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Archive for June, 2006

Baking Granola Bars

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Well, food is an artform. Unfortunately, I’m not much of an artist in that realm. I do keep trying and eventually I get it, but I don’t guess well sometimes when substituting.

For example, I can’t eat corn syrup so honey is a good texture/moisture substitute. Except I don’t like the taste of honey. It works fine in brownies where you can’t taste much besides the cocoa, but I’m now trying to make granola bars. I did honey the first two times, today I tried molasses. I think next time I’ll do half and half, because the molasses is too strong even though I like the taste.

Actually, the recipe as it came to me is fine but a bit sweet and more like cookies than my idea of granola. So of course I made it once with minimal substitutions and then started in messing things up!

It calls for wheat germ. I’m allergic to wheat. Diana says that wheat germ has a lot of oil content. The first time I made the granola bars I substituted golden flax seeds and that worked pretty well. Second time I just increased the oats (thinking that the wheat germ was there for texture) and that dried things out. This time I put in dark flax seeds, but only half as much as the amount of wheat germ called for. That seems to work OK.

It calls for wheat flour. I substituted spelt flour (related to wheat but it does not give me trouble) and that worked OK. However, it’s boring and cookie-like. This time I subbed part buckwheat flour, part oat flour, part rice flour. I use that combination a lot in baked goods, so I knew it would work fine and add a bit of flavor.

I use a flax seed meal and boiling water combination to sub for eggs. This time I used less flax seed meal with the same amount of water. This batch is not holding together as well as previous batches but I don’t know if it’s the egg substitute, the flour sub or any other change I made.

Oh, and it called for brown sugar on top of the honey/molasses. I chatted with Peggy at my computer class tonight. She made these according to the recipe, mostly, and felt they didn’t need the brown sugar at all. So I used half the brown sugar it called for.

When I mixed up the dough, it seemed so wet I added more oats into the mix. I wonder what things I did to the recipe that made the dough so much more wet than the previous two batches. I wonder if the molasses is wetter than honey. I also wonder if the flour substitution is part of the issue.

Since I had molasses in these, I added ginger and allspice. I like the idea of these, and they did bake up well, they did remove from the pan well. They crumble when you look at them sideways, though. And even with the (smaller amount of) brown sugar they seem sort of rustic. I still will need to tweak and tweak and tweak. Food is definitely an artform, don’t you agree?

But hey… this is food I can eat. And it’s a bit of a treat. And I can put one or two in a baggie in my purse and have something to tide me over. This batch may turn into a million crumbs but it will still be fuel for me on the road.

When I finally get a batch I like, I will share the final recipe with you. Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy these with tea, crumbs or not.

Bits N Pieces

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

gardenTouching base on many topics…

It’s hot here, or was Saturday anyway. I love this weather! The most perfect thing besides a hammock on the porch, is driving in the dark down the highway in over-80F weather. I got to do that Saturday night. I was really really happy.

We sang at a very special wedding Saturday, it was wonderful. The bride came down the aisle to “By the Light of the Silvery Moon.” At the reception we met some great folks who may come to our CD release next Sunday. It would be so cool if they did.

My brother Eric, who usually works on Sundays, somehow got the day off next week and he will come to the CD party. I’m really excited. He’s my best buddy in the world and he doesn’t get to Lansing much. He and Diana will both come. Woohoo!

Kathy S. writes that she finished her first pair of First-Time Toe-Up socks she started in a class at Rae’s. They look great. (Blue Trekking XXL.) Her son now wants a pair. Cool!

Kathy had suggested that to organize my yarn mess in the living room we buy those wire cubes that so many yarn shops have for display. Brian got several packages of them and put ’em up. I filled those. I bought another package and he put that up too but I haven’t filled those yet. I have so many samples knit for classes or to sell patterns, on top of yarn to knit, that I was just overflowing. I think this will eliminate the “boxes on the floor” yarn problem in the living room. Maybe we can have a music party again… not this week, but maybe before it snows. I hope.

I got a thank you note from some of my knitters at the alternative High School. It means the world to get a note like that! One of the girls knit a necklace, added a charm, and wore it to her prom. Another girl knits to keep herself from smoking. I call these results success, my friends! I really am happy to sleep in on Mondays now that their school is out, but I’m glad I worked with them when I did.

