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Archive for November, 2007

Something Concrete

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Rae decided to go to the Contra Dance Saturday night. I decided to join her. Brian was playing in the band, he does this about once a month and usually I stay home. After all, I work weekends and I just want to go home and stay home after a social/teaching day.

I had not been to a dance in over a year. I forgot so much! The good part is that a lot of the folks know me socially so they were familiar and friendly. Also, contra dancing is forgiving. Folks point you to the right place if you get lost. Very friendly!

I’m again falling asleep at the keyboard, but a full hour sooner than I did yesterday. I have yet another class tomorrow so I better crash while I can.

Thank all of you, for coming here, reading, and especially (if you do it) commenting. It is so good to know I’m not writing in a vacuum. Love ya, each and every one.

ZZZZzzzzzzz…

(Photo is from New Year’s eve, Dec. 2005.)

Pondering Again

Friday, November 16th, 2007

twiggydressgarden.jpgAaah, life makes us think from time to time, my friends. Now is one of those times.

1. I spoke with a tax preparer the other day, not because I hired him but because he spoke to a group I’m in. We chatted a bit about the hard decisions a self-employed person must make, which really happen nearly every day. Constantly we decide which items on our plate are most worthy of attention. Constantly we re-evaluate if what we are doing is working well for us. We re-adjust as we go, if we want to progress toward whatever goals we might have.

When I talked about the many things I can choose to do, to make an income within the realm of “fiber artist/instructor,” he asked “where is your passion?” “What does your heart tell you is most important?”

2. I also recently talked to a friend of a friend who is a Chi Gong (sp) instructor, hypnotist and practitioner of other methods used for self-improvement and self-actualization. She’s in a field as etherial as the tax guy’s field is nuts & bolts. She talked about aligning the subconscious and the “higher self” in order to do what is best for us, not only for work but for health and happiness. She used very different words, but I think they were talking about the same thing.

3. Then I talked to Matt of Threadbear tonight. We were looking at the end result of a very quick knitting project I did when I was in Washington DC. I made wristwarmers but I made them differently than the pattern I have been selling for years. I was not sure about a certain feature of the design. He liked that part quite a lot.

torontolynninstreetcar.jpgHe talked about how for him, it seems that designs most pleasant to the eye are often those which fit the body most accurately. The thumbhole experiment I did, fits the thumb relatively well in this pair, and he thought that made the design more lovely (my word, not necessarily his). Sort of “if something is what it’s supposed to be, it will no doubt be beautiful.”

4. Buckminster Fuller (the scientist who devloped the geodesic dome) also was quoted talking a bit like our Matt. He said “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

5. Robert Genn is a painter who writes a twice-weekly email newsletter. I subscribe though often I do not have time to read in depth. He’s quite thoughtful and thought-provoking when I do have time. His subjects often relate to any art, painter or not.

This week Mr. Genn spoke on authenticity. How we value it but each person perceives it differently. I read an article today on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot). I love Stephanie as do thousands of other knitters, and I’m clear that the main reason is her authenticity. I think the world needs more Stephanies, more heroes of this kind, more people we love for who they are… in spite of their warts; in fact, maybe because of them.

lynnbirthday48small.jpg6. Friend Kris Elliott of Texas/All in a Day wrote this week about baggage we sometimes carry around past the time when we need to let go. I remembered a previous struggle I went through. I wonder how far I am in the journey at this point? Am I dragging something(s) around that I’d do better without?

7. My friend Susan Luks often says she wishes for a solution which affords ease. It is interesting to me that she sews and works with woven fabrics, and sewers/knitters talk about ease as the measurable space between the body and a garment.

However, Susan talked about it in reference to my efforts to try to get over to her home and spend some time with her. We did find a day where there was ease, finally, and I spent a lot of time with her that day, which was pleasant and worthy of the wait. We had a day at ease, when it finally came time.

