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Archive for September, 2007

Does Anyone Know?

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Since I got my new laptop a few months ago, I’m using Adobe Acrobat Reader version 8.1.0. I use it to print out my patterns for sale on my site and to stores. It’s fall, which means more volume so I am printing a lot more this week and last.

Well, every time I print patterns using this program, it does not collate. I can click the collate box in one of two places after I go to File/Print. Neither does the trick. The Collate checkbox has a check in it… and yet I get twelve page 1’s then twelve page 2’s. I don’t have a place where I can collate twelve patterns without moving a lot of stuff.

Does anyone already know the answer to this? Adobe says the only update available is “language support” for spellchecking, which I clearly do not need for collating properly.

Any hints as to where I go next, would be appreciated. Thanks for listening.

Habibi Dancers in Lansing State Journal Tuesday

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

eudorasparrow07.jpgI heard from Priscilla and my mother that today there is an article in the State Journal about the Habibi Dancers and middle eastern dancing (sometimes called belly dance though often our bellies are covered). There is a photo of four of us dancing at the Allen Street Farmer’s Market. I’m up front in purple (no surprise).

For the record, historically this sort of dance was performed in groups of women, for their own entertainment and health. The moves help the body strengthen muscles that are used in childbirth. In some cultures your friends would come and dance for you when you were in labor. These days the more scandalous something sounds, the more tickets sell, so there is little talk of the female-community aspect and much focus on costumes and skin. Notice in the article we are all covered but we’re still doing the same dance moves.

I must say that this sort of dance helped me love myself more. I had been no more than a brain and feet getting me from place to place. Dancing required that I move the whole body. You can not move your hips if you don’t make friends with them first. I am a much more complete person now that I am familiar and comfortable with my whole self.

And trust me, I dance a good dozen times with a room full of female friends (there are 30 women in Habibi Dancers) before I dance once in costume for the public. It’s a place where we can just be comfortable, a place where we get support and encouragement.

Photo is me as Eudora, dancing at Sparrow Hospital in August of this year.

Fabulous Heftones at Harvest Gathering 2007

Monday, September 17th, 2007

fabheftonesharvestgatheringcloseupbymicah.jpg

Micah Middaugh of Breathe Owl Breathe (an Earthwork Music act) was kind enough to take photos of us during our concert Saturday at Harvest Gathering.

fabheftonesharvestgatheringbymicah.jpg

He not only took a few snapshots, but he crouched on the dance floor to get photos of us framed between the wildflowers arranged at the lip of the stage. He also climbed up on the side balcony for a birds-eye stage view.

fabheftonesharvestgatheringbirdseyeview400wfeathered.jpg

We appreciate Micah in many ways… but these photos are more than we could have expected. Thanks, bunches, Micah!

Megan Palmer’s Photos of India

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

At Harvest Fest, I met indie singer-songwriter Megan Palmer after our concert. She lives in Columbus, Ohio (sigh, lucky grrl). Her Myspace page is http://myspace.com/meganini and her own website is http://meganpalmer.com

We chatted briefly about our travels. I went to Africa with Altu, stayed in Ethiopia and Kenya with family and friends, and went to Egypt as pure tourists. Megan went to India with a friend, and stayed in the friend’s parents home.

The colors and food of India make me yearn to travel there sometime. I must work out my food-allergy issues before I can do another big trip, but India, Thailand and Europe are all places I haven’t been and would love to visit.

Megan has posted a Flickr photoset with her photos of India. She and her friends captured some wonderful shots, there are a lot of closeups of people’s faces. That is one thing I did not do when I went to Africa and now I wish I had.

I am so delighted with what I’ve seen of the 101 images that I’m here telling you about them before I even finish the series. I highly recommend that you divert your focus on this lovely Sunday and check out this amazing series of photographs.

36 Degrees F Sleeping in a Tent

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

We had a lot, lot, lot of fun performing and socializing at the Harvest Gathering Friday Night and Saturday. It seemed like I could not walk five steps without running into someone I really like, and perhaps do not see very often.

