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Archive for May, 2007

Cushy Blankie Kit on Sale

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

blankiepak33.jpgI joined the Etsy crowd. (For those outside the creative online community, http://etsy.com is a website where people who create original works can sell their products.)

In general, I love my own website and don’t have to pay commissions to sell from my own place. However, there are Etsy fans who have never heard of me and might find me only by shopping there. I was encouraged to sign up by Rae (http://extravayarnza.etsy.com) and so I just gave it a shot.

To celebrate and hopefully entice new buyers who I’ve not met before, I put up one kit/sale item on Etsy. Then I realized it would not be fair to you who follow me faithfully, to not tell you about the sale.

It’s a limited-interest item, as it’s a baby blanket kit in pinks and purples. However, normally the Cushy Colorsport (washable/dryable merino) is $39.99 per half-pound skein, and the pattern calls for two skeins. The pattern is $6. That makes it $85.98 for two skeins and a pattern. I’ve put it up on my Etsy shop at http://colorjoy.etsy.com for an even $75 which is a $10.98 discount. If you are in Lansing and I can deliver it in person, I’ll refund you the shipping charge it will automatically tack on, as well.

Or not. Your choice. It just seemed right to let you know. (And for those who have a different color in mind, write me about a similar discount on the Cushy ColorSport colors still available on my regular Colorjoy shop. (For example, if you have a boy on the way I have a cheerful Tweety Sweetie yellow in stock.)

Wow! Women’s Faces in Art

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

This YouTube Video called “Women in Art” is a masterpiece of art in its own right. It is a series of dozens of images from art history, all women’s faces, morphed (is that the right word?) from one image to the other, flawlessly and with a solo cello as the only background sound.

Do take the 2 minutes and 52 seconds it takes to watch. Allow yourself to be inspired, intrigued, amazed. Wow.

Color is Everywhere

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

dishesprettycolors.jpgI made huge progress in the house-tidying. The trash guys were never more welcome as this week at my house. Things look much better and I think my shoulders feel lightened from letting go.

Lately I’ve even cleaned out my coat closet and my “tea cupboard.” I tossed old Chinese teas I don’t like as well as the Japanese and English/Ceylon types I drink every day. Just letting go and sticking with everyday things is cheering.

In the midst of cleaning I see beautiful color. It’s the small things that make life grand. If we wait for big things, they will let us down. Little beauty is everywhere, every day. Like this photo of my dishes in the dishwasher. A peek at these colors together really can make me smile on the most mundane of days. I particularly love my turquoise mixing bowl, and it’s so beautiful overlapping the egg-yolk yellow salad plates, don’t you think?

Home is Home, You Know?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

I have been flitting about the world like a bird since mid April. I love travel, every moment is exciting and new. And when I get home, I love home.

stopandsmelltheflowers.jpgI realized long ago that I was able to travel and try new things precisely because I keep my home steady as much as I can. For all the job changing I’ve done over the years, I have not done much house-changing. I did the college-girl shuffle for three years as expected, but that did not last long.

Then I lived in a house in Williamston for 12 years, spent 9 months in transition because of my divorce, and then bought myself a house (that is a huge statement) in Lansing. I lived there 3 years until I met Brian. I have lived in this house with Brian for about 11 years and I won’t budge unless we leave the state.

Home is home. Home keeps me stable and grounded. I am happy in my house alone or with Brian, whether we are in the same room or not. Actually, since I met Brian I’m more happy than ever to just be at home and not travel so much.

Today I have places to go, things to do, even an hour of work. I can’t tell you how much I’d rather stay sitting right here. Working but not with other people to distract me.

I’m making real progress in getting the mess out of my office, finally. The piles that were on the floor are handled. Now I’m working on the desk which had been piled so deep that it was a house of cards. Under all the current stuff I was actually using, was a collection of computer books… my instant DOS reference among them. I’m not a computer consultant anymore, they are on the way out.

First you have a mess. Then you have an even bigger mess. Then you have a long period of work. And then it looks better. But then you go to the next area and do it again. Once this room is done I have another room to tackle, maybe two, and there is still the yard with its taking-over-the-house climbing almost-wild roses.

