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Archive for September, 2008

A Calendar Miracle

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

I have been struggling with my new Palm Pilot since I got Windows VISTA (it would not work with my Handspring Visor NEO and Lotus Organizer, sigh… I loved them). I was learning bad words every time I brought the thing out. Finally I went looking for something else to handle my calendar.isavelhchippysox.jpg

Another issue I’ve been fighting is that I’d schedule all my classes on my Palm/Desktop, for my own use, but then I had a Google Calendar that Rae, Brian, Mom, Diana and a few others would check, and it was never updated. I could not find a way to synchronize my palm to Google Calendar (and I really really tried) so I had to re-type every class into Google after entering them into my private program.

There are a few things I wish had gone better, but in the end I am happy to announce that my own calendar on my computer now talks to the Google Calendar. This means that my entire teaching schedule is on my toeupmitten10percent.jpgwebsite right now, and as I add new classes they will be updated the same day on my site. Woohoo!

You can find the calendar any time you want, by going to any page on the ColorJoy website and clicking the link at the top of the page which says “Schedule.” Or if you make bookmarks/favorites in your browser to get places more quickly, the page address is this:

http://colorjoy.com/weblog/calendar-colorjoy

Rita/Yarnhollow just wrote me to say she wanted to join in on the Polymer Clay Buttons class but can not make it this weekend. Now she can just go and check that calendar and see if she can find something else that works for her.

The down side here is that Google will only synchronize one calendar per person. This means my pridoubletripeflat16feathered.jpgvate appointments (doctor visits, lunch with friends) are on the same system. I have marked those “private” and that means they show up to you as “busy.” This is a bit of a hassle since I am a person with many appointments sometimes.

However, just scan your eyes past anything that says busy and try to be as happy as I am that the calendar typed in all those class entries automatically for your benefit. I think the compromise is worthwhile. (That is, until I have the funds to hire a secretary or webmaster to update things manually for me, right?)

It is in “agenda” format when you first get there. That lets you see the nearest events at the top, and you can read more words about the event that way.

However, if you want to look at a month style so you can find a weekend class, for example, you can go to the top right corner of the calendar display section and click the “Month” tab. Once you find the day you want, it will be hard to read much about any appointment but you can just click on the words and it will pop up a little box with all the text in a readable size.

I hope this will help you find what you wantfeltbetsyanderin.jpg. If there is a class you want to take and you can not find it, let me know and I’ll see if it can be worked into my schedule at some time. My email is Lynn AT ColorJoy DOTcom

Oh, and as always, if you know a place I should be teaching (or you want them to carry my patterns), let them know, let me know. Yes, I travel.

Images, all fun classes coming up in the Lansing area.:

  • ZigBagZ Bottle. (Sun. 9/28, Rae’s.)
  • Chippy Socks worn by the incredible Isabel (one each from two sets knit in different colorways). (Choose 3 Friday nights starting Nov., 7 at Rae’s, or a one-day workshop Nov. 8 at Yarn Garden.)
  • Toe Up Mittens (no gauge swatch necessary). (2 sessions start Thurs. Nov. 13, Rae’s)
  • Rainbow Double-Stripe Socks (Starts Thurs. 10/2, three sessions, Rae’s.)
  • Needlefelted Embellishments. (9/25, Rae’s.)
  • Wet Felting (just examples, will do soaps also). (Friday October 3, Threadbear.)

Polymer Clay Buttons?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

I worked with Polymer clay exclusively for almost 10 years, before I picked up the knitting needles again. I made all sorts of fun things, including Hershberger Art Kazoos (TM). I have made nearly 200 kazoos and I think I’m not done yet, though I’m mostly focused on knitting these days.

I still teach polymer, but now I teach it mostly to knitters who make buttons to go with their precious handknits. The techniques most useful in buttonmaking are not the same as those most useful in jewelry or sculpture making.

I’ll be teaching buttons at Rae’s again this Sunday, September 21, from 1-5pm. Learn a good solid handful of techniques. Take a handful of goodies home with you, and inspiration to make more when you get there. Email infoAT raesyarnboutique DOT com to register.

I’d love to have you join me.

Left photo is one of many trays from students when I taught at Dallas-Ft. Worth Fiberfest. Top photo is a favorite button I made myself and kept just for me. It’s still waiting for the perfect felted bag.