On the way home from visiting my Father in Law for Fathers’ day, I started knitting up my Bonkers! fiber handspun into a shawl. I’m working on size 15 needles. The needles are not at all too big for this very chunky yarn. I love this thing. It’s like knitting a garden. Incredible.

Speaking of gardens, I have done no gardening at all this year. Well, Brian and I transplanted some rhubarb from Mom’s house. She has the most healthy rhubarb I’ve ever seen. It looked like it didn’t make it, but apparently the roots are fine. The clump we planted is now growing leaves like crazy. The two leaves that came with the plant did not make it but we seem to have three happy rhubarb plants. Happier than the plant that we’ve had for years, actually!

Other than that I’m very happy that we have plants that bloom without any attention at all. The climbing roses are great right now, the daylilies started this weekend, a few peonies are still blooming, the magenta spirea (sp) is blooming on the north side, and it sort of looks like we have a garden even though I have not done anything but pull tree seedlings (in a half-attempt to weed) this year. I need to get some pre-planted geraniums in pots if nothing else, for our back entry. And hopefully a ready-to-go potted tomato plant for the back step. They are so pretty in a city garden!

Photo today was actually taken last year. It’s the east side of our garage, plants that came with the house, though the lilies used to grow in a different area of the yard. These roses are in full bloom right now, and the lilies are starting to pop.

Diana’s Phone Caddy

Saturday, June 17th, 2006

Diana's cell pouchMy sister in law, Diana, is great at many kinds of handwork. When I met her, she was mostly into quilting. I made her a pair of socks. She can’t wear store-bought socks but the ones I made her fit really well. I got her hooked pretty easily, then, on handknit socks without even realizing it was a big deal.

I knit her another pair of socks when my brother Eric requested I do so. Then I got busy with the business of knitting/designing and just didn’t have time to make her more of what she needed.

So she started knitting. She was already very good at crochet, but she wanted handknit socks. Well, guys… she’s converted. She told me Friday that she’d emptied a few drawers formerly used for quilt fabrics, and made them available to her new knitting obsession.

She has made at least one pair of my wristwarmers, one button hat, and other goodies I’m going blank on right now. She’s knitting socks for herself currently, from my First-Time Toe-Up sock pattern. And they fit, and she loves that. Power. Ability to make something exactly as needed. How cool is that?

Well, the grrl loves bright colors as much as I do, though she sometimes picks different ones than I might. She found herself at a store the other day and found contractor’s nylon mason twine, in hot hot hot hot pink. Eye-curdling pink. Electric pink.

And proceeded to make a phone caddy with the twine, which I show here for your viewing pleasure. She used something like a linen or woven stitch (with stitches slipped yarn in front) which made a great fabric. Then she decorated with paints and beads and what appears to be a button. I saw it in person but I can not remember what the heart was.

And then guess what? She gave the rest of the twine to me. I have about 100+ yards of twine, about DK or worsted weight from the looks of it. It really wants to be a shopping bag, I think. In my spare time…

Knitted Car!

Saturday, June 17th, 2006

Howlin’ Hobbit sends this link to a Knitted Ferrari in the UK. Dang.

Twelve miles of yarn in garter stitch. How did she fend off boredom? Amazing.

Torch and Twang this Tuesday!

Friday, June 16th, 2006

The Fabulous Heftones, In the GardenBrian and I just heard from from Doug Neal at The Impact radio, 89FM at Michigan State University. He has invited us as The Fabulous Heftones, to perform live on his show, Progressive Torch and Twang, this Tuesday night.

The show is 8pm to Midnight each Tuesday and has been a quality contribution to the Lansing music scene since it started. We are honored to be invited. It would be hard to imagine us categorized as twang, but we do a few numbers that definitely fit into the torch song genre.

It looks like we will be on the show starting around 9pm or so, I’m not sure exactly how it will go. We are happy to be flexible within the needs of the show. It sounds as though they may have us do a few pieces live in the studio and also play a few directly from our In the Garden CD.

We are quite pleased that Doug is supporting us in this way. We are doing what we can to get the word out about our CD release party (which will be on Sunday, June 25 at 7pm, at Magdalena’s Teahouse in Lansing).