I lose faith easily. I keep plugging anyway… because fortunately I have lived a long time and I’ve been me the whole time. I’ve made this sort of mess before and I’ve rescued myself from it before. This is a sort of an artform in and of itself.

And just maybe this time I’ll learn to toss things, to share things, to let go of things… a little sooner this time around. Before it gets quite this deep again. Just maybe?

No photos today. You’ll thank me for that. Added Later: I stopped to view the flowers and took a quick photo for you. Pretty, huh? The peonies just popped yesterday… the ones that almost died about 3 years ago.

Toronto Saturday: Yarn Crawl

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

torontoprimrosehotel.jpg(I’m not sure how I can do a better job of telling the Saturday story than Stephanie/Yarn Harlot, but at least I have different photos!!!)

Saturday morning came too soon, with not enough sleep under our belts but full enthusiasm for what was to come.

We tried to find a Tim Horton’s (Canadian donut/coffee place) for Rae, we had seen what felt like one on each block the day before. No luck. I brought food with me, not too exciting but it was fuel. I needed to mail a package and there was a Canada Post office in a drug store on the next block so we handled that right away, then we headed to the subway to meet other knitters for a Yarn Crawl.

torontogardens.jpgWe never did find that Tim Hortons, that is not until after dinner when we walked down the same street and it was staring us in the face. That’s life.

[Photos above were taken in front of the post office. I stood in one place and took both shots, by just aiming at a slightly different angle. First is the hotel where we stayed thanks to Rae’s adept use of Priceline, and second is a garden/park where locals were walking dogs, or chatting on benches. This is in the midst of very tall buildings, and a wonderful breath of fresh air. Lovely.]

torontobarbio.jpgOn the way to our first stop we found ourselves at the Eaton Centre food court and got tea and coffee and breakfast for Rae. This is when I took the photo I posted a few days ago. Then we headed to Naked Sheep, the first of many shops.[Here is a good photo of my new friend Barbie O. of Montreal in the Naked Sheep… extolling the virtues of yarn, knitting, Toronto and friendship.]

torontobunny.jpgI was not in the market for yarn (I know this seems incredible, but the trip was a spur of the moment trip and I am also traveling to Columbus next week so there was little wiggle room in the spending plan). Rae had a guideline that she would only buy items not available in Michigan. We got to Naked Sheep a bit late so the crowd was nearly ready to go. We did check around but did not purchase anything there. I fell in love with some Colinette Point Five (lumpy bumpy) in candy colors but left it there for someone else.

We enjoyed talking to the ladies working there, and got a good photo of the bunny who belonged to one of them. Very very fuzzy bunny. You can spin yarn with one of these on your lap… you just gently pluck their fuzz (they like this, it’s grooming and not painful or bad for them) and then spin it, then pluck a little more… and they just sit there happily on your lap. No, I haven’t done it but I’ve watched…


We posed for a “class photo” outside Naked Sheep and proceeded to the next stop via Trolley. We crammed in like happy knitting sardines in the back half of a car. It’s the transit/waiting times which allow us to build relationship, and we did. The rest of the world left us fully alone, which was odd but then again we were a bit loud as well as wielding pointy sticks (never mind how constructively in use). We enjoyed our bonding time.

Next stop was Americo Original. This place was more like an art gallery than a yarn shop, with the yarns handspun and made of fun fibers (silk, cotton, wool, llama from what I noticed). Very interesting handspuns.


I liked the turquoise bobble yarn best. Stephanie was right when she commented that it would make good scribble lace. Someday I’ll get some and make scribbles. I love scribble lace… but again, I was on the low-cost version of the yarn crawl and handspun is not in the low-cost realm. I was quite content to drink in the ambiance and creativity there. Wonderful.

THEN we walked to Romni Wools. Brian and I discovered this shop quite by accident in January of 2002, and he bought me so much yarn that day (as a delayed Christmas present) that I doubled my stash in one day. Remember, I only started knitting socks in spring of 2001 and I was exercising restraint, only yarn for a few pairs of socks ahead of my current project.

torontoamericoinside.jpgThat day I went home with three bags of yarn, including cones (they have a basement with cones by the pound). One cone became the background color for my self-portrait last summer, most of it is knit up by now except the leftover cone yarn. The place is huge and overwhelming, even for someone who has been to WEBS and who lives 10 minutes from Threadbear.

