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Archive for August, 2009

A Positive Entry: Mom’s books

Monday, August 31st, 2009


I’ve been helping my mom with a huge task… her life’s work is to teach as many kids to read as possible. She wrote 4 books to help them break through.

Mom and I have worked on getting her books into InDesign software (and then, PDFs for printing) so that we can print them for as many kids as we can reach. She’s very excited because this year, three school districts will have her books as resources for their struggling “little guys,” as she calls them.

I’m in the process of printing and cutting the 4th book so she can deliver them to the school districts. She already has books 1-3 ready to go. Understandably, she is bursting her buttons in pride and delight.

Right now, these books are not available to the public. This will change, and when they do become available, you will hear about it right here.

Meanwhile, congratulations:

Liz Troldahl, Author/Illustrator

You rock, Mom!!!

Bah, Technology!

Monday, August 31st, 2009


OK, my friends, I try to keep complaints off this blog most of the time. Please forgive me if my frustration runs out my fingers onto my keyboard today.

It has been over a week since I was able to send mail in my Eudora (POP) email program. I receive mail fine, but can’t send. It’s frustrating.

Bingo Sock Striped Toe, to Rip Back

I can send in Gmail, but when those sent messages import to Eudora later, those messages get buried and hard to find (they all are labeled as From: Lynn rather than TO: Diana). At that point, I can’t trace my out box to see if I actually replied to someone, at least not in my normal way.

Stuck in a Happy Rut

In many ways, I am very creative and flexible. However, I have an attention/distraction issue that I work hard around. I have found ways/tools to make things work dependably. This is essential, as an adult who runs her own business without clerical assistance. When I find a tool that works, I stick to it like glue!

My brain can wrap its thought process around how Eudora manages information, and if it’s not in my Eudora program, it’s sort of like it doesn’t exist. (Just ask Rae, my boss and friend, what it’s like when I’m without my email… or just trust me on that.)

When I want to remember something, I send myself an email. I just “think in Eudora” after all these years. As in, probably 12-14 years using the same system.

This Stumps a Crowd

I used to be a full-time computer consultant, I’m pretty good at problem-solving. I’m stumped.

So far, I have read web pages at Eudora/Qualcomm’s site. I have looked around our ISP’s website for answers. I have spent 45 minutes with my brother, who was a web/email support guy for Comcast.net for years. I have spent one phone call with a tech at the web host. I spent time talking to hubby Brian who manages a different email system and knows terminology I don’t know.

In addition, I have engaged in SIXTEEN email support messages over the weekend (that is 8 from me and 8 from them). Of course, I used Gmail to make my outgoing messages work.

So far, nada.

A Temporary Fix?

I think I need to knit.

(Photo, toe of sock knit of bulky Bingo superwash wool, just before I ripped it back to make it smaller. I put needles into the stitches I wanted to retain, before pulling out the stitches I did not want.

That first sock is now about 80% finished. I needed something FAST without thinking much, and it did knit up very fast. At least when something goes wrong with a sock, I know how to fix it without sixteen emails…)

Words as Art (Syrian Calligrapher)

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Maryam of My Marrakesh has posted (in her lovely, lyrical/artful way) about Khaled Al Saai, an incredibly gifted/artful Syrian calligrapher. This is no ordinary calligraphy. (And since when has calligraphy ever been ordinary?)

There is one photo of a mural in an art gallery, colorful swirling words beyond one glance of the eyes. There are many other photos. Please check it out:

Khaled Al Saai: a tale of a Syrian Calligrapher

A Day Solo

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

I have chosen to spend my day alone in silence. Brian is on a long bike ride, as he loves to do on days off. I will drink tea, work in the house, do whatever it is I choose to do for my business. This is good for both Brian and me, some time to ponder the moment for a while.

(The photo is a cup of tea I had in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at my friend Altu’s mother’s home… pure joy, great tea with love in it.)

My voice can use some rest. We have had many performances and I have been teaching a lot. There are few days when I can just be alone and be quiet.

Balance is Essential

Those who know me socially, may not realize that I have a quiet side. In public, I bubble to life. I enjoy all people and notice joy in every color and every child’s smile. Without the structure of a classroom or stage, I talk too much, too loud, too quickly. Joy is a real part of my being, and it can be electric if you are me.

In order to balance, I need to be alone at times. Lately I have had little solo time. Today is the day. I will bake (this I have been avoiding, it makes a mess I don’t enjoy cleaning up). I will make a crockpot of soup, probably split pea. I will go for a long walk with my knitting and a camera.

Pondering the Art of Words

Quiet days enhance some things. Today I accidentally came across a poem and it made me smile. I decided to look up a poem (a different one) to share with you. Remember, ColorJoy is about recognizing the art in all things. Words can be art, and perhaps most when they are poetry.