I have photos and stories, but for now you might want to check out Brian’s Flickr page. The very top few photos are from a Contra Dance Saturday night in downtown Lansing . Just under that is Harvest Gathering, and past that is Wheatland festival from last weekend.

Here is what it takes to make me warm sleeping in a tent in just-above-freezing temperatures (it was 39F when we went to bed and the National Weather Service says it got down to 36F… and 32F is 0C for my out-of-US readers):

Three pairs of Longjohns worn simultaneously
Tank Top
Two Turtleneck tops
One cotton Sweatshirt
One really-really thick/warm sweater knit just for such occasions (like a thick blanket, see photo)
Three pair of wool socks, also worn simultaneously
One pair wool legwarmers
One store-bought beret
One handknit pseudo-Calorimetry wool head wrap
One Pair handknit fingerless gloves of bulky alpaca, bought at an import shop
One air mattress
One sleeping bag underneath the sleepers
Two sleeping bags and a comforter on top of the sleepers
One wool tweed man’s winter coat over feet
Two human beings creating body heat
Very small tent to hold in said body heat

I really did sleep fine. I woke up when the rooster crowed but then went back to sleep (roosters remind me of my trip to Africa, a good memory).

I took a while to settle in at first… originally because of cold feet (at 1:30am or so) until Brian put the coat on the bottom part of our “bed” and later because it kept raining and then not and then raining again. Intermittent sounds will wake me, where louder sounds that are more even do not bother me at all.

However, when Brian woke up I stayed under the covers for an extra hour or so. I was not interested in leaving the warm, safe place if I did not need to get up. Finally I had to be a grownup and get vertical, and Brian was a sport and got me a cup of hot black tea right away.

It did get warmer Saturday around noon or so, and it did mostly stop raining (though there were clouds over most of the sky most of the day). Our concert was really heartwarming, all the support and fine reception we felt. If only we had more time to jam with friends, it could have been a little more perfect.

I must say that I’m delighted to have had a long hot soaking bath today, I’m clean and warm, and I do not have to be cold and wet in the tent for a second night. Gratitude is a powerful feeling for me tonight.

Photo: Wheatland Festival 2003, the debut of the super-warm double-thickness Lamb’s Pride Worsted sweater. I knit it because of a 45F degree night in a tent the year before. That sweater is worth its weight (two pounds) in gold when music festivals get frigid.

Altu’s and Doug Berch in the News

Friday, September 14th, 2007

dougberch16.jpgAnne Erickson writes a column in the Lansing State Journal’s What’s On section. She interviewed me a few weeks ago and yesterday did a lovely story about this Saturday’s show at Altu’s.

Doug Berch is a very fine musician, a wonderful person, and definitely puts on a nice show (he plays many acoustic instruments). I’m delighted that he has been highlighted in this way.

I’m hoping that a good crowd will come this weekend. The show is 6:30-8:30, map is here. I do not expect to be there. I’ll be up in Lake City at Harvest Gathering, performing on Saturday afternoon, and if I get home in time I’ll run over to Kristi‘s for the Knitterpalooza gathering.

Sneak Preview

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

babyzig20.jpgWell, I’m happier about my new design than I have been in months. I wish I had a photo of the second shape ZiggyBag (it holds a water bottle) but I left that sample at Rae’s shop before I remembered to photograph it. A third bag is in the wings…

This one can hold a wallet, cell phone, keys and maybe another small item. It’s perfect for wandering around an art fair or music festival with a little cash in the pocket for a cup of tea or something from the artist vendors on site.

I am excited to again be planning a pattern with many sizes/shapes in one pattern. This makes it a bear to write the pattern, but it makes a really solid collection that is worth the pattern price for my customers. I started with an idea for a project bag and it just multiplied before I could do anything about it.

Diana and I are still working on getting a sample bag of the full-sized project bag version (which will be even *more* colorful than what you see here, if that is possible). The larger bag will hopefully bring Turkish Socks to mind. I expect that early next week we will have a photo or two of that project, if it keeps going as well as it has for the last few days.

I tell you all, I do not know what I would have done without Diana for this particular project. I would sort of flip out and call her, tell her my roadblock, she would listen, hang up, work something out, and call me back with a solution. I am really grateful for her more and more every day.

