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 June, 2008

Fourth of July Concert

Monday, June 30th, 2008

The Fabulous Heftones at RicStar BenefitPardon me while I post a local announcement… to my Lansing-Area readers:

It’s official: Brian and I will perform as The Fabulous Heftones for the Meridian Township Fourth of July celebration. We start at 7:30pm on Friday and sing till 10pm, about when the fireworks will start.

It was in the Towne Courier paper Monday, according to my mother who watches these things carefully. No doubt it will be in the What’s On section on Thursday’s Lansing State Journal and perhaps the City Pulse and the NOISE as well.

The location will be at the border of Okemos/Haslett Michigan, behind the Meridian Township hall on Marsh Road (between Haslett Rd. and Grand River Ave.) at the street called Central Park Drive. It is just behind the Meridian Mall, in the Friends of Historic Meridian section of Central Park.

If you park behind the Township Hall, there is a covered area where they have a farm market. A different band will be playing behind that structure, but if you instead cross the footbridge to the right, you will walk a bit past a few historic buildings and will see the barn at left.

We will sing in front of the barn. If you want to sit down, bring your own chair or a blanket.

Fabulous Heftones, New York Ukefest 2006If you have not heard us before, we do the retro hits of the 1920’s… April Showers, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, Paper Moon, Shine on Harvest Moon, For Me and My Gal, Jada, and more. It’s uplifting music, mostly love songs and a few novelty tunes thrown in there. For many of us, it creates a lovely trip down memory lane, but te young folks seem to enjoy the music on its own merits. Click the links on the songs to hear our version, if your computer is set up to play MP3 music (most are).

This is a totally family-friendly community event, bring the kids and their friends and let them dance while we sing. We love the kids. Little boys seem to be fascinated with Brian’s tiny instrument, especially when he plays it really fast. It’s wonderful to watch their little faces!

Fab Heftones in ChicagoWe are very excited about this concert. I grew up in this area, before it was developed (it was all fields and the Pilgrim House Furniture store was a real barn with animals in it). I will know some of the folks who come, and they will not expect to know me. Also my Mom is being her usual publicity chairperson self and has invited a list of her friends. Some of my computer students (the classes are a few blocks from the park) will be coming as well.

It is always exciting to play in a new place. Actually, we have played twice in their Wednesday night Historical society series, once as The Fabulous Heftones and once as members of Abbott Brothers’ band. But this was the first time we have been headliners. Having a 2 hour concert to ourselves? This is the most fun anyone can have on a 4th of July, perhaps!!!

Photos: Fab Heftones at RicStar Music Camp Benefit, VanAtta Greenhouse in Haslett; New York Ukefest 2006; Chicagoland Ukulele Jam Festival.

I Can be Bought, I Guess

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Sometimes I think I live a simple life. In some ways I do, but I’m an American and I need to admit that “simple” has many definitions. I do tend to keep things a long time once purchased (my last car I had for 14 years and 250,000 miles, for example).

Also, sometimes I buy new things… and even with advance research I don’t necessarily like them when they arrive. In the last several years this has been true for a camera, a cell phone, a PDA (palm device), and a laptop.

Yet I have loved an earlier laptop, a dishwasher (yes, really), a cell phone (actually two), an earlier PDA, even cars. I have done consistently well with cars, anyway.

And this month? Brian and I got a new refrigerator and a new stove. I am smitten. I will never be fully domestic, but I don’t mind being in the kitchen as much, now that I have these gizmos. (Before/After:)



Our food-prep kitchen area was a bedroom until about 1980. At that time the people living here expanded their existing kitchen from one small cooking area, perhaps with a tiny table, into an eating space. A bedroom across from that area became the cooking space. I’m not wild about the whole setup but it was not my house at that time (notice that there is a window behind the stove, something that befuddles my aesthetic-focused mind). This is where I have to practice saying “I’m not in charge.”

Honestly, given that it was a square space I think they made it work as well as they could. It’s what we have to work with and I am *NOT* one who thinks of construction as a positive option. We’re living with the layout. Let’s face it, any house as old as this (front 3 rooms are turn of the century, back 3 are 1920’s) will just look cobbled in a few places.

