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Archive for October, 2006

I knew it all along.

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

fabheftonesban-joes.jpgI spent my childhood singing into the mirror. Practicing for when I’d be grown up and singing as my job.

I was right. I love it. The gig Sunday in Warren, Michigan, was wonderful. We’re talking a banquet room full of people listening to every word. Knowing that a really good dinner was coming soon but temporarily forgetting it and singing along with us, totally in the moment.

greenshawlandhair.jpgSinging for people who want to listen, is the best fun I can think of right now. I definitely was right when I was a kid. This is the best. And doing it with the man I adore and who loves me back… well, I never imagined life could be this great. It’s not great every second but when we’re on stage, time stops and I experience bits of heaven right there.

For the knitters who tune in here regularly… I did finally finish the light turquoise/hot green stole I started nearly 2 years ago, and I wore it for the performance. I mean, I bound it off in the green room backstage. Sometime between the sound check and showtime. Yes, I have been called obsessed before. Remember, I wanted to wear it *last* Friday at Magdalenas… so I was really intent on finishing this one and wearing it.

The stole is beautiful, perfect. It stayed on my shoulders and looked magnificent from a distance. The hallways in the building were lined with mirrors and I kept giving in to the instinct to look at myself wearing my handiwork. Yup, worth picking it up again after all that time. Love it.

It was a long day. We were gone more than 12 hours. It was worth every second.

A Pleasant Day

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

I did not push too hard today. I slept in, then made teff muffins and pumpkin bread. The muffins were for breakfast, the bread was intended to be frozen for later snacks on busy days.

The muffins were good though I baked them a little bit too long. The pumpkin bread… well, I put baking powder in it instead of baking soda and it did not rise. At all. We’re talking DENSE though flavorful. More like pudding than bread. I’m not tossing it quite yet but it’s intense. Win a few, lose a few, I guess.

I taught First-Time Toe-Up socks to one student at Little Red Schoolhouse this afternoon. Very fun. Then I bought beads (for stage costuming) and yarn (a skein of sockyarn and three balls of laceweight mohair for a shawl, to knit along with gift silk).

Usually my rule is “I don’t spend more than I earned that day” but I didn’t follow that rule today. It didn’t break the bank, and I’ll use the beads maybe as soon as tomorrow for our performance near Detroit. Maybe. The sockyarn is already well underway as the sample I’m using in the class I taught. I guess I wasn’t too bad.

Then I popped by Threadbear Fiberarts. It was a fun gathering there. I got Laurie to once more model yet another sample of the Goddess version of my Perfect Hug shawl. If she tried on three Goddess shawls, does that make her a Triple Goddess? (Sorry, bad joke.)

The new shawl (for Threadbear’s display use) is in a fuzzy, brushed and handpainted mohair by Colinette… blues and purples and greens. Really pretty. It will be on display at their shop starting tomorrow.

Diana knit this one for me originally, maybe a month ago. It grew somehow, though it did not feel heavy at all. With the same number of rows as the other two Goddess shawls, same needles, and same knitter as one of the others, it became humorously out of proportion. I had to rip out a bunch of it and re-bind off so that it was wearable (a shawl becomes more like a blanket when you can not get your hands out from under it as it is worn). It’s lovely now… light but still plenty of fabric to wrap around and drape over goddesses of all heights and dimensions.

From Threadbear I went to Altu’s restaurant to have dinner and listen to Dorothy Cooley sing. Last time she sang, I heard only three songs. This time I got over an hour and it was wonderful. She is jazzy, bluesy, a bit country, a bit nostalgic. She scats wonderfully. We all enjoyed it very much. I look forward to having her return there again.

Brian joined me at Altu’s for a meal and then we went back home when the restaurant closed. We rehearsed for our gig tomorrow and now I’m just left printing a few Fabulous Heftones brochures, some business cards, and a set list. I think we’re all set for a fun day on the town.

Now if I can just figure out how to finish that stole so I can wear it tomorrow… and still get enough sleep? Good thing we have 2 hours in the car, I guess. Nothing like a little last-minute knitting to get the creative juices started early!

