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Archive for August, 2009

Beads, Just for Fun

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Just for Fun, Just for Me

I taught polymer clay two days in a row. Between the two classes, I was able to put together some clay “canes” (patterns) and make these fun beads for myself.
polyclaybeadsforme400
I strung them, for this photo, on a short length of Aspen yarn (wool/acrylic bulky). It is so round, it sort of begs for embellishment around a neck. Eventually, I would like to have a few more beads and maybe an I-cord or silk kumihimo (specialized Japanese cord weaving/braiding, see example) instead of the yarn.

Time for a Change

I am a mean boss to myself sometimes. I have been “under the gun” with my work for so long I have not allowed myself to play. After a long stretch, several years, of not feeling well, I got really behind on planned projects, particularly pattern development.

Once I felt better, I pushed myself to catch up on years-delayed projects. The Chippy Socks, Road-Tested Legwarmers, Toe-Up Mittens, and ZigBagz (Maxi and Mini Collections) were the result of that push. My mom’s very-beginner-reading books were also on the list, and those are in the very last stages before printing.

I’m glad I got those done. But it has been over a year now, and I need to change gears and be more gentle with myself.

I am clear that I am at the breaking point with pushing too hard. I must create for me, for a while, to get a little creative passion burning inside me again. This set of beads was a nice start.

Many, Many ZigBagZ!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

The other day I was at Rae’s shop, and it turned out that there were many ZigBagZ in the shop at one time. I stopped my plans and decided to do an impromptu photo session. How could I resist? I spent over a year “birthing” the ZigBagZ into pattern instructions, and it just thrills me every single time I see a new one!

A Zillion ZigBagZ

The Burly bag at top left (rust) was knit by Carol. The burly brown/green top right was knit by Diana/Otterwise and is owned by Rae’s shop.

The bottom row of larger bags, left to right, is my own prototype MaxiZig (turquoise handles, no surprise) which I use as my daily purse. The next larger bag, green handles, is a MaxiZig knit by Carol, and then there is a navy-handled MaxiZig knit by Diana for me which I use as my knitting bag.

The very front row is a BottleZig and MiniZig, both knit by me as samples for Rae’s shop. The only model missing is the SportZig, a larger bottle version (I have one for my Sigg bottle).

I just love Carol’s bags. Here is a closeup of the stitch pattern for the bag at center front:

zigbagstitchpattcarol400

I think it is absolutely splendid. Nice job, Carol!

Elizabeth’s Fine Sock

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Elizabeth works for Rae. She is relatively new to socknitting, but she is wasting no time and going for excellence right away.

This sock was knit toe up so that she could make it as tall as possible. She had merely inches of yarn left when she bound off the last stitch.

elizabethsock

What is even more fun, is that she dyed this yarn in a class from Rae. They had machine-knit sock blanks and applied dye to them (in this case, in stripes).

You can imagine that I like this colorway that she chose, quite a lot. The colors are so intense that my camera did not capture them fully, but you can see they are lovely.

The blanks have two strands of sockyarn held together as one. You unravel the blank as you knit the first one, and wind the second strand into a ball which will then become the second sock.

I am pretty sure this is only Elizabeth’s second pair of socks. She did a mini-sock keychain as her first socknitting experience, but that’s technically not a pair

Go, Elizabeth. Nice job!

Snicklefritz Socks: Pair 174

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

I needed a quick finish and got one. I cast on this pair of socks on Monday night. I finished them and started wearing them on Saturday night. Score.

Pair 174, Snicklefritz Socks

Statistics

For knitters out there, the yarn is Snicklefritz (an independent dyer). It’s Cashmere/Merino/Nylon. I can not find it on Ravelry, the Snicklefritz website or the Snicklefritz Etsy page. It’s nice… a DK-weight super-comfy yarn. Sorry I can’t tell you how to get it right away.

She does subtle colorways for the most part, this was the closest to my electric-neon color preferences in her booth. I love this colorway, subtle or not, and the yarn was a delight as it ran through my fingers.

The design I sort of made up on the needles. I’m playing with a new toe-up cast on, and I’m liking this idea so far.

The toe increases in a 4 part swirl. I put in waste yarn for the heel marker, proceeded to the top, did a purl/eyelet top, and then went back and made an afterthought heel. The heel is in 4 parts, similar to the toe but knit the other direction).