In the early 1980’s, appliances were usually almond color (light beige) and sometimes the doors were black glass. Now, I’m one of those people for whom there are never enough lights turned on in the house. Every room is too dark even if it contains a floodlight or ten. This means that almond is too dark for me, it soaks up some of my precious light… and a black door? Never mind keeping it free of fingerprints and drips, it ate light for breakfast.

Without going into details, let us say that both stove and refrigerator were functional but tired, and both were almond colored. I rubbed up against their shortcomings often, but they were not actually broken past repair.

In spite of their “working” status, we decided to make our lives function better and get new appliances. We started thinking that we’d just get a refrigerator. Then when we went to the appliance store, there was one stove that just won my heart. Crazy, but I was smitten (that is the only word which really fits).


Yes, I love how this stove looks. It is adorable. It’s rounded on the edges and a bit retro or something, a little womanly/curvy perhaps, and I adore it. I am finding out that I love how it works, as well. (When it was delivered, we discovered it even has a convection oven feature/option, so I will have to explore that during roasted-root-vegetable season).

Take a look at the before and after photos. Maybe you can see what I mean. Wow. Happy me.

I see some paint in my future. Pure white walls for light, with turquoise(?) trim. Yup, definitely some paint…


Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Hi! I guess I’m slipping a bit, my goal is 28 posts a month and usually I do it, but what a month this has been. It has been good but I’ve kept it all to myself I guess.

Perhaps the most ColorJoy-full activity in a few weeks was the wedding of one of the Habibi Dancers. It was out maybe a half hour beyond the city in a farming area, and the ceremony was held around the front entrance to the farmhouse. Flowers were blooming and it was as beautiful as anything could be.


The bride has a sense of style and a sense of humor. The wedding was very much like the couple, full of fun and a bit irreverent, but with class.

The men wore black pants, and white tropical dress shirts such as we saw worn in Mexico (cooler than a suit but more formal than just any shirt). And their feet? Chuck’s: Converse All-Stars in black and white. Sweet.


The women wore dresses (one each in rainbow colors) which suited their coloring, shape and personalities. They were barefoot. The little girls wore rainbow-tie-dyed dresses.


And the tables? Decorated with cupcakes, flower petals, and at each seat there was a seedling in a pot to take home and plant. It smells a lot like lemon when I rub the leaves, so whatever it is I think I will enjoy it when it’s big enough to harvest and use as an herb.


Don’t these photos just make you smile? And is this not the most lovely front porch ever, for a wedding ceremony??? It was worth the drive (and I often resist leaving the city). Totally worth it.

A Monday Bonfire

Thursday, June 26th, 2008


We were invited to an impromptu bonfire party Monday night and we dropped everything to go. There were many musicians there and we enjoyed playing together, and listening to each other play.

Here is a photo of three guys from The Flatbellys, with Spencer borrowing my Heftone Bass. These guys are really good people, just love ’em.

I am SO glad it is finally summer. It seems I can’t shake memories of snow, even when the weather is hot and muggy. That last winter really did me in. I’m still thawing!


Rachel is the Sweetest Ever!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008


I don’t get to my PO Box every day, it’s several miles out of my regular routine. This week I got the nicest surprise when I made it there.

There was a small padded envelope, and I did not order anything that might be that size. What could it be?

Rachel B. loves me. That’s what. I feel so warm inside, this was such a surprise out of the blue!

It’s a mug cozy, and an assortment of fine teas. She even remembered that I’m allergic to cinnamon so she read all the ingredients for all the teas to be sure they were good for me. How thoughtful.

But not only is this a sweet gift… this is very special yarn. It’s her 2nd ever handspun. And she knit it up (which takes time) and sent it to me. To me!

Rachel and I met on the Internet, through this blog if I remember right. She has ordered my handpainted yarns more than once. And she has been a test knitter for me, as well. We have never met but that seems to not matter when we have so much in common.

And then this gift? I’m charmed and touched. I feel very loved.

Thanks, Rachel!

