About Me ColorJoy Home Page Free Stuff About Me Contact Me
ColorJoy Home Page
ColorJoy Home The ColorJoy Blog Buy Patterns, Recipe Books, CDs Patterns Schedule & Potential Classes Recipes & Food Information The LynnH SockTour LynnH Polymer Clay The Fabulous Heftones - Lynn & Brian

Archive for February, 2008

A Perfect Day to Meet the Neighbors

Friday, February 29th, 2008

It snowed again last night. Depending on where you look it may be 1-3″ of snow. It’s not very cold out, and if I had energy and leisure I’d make another snowman. I’m really excited to be working, though, so I’m OK with all that.

The birds seem unaware that it looks like winter. They are singing like it is spring. I hope they are right. It is the last day of February, on a long-February month, and I know that my violets in the yard usually bloom in March. So maybe the birds remember things like that.

I am taking photos for my patterns today and my camera ran out of batteries. Luckily I live pretty close to a place where I can get them, but I’m still working with wobbly knees so I drove. I noticed that it seems half the neighborhood is out shoveling, even though it’s midday on a work day. It would be the perfect day to meet neighbors… but I’m working and can’t go out and socialize.

I saw a funny sight on the way to the store. This guy of retiree age was pushing his very fancy snowblower. First I noticed how he had to turn his head to not get snow in his face (that would really bug me). Then I looked at the machine he was pushing.

The blower was really big… most are about the width of a shovel but his was more like a lawnmower, with a blade over knee-high. And this guy was cleaning snow… off his street. His street. Wow. Maybe he likes snow, or maybe he likes his snowblower as much as my father did. Or maybe his car just doesn’t go when the snow is this deep. The guy’s driveway was only one lot away from a more-traveled street.

As for me, indoors is where I want to be when it is snowing outside. Unless it’s really warm snow and I can make a snowman. But not today.

Photo: Snowman Brian and I made on January 1 of this year. That was fun!

Squirrels… Plural

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Nature is bigger than me. We’ve had one squirrel (or so it seemed) in the attic off and on for a few months. Yesterday the noise level increased, it seemed there was more runnng around. Then I heard chirruping sounds. That was new. I think we have a mating couple talking to one another. Great!

I am not in charge. Thursday is a busy day but on Friday we will go into the attic and make sure we get any boxes that are stored in there, out of there. We know where they are coming in, but with piles of snow on the roof we can not close it up until it’s warm. We need to know they have gone out for the warm afternoon to gather food, and then we can close the hole. That is, if there isn’t a nest of babies.

Guess we need to actually go into the attic every so often to make it feel less safe for them. Or something. Slamming doors and growling like an animal just makes them sit still for a while but they are not moving out. Eucalyptus oil did not deter them for even a few days.

OK, focus on the good stuff… Tonight is the Schuler Book event. And I’m assembling photos for you of the evolution of my ZigBagZ pattern. That story may take a few days.

I am looking forward to a Friday with no appointments. Have a great day today, and stay warm if you have snow… as I do.

Thursday Night Special Event

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I had a student last fall, at Rae’s yarn shop, who works for Schuler Books (a very fine Michigan-owned bookstore with a handful of shops in a few cities). She told me they needed a knitting person for a book promotion, and connected me with the proper person at the East Wood Towne Center store.

There has been good promotion out in the press, thanks to Schuler’s. However, I have been so distracted not feeling well and working on this pattern, that I didn’t do a lot of it myself this time.

The book is called 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders. It is full of mostly-small projects, all which take one skein of yarn (some skeins hold more yardage than others, so the projects do vary a bit in size and complexity).

I am quite pleased with a number of the projects in the book, and its predecessor (One-Skein Wonders). As would be expected, other folks like some of the ones I like and some different. Imagine that!

In fact, I almost never want to knit scarves after knitting *only* scarves in the first 20 years I knew the knit stitch. I get so cold that I prefer a stole or shawl. However, this book has a scarf I want to knit. Go figure.

I hope that those who normally go to knit-in at Rae’s will join us at Schuler’s Books tomorrow night. Here is the publicity blurb Schuler’s sent out:

One Skein Wonders Knitting Lesson
Schuler Books & Music
2820 Towne Center Blvd.
Thursday Feb 28 at 7:30
Join local knitting instructors Lynn Hershberger and Rae Blackledge
for a knitting lesson from the book Designer One Skein Wonders.
You bring the knitting needles (size 7 or 8 ), we’ll provide the yarn,
and the first 10 guests will receive a gift bag from Storey publishing!