Anatomy of a Day Off

Friday, October 20th, 2006

I did it. I stayed away from home from noon to 11:30pm. I had a good day.

First I slept 8 hours. Left almost no time to dress and go to lunch so I did a quick “dunk” in the tub rather than a leisurely bubble bath. Just the same, feeling clean and refreshed, if quickly, is important to a good day off.

Lunch with Sharon. Quite decent salad, adequate tea, wonderful company.

Knitting with Sharon. Knitting with Rae. Chatting with other knitters.

Completed knitting a full pair of wristwarmers… well, short of 7 stitches in the last warmer’s bind off. I ran out of yarn binding off the second one (even after three splices from ends I had on the footie socks and the cast on ends). Still contemplating whether I’ll rip out the bind off plus a row for both and then re-bind off… OR if I’ll take Rae’s suggestion to bind off with one row of a contrast color… OR if I’ll find a fun novelty yarn and do a short cuff of funky color before binding off in the fun yarn.

Went to Altu’s restaurant for dinner. Chatted with her very fine husband while eating the best lima beans in the planet.

Spent 10 minutes at the grocery store on the way home. My fave cashier was there so I was happy to say hi to him. The cashier that cashed me out used to be one of the computer Kidz at Foster Center. He went and grew up and got a job. How dare he! He was very polite and efficient.

Took groceries home, changed sweaters, went to Wharton Center. Play was fine. Some of the dancing was total New York/Fosse-style dancing and I ate it up. Honestly, the play was really fun to be in but the plot is sort of odd. The singing/dancing pulls it all through, and the costumes were fun to watch, as well.

But the great fun surprise with the show was… the part of Charlemaigne was played by Mickey Dolenz! Oh, my! He was my hero in the late 1960’s. He was in The Monkees. He was the fun one. He smiled, he laughed, he didn’t take things too seriously. Between the Fosse-style dancing and the ability to watch Mickey Dolenz act (just fine, I may add), well, that was worth $32 to sit in the nosebleed-high seats, back row of the balcony.

Now it’s midnight and I’m going to rehearse a few songs with Brian. Not a full rehearsal but just a few that need rehearsing every night while we nail them down cold.

And I’m drinking tea. Really good Ceylon tea from a box which has arabic writing on it. Really good tea. Tea makes me happy, have I said that lately? I mean, tea is really a simple pleasure but it brings happiness. It’s as good or better than a ball of alpaca, depending on my mood.

Off to tune my bass…

Chill or Freeze

Friday, October 20th, 2006

I need to chill out. This can’t keep going. I’m the boss and I’m not giving myself enough down time. The buck stops here, as they say!

I confused my schedule today, and that just is not my style. Sometimes I run a bit late but very rarely for paying work. I know I’m challenged in the “schedule department” so I check my calendar about a zillion times a day. I have a palm pilot on my person when I don’t have my computer (where the calendar “lives”). I am major paranoid about flubbing my appointments, since as you know every day is different for me and many times the same day the next week is also different.

Confusion

So today I thought it was Wednesday or I thought it was summer or something, and I was 45 minutes off getting to Foster Center. Nobody was mad, they were glad to see that I was safe, but that is just NOT how I do business. (They did have my cell phone number but thought they did not… I had my cell with me.)

My worst nightmares (not figuratively, but actual ones I dream at night) are the ones when I’m supposed to be one place and I’m at another, or I have the wrong day. Then today I did just that. Pooh. I guess it all just has to get better. It is a warning that I need to slow down. Period.

I should have seen it coming… yesterday I accidentally gave my Post Office guy two $20 bills instead of one. I often don’t even carry two $20 bills. They stuck together.

He’s the coolest dude, I do lots of business there (it’s a drive-through post office) and he first just joked that he didn’t think I liked him *that* much. Then he warned me to be careful driving home, “the way your day is going.”

Decisiveness

So. Time to turn it around!

Thursday I got home from Rae’s, made a decent quick dinner, cleaned the kitchen (ugh) a bit and sat still for an hour. We rehearsed for a little more than an hour, then I snuggled in on the couch under my Ethiopian blanket and a comforter I made myself back in 1980. And looked through knitting books as I sipped tea.