Musings on Lovely Crochet (Annette Petavy)

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

I do not crochet much; I do not follow crochet patterns very well. I *can* invent items on the fly with a crochet hook when I need a certain shape, it is a very flexible process. With crochet you can just take off and work another direction without binding off first.

My Personal Preferences

I am not fond of fabrics one can see through, as a general rule. Crochet makes wonderful lace (especially when worked in thread… I collect old handkerchiefs with crochet embellishments). I also do not wear flowery feminine styles, for my own personal clothing.

Crochet is therefore not as appealing to me as to someone whose style includes wearing lace. I guess I like lace on household objects and handkerchiefs more than on myself.

However, there are some crochet things you just can not do well with knitting. I am doing what I can to learn more (slowly, but I’m open).

Strengths of the Fabric Structure

Crochet has very unique characteristics. It is a more reversible fabric than knitting by nature, it does not curl up like knitting does, it is less inclined to stretch. This makes it good for rugs and purses, backpacks and hats, toys and sculptures, even shaped body-supporting undergarments and surely other things I’m not thinking of right now.

Although in general, the fabric of crochet is bumpy and the fabric of knitting is less so, there are smoother crochet stitch patterns and bumpier knit ones.

Fiber/Yarns and Their Impact

Another thing I notice is (admitting that this is a too-generalized statement), the knitters in my life tend to splurge on special yarns more often than the crocheters I know. This can mean that a wonderfully-executed crocheted item can come out less than its potential.

Perhaps that statement just exposes my strong preference for wool. Some wools are soft/not scratchy, and some wools are washable, though I admit that soft washable wool is a lot more expensive than workhorse acrylic yarns.

There are wonderful wool/acrylic and cotton/acrylic yarns, though, which hold a price point between the two, and which in my opinion have a much nicer look and feel than 100% acrylic or 100% cotton.

It’s a very personal thing, and I guess I also have to admit I have never once made something that required as much yarn as an afghan. That could cost enough that I might need to think carefully about my choices.


Another attribute of crochet is that the fabric is thicker by nature. Crochet is a series of knots, knitting is flatter interlocking loops. The knots contain several strands/layers of yarn.

Therefore, a crochet fabric is thicker in the same yarn, as compared to knitting. If one likes thinner and drapier fabric (as you know I often do), an item then might best be executed in a smaller yarn.

Tool Size

I also have found that if I use a much larger hook than called for, the fabric gets a little air in it and it drapes much more, which I like. My favorite experiment in crochet thus far was laceweight mohair on a hook normally used for worsted-weight afghan crocheting. Wow, it was pretty, and floaty, and drapey! I liked it a lot.

My Own Successes

I have not made many things that were entirely of crochet. I did very successfully use a single crochet edging to finish neck/armhole edges on a ribbed tank top. I made a single-crocheted bikini top for wearing at home on hot days (that one was worsted weight crocheted very tightly… it was easy to shape properly, it doesn’t show through, and it supports very firmly, which would have been difficult attributes to accomplish with knitting).

I have also used crochet as an embellishment/edge on a mohair Bloom Shawl (see photo, right), and to add a colorful edge on the hug/wrap I made for one special toddler last winter. I’m playing with a crocheted toy right now in fingering-weight yarn/single crochet.

Not a Success, Yet

I started a felted crochet bag/purse which I think will be wonderful, but had an awful time getting the right number of stitches required by the pattern. It is crocheted in concentric “circles” (more like a rounded rectangle) and I somehow am not placing my increases properly. That project is on hold for now but I refuse to use the yarn for something else. I have not yet given up hope.

Oh, the Possibilities…

Crocheted colorwork excites me. I’ve done a bit of Tapestry Crochet to explore that, which is great fun. I even considered that technique (rather than folk intarsia) for my self-portrait. However, my chart was created in a grid and crochet is off-grid like the shingles on a roof.

I’m not done thinking about this idea yet. Some of my favorite purchased hats and bags are tapestry crochet.

Cool Stuff I Found Today

I really think crochet has not been explored fully yet. Diana reminds me that folks still make thin, drapeable laces in fine crochet cottons. I dream of something similar but using wool, alpaca, or mohair laceweight yarns.