Fun with Felt

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

The other day Rae and I had some fun at her shop putting fluffy, colorful wool around soap and felting it. It’s the softest wool, a really luxurious sort of washcloth substitute. When the soap is gone (this takes a while) the felt can still be used as a soft cleaning item, or slit on one side and stuffed with a slightly smaller soap to be re-used.

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Honestly, just the process of making these is reward enough. Choosing wool colors, how to wrap for a nice impression, and deciding which yarn to wrap the outside with, was much fun. They are so soft and lovely! Rae has these three soaps as samples in the shop now, and she got so excited about them that she made little kits for folks to take home all the supplies needed in one bag.

I will be teaching a class/gift-making session at Rae’s on this process very close to Christmas. We will enough time together so that several gifts can be created and finished right in class. I think they would make a good gift for that person in the office you drew a name for, or maybe someone who resists receiving gifts.

I know that many retirees in my life are reducing the number of possessions they keep. They do not want something that they will have to store, so something that can be used and enjoyed is a great idea. I also know some teens who would love anything colorful, unique and luxurious.

The class is Saturday, December 13 from 11-1. You can stop by the shop or you can email Rae at info AT raesyarnboutique DOT com if you want to sign up.

I am also teaching a more varied, less gift-focused wet felting class on a Friday at Threadbear, where felted soaps will be one option. That class will be on October 3 from 6-8pm. Call 517.703.YARN (or 866.939.BEAR toll-free outside the Lansing area) if you wish to register.

Or not. Your choice. You can just look at the beautiful colors here and enjoy that all by itself!

Mid-Michigan Knitters Guild

Monday, September 15th, 2008

The Mid-Michigan Knitters Guild will have their first monthly meeting this week, Tuesday night, from 7-9pm. The location is the Haslett Schools Administration building.

Haslett is just east of East Lansing. The meeting place is essentially a few blocks behind the Meridian Mall. It is just off Marsh Road, turn east at the light by the Middle School, park at the middle school (unless you need handicapper parking, etc.) and cross the street to the lovely new building. For those who know the library, you would just zigzag past Meridian High School/Community Ed Building and turn left and you’d see the library. Click the Admin. Building link and see a Google map.

The address is 5593 Franklin Street (very near Nemoke Trail). Our meeting room is downstairs. It’s a new building, I’m sure there is an elevator though I did not use it myself last time.

This is a guild for anyone who enjoys working with yarn or fiber. You can knit, you can crochet, you can weave, make felt, spin… you can wish you knew how to do any of those things but not know how yet. All ages, cultural backgrounds, men and women are welcome. No fee to walk in the door… though we who return each month do pay a small fee for dues to help the group continue.

We would love to see new faces. Just walk in and say “hi, I’m new, my name is….” and you will be welcomed. Please, if you are in Lansing and haven’t come yet, consider it this Tuesday.

Oh, the photo was taken in 2005… that is Rob from Threadbear holding up some lace he knit. He does not love photos, and it seems every shot I have of him he is covering up his face with some knitting. Nevertheless, I did not have an easy time finding a photo of guild meeting, even though I swear I take pictures at every meeting I attend!

PS: Anyone reading this who goes to the meeting and has a blog, please repost this entry on your own blog if you will. The papers did not get notice this month (my fault, I had the meeting on my calendar for  next week) and so we are depending on word of mouth and previous members this time.

A Tiny Dancer

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

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The day Habibi Dancers (including me) performed at Diversity Days at Sparrow Hospital, the group following us was delightful. I’m not clear on the terminology, I would call them hula/Hawaiian dancers, perhaps Polynesian (Charlotte suggests their skirts look Polynesian or Maori, thanks for that input).

I have seen some of this sort of dance at Ukulele festvals, and taken what were called Hula workshops, but this particular group did more than one type of dance and at least one was not what I have studied.

I missed a lot of their show because I was changing from “Eudora” (my dance name) back to my LynnH street clothes. However, I got upstairs in time to watch a few dances and loved them. I have not seen this group before.

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I first watched a very old traditional dance where they were on their knees and there were no instruments other than voices and the percussion of hands clapping or slapping the knees and elbows. I just love this kind of dance, though it is not currently very popular. I was delighted to see them do it.

