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Archive for September, 2006

Lansing Saturday Beads, Anyone?

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

The Working Women Artists (WWA) group is having a Saturday workshop (this weekend, 9/23) at T&T Trading (a huge bead shop in Grand Ledge, just west of Lansing). We are inviting other interested folks to join us for this private class.

We have asked for a class which will give us an overview of tools and supplies, and then leave us to be creative in our own fashion while having an instructor available for consultation on technical issues. If they had tried to get this group to all make the same project, I assure you it would not have worked, anyway!

Working Women Artists October 2005Class time is 4-6pm, but if you do not bring bead/finding supplies with you, come a good bit early to pick and choose your supplies before class starts.

The class fee is $20 (not including supplies). I need to know if you are coming, as there is a minimum number of participants. Please jump in and invite yourself, if you are local and interested!

This group is an amazing group. We have members from teenagers to retirees and all ages in between (most of us fall between 40 and 70). Some folks have day jobs and do art at night/weekends as they can. Some folks, like me, make most or all of their livings as artful people.

And yes, men have attended though not regularly. Especially when we do art-focused travelogues we often get a nice gender mix as well as all ages.

If you would like to participate, you may leave me a comment or send email to Lynn AT ColorJoy DOTcom by noon on Saturday. We would *Love* to have visitors join us!

Photo: October 2005 WWA meeting/workshop. Yes, we can make a colorful mess with the best of them!

In Praise of Backups

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

My email program hiccuped, I’m not sure when. I went to a folder and when I found an older message I wanted to re-read, I opened it up but the contents were for a totally different message.

No sweat, I told the system to rebuild the table of contents. Mind you, this is my Fabulous Heftones music career/Altu’s restaurant booking agent email folder. It’s pretty important stuff and there were almost two thousand messages in that folder.

So the table of contents rebuild worked. When I open a message from a year ago, it is actually the message I expected to read.

Sky Sept 20 in Lansing MIBUT. But. Now all the messages in there that I sent to someone else (basically out-basket messages), are missing the addresses I sent them to. It shows *my* address, the address sent *from.* Sigh.

So I needed to send my weekly press release for Altu’s restaurant. I base each new press release on the last one I sent. And when I opened the last sent message, I didn’t have the really important half dozen newspaper contact email addresses I’ve collected over the years/months/weeks. I could not exactly announce shows if I didn’t know where to send the announcement. Right?

Well, fortunately I did a special backup of just my email program a few days ago. Voila! I change the name of my new working copy of the mailbox (the one which matches the listing and contents properly). Then I restore the old folder (with all the messages over 6 months old that are confused).

There are enough recent messages in that box that are right, that I could use it as a resource… and so I went in to the restored folder, found the most recent press release, and found the blind carbon copy addresses I needed.

I cringe to think of how much time it might have taken for me to collect all those addresses if I had not backed up. True, neither of my folders are perfect but between them I can use the email program as my filing system (which is totally how I work).

I use email as my secretary, my reminder, my to-do list. If it’s in my email program it exists. Actually, I back up the whole computer every night to another computer but I figured the several day old one might have a good Table of Contents. No such luck. I didn’t realize that hiccup soon enough. But hey, I can work fine.

I guess it’s geek week here at ColorJoy heaven. I got a call from a computer client yesterday. I wrote them a database system in 1999 to manage an apartment complex. They called to say that a form they have used ever since, all of a sudden stopped working properly. Who knows why? They surely don’t know enough to have made this particular problem happen.

So I went over there, crossing fingers the whole way that I’d remember enough about this seven-year-old project to help them, and as quickly as possible.

I guess when you know something you remember it longer than you might imagine. I figured out the problem (a query had disappeared, like it had been deleted, very odd), rebuilt the query, fixed the form. In less than 10 minutes. They loved me and I was delighted (relieved even). Whew!

I don’t feel very geeky today but I’m glad I have those skills. I spent 6+ years teaching computer software seminars and I had to learn so much to do that… then I did Y2K consulting and learned a bit more in a different realm. Now I mostly use email and word processing, plus a little HTML web page design. This blog I just type into a window in a program someone else designed (I’m grateful).