I want the CD release party to be a wonderful, fun event. Therefore, I want as many great folks to join us in our celebration as possible. The more folks who know about it, the more potential friends we can have join us for our celebration. (We will perform most of the CD live that day, followed by less formal festivities.)

One of my goals as a performer of these wonderful early-1900’s songs, is to reach all age groups, particularly those who are not yet familiar with our music. At Magdalena’s we achieve that well. (Last time we played at Magdalena’s we had listeners of all ages including a 4 yr old, several teenagers, and several retirees.) The Progressive Torch and Twang show will also help us reach some new younger folks. I’m just delighted.

About Tuesday night: everyone in town, you can tune in on your radio. (I think it’s actually 89.1 but I can’t seem to find that information on their website.) Internet friends, you can listen by going to the 89 WDBM web page. That is, if you are so inclined. We are on Eastern Daylight Savings time, the same as New York City.

I’m still doing emotional “frequent flier miles” on adrenaline from getting this news. I just love doing live radio slots! Such fun fun fun fun…. (yes, I will finally sleep sometime tonight but it won’t be for a while… maybe it is time to clean house again and burn off this energy).

Knit a Tree House

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

Cat Bordhi has the best summer knitting ever. Knit a Tree House!

A Day at Home

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

Schwinn BikeI had a day at home today, except for dance rehearsal for 2 hours this evening. I had thought I’d dye yarn. However, the house is so overstuffed that I spent almost the whole day cleaning and putting away, reorganizing, and throwing things when possible.

Yesterday almost the whole day was spent with a new set of shelves Brian bought me and assembled while I was in Indianapolis. I had so many boxes of yarn on the floor that getting around the living room was getting impossible. Now I’ve emptied the equivalent of 5 boxes of yarn into the shelves. Impossible, it seems.

Actually, some of that is teaching stuff… a box with extra-thick yarn for Basketweave Rug classes, a bunch of stranded knitting samples for mitten/turkish sock classes, lots of samples knit from patterns I’ve written.

And some of the stuff is partly-knit projects… the super-fat Aspen yarn sweater with most of a back knit, My almost-finished Olympic asymmetrical vest from Purl Stitch/Melville, a handful of socks here and there, a purse I started to knit and discarded for a better idea in different yarn. Even two “grass skirts” abandoned more than halfway knit. And more yarn for samples yet to be knit. This yarn is really a supply of color for my work, like paint for an artist who makes images on canvas.

But those shelves are bursting, my friends. It’s scary.

So now Brian and I can tell I did something in the house, but nobody else would have a clue. I feel like I threw away a day today… except indeed I can function better when there is less stuff in the house and the stuff that is left is in some sort of order.

I resist housework, I think many creative people do. I understand that all humans have maintenance tasks that must be done… because I’m human I must clean myself and my environment regularly. That does not mean I have quite reached the zen thing where doing it is in the moment as a meditation. I can’t think anything about washing dishes other than wishing I was doing something else… but today I washed a lot of things and I survived.

Hammock and PorchThe good stuff? I finally opened up the last box of Ethiopian tea I brought back from my trip and am thoroughly enjoying that. I ran out of plain “straight up” black tea which is my staple comfort food. I had to open that box of tea or go without, and my addiction to strong black tea overcame my resistance to losing this precious cargo. I have such strong hoarding instincts! This time I finally did the right thing, and I’m doing my best to really savor this lovely brew while I have it.

I also sat in the hammock today for the first time. This is sort of sad, since we’ve had a good number of beautiful days this year. I just get going with work and two rooms away I could be in the hammock, at least to answer phone calls or read or knit sample items. In any case, today was the magic day. I had to fill out some lengthy forms by hand, so I hung up the hammock, reclined a bit with the papers, a pen, a cup of tea and a pillow, and finished the forms. Could have been much worse!

River TrailAnother good thing? Yesterday I rode my bicycle for the first time this year. In fact, I did not ride it at all last year. I did not feel well and it took me until December to figure out that it was a wheat allergy making me ache.