Of course all of these things make me turn inward. Who am I? Am I authentic with myself, with others? Am I following my passion, aligning my subconscious with my outward best self? Can I find a level of authenticity that I can maintain with happiness? Can I make that a career path which will have staying power? Usually I would answer yes to these questions… but it is reasonable to keep asking, as things change by the hour.

newyearlynnknitting12.jpgI’m typing this at 2am (I will date it midnight the day before) as I fight to stay awake long enough to save it. Even though that sounds like maybe I’m not fully here, I have been soaking up these ideas for days. I think I’ll let them mull around in my subconscious (!) as I ease myself into bed to rest and dream.

Any thoughts from you? Anyone else contemplating these things heading into the busy holiday season right now?

Photos… collected ColorJoy everyday and special occasion costuming adventures. The one thing I know? The color thing… that’s really me, it is authentic Lynn. Other stuff can be debated perhaps… but my first memory is about color, and I still see life that way.

Happy News!

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

magknitspeek1.jpgI have been beating around the bush here lately… preparing a pattern “for submission” and not saying even much about that. I got word this morning, it’s official: I will have a pattern published in the February/spring issue of the online magazine, MagKnits.

This is really exciting for me. I’ve been writing patterns/designing since 2001 and when Dawn Brocco was publishing her Heels and Toes Gazette, I had 5 patterns and one article published by her. However, since she stopped creating new issues (back issues are still available) I have self-published everything. Publishing deadlines can be rough, and I just did not want to add extra stress on my already-busy schedule.

However, Rae Blackledge and Diana Troldahl (both knitting partners of mine) have both published with Magknits and both encouraged me to submit. The good part is that the deadline is when you submit, so it’s clear when you contact them that you can make it work. I had to submit the pattern and photos and schematic at the same time. (Some other publications require a sketch, a swatch and a description upon submission.) So I knew the deadline ahead of time, and I was able to make it happen.

And I got an email this morning from Kerrie with an offer to publish. And I accepted. And I’m reeeeeally excited!

I can’t show you the whole thing or give full details here, but I can put teasers out. Here’s your first peek. There will not be many, it’s pretty hard to make this thing look like something it is not, but in February you get a free LynnH pattern online. Worth the wait, I think.

Last Gasp of Autumn

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

charlotteatsunset.jpg

A week or two ago, I taught in Charlotte, Michigan, which is a small town with heart and soul. So many small towns are suffering these days, but Charlotte is quite alive, thank you very much!

I love taking photos of this town in the fall, I’ve done it before. This time I headed toward the library and the park where Brian and I performed last June.

Charlotte has two important streets which intersect near the old courthouse. This is the one which seems a bit shorter, and which heads out of town toward the fairgrounds (where the bluegrass festival happens each June). I caught it just as the sun was setting and the light really was nice.

Also, I enjoy taking photos of older homes in this town. They tend to be well-kept or well-restored. I drove past this house, pulled over to the parking lane and was taking photos backward out of my window. I’ve taken photos of the house right behind it in previous posts.

charlotterohsneffhouse.jpgWell, I noticed a guy walking down the street who looked like a musician I know, who lives in Charlotte. I called out his name and sure enough, I had the right guy. So guess what? This is his house, since right around when Brian and I sang at the park.

Isn’t life interesting? The longer I stay in Michigan the more people I know are connected to other people I know. And to be in a town 30 minutes from where I live, and to know the one person walking down the street? Whose house was exactly the one I was trying to quietly photograph?

Actually, I got photos of two houses next door to one another. Both are beautiful and I think I’ve got the one, but I may be one lot off. Forgive my 2-week memory which has lost a tiny bit of information.

I sort of like it when things happen this way! The leaves don’t look particularly colorful in these two photos, but the relationship part of life was fully functional. Cool!


An Incredible Concert

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

sethplus.jpg

On Saturday, Brian and I went to the Ten Pound Fiddle Coffeehouse concert. It was Seth Bernard and Daisy May as the main act, which was opened by Brandon Foote and Laura Bates. They were backed up by Drew Howard (also known as Captain Midnite). Wow. All of these people I’ve written about here before. All of them are fine musicians solo. What a musical delight it was to be there in the glow of them all on stage.

You know, Lansing is just the right size for the creative communities. One woman in the audience I met originally when we both were going to poetry readings (before I met Brian, maybe a dozen years ago). She is now in my computer class in Haslett, and she sat there knitting during the intermission. We know a bunch of musicians who are mutual friends, so we belong in each others’ lives at least four ways.