I enjoyed my books. I checked out the Bev Galeskas book on felted knitting, and then my One Skein book (I must make that tank top with the leftover lace yarns from my self portrait… overdyed of course), and Weekend Knitting.

I wanted to eat the shortbread cookies in the weekend book, but it looked like a lot of work. It takes 5 cups of flour and a pound of butter. It yields 120 cookies. Man, that sounds like hours in a kitchen. I guess I’ll go back to my granola bars or brownies, which don’t require as much labor before putting them in the oven.

I do feel much more relaxed than I’ve felt in a while. Maybe I’m just dead tired, but either way it is good.

Friday’s Plan

OK, checklist: I did my promo/press release work for the week and I only have 2 classes to reschedule (hassle but better than canceling classes) in emails, one which will be settled next week with a single student and one where I’m waiting to hear back from two students. I did my bill paying and invoicing for the week. Dyeing will wait till next week soonest. No musical appointments until Sunday. All the tasks I must do this week are done.

Tuesday used to be a day off for me and this Fall I have not been able to work that out. However, I think I can actually just relax this Friday. I might even go to Pippin at Wharton. The back row seats in the balcony are $30 (ouch) but it’s a dancing show and you can see the dance formations well from up there.

I could work on my shopping cart but I’m just at that breaking point where rest is important or I’ll get sick. The shopping cart I started in June (dang) and one day more will not be a big dent in the already-huge delay.

Knitting or the Lack Thereof

I didn’t knit enough Thursday. I did work on the red tie… and once more made some purls where I was not supposed to put purls. Not a fun project, friends. It’s growing nicely but I’ll have to run down a column at a time to fix about 16 mis-purled stitches. I am already eager to be done with this project!!! It will happen in time, though, and I know that.

I also knit a little on the brainless sock, so that I could do a bit of relaxing. I realize that I started sock #2 on a different number of stitches (toe up… 6 rather than 8 stitches) than the first. I decided I’m going to practice not worrying. My feet will not notice the difference. These are not for a pattern, publicity or anything. I tell students all the time that knitting stretches and forgives small errors. Since I’m making things up as I go I don’t take notes and sometimes I get it wrong. Two stitches. I’ll get over it.

Knitting Plans

I really feel I need a one-day project I can fly through or at least complete Friday. I need completion, success. Maybe bulky wristwarmers, or maybe I’ll try to finish my stole that I finally found (and would love to wear at our performance Sunday). Then I can go back and fix the red tie.

Immediate Action

Now it’s time to sleep. Then I’ll get up slowly, take a bubble bath, and meet Sharon P for lunch and some knitting on the east side. The Better Health grocery store has a deli with a good organic salad bar and I’m planning to enjoy not cooking lunch Friday!

For now, sleep is the best gift I can give myself. I *do* get eight hours of sleep almost every night, sometimes even more. That is one big gift of my current lifestyle. I spent decades not sleeping enough. One friend says she has to “hit the feathers” when she goes to bed. I don’t have feathers but I think that’s a pleasant image. It reminds me of the John Denver song “Grandma’s Feather Bed” from the 1970s.

And with that, I’ll go get horizontal and make ZZZZs…

Where does the time go?

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

I just don’t know how I get this busy. I do get a full 8 hours of sleep most nights, but then from the moment I wake up until midnight or so, I’m booked solid.

Last night when I got home from dance rehearsal I think I did not sit down for about 30-40 minutes after I got home. I think this is a temporary thing but it is very tiring!

What do I do? I did not cook dinner yesterday although I did prepare breakfast and pack a lunch. I did not do any laundry or other cleaning. I did write a blog and edit a single photo for that.

grandriverfall2006.jpgI had to go to a doctor’s office to pick up something, had to go to the post office, grocery store, teach CityKidz, take a dance class, rehearse with Habibi dancers, then for dinner we dancers went to Emil’s restaurant because one of our dancers is moving north and it was her last night with us.