See this picture of bins stacked so you can barely walk? This is not half of the first storefront, and then there is that basement. It’s really really amazing how much yarn you can cram into a few storefronts. This place is huge. It has high ceilings, two storefronts packed to the gills (yarn falling off shelves onto the torontoromnishelves.jpgfloor wherever you go) and a basement full of by the pound cones. Also spinning goodies and finished knitted items. Wonderful. And a wall of sockyarn.

I almost got out without buying anything. Then Stephanie looked at me and picked up a ball of sockyarn. She said, “Only $5.50 a ball!” Mind you this is Canadian funds so that’s about ten percent less to me. And they were offering a ten percent discount to yarn crawlers. I showed remarkable restraint and purchased one single ball, to make footies. I did give in but it was a tiny fall, really. Right?

torontokensington1.jpgSo then we trekked again using trolleys, to Lettuce Knit which is in the wonderful Kensington Market area. I love this area, I remember it from my very first trip to Toronto in 1975. [See two photos of the streets/neighborhood here.]

There are many small shops of all sorts, many foods, many produce markets, many restaurants. On Sundays I’m told they close off the streets and fill up with even more vendors (I think that is what I remember from the 70’s).

torontokensington2.jpgWe checked out the store first, it had many quality items packed in there. We hung out in the front yard where there are many chairs. Luckily for us it was a nice day, because the shop itself is tiny (200 sq ft) but the garden had plenty of room for us all.

We all scattered for dinner with an agreement to reconvene in an hour and a half. Rae and I proceeded to find food. I had in my mind all Friday that I’d find Indian food on Saturday but it didn’t work out that way. I looked for sushi but actually I eat Smoked Salmon sashimi and not all the fun fancy rolls with sauces I can’t eat… and the place we checked out didn’t have smoked salmon.


We ended up with something that worked for both of us… a cafe with American/burgers, Jewish food (including lox) and mideastern food. Rae got a very good burger with freshly cut fries and I got a sampler plate with mideastern treats including some of the best hummous I’ve had in a long time.

Rae found some nice yarns at this shop and I chatted with the owner, Megan, a bit. I might have enjoyed taking home a bit of yarn but again I remembered that the gift of the trip was the trip itself. We took yet another set of “class photos” as we did at every shop that day.


Then came our trolley adventure. Or rather our non-adventure. Along came a car which was out of service. Then two cars which were full. Then one we took over, whew! We occupied our time by cramming all of us into the bus shelter. There were 24 of us including a baby, and two were taking photos, but we could definitely have fit a few more in there if we wanted. It was silly and fun and funny, and I was so glad to be part of it. We all need hilarity in our lives at times, you know???

Last but not least was Alterknit. We got there at closing time and they did not flinch, did not try to get us out, were more than friendly and accommodating. They sell yarn *and* coffee/tea, and we settled in for a bit of both. I got some great tea and got out my computer but even with their password I couldn’t figure out how to get online. At that point I was too tired to worry about it, as we were going home very soon anyway.


This store was so fun and funky and different… in the front window they had a line of sock monkeys (socks made by stuffing commercially-knit socks cut and sewn into monkey shapes… I have one from my childhood, made by my mother’s mother). Each monkey was “knitting” and the signs in the window indicated that they are easy to make but it’s harder to teach the monkey to knit. Funny!

There were some lovely yarns here, and also some interesting items made from wool. There were wrist cuffs from felted wool and T-Shirts with appliques made from felted wool as well. I am really exploring in my mind the possibilities of felted fabrics right now, so that got me thinking a bit.

torontosockmonkeys.jpgWe had to leave. I thought I’d left my good beret/hat at a shop on Friday so we went there hoping to find it. (In true LynnH fashion we found it in my car after that trek, even though we’d tried to find it in the car before we started out for the day… go figure).