The project is a relatively simple knit which will not be able to be completed in one session for most folks, but we will get participants on their way. If you have a friend who wants to learn to knit, this might be a fun event to go to, together. You can knit along with us or you can knit your own thing and be there just as part of the larger Lansing knitting community.

Schuler’s is providing free yarn and the publisher, Storey Publishing, is providing gifts for the first 10 attendees. Bring size 7 or 8 needles with you, only the first 10 people will get needles. I understand Rae will bring some supplies for folks to buy if they come without needles, but if you have the right thing that will make sure you are all set.

Please join us, if you are a knitter in Lansing. We can show Schulers how many of us there are in this fine city! Represent!

I Don’t Need a Guru

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

My husband is thoughtful and doesn’t push life where it can’t go. I am usually, on the other hand, frantic like the Energizer Bunny. I go a hundred miles an hour even when that may not be the best strategy. We may be the proverbial tortoise and the hare, except he’s not really slow… but he’s steady as April rain.

Today I have too much to do. How I deal with this, typically, is to sleep less. This does give me more hours in the day. However, I still feel pretty crummy and today I feel worse than yesterday. No surprise after two days of pushing pretty hard!

It’s deskwork I’m doing (writing patterns on a computer) rather than running a marathon, but it’s still very important to me that it be of high quality for my customers. I hold some emotional energy as I work toward getting things to a place that is clear and accurate for those who knit my work without my physical presence.

So when Brian left today he gave me some good advice. “Lynn, work with the current, do not try to go against the flow.”

I do not need a guru with a thoughtful man like that. He loves me, he sees what I need, he says what I need to hear in a loving way.

Off to get my work done… with the current.

Worlds Healthiest Foods Website

Monday, February 25th, 2008

Finally, a food/health website that focuses on the positive! I found myself yesterday at World’s Healthiest Foods. They have a List of over 100 Nutrient-Rich Foods, which I checked out for a while. Each food has so much information that it takes a long while to get through it all, so I did not get too far. However, I’m excited to add blackstrap molasses to my diet as one iron-rich food, not in a pill. I do not eat red meat/mammals so I need to pay attention to iron more than most.

There is also a recipe page. I did not even get to that page. However, I know you guys always appreciate links to recipe sites. So go to it!

I am really happy about the positive nature of this site. Yes, they do sell a book, so they can make some profit from it. But I’m telling you, the information this site holds is vast and you can use it without buying anything.

They have a page explaining who they are and how they got into this in the first place. I like what they say here (this is only one sentence from the middle of a long page):

Our Focus
Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine said, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.”

And with that, I’m off to teach and ship a few orders. The ZigBagZ patterns are coming right along… Wednesday is still the goal for shipping those out. It looks good, and I’m so glad to be on this portion of the journey!

Poof! I’m a Cat.

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

The sun shone beautifully today. It was cold but not dead-frigid as it has been lately.

I swear I turned into a cat for an afternoon. I remember my cat Muffett was the ultimate pleasure-seeking being. He looked for comfort, and only moved when something else seemed more pleasurable than what he was currently doing. He loved sunshine and would move with the sunbeams all day to stay warm and happy.

muffett.jpgI moved my laptop around the house and followed the sun today. I sat in my office in the chair until the sun was mostly hidden behind a tree. Then I moved to the living room floor (on a pillow to be nicer to my joints when I had to get up). Then the sun would move and I’d move the pillow. I wanted happy sun in my face, and vitamin D in my skin. It was a winning combination.

I’ve made a choice to put something in the ZigBagZ patterns which I had originally planned not to include. (Text description for the Zig Chart, for those who do not like working from charts.) I’ve included both charts and text in previous patterns and I”m thinking folks may expect it. This is a lot of detail work late in the game but I think it is worthwhle. This means pulling out some other explanatory text later in the pattern (to keep it to 8 pages, gasp) and I think this is a better balance overall.

I tell you what, when I’m done with this I will be craving a garter-stitch scarf, the most simple knitting ever. Something that takes no brain for a while. The brain cells are screaming for a vacation!

Luckily for me, my friend Cynthia is going to look over this latest inclusion as a proofreader. I’m too close tot he project at this point to trust myself with entirely new text.

And with that I’m back to converting a knitting chart to text…

Photo of my only pet ever, Muffett, 1979-1996. He was so friendly and special that my friends cried when he died.

Update: New Patterns

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

magknitspeek1.jpgI got word this week from Kerrie at MagKnits, somehow I didn’t get the original notice that the February issue has been delayed until March. It was an oversight, she sent out notice to thousands of people and somehow I was not on the list. Either that, or my spam filter ate her note.

For those of you asking about my upcoming MagKnits pattern (detail above), it is still coming but just not for another week or so. Thank you for asking, it makes me understand that you are reading this and that you are excited with me about the publication.