But on weeks like this, I need to know how to restore from a backup. And I need to know what a query is and how to make a new one. I’m really grateful for those tools I still seem to have. Whew!

Photo: It is hard to take a photo of a computer screen and make it interesting. So here you see my first fall tree-color photo of the year. The sky did show some blue here and there yesterday but it does not show in this shot. It has been sweater weather, about 58F/14.5C at noon for the last two days. I felt depressed about the change in weather last night but today I’m feeling better. Wool clothes help!

The Super-Kazoo

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

Howlin’ Hobbit, a frequent commenter/reader here, plays uke and other instruments in Seattle. Well, this week he built a Humbone, which I imagine is the loudest kazoo ever.

And you know I love kazoos, right? Check out this fun experiment!

Three Skeins Now, Many Soon

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

I’m still working on the eternal yarn-dyeing experiment. I’ve never dyed this much yarn in a short time. What that means is that then I have a lot of yarn to reskein and label and photo, and, and, and… As of right now it all has labels and the next step is to photograph.

Then we’ll see if I can figure out the new shopping cart or if I’ll just be putting photos up here on the blog for folks to see and buy through old fashioned email dialogues. We’ll see. I’ll have to ask Brian more about that cart now that I am poised to really benefit from it being up and running.

For the record, what I’ve dyed thus far is many colorways of 1/2 lb skeins in Cushy ColorSport. It washes/dries like a dream. Most often this yarn sells for baby blankets these days (free Cushy Blankie pattern if you buy a pound of the yarn) though I love it for socks and it makes a really comfy lightweight sweater.

Extra, Extra…

Midday GardenI also have three remaining skeins of a multicolored special 400-yd skein of my Tiptoe Sockyarn. Three skeins, that’s all. Of an exclusive colorway with many colors on it, that I have promised not to repeat again.

The three skeins are what is left of the Sock of the Whenever group August knitalong project. My skeins normally are 440 yards which will work for men’s socks, but these skeins are so totally girly that I did slightly smaller skeins (which makes them a little less expensive but still works for any size ladies’ sock up to large).

These special sockyarn (80 wool/20 nylon fingering weight) skeins sell for $19 plus shipping. You may write to me at Lynn@ColorJoy.com and order these immediately (photo above though the real yarn is more vibrant, almost electric). For these skeins only, I will not hold the yarn for a check, they need to be paid for within 24 hours of requesting it or I sell to the next person on the waiting list.

The Future?

The ColorSport yarns are not yet available for sale… the sun needs to shine before I can take photographs and move toward that, but it should be soon.

And sockyarn? I have a box of it skeined up in proper hanks for dyeing, waiting for the next block of time I can find to dye it. That will take a while to go through the same process the ColorSport is going through now.

When those skeins are ready to sell, I will show you some wonderful photos. They show socks the esteemed Debra Chinn has knit using yarn from the last batch of Tiptoe Sockyarn I dyed. She rocks!

What is exciting, is that although I could not acquire (as they say, for love nor money) any of this sockyarn to dye from May through August, I am expecting another shipment to arrive late this week. It will actually “land” in Lansing before I’m done dyeing the several cones I got in August. This is the right sort of problem, to have yarn waiting for me. One day at a time, though, my friends… and the ColorSport is first in line at this point. Other than the 3 Midday Garden special skeins, that is.

Food Suggestions Rolling in…

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Well, you guys are great. KC and Diana have sent me so many recipes between the two of them that I can cook for a month, I think, without repeating.

And they *both* have suggested Chinese 5-spice powder with the crockpot experiment. And what is odd is that I put some in that pot before I heard from either of them. It was really good with the chicken and sweet potatoes.

For the record, often 5-spice powder has more than 5 spices and depending who you buy it from it will vary. However, it will have anise and cinnamon for starters. Mine has white pepper which gives it a nice balance against the sweetness of the anise. If you have not tried this, it’s good on fish as well.

Joanne suggested the pressure cooker today as well. That’s two folks for pressure cookers. I’ll have to look up more about those as well.