It’s like that everywhere I go, at least when it’s an artful event of any sort. There were all sorts of musicians, artists (Regina and Marlene from Working Women Artists, both of whom I met in other realms before joining up in the guild), other friends in the audience. It was like a regular reunion or something!

The photo here was taken at the finale/encore. Seated at left is Drew, then May, Seth, Laura and Brandon. The light was not very good for photos but this one works. It shows the intensity of the music but still shows faces enough to recognize them (at least, if you know them to begin with).

Do visit their Myspace pages and listen a bit:

Seth Bernard

Daisy May Erlewine

Laura Bates and Brandon Foote

Captain Midnite

And the organization under which they all record has a web page where you can listen not only to these folks but some others:

Earthwork Music

Spend a little time and breathe a breath of fresh air. Relax and enjoy!

A “Jammies Day”

Monday, November 12th, 2007

I spent all of Sunday at home. I made myself put pajama pants on after my very long and luxurious bath, so that I would stay put. I needed a bit of slowing down after a pretty intense few weeks.

I caught up on some things, did work on preparing a pattern for submission, and attacked the yarn collection with vigor. I got more yarn put away. Sometimes I think I’m saving time by tossing my unneeded yarns on a flat surface, but I swear if you leave too many of them together for too long they start a bit of a mating dance and you can not separate them without a lot of time and patience.

Diana points out that when I take the time to straighten out the working-yarn inventory, I sound obviously more relaxed when we chat on the phone. Interesting observation.

And it’s amazing… I thought I’d used up all of my Malabrigo worsted merino yarn… but I found two more skeins of a hot fuschia just when I needed it.

So my desk is still messy but I can find my yarns a bit better. I have shelves but I really need bins on the shelves. At least for now everything is crammed tightly into the shelves so it won’t hop onto the floor.

When you are a painter, you can keep all your paints in a toolbox with extras in a few drawers. When you are a polymer clay artist, the work table can be bigger than the storage area. With yarn, I all of a sudden have to decorate the living room walls with shelves all the way to the ceiling, full of yarn. it’s like a small section of a yarn store but more random. Colorful but messy looking.

A New Week of Classes

Anyway, I’m starting a new week today and it feels like a fresh start after a day off at home. I teach computers to retirees tonight, which will be much fun. I’ve got a Wristwarmer class at Little Red Schoolhouse on Tuesday at 5:30pm-8pm (anybody want to join up?) and Wednesday I have CityKidz Knit at Foster Center.

Thursday I teach at Rae’s, both knitting Study Hall and First-Time Toe-Up Socks (2nd session of 3). Friday I teach Darn That Sock! at Threadbear at 6pm. Saturday I have a joint Party Stole/Kristi Comfort Wrap class at Rae’s 11-3pm, Sunday at Rae’s I’m doing a baby sock (small version of Fast Florida Footies not needing a gauge swatch), also 11-3. Perhaps some of you local folks would like to join one class or another. I’d love to see you.

I am all for more Jammies Days! I feel ready to start a busy week of teaching.

A Bird in the Bush and More Color

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

cardinal.jpgIt’s definitely the very end of fall here. We had a few flakes of snow a few days back and the kids were thrilled. The chard left growing in my garden has turned totally red, very pretty, and I need to cut it and put it in some soup with the lovely sweet potatoes showing up in markets everywhere right now.

I find it amazing how at the very end of any sort of warm season, the plants push like crazy to keep blooming, keep making seeds, trying desperately to procreate before they give up the ghost in a hard frost. Right now I still have parsley doing fine, and since I moved the one tomato bush in to the unheated mudroom it is still making tomatoes. I have two bunches growing (had to pinch off many blooms in the last 3 weeks, it kept trying and that would not have been good for the plant).

autumnmsufarm.jpgI think I have nine or ten fruits growing and one is almost as big as a tennis ball. They are all green but if it gets much colder the pot goes down in the dyeing studio next to the dryer, under the full-spectrum lights. I did this one other year and we had red tomatoes off the vine in November. I think this may happen again this year, as long as I keep remembering to water the plant.