This came from a book called Miracles, a book from the 1960’s still available on the used market. Some wise person collected poetry from children. Many were so young, they required an adult to take dictation. I’m grateful that those adults sat still and listened.

The children are grown now. I have shown this poem here before, and the person who wrote it sent me a little note. Very cool.

May you have a lovely day. Perhaps you can make yourself a cup of tea, as I have, and join me in the joy contained in the artform that is carefully-chosen words.

©1968 by Marc Duskin
Age 10
United States

From the Book:
Miracles, Poems by children of the English-speaking world
Collected by Richard Lewis
Simon and Schuster, 1966

Grownups are silly,
They never drink coffee
When it’s served
To them.
They just talk
And never drink it
Until it’s cold.
Isn’t that silly?

I haven’t grown
Since I was five
I haven’t grown at all…
Grownups are just getting shorter.

Caspian Sea Sample Sock, Growing

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

My little project from Ethnic Socks and Stockings is growing. Very slowly, but growing.


Can you see why this delights me so much? This is pure beauty. The sock will fit nobody I know, it is totally a learning experience and a joy in the making.

I have no cultural claim to eastern-style anything. My brother, the genealogist in our family, says my family-tree traced heritage comes mostly from Norway and Sweden, plus a few places in the UK.

However, I was born for colorful anything. My first memory at age 2, was of a blue and yellow toy I was denied at the home of friends. It wasn’t the denial that made me remember, but the beauty of the colors in concentric rings.

This sock is not denying me anything. I can not knit it when in a group of people, which is where I do the bulk of my knitting. Instead, this is pushing me toward a little quiet knitting time at home. This is good for me.

Off to knit a little bit more…

Bits n’ Pieces

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Nothing in depth, it’s a scattered, chilly August day (!!!) in Lansing:

  1. Computer

    I am making fast friends with a tech at my web host, trying to figure out how to solve my no-outgoing-email problem. I’ve fixed a bunch of problems, but still no outgoing mail. Thank goodness for Gmail in a pinch!

  2. Music

    We (The Fabulous Heftones) sang at Holt Hometown Festival. It was about 62 degrees F (16.66C). Last year the festival was just baking hot, go figure. It’s still August, but I wore longjohns and wool legwarmers under my evening gown.

    That wind was a bit mean! We whistle on stage, and the wind kept blowing my hair into my mouth (preventing efforts at whistling from making any sound at all). Crazy! It was fun anyway. We had a few fans there, just for us. That is SO rewarding!

  3. Wooly/Warm

    I am happily ensconced at home, now. I’m wearing my very warm alpaca-mohair cabled sweater, and thick wool socks, right now. Indoors. I was just wearing a caftan and feeling a bit warm, just a few days ago! August is too early for alpaca, isn’t it?

  4. Comfort Food

    The plan for dinner is pumpkin soup (winter food) and bacon/lettuce/tomato sandwiches (summer food). That also fits the “go figure” category. Brian went for groceries, bless his heart, so I can sip warm tea until he returns.

Thanks, Rita! (Heirloom Tomatoes as Art)

Saturday, August 29th, 2009


Harvest Heaven

Rita comes to the Thursday Night knit-in session at Rae’s Yarn Boutique most weeks. She seems to crank out shawls (I bet it doesn’t feel like that to her, however). She’s passionate about books, and she also is a serious food gardener.

I was delighted Friday when she brought in a lovely basket of freshly-picked tomatoes and offered them to those in the shop. You can see that these are truly a delight to the eye. I assure you, they also delight the nose, and the taste buds.

She grew several types of heirloom tomatoes. The two-colored green ones are fully ripe, but not the color we see at the grocery. The red and orange ones look ripe, feel ripe, smell ripe, taste ripe.

Growing Up is Great

As a child, I would not eat anything that had even a drop of fresh tomato juice on it. I was a tomato detective: Mom would remove the tomatoes before I saw the sandwich, and I would cry after one bite, and refuse to touch that sandwich again.

I think the problem was mostly about bad, commercially-grown tomatoes. Yes, it’s great to have fresh foods all year round. Tomatoes do not seem to do as well in a greenhouse, though. Or at any rate, the standard grocery-store greenhouse ones seem like un-food to me, yet.

Plans for Saturday

I got out the nitrite-free turkey bacon from the freezer Friday, so that I can make some “bacon,” lettuce, tomato sandwiches. Unfortunately, that means I need to make my own bread. I don’t really enjoy the process, but the end result is wonderful.

Mom makes me a wonderful Irish soda bread with just oatmeal flour, and I will make my own loaf (it’s the only bread I can eat that actually sticks together enough to toast or make sandwiches). It’s totally worth the effort.

