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Archive for May 30th, 2008

Five Easy Questions/Answers

Friday, May 30th, 2008

I think I met ChelleC because of my blog. We’ve been online friends so long, it seems impossible that we have not met yet. I am still holding on to hope that a yarn shop in Kansas City hires me to go down there and teach a weekend’s worth of workshops, so that I can hang out with Chelle between classes. It is not out of the realm of possibility… I taught in Texas in 2007, and Kansas City is a lot closer than that.

Chelle just tagged me for a “five easy answers” meme. If anyone out there wants to play after me, please take it and run. I usually enjoy playing these but I hate to have expectations of a friend that he/she would enjoy it as well.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago? I was a newlywed (to beloved Brian). I was working almost full time (on call, as they needed me) as a Microsoft Office computer instructor. I was driving to a different city each day to teach people I’d never see again, for seven hours. Intense. (Loved the travel, didn’t love the early hours and the cramming to learn new programs.) I was preparing to quit that job and become a Y2K consultant. I had not yet learned that I could knit my own socks, so my creative outlets were polymer clay and soft-block printing/ eraser-carving/ mail art. (Image is two block prints of Tango dancers I made from plastic erasers, carved with woodcarving v-cutting tools, probably 1998.)

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today? Send Fabulous Heftones CD to DJ who requested it, mail out patterns to 3 online customers, lug equipment to community center so that I can teach kids to dye wool yarn with Kool-Aid, deliver sock samples to Rae’s yarn shop (she had them last week and I accidentally walked off with them), check in with my test knitters and make any corrections they suggest to my current sock-pattern document.

3. Snacks I enjoy: Tapioca pudding made with brown sugar and soy milk, dark chocolate with mint, hot English Breakfast tea (straight up, nothing in it but tea leaves), Stonyfield Farms organic vanilla ice cream, with American Spoon Foods strawberry preserves on it. Half a grapefruit, maybe with a tiny bit of dark brown sugar on top. Or a baked sweet potato, with butter and maybe a tiny bit of blackstrap molasses. Actually, there is nothing like a cup of hot black tea. (Photo is tea in Addis, Ababa, Ethiopia, at my friend Altu’s mother’s home… holiday season 2004/2005.)

4. Places I’ve lived: Born in Golden Valley (perfect name for a color fanatic) which is near Minneapolis, Minnesota. At age 2, moved to Boston for 1 year. At 3, moved to Okemos, Michigan (east of East Lansing/Michigan State University where dad was professor). College 2.5 years from 1976-1978 in Mount Pleasant, Michigan (which has no mountain, it’s dead flat), only 80 miles north of Lansing. Back to the Lansing area, lived in Williamston (east a little further, but still mostly a farming community when I moved there) for 12 years. After a divorce, moved to downtown Lansing, and have stayed inside the city limits ever since, never looked back. Sounds boring, sometimes is… but this is a friendly town and the creative folks all seem to know one another without it being too snoopy. I really love big cities like Chicago, New York, Boston and Toronto, but I visit them often and that makes it so that Lansing can stay my comfy home base.

Where would I LIKE to live? I want to live in another country before I die, ideally for 6 months to 2 years. (I would settle for 2 weeks, to be honest, but this asks what I would LIKE.) I was planning a move to Chicago at one time early after my divorce. I was planning a move to the country of Mexico when I met Brian and changed all plans. I love the language of Spanish, I can pronounce it very well but know only maybe 400 words. Would love to live somewhere I could learn it better. But I’d take Australia, London, anywhere in Italy, even close-by Toronto or Montreal. If at all possible, I’d love to live in a city full of skyscrapers and public transit/subway system. Nothing like a multicultural big city!

5. Things I’d do if I were a billionaire: Not sure. I am not sure I can think that big right now, and I truly love the life I’m living already.

I’d definitely move to another country if money were no object, but probably not permanently. I’d get a house back on the East Side of Lansing (love Groesbeck neighborhood, its nice but modest), but not a big or fancy one… one with some architectural interest and a two-lane driveway (which is one of the luxuries we have at our current house) and maybe one fruit tree. I’d take drawing lessons, and Spanish lessons, and bass lessons. I’d get an old VW minibus and make it like new, so we could take it to the music festivals and not get rained on.