My geranium pots are also making buds like crazy, and blooming in spite of a few frosty nights. I have petunias in these pots, too, and you can at least see they are purple but they are closed tight, there is no warm sun to reach for. Sigh.

lateseasongeraniums.jpgI took some fall photos this week. One is a male cardinal in a bush at my Mom’s house. I took the photo through a plate glass window but it worked reasonably well anyway. The multicolored trees are at Michigan State University, back where they have two golf courses and a bunch of farmland. I think this is near the horse area but it might be the golf course.

Dancing the Blues Away

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

habibirehearsesaudi.jpgWednesday I told you I was going to go dance my troubles away… and honestly, it was wonderful. I didn’t dance a lot because the troupe was rehearsing with another troupe from the Detroit area… but I took a bunch of great photos.

I also got some time with the non-rehearsing dancers I don’t get to chat with much. (We went across the hall so as not to disturb the rehearsal, of course.)

The photo shows our women dancing in thobes (this is a shortcut name, I don’t know the longer version well enough to spell it), a large extra-decorative dress used for a special type of Saudi dance which I believe is called/spelled Khaleeji. (It’s hard to get it right since Arabic doesn’t translate well to the English alphabet.)

The dance was traditionally done in groups of only women (as I remember it was sort of how they entertained themselves at private gatherings), and they would wear beautiful dresses and jewelry and dance to show off the beautiful things they wore. The dresses flow so nicely when you spin around, that I just had to catch them in motion here.

The music for this dance is just wonderful. I go home singing it and smiling.

I will be performing this piece in the April show which our troupe will be putting on in the Lansing area. I’ll post more about it when I have more information.

Student Works this Week

Friday, November 9th, 2007

kristishawlshiny.jpgIt is so wonderful to be back into cool weather busy-mode time. I have had some days with three classes in a day. I have had classes with a few more students. I have fewer classes canceling and more filling. It’s more fun and more like I want my life to be. Yippee!

Last week I taught Kristi Comfort Wrap at Yarn Garden in Charlotte. I had a Mom-in-Law and Daughter-in-Law pair and they are both relatively new knitters.

They did not have any stash leftover sockyarns to knit along with the warm main yarn, so Lindsay worked with them before I even got there, going through her back room fun yarns which are marked down right now. We did not have to do much in the yarn-choosing part of the class so we dove right in and started knitting, though I did talk color while they were stitching away.

polyclayshinytbearnov07.jpgI got a photo of one of the started pieces in this class. I have made a lot of these wraps but all of my knit-alongs have been soft, softer, softest. None of my Kristi wraps have had shiny yarns in them (other than silk), so I got to see a new way of making it happen. Much fun, they love what they have going so far.

On Sunday I taught a new Polymer Clay buttons/beads class at Threadbear, which was about sparkle and shine and translucents. We used metal leaf and tinted translucent clays, and had a grand time.

I had three students, and I knew all of them at least socially before we started. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do for several hours on a weekend.

Here is one tray of buttons that came out of that workshop. It came out a little fuzzy and the colors look a smidge darker than I remember them being. This photo is also before a shiny acrylic finish was applied. Can you see how nice those motifs might be as buttons? I am in love with the red-orange/gold combination which I’d never tried myself. Very nice.

On Thursday I had a couple of classes at Rae’s shop in Lansing. First I had a third-week beginning knit student who made a small pouch including knit, purl, increase, decrease, garter fabric and stockinette fabric. She blocked her work last week after class, and this week she learned to do a mattress stitch seam, backstitch seam, crochet chain seam and even grafted five stockinette stitches for the handle. A very nice job, indeed. I’m sorry I did not get a photo of that. Next week she may choose to make a cabled scarf or hat, or perhaps some knitted flowers.

At night at Rae’s on Thursday, I had my First-Time Toe-Up Socks class. This is my all-time best-attended class (though polymer clay takes a very close second). I just love teaching this one, I will never tire of it. The sock is relatively easy to get started, and some folks get a whole pair done in the 3 weeks and start another… while others will almost finish their first sock, and everyone is still relatively equal. Love it (it is too soon for photos, for that class).