I love this structure. I began this pair so fast, that I started with the yarn I had and the needles I had closest at hand.

Idiosyncrasies

That means I am using DK-weight yarn on size 4 needles. That’s what I use for hats and baby sweaters, but I prefer smaller needles for socks (using DK weight yarn) as a rule.

The result? Very soft, squishy, flexible socks with a bit of slouch at the ankle. Not a true slouch sock but very comfy.

With this more relaxed gauge, these may be best worn with shoes or in bed, rather than scuffing about on carpet at home in them (as slippers). I may wear them out more quickly than usual at that relaxed gauge, but I have no regrets. My feet are happy, wearing them right now.

Fast can be good!

I think I’m a little bit like a 3rd grader. Sometimes finishing is more important than what one finishes. Just finish something!!!!!

Note: Spent the night Friday in Chicago, visiting my Goddaughter Sara (age 24). I’m wiped out and need to crash early. Travel is lovely but it makes me tired. I did get photos and will share soon.

It all comes down to relationship… (Sock Summit)

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

yarnhollowcottonsock10This will complete my travelogue of my trip to Portland, Oregon for the Sock Summit conference. It was wonderful in all ways, though I am happy to be back sleeping in my own bed this week.

The People are the Essence

I met so many great people, from my teachers, a few Internet friends, the young woman in my hostel dorm room, a Michigan friend’s sister who stopped by, and just great folks all around.

Melissa who volunteered a lot at the front desk, was someone I’d met online (we can’t remember where) and we talked enough to make a bit of relationship there. I met Karin of Periwinkle Sheep without realizing I would see her. I missed a bunch more, which makes me sad, but that’s the nature of being in a crowd of thousands.

Yarn, Too, is Relationship

I came home with five yarns I did not own when I left. The first photo here is Yarn Hollow handpaint, in Cotton/Bamboo/Nylon. It’s great stuff, and I did a First-Time Toe-Up sock that fits me, in that yarn. Mind you, I almost never love yarn with cotton in it. This stuff is great.

portlandyarnscorrectedcolor

In the second photo, starting at left to right is a merino/cashmere/nylon yarn, DK weight, handpainted by Snicklefritz. I have one sock and one toe already done in this yarn. Soft yarn, quick knit, I’m all for it! My roommate at the hostel (drat, why can I not come up with her name right now) worked at Snicklefritz’ booth and they offered me a discount. How kind.

Following that is “Totally Turquoise” by Karin of Periwinkle Sheep, a gift from her to me (hugs, Karin). It’s 100% merino, totally sproingy. Then you see Briar Rose Fibers (a Michigan dyer), Josephine (75% coopworth wool/25% mohair, super warm, very different than the previous yarns). This will become ribbed ankle warmers when it cools down a bit.

Last, there is a green skein of 100% merino in a thinner gauge than the turquoise one. It was hand-dyed by Miss Babs, and it is called “Yummy” in color “Gumby.” This was a gift from my friend Ilisha who I will speak more of later in this post.

More Knitters

I met Carrie on the plane from Flint to Cleveland (to Houston, to Portland…) and we sat together during her layover (mine was longer, but the same path). Lucky for me, she lives in Michigan. We will probably connect again, I figure.

I spent a lot of time with my friend Rita of Yarn Hollow (in whose booth I worked when not taking classes). We have known one another several years but the many hours to get closer, were precious. I also got time to know the folks from City Knitting in Eastown Grand Rapids, MI, whose booth was next to us.

portlandfringevintage

A New Friend

And I sort of accidentally met a new friend, Ilisha, when she told me she liked my Maxi ZigBag. I immediately liked her style… she was wearing an amazing handknit ginkgo -leaf knitted scarf/neckpiece. In just a few minutes I knew I wanted to connect with her more. We agreed to look for one another at or at least after the Luminary Panel, the final event of the conference.

We did connect at the panel, and it was marvelous. After the Luminary Panel finished, we went to her art studio (she lives in Portland). She showed me a bit of the neighborhood, encouraged me to step into the shop “Fringe Vintage” (photo above) which was at the end of the block, and decided to have a meal together in the neighborhood.

portlandindian

We met up first with her husband Joe and then also her son, and they took me to dinner for Indian food (which was incredible). They have lived in a number of places, and we had a fine chat during our meal. Here is the sign for that restaurant, if anyone in Portland wants to check it out.