The only thing in that list that took more than one hour is the rehearsal. It seems to me that I didn’t do much, especially since only two of those hours were for pay. But I did pay two bills online in the morning, and I had to call to activate my new debit card, all of which took a little time.

Today I have to get an allergy shot and drop something off at a shop. Then I have my weekly lunch with Altu (relaxing but it does have a timeframe when I’m expected) and three hours at Foster Center, with CityKidz and computer lab supervision.

After that I go to Rae’s to watch the cash register for a couple of hours during knit-in time, while Rae is working backstage at Wharton Center. I usually go there for knit in on Thursdays anyway, as many of my loyal students knit there and they often have questions on their current LynnH/ColorJoy project (they flatter me by knitting my patterns often). Right now a handful are knitting Perfect Hug shawls.

So here I sit at 12:04. I need to be at Altu’s at 1:00. Already this morning I have confirmed two musicians for Altu’s restaurant and sent a press release to the papers and DJs, I’ve sent a thank you email and confirmed a meeting with a friend, another email to try and reschedule a class, and replied to a thank you by a woman who had hired us to sing for her party last weekend. And I’m writing this (and edited the photo above).

I’m not dressed, and I need to take half an hour to get an allergy shot. I’m SO glad I live right in town and it doesn’t take me a half hour commute as it did for the dozen years I lived in Williamston. I love being right in the middle of my world.

Friday I have the day off. All I have scheduled is to drop off a shawl at Threadbear, coffee/lunch with Sharon P., and perhaps I’ll go to the musical Pippin at Wharton Center. I was in Pippin in Lansing around 1991 or 92 and I loved being in that show. It’s lots of singing and dancing, a lot like Godspell, a real 1970’s sort of show. For this child of the 70’s it is heartwarming, like coming home.

At least today offers many opportunities to knit. I’m finding I can’t knit the tie with anyone around, but the socks are coming right along as could be expected. When they look like something I’ll have photos.

For now, though, I’m off and running to get everything done for Thursday. Catch you later.

Photo: the Grand River yesterday. Note the typical Lansing cloudcover. Some days we can not tell where the sun is in the sky, but this photo makes it look quite mystical and beautiful. I wish you could see the colors of the trees better, but the sky took over in this shot.

Knitting Update

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Yarn Shop Fun

Here’s a photo of my yarn booth, my friend Irene, and my friend Trish Bloom at her booth, at Threadbear last Saturday. I thank the Boyz at Threadbear for the opportunity, I had a lot of yarns available to sell, and enough sold that I was very happy to have sat there one full day.

threadbearfallfestireneandtrish.jpgNevermind that the people in the shop that day were great company and it would have been fun, sale or no. Barb Hranilovich was there with a booth, and I had not seen her in a very long time. She is such sunshine! She’s a kindred spirit, in our relationship with color.

My Regular Knitting

I’m cranking away on no-brainer afterthought-heel socks on size 2 needles, finished all of the first (toe up) sock of a pair, except for binding off and the heel. I need to dig out the second skein from the pile so I can keep going on these.

They are an odd colorway, with magenta/ turquoise/ black/ purple/ yellow (Rob commented on them at Guild last night) but I’ve had this yarn in stash a long time and honestly it was in 50gm center-pull balls, so I could just grab and go, no effort at all to get knitting.

The Challenging Project of the Day

The red tie is grueling to knit. At least I’m enjoying the smallness of the project (on size 0 US /2mm Brittany birch wood needles). These tiny, bendable needles are kind to my hands.

I have completed 38 rows and I’m at 58 stitches wide right now. It’s not fun at all. I’m doing it flat, with knit/purl texture in the pattern of argyle. Very few purls, really, but I keep putting them in the wrong place. I think I’m at about a 66% accuracy rate. Thank goodness there are only 4 purls per row.

I actually spent a long time yesterday unravelling one column of stitches at a time and re-chaining them back up with a 2mm crochet hook. I un-did a bunch of purls, changed my mind about how I wanted the patterning to go. It was too confusing and life is too short! Teresa Lee helped me figure out where I’d gone wrong, last night at guild. I figured I could do it again (make that mistake, that is).