There were questions and good input about why my preliminary bags might not have worked. It’s true, Noro Kureyon does not felt easily and Patons Classic felts very well. I have used them together in my Watercolor Bag, where I wanted more dense fabric at the bottom, handles and top edge of the bag.

For this design series, I am using colorwork with these yarns stranded alternately, two stitches of one and then two of the other. But what has caused trouble in particular for this pattern is the colorwork, more than the yarns involved. Stranded knitting just plain doesn’t stretch like other fabrics and it pulls in easily.

I started with a bag bottom style that has worked for me in the past (it was in one color). Then I added colorwork on top. They did not get along well. I had bag bottoms that were not flat at all, more like domes. This was pretty but it was not what I had in my mind. I thought that it would felt more than the sides (as it did in the Watercolor Bag) but stranding the colors together changed my felting proportions and changed all my plans.

I have really learned a lot through this. Sometimes we just have to puzzle and struggle a bit to learn a new lesson. It’s OK to have these things happen. Since I started with a really strong picture in my mind of what I wanted for the larger bag, I kept working on the shaping and proportions until I got it right. I made a small bag (picured here), and a water bottle bag which is delightful (Rae’s brother thought it was really great when he visited the shop the other day).

Diana has knit three or four of the prototype small bags/pouches already. I have knit three water bottle bags and this purple sample bag pictured today. Now I am working on the big one! I’m knitting what feels like a zillion stitches after those nice smaller projects.

The larger project bag will be larger than the Watercolor Bag (which was a relatively small and lightweight bag, by design). I want this one to be able to handle a larger project than the other style.

Sweater Season: Wool is in the Air

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

There is a chill in the air. It has arrived, that time I call Sweater Season. In Lansing, Michigan, we have sweater season a very big proportion of the year. I’m glad I love wool, mohair and alpaca sweaters. I do not like a chill much.

zig.jpgThis week I will be listening to Kitty Donohoe’s song “Autumn Dance” a lot. I could just put that one on repeat and listen for an hour!

I have been working on a felted bag pattern (with tons of help from Diana) this last several weeks. Last night I felted the first bag that is actually “just right” by Goldilocks standards. It is the seventh test bag.

This pattern is really fighting me, and I’m not at all used to this sort of struggle. Usually I get bogged down by sizing socks, not by just getting a concept to come off of the needles the way I pictured it. I’m very lucky, I usually have success with the first prototype.

The one I just finished is a stranded-colorwork bag for carrying a water bottle. There will also be a small pouch (wallet, keys, cellphone size) and a knitting-project bag larger than my Watercolor bag.

These are tentatively called ZigBagZ because of the zigzag color pattern. One yarn is solid and the other is a slowly self-striping yarn.

In this photo the solid is Patons Classic (almost identical to Cascade 220) and the striping yarn is Noro Kureyon. The photo is imperfect in that the purse was a little scrunched up where the purple is at the bottom, but the warmer-toned top of the photo shows the patterning well.

My Teaching Calendar is Up

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I scheduled a bunch of classes, mostly through the first half of December and a few items in January. Most are in the Lansing area and Charlotte (about 30 minutes out of the city). Three days are at New York Sheep & Wool (also called Rhinebeck).

These classes will be the bulk of my teaching schedule for the rest of 2007, though I hope to add a few classes outside of the Lansing area before the end of the year.

I have been very behind in loading my schedule on my website for what seems forever. As of right now, the classes that are confirmed are on my Google Calendar and can be accessed on the top navigation bar of this site under “Schedule.”

It is too early for New Year’s Resolutions but it’s a new year for the knit-teaching business. I will do my best to stay more up on my online schedule page for you folks who are loyally following me.

Back to test-knitting a new pattern. More later…

Happy Wheatland!

Monday, September 10th, 2007

wheatland2007brianlynnmayanddrewcropped.jpg

Brian and I spent Friday-Sunday at Wheatland Music Festival. It rained before we got there on Friday which calmed the dust down. It rained for maybe a minute (we ran for shelter from big drops but it stopped quickly) around dinnertime on Friday, but there was not a drop after that.