Thanks, as always, to my students and the shops where I teach. I know how lucky I am to have you all. My gratitude. Let’s do it again soon!

Sock Planning

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

sock29white.jpgI answered an individual email question from a friend (in Latin America, how cool is that) on the Socknitters Yahoo email list. I realize now that I wrote it that maybe some other knitters out there might be interested in this.

I know that it will be redundant for some of you, and useless for the non-knitters. However, for the knitters who have not learned how to figure out a good fit for socks without following instructions from a pattern, this might be quite useful. It was to my email friend, at any rate.

She wrote (after saying that her first pair of socks were a bit roomy though in the ballpark):


…let me ask you something: it seems that from cuff down, 60 stitches (2.5 metric size needle, 1.5 US) were the good size to me but… no… do you think 54 would be ok?

I replied:
If it felt too big, going down a number of stitches would help. Socks are often a number that can be divided by 4. So 64, 60, 56, 52 are all common numbers. I do not know the size of your stitches or the size of your foot, so I can not say what number you would prefer. You can just try 4 fewer stitches on the next pair (since the 60 seems OK to you) and if that is not enough try 4 less on the next pair… or you can do a little math.Of course I am in the USA, so I often use inches, forgive my clumsiness with cm but I will do my best.

  1. Measure a sock you finished, using yarn like the ones for your new pair and the same needles. Find a place where it is all knit stitches (stocking stitch/stockinette). If you do not have a sock with the same yarn and needles, knit a small tube (swatch) with the desired yarn and needles so that you can measure actual knitting. You can unravel the tube later if you need the extra yarn, but try to save it for future reference if you can. If you write a little note to yourself and attach it to the tube, that helps later.
  2. See how many stitches you have in 10cm (4in) if you can, 5cm (2in) if not. Measure in more than one place to be sure, and part-stitches do count. Divide the number of stitches by the number of cm or inches. It might be that you have 3.2 stitches per cm (I am picking a common number which equals 8 stitches per inch, but you will probably have a different number).
  3. Measure the widest part of your foot, usually the ball of the foot just under the toes is the right place. Find out how many cm around the foot is. For now I will say it measures 20cm (8 inches).
  4. Multiply the number of stitches per cm (in) times the number of cm (inches) in your foot. In this case we will say that it is 20 x 3.2 = 64 (or 8 x 8 = 64).
  5. This would be the number of stitches to make a sock the size of your foot. However, that would mean that the sock would slide around a bit. Socks should be something between 10-20% smaller than the foot. So we can do the math:
    64 x .90 = 57.6 stitches or “10% negative ease”
    64 x .80 = 51.2 stitches or “20% negative ease”

You need an even number, of course. In addition, socks are usually knit on a multiple of 4 stitches. This means that you could choose 56 stitches for a comfy but not too tight sock, or 52 stitches for a snug sock. My mother would like the first number and I would prefer the second, it is a personal choice.

I think this is powerful stuff. A little measuring and you can adjust someone else’s pattern to your size, assuming that the leg portion works for the number of stitches you need to fit properly.

stranded_oscar25.jpgFor the record, the measurements of the ankle and the ball of the foot for most people are within 6.35mm (1/4″). This is why we measure the ball of the foot to size the top of the cuff/leg, particularly when the leg is done in a stretchy motif such as ribbing. Knitting is so flexible that it works out just fine for most of us.

For those who have unusual proportions, they can knit the foot with one number of stitches and the leg with another. That in itself is reason enough to learn how to knit (just ask Diana, for whom I knit my 29th pair of socks shown at top of post… and who now knits her own socks and those of her hubby/my brother… and who is now my test knitter/tech editor/advisor when I write new patterns).

After all, if your feet guarantee that commercial socks will just not fit, it is really great to make custom-fitting ones that are “just right.” That contented Goldilocks is in my vocabulary again!

Oh, and that Diana who now knits her own designs following roughly this same method… well, look at this second photo today. Diana made them for Eric (my bro/her hubby, who also has an unusual-shaped foot)… no pattern, just made them up! Gorgeous.