(Note added months later: Magknits is no longer online. This pattern can be downloaded as a free pattern from Ravelry, even if you are not a member. Ravelry is free and worth its weight in gold to a knitter, if you ask me! If you want this pattern, download now by using this download link.)


Second, I’m plugging away on the two ZigBagZ collections. There will be one pattern (Maxi Collection) of the two large carry-all patterns, the Biggie and the Burly.

There will be a different pattern (Mini Collection) with three smaller bags… one tube for a half-liter water bottle, one larger tube for a caribiner-style water bottle or a small Aladdin Stanley Thermos, and a small pocketbook so to speak, a little cute rectangular bag which can easily hold a cell phone, a wallet, sunglasses, the basics when you want to travel light.

In the above photo, you see “before” and “after.” I’m holding open the pre-felted Burly Bag that Diana knit as a sample for Rae’s shop (the checkerboard section is actually the base of the bag). Sitting next to me on the floor is the Burly Bag that cousin Karen knit and felted and shrunk and shrunk. It’s really wonderful fabric, really dense and durable.

I’ve been testing out this bag and the straps are strong enough to carry the weight in there even when it includes two knitting books, a camera, cell phone, palm pilot, wallet, bottle of water and the other zillion knitting supplies I always carry with me. I am very pleased with the useability of the bag.

biggiezigafter66.jpgI tend to under-felt things. My bag that I had knit for myself as a prototype (at right) is much more springy and soft-sided (and taller) than the one Karen made. Both are very useable and wonderful to wear and tote things in. I have determined to shrink mine just a little more after using Karen’s for a while.

Anyway I am now taking pre-orders for both collections on my website shop. Local folks, do hang tight because the local shops who carry my patterns will be carrying these. Please support your local shops when you can.

Out of town folks, I’m delighted to take orders or you can wait. Or even better, tell your local shop that I am accepting new shop orders out of my area. My goal is to ship to everyone (shops included) by Wednesday, February 27.

Thank you for your continued interest in my work. I have been so sick I have not been able to focus much on detailed text, really since the 4th of February. I’m much better but still fighting off a cough and tiredness.

Actually, this flu thing is going around so fast that the three main employees at Rae’s shop (including Rae), are all sick at the same time. I’m going to do my best to open/run the shop for Rae tomorrow while everyone else is working on their own healing. If you come by, please be nice to me while I do my best.

zigmini600x600.jpgI’m not the most experienced shop employee. I am a teacher, primarily. I do pretty well with the computer part, anyway. And hey, I know what it’s like to be self-employed and have nobody to rescue you.

It’s my honor to help. People have been so good to me while I’ve been slowly coming back to almost-normal. It’s my turn to put out a little effort in thanks.

Now, back to that pattern…

Lunar Eclipse

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

It is 13F outdoors (-10.5C) and we are having a lunar eclipse as I type this. It started at 8:45 and was supposed to be most beautiful around 11. At about 10:30 I decided to brave the cold and go out to get a photo.


My night-landscape setting did allow me to get the photo. The moon is flanked by one planet and one star (I did not do my homework on what they are) which look here like little white scribbles. I had to prop the camera on the top of Brian’s car and try really hard not to wiggle or breathe for many, many seconds while the camera tried to drink in as much light as it possibly could.

So my moon and my planet and my star are all a little fuzzy here, but you can see how the left side was starting to become a sort of dark orange where the shadow of the earth was edging in sideways. So cool.

I think it is good to see how tiny we are. An eclipse *is* a big deal, a mini-miracle, and with the magic of modern science we know when it is coming and when to look. I think that is just wonderful.

May you have a wondrous and magical (but not too cold) day, night, week…

Polymer Clay Sculpture

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Thanks to blog reader Patch, I got referred to SaraJane Helms’ website where she and other polymer-clay-artist friends are making a miniature quilt store (scale works for 11.5″ dolls, I think that’s like a Barbie). It is truly wonderful. I have met some of the artists involved in this project, back when polymer clay was new and it was my only artform. They have continued with the clay as I have proceeded first to soft block printing and for the last 6 years, knitting.

SaraJane’s husband Bryan Helms also does some amazing collage work. He uses small polymer clay pieces and affixes them to found objects, often musical instruments which no longer are able to make proper music for whatever reason. He is a musician as well. I think he thinks something like I do, he made a wig head into a polymer and glass bead sculpture (I’ve made both mailart styrofoam heads and polymer clay-embellished glass heads).

If you are interested in where creativity can take an artist, checking out their site is worth your while. Have fun!