In the end we took got our car back at the hotel, left the parking ramp at 8:30pm and got back to Lansing in the wee hours. I was in bed at 3:30am. We did more talking in the car than usual on the trip back so that we could keep each other alert, because I have a policy of not driving with my eyes closed and I made Rae agree to the same policy (she did not flinch). We had the MOST fun together ever. More fun than really should be possible in two days, you know? I’d do it again in a minute.


Thank you, Stephanie, for creating a space and culture where this sort of connection can happen. For being yourself and for opening yourself to community… for understanding the community, championing it and making sure that non-knitters see it, recognize it, and perhaps even value it. The bookstore won’t underestimate knitters again, and I am guessing our visibility will continue to grow. It was a wonderful time and we felt fully welcomed.

For the record…

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

(Toronto/Yarn Harlot story will be told before and after this post… thanks for your understanding.)

I did have a good Sunday/Monday off. I slept in, went for a long walk Monday, cooked a bit, did one load of laundry and two of dishes, knit a tiny bit, gardened a few minutes and kept at floor-clearing in my office.

In spite of my resistance to going through papers, magazines and junk mail, I tossed almost one trash bin of paper, moved magazines to another room which is more appropriate, moved other things to appropriate places, filed when possible, put a few things where they belonged and continued to look for items to toss.

torontolynninstreetcar.jpgI understand that once something is not in my house any longer, I’ll never have to look at it again and decide where it goes. It’s harder to do than it sounds.

I think we’ll be able to put down the new rug tomorrow. It would be done already if I were a tidier person. For now I need to admit who I really am, though. I’d rather create than clean.

More Yarn Harlot *Toronto Represent Adventure* photos within 24 hours. Thanks for hanging in there.

[Photo: for your ColorJoy visual entertainment, here is a pic Rae took of me on the Saturday yarn crawl in Toronto. We were on a streetcar/trolley and I was wearing my newly-lengthened Turkish-inspired legwarmers and my Party Stole (pattern to be released as soon as I can get proper photos).]

Toronto Friday: Bookstore and Pub

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Fraepensive.jpgriday Rae and I started out for Toronto to attend Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Canadian book launch… I took my passport (not required yet but convenient since I have one) and she took her birth certificate. Fortunately, we didn’t need them (yet), we didn’t even need drivers’ licenses to get into Canada. We *did* have a chat with customs as is to be expected. It was not any harder to cross either way, really, than it was years ago. This surprised and pleased me.

Rae said she has encountered protesters before at the border and that day she had a one-hour delay. Here we were just before noon on the Friday of a three-day weekend, and we breezed through. Yippee. Traffic wasn’t bad, either, even in construction zones except the one a stone’s throw from Toronto. Smooth sailing.

torontopadthai.jpgWe got to town, checked in, grabbed our goodies and took off. We had planned to aim for the Textile Museum‘s fabric sale but had not made clear notes as to where that was. The hotel thought it was very near the Indigo (bookstore) where Stephanie was to speak/sign books, so we headed that way feeling perfectly fine that we might miss the sale. We were not in Toronto for fabric, anyway… though it seemed a fun possible way to spend our time.

torontospeechstephanieandsock.jpgWe decided to walk from the hotel (at Jarvis and College) to Indigo (Bloor and Yonge) which was not too far. We really enjoyed the walk, checking out several shops on the way up. There was a shop with very very cool Converse All-Stars of types we’d never seen before… extra tall, checkerboards, prints of all sorts. There were look-alikes of another brand in fuzzy fuschia zebra print that I would have very much enjoyed wearing. We passed the shoes by in the end but had great fun checking them out.

torontospeechknitters3.jpgWe then found ourselves sucked into another cool store with all sorts of imported clothing. I ended up with a turquoise (no surprise) top that looked Indian with embroidery on neckline and cuffs. Very nice. It’s lightweight cotton and I’ll wear it a lot this summer. I knew it would take away from yarn money but I will use the top enough to warrant the detour.

torontospeechknitters1.jpgWe found our way to Indigo just to be sure we knew where it was. They didn’t have any knitters in the seating area yet but we found some knitters in the lobby and chatted with them a while. It’s so cool that if you see anyone knitting in public they are instantly close enough friends to chat with! Instant relationship. Both Rae and I enjoyed that.