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They also did a modern hula to a song I have never seen as a hula before. My favorite part of that, was that someone brought their toddler along, dressed for the occasion. She decided to go into the group and join the dance for a short while.

Assparrowhulababy.jpg we know, groups of women have always had children to tend and often have needed to bring them along. Our troupe had a toddler with us the last 3 years, and the group takes turns with the child as needed.

The cool thing I did not notice until I got home and checked out my photos, was that the toddler was clearly mimicking the hand movements she observed in the older dancers. She does not know the specifics yet but clearly she was doing what she could to use her hands expressively. Isn’t this lovely?

I hope I see this group again. I really enjoyed their work.


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Sparrow Hospital Diversity Days, 2008

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

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A few weeks ago I danced with the Habibi Dancers at Sparrow sparrowgarnett.jpgHospital on the lunch hour. Once a year they have Diversity days. This is the third year they have asked us to dance.

I love this sort of event. I tend to enjoy shows where we are closer to the audience, where I can interact with the folks who are watching.

I like to make eye contact and I don’t like the fuss of worrying about whether someone will pull open the curtain at the right time, whether there is a spotlight in the right place. I do the big-stage shows with the troupe, but my heart is in the community. I love dancing at my neighborhood restaurant, New Aladdin’s, for the same reasons.

So here we have several photos. I was in all of the group numbers but did not have a solo. Fortunately one friend took photos of the number I was in that everyone was not in. So the first photo shows me at center with two other dancers.

I am re-focusing lately here on my original premise for this blog. My theme is the fact that there is artfulness around us everywhere.

Not only is art the sort of thing one can frame and hang on the wall, but there is performing and costuming, writing and cooking and gardening… even making a warm and comfy space for a gathering, to me, is a sort of artform. In this case not only did we play wonderful music, we danced, and we wore wonderful costumes.

My costume here was made by another woman in the troupe. Some costumes are purchased, most commercial costumes are made in Turkey or Egypt.

(However, remember that what you choose to wear each day is another sort of costuming. You need no beads or fringe for your clothing choices to constitute a costume of a different sort. I adore clothing of many sorts, and costuming myself each day is one of my favorite activities.)

I loved this event. (For the record, this hospital is walking distance from Rae’s yarn shop, Foster Community Center where I teach knitting and dance, and the house I purchased for myself when I was single. It’s my still the neighborhood of my heart and where I am most of my waking hours, a wonderful place.)

Fab Heftones at Foods For Living, Friday 4-6pm

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Quick announcement if you are not on the Fabulous Heftones‘ email notification list: We are playing today, Friday 9/12/2008, at Foods For Living in East Lansing (almost to Okemos) on Grand River Avenue. It is across the street and just east of Coral Gables Restaurant, where Park Lake Road dead-ends into a parking lot.

This healthy-food grocery store is employee owned and well run with great merchandise. We love to shop there, we love to sing there. It’s all good, and we are thrilled to be back.

There is no cover, just shop and listen. It’s not a concert venue, more of a thank you to their customers. We would like to thank Jason for asking us to return. Much fun!!!

Frivolity, Good News, Bad News and Hope

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

tomatoplantsflowers.jpg1. First things first. I guess I need to knit more garments, you guys are wonderful. I have not had this many comments in a long while. Loving every word, thank you.
I think I do look happy in that photo, which is super cool since I seem to have many moods since the weather turned cold. It’s really great to finish something and have it work out that well.

Now the sad part. I heard on Tuesday about the deaths of two acquaintances. One day, two people. Ugh. But I will celebrate each briefly. And post photos of growing things. My tomato plants are optimists, making flowers like crazy as the weather turns chilly. I love that about tomatoes, they seem to do it every year. Grow, fruits, grow!

Here is my small attempt at honoring two people who worked and didn’t complain. Good folks who are gone now, sigh:

tomatotwogreen.jpg2. Jean Lutz was someone I met through the Mid-Michigan Knitters Guild. She volunteered with my CityKidz Knit! program at Foster Community Center the first two summers, along with Luann C.

I could not have made CityKidz happen without them. I had a LOT of kids and needed as many helpers as I could get, and they worked without complaint.

