitches as this last few weeks, and I’m delighted.

First I have two photos I took at Foster Center in late April. The first is Julie, who I knew from the contra dance community before I knew her as a knitter. She has taken classes from me at Rae’s and maybe also at Threadbear. She is finishing up her second pair of socks and has started a third. In this photo she is holding up her first pair in one hand, and in the other showing off one of the socks from her second pair, ready to bind off.

Next I have a photo of my 7th grader. She is wearing a bag/purse of her own design. She did it with almost no help from me. In fact, I had taught her to knit two or three summers ago and not seen her since. Then she showed back up at my door with this purse nearly finished. It made me smile. She’s a sharp cookie and I really enjoy working with her while she makes things up and learns to knit toe-up socks. Go, grrl!

Last I have a photo of four toe up socks from a class I taught at Little Red Schoolhouse. This was a group of ladies who work and knit together, and we had a grand time indeed. At this point in the knitting, they are nearly done with any part of the sock that is shaped or fussy (they will decrease for gussets and then they can do whatever cuff they desire). Nice job, ladies… and thanks for waiting so long for this photo.

Sigh of Relief: Found Camera

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Big Sigh! I went back through my mind to see if I could figure out where I might have left my camera. I knew I’d had it on Sunday (April 23), taking photos of the dance workshop. I knew I didn’t have it on Thursday morning (April 27) when we left for New York. I looked through every bag I own… two or three bags holding knitting projects, my old purse and my new purse. No luck.

LynnH's Easy Pumpkin SoupI was sure I’d just put down the camera sometime and not picked it back up. I’ve been more distractable than usual lately. However, it’s not like me to be careless with a camera. I kept my last one 2 years (before leaving it at a bar where we had a singing performance… I know exactly what table it was on), and the first one I had at least that long before I chose to replace it with a better one.

Then today I realized that this loss happened just about the time of the spring thaw. I had taken a different coat to NYC than the one I’d been wearing all winter. So I determined to look one more time through my pockets in the closet, just in case. (The camera goes in my bag/purse, not my pocket… but I’m not always consistent.)

I found it. In a pocket of the coat I wore all but the coldest days of winter. Whew!

I do still need to buy a camera sometime relatively soon. The one I just found was the one I bought when I first started this blog in late 2002, and it has been through the wringer as well as just plain being old and grumpy. It is definitely a low-end but trusty friend. At least now I have my familiar tool with me.

For a week and a half I have almost felt as though I lost part of me at times, I’m so used to always having a digital camera with me. And spring has been SO gorgeous here this year, I can not tell you how often I wished I could pull the car over and take pictures for you. It is sad that we had a torrential downpour today, so the fruit blossoms won’t be so photogenic tomorrow.

Funny, when I go looking at cameras, the sales guys in the stores (so far only guys in the camera departments) are sure I want high tech. I want point and shoot, really. Fast and easy is better than high-resolution, in my world. I use the camera more like a reporter would… lots of low-quality photos for the web, almost none for print.

But I also use it instead of a copier machine to document checks before I deposit them in the bank, I use it to make the kids at Foster Center feel special when they knit well, I document my beautiful town and my adult knitting classes. I have four pairs of socks and one pair legwarmers still unworn, waiting to photograph them so I can show you. (I finished pair #129 yesterday at my First-Time Toe-Up Sock class with Suzanne, Jeanne and Anne, and they finished their socks as well, but unfortunately I could take no photo.)

I feel almost normal now! Without being in a hurry to pick my next camera I have some breathing room. I am still trying to figure out which I want from camera specs I’m finding online, but I’m no longer in a hurry.

I just don’t like being a consumer, I guess. Whew!

Photo: One of the very first photos I took with a digital camera… the one I rediscovered today. It’s a bowl of my own recipe for Easy Pumpkin Soup (yum). I posted this photo on my weblog on December 30, 2002. This has become one of my most popular blog entries, and I’ve written 1348 posts to date. The photo looks dark to me now, I had a different monitor then, but it was such a new luxury to have a digital camera!!!

Feeling Better Already

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

Well, I started my workday with a to-do list that had 9 items on it. Now it has 2, and they can’t be done until tomorrow. Actually I’ll add one thing on it for tomorrow but I already feel better.

Music turned my day around. I put on a CD by the Moonlighters, their Live in Baden Baden album. I love that band and I love that CD. The day sort of smiled after listening to the music while I was preparing to go out for the day.

Just thought I’d post my progress. I typically keep it to positive subjects and today didn’t work out quite as usual.

Now if I can just decide what camera to buy…

Busy and Distracted

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

I have been working hard on my to-do list since I finally got back to my desk after a long week of dance show and nearly a week of UkeFest. We have been home one week and a day, and I still feel totally swamped with things that feel they should have been done long ago.

This is part and parcel of the self-employed lifestyle. Perhaps it is even just part of being human. I wish I could just shrug it off and do my best but I worry and that can not make me more efficient, can it? It seems anyone with any passion for life, must have more they want to do than they can fit into 24 hours a day. But I still sort of fret over it sometimes.