We decided we definitely needed food (Rae had a small lunch on the road, I’d just had a big breakfast) so we found our way to an asian restaurant where she had a chicken and rice dish and I had Pad Thai… not too adventurous but they listed the ingredients in the sauce and I knew I’d not have any allergy issues. The food was delicious and they got it to us very quickly. We then hustled ourselves to the bookstore. [First two photos are Rae at dinner and my meal.]

torontospeechblogreader.jpgEven though we were 20-25 minutes early there was no seating left available. We were very close to the front of the standing audience, though, and we could see relatively well. The group around us of course included many socknitters. Rae was knitting a scarf with sockyarn so we figured she could be counted with us, as well.

The guy who introduced Stephanie was a knitter. He said he learned it when he had a certain girlfriend who was long gone but he still knits. I wish I remembered his name… he was very helpful to us for the whole event.

torontospeechknitters2.jpgThen came Stephanie looking sharp in a skirt in her famous “70’s appliance colors” green. She did her hello and took obligatory photos of us holding her sock in the foreground. We all knew this was part of the drill, no problem. After all, we were all taking photos of her, too.

[Next five photos are Stephanie taking photos of the crowd with her sock in progress, three photos of knitters at work while listening to the speech… no, that is not considered rude in this crowd… and a room full of knitters with their hands up in response to the question “Who in this room reads weblogs?” Mind you, Stephanie has made a career in large part thanks to her weblog, and those of us there were glad of it.]

torontospotteddick.jpgShe was funny as usual… real and approachable as usual. What makes Stephanie special is that she shares enough of her human, vulnerable side that you understand that you are not alone in your own vulnerabilities. She’s very talented, gifted with words and timing… but other people are also good at those things yet not approachable. We laughed and laughed… some of the jokes lasted the full 30 hours we were in town, with different knitters bringing them up at different times.

We took turns in line to chat with Stephanie (and get books signed) after the talk, and got out of the way as quickly as we could so that the folks behind us would also get a chance. For the record, there were a lot of us, go look at her photos for proof. Dozens and dozens and dozens. I’m bad at estimating numbers, did anyone else who was there count?

Our helpful Indigo employee told us how to find the local pub where the afterglow was to be held. The pub is called “The Spotted Dick” and yes that spotteddick.jpgsounds funny to anyone without a connection to England. Spotted dick is a dessert with currants apparently… I’d seen a can of it at the local grocery (Meijer) in the International section once and took a photo while laughing out loud. Apparently this dessert is also sometimes called Spotted Dog and there were many images of spotted dogs on the walls of the pub.

[Here I show a photo cheerfully taken by Ali, a non-knitter sitting at the first table… from front to back on right are Teresa, Sarah, Doug (works at his wife Carol’s yarn shop but doesn’t knit), me, Rae (then you see a partial wall). Across from Rae is Cathy and in front of her, Carol of the newish just-outside-of-Toronto yarn shop. Folks we met who are not in this photo are Eden, Helen Firing (published but no blog) and a young lady in Rae’s Gnome Swap whose name I’m forgetting right now.]

torontopubknitters.jpgI’m showing a second photo so you can see how many knitters there were. That cream-colored wall straight ahead is not the far wall, look to the left for another several tables going back further. All people in this photo were with the knit crowd. There was one tiny table and a few guys at the bar who were not in “the club.” The waitstaff were warned but still overwhelmed. Our waitress at least had a good attitude three hours after she was supposed to get off work, sometime after midnight.

I’m also including a photo of dessert in a can here, for the doubters in the crowd. Laugh long, friends, it *is* a chuckle.

Toronto was Wonderful

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

torontostephanieraeandlynnh.jpgI got home at 3:15am last night from Toronto, after dropping Rae off at her home.

We had SUCH a good time there. I tell you, I adore Stephanie… she and Rachel H made sure we all had a Friday night and all-day Saturday experience that was friendly and entertaining, real, human, enthusiastic, and more. We found ourselves at one bookstore, one pub, five yarn shops, a couple of coffee shops (one which is also a yarn shop, listed above) and the choice of many great restaurants, during our two-day knitters’ extravaganza.