Ugh. Counting purl texture stitches. How do people do this? Some people appear to be able to do it in their sleep. I swear, for me intarsia would be easier because the color screams at you where it is. The purls hide because they are the same color, until five rows after you thought they were right, and placed other purls near them in relationship to the incorrect spot. And then you have to undo dozens of stitches to fix it all. Ugh. I think I do have this set up a little better, and now that I can see the previous patterns a bit more, maybe it will smooth out for me a bit.
Optimism

The good news is that the pattern called for a single crochet at the bottom of the tie and I did that right away yesterday. It does look good (I was afraid it would look clunky). There is something about small yarn and small tools that makes things look more refined. I’m happy with that part of the project.

I’m still a little worried that the stockinette will not want to block flat, but water on it made things much better and steam should take it to the next level.

Reality

I probably will not get much knitting done today. There are three long-ignored errands to run before my public appearances begin. I have to teach a private lesson, then I work with the Kidz for one hour, and then I dance for 3 hours. It’s not too easy to knit while dancing!

CityKidz Knit!

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Cyndy writes:

How are you supplied for CityKidz? Please let me (and others) what you need, want and/or don’t want.

I have enough regular solid-colored acrylic yarn right now. What the Kidz are asking for these days is feltable wool and multicolored acrylics, plus really bright colors of acrylic. Kids love color, so anything very colorful goes really fast.

Specifically we can use (if it’s not on this list, please don’t send… I don’t have a lot of storage space and the boss doesn’t like messes):

  • Feltable yarns, worsted weight or larger, bright colors
  • Any natural-fiber white/pastel yarns (either washable *or* feltable, for Kool Aid Dyeing)
  • Bulky yarns that are soft enough for kids (not rug yarn)
  • Multicolored yarns, even standard discount acrylic, brighter is better
  • Tote bags (canvas ones with advertising from conventions are great)
  • Needles, sizes US 6 to 11, straight or circular (do not have to match or have both needles, I have an assortment of singles already)
  • Circular needles US 6-13 small enough around for hats and small bags (12-24″)
  • Darning Needles (pastel plastic ones are ideal)
  • Small scissors for cutting yarn ends (Don’t buy especially for us, we only need a couple pair)

What I do NOT need:

  • Lion Brand Homespun or Boucle… or other loopy novelty yarns, they do not work because they split/catch so easily
  • Neutral-colored yarns (unless it’s dyeable wool)
  • Fuzzy yarns, fur-like yarns and dark-colored yarns (too hard to see stitches)
  • Mildewy or mouse-eaten attic/basement leftovers (Unfortunately, I am getting good at recognizing mouse droppings)
  • Thinner yarns than worsted weight. Kids have little patience and are still developing finger coordination. They want to finish, quickly.
  • Novelty yarns (we do use them in small quantities but I have more than I need right now)

If I haven’t said it recencitykidz011106bymariam5.jpgtly, the best thing I do all week is teach the CityKidz Knit! program. These kids are normal, everyday kids in many respects… but in my room, they shine and they are fun, funny, brilliant, creative. They love me and they know I love them back.

And they make amazing things! Last year I had three children making socks, one girl finished two pair and started on two more. I’ve had lace and intarsia lessons. I’ve had kids make up patterns many times.citykidz042106purse.jpg

They go in phases, sometimes the group wants to do bags, sometimes, hats, sometimes wristwarmers, a few times backpacks. I let them follow whatever muse speaks to them, it’s very much a “study hall” more than a class.

The Kidz never cease to inspire me. I learn how to explain and how to help them think for themselves. We’re all lucky to work together.

Cyndy, thanks for your continuing interest in the program. It’s a worthy cause.

Oh… donations (small boxes better than large) can be sent to:

CityKidz Knit! c/o LynnH
Foster Community Center
200 N. Foster Ave.
Lansing, MI 48912

Ducks in a Row

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

I’m trying to get my knitting ducks in a row. I have had such a mess here that I wanted to start back knitting on a pair of sox I started for Brian over a year ago… I tried to pick them up to take them with me… but they were tangled so badly with the yarn on the pair of sox for me (yarn was a gift from Cyndy long ago), that I could not get them free quickly enough to take them along.