I remember we would get yarn donated in tangled messes, and then the kids would tangle it more. Jean would take that yarn home and untangle it, rewinding it by hand into center-pull balls for the kids. They thought those balls were just magical, with the yarn coming out of the middle. I thought *she* was magical for doing all that work!

Jean also volunteered at Potter Park Zoo. I know she took animals to the schools for them. I’m sure they will miss her very much over there. Good folks are worth celebrating, you know? Thanks to Jean for the work she did for me personally, and for the kids of Lansing in general.

3. Phil Wintermute was a musician in Lansing. He worked at Elderly Instruments and recorded an album under Earthwork Music’s label. I met him at his CD release party a handful of years ago, though Brian knew him before that.

His album’s name was “A Handful of Dirt.” As a happy city girl, it took me a while to understand why someone would name anything like that!

In the end, I heard the song of the same name and realized that it was about the holiness of growing things. “There is nothing so sacred as a handful of dirt” is how his lyric went.

I would always ask Phil how his garden was. We shared a love of Swiss Chard, among other things.

He was one of the most grounded, peaceful people I knew. You know, there are some people I just want to stand next to, so I can sort of get more peaceful from their vibes. Phil was one of those people.

I just wrote about Phil in the wee hours this Monday when talking about the fun at Dagwoods. I linked to his MySpace page where you can still listen to some of his songs from that album.

Phil was one half of the band “Scratch and Sniff.” It was two guys with gray hair playing mostly old time music. The other guy is Paul. The joke was: Who is Scratch and who is Sniff? The answer? Phil was “and,” and Paul was “Scratch, Sniff.” That still cracks me up. For those who knew them, it sort of fit and neither minded the joke. Here is a photo of Scratch and Sniff, Phil on left and Paul at right. I took this at Rendezvous on the Grand while they were on stage.

Here is a photo I took at Dagwoods when our friend Aki was visiting in August. The blur at left is Phil dancing with someone who I do not know. On stage is Aki at center photo and Brian at right.

4. Now the fourth thing, the hopeful thing. Kitty Donahoe, singer/songwriter once from Lansing, now from Ann Arbor, played her song “There are No Words” at the Pentagon today. The occasion was the dedication of the 9/11 memorial there. She was accompanied by two other Michigan musicians.

She won an Emmy for this song in 2002. If you want to see a web page with a video of her singing the song solo with her guitar, you can click here.

If you would like to hear an interview with Kitty, aired on WJR Detroit today while Kitty was still on the Pentagon grounds, you can go here:

http://wjr.com/Article.asp?id=883083&spid=6552

I always used to say that Kitty had the most beautiful voice in Lansing. I only stopped saying that when she moved away.

And not only is her voice beautiful, but she has this natural beauty that makes me sometimes stare at her just a little too long. She’s glowingly pretty in a relaxed, Irish sort of way, and she moves beautifully. I think sometimes she wonders why I’m looking at her! I’m an artist; I don’t paint or I might like to paint her.

But that is merely skin deep, and she’s best known as a powerful songwriter, wonderful singer and performer. It is great to see that she is being honored for that, even if the occasion might be a sad one. She found words somehow, and her song has helped a lot of folks.

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Now, turn your focus to these lovely tomato plants who are trying to make some fruit in spite of a chill. Poor plants, they really love hot sun and now the furnace runs in the mornings.

Maybe I will bring one plant inside again this year when the frost arrives. One time I got red tomatoes in November. That was wonderful! Talk about hopefulness. We all need a little of that sometimes!

Fun Knit: Finished Nanette Top

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I am delighted with my Nanette Tee. It’s done, and I even wore it on Tuesday… first to Rae’s and then to Dagwoods. I love this top! It was fast to knit, it looks good, feels good, and is washable/wearable. My kind of project!

jetsontop16longview.jpgI had a spectacular mistake on another project which will cost me thousands of stitches and over 3 weeks of concentrated knitting. I will detail that big oops when I get a little time. At this point, suffice it to say that I needed a quick successful project.

This top has a gauge of 3.5 stitches per inch, huge yarn (in my case, three yarns held together which makes a flatter fabric than one fat yarn). It started by saying “Cast on 50 stitches.” Yes, that was the right way to start after the knitting letdown of the year.