I of course have too many photos to put up this soon. However, here is a photo of us on Friday night at the Seth Bernard/Daisy May concert (accompanied by Andrea Moreno-Beals, Dominic John and Drew Howard/Captain Midnite). It was taken for us by the young lady sharing a blanket with us. She had a great eye, centering Daisy May between our heads and showing Drew on the right hand side of the photo on stage.

Drew cracks me up, he’s such a fun friend. He’s thoughtful and grounded (aaah) with an ironic yet humorous way of looking at things. In contrast, I’m sort of manic when I get in public (though I’m thoughtful in less distracting environments).

So they introduced the band and I got up on my knees and cheered (this is normal festival behavior). Well, I was in the front row, which means the band could see me if they were looking that way. When I cheered for Drew, he said “Hi, Lynn… Hi, Mom.” Cracked me up… I’m honored to know these folks, though I know Drew best. Thanks for the public hello, Drew. You’re the best.

Anyway, you know that when I write columns about music festivals I have a lot of linking to do and a lot of photos to edit, and that takes a long time. Today I need to iron out my schedule and dye some yarn, so I’m choosing to delay that column a bit. For now, I’m pleased to say it was indeed a Happy Wheatland in 2007.

Belated Sock Photo

Sunday, September 9th, 2007

pair150momturqgraystripe33.jpgI am doing what I can to catch up on old photos here. The photo today is what was my 150th pair ever, since I started knitting socks in 2001.

This pair was for my mother, back in May, for Mother’s Day. I started to make her a different pair and realized almost at the end that the yarn I had chosen was not machine wash/machine dry. Mom needs easy care, so I put aside that pair and started in again.

The construction of these was this: I used the toe from my First-Time Toe-Up sock pattern. I knit to where the heel should go, knit a placeholder (to be ripped out later) in “waste yarn” and then continued to the top.

The foot and leg are all knit totally in stockinette, no ribbing, so it does roll a bit at the top. I bound off using a single crochet (inserting the hook first into the next stitch on the left hand needle). This is a stretchy and satisfactory bind off.

I then went back, took out the waste yarn and placed the now-loose stitches on sock needles. I then knit something like a top-down toe but with a different rate of decrease (so that it would fit a heel better, as heels and toes do not have the same shape). I placed the decreases evenly (sometimes called a star toe) rather than on the left/right edges (called a wedge toe).

I finished this pair by running the yarn end through the final eight stitches like a drawstring and fastening the end. There are many ways to make afterthought heels, this is merely one way.

I think the yarn is Austerman Step (standard sockyarn with wool/nylon . It has very long bands of color. I think I may be unable to resist sockyarn with turquoise in it, so I got this. I was not sure how I would like it knit up, but it’s just lovely.

Knitted Tank Cozy

Friday, September 7th, 2007

Wow. Sometimes life sends you a mental U-turn!

I was searching for a knitted tank top (which is called something else in the UK). I found instead a photo of a military tank with a knitted “sweater” on it… looks like an afghan made of pink knitted squares but with fitted pieces for the tube which extends out front, and a pom-pom hanging from the very tip of that tube. The tank looks like it’s sitting in front of a Gothic-era European brick building. The website seems to be British (a child is wearing “nappies” not “diapers,” for example).

I don’t own the copyright for the photo so I can not show it here. I searched all over the site Google Photos says it came from, but I do not find the post it was connected with. Here are the two links…

Tank Photo:

http://madelinetosh.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/tank_knitting.jpg

Website:

http://madelinetosh.typepad.com/my_weblog/knitting/index.html

Upcoming Heftones Shows

Thursday, September 6th, 2007

heftoneskalamazoovalleymuseumfretboardfestival12.jpgFor those who are new to ColorJoy, Brian (hubby) and I perform as The Fabulous Heftones. We sing the popular music of the 1920’s. (Click band name link for free downloadable music.) We love it.