When I could not grab and run with either of those projects, I ended up grabbing a new ball of yarn. I started yet another pair of sox for waiting-room knitting. As if I need another unfinished project? I do always end up finishing socks but they sometimes do take a while.I also have had a pair of alpaca/wool footies on my desk waiting for me to find 5 yards of yarn to finish the ribbing and bind off. And countless other longer-ignored items… such as my Knitting Olympics vest that needs only about 1/3 of the front pieces reknit, my equilateral vest, Alpine sweater and my ribbon cap sleeve top, a funnel neck needing seams, a few wraps/stoles where I bought yarn and a dream but have never even started, and, and, and, and…

So Sunday when I gave myself a day off I spent an hour or two after dinner just looking through my UFOs (un-finished objects) to see what was up in the air. I found the alpaca/wool and finished footie #2. And I found a red ball of sockyarn. Destined for a tie I promised a friend maybe a year ago.

Well, I have some old pattern booklets from 1932 to 1949 which were given to me by my beloved student Helen (may she rest in peace). I have been wanting to knit something from these books to honor her memory. She did in fact give the patterns to the right person.

So I dug through the books and found a tie that was intended as a standard argyle pattern (three colors of yarn). My friend wants red, not three colors. So I started him a stockinette tie where I am purling the stitches which would have been the accent lines and/or the edges of the argyle patterning.

It looks pretty good but at 60 stitches wide on size 0 US /2mm needles, it is going really slowly. Especially when it is knit back and forth, where half the stitches are purls and I have to keep watching to see when I’m supposed to do the next accent stitch.

Other people do knit/purl patterning all the time. It’s what they like to do when they knit. Me? I’m miserable. It’s the most tedious knitting I’ve done in a long time.

The tie is going to be great and I’m going to continue working on it, but ugh. I honestly think my self-portrait was more enjoyable knitting… at least it had more color in it. OK, I didn’t know if it would work so there was tension in the air but that was not about the knitting process as much as the end result.

citykidz101106buttonscarf.jpgBut hey, I have made a promise. It took so long to find the exactly right fingering weight solid red yarn, that I need to get on it now that all the stars are in alignment.

I’m sort of wanting to get as many loose ends tied up as I can, because I sense another design-a-bunch-of-patterns phase coming on fairly soon. And designing takes so much emotional/intellectual energy that I want to make as many of these almost-done items into finished items. To take a few distractions away from my cluttered though enthusiastic mind, you know???

Now I have to go do a publicity packet and a confirmation email for our musical act, and then I get to sleep a while. Life is never boring in ColorJoyLand!

Photo: Not related to this post other than knitting content. One of my CityKidz from Foster Community Center (5th grade) made this button scarf for herself in 2 days last week. It was made with donated yarns, a plain worsted weight acrylic and a super soft nylon furry yarn held together. She’s delighted with how soft and warm it feels.

The Most Amazing Mitten Photo

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Rae referred me to this amazing photo… thousands of pairs of Latvian mittens (we are talking incredible colorwork on very small needles). For the Nato Summit guests. Handmade. With pride in Latvian culture.

Here is the beginning of the article:

The NATO Summit Latvia Task Force has received the first half of 4,500 pairs of hand-made mittens that Latvia is preparing as a gift for the NATO Summit guests coming to Riga for the summit in November.

Each of the thousands of NATO Summit visitors to Riga will be presented with a pair of uniquely-designed hand-made mittens. Latvia’s Ethnographic mittens are a strong tradition and important vessel of Latvian culture…

Update (thanks to Rae again) in the wee hours of Monday night/Tuesday morning: If you go to this page, it answers a lot of the questions that might come to mind. It tells about the knitters, the yarn, the patterning and the reasons they wish to do this. It does not take long to read and is worth the time.

Check it out. You can read the rest of the article or just look at the photo… it’s eye candy even without the NATO story behind it all. Wowie, we’re talking some beautiful knitting!