Continuing with Thanks

This time of year, the food is so excellent I am constantly happy thinking of it all. Thanks, again, Rita, for adding to my harvest-time pleasure!

Student/Friend Knit Successes

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Enough about me, and my own knitting. Let’s see some student/friend works!

Presbytera is knitting a sock with my handpainted yarn. (I’m having some trouble showing the colors properly, but the sock is as good as it looks right here.) Nice job, grrl!


Kim felted her second Maxi Zigbag (she is almost done with a third). Yes, it is relatively electric in color… I wish I’d made this one:


Mary finished a Chippy Sock Class and this was how her project looked at the end of our sessions:


I also taught a great Kaleidoscope Cane Polymer Clay class to Gwen and Melinda, and forgot my camera. Sigh. Trust me, a great time and very fine projects.

Next week I go back to teaching kids on Wednesdays at Rae’s. I think that means summer is pretty much over with. Right now, it’s chilly and rainy. I’m wearing wool socks, legwarmers, sweater, and a shawl. Brrr.

Though it seems we had no summer this year after the worst winter ever, I can’t complain. I do like wool, and chilly is good for the yarn/knitting business as a whole. That makes it good for me. It looks like I will be having a good number of beginner students at Rae’s shop very soon. What fun that will be!

A Few Videos

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Un-Threatening Embroidery Lesson

I love to embroider. I love the feel of a sewing needle in my hand. These days I am seeing more work using a sewing needle to embellish, and I continue to encounter knitters who do not feel comfortable holding that sort of needle.

I found myself on Youtube and found this very young, hip, edgy crafts video by “Threadbanger.” It looks a bit like a magazine/podcast but with moving pictures, I’m not familiar with this sort of publication myself.

They went to Austin, TX and interviewed a young embridery artist who has an online business selling embroidery supplies and Very. Simple. Instructions. I liked her directness and simplicity in the short lesson. Here is the
video which includes an embroidery lesson

Dogs, Shepherds, and Sheep, as Art

And for those not into working with your hands or thread/yarn, even you will surely be inspired, amazed, and delighted by Extreme Sheep Herding

For the Record

Remember, I don’t like video/TV/movies as a rule. The sheep herding thing is so good, I’ve watched it twice already.

It includes not one, but four amazing (though short) projects using a herd of sheep and very, very talented dogs and shepherds. What skill! What a great sense of humor, as well!

Try, Try Again

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

I cast on a second time for my Caspian Sea sample sock. It’s a project from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ Ethnic Socks and Stockings. This time I did the two-color toe cast on with the right color sequence, and all is going fine at this time.

I am further along than these photos show, but you can see the progress. Cast on and the toe-depth rectangle:


After knitting a bit in the round, still at toe but just adding new colors of yarn:


Enough toe finished that I can see some of the very fun front-of-foot patterning. There will be several diamond shapes in red, on the front, plus small teal accents. So far, so good:


I can not tell you how happy this project already makes me. If you give me knit/purl patterning in one color of yarn, I get stumped easily and rip out often.

Give me color? I am in love. The ends of yarn don’t bother me, I sort of enjoy “petting” the yarn bundle as I work.

And when I make a mistake in colowork, I notice very, very quickly. If I need to rip, it’s one round at most. I can live with that.

The Human/Historical Connection

What makes this even better, though, is the connection to other knitters through the ages. I am learning things that were second-nature to folks far from my homeland but just as human and just as artful (or more than) me.

The motifs that literally made me cry in Priscilla’s slide show at Sock Summit (and created a similar response in another student, Jess of Ravelry, in the slide show with Anna Zilboorg) are beautiful to many. They can strike a chord in a human heart with an artful eye, no matter where we are from.

Knit, Knit, Knit…

I am knitting like a fiend, though there is little to show here. I’m doing a pair of bulky socks, just an easy carry-with project. I started a pair of toe up socks in three colors of yarn (which Rae dyed), on size 0/2mm needles today. I am contemplating a single-crocheted beret, if I can decide which yarn to use. And I still have the wonderful Mitered Sunset Square Stole project as well.

Much good news is on its way… stay tuned.


Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Since I spent much time thinking about my love for ethnic/Turkish socks when I was in Portland, OR for Sock Summit, I have been itching to cast on something extra-colorful. I have been poring through books and other resources for inspiration.


I have been analyzing my solid-colored-sockyarn stash to see what colors I have that will contrast well with one another. (I have a zillion reds and pinks in stash, and a few greens, mostly bright. No blue, purple, light gray. No turquoise, because those are all being used on the now-stalled mitered square tank top.) Though I have black, it does not photograph well so I skipped it.

I was determined to work things out from resources/yarn I already had in my home/studio. Most of the socks of the sort I love, require a minimum of 3 colors.