Photo of Andean Sock

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

I’m catching up on photos I have already developed, because photos are what slow me down when I post. I still am running behind because of a week being my friend’s wheels. So worth it, and I got time with her toddler which is a real treat.

andeansockforkid16.jpgBut here is a photo I really did not want to miss posting, so you win in this case. I got this sock (it’s one of a pair) at the Llamafest in East Lansing a few months ago. I also got some more modern-looking flip-top alpaca mittens from Bolivia and some alpaca knit dolls, which I did not yet photograph.

I only have one sock on my desk right now, but that tag says “Kids sock $6.00.” I’m so sad about that. The yarn is synthetic but the knitting took somebody some serious time and I like the result. The other sock had a tag about the country it came from but I don’t have that right now. The vendor was loaded with alpaca goods so it was clearly Andean though the country is not obvious.

It is done in the round, and each color block just pulls the yarn back to its new starting place. This means that each block puckers a lot (the boxes just under the turned top cuff) and the black stitches between blocks are pulled thin a little.

The animal motifs did not need this treatment, they were stranded all around the circumference and just tacked when knitting by knitting over and under the unused yarn (something like the Philosophers Wool technique where there are no floats of yarn on the back).

This sock was knit top down with a band heel (like a Dutch heel) that has a garter edge on the flap. The flap is really short and they actually picked up fewer stitches for the foot than they had on the leg. The toe is a wedge toe, very like the ones US knitters often use.

They decreased the toe down to what appears to be 4 stitches and tied a knot in the end of the yarn through those 4 stitches. Some cultures leave a tail there so that they can hang the sock for drying, so maybe that is what this was for.

I like the turned cuff at the top. It has some garter ridges in stripes, for texture/color interest. This idea has merit for a non-binding top, whether top down or toe up.

Off to teach kids to knit, and then to dance my troubles away. Well, not my own troubles as I have few. Maybe the troubles of the world and bits of my past need to be shaken away, and this sort of dance in a room full of women is a great way to do it. Thirty women dancing is some sort of wonderful Girl Power, if you ask me.

I’m off!

Cool Technique

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

When there are many color changes in a knit item, or there is a break in the yarn at a place which is inconvenient, many knitters feel stuck for a good answer to the problem. One excellent choice is something called the Russian Join. It creates a clean change between colors and no ends to work in later.

There is a walk-through of the Russian Join, with photos, on the Knitting Any Way website. I think this is the most clear explanation I’ve seen.

(Knitting Any Way is a site which covers machine knitting *and* handknitting. The reference to “carriage” is a machine-knitting word but the join is the same no matter how you are using the yarn.)

Remade Items in Previous Posts

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

I’m still tied up with my friend who needs me. I’ll be her wheels until Tuesday noon or so, it has been a week of errands between errands yet totally worthwhile. I’m wiped out but she is, too… and more.

Words are easy for me to write… photos take a lot of time. Therefore, I’m not quite where I’d like to be here on the blog (I need current photos). That’s how it goes sometimes, when life needs to adjust to reality.

To keep you interested in the thread i started yesterday, here are links to previous garment/knitting projects I’ve remade (as mentioned in yesterday’s post):

1. A Ralph Lauren sweater knit of Manos Del Uruguay handspun/handpainted yarn, purchased at a Lakeland, Florida resale shop for $6. I undid it from the neck to the armholes, made the body of the sweater into a miniskirt and the arms into legwarmers. Adorable, and much fun. You’ll get the full story and big photos (including me wearing the skirt) if you click the links above, but you can peek at the legwarmers at a distance in photo top right.

2. A handspun/handknit sweater from Latin America, purchased for $5 at Scavenger Hunt in East Lansing (funky resale shop aimed at students). It was so skinny and long it would have fit a beanpole teen boy but none would have worn it.

The bottom rib was tight. The sleeves were at least 6″/15cm too long. The yarn on cuffs, bottom rib and neckline was really scratchy, never mind being a red-brown that was not my style. The sweater overall was as colorful as a Turkish sock but unwearable (notice the legwarmers in the “before” photo at left are those I made in the previous makeover).