Don’t stop sending suggestions just because I’ve written this thank you post. But thanks-thanks-thanks for all that has come in thus far.

Sarah’s ColorSport Socks!

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

I’m behind the times, but I do try to go at least catch up with the photos on blogs of friend knitters before I go and see them. No sense having them tell you things they already said to the blogging world, right?

So I went to see Sarah Peasley’s Handknitter weblog. On September 5 she has pictures of socks she knit using Cushy ColorSport (handpainted superwash merino DK weight) that I dyed. Cool beans! It’s so exciting to see my creative “children” (skeins of yarn in this case) go out into the real world. And to have it be Sarah doing the knitting? It’s an honor.

Knitting guild tonight was fun, the first one since spring. I like this group. Even though it’s a big group, it’s very friendly and relatively orderly most of the time. I don’t get overwhelmed much in this big (40-50 per meeting, perhaps) group.

And I must say that when I walked into my first meeting in 2001, people were nice right away and I never felt like an outsider. The group has always been a warm place even when I’m not hanging out on off-weeks as some do. It’s a really good group.

Food Ramblings…

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Musings/Ramblings about Food and Cooking…

I bought a second crockpot today. The first one I had was good enough, it would hold 8 chicken thighs or 10 drumsticks, but there was not really room for any veggies or anything else with that meat. I do not like cooking, so when I’m doing it I want to make as much food as possible and freeze leftovers. So today I got a crockpot that holds two or three cornish game hens or a small whole chicken. Now I can do veggies or sweet potatoes in one smaller pot and meat with or without veggies in the large one. This seems just right to me, I can accomplish many frozen leftovers in one day of kitchen-fussing.

Cooking in a crockpot makes sense for me. Anything I can use where I walk away from something, have it work without me, and not need split-second timing, will be my friend. I never did well with heating food on the stovetop (I can burn oatmeal which takes merely one minute of boiling), and I am very capable of turning off a buzzer but leaving items in the oven after the buzz, which was set to tell me to pull them out. I am so easily distracted, that a crockpot which basically can not overcook if you leave it on the low setting for 8-10 hours, is just perfect for me.

So far I have only tried a couple of variations on chicken in the crockpot. Well, all except for one try at fish which just stunk up the house for a full day and a half after I cooked it. Yuck. However, for someone who has not cooked meat for a decade to have the chicken come out as well as it has, I’m happy. One day Rae gave me hints on what she does and another time Diana (sis in law) helped me figure out some new seasonings to try.

Maybe I’ll get this after all. I do *not* like meat ( I never did, not even as a child), and I don’t eat red meat (mammals) ever, but my health is requiring more protein than I could get eating beans. I have to eat poultry and fish right now, in order to stay healthy.

I’m at the point where there just were not enough restaurants in town where I could get food that did not make me ill. As much as I love Altu and her cooking, eating at her restaurant every single day was not good for me either… rotating my foods is really important right now. So here I am… cooking. Meat. After at least 10 years, probably 15 or more, of intentionally avoiding just that.

Request

If anyone has any recipes or advice on how I can cook with the least amount of time/attention and the most amount of flavor, I’m all ears. I eat some beans still, can not eat dairy/cheese at all. I love split peas, sweet potatoes (can’t have normal potatoes), almost all vegetables.

I can not have fruit, corn products (including most sauces that come prepackaged in the store such as barbecue sauce), potato, egg, dairy, tree nuts, wheat, anything fermented or aged. I *can* have oats, poultry/fish, rice, rye, buckwheat, teff, tapioca, onions/garlic, spices/herbs, veggies (except for potatoes or mushrooms).

I do have satisfactory substitutes for eggs or wheat in most things, and milk in some things. I have learned to substitute a lot of things (honey instead of corn syrup, for example). So if you have a recipe with one minor ingredient on my “not” list I probably can figure something out.