Incredible ColorJoy Sunset

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Alda of the Iceland Weather Report blog, posted the most amazing sunset picture.
One word: Wow.

A Quick Photo and a Sad Story

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Here’s a photo of Brian and me at the Lansing Country Club last Thursday. We got there significantly early so they put us in the dining room to wait, which we had to ourselves. I propped the camera on a planter and set the timer to get this photo. I think it’s pretty good considering how it was taken!

fabheftonesatclub20.jpgI’m wearing my Bloom Shawl in a Multicolor (slowly color-changing) turquoise brushed mohair. I love this shawl, I wear it almost every day. Until yesterday. Somehow when I took it off at Threadbear, there was what looked like a 2″ cut with scissors from the crochet edge toward the neck.

It’s pretty bad, my friends, with a cut through both the crochet and knitting. I am good at knitting repairs for sweaters and dense garments, but this is as airy as lace and I don’t know how I’ll hide ends even if I did find the right section of the multicolored yarn to match it. (I am pretty sure I have a half a ball of the yarn somewhere in my stash.) I’m heartbroken.

I don’t have to figure it out today. Maybe for now I should get out my fuschia multicolor yarn, same yarn but different colorway, that I bought but never worked up into another Bloom shawl. The fuschia would go with most of what I wear… nevermind that I love turquoise best of all.

Today I do not have to decide what I will do. Today I have many other shawls I can wear. And I can finish the hot green/light turquoise stole I just re-discovered, which needs maybe an inch or two of knitting to be done.

I am Not in Charge

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

Letting Go

My favorite mantra, when things happen and I can’t control them, is “I am not in charge.” It’s sort of a one-line simplification of the Serenity Prayer, one version of which is:

“…grant me the serenity to
accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.”

Its essence boils down to… I can’t change much, and if I can’t, I need to let go. Or, if I’m not in charge, I need to not try to control things. It’s an acceptance of the natural powerlessness which is much of life. For me, it lets me save my energy for those times when it really does matter what I do or say.

So today my brother Eric and his wife Diana both woke up with a bad cold. So much for family Thanks-Christmas today. I talked to Eric and we worked out another date for the event. Now I have two pies and new plans.

A Simple Meal, Good Company

Mom is going to have Brian and I come over for chicken stir fry dinner, but not a long family day. She has been planning and cleaning and grocery shopping and cooking. Not a fancy meal, but it still required thought, and Mom plans better than most.

So Mom and Fred and Brian and I will enjoy a dinner together. That way I can let go of one pie anyway! Mom and Fred can have any leftovers.
Baking Once More

I put a little coconut milk in the pie (instead of all soy milk) so that it might set up a little better. I can not believe how lovely the pies look, cooling in the refrigerator.

I’ve become the queen of allergy-free baking and this recipe keeps evolving. I think the crowning glory of my baking/ recipe-writing experiences is the pumpkin pie made with no egg or milk. I mean, pie that is so good that people with no food limitations eat it and really enjoy it as though it were made normally. My buckwheat pancakes are really good, too, but the pie amazes even me. Custard with no dairy or egg. Cool!

Lazy Day Thus Far

So far today I’ve had a wonderful, lazy and relaxing day. I slept till NOON (wow) which still leaves me one hour short from the night before but I feel good. Then I made tea and read a whole knitting magazine from cover to cover. I enjoyed the magazine so much, the tea was almost cold by the time I remembered it was there.

Then I made buckwheat pancakes for the two of us. These never cease to satisfy. That little kid inside of me never tires of pancakes!
Now I’m filling the tub for a nice long bath. We have a claw-footed tub, the best thing in a house of this age. I love long, hot baths and this tub makes me really happy. Since I’m not very tall I can get really warm in this very deep tub.

Knitting Plans

I thought I’d lost a shawl in progress (almost done, actually) and was sad because I’d wanted to wear it Friday for the Magdalena’s show. Well, darned if I found it put away where it should have been all along. So I hope I’ll finish that today after the bath. Maybe even before we go to dinner at Mom’s.