More Sightseeing

After dinner, Ilesha and I went to Whole Foods for a few supplies to get me through the flights home. After that, Powell’s bookstore.

portlandpowells

Powell’s is just huge, an independent bookstore several stories tall and just incredible in all ways. Very near the front door, they had a display set up for Sock Summit. Ilesha took a photo of me standing in front of that display (thanks, friend).

If you are in Portland, Ilisha (Helfman) and Joe (Freedman) have a show currently running at Beet Gallery of Contemporary Craft, through August 29. Also, Ilisha is in a book called “Knitting Art, 150 Innovative Works from 18 Contemporary Artists.” Other artists in this collection include Kathryn Alexander, Katharine Cobey, and Debbie New. This is excellent company, indeed!

You can see some of Ilisha’s work at these sites:

Hestia House

Follow the Thread

Almost the End, and a “Hiccup”

Eventually we found our way to our respective “homes.” I got up optimistically the next morning. However, I then totally underestimated how long the subway trip to the airport was, got there when the line to get a boarding pass was 45 minutes long, and missed my flight out. Adventure time… my fault.

Eventually, I got a standby flight to Minneapolis that night. They could not get me to Flint on the same day. The good news? Susan Hensel, dear artist/fiber friend, lives in Minneapolis. She was a grand sport by letting me sleep on her couch, and it was actually a delight to see her, if only briefly.

suehbooks

Sue is a strong woman. She is a significant muse for me, it seems that I do extra-ordinary work when she is involved. I did both my “Fabric of Friendship” project and my knitted Self Portrait with her behind me. (I loved her bookshelf full of “fix it” books, and could not resist taking a photo.) It was very good to see her after such a whirlwind experience. An anchor is precious at times like that.

Home

I got home safely Tuesday, and just in time to teach my 6pm class at Rae’s shop. With no surcharge to reschedule my flights… a real bonus. All was well.

Really, I am only beginning to process the influence this trip will have on my future choices. I think there are so many possibilities… but I need to choose in a focused way where I will go next.

I can’t know. I can only take one step at a time.

Portland, you were wonderful! What a great trip it was.

Photos of Portland, Oregon (Post 2)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

portlandfromplane

I enjoy taking public transit whenever I can, when I travel. I like to say I collect subways, but I collect buses and above-ground trains as well. I added another system to my list while in Portland.

When I got in to the airport the first night (Wednesday), I had to take a cab in order to get to the Lantern Moon pre-conference reception before it was over. (An aside: the Lantern Moon people are wonderful and thoughtful, and their products are a delight to use.) I then took the provided private bus from that reception to the Convention Center area, and called a cab from there.

The cab was necessary as I had to get to my hostel before it was too late to check in for the night (their desk closed at midnight). All other transportation I took alone in the city, was the light rail (a train system which runs above ground).

portlandtrainstop

Collecting Another Train System

The system is clean and well-used but was not overcrowded at the times I used it. The one time I overshot my stop, I got off my train and then went to the other side to wait for a train going back the way I needed to go.

I was not there 30 seconds before a security officer showed up from what seemed like nowhere, and asked if I was OK. I told him I was turning around, and he said I was in the right place. He stayed with me until the train came. This was around midnight, I think on Friday. I did appreciate his presence and good company.

portlandbubbler1

Chinatown Detour

Thursday, on the way “home,” I decided to get off the train a few times to check out other sections of town. I had missed a lunch with others at a specific restaurant in Chinatown. I decided to see if I wanted to eat there alone at dinner. It was disappointing, unfortunately.

Apparently late dinner on Thursday is not a boom time in Chinatown. The area seemed in less than excellent repair as a whole. Although I found a beautiful and well-kept entry gate to the area (I love gates like this), I also found a shelter or food kitchen for homeless folks when I walked around a block off the main drag. I’m happy to know that those who need it, can get some care, but I think they would just as soon I not be in their space.

portlandchinatown

They paid me no attention at all (nobody begged or even looked at me). There were other pedestrians around, and it was not dark. It did not feel particularly spooky to this citygrrl, but I was clearly not where I belonged. I went back to the train and got dinner elsewhere.