I met a musician last Friday who was very excited about cooking vegetables in the presure cooker. We have two of these, one for the microwave and one standard one for the stovetop. Brian makes good black beans in a pressure cooker but I’ve never become comfortable with them. I like this idea and the crock pot method. What I don’t want to do is stand there at the stove while the food basically doesn’t need me there for 55 seconds out of 60, but I can’t walk away either.
If you aren’t into sharing recipes, that’s fine. However i know a lot of you enjoy cooking. My recipe posts get more hits than any knitting or music post I ever wrote! You guys came through when I asked for a granola bar recipe… I’m still fussing with the exact combination of ingredients I prefer, but I’ve enjoyed every bar I’ve baked thus far. So maybe someone out there has some great soup recipe or some set of flavors I can put on chicken that I’ve not imagined before. I’m not very good at working with herbs/spices yet so any input there would be most welcome.

OK, bedtime. The food is already getting hot and I need to sleep.

Monday is Computer Class Day

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Teaching, Old Home Week

I started my fall term at Haslett Community Education today. This is my only computer training “gig” that I do any more, though I spent 6.5 years as a corporate trainer and several more as a Y2K/custom database consultant. I also supervise a computer lab at Foster Center for 2 hours on Thursdays each week, but that is the extent of my computer career at this point. I enjoy my new life, but I sure do get energized by my Monday night classes!

I teach two classes each Monday. The 3:30 class is for folks who may or may not have a computer yet, but if they do they are not comfortable with it and/or look at it without turning it on. I am really skilled at working with these folks who have been afraid or otherwise avoiding the inevitable learning curve they must take to get going on the machine. I really love explaining things that make life so much easier for them.

The night class, from 6-8pm, is for folks who either took the first class or already are somewhat comfortable but want to learn more. This class is full of folks who come back every term. It is like a little computer club more than a class, though I make them work once they are there. These folks come to my dance performances, my singing performances, my art exhibits. They have picnics and invite one another. They are truly a community and I’m honored to share that community with them.

This term I have 14 folks in the night class, and only two of them are new to me. Some of them I’ve had nearly two years. We do repeat the same subjects but always with a different exercise so that they can learn one more way around the same challenges. The new people get it fresh, and the returning folks get review which helps them.

Each term I do something a little different during the course of the ten weeks (one term we did PowerPoint and other terms we have done Excel or Microsoft Publisher, depending on the interests of those in the class). No matter what, I always cover a good deal of word processing and Internet, peppered with word definitions as we work our way through topics. After all, “computerese” is truly another language, though it sounds suspiciously like English!

Cooking with Gas, as Mom Says

I am wiped out but I came home with tired feet, had leftovers/dinner that Brian heated up for me so I did not have to cook again (he is the best), checked my email and then headed back to the kitchen. I have a Working Woman Artists friend who had major back surgery and I’m taking her some food tomorrow on the way to another engagement. I figure if I can make enough food to split it with her, we all eat well and she can minimize the hours she is up and around. She needs to rest a lot, or at least choose carefully what things she does when she’s not resting.

So I made granola bars in the oven, and chicken with sweet potatoes and onions in one crock pot and cabbage/onions in another crock pot. Tomorrow I’ll also take her some shrimp in marinara sauce that she can heat up later for another meal. Then we will eat lunch together and after that I’ll go to my appointment.

Knitting Like a Madwoman

Monday, September 18th, 2006

Perhaps I am mad (in a good way)… I have been knitting more than usual by leaps and bounds in the last few days. I am driven to finish projects and I don’t want the inspiration to lapse so I keep going, and going, and going…

I finished my sock pair #131 on the 14th in the wee hours. They are light turquoise and gray fingering-weight “Disco” yarn (the yarn has a small strand of silver spun in with the wool/nylon blend. They have a rolled cuff. I knit them on size 0/2mm needles and they maSocks knit by LynnHy never wear out! Sometimes when I knit on 0 needles I still knit fairly loose, but these are so tight they may be bulletproof. I wore them Sunday and they were great.

Sunday September 17, I finished another pair of socks, pair #132. These are knit in La Lana Grossa Cool Wool Merino Big Print (a soft and washable DK or Light Worsted weight yarn that feels like my beloved Bingo but not as thick). This yarn comes in several multicolors but only one bright enough to make me happy. It also comes in a lot of solid colors, most of them subdued and muted darks but one incredible violet I’ll no doubt have to buy soon.

