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Archive for November 30th, 2008

ColorJoy is sometimes Community

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

brianflowers.jpgIn keeping with my one-way conversation about what the lifestyle/idea of ColorJoy is to me, I will tell you about my birthday at Rae’s Yarn Boutique. It was all about relationship and community. I made cake and offered it to everyone who came in. Some folks were new to me, some were old friends. We all had a lovely time.

I have said often that raising a happy child is an artform, and creating a space for people to connect is similarly an artform. Rae was jus t awarded an honor from the Ingham County Women’s Commission for creating a place where artful community thrives. Here is the content of the press release:

Ingham County Women’s Commission
Honors “Everyday Heroine”
November 24, 2008
Contact: Macie Schriner (517) 803-7779

The Ingham County Women’s Commission is pleased to announce that Rachel Blackledge of Lansing has been honored with the Everyday Heroine Award. Blackledge was nominated for her role nurturing a community of artists as owner of Rae’s Yarn Boutique.

“When she’s not dying (sic) yarn, spinning yarn, or knitting she teaches people how to do all three. She empowers people to create and her store provides a place for people of different skill levels to share ideas and socialize with other fellow artists,” said Commission member Jennie Gies, who nominated Blackledge for the award. “She is nurturing a community of artists one stitch at a time,” continued Gies.

Blackledge will receive the award at the Ingham County Board of Commissioners meeting on November 25, 2008, at 7:30 p.m. at the Ingham County Courthouse, 341 South Jefferson Street, Mason.

The Ingham County Women’s Commission (ICWC) created the award to help recognize women from the county who do extraordinary things. Women strengthen our community every day in a various ways and go unnoticed. This award creates an opportunity to shine a spotlight on those who have had a positive impact in the county.

Of course, Rae is quiet when discussing this. I am delighted for her, being noticed.

I’m also happy because this award is honoring the very thing I’ve been saying for a while: making a creative space or a comfortable, safe environment where people feel at home, is one very special artform.

Creating a community space is not visual, it is not a performance. Because of that, the skill involved is often undervalued. This does not make the accomplishment any less artful or creative.

The Unveiling of the Space Cadet Tunic

spacecadettunic25.jpgI also had much fun in the costuming arena on my birthday. I had finished my “ballet tee” which turned out to be a Judy Jetson-like top that I sort of like calling my Space Cadet Tunic.

For those who missed out on the beginning of this journey, I started knitting the project because I read on Ravelry that at least two people knit the Ballet Tee (a cropped top at 2.5 stitches per inch) in 7 hours or less. I was ready for a quick success, so I swatched and dove in.

I did finish it in something like 28 hours including sleeping and working. However, it was not my style enough to wear it much that way. I looked fine in it, but not good enough. (photo below)

I had enough of the four yarns (I held four strands together to get the blanket-like gauge) to knit another whole cropped top. So I determined to knit the top into a tunic. I wear tunic-length sweaters all winter. I was not sure how I would deal with the no-sleeve part, but I own many shawls and shrugs, so I dove in.

After a few fits and starts, a little ripping and re-doing (remember I was making this up… the skirt part of the tunic was not in the pattern instructions), I like it. It did need blocking to get some funny lumps and bumps out where they were not flattering, but now I think it’s cute.

I found an early-80’s Memphis-esque pin I bought that looks like a cartoon version of a military medal, and added it to the ensemble. I also found some polymer clay earrings I bought in 1991 in Baltimore, that look a little like shooting stars.

With black leggings and a leotard-like 3/4 sleeve top underneath, and some turquoise legwarmers with short black boots, I thought I looked somewhere between Judy Jetson and a 1985 Jazzercise instructor. Just what I wanted!

For the record, anything that is as thick as a wool blanket wrapped tightly around the bodice is warm. Warm enough to not need full length sleeves, even for chilly me. I was fine all day at the shop, though I needed a shawl at home.

(Oh, the hat is a vintage velveteen “beret” which probably once had a veil attached. The inside label said Paris and New York, but that label fell out recently. It was a gift and I enjoy wearing it.)

The flowers introducing this post were from my beloved Brian, for my birthday. It seems the only flowers I can bring inside without feeling allergic, are carnations. And these are magenta, one of my favorite colors. He’s sweet, I tell you.

Big, Huge Thanks!

So thank you to everyone who was part of my birthday, and thanks to Rae for giving us a space in which to gather and connect and thrive. I tell you, between Rae and Altu I don’t know what I would do… self-employed women friends are what a self-employed woman needs, to get by.

I am grateful for such abundance, the Greater Lansing knitting community (our guild often has 30 people at meetings), the shops I work for, the friends I have not only in knitting but dance, music, art, poetry, community involvement and more. Perhaps noticing and appreciating these luxuries in my life is part of the ColorJoy experience.

Where do you see community as ColorJoyful in your own life? Where are your comfortable spots? Is the Internet one part of that community for you? (It surely is for me.)