I held together a cotton/acrylic aran-weight tube yarn called “Kim” (related to Kelly which I have used before, but a solid color), plus a cotton/lycra DK weight yarn called Fixation, and then a strand of a fingering/sockweight yarn in soy silk, wool and a few other fibers, handpainted by Ellen’s Half-Pint Farm.

The Kim was raspberry, the Fixation was hot yellow-green, and the sockyarn was in tropical shades from deep blue to turquoise to green to yellow-green, with one strand of white throughout the skein. Very ColorJoy!

The pattern was written by Joan McGowan-Michael of White Lies Designs. I really love the way she shapes her designs for the actual shape of a woman. I’m not a large woman but I have a few curves and she built in hip, waist and bust shaping so that it fits very comfortably (despite the thick fabric) and looks great.

jetsontop33.jpgI love the shoulder shaping on this. It reminds me of Judy Jetson, which for me is a very positive statement. Love that futuristic idea! I have small, rounded shoulders and this shape really looks great on me because of that.

The pattern called for me to gather it at bust level, pulling down the neckline a bit into a sweetheart neckline. As lovely as it really would be, it just is not my style. It was just a little more girly/frilly to gather it than I liked.

I showed it both ways to a handful of folks and all agreed that the square neckline was more “me” than the neckline as written. I went with it. I think I will wear it more this way.

It is interesting to see what I do and do not know about knitting. For the record, I’m over 160 pairs of socks but I’ve knit exactly one long-sleeved sweater. I also have made a summer tee, a tank top (plus this one), and a dance top (cropped). This paragraph contains the entire list of garments made for my torso. And three of those five I did not use a standard pattern, instead I did a knit-to-fit procedure. This was printed pattern #2 for me, for an upper-body garment.

Therefore, I had a few questions every once in a while, which I asked of Rae. I have knit a number of baby garments but they apparently did not have as much shaping!

I would knit this again. It does call for a lot of stretch in whatever yarn is used, so I would have to think carefully about what to knit it in next. This combination was literally what I had in the cotton-realm, already purchased and ready to go. The Fixation is really stretchy so adding that made it fit right.

I must add for the knitters out there, that having two not-very-stretchy yarns and one very-stretchy yarn was a bit of a hassle. Not enough to stop me, and I have used Fixation enough to not worry about it. However, those who are not as confident as I am about holding three yarns together might wonder if they had made the right choice.

But look at these photos… can’t you see? Definitely the right choice this time.

Oh… I used 3 balls Kim, 3 balls Fixation and one hank Ellen’s. (Actually, I barely used any of the 3rd ball of Fixation.) I used size 10 needles and then my gauge tightened up so I cast on 5 extra stitches on the back of the top to add some width (doesn’t show when wearing). I shortened the length of the waist (between hip and bust shaping) and probably needed to knit more between the hem and the first hip shaping but it’s OK with a high-waisted skirt.

How long did it take? I started swatching on August 21, cast on perhaps August 22 or 23, blocked and finished all ends on September 8 and wore it on the 9th. Two and a half weeks? That is just what I needed.

Tuesdays at Dagwoods

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

It is Tuesday again. This is a good day of the week, in my life. Tuesday nights I can go to Dagwoods (with Brian, and often with Rae) for the open mic which is hosted by Jen Sygit.

Dagwoods is an institution in Lansing, it was started in the 1940’s. This was a time when East Lansing was a dry town, so bars just outside the East Lansing City Limits did well. Somewhere in the early 1970s, they changed all that (maybe late 60s) and the places which had thrived had a rough time. Dagwoods was one of those places.

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Luckily for us, it looks about the way it did when my father went there in the dry days of East Lansing. It is a tiny, crowded place, but full of great folks. The bartender is a friend, who once worked with Brian. The musicians and customers are also friends/acquaintances.

Last time we went, I had a chance to chat with Jeremy Herliczek, photographer for the NOISE newspaper. I met him when the paper sent him to my house years ago. He was to take photos when they ran an article on me and my socknitting. We talked and laughed much longer than expected, we had such fun.

Jeremy owns a blockprint I created for a Working Women Artists group show. He walked into my house and saw another from the same series on my wall, saying “I have that print, too.” I was honored. It was wonderful to see him again at Dagwoods. There is always someone I’m glad I ran into, at the Open Mic night.