Usually, in order to inspire myself to knit, I have to tell myself I’m knitting for me. Then it seems I either end up turning over my work to a yarn shop for a sample of my patterns, or gifting them to (usually) my Mom or someone else. These are all really good places for my work and I don’t ever regret when it happens.

However, I have only knit 9 pair of socks this year, including a pair for Mom and a pair for my brother, Eric (Beloved Brian is still patiently waiting on a pair this year and Altu is waiting for a pair I started for her nearly 2 years ago). Six of those 9 pairs were in DK or fatter yarn, rather tSocks by LynnHhan normal sock/fingering yarn (this means fewer stitches and thus the socks take a lot less time to knit).

Just for comparison, I started knitting socks in May 2001. I knit 28 pair of socks that year, most of them fingering weight. In eight months. So this year I’m past 8 months and I have finished only 9 pairs. I’ve done a lot of non-sock knitting, and plenty of single socks for samples here and there. But I knit because I love handknit wool socks in bright colors, that fit my small feet.

So I wore both of these new pairs, already. Wore them so they are mine and are no longer spotless and display/gift-worthy. Why not? You all can see them here even as I am wearing them out. It was time for a treat, for some reason. I have never apologized for being a selfish knitter when I’ve done it, but as a professional teacher/designer I don’t get to be selfish as much as I once did.

SundLucy Neatby Equilateral Hat knit by LynnHay I also finished my Lucy Neatby Equilateral Hat. It will go to Rae’s store as a sample for the class we will be offering there on December 3 (a Sunday), from noon to 3pm. This hat was a very fun knit and is really warm and cozy to wear.

Lucy gives an option to line this hat (the outer hat is knit with Noro Kureyon (a handspun single-ply yarn which changes color very slowly), with a softer yarn. I lined mine with Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK which is just as soft and yummy as a yarn gets. I happened to have most of a skein left from one of my “Guitar Trim Hats” that I designed last year. It was the perfect lining. This will be a really warm hat, and it is delicious to wear.

Now I am working on the mate to a short sock I knit in Elsebeth Lavold’s Silky Wool. This is wonderful yarn which is about a DK weight and I love the turquoise the best, though I’ve knit with the purple as well. The first sock has been finished for months and I started a toe for the second in a First-Time Toe-Up sock class a good long while ago, then the yarn got tangled and I ignored the project for a while, in favor of easier-to-grab-and-go projects.

So today I made sure I had the right number of stitches in my second toe-tube (the very start of the sock) and started knitting on that again. This will be my knitting-on-the go for a while.

I sometime soon want to get back to trying to seam four pieces of a funnelneck top I knit on the knitting machine last winter. What I found when I tried this before, was that seaming handknitting is easy for me and I did not find seaming the machine knit to be obvious at all.

I also want to go back to the Aspen bulky sweater from Threadbear I started (and stopped when I had to think, when I reached the armhole shaping). It is the right time of year to finish that and wear it, or will be very soon.

And my allergy-doctor waiting-room knitting for the last few weeks has been a wrap in hot green and light turquoise, in five different yarns. The colors are wonderful and the texture of the project is incredible. It has two green fuzzy yarns (one mohair, one a mohair wanna-be that is really soft), two multicolored ribbons (one silky-shiny and one glittery), and one supersoft light turquoise cotton (Manos del Uruguay Straia). I can’t wait to wear that wrap on stage if I can only get it done. I try to make myself knit at least an inch on it each time I get it out, which lately has been about twice a week. Soon… soon.

Of course, new things keep tempting me. Last night when I was perusing my printed materials, I found a wrap near the back of Bonnie Franz’ Double Exposure book. It would be a wonderful on-stage or summer-evening wrap in Silky Wool Turquoise. I’ve had two students (Sue R. and Suzanne) finish stoles/shawls in this exact color, one in precisely this yarn.