Now that I’m home, it’s a 3-day weekend in the USA and I was gone for one night and one day of it. I thought I’d laze on the couch today and process the 123 photos I took of the trip, and write blogs until I was as relaxed as a noodle. Brian has already experienced a bit of the holiday. At breakfast he inquired as to my plans, since it’s too wet to do yardwork (yippee).

I guess he figured I might get home and get on some house stuff that truthfully has waited for months as I’ve been traipsing around the continent. He’s so sane that if something needs doing, he just does it. I’m content to ignore as long as I can, especially when it’s something inconvenient or anything to do with housework or manual labor. I hate to admit it but he’s probably waited long enough for me to get going on a few things here. As in: months? Probably months.

torontoeatoncentre.jpgFor that reason, I have processed merely two of the 123 photos I took (not all are good enough to share, thank goodness). You will get a better blog after I clean the kitchen and office enough to finally put in the rug I bought on Easter weekend.

Since those areas do dual-duty as home and business areas (and the yarn I dye for resale plus patterns I sell are stored in clear plastic bins, usually in this part of the house), I have a lot lot lot of “shoveling” to do in order to clear the floor for a rug. In fact, the office will require moving at least three large pieces of furniture that are all piled high with papers, books, data CD’s and more…

it’s good I’ve got a career that does not require me to be organized with *things.* I can organize information on the computer and do that whenever possible, but paper and knitting stuff have taken over every possible nook/cranny in the house. There is yarn on almost every flat surface in the house.

Sigh… it is time to work, when all I want in the world is to be on that couch and even take a nap whenever I’m so inclined. It is a holiday weekend, after all… after last weekend that was jam-packed with out-of home activities I work late on deskwork and knitting often, but it is true I can ignore housekeeping/ organizing for almost forever without a push. Apparently today is the day.

Photos: Me, Stephanie (Yarn Harlot) and Rae in Toronto; Eaton Centre from the underground level/food court, looking up. This was one of my favorite places in the world when I was in High School… it was so grand and clean and artful and metropolitan. So unlike my home town. At least now I’m not in a suburb, I’m in the city, but Lansing will never have anything with the flavor of this architecture even at a fraction of the size… it’s just not in our culture to make something like this.


Saturday, May 26th, 2007

We’re here, it’s wonderful, we had good food and good times and laughed and knit and met great people and talked. We have to wake up in 7 hours and last night I only got 6 hours of sleep so I’ll touch base with you again… soon.

Tomorrow we go on a “Yarn Crawl” with lunch at Kensington Market, a fave place I haven’t been since the 70s. I am not sure how I can sleep tonight when I’m on such an adrenaline high from being here. I loooooooove Toronto.

For the record, Stephanie deserves her following. She is real and funny and authentic and approachable. I adore Stephanie and I am not at all the only one. This is very good. Buy her books… support a wonderful author/artist/knitter by doing it. Or not, your choice, but it would be an honorable way to spend, I assure you.

OK. Bedtime. Soon…

Summer Happiness

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

It has been hot… too hot even for me. Thank goodness that Reach Studio Art Center is air conditioned, we had a reprieve there. Mom came, a few students from my computer class in Haslett came, and a bunch of folks we know were there but that may not have had to do with us, they may already be associated with the Center. In Lansing, creative people all seem to know one another and that is very good.

poppy.jpgI took this photo yesterday, of Poppies in the yard across the street where April used to live (sigh). I swear she didn’t have Poppies last year but birds distribute seeds and it was right next to a fence where birds might perch. I love Poppies, though I’m afraid to try and grow them with our crummy soil. They like sand, and we don’t have anything even remotely like sand.

I’m doing “blog lite” today, one photo I developed earlier. Other photos must wait. Rae and I leave in 9.5 hours for Toronto. Woohoo! Toronto was my first city ever and is very dear to my heart, though I haven’t been in a while. When I was young and single the first time, I used to go there several long weekends a year. This time I’m going on a US log weekend but it’s not a long weekend for them. Perfect.