Yesterday I made a list of 19 things to do. I got maybe half done. Today I have a busier schedule as far as appointments go, so how I will get much done I don’t know. No wonder I stay up so late. I do sleep late, also, so I get enough sleep, but when I’m up late the world can’t intrude. Phones do not ring, doorbells stay silent, even Brian is sleeping and I have no distractions. At a certain time I will get tired but that may make it even easier for me to sit still.

I dyed some sample skeins of sockyarn for a project I learned about months ago, will send out those skeins on Wednesday. My uncle is all excited because Brian and I will go to Minnesota to sing for his 50th anniversary party in July, so he wants me to send some publicity information.

I’m also not done promoting the In the Garden CD, not by a long shot… I need to assemble a mailing list and then a letter announcing the CD to radio stations, music venues and public gardens who might want us to perform or may want to sell CDs. I did spend a little time yesterday promoting the music events at Altu’s restaurant… we are one of the acts there, but I do the publicity even when we don’t play.

I put down my camera about 2 weeks ago and didn’t pick it back up, so I need a new one. I do research on the web and make one decision, go to a store, change my mind, go home to do more research, change my mind again. Talk about a time-sink!

The photos I took at UkeFest were taken with Brian’s camera. But now my PhotoShop won’t work and I (still) need to un-install and reinstall the software, so I can post the last photos for that event which ended over a week ago.

Other tasks? I have printed out patterns in piles, they only need to be put into page protectors, but I need to go buy some protectors before I can finish. There are Fabulous Heftones brochures to fold, business cards to cut apart. The kitchen table is full of polymer clay for buttonmaking and kazoomaking, the yarn winder and cones of yarn to wind are near the stairway. No matter how many loads of laundry I put into our (wonderful) dishwasher, it seems that the kitchen counter is always full of stuff.

Brian has Scarlet Runner Stringband practice here at the house tonight. If I don’t move the skeinwinder from where I typically use it (at the bottom of the stairs by a small passageway), poor Dave won’t be able to get his full-size string bass into the house!

How do people do it? I have friends who are mothers. For me, the thought of being a mother sounds the hardest thing one could do, much more full of tasks than what I do. And then almost all of my mom-friends also has a time-clock job. How do they stay sane? I am pretty happy, I do eventually get things done, I have a low level of worry, but nobody depends on me making sure their existance is healthy as well.

This may sound like I’m flipping out… not really, but when you finally sit still after weeks of running in circles outside your home/office, you finally see in front of your eyes what must be done. And it has piled pretty high!

OK… I picked out a beautiful caftan I bought in Kenya to wear today, with my handknit Fixation dance top underneath. That will definitely make me smile. I can turn around my worries, I’m sure of it.

I’m going to go play some music recorded by UkeFest friends/performers, and I’m going to go put on that caftan, and I’m going to sing my worries away.

Here’s a Gratitude List:

Spring is truly here in Lansing, it’s warm and colorful.
I love teaching knitting.
I love my students.
I love to sing and have many venues where I can do it.
I got to go to Africa with my good friend Altu.
I get to wear the things I bought in Africa, in my everyday life.
I have great people in my life.
I have friends who make great music CDs, that make me smile.
I have Brian.

My friends, today is another day. I’m working on the smile already… If I can use this post as a to-do list rather than a vent, I can probably make some progress yet today.

Photos: 1)Spring in 2004 (Lansing, MI, USA), same town – different year. About 4 blocks from my house. 2) The tunic I’m wearing today, I got it in Nairobi at a cute tiny shop near the market.

Ukeapalooza Website

Monday, May 8th, 2006

Gary from Ukeapalooza has updated his website with a long report (lots of photos) of New York Ukefest. Maybe you would like to go have a pleasant wandering through his site?

Another Busy Saturday

Sunday, May 7th, 2006

Saturday was a full one… in the morning I felt like I was back to the days when I was a secretary. The phone kept ringing like crazy, and I was doing some accounting and some printing of patterns for shops who had placed orders.

Then at 2pm I went to Rae’s for her Anniversary weekend. We had a special “Make a Button” session, where I made motifs in polymer clay and folks applied my motifs on a core of scrap clay, and then we shaped the bits into button shapes and baked. It was fun. Shirley and Kathy and Julie were among those who came by. Great fun.

By the way, Rae’s having 20% off all her yarns this weekend and she has some Socks That Rock in two weights in stock. I know that yarn is hard to get these days so anyone out there if you read this on Sunday while she’s open, you can call (517) 336-9276 and order some at a discount. Cool, huh? (Her hours Sunday are 11am – 3pm Eastern Time, same zone as New York.)

Personally, I bought yarn for a felted/fulled/shrunk bag. I’m contemplating other lovely things but that may be all I get. After all, we’re on the cusp of slow season here and holding back is prudent for someone whose main living is made teaching people to knit. Folks don’t knit as much when it’s warm out, that’s just how it goes. But I’m very fond of the chained Louisa Harding cashmere blend. very tempting stuff.