I love the Silky Wool yarn (especially that turquoise, no surprise). Its texture is light but warm and fluffy at the same time. It is like the whipped cream of yarns. I have been trying to find the perfect Silky Wool wrap/shawl pattern (or come up with one in my own mind) and this might be just the ticket. I’m ready to not have to think about designing one right now.

I don’t like girly lace, but Bonnie’s design has yarn-overs (a technique which creates a hole in the fabric on purpose) in diagonal lines. The openwork design looks almost more like a stripe than lace, and the edges are straight rather than froofy (is that a word?), which is exactly right for me. After I finish a few more hundred projects sitting there waiting for me, that is.

But with three finished projects in three days, I’m on a roll. You don’t know how happy that makes me!

Photos: Pair 131, Fortissima Disco on size 0, rolled cuff, size 6 narrow US/Ladies, using LynnH First-Time Toe-Up Sock pattern; Sock pair 132, Merino Big Print on size 3/3.25mm with slip stitch ribbed cuff and sewn backstitch bind off; Lucy Neatby Equilateral Hat, Noro Kureyon and more.

(For those who have been asking about the Harvest Gathering/music festival, it was a wonderful time. I took 270 photos in the last 3 days, mostly at the festival but also in polymer clay class as well as these new finished projects. Therefore, it will take a little time to sort through and process a handful for you.)

Happy Birthday, Altu!

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

Sunday is Altu’s birthday. She is the truest of friends, someone with whom I never have to wonder what she’s thinking. A woman of honor and always true to her word. A woman of passion.

And a woman who is the finest artist in the kitchen, I’ve ever met. She took me to Africa for 38 days and yet I’ve never had better Ethiopian food than that she offers in her East Lansing restaurant.

LynnH and Altu in Alexandria, Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea, 2004I can not explain how much I appreciate Altu. The biggest example I can give is her invitation to me, to join her in a trip to Africa. Where I stayed in homes of Altu’s friends and family in two countries. Where I was able to see things and places I had never heard of before our trip. Where I saw the wonderful variety and sameness that is humanity and our world. It’s amazing how alike we really are, no matter how different our lifestyles and environments may be.

Last Thursday we started celebrating her day, by having our regular Thursday lunch. We went out for sushi and I gave her a CD of the musician from Mali who I had heard at Wheatland. Then I chatted with her briefly today as I put an apple crisp in the oven which is hers. I had to get the dessert to her somehow so I’m going to meet her for lunch Monday. It’s sort of fun to celebrate for days and days!

One thing I really notice about Altu, is that she notices and appreciates when I thought of her when we were not together. When I call and tell her I am making apple crunch for her, this means a great deal to her besides anticipation of eating dessert. She always thanks me for thinking of her. They are a really special part of being in her life, those thank-you’s (which I did just discuss here just a few days ago).

I wish for you all to have a friend as true as my friend.

Happy Birthday, Altu!!!

Photo: Altu and I on the roof of a castle in Alexandria, Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea. Did you know that Egypt was a Mediterranean country? I knew it was both mideastern and African but I did not realize until this trip that it was also on the Mediterranean. No wonder Alexandria was named after Alexander the Great, now, is it? This photo was taken on December 24, 2004. What a trip that was!

Away from Keyboard (AFK)

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

When I first got online (I think it was February of 1995), I mostly used a local (Lansing-area) bulletin board. We would actually go to each other’s parties, graduations, dinner out or the comedy club as a group… and each night we would chat.

The “Voyager” Lansing chat room was nothing like any I’ve visited since the Internet connected us with the world rather than folks in the same no-long-distance phone area. We really knew one another. In person, not just in text on a screen.

There were a lot of typing shortcuts we used on the chat, because after all, no matter how fast you type it is not as fast as talking can be. Many of those still exist in email lists… LOL (Laughing Out Loud), ROFL (Rolling on Floor Laughing), BTW (By the Way) and others. But one we used a lot because we were “live” was AFK (Away from Keyboard). That meant we had to step away for whatever reason… teapot whistling, person at the door, spouse asking a question, a restroom break.