I cut off the excess arm length at the cuffs. I cut off the bottom ribbing and unraveled the neck.

Then I bought some really soft Manos del Uruguay yarn in teal. I reknit the neck, cuffs and bottom rib in the teal. I actually used a little bit of the leftover burgundy/berry Manos from the Ralph Lauren sweater as small stripes both in the neck area and the bottom rib, just to make the teal yarn stretch a little further.

Even though I cut off 6″/15cm of the arms and merely knit 8 rows of a rolled cuff as replacements, the sleeves are still college-girl long. However, that minor issue can be lived with rather than cutting off some of the colorwork. The rest is just about perfect. I call it my beloved “Turkish Sock Sweater” though it was not created anywhere near Turkey. I wear it a LOT.

In the first photo here today I’m repeating a photo from less than 2 weeks ago. I’m wearing the Manos sweater-arms-turned-legwarmers in it. (The idea originated from Rae, I was going to make armwarmers which would have been too big.) I sure do like them!

Oh, and here are photos of a third project: sandals I remade, before and after. Discount girls’ extra-large sandals, too girly. I repainted the buckles with woman-colored fingernail polish, and I decorated the leather with permanent markers in different thicknesses/colors. I adore these! (The green socks are my very own Fast Florida Footies in Cascade Fixation cotton/lycra yarn.)

Transformations

Monday, November 5th, 2007

I learned from my mother, that I could take one clothing item and make it into something better. It would be related to where it started, but it would suit me better.

Mom and I are both quite small, she is smaller than me. Her bones are so tiny that I tried to put on her wedding dress (I weighed a few pounds less when trying it on than she had weighed when she wore it), and my arms would not fit into the sleeves. We could not zip up the dress because my forearms were too big. And trust me, they are not all that big.

It was hard to find things off the rack that would work instantly. So Mom would buy a dress that was almost right. She would need to shorten it, maybe change the sleeve length, open up the neck, whatever. She might take the dress apart at the waist seam, pull up the skirt at the waist, re-sew it, and then the skirt would not be too long any more.

She taught me to take a purchased sweater which had unraveled/run from the shoulder seam, and use a crochet hook to work the stitches back up to the top again. She added, subtracted, changed buttons. She is very clever and creative. I never thought twice about it, this is just “what you do.” Never imagined that others did not do this, too.

So now I look at my works in progress. One is a huge colorwork sweater, a size XL at least. Handspun, handknit in Nepal. I found it for $1.99USD at a resale shop, and it may have never been worn.

It’s beautiful, totally my colors. However, as a pullover it just plain was too big and clunky. I plan to turn up the sleeve ribbing but not by rolling while wearing. I will fold the rib into the inside of the sleeve. And I’ll gently hem that so that the sleeve is the right length and looks more like a coat.

I ripped out/frogged the collar on that sweater. I “steeked” the front center (cut the knitting fabric open) and bought a zipper. I plan to install a zipper on the front, sew in shoulder pads to support the weight of the large garment, and reknit the collar. Nearly-Instant sweater-coat! Way faster than knitting from scratch, anyway.

The second changed project is more simple. I started a sweater in K1P1 rib, in Aspen super-fat yarn (it calls for 2.5st/in in stockinette). I started this one at least a year ago. I knit till I got to the place where underarms required some shaping, and stopped. Well, I can not find the pattern anywhere. And I got the yarn/pattern at Threadbear but they don’t seem to have access to that pattern anymore, either. So I put it on the shelf trying to figure out what to do next.

I know now what it is. I’m knitting on it again. It’s about as wide as a stole. Cool. I need to make a little fiber hug for a wonderful child. So now I’m making a K1P1 wrap from what once was the back of a sweater, in super fat yarn. It will work great for a toddler. I may crochet a simple edge on it so that I can add some extra color and increase its width slightly.

You guys are so the best. I count my blessings every day for this life. You, my family, my husband, friends, Lansing’s artistic community. Thank you for coming by and being a part of my life.

I have photos of cutting the steek of the sweater-will-be-jacket. I took them at Rae’s retreat up at Drummond Island about a month ago. Right now I’m falling asleep at the monitor but I will look at getting some photos for you soon.