It’s an excellent Open Mic. There are so many good local musicians who love Jen, that they turn out in force. It can be a roll call of Lansing talent on a busy night. I have seen Mike Ross (of Scarlet Runner Stringband), Phil Wintemute, Paul Bennett (of Scratch ‘n Sniff), the Flatbellys, Andy Wilson (of Steppin’ in It), Susan Fawcett, Tamineh Gueramy, Luke Winslow-King, Chris Dorman, Cindy Lehmkuhle and more. Every night is a different mix but it stays a quality show.

I love the whole thing. I don’t drink at all, am not a bar sort of grrl, but this is an East Side landmark with a scene I adore.

raeandlynndagwoods16.jpgI’ve never been to Dagwoods on a night other than Tuesday. I am sure each time of the week has its own regulars and its own flavor. Tuesday nights? it’s a young, creative, funky sort of crowd. I don’t fit that description but these are my friends so I belong anyway.

Brian took a few photos of Rae and I knitting together. Rae doesn’t perform but Brian and I usually do… this was while waiting our turn. I had somehow brought my purse without any knitting in it at all. Rae had emergency yarn in her car. I had needles. I started a pair of wristwarmers in cobalt blue Ella Rae classic worsted weight wool. They might come in handy very soon!

Photos: The Flatbellys minus one, plus my Brian (peeking through from the back); me knitting with Raein a relatively quiet moment.

Music/Birthday Party

Monday, September 8th, 2008

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This blog is about artfulness in everyday life. Today it’s about making music and enjoying relationships. Thereanna14sm.jpg was good food and some knitting involved, as well.

We attended a birthday party just over a week ago. I got a few photos of musicians jamming (they did not notice, they were very much enjoying the old-timey-fiddle tunes).

I got a beautiful shot of the birthday girl, my young knitter, A. She was having a lovely time being her social-butterfly self. I have known this young lady much longer than she has been knitting with me. Brian showed her ukulele before I showed her anything. She’s good company.

And here is a pensive shot of my dear friend Rae, as she was knitting some socks from yarn she spun herself. I like this photo, I hope she does. Some beautiful people do not like photos of themselves, it’s a mystery to me…

raepensive16.jpgAt some point Brian and I were singing and Rae grabbed my camera and started clicking. She got this photo while we were in the midst of some fun harmonies.

I’m not one who avoids the camera. (Do you like my new glasses? I sure like seeing better.) I am glad to have a record of our musical contribution to the otherwise fiddle-tune-focused party.

Thanks for the photo, Rae!

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Stretching Summer

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Music Happiness

Pardon my weekend absence, we were at Wheatland Music Festival for a few days. It was lovely, one of the best weekends I’ve had there in years. It was chilly… on Friday it got down to 47F/8.3C in the tent but I got to bed while it was still in the mid-50’s. Saturday it was warmer, though I still needed a good portion of wool items to be comfortable outside playing music until 1am.

It is inconvenient to camp in a tent, sleep on an air mattress (there is no such thing as a good one of these, apparently) and do without running water for most of 3 days. However, there are people we see only once a year, and this is homecoming weekend if we ever wish to see them. We love it.

I got a few minutes to chat with Lansing music friend Jen Sygit. She lives in Lansing but I seem to see her most often when she is working.

Once the summer music-festival rush slows down for her, we will hope to share a cup of tea in Lansing. For now, a hello and ten minutes of chatting at Wheatland was lovely.

Jen did a songwriter presentation on Saturday just after dinner break, with three other singer-songwiters. I really enjoyed that show, all four of the performers were great. And since the songs Jen is working into her next album (coming out in January) are so strong, I was happy to see her able to sing a handful of those new songs to a large tent packed full of listeners.

I love Jen’s last album, Marshall Street, I’m still playing it several times a week. But the upcoming album (I have had the fortune to hear it in its early-development stage) is equally strong, singable, engaging. Right now the only way for most folks to hear the songs is to catch Jen live. It was great.

There is great relationship at the festival, good food and music. We go to jam with other musicians, for the most part.

Knitting Happiness

I knit on my Nanette summer top in the car on the way up, a little bit there, and most of the way home. I have since finished all the knitting and seaming, but no ends are worked in and it needs to be blocked. We will not talk about how many ends there are to hide when one holds three yarns together while knitting.