Sometimes we play far away at Ukulele Festivals (New York, Indianapolis, Chicago). Sometimes we are delighted to perform at festivals that do not focus on the Ukulele (Coopers Glen in Kalamazoo; Evart, Michigan Dulcimer Fun Fest)… and often we play at our home venue, Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine in East Lansing. If we are lucky, we get to play private events and weddings between the public performances.

We have had a few weeks of slow times for the music. This is always a good change, and we get to learn new songs during those slower times.

Now we head into busier times again. This weekend we will go to the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus, Michigan (very near where I went to college) as participants rather than performers. The next weekend we will be performing for the Earthwork Music Harvest Gathering. This is a relatively new and smaller festival, very rustic, in Lake City, Michigan. Wonderful people, great musicians, great organic food.

We will be playing on Saturday, September 15, at 2pm. There are two stages at this festival, and we will be in the barn, a nice intimate space (with the benefit of good protection if it rains). Just some of the musicians at the festival who we know/hang out with, will be playing there, are:

Jen Sygit & Spare Change

Steppin’ in it

Rachael Davis and Dominic

Laura Bates and Brandon Foote

Madcat & Kane

Breathe Owl Breathe

Captain Midnite

Sam Corbin

Robin Lee Barry (I’ve known her since at least 1973, believe it or not)

This is going to be one heck of a music gathering. I dare say there will be some jamming into the wee hours at this event.

For those staying more local to Lansing, we also have several events coming up:

Foods For Living (healthy food store)
September 21 & Sept 28 (both Fridays)
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine
September 22 & December 8 (Saturdays)
6:30pm to 8:30pm (Dinner Hour)

RicStar Music Camp Benefit
VanAtta’s Greenhouse
September 30 (Sunday)
2:30pm (other acts before and after, including Jen Sygit just before us)

A Happy Sigh…

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

partystolecorrected25.jpgBack when there was snow on the ground, I thought I had finished a pattern. It was all written, tested, proofread.

I got photos. They looked fine on the screen. They looked awful printed.

I bought a new camera (never mind that it supposedly isn’t as good as the other… it takes color more accurately.) I had to get samples back, take a number of new photos, edit, correct color, correct for my printer, do all sorts of things I barely know how to do.

Thank goodness I’ve had a few classes and a lot of years (perhaps 10) working with PhotoShop. I still feel like I’m groping around in the dark sometimes, when these sorts of issues come up. Most of my PhotoShop experience has been for web design, and print is a totally different animal.

So today I’m pleased as punch to announce: The Party Stole Pattern is ready. It’s beautiful, it’s for sale on my shopping cart, and the photos look good to me both on screen and printed. Rae agrees, Diana agrees. Sigh…

This pattern includes instructions on how to choose five yarns which complement one another in texture and color, but which do not match. On all of the Party Stoles that I have knit, I used two ribbon yarns, one brushed mohair and two other yarns of different textures.

partystolelindadetail25.jpgThe one in the photo which I am wearing, looks like the one I made for myself and have been wearing for a while. The one in the photo, however, is the store shop model for Threadbear Fiberarts.

There is one in beautiful blues, turquoises, greens and purples, at Rae’s Yarn Boutique (see below, although it’s much more beautiful in person), and I’m nearly done with one in rainbow ribbons plus black mohair (striking… see at left) for Linda at Little Red Schoolhouse Yarns. (All three of those shops are in Lansing, Michigan.)

This is the easiest wrap yet. One yarn per row, knit stitches only with a grand total of a dozen increases in the whole piece, easy fringe. The whole piece is carried by the yarns, and there is subtle shaping at the top edge to keep it from falling off as you reach for something while wearing it.

It looks like it is woven from a distance. It’s light enough to scrunch up and act like it’s a big scarf under a winter coat, but it’s fluffy enough to wear indoors in the summer against air conditioning. I just loooove mine. I have worn it a lot this summer, as I do not tolerate Air Conditioning well.

partystoleraecloseup10.jpg(Would anyone be interested in kits, where I chose the five yarns for you? I’m willing if I get any interest at all, to put some up on my shopping cart.)

Some things just take time, including this pattern. I hope this works out as well as good wine.

(May I insert a quiet WooHoooooo!!!???)