Converting DPN Pattern to 2 Circs?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Can anyone help, please? I have a customer who bought my Fast Florida Footies pattern as a download from the KnittingZone website. The pattern was written for double-pointed needles (DPNs). She is working it on 2 circular needles rather than DPNs and I have not done this before. She writes:

As soon as it printed off I began my sock… However, I decided to knit them on two circular needles instead of double points.
Everything went along very well until it was time to do the gusset decrease.
Here is where I need help distributing the stitches and placing markers.
Could you help me with this part? I sure would appreciate it.

I inquired and she does not have a local guild or yarn shop to help her out. Does anyone out there have the time and knowledge to help this customer? We both would be appreciative.

If you are able to help, please either leave me a comment or send an email to Lynn AT ColorJoy DOT com and I’ll connect you to the person with the question. Thanks!

Time for a Gratitude List

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

briankissinglynntiny.jpgI’ve been grumpy today. The weather is crummy, the squirrel got back into the attic and my legs are like rubber bands so I can’t stand or walk long at all. When I try to do anything not sitting down I need a 2 hour nap very soon thereafter.

It is very easy to get into a funk in a Michigan February anyway, and I have work to do. I can not stay with the grumpy spot my brain is in right now if I want to get anything done at all. Therefore, it’s time for a gratitude list again. So here it is:

  • Brian.
  • Tapioca pudding.
  • Sweet potatoes, baked with butter and nutmeg.
  • Friends who call to see how I am doing.
  • Friends online who write and make me feel better.
  • Every single one of you who comes by this blog… especially when you take the time to comment, but that is not at all necessary.
  • Brian.
  • My wonderful 1998 VW New Beetle, Joy Bug. I love that car. I love her soooo much. She has 130,000 miles and needs some tender loving care sometimes but I am still in love like I was in 1999 when I got her. She doesn’t show her age at all, not a single rust spot.
  • Wool, alpaca, mohair.
  • Music.
  • Brian.
  • Health insurance, thanks to Brian and his workplace.
  • Everybody I work for, every shop, every student.
  • Ravelry… what an inspiring place this online fiber community has become.
  • My family… the ones I was born to and the ones married in.
  • The wonderful relationship I have with my Mom and my Brother after all these years… earned the hard way.
  • Brian.
  • This house. It’s quirky like me. Brian picked it before we met but it’s very like what I picked for myself, and with prettier wood trim (and much better parking).
  • The porch on this house. Heaven.
  • Lansing and all the creative people in it.
  • All the travel I have done in my life… 250,000 miles on my former car, Martha G., and trips out of the country mostly as gifts or windfalls, each trip as magical as the one before.
  • Good foods, especially “ethnic” foods.
  • Fun clothes.
  • Wonderful yarns in my house ready for me to knit with them.
  • My career(s), both knitting/fiber/art and music.
  • The sense that I am no longer an outsider in my own town. I belong.
  • Brian.

How to Fry Eggplants like a Sicilian Mama

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Well, I read a lot about cooking. I don’t always do what I read but I find it fascinating. I’ve always found eggplant yummy at a restaurant but not in my kitchen. I just have not yet figured it out.

And then I found this. How to Fry Eggplants like a Sicilian Mama, at FXCuisine. It is interesting. I am not sure I want to fry anything in a lot of oil, but now I know some things I did not know before. You might find it interesting, too. There are many good photos and not a lot of extra talk. A very good food page.

New York Subway Art

Monday, February 18th, 2008

The New York transit authority (whatever it may be called) has a web page listing public art in the subway system. It is fascinating, and seemingly never-ending. Good for New York!

Better, Tired, Happy, Just Fine

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

zigbagz600x600.jpgDon’t worry about me… there is a lot of sleep going on between the little work I’m doing out of the house. We sang Friday and Saturday, and then went home and crashed.

I am working as much as I can on the ZigBagZ patterns. I have put up pages on my shopping cart under accessory patterns, where folks can pre-order. I am doing whatever I can to get a well-thought pattern printed for you.

Right now I am separating the two large bags from the three smaller ones, I will be calling them the Maxi and Mini collections, sort of like skirts in 1970 if you remember. (I was a huge fan of the maxi, especially for winter coats.)

It was just too long and hard to follow with all the information I was trying to cram in there. Fifteen zigmini600x600.jpgpages with five bag designs just cannot work in one $6 pattern. It needed to be split or turned into a brochure/booklet, and I am not prepared to have two pattern formats at this time.

I’m fine, thank you for caring about me so much. I work 2 hours Sunday and no classes Monday. Pattern should develop quickly without any interruption… or so is my plan. It sure is nice to have my good brain engaged again after all that foggy time.