The top fits very well, is cute and comfortable. I am delighted with the minor modifications I made (mostly shortened the waist/torso section by several inches).

Rae was right, it’s shorter than most tops I usually wear. However, it is long enough to go over a straight skirt which fastens at the waist. I usually wear tunics but this looks cute in a different way. I will enjoy wearing it. Photos need to wait until Monday, I need to crash here very soon.

Computer Update

I am still fussing with my computer setup (I want to synch my Z22 palm device to MS Outlook 2003, and so far it is not working even with several software upgrades, but I have not run out of ideas). I am not having the troubles I could be having (hi, Deb!), and for that I am still grateful.

End of Summer Push

This is my last week off from Haslett Community Education (basic computer classes, mostly retirees) for the summer. I’m also heading in to the last few summer weeks off from Foster Community Center (CityKidz Knit! program, a walk-in program at a city-owned neighborhood building).

I am primarily focused on finishing the book project for my mom. I had intended to work on it last December and my health, difficulty obtaining proper software and other things got in the way. I’m so happy to be on a roll now, at least on the days when I’m home.

The Plan

Off to sleep, then a nice new start on Monday morning. Maybe I’ll have some of my famous-to-me “brown” (buckwheat) pancakes. With strawberries on them it’s a big treat to start the day right. If you missed the recipe when I posted it, click here for my no-gluten, extra-yummy pancake recipe.

As a friend says… it’s time to “hit the feathers” and sleep. Goodnight.

Photos: Jen Sygit at Wheatland 2007, my should-be-famous “brown pancakes.”

Casual, Elegant Knits Blog Tour

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

I am honored to host the first day of the Casual, Elegant Knits (new book) Blog tour! This new book is hot off the press from Martingale. The authors are Dawn Leeseman and Faina Goberstein, both of California. drivers-cap-small.jpg

Faina:
Lynn,
Thank you very much for having us today. We are very excited to have this opportunity to talk about our book. The work on Casual, Elegant Knits was very interesting and rewarding. It was so much fun to plan, choose the color schemes, select the yarns to harmonize with the stitch patterns, sketch our designs and work on other small components of the design process.

We have learned from each other and have become stronger designers as a result of our collaboration. As a side benefit of our venture we have become close friends. And now we cannot wait to see the projects from our book made by other people. These designs were ours for two years now it is time to share.

LynnH: I am happy to have you join me.

triple-pocket-bag-small2.jpgLynnH: Dawn, I understand that you have designed all the bags in the book. Personally, I’m really curious about the Triple Pocket Bag. I am very fond of the Autunno yarn you used (held along with linen), and I have designed with close stitch myself. Could you tell me about the bag?

Dawn: Sure, I would be happy to talk about it. For our Elegant Afternoon collection we wanted to design a replica of a European men’s bag. It needed to be very functional, stylish and practical so a man would like to have it.

As you know, knitted bags always have a problem with holding a shape. We had to find a way to make it sturdy. We chose Autunno from Di. Vé that was featured in the Driver’s Cap for the main yarn, and added a strand of linen that would not be necessarily visible, but would add to stability of the fabric.

A dense Honeycomb stitch pattern was selected for the body of the bag to create a nice surface texture. For the flap and pocket the Close Stitch pattern was used, to provide a subtle contrast and add some interest to the design. The needle size used was smaller than for normal density.

We worked on the initial part of this design together, but I wrote the pattern for it and knitted the bag. Atriple-pocket-bag-small1.jpg stabilizing fabric lining was inserted into the bag to give the bag the structure.

Even though this was designed as a man’s accessory, we feel that it is a unisex bag and will be a great addition to a woman’s collection. Check out the pretty colors that Di.Vé has to offer.

LynnH: Thank you, Dawn. That was very interesting. I see that in the same outfit there is a hat that goes well with that bag. A few of my friends in Lansing have been very excited about this design (which I believe is very wearable by women as well as men). Who designed it?

Faina: This is one of my designs. I admire a good hat on a man. The shape of Driver’s Cap was always very interesting for me. It definitely beats a ski hat in terms of construction. I drivers-cap-book.jpgam always on a look out for different shapes. It is one of the things that I really enjoy in a design process. This type of a hat is not for very cold weather and is elegant, so it fits our Elegant Afternoon mood.