This weekend it feels that I need to type on this blog, “AFK.” Friday we went north to Lake City, Michigan to the Harvest Gathering. It’s a smallish music festival by the Earthwork Music folks… tons of concerts, on two stages, and many of the audience members are musicians as well. It felt like we knew most everyone there.

Then we got home in time to sleep not quite enough, and get up and go work. I taught First Time Toe Up Socks at Rae’s and then Polymer Clay at Threadbear. Thanks to both shops and all my students, for a wonderful teaching day. I just LOVE teaching and am so very glad we’re back into the teaching part of the year.

From Threadbear I went directly to Altu’s restaurant to meet Brian for dinner. Altu took a minute to sit with us and that was wonderful. Dinner filled me all the way, after a day or two of being hungry most of the time. That woman can cook!!!

On the way home I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics and bought some glass beads for stringing into a necklace. I will probably wear it on stage at some time.

I also found myself a copy of the Knit.1 magazine (it’s put out by Vogue Knitting in conjunction with Lion Brand, focused on young/hip knitters). I once knit a top that actually was mostly based on a pattern in this mag… I’m a small woman with curves and an amazing number of the patterns in it actually look like they would flatter my shape given I’m maybe 3 times the age of the focus group.

However, even when I do not want to knit anything from the mag, I find that I enjoy the articles and interviews. I love knitting magazines and this young/small one does not disappoint me, because I don’t need it to be focused on my own style in order for it to entertain me.

Actually when I was at Rae’s today I got a copy of Bonnie Franz‘s Double Exposure book (each pattern is knit up twice, once in a basic/standard yarn and one in a fun/bold version). And when I was at Threadbear I picked up a Rambling Rows sweater pattern just because everyone talks about it and I need to figure out what they are all talking about.

With the book, pattern and the magazine, I’m set for a relaxing time on the couch until I let my eyes droop and just fall asleep right there. Total luxury! After three nights of not enough sleep, my priority is extra sleep tonight.

I do have photos of the festival and my classes. I’m going to take it easy tonight, though… and I’ll get you photos sometime when I’m more alert.

I hope everyone else is enjoying their weekend. Here in Lansing it’s a glorious early-fall weekend thus far. It’s supposed to be warm Sunday. I’m ready!

I’m Teaching in Dallas!

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

It’s official. I’m teaching (along with Lily Chin, Melody MacDuffee and seveTurkish Socks by studentsral local instructors) at the Dallas Fort Worth Fiber Fest! I can not tell you how excited I am!

Early bird registration starts on Saturday, September 16, at the DFW Knit out and Crochet Too event. I do not have all the details but hopefully you can find any answers you need at the DFW Fiber Fest 2007 website.

I will teach for three full-day sessions, Friday/Saturday/Sunday. On Friday I will be teaching my Design Your Own Turkish Sock class all day. On Saturday is my Toe-Up Socks in Any Gauge class, and on Sunday is the ever-popular Polymer Clay buttons/beads/etc class. What a good time we will have!Buttons made by student Brian

I have never taught in this part of the country before. Please join me if you are within range of Dallas… and let me know if you will be there! I’d love to meet some Texas Internet friends if possible!

Photos: Mini Turkish Toe-Up Socks from Michigan Fiber Festival (MFF) 2006 class, and buttons made by student Brian in my polymer clay buttons/beads class, also at MFF 2006.

Classes, Anyone?

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

This Saturday (September 16) is a busy day for me. It starts the teaching year in earnest.

LynnH First Time Toe Up Sock

I’ll be teaching First-Time Toe-Up Socks at Rae’s Yarn Boutique in Frandor (Lansing) from 11-1. It’s a three-week class (the second session is a little bit longer than the first and last).

Yes, you can reasonably finish one sock at least in the three weeks, I’ve taught this a lot of times and it works well. The pattern works for any thickness of yarn though I do recommend Sport, DK, or worsted weight yarns if this is your first sock ever. There is (get this) No Gauge Swatch Needed! Gotta love that!