I like to take photos out of the window of public transit vehicles. Here are a few shots I got in Portland, I’m not exactly sure where. I love old architecture!

portlandsubwayview1

This one is of the Portland Saturday Market, which I have heard about. I did not have time to stop that day, but it was good to see it through the window.

portlandsatmarket

Bubblers

I also got a few photos while I walked to and from the train stops. If you notice the third photo (train stop), and look at far right, you will see a small water fountain. I was told these are called “bubblers.” You see them all over, walking down the sidewalks through a neighborhood.

I was told these were installed because the thought was that drunk people would drink water if it was free to them and available easily. It clearly did not work… one night I walked by around midnight and a bubbler’s water was turned off, though it had been on in the morning. I only saw running water during daytime.

They sure are lovely and welcoming, in any case! Here is another photo with a multiple-fountain bubbler:

portlandbubbler2

Welcome, Stranger

Portland felt very comfortable and friendly to me as a midwesterner (I know a good handful of Michigan folks who have moved there and are not coming back). It seemed even more warm to strangers on the sidewalk, than home.

Here in Lansing, those who know me understand that I dress unlike others here. I’m an artist who loves clothing/costuming every day. Those in my life accept me for who I am. However, I am outside the norm by a large margin in my caftans and bright clothing.

My own small home city tends toward neutral clothing such as navy and beige, and blue jeans. Knitters tend to favor soft purples as well, for some reason. My hot turquoise and magenta worn with hot green, all at once, is something you don’t see much on an adult in these parts.

I noticed that walking to the train stop in Portland (wearing my colorful garb), I was approached at least once a day by a stranger who told me I looked nice. They kept walking, with the exception of a skateboarding kid on the train who really was interested in the polymer clay beads I made for my earrings. Nobody caused me any trouble, and they were not afraid to talk to me at all. I liked that!

Photos of Portland, Oregon (Post 1)

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

portlandcoffeeshop

It appears that I am done with Sock Summit on-location photographs. I guess since I got home 8 days ago, it may be time for another topic.

However, I am very fond of big cities. I was delighted to stay outside of the Convention Center area, so that I could see more of the city of Portland. The hostel I stayed in was quite nice, and the price was less than $30 a night (my dorm-style room had three bunk beds in it; I lucked out and got a bottom bunk).

For the record, this hostel has private rooms as well, but the prices are higher. I wanted to keep my costs to a very low roar, and this fit the bill.

portlandcolorfulhouses

I have found that I always meet interesting people when I stay in hostels, often folks from Europe. We had some folks from the UK and a woman whose voice sounded German, perhaps. Two of us in that room were there for the Sock Summit, but more of that later.

Location, Location, Location

The hostel was in the Northwest section of Portland, in an area sometimes called the Alphabet district. The streets are numbered in one direction and in alphabetical order in another.

This street-naming pattern was incredibly helpful the first day I needed to walk to the subway station. I got turned around twice, and both times I realized my problem only a few blocks out of the way, because of the street names.

portlandthaisweetbasil

Across the street from the hostel was the wonderful World Cup coffee house (first photo, across the street at right, brick and glass). I was able to get good tea, good orange juice, and a three-bean salad which I toted with me for lunch two days, at a much nicer price than food in the Convention Center.

I also really enjoyed purchasing from local entrepeneurs in the neighborhood. It just feels right, for this self-employed person to seek out small local businesses to support.

Kitty-corner from the hostel was a lovely grouping of amazingly colorful homes (. Just beyond those homes is a small, one-story green building. This is a Thai restaurant called Sweet Basil. I ate there on Thursday night, while I finished up my mini-Chippy-Sock Necklace.

portlandthaiinterior

The interior of Sweet Basil delighted me. Behind the bar, the wall was painted purple. Not only that, the food was gorgeous to look at and very nice to eat.

portlandthaitable

I was very hungry when I walked in. I was very full when I walked out. It was “just right,” as Goldilocks would say.

More Portland photos in another post. This one is getting pretty long!

Guinness World Record Attempt

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

When I was at the Sock Summit conference, I participated in a fun group event. Over 900 knitters came together to make an attempt at the world record number of knitters knitting together at the same time. I do not have any photos, because I was busy knitting. However, there is a great professional video at Oregonlive.com which does a nice job with the story.