After Rae’s I delivered some patterns to Threadbear and bought some Bingo yarn which is on sale this weekend for merely $4 a ball. It’s great stuff, I’ve made 3 pair socks from it already. It’s not sockyarn, it’s sweater yarn in bulky superwash merino. In lots of colors.

I took home enough Bingo for another pair of sox for my brother Eric, and also a pair for his wife, Diana. Not sure when I’ll knit the socks, but now I’ve definitely prepared by getting the yarn.

At night, we went to Creole Gallery and opened for the wonderful band Steppin’ in It. What can I say? The venue is run by some fabulous people. The audience just is ready to love anything you do for them. The band we opened for is top notch. How could it have been anything but great?

One of the guys in the other band took a Polaroid photo of Brian and I and I need to scan it in. I’ll post it here next to this text as soon as I have a chance to do that.

Oh, and after the concert we went to the Fleetwood Diner on Cedar Street for tea and a salad. And who walked in? Three high school girls (and a bunch of their friends) who I know. Two of whom are knitting my First-Time Toe-Up Socks right now! The third I did teach to do basic knitting once, and I’ve known her mother for years. We also met some other really nice folks at the diner while we were there, and even sang a few impromptu songs while waiting for our check. It was fun.

Time to sleep… Tomorrow starts with an accountant meeting followed by a Bloom Shawl class at Rae’s and then some prototype sockyarn dyeing in the dye studio when I get home. Busy, busy! Seeya later!

Fun in the City: New York, Part 3

Saturday, May 6th, 2006

NYUkefestThanks for waiting on me to provide more photos of New York Ukefest (there are more to follow these, so don’t go away just yet)…

NYUkefestSaturday on the way to the theatre, Brian suggested I go in to Knit New York and at least look around. He stayed outside on a bench (playing ukulele) while I ran in.

This was an odd thing… normally a shop visit requires much touching and looking and dreaming and scheming. This trip I needed to go in, let the yarn call to me from shelves, and pick the loudest caller. As quickly as possible.

NYUkefestI chose some wonderful slowly-self-striping yarn from Gedifra in my favorite spring colors. Turquoise and spring green! Every year between February and April or so, I get stuck on this color combination. It’s as if I’m trying to knit spring into existance! This yarn is a delight. I’m not sure what I’ll make of it yet. I’m wondering about legwarmers, since I realize I have one more ball of this somewhere in the piles o’wool at this house. Or maybe a wooly Bloom Shawl? Or some other wrap I haven’t invented yet?

NYUkefestFor the record, I did knit (turquoise legwarmers) while I was backstage all 3 days. I finished those legwarmers this week (Thursday) after returning home, and am wearing them as I type this. I love having a knitted souvenir of the trip.

NYUkefestBut you folks reading this who are music lovers and not knitters, are waiting for photos. Right? Brian and I did the Vaudeville Review again on Saturday, three ten-minute sets (I wore the ColorJoy stole/sequined dress Pat L. photographed me in, from yesterday’s post). After the last show we got to change into comfy clothes…

NYUkefestAnd then we were able to go find something for dinner. We were two blocks from a strip of Indian restaurants, so Brian and I headed that way. At the corner we ran into friends we have met at previous Ukefests in other locations… and we ended up with a table for six or so. Fun! And the food? Wonderful. Really, really good.

And then Saturday’s concert. The camera again limited me, as the battery started to expire. However, I got some nice shots in spite of it. Again, my memory is a little weak but I’m using the program to help me remember what was when. The acts were (in order, I believe):

Mr. George Sunshine
Brittni Paiva
Jim (& Liz) Beloff
Boulder Acoustic Society
James Hill
Folk Uke

Maybe you are tired of my overflowing enthusiasm by now, for my fellow ukulele-act performers. Maybe you think that because I use big, emotional words to describe these musicians, that I am just someone who blows things up beyond reality. Let me assure you, these folks are SO fine! SO entertaining! SO musical!

When we are not in the show, we can just sit there and let it all flow over us and soak it all up! Each person has a different style, even if their niche is the same. Two Hawaiian musicians will not be the same, two Tin Pan Alley acts will not perform the same song in the same manner.

It was wonderful.

Photos: 1) Street Scene from stair to Indian Restaurant(1st Avenue just south of 6th St.), 2) George Sunshine, 3&4) Two shots of Brittni Paiva, 5) James Hill, 6) Boulder Acoustic Society.

Links/Clarification from Gerald Ross & Brian

Friday, May 5th, 2006

I’m so lucky… I write with uncertainty and folks fill me in with proper information. Thanks, all!

Gerald Ross writes:

The guy on your website with the stick bass is known as Kona Bob – from the big island of Hawaii.

Brian (Hefferan) writes:

The artisit for the My Blue Heaven Uke is Greg Dearth.

Here’s a link about his portraits:

Here’s one about him:

Joel has nice pictures of my new uke at:

Kona Bob’s web site is http://www.konaweb.com/stick/

Thanks for filling me in, guys!