This year I feel so much better! I’m dancing harder than I have in a long time, and I really enjoyed the bike. Brian fixed it up for me, pumped up the tires and oiled the chain, even raised the seat when I said it was too low. It’s a bit dusty still, but it rides great and I love it very much.

I’d hoped to ride the bike to Foster Center for dance rehearsal tonight, but my appointment for 4:30 (at the house) finally showed up at 6pm (rehearsal is 6:30 and it takes 35 minutes to ride the Riverwalk to Foster Center). Another day, I guess.

Photos (all recycled from past years’ posts): 1) My old Schwinn 5-speed bike. 2) My Hammock I got in Yucatan Mexico in 1997, now on my purple-floored porch. 3) The River Trail (known as Riverwalk) in Lansing. This is the branch going from Potter Park Zoo to Downtown. I took this photo on a “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” day if I remember right.

Erksnerks!

Tuesday, June 13th, 2006

Wowie! I just got an email, a blast from the past. Erica of Erksnerks said hi. How cool it is to reconnect!

Erica and I met I think around ’96 or ’97 when I was learning web design and doing a lot of mail art. I think we first connected through a WebGrrls group out of the Detroit area. (That was a time when there were very few women on the web.) Later I found her fonts that she designed.

I made her a hand-carved rubberstamp (from an eraser) using her NiaShani font. It’s a lovely, artful font that looks as though it was lettered with a brush rather than pen. Beautiful, and with a beautiful meaning.

Erica is in Ann Arbor these days, and knitting. I am pretty darned sure we’ll reconnect sometime this summer. How cool is that???

Now… go check out her site, OK?

TNNA Needlearts Show! (Waaay Long…)

Monday, June 12th, 2006

I went to Indianapolis for the TNNA show. I was in that city for 23.5 hours total, including sleep. Talk about a whirlwind! (I love Indy, have I said that? I love cities and this one is doing fine right now. I saw a skyline… that feeds my inner self for a good long while each time it happens… I just love a skyline!)

I never did connect with Mary Moran of KnittingZone.com, which bums me out, but she was leaving just as I was getting there and many folks’ cell phones were not doing well in the big convention center. I also heard that my friend Jillian Moreno was there but I never ran into her.

However, I saw people both expected and unexpected. First Rae met me so she could help me navigate around the space. Then on our way in, the first folks I saw were Rob and Matt of Threadbear Fiberarts Yarn Shop! So there we stood, four Lansingites in Indy. Too funny!

We then proceeded to meet Rae’s mom and aunt (both of whom work in the shop nights/weekends). And basically had a one-day girls’ day/night out. Sort of a pajama party for grownups who knit.

They, of course, were there to do business. They ordered some very fun patterns (I remember Lucy Neatby and Chris Bylsma among others) and some great yarns. But between orders we had some fun social experiences.

This was the fourth time I have met Lucy Neatby. What a class act she is. She’s incredibly intelligent and wildly creative but she’s grounded. I aspire to her groundedness though I think I’d know by now if I could actually achieve that!

Indianapolis Baseball DiamondLucy just released two DVDs so that you can actually see her move through her teaching. You can even play it over and over if need be, unlike in a classroom. She talks about “Happy and Contented Stitches” and shows you how to achieve many things keeping the stitches happy. There is a bit about repairing runs in your fabric, a sock chimney (brilliant) and lists of other great techniques. Of all the teachers I’ve studied with, I have sat in three full days with Lucy and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. She just plain hits it the way I need things explained… always calm, always focused and with good spirit.

The two videos are called “A Knitter’s Companion, Knitting Essentials series” and “A Knitter’s Companion, Sock Knitting Techniques.” I’ve taken two full days of socknitting techniques with Lucy. She’s incredible… for any of you out there who are socknitters, do check out this sock DVD. It is sure to please. No, I have no affiliation, make not a cent for this endorsement. I just know good training when I see it. And a workshop with Lucy costs more than a DVD… you get to meet her in class and ask questions, but with a DVD you can play it over and over if you wish. It’s a great deal at $29 Canadian dollars. (Shop owners…. upnorthfiberartsupply.com is where you can go to order in the US for your shop. For individuals, we still buy through local shops or Lucy online.)