I have also felt that I could really love a stole in laceweight, if it were not a flowery lace. I like geometrics when I find lace I like at all. And I just found one possible option…

Sriyana left a comment on my blog (she makes incredible tapestry-crocheted mandalas which I’ve mentioned here before). I followed a link to her Flickr photo account. She had made some incredible fingerless mitts in a zillion colors, to send to a crochet friend in Barcelona.

I surfed to her friend’s blog. That friend had finished a stole designed by Annette Petavy. I love this design, it drapes so beautifully. It was made in a geometric pattern with laceweight Malabrigo 100% merino wool yarn. It has zigzags/peaks. (You surely know I love zigzags.) I love the photo of this stole.

Annette Petavy: Crochet Designer

So then of course, I had to surf to Annette Petavy’s site. Apparently she has written a number of patterns for publications such as Interweave Crochet.

She also has a shopping cart showing a handful of designs for sale as individual patterns/PDF download. One is the Arrows Stole which first drew my attention. (The prices are not listed in US dollars, it seems she’s in France.)

But I kept surfing… she also offers a striped cardigan pattern in sportweight yarn, very flattering. Imagine it in Sportweight Brown Sheep Nature Spun, a very sproingy wooly (handwash) and lightweight yarn which comes in a zillion colors. Luckily, Rae’s Yarn Boutique just got in dozens of colors of this very yarn late last week. Or maybe an alternative would be Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool… softer, drapier, and more subtle.

At this point I was intrigued. Annette works in thinner yarns, does some geometric rather than flowery lace… well, dare I think she designs with me in mind? (Yes, we are all self-centered when it comes down to it.) This is exciting. So I started peeking around her site.

Great Information/Articles

She has a page full of articles she wrote for the online magazine Crochet Me. I read the first two articles right away, one on being creative and breaking out of a routine, and one on how to vary the crochet stitches by using the front or back loops of the crochet fabric while working. Both are excellent.

Thanks, Sriyana!

I’m so glad Sriyana took the time to comment. Now I’m aware of a crocheter who designs in a way I really appreciate. I’ll keep a careful eye out now, for more.

Dearborn Dancing

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Sunday the Habibi Dancers took about a dozen women to dance at the Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan. It was wonderful to spend a day together. We danced, we watched friends dance, we ate Lebanese food. That’s as perfect a day as one can have, if you ask me.

Here the Habibi dancers are, doing a Saudi women’s party dance. I’m in the hot pink dress at front.


Here are four of our dancers in a crowd-pleasing number (they clapped and sang along with us here):


Here is the Middle Eastern Dance Ensemble of the greater-Detroit area doing a scarf dance:


We had 22 of us at dinner between the two groups, friends and family. The restaurant had a good attitude about it at the end of what must have been a very busy weekend. And the food! There is such good mideastern food in Dearborn! Ahhh…

This is my favorite place to dance all year. I had to miss it the last 2 years and was just delighted to join in again. It was wonderful.

Quick Photos

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

I am off to dance in Dearborn on Sunday so there is little time online available. I thought I’d share two great recent photos.

First, my KidzKnit, session 2 at Rae’s Yarn Boutique (Lansing, Michigan) this summer. If you are interested, it’s Wednesday afternoons 2:45pm to 4:30pm. Buy a “punch card” worth 4 sessions, for $20 per card. Share the card if you like even sell an extra punch to a friend, but no refunds if you do not use it up.

The intent is sort of like a “walk in” program. No hassles if you can’t make it half the time. However, I do need a committment or I should be doing something else with my summer afternoon, thus the 4-session card requirement.

Ages 7-17, or younger if the child is already a knitter (ask first). No session July 16.

If you want a PDF flyer to distribute anywhere you think there might be interest, please click here for PDF.


Here is a photo of this week. The child far left finished a keychain, a tiny sock on size 0 DPN’s. Go, grrl! She is also working on some worsted-weight toe-up socks for herself. The girl in green is also making a pair of socks for herself in worsted weight yarn. The one between them is working on a lovely multi-yarn shawl among other things.

Girl front and center is working on wristbands. She likes to finish things, so larger projects get her frustrated. The girl front right does a lot of finger-knit and finger-crochet, she’s showing off a large crochet chain in this photo.