I’ve packed a few things, need to pack a few more. After going to Dallas for 5 days on an airplane, one overnight in a car is positively simple to manage. I never know what I want to wear, and I don’t know what knitting to take. In the last 5 days I’ve knit only the toe of one sock, period. It has been so hectic in my life (not complaining but explaining) since I went to Dallas and New York that there has been little time to do much bot the very basics… get to work, eat, do laundry and dishes, follow my routine. I will enjoy knitting and hanging out with other knitters this weekend.

Off to adventure!

Busy, Busy

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

I’d like to annouce a few almost-here events:

heftonesafricanclothing.jpg1. This afternoon, Thursday May 24, Brian and I (The Fabulous Heftones) are playing a little casual background music for Reach Art Center in Lansing. It’s a kids’ art center in a city neighborhood, some programs are grant-funded for free so kids can come on down after school and some are sign-up-and-pay classes (Foster Center has both types of programs as well).

Today is a little “art show opening” for the kids where their work is up on the walls and for sale. It’s also an ice cream social and open to the public. It’s 4pm-6pm so those who work downtown Lansing could come on their way home. It’s at 1804 S. Washington just north of Mount Hope on the west side of the road. You may need to park on the street or in the neighborhood behind the center.

2. Rae/Extravayarnza and I are definitely going to Toronto tomorrow and Saturday for the Yarn Harlot book launch and knitter’s extravaganza. Is anyone who reads this blog going to be there?

Stephanie and I have corresponded via email off and on for years (less now that she has earned a gazillion fans), and she has been very encouraging of this trip. There will be a book signing, an afterglow and on Saturday a yarn crawl.

I am most excited that I can actually go this time. Four previous attempts to make book signings for this book have come up unfruitful. (Is that a word?) I will REPRESENT the knitters of the world, in Canada tomorrow. Woo-hoo!

3. Next Tuesday evening starts a two-week class at Little Red Schoolhouse Yarns, my Sassy Summer Handbag. Details: Tuesdays May 29 and June 5, 6-8pm, $25.

This bag is a lovely shape, can be made sporty with stripes or more classic in a solid… you can make knit handles or sew on purchased ones, it takes very little yarn and knits in a flash. It’s great for a summer jaunt where you only wish to take along a wallet, cellphone and socks in progress. Anyone want to join me?

4. I’m going to TNNA (yarn business trade show) next weekend in Columbus, OH. It looks like I’m driving down with Rae from Rae’s Yarn Boutique and coming back home with Lindsay, the new owner of the Yarn Garden in Charlotte. At least that’s what I think will happen at this point, and it sounds really fun to me.

Again, is there anyone out there reading this who wants to connect in Columbus? I’d love to meet you.

East Lansing Art Fair/Knit Sightings

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

elartfairchenillecrowd.jpgLast Sunday I spent the day at the East Lansing Art Fair. Saturday it was warm and sunny here but it got down into the 50s F and there was no sun on Sunday. We all bundled up, some not quite enough, for the trip to the fair.

I had intended to help Altu at her food booth but she had more than enough people to work. I kept stopping by to see if she needed me but mostly I flitted from lovely event to lovely event. I got there during the performance of The Chenille Sisters, who have been charming audiences for more than 20 years (they are from Ann Arbor). I had not seen them in a long time, though they did remember me when I visited with them afterward. I gifted them with Hershberger Art Kazoos when I first started making them, as a thank you for the happiness I received from their music. It was good to connect with them again.

elartfairklezmerdrew.jpgI also popped by the smaller West stage where our friend Drew was holding court. Apparently he was in three bands in a row on that stage. I caught the last of the acts, the Klezmer band (Drew is far right playing banjo and friend Daniel is at front on accordion). I didn’t stay long enough or I would have been dancing. For some reason people sit and watch dance music, I dance. I don’t feel I have to know how the music is danced to traditionally, I figure I’m honoring the essence of the music by moving.

irenesocksfrommyyarn33.jpgHowever, in this case I was trying to say hi to everyone I could, before the show was over, and I needed to keep checking back with Altu.

On my way from here to there I found Irene, who has taken a few of my knitting classes over time. She last took my Turkish Sock class (the one which uses a single color of yarn and learns the structure of one type of Turkish sock. I was honored when she told me she was wearing a pair of socks she had knit from Yarn I had dyed.