I’d buy a whole wardrobe made of Wool Jersey (tee shirt fabric, super thin nonscratchy, stretchy wool), from tank tops to turtlenecks to leggings to jackets and skirts. Or assuming I had time, maybe I’d sew up those things myself.

I surely would contribute to some charity causes but it would require deep consideration before choosing which ones. I love Doctors without Borders, and our local Eve’s House (support/shelter for women in abusive relationships, they really helped a friend exactly when/how she needed it). I’d contribute to the local Red Cross fund which helps people when they can’t afford an expensive prescription… since they helped me twice when I was without insurance. Probably I’d work with those micro-loans for self-employed businesspeople all over the world where they pay back and then you loan it again to someone else.

And last but perhaps most important? I’d buy a certain couple a house that was wheelchair-accessible. Oh, yes, I would.

Chippy Socks Update: Ewe-kniss, Diana & Mary

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Ewe-kniss has posted about her set of six Chippy Socks for Kids today. She has been such a support to me, always interested in this design since I started with the idea over a year ago.

I love how her colorway worked out… more soft, and more boyish than other colorways I’ve tried since I started with this design. Hers are a silvery gray, a medium-to-soft turquoise and purple. Very fun and nice. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Rialto, a DK-weight washable merino, very soft. She says she’ll make a pair for her daughter from this same yarn (different colors), when the samples are done.

Diana also wrote to say that she sent out her six sample Chippy Socks in the mail today. Typically that would mean I get them tomorrow/Saturday, so I will plan to photograph them for you as soon as I can. Chippy Socks in Worsted-weight yarn

Diana’s socks are in a very different yarn from Ewe-kniss’: Cascade Fixation cotton/lycra yarn. Same gauge, a DK weight knit at 6.25 stitches per inch for socks. These are brighter, more my style… hot pink, yellow, and turquoise. Sort of primary colors but more ColorJoy.

I am eager to see Diana’s socks. Maybe I can stand at the post office at 8:30am, the time when they promise the day’s mail has arrived?

Not likely, but I will pop in to see my Post Office Box after I go north to DeWitt and then go on Tourist in Your Own Town. (Saturday 10-5 they are opening up the Board of Water and Light building at Cedar and Michigan in downtown Lansing, to show the FDR-era murals painted in there… first time open to the public since 9/11, I’m hyped, I’ve never seen them.)

Mary is either done or nearly so… she is working in pastels. If I remember right, she has a soft greenish-teal, a soft purple and either a mauve or a silvery-gray. Her yarn is Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (mmmm).

I had wanted to do a fourth test knit in Louisa Harding Kashmir DK. I ran out of time, knitters and cash for sample yarn by the time I got to that idea, but I may do it on my own when I get a little more wiggle-space in my schedule. I love that yarn deeply, it machine wash/dries perfectly without pills for just about forever, and wears like iron if you like socks that are a little thicker than normal socks (we’re talking socks for me this time, the Kashmir is wonderful in both the DK weight and Aran weight).

All three knitters provided excellent input. Not only did they all find the spot where I said “Knit” when I meant “Purl” (whoops) but I even got some good input on rearranging the content of the pattern so it would flow better for a knitter. Let’s face it, when I design, I am working on one bit at a time and I can sometimes benefit from fresh eyes as far as how things might best be laid out.

I am really excited about my Chippy Socks design. If you see the ad on Ravelry from June 1-15, I’d love to hear about it.

I’m getting excited. I think this pattern will be out perhaps within a few days. Send good vibes if you would.

(The photo here is a pair of Chippy Socks that Diana knit over a year ago… using worsted-weight Cascade 220 washable yarn. These do not fit the current specifications of the pattern but I do really love the colors. These went to Isabel the other day with the 6 smaller magenta/turquoise/purple socks. For the record, Diana’s husband Eric, my brother, decided he wanted some Chippy socks after seeing these. Diana made him a pair out of this yarn. The pattern does not go up to adult sizes, so Eric is the only grown-up kid with a pair of these at this time!)