To begin this design, I needed to find the yarn and the stitch pattern that will give me the look of corduroy fabric. After some search, Autunno from Di. V̩ was chosen for the color and softness. The form must be soft and must hold the shape at the same time Рnot an easy task. This part of design work for the book we always did together. It was so much fun to try many yarns available for us.

There was a need to reinforce the main yarn. The best solution at the time was to add the thin linen. Using small needles, these two yarns, and the Close Stitch, was a winning combination. The construction of the hat was inspired by an old hat that Dawn’s grandfather used to wear.

The hardest part for a knitter in the pattern is shaping by using short rows on the hat itself and in the visor. At the same time it is something to learn if the knitter is new to this. Short rows are used for so many different things. Shaping shoulders, neckline, darts, turning the heel, and making a circle are just a few examples. I have to confess that my first try for this hat came out too big (it is still hanging on my wall) and I had to recalculate this hat completely. I am pleased with the final result, though.

It does look like I envisioned it. It looks like it is made out of fabric. Now I am thinking that the choice of yarn was great for this hat, if you want to make it look tweedy. I can see it made out of a solid color also. I would not suggest to use any fuzzy or soft yarn like Alpaca or silk. Remember the shape of this hat is not like the shape of a beanie where your head is shaping the cap. This hat has a shape of its own and it is a complement for your head.

So, Lynn, what is new with you? What are you designing and what is in your plans?

LynnH: My primary business is teaching knitting and related subjects, and we are heading into the busy season, which is exciting. Last year I did quite a bit of teaching outside of my local Lansing, Michigan area (including Dallas-Ft. Worth Fiberfest in April ’07) and I am putting together some plans to travel again in ’09. This year I have released my three most popular patterns ever, including the ZigBagZ collections (pronounce ZIG-Bags), both Maxi and Mini ; and the three-colored unmatching set of six Chippy Socks for Kids.

I have always loved colorful stranded knitting. Many of my more recent patterns evolved from my teaching of new knitters, and thus used only one color of yarn. These last three designs are all very colorful stranded knitting projects.

In October I will travel to Washington DC to the Textile Museum where they currently are showing an exhibit including some hats from the Andes. I own four hats from this region which are exquisitely knit at very dense gauges, some with three colors in one row. I am working on increasing my understanding of this particular knitting niche. There is little written material available on this culturally expressive colorful knitting style/form.

I did the same type of exploration with four pairs of Turkish socks I acquired a few years back, and I have been teaching Turkish Sock Design ever since. I continue to learn about Turkish socks, which can have many different forms, and I hope to get closer to that place with these amazing hats, as well.

ZigBagZ patterningI have also taken out an advertisement in the Interweave Knits Gift issue this fall, highlighting the ZigBagZ Maxi Collection (two larger carry-all bags in felted stranded knitting, for a large purse or a knit project carrying bag). I will be having some ad-related festivities here on my blog during the first week that issue hits the newsstands.

Faina: Thank you, Lynn, very much. It was great talking to you.

Tune in tomorrow for the Blog tour to continue. Carol Sulcoski, one of the authors of Knit So Fine and writer of Go Knit in Your Hat, will be hosting next.

Photos of hat and bag courtesy of Martingale and Company, photographed by Brent Kane. Photo of colorwork ZigBagZ pattern, ColorJoy by LynnH

All Sorts of Beauty

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

The premise of the ColorJoy! blog is that there is artfulness all around us. Whether it be food or a garden, knitting or manufactured goods, there are beautiful things everywhere.

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When Rae and I went to Stitches Midwest a few weekends ago, we spotted this irridescent New Beetle in the parking lot. Need I say more? ColorJoy in the happiest extreme!

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My New Beetle is metallic bright blue. I wish it were purple (or turquoise) but I love it as it is. At one moment, I had a windfall and looked into how much it would cost to paint it purple. I decided to spend my money in other ways. I went to Africa.

I did the right thing by far. But when I see a paint job like this? I have a twinge of regret… then I take a picture and get on with my day. After all, at the time I took the photos here? I was wearing a beautiful hand-dyed caftan I purchased in Kenya on that trip.

‘Nuff said…