I finally decided to cast on one of the sample socks in Ethnic Socks and Stockings by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. (These are small examples, holding many ethnic socknitting techniques.)

This has a vertical cast on with a sideways-placed toe rectangle (not like the one I use in my First-Time Toe-Up socks). I have done a toe like this before, but in this version I needed to cast on (begin the first row) in two colors.

Mind you, this sort of knitting is fussy. All knitting is a bit of a struggle for the first two or three rows.

And, when you start with a dozen or fewer stitches on three needles, the needles are clunky and in the way. When the needles are size 0US/2mm in diameter, the issue magnifies. It’s a slow process to get it started, more than with a hat or sweater.


So what did I do? I got this far. It took far too long to get this much done. And then I realized that I had cast on the colors in the wrong order. Oops! On top of that, somehow I had knit into the wrong leg of the stitch and you can see the slanted stitches of the cast-on easily.

I had to take it out, there was no other answer. Pout.

Here you see the toe before I pulled out the needles. I’m happy to say I got it going fine the second time around, though I waited a day to try again. No photos of my “second draft” sock right now, but you will see some soon enough.

Dratted Technology…

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009


I am able to receive emails no problem, but am having trouble (for almost a week now) sending mail. If you think I should have written you, I apologize. I think I’ve handled all deadlines, but thank-you notes are so behind I may never catch up.

Every single person who leaves comments… every person who pops by this blog, I really appreciate you and give thanks for you every day. My work is able to continue because of your interest, and I’m grateful.

I’ll figure it out. I’m dealing with four different domain names (colorjoy.com being only one) and trying to figure out how to configure my email program now that my Internet Service Provider has changed their mail system, has cost me a good number of hours. I’m closer than I was, but I’m not there yet.

I used to be a full-time tech. I was a Y2K consultant. I liked it, even. Right now I feel as though all I want is yarn and needles. (Or something else physical and tangible, like sidewalk chalk?)

This too, shall pass.


Photos? Isabel (age 5) and mommy April came over last week. We played with sidewalk chalk. Isabel took the photo of our feet. I took the photo of Isabel with the sidewalk. Notice her shorts are rainbow-colored from sitting on the chalk. I love that kid!

Sock Museum Online

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

For those who are interested in socknitting and the history of socks, the Sock Summit folks put up a website with a timeline of sock designs. There are photos of many of them, and some have pattern sources listed (some free, some for pay).

I noticed that many of the links to photos take you to Ravelry.com, so you might get more value out of this if you choose a membership (free) with Ravelry. I could spend all day reading and clicking links on this subject, but I need to do a bit of work! Maybe this will be how I spend my after-dinner time tonight?

If you are interested, check out The Sock Museum

Chicago, that Toddlin’ Town…

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

More Travel for LynnH

I visited my Goddaughter, Sara, in Chicago, Friday night. This is the end of her 3-month living/working in the big city.


I was delighted to be invited to peek at her life, one she has dreamed of for a while. (I took her to Chicago for her High School graduation present, and now she has graduated from College… maybe it’s my fault.)

She is 23 and living on her own, in a city where she knows almost nobody. She loves it. I loved being there with her.

It was a whirlwind trip. I was out of Lansing for less than 24 hours (Chicago is a drive of 3.5 to 5 hours, depending on traffic). I must confess, I love Chicago so much that I don’t mind being totally stopped in traffic if I can see the skyline. See the red brake lights? Same photo as above, without cropping…


I took a photo of a spiral fire escape for Paz. This was in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, where Sara is living.


I took a nighttime skyline photo from the roof of Sara’s building. The roof had a nice social area, like a patio, and she says normally it is full of folks relaxing after the workday is done. We were up there in misting drizzle, so there was only one other person up there while we were.


And of course, I got a nice skyline photo of the city from the north, coming south… also stopped on the highway. This photo can be seen much larger if you click on it. I think it has the look of an early 1960’s architectural drawing, the way the colors are limited.


Cities are Sometimes about Food

We ate Indian food at a place she enjoys. We had breakfast at a place near her home which she had not tried before. It had normal breakfast food and excellent service, and was bustling with families on a Saturday morning.

Stretching a Bit

She wanted me to see the movie “Singing in the Rain.” I’m not a movie person at all (the last movie/video I saw was The Lion King, when it first came out in the theatre).

However, I am a dancer and singer of 1920’s music. She knew I would like this film, and she was right. We watched her DVD together. I was surprised to see that some songs Brian and I sing, were in the movie. (Fit as a Fiddle, Good Morning, and another I can’t think of right now.)

She Still Calls Me at Age 23! Score!

It was mostly just about being with “My Sara.” I am so glad I took the time. What a lovely whirlwind trip it was!