Next, a garden photo. On Wednesday the first daylily of the year bloomed. One bloom that day, but a few days later now we have many blooms. Here is the bold adventurous first flower:


That is enough to make my heart sing. It’s not my favorite color, but it is totally beautiful the way it is supposed to be. I so appreciate the lilies just coming up every year with no fussing at all. They are just wonderful in my book, no matter what color they might be.

Off to dance…

The Longest Day of the Year

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Aaaah, summer. I love the kind of heat we get in summer here in Mid-Michigan.

It’s almost always quite liveable without air conditioning. Maybe a handful of days we use an A/C window unit so that we can sleep well. I admit that there are many days in a row at times, where one must move more slowly. I’m all for going with nature and slowing down when necessary.

Saturday was the longest day of the year. I attended a lovely wedding, much color and a good dose of humor without being disrespectful to the subject. After the wedding, Brian and I attended a music party where quality artful people hang out. A wonderful way to end the day.

citykidzwaterbottle16.jpgOn Friday I bought flowers and put them in containers by each door. I still need to get a tomato plant (someone offered me a few not long ago and I can’t remember for sure who it was… I think a knitter. Will check around.

Meanwhile I am not done planting herbs/food, some are planted and some potted plants need planting, and some are seeds. We will see what they do, or not. I always enjoy whatever I have, and each year something else is happy while another thing that had been happy in previous years, does poorly. I am not in charge!

Sunday the Habibi Dancers perform (with another troupe) at 6pm, at the wonderful Arab International festival in Dearborn (near Detroit). It is my favorite festival all year. Often I can not go, this year I can. Very good. The fest goes until 9pm on Sunday so there will be plenty of time to enjoy the whole experience.

I am very much looking forward to the whole day… not just dancing but the music and vendors on the streets. There is excellent street food, also… tons of falafel sandwiches and hummous among other goodies. Mmmmm….

The odd part is that my voicebox is still tired from all the talking in the large convention center in Columbus. I’m doing my best to avoid talking, have stayed home from a few things in the last week to rest the vocal cords. Sunday I will be car pooling in a van with 6 other folks. I hope I can just stay knitting and become invisible. Not too likely, but I can try.

OK, now remember to do a few summer things this weekend… as many of them as you enjoy doing. Here is a photo, unrelated to today’s topic but it’s one of my knitting kidz showing off her felted water bottle holder. Cool, huh?

Columbus Photos/TNNA

Friday, June 20th, 2008

kristinnicholasknits2.jpgI’ve been back from my trip to Columbus, Ohio for the TNNA yarn-industry trade show for more than a week. It was such a whirlwind! And of course, when one has been gone from ordinary life/business for 5 days, getting home means a pile of un-finished work ready to attack when one returns.

Finally I have photos ready, and not a single one has a person in it. This is really too bad, because the most important essence of the show is the human connections we make while there.

First, my most exciting stop. I met Kristin Nicholas after over a year of contact in various ways (mostly blog watching/commenting). Here are photos of some of her designs from the book “Kristin Knits.”

Spectacular color use, don’t you agree? She does a lot of knitting colorwork but also does a fair share of embroidery (sometimes duplicate stitch, sometimes more free-form) to add even more color and/or texture. I think her style is just plain top drawer.


Other folks I spent time chatting with who also love color:

Margaret Radcliffe of Maggie’s Rags, who has a new book on color coming out late in 2008 (whoops, when I first posted this entry I said 2009 by mistake… it should be out before Christmas this year). I saw the mock-up (it was maybe a dozen pages) of the book, produced so she could show it off at the book conference and then this knitting trade show. It is going to be very exciting.


Jil Eaton of MinnowKnits. I have known of Jil for years online (what would we do without Yahoo Groups?) and I adore her color sense. She has a new line of yarn that is very exciting (MinnowMerino). It’s soft, washable (no pills, I saw a garter stitch swatch that had been washed/dried many times), 21 incredible rainbow-bright colors.