I’d really recommend that anyone interested in video-type learning, to consider Lucy’s DVD’s. Assuming you are a knitter, that is. Do be sure your computer or other device can play DVDs, not all machines can, and some others require installing this or that software program.

Anyway…

I also saw Annie Modesitt who I’d not seen in a few years, it was good to see her. I saw Gina of Notions Marketing… we used to ride the same bus to High School if I remember right, I’ve known her just about forever and it was great to see her again. I ran into Shiela of One World Buttons, I met her years ago on a self-employed email list but had never met her in person. Turns out she lives in Manhattan’s East Village not far from the theater where we sing for NY Ukefest… we’ll go see her next April when we play there again!

I met Chris Bylsma who was on a knitting designer email list I am on but don’t read nearly enough. I tried to meet Jennifer of Stitch Diva but she was busy taking orders and I did not want to interrupt. Her crochet patterns are some of the most funky and wearable out there in my opinion, and she has some very fine knits as well.

I showed off my Gedifra legwarmers at their booth. I touched TONS of yarn. Yum. Saw beautiful colors. Yum. Tried to tell Rae what colors of Malabrigo hand-dyed merino to order… there’s a deep turquoise/teal I like a lot. It’s really soft. I have two hot pink skeins of this yarn I got at a sale at Threadbear last year, destined for legwarmers. Now I’ll have to make up a 2nd project for this ultra-soft single-ply yarn. That will be fun! (Late correction… my pink is Rio de la Plata, another single-ply handpaint. I am pretty sure the Malabrigo is even softer than the Rio.)

We waited in line to get books signed many times. I got a Happy Hooker crochet book from Debbie Stoller, Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer, Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan, and Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick. All autographed.

I was particularly pleased to get the Melanie Falick book so that I could talk to her in person. I told her how much my CityKidz love her Kids Knitting book. They particularly love the backpack and the tassel hat, and I have one girl (2nd grader) really excited to make the striped hat in the round as her next project, which will be very soon. It will be her first project on Double-Pointed-Needles. She knows that after she makes the hat, I’ll allow her to start a pair of socks. That’s a very big deal for a 2nd grader. It’s a pretty big deal even for an adult, you know?

Melanie told me she also has a weaving book for kids and a crocheting book for kids. I’m particularly excited to see the crocheting book. Rae said she’ll order me a copy and I can buy it from her (Rae crochets a lot, in fact she got a signed crocheted lace book at the show this weekend which looks great). The crochet book must be very new, as the sample book at the show was a dummy with blank pages and just a cover. (I can’t find it on Amazon.com yet, either.)

I am not great at crochet but sometimes the CityKidz ask me about it and the more I can learn the better, so I can help them. I think a rug would be a great crochet project, or a backpack or bag. Anyway I’m looking forward to seeing that book. I had a great talk with the person minding Melanie’s booth while she was signing books.

TNNA Wall of Yarn and ThreadThere was a lot of walking and standing in line. I only got there about noon and my feet were thankful the show did not go till all hours of the evening. We got invited to a party by a book wholesaler but decided we were too tired to go looking for the party location and then stand on our feet even longer.

We walked the few blocks back to the hotel, and the others ordered pizza while I ate great food I’d brought along from New Aladdin’s restaurant. (The coat check person at the show gave them advice about what pizza to order, and that was really appreciated.)

For a while they ate pizza and watched TV, and I went down to the lobby trying to sew together the pieces of my Sally Melville Funnel Neck top. I finished knitting it around Thanksgiving. I just am having some trouble getting my proportions/ratios right, somehow not easing it in enough or something. I was trying to graft the seam from body to sleeve but it’s not working well. I’m ready to bind off the top of the sleeve and then sew in with a backstitch. That will give me more chance to ease it in gracefully. I’m very good with handsewing so that’s the next thing I’ll try. No wonder I enjoy knitting in the round so much! No seams. Not that I mind sewing but it doesn’t fit right after two tries. That is just tiring.

I went back up to the room… Rae and I sat in the bathroom with the lights on, talking and knitting while the other two slept in the darkness and quiet. Just like a slumber party! I finished another of my new purses, this one of pink/purple vat-dyed Naturewool. And felted it there right in the sink, by hand. It’s beautiful. Now I need to make a handle and button for it.