For the record, the photo here shows a short rolled cuff knit in Opal Handpaint (a gift I received from the guys at Threadbear). This sock can be knit as a footie, with a standard ribbed cuff as tall as you like, or any other possible cuff stitch pattern. The class is mostly about the structure and fitting to your foot, and the cuff is where you can get creative if you wish. I also supply a grid for sizing if you want to knit gift socks in sizes 0 infant to Ladies L.
LynnH Polymer Clay buttonAfter sock class, I will head directly over to Threadbear Fiberarts on the west side of Lansing (just north of the Waverly Rd. Exit of 496). I will be teaching my ever-popular Polymer Clay Buttons and Beads (and more) class there from 2-6pm.

This class is one session, so it’s easier for those who need to drive in from out of town. I get a lot of folks from all over the state (even Toledo, OH) when I teach at Threadbear, so I do my best to schedule appropriately for them.

These are my most popular classes, they are both winners. Please consider joining me (if you are within reach of Lansing) for either of these very satisfying classes. Click the links above to get to the shop web pages for contact information, maps and the like.

Gratitude

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

I feel like giving advice, please pardon the arrogance that comes along for the ride… me, assuming I can give advice, indeed! I spent a day with a teenager and that brings on the advice-giving busybody in me.

I think my life is kinder and sweeter and gentler than some others’ lives, because the words “thank you” are really important in my world. I say it for small things like Brian taking my cup back to the kitchen, for someone handing me a pair of scissors without me asking, for someone holding the door, for someone sharing half of their snack with me.

I hear the words a lot, too. The folks in my life also value this rich way of celebrating friendship. There is something big about gratitude, even though the moments that bring on the sentiment can be small.

When I get home and Brian has already boiled water foApplesr us to make pasta or rice for dinner, I know he thought of me when I was gone. When I wake up and stumble down the stairs and he boils water so I can have a cup of tea, soonest… that is a small act that tells me he cares about my small comforts.

When I see apples on the tree in Altu’s parking lot (see photo) and know she loves apple crisp… and I take time to pick apples and bring her a homemade crisp as a surprise, she really appreciates that I thought of her when she was gone. And she thanks me for the thought as well as the dessert.

I think saying Thank You (even if you are not able to say “I love you” for whatever reason) really enriches a relationship, whether with a sweetheart, friend or colleague. I think speaking thanks is really important to both people involved. Even if someone is in your life “permanently,” that does not mean they do not appreciate small gestures. And it seems to me those who are closest should get the lion’s share of the kindnesses in our lives.

I once had a beau who thought he could be rude to me since I was close to him, while he was kind to strangers and business associates. Other than my belief that being kind to everyone is in general a good idea, I thought he was missing the point. Your loved ones should be treated even more specially because they are your loved ones. Or so it (still) seems to me.

Sometimes I get in a funk, as we all do. I feel sorry for myself that the weather is not as I prefer, that I can’t eat things I want to eat, that friends are not available when I wish they were, that I need to work a lot of hours to finish a deadline.

However, if I can turn around that negative voice, I can turn my day around as well. My mood and even my health can improve. I realize that I can eat many things I love and even go make something special which nourishes me. I realize that it’s just allergies I’m dealing with, not an illness. I realize that I have the means to get more comfortable inside my home, be it hot or cold or rainy outside. I realize that I am glad to have work that I love.

Try this, if you will: practice saying Thank You today. Do not expect anything extra from the person(s) you interact with, but instead notice how it can turn around your own mood.

And while you are at it, choose music that does not take you down. OK? Music can also be a mood-altering “substance” just like gratitude (or the lack thereof).

End of advice. Beginning of gratitude list.

  1. Even though it’s raining I’ve had a full and satisfying day.
  2. I could afford all my expenses (including a car repair).
  3. I did work I loved.
  4. I spent time with people I value, and I was not cold or wet.
  5. Dinner was good.
  6. The yarn I have dyed thus far is looking very happy to my eyes.
  7. I completed a task for a guild I’m in, which had been on hold for a full week.

Now I’m going to go thoroughly enjoy the softness of my bed and pillow, and my wonderful Ethiopian Gahbi/cotton blanket. Life is truly good.