Classic Elite is putting out her yarn. It looks like a fluffy one-ply (singles for you spinners) and though she calls it worsted weight I think it’s like Brown Sheep Worsted, at 4.5st/inch (not like Cascade 220 or Nashua Creative Focus Worsted, both 220 yards/100gm and 5st/inch). For someone like me who likes pure, clear color in soft washable yarn, this is a very exciting product.

Oh, and another fun fact… Jil plays bass in a band which does a lot of 1930’s jazz. I play bass and we do mostly 1920’s very-early jazz. That was a lovely thing to discover as we were discussing yarn.


Beth Brown-Reinsel. Beth is a classic in all ways, a class act who is a good listener, patient and grounded, a great teacher and lover of all historical knitting. I first knew her through her Gansey sweater knitting book, but I’ve taken many classes from her over the years (including Norwegian Mittens, perhaps my favorite). She will be here in Lansing next weekend teaching a two-day Norwegian sweater class at Threadbear, and I may splurge if there is still room in her class when I get to Threadbear this afternoon.


I also got a little time with Joan McGowan-Michael of White Lies Designs, who does the most incredible shaped knitting! She makes curvy designs that are wonderful for girls of all shapes and sizes. I love her free “Shapely Tank” and “Shapely Tee(drat, spelled it “shaped” rather than “shapely” when I first posted, so sorry to those who came before I added clickable links) online, and probably will make one of these one of these days.

The shapely pattern includes information on how to make bust darts/shaping for your size. Brilliant… she puts this free thing up, you see how good she is, and you’re ready to go buy her more complex designs. Good marketing, good design, nice person.


On Friday and on Monday, I also got time with my music friend, Megan Palmer, who is a singer-songwriter and lives in Columbus. I felt so grounded to be connecting with her besides all the folks on the convention floor. She took me to a teahouse on Friday, where I had Kenyan tea (memory lane, sigh) and then we had Indian food at North Market on Monday just before we started home.

The other photos here in this post were taken on rides through town in Megan’s car, or on the way out of town in Rae’s car. I Love, Love Love Cities… and this one is big enough to make me smile a lot. This next photo was taken of the stret right in front of the Convention Center. Over to the left behind that line of businesses is North Market. That market is enough reason to move to Columbus, I tell you!



With that, I am done with Columbus until next spring. I’m looking forward to that, but I need to get over to Threadbear right now and teach a ZigBagZ class. Such fun.


Brrr! Sweater Weather.

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

It was supposed to get down to 40F/4.4C last night. It’s 65F/18.3C right now, at 1pm. Brrr. Last week when the power was out and nobody could use their A/C because of windstorms, it was humid and hot. Now that we could turn it on, it’s furnace weather instead. Go figure.

We have almost-wild climbing roses in at least 4 places around our house and garage. The windstorms blew their supporting structures sideways but they climb anyway. Nothing can kill these things, even extensive pruning just makes them happier.

I think of them as mean bullies for 11 months of the year, they rip up my clothing as I pass them and give me a lot of yardwork and puncture wounds. But Saturday they started to bloom. And when they bloom, I forgive all. It’s like a bad romance but right now we’re in the blush of happiness so I am at peace with it. This peek is only the very beginning. It will be a wall of cherry red/hot magenta very soon. (And this is only one of the locations where they bloom!)


It looks like we will have a big crop of orange daylilies this year, too (they are at bottom left of the photo). We have lilies in at least 4 places, but the garage is their favorite spot.

The Hydrangeas (white flowers above, I sometimes call them snowball bushes) are acting like they never had a winter, even with a bit of a pruning. And I have parsley in its 4th year (it’s supposed to only go 2 years) and it’s about knee-high. I’m letting it go, it seems so happy and it’s all bonus now. Maybe if I let it make seeds it will come for a 5th… not counting on it, but why not let it try?

Oh, and if you want to see the best wild-rose photograph ever, check out Kristin Nicholas’ Blog, Getting Stitched on the Farm, today. Amazing.

Now, where is my alpaca sweater? Brrr!