This yarn was a once-only experimental yarn in mostly yellow with blips of a peachy-pink color. In the photo it elartfairsweaterspotting.jpglooks yellow only, and it looks pastel… it’s much more sunny and bright in person.

Irene says that when she was knitting this sock she told many people I’d dyed the yarn and they found it hard to believe. I do not wear yellow but that does not mean I don’t like it! I dye more colors than I wear but since I have such a strong color signature, she had a lot of educating to do. The socks turned out just lovely.

Also I caught the most wonderful sweater on a woman crossing the street with her kids. I didn’t know her so I just took a quick photo and didn’t stop to say hi. It was stranded colorwork in seriously thick yarn. Incredible. She was not chilly that day!

Bragging: My Cousin, Karen

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

My cousin in Texas is designing knitting patterns these days. Her Local Yarn Shop (LYS) is really pleased with her work and featured her in their blog. Maybe you would like to go take a look? She is the May 4 entry… I’m just behind the times posting this.

Yarntopia Blog

If you go there you will see: Persephone, a leaf-patterned bag; Ribbon Candy Wrap, a multi-colored lap blanket/wrap; and her Cabana Wrap, a dropped-stitch wrap shown in beautiful ColorJoy splendor.

A Remake

Monday, May 21st, 2007

briansoxfix2.jpgFriday night I stayed up till 3:30am knitting new ribbing for 1.75″ or so on a pair of socks of Brian’s. They were cotton/wool blend (I finished them 5/11/2002, they were my pair #42).

They had literally ripped to shreds at the top, yet the socks showed no wear at all on the feet after years of wear. When I first made these socks, I alternated every other row on the first ribbing. I first knit with the cotton/wool blend and then a 100% nylon. In the end, both wore through and both stretched out a lot. They were knit on Brittany Birch size 0 needles (2mm), upon which I knit more tighly than other size 0 needles for some reason.

I snipped the last stitch of the ribbing and picked out the stitches of that last row. I then put the top row of stitches on needles and knit up (they were originally knit top down so this was backwards but it worked fine). For those who may worry, those stitches were not going anywhere… they waited patiently for me to put the needles on. Even new stitches tend to sit still if you don’t tug, but these have been washed/dried by machine for years, and they were very comfortable snuggled in with one another, in exactly the shape they have been for years. Not a single stitch tried to slip in the process.

I may not have known at the time I started these, that I should have either decreased the number of stitches or the needle size for ribbing. For the replacement rib I knit one round in stockinette, then I decreased on the second row in pattern (K2P1 rib worked best for this, given the number of stitches I started with).

I took 6 months to finish this pair, at a time when most of my pairs were taking me about 10 days to finish. They didn’t feel or look like socks I would want personally. I just don’t like cotton to knit with, and these were also natural/denim in color, which I thought Brian might like. I’m not a blue person, haven’t owned a pair of blue jeans in maybe 15 years, and I’m not much into natural cotton color, either. It was my affection for my man which somehow made me choose this yarn. Knitting these socks dragged out until Brian asked “Can’t you just tie a knot?” If finishing socks were only that simple!

Since then I’ve learned not to knit any yarn I don’t like personally (I don’t have to want to wear it, but I should enjoy touching/looking at it). Brian likes lots of colors I do, and he is happy wearing standard wool-blend socks.

Although these perhaps are my least fave pair of socks I have ever knit, I don’t give up on something I brought forth into this world. I couldn’t toss them if they were still structurally sound. I couldn’t darn them, either, since the wear was at the top edge. I cut off the ripped part, found some standard wool/nylon yarn in compatible colors (in stash, left over from other socks I knit for Brian), and knit a bit o’rib. Threw ’em in the wash when I went to bed.

When I woke up Brian had gone to work. He’d dried the load and was wearing that very pair, already. I had to wait to ask how they worked out…

For the record he thought they turned out well with the new ribs. The colors didn’t line up the same but they are sort of mirrored… where the blue is on one, the green is on the other, and vice-versa. It’s actually very nice looking although nobody sees that part of the socks but me and Brian, anyway.

I guess that was a good way to spend a few hours!