Rae finished an incredible lace shawl, alpaca on size 0 needles, fully 4 feet across I swear. It’s from Gathering of Lace, the one with unicorns. Incredible. And speedy given how many stitches that is, and stitches that take some thinking. She loves lace and it’s apparent with the level of challenge in this piece. She wore it Monday, slightly damp.

Monday morning I took a class from Cat Bordhi about knitting with kids. She booked the class as promoting your yarn shop but it was totally about teaching kids, which can indeed promote your yarn shop if you have one. I was so happy to be in a room with people who like the idea or practice of knitting with children.

Cat had this great idea for a small felting project I can do with my kidz (no washing machine involved), maybe this summer in our smaller group. I’m excited to try it. I’ll report back when I have experience with this project.

The class included 6 male students, too, and we had some talk about how nice it would be to make that not be an issue. Surely the kids knitting programs I’ve taught have had some very enthusiastic boys over several years. Enough to start turning things around, one person/family at a time. I tell you, my brother Eric is the best embroiderer and excellent technical sewer I know (he made a pair of jeans that looked storebought, including double-felled seams).

Anyway I had to hop out and back to Lansing right after the class with Cat. It was delightful to go, to meet folks from online, see new things, meet authors, talk to old friends. It was a great time. I talked too much, I always do. But Brian reminds me that’s a byproduct of my enthusiasm, and he’s right. And what a life I lead! It’s a great thing to have a life I can be this enthusiastic about.

Photos: 1) The baseball field which was across the street as I walked to the hotel from the convention center Monday. It was a glorious sunny day, the flowers were at peak. Indy sure makes sure visitors see some nice gardens! Even the parking lot had an incredible mix of flowers as we walked around the corner. Very nice. 2) The Great Wall of Yarn. This is outside the exhibit hall, and was where I met Rae on the way in. You see less than half of it in this photo. It can be overwhelming, really, the variety and color there. My favorite was a single ply wool/alpaca worsted weight in turquoise/fuschia/yellow. No surprise, really!

Summer Classes

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

I guess I can’t leave you folks very long… I made sure my classes web page was updated on my site before leaving for TNNA/Indianapolis. I have ignored that page too often but right now it is ready to roll…

I’ve added a Polymer Clay Buttons & Beads class and Basketweave Rug, at Threadbear in July.

I have a First-Time Toe-Up socks class at Little Red Schoolhouse, and we are in the process of planning some July/August Monday night classes there, if anyone has a request.

At Rae’s I am offering Watercolor Bag next Thursday and the following week… and Bags to Go! (with a new twist, photo soon) at the end of this month. I’m sure to be adding Thursday classes at Rae’s for July/August… again, write if you have specific requests.

Please check out my Classes Page which has full information.

Preparing for a Jam-Packed Day

Saturday, June 10th, 2006

I’m preparing for a busy one. I’ll work for Rae’s shop until mid-afternoon, then go to a wedding of a dance friend. I will miss a computer student’s funeral, but I’ll take time to be quiet and remember her energy and love for living.

After the wedding I’ll go to Altu’s and sing with Brian, then eat wonderful food. I will try to go to bed really early for me, because I need to be on the road by 6:30am to go to Indianapolis for the TNNA show. You probably won’t hear from me until I return from Indy.

This is the right kind of busy. Good company, a little travel, some good food, some music… yeah, I can handle this sort of busy.

Seeya Monday.

Stretching a Little

Friday, June 9th, 2006

Well, my friend Rae has a small yarn shop. Small enough that the employees are all relatives, although a good portion of her instructors (including me) are not. She needed to go to TNNA to order more yarn. With two of the three other folks who work the shop.

So I said I’d watch the shop for 2 days. Well, most of 2 days since I have a wedding to attend mid-afternoon on Saturday. It’s good to stretch a bit sometimes, and do things that are not in one’s comfort zone.

Now, I love working retail… at least, the part where people come in with questions or challenges and I get to help them. I have only done this twice in my life (both times as a second job) and really enjoyed it. But I have not worked a cash register in a long while. Thank goodness that cash registers are now basically computers. I can figure them out better that way.