A Quote, and Ponderings on Gratitude

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

A friend knows I love quotations. She wrote that in Parade magazine there was an interview with Pierce Brosnan (actor who played James Bond 4 times), and he said something wonderful. Worth repeating here:

You struggle with money. You struggle without money. You struggle with love. You struggle without love. But it’s how you manage. You have to keep laughing, you have to be fun to be with, and you have to live with style – not fancy-schmancy, but in a way which is present and meaningful and has some beauty to it.

We all have our own philosophy of life. I would not have put it his way, but I like what he said. Clearly this guy knows who he is.

I once had a friend who said “you make your own reality.” She meant it differently than I use it, but I think the quote above sort of echoes how I embrace the “making reality” idea in my own life.

I am constantly running from one deadline to another. I do “struggle” with getting it all done, and figuring out what to do and what to let go of doing. But when it gets overwhelming I make a gratitude list. I remind myself that busy is better than bored. Gratitude brings a better life, you know?

I get grumpy sometimes, though typically I’m an optimist who finds joy in living. When I’m having a grumpy day and I’m working with others I just admit it out loud.

The kids I work with seem relieved to hear me admit my moods and they accept that this happens sometimes. They understand that it is not about them, and that I am not blaming them for my mood of the day.

They like the whole package of “Ms. Lynn.” Because I’m real with them. And I don’t blame others for what Pierce Brosnan calls the “struggle.”

I want to stand tall like Mr. Brosnan. I would like “to be fun to be with,” and to have style. I expect I will never be “in fashion” unless it’s sort of a happy accident… but I would love to be interesting, and fun.

One can be interesting and fun at any age, so my gray hair and getting older (I’m 49) will not be an impediment to my dreams. And I think a life built on that idea is do-able. No matter what the “struggle” might be at any time. Perhaps that is a piece of what Brosnan calls style.

I do not know how to gracefully end this post; I could go on forever. I’ll repeat:

…it’s how you manage. You have to keep laughing, you have to be fun to be with, and you have to live with style – not fancy-schmancy, but in a way which is present and meaningful and has some beauty to it.


World-Wide Knit in Public Day. Whew!

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Saturday was World-Wide Knit in Public (WWKIP) Day. What a day it was in the Greater Lansing (Michigan) Area, especially for those who knit! (Warning: long post with lots of photos, I could not help myself.)

Unfortunately, that headache I had the day before? It stuck around. It was better than Friday but it hindered my fun more than I wanted.

Here’s an early photo of Dewitt Farm Market/Lavender & Peonies KIPping. (For the record, today I’m not naming names though I know at least half of those in most of the photographs… I work hard at names but I have so many people in my life!)


Later we had moved to the shade on the other side of the tent. We lost a few folks, gained a few more. Here’s a later photo:


Ironically, my hubby Brian was playing music inside one of the businesses on the same block where we knit. He is in the band “Scarlet Runner String Band” and they were at Sweetielicious Pie Pantry (otherwise known as Sweetie Pie by locals). Brian is playing banjo here.


When I went in to take this photo, the wife of the bass player was there. She’s a big knitter, mostly preemie hats for Sparrow Hospital. I told her we were KIPping so she grabbed her knitting and joined us!

One woman came from Buffalo, New York (blue shirt at right). She was in town for a wedding and Rob at Threadbear told her that the KIPping was starting in Dewitt at 9am so there she was! The woman at left came to the farm market not knowing it as WWKIP day. She ran home to get her knitting and came back to join us. Notice she’s doing a magnificent two-colored Christmas stocking for herself. It was really beautiful.


At 11am I went to the next stop on the KIPping tour. I went to Patriarche park in East Lansing, where Rae’s Yarn Boutique and Woven Art/Nancy McRay joined forces. It was not just a gathering, it was an event.

First park photo: the end result of over 20 minutes of a crochet-chain contest. Two teams of three crocheters knit 25 stitches before passing to the next person, and the relay required finishing an entire ball of wool tape yarn first. The second prize was awarded to the longest chain. There were three teams of three.

I held someone else’s camera during the race, for a video. It will take a bit of editing to be interesting to anyone who was not in the race, I’m afraid…


Then we had the “Extreme Knitting” race. Two teams, and two sets of size 75, 48-inch-long wooden needles. Very heavy needles, but gorgeous. And fun. And funny!