As Zen as I Get

I’m all for letting go sometimes, and giving in to what is. I’m not in charge of weather or nature or illness. I am in charge of my attitude given whatever circumstances are in front of me. And when I’ve had enough sleep, “I am not in charge” is a wonderful phrase of letting go to the moment. It’s not exactly zen, but it’s pretty good for a typically over-charged artful woman like me.

I hope you get some time with those you love today, and a little time with whatever activity makes you happy… be that music, sports, knitting, cooking… eating. Yup. I’m going to really enjoy eating that pie!!!

Time to Rest

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

I had a great time at the Threadbear special event on Saturday. Thank you so much to those of you who came out to see me. It was worth all the hustling and staying up late and worrying.

And for those of you out there waiting, there are still plenty of skeins left for you. In fact, none of my new colorways sold out. Things sold very evenly between colorways, surprisingly.

Apair136small.jpgfter the sale, Brian and I had a private musical performance. Then we went to Altu’s for dinner… and THEN we went to Magdalenas (for not long enough) which deserves its own story if I can find time.

But we went home because I had to make pumpkin pie. You see, my family will have what we call Thanks-Christmas tomorrow. Nothing like getting the holidays over with before it becomes a hassle! I did have a class scheduled for the morning but for several reasons that class will be rescheduled for the two people who had signed up.

This means that I could conceivably sleep in tomorrow for the first time in a really long while… assuming I have the pumpkin pies already made. The (non-allergy) pies I make must be cut after they have cooled so they need a lot of lead time in the refrigerator.

I put the pies in the refrigerator just before 1:00am, which may seem late, but now I can sleep as long as I want tomorrow. I have had a very productive week and I’m glad to say I’m giving myself a day off. Imagine that!

In the morning I can sleep in and laze with my sweetie, maybe I’ll make pancakes for us for breakfast. I’ll plan to take time to look through all my recent knitting magazines. I love to take the leisure of flipping through, being inspired by the photos and reading what delights me.

Then in the afternoon we’ll have a holiday with my family. No gifts, the ability to be together is gift enough (and we’re all trying to lighten the loads in our homes so this is the right plan).

Oh… finally I’m trying to catch up on photos. This is my pair #136, the pair I knit for myself from the leftovers of Brian’s anniversary socks. I still have yarn left!!! This pair was knit toe up with afterthought heels. No, I did not dye this yarn, it is Socks That Rock Heavyweight.

Yarn and More Yarn

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

I have two more skeins to re-wind before I can stop and start putting labels on the wound and twisted skeins for Saturday’s sale/event.

yarntangle.jpg I have more sockyarn that isn’t re-skeined but I have a decent sense of what usually sells and I’ve prepared more than is needed for a one-day sale. I’ll take along the dyed but not prepped yarn, in a box in the car, in case someone wants more of a colorway than I’ve wound, but this is somewhat unlikely. Most likely, the yarn in that box will become yarn for those of you out there reading who can’t make it to the sale (hi, Deb!).

You know, no matter what you do to make things work out you find hiccups in the process. I had over 50 skeins dyed, and I have 33 I’m taking skeined, twisted and labeled. Two more skeins I planned to take had flaws in the yarn that were not apparent until I was reskeining after dyeing. I guess I get to keep those skeins and make them into samples, but it was disappointing to get 3/4 into a skein and realize that the time I’d spent on that could have better been spent on something else.

Here is a photo of a skein that actually was rescued from the discard pile. Its only problem was that it wound itself incorrectly on the skeinwinder (about 1/4 of the way through but I did not notice until I was ready to pop it off the winder). I had to unwind much of the skein onto the floor in a relatively orderly pile (yes, really, that mess was easy to rewind back where it came from no matter how awful it looks in the photo). That one is now ready to go.

I’m printing labels as I type this. It’s nice to sit down for a little while, as my skeinwinder works best when I’m standing up. I will love every moment of sleep tonight!

I hope to see a few of you at Threadbear Saturday. The sale is from 10-5 (and for once I’m leaving at 5pm on the button because of a musical performance).