So today I spent six-plus hours at the shop. It was good fun. I did have a little tug o’war with the bar code scanner at first, but it did finally decide to behave. I figure if that is the worst thing that happens while I’m working an unfamiliar job alone, then I am doing fine.

And I got to see so many people I knew! Kathy, Jacque, Lynnette and Suzanne all came in, and we got to chat a little. Other folks, too… but these I had time to chat with. That was a blast.

But I tell you, my feet hurt! I remember now why I don’t do this any more. I’m going to enjoy tomorrow again, and then I’ll be happy to be in the car 5 hours on my way to Indianapolis, resting my feet before I stand up again for a long stretch.

Thanks to my friends/students who came by. It made my day pass very quickly and happily. (Even if I had a few hiccups in the cash register department!) All’s well that ends well, and it did turn out just fine.

“My Kidz”

Thursday, June 8th, 2006

CityKidzOh, I have the best kids (in my CityKidz Knit! program) in the world. We had our last session at Foster Center today, until Fall. I had a dozen knitters (and 6 additional children playing on computers in the same room) today. it was crazy-busy but wonderful. We enjoy one another so much. I have kids from age 5 to age 18 and it works, somehow. It works really well, actually.

Let me tell you something… never underestimate a child. These kids can do so much! Today when I was busy getting the Kool-Aid dyeing project ready, several of the older knitters helped several of the newer/younger knitters fix “hiccups” in their work. With that many folks in one room I really did need the help and they were quite good at jumping to do what needed doing.

Sock by CityKidWe dyed some yarn that had been donated by one of you wonderful blog readers in the last year. Often we don’t get wool donated, but this year we got a lot of it and we really have taken advantage of it. This cream colored standard worsted-weight yarn was perfect for our needs.

I made small loose center-pull balls on my ballwinder, maybe 5 yards each (enough to make a wristband), and we put them in my turkey roaster with soapy water and drink mix powder. We used red on one side, then turned over each ball and added orange. It turned out that we had so much dye that the amount of wool I started with did not use up the color so we added more yarn. The second batch became a pretty coral color.

After that batch was complete, one of my High Schoolers brought a skein of yarn she got after a wonderful donation from a Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild colleague, a gorgeous textured cream wool. So we dyed it with some Canadian grape (a sort of burgundy color not available in the USA) and some red, I think it was cherry. It’s the skein hanging up at the top of the photo. It turned out just beautifully, she was delighted.

This last photo is a sock by my 7th grader (front row center in top photo, with ball of yarn in hand). This is her 3rd sock and the 4th is all done except for the last few rows that are purple. Actually, I bet it’s done as I am typing this, she was so excited to finish. She left the purple skein at her house and was quite bummed about it. Personally, she is knitting socks faster than some adults and she’s doing it while school is in session. I’m eager to see what she does this summer. She’s already about a third through a Garden Capelet, as well.

I’m sort of sad… some of these kids I will not see again. Some I will not see until fall. I don’t know which they will be yet. I’m pretty sure my three oldest will come to summer program, they are able to bring themselves to the place and time where I’ll be knitting. But even then there are complications, plans made by parents and summer schools and staying with this or that relative or other parent this or that week. One day at a time, I guess. I already miss them.

Photos: 1) The group that was still in my room several hours after we started… and me at far right in tie dye shirt. 2) Toe Up sock made by CityKid knitter.

Saturday Performance at Altu’s

Wednesday, June 7th, 2006

Fab HeftonesBrian and I, as The Fabulous Heftones, will be performing Saturday. The time is dinner hour, 6:30-8:30pm. The place? My friend Altu’s restaurant: Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine. It’s on Michigan Avenue in East Lansing, next to The Dollar. She has a nice map on her website if you need help finding it.

The food? You won’t be disappointed. Altu is the best cook I know. There’s a beef stew with vegetables on rice for those who like American-style food, and mild or spicy, veggie or meat, for those who like adventure. Traditional spongy sourdough bread or rice, your choice. At right pictured is the beef with veggies on bread and lima beans (absolutely fabulous and creamy, just trust me on that) on rice. That’s Brian’s hand… just before we dug in to the meals we ordered for ourselves one night.

Local friends, please join us. Singing is so much more pleasant with friends in the audience.