Here is team 1. One woman on each needle and one woman controlling the yarn. It was fascinating how this became a whole-body athletic event because of the heft of these needles. The feet were moving, knees bent.


Team 2, cranking out garter fabric as a team. The yarn was actually the crochet chain made from wool tape, from the last contest. It was almost too thin for the task.


Here is the final product (the contest was to cast on and then finish 5 rows fastest, I think they had a dozen stitches on the needle.

The other team. Not five rows.


En garde! This was sort of inevitable, don’t you think? Long pointy things will become play swords every time.


And the star of the show? He loved the extreme needles, too.


After all that excitement and all sorts of good food, folks settled in to knit and chat. It’s a beautiful park.


This was after some folks already went home. It was quite a crowd, and a lovely group at that.


By the time I left the park my headache was in full force again. However, I could not miss the goings-on at Threadbear. I ran over there and some classes were just getting out, there were a zillion people there and the chatter sounded like a great party. You know the sound… a whole bunch of people enjoying the company of the others in the room. I love that sound!

Maggie Jackson of Maggie’s Ireland was there teaching and we met briefly. I chatted with a lot of friends who were finishing up from their classes. I saw some folks I know because they have loyally taken several classes from me.

I saw a bunch of folks who I’d seen at Patriarche Park and/or DeWitt farm market. I ate strawberries and cherries from the farm market which had made their way to the barbecue at Threadbear. (They were cooking in the parking lot, those resourceful dudes!)

I bought a little Drops Alpaca (light sportweight) from them for a friend. I had already purchased some turquoise for myself the day before. I had planned that purchase days before, and then when I got there the yarn had been marked down from $8 a ball to $3 a ball… so I bought even more than I expected and it cost less than my initial plan. Happy me.

So then I showed a bunch of others the wonderful alpaca and they bought some, too. We danced happy alpaca dances, I tell you.

And somehow the headache was so bad that I totally forgot to take photographs. Drat. It would have been a bit difficult anyway, because people were scattered all over the store… they had planned it for the parking lot but with all that sun and no shade trees I’m guessing they just stayed in for comfort. I just looked on Google for photos of the Theadbear event and so far I can not find any posted.

I ran home, reclined on the couch for maybe 5 minutes, changed clothes and went to Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine to sing.

Altu told me that a knitting friend had come by for the first time to try her food. I think it was Jan who I talked to at Patriarche park. That was a lovely surprise. I love it when different parts of my life touch one another. When knitting and friendship and music all meet in one place, my life feels very right indeed.

I even knitted in public at Altu’s restaurant after our performance. Brian’s aunt, uncle and two cousins came to hear us (none of them live in Lansing but they meet here for our music) and my Mom and two of her friends also came. It was a party, though I guess I was the only one knitting at Altu’s this time. Not always, but this time.

What a day!

My Dad Loved Me

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

Fathers’ Day. This is always a hard one for me, I’m always happy to see it go.

Today we will visit Brian’s father. I am grateful for him. He invented the lightweight acoustic bass I play. He raised my wonderful husband and is an accepting and loving man, but he is not my father.

My father died when I was 14, and he was 40. It was just a tragedy all the way around. I still think of him nearly every day.

Daddio taught me to sing harmony. I remember exactly where we sat, what the room looked like, the deep blue carpet and his modern reclining chair with ottoman, the fireplace right there, the book (a hymnal…  the perfect book for teaching harmony).

He had us both sing the melody together. He had us both sing the harmony together. Then he told me to sing the harmony line and he intended to sing the melody. As a young girl would do, I followed his voice and sang melody with him.

So he stopped and tried again. He changed gears and told me to sing the melody, and no matter what he did, to ignore him and keep singing the melody. So we tried again and he sang harmony with me. It was wonderful. My world changed. Magic entered my life at that moment.

Then he sang the melody and I sang the harmony. And my life is much better because of my ability to create harmony. It is second nature to me now, absolutely part of my being.

I sang with Brian two hours last night at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine (this photo is from 2005, same place). I sometimes sang lead, sometimes harmony. Sometimes we whistled together in harmony as well.

Daddy is still alive in my life. I miss you, Daddio.