It was quite fun, I don’t know why for sure. I think for me, it was about being with that many others who share my same passion. We all love to knit. Many do not understand, but for that fifteen minutes, we all were in it happily together.

There were rules. We all knit for 15 minutes. We used two straight needles (no double-pointed needles and no circulars). We could purl, as that is part and parcel of the knitting process. Ripping back was not allowed during this time, however. Hiccups had to stay in the piece until the 15 minutes were done.

We did not set the rules. Guinness set them before we were involved. There was a group in Australia with fewer than 300 people, who set the record earlier this year. They had the same rules we did. Since we are socknitters by virtue of the conference subject matter, many of us do not typically knit on two straight needles. There was a knitter in the room who had a basket for unwanted straight needles which were going to a charity… for those who got needles specifically for the event and did not want to keep them.

I knit something called double-I-cord. Regular I-cord requires double pointed needles if done the standard way, but double can be done on single-pointed straight needles. I knit skinny sock yarn on size 10 bamboo needles, just because those were the supplies I had with me when it was time to start. I had expected to miss out on the experience due to time restrictions, but it worked out and so I grabbed what I had.

In the end, that double-I-cord became the “chain” for my Mini-Chippy-Sock necklace. Here is a photo:

minichippyfinished400

Sock Summit Teachers & Incredible Evening

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

I’m still processing the amazing experience which was Sock Summit. So often in my “real life,” portlandannazpeople don’t understand that I love knitting socks. Yes, one can buy them for a good price. But they can’t have exactly what they want that way. Maybe they aren’t picky, but I am.

So here I was at Sock Summit, an international socknitting conference. Here were thousands of folks, passionate about the same thing I adore. It was incredibly powerful.

I’m fond of saying “You can’t buy passion.” You can’t decide, either, what it is you will be passionate about. It comes, and it’s yours. Some are into coffee, some wine, some motorcycles, some gardening.

I’m into socknitting. In particular, colorful wool socks… ethnic-inspired (or historical) socks, more often than not. I loved socks before I knew one could knit them. After? They are my career.

What I Didn’t Do

I didn’t meet anyone from Ravelry or my blog unless they came to me… I swear, I am distractable enough to only notice what is in front of my nose when things get off my regular routine. I had a great time in spite of missing out on meeting some very cool people from online.

I didn’t sleep enough. In fact, I fell asleep with my netbook on my lap two nights in a row, trying to blog or tweet or something. I got back to my room so late that I just couldn’t stay awake to do much.

My Classes

priscillasmiling12

I took Publishing with Deb Robson, Ethnic Socks & Stockings lecture with Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, and Turkish Stitches lecture with Anna Zilboorg. Also Opening Ceremony and Luminary Panel. And the Guinness World Record attempt (935 people knitting for 15 minutes at the same time, in the same room), which I did not expect to do and which was quite entertaining.

Somehow I didn’t get any photos of Deb teaching. I think I was too fascinated with her subject (publishing in the knitting realm). Here are photos of Anna and Priscilla (more than their socks, this time), teaching.

The Best Part, for Me

I missed the Ravelry party because I instead spent the night having dinner with Deb, Priscilla, Anna, and Nelda Davis (dear friend of Priscilla’s from grad school, also a textile scholar and ethnic sock enthusiast). It was Turkish Sock Heaven.

Anna crashed early, but the rest of us were together about 4.5 hours, documenting my own 4 pairs of socks from Turkey and having a quick look at my Andean hats as well.

A Dream, but Not

It was surreal. Surreal. The women who write the books who have made my own Turkish Socknitting pattern/teaching adventure easier (by writing books on the subject) spent time with me, and we all were equally passionate about it. Well… I think nobody could be as passionate on the subject as Priscilla, but the rest of us follow closely behind.

Here is a photo of Deb Robson, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, and Nelda Davis, documenting my Turkish sock (you can see it was a pleasant time):

Deb Robson, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, Nilda Davis

More photos of the evening:

Priscilla looking at a few of my Andean hats.

priscillawithandeanhats

Passionate Priscilla in a pensive moment.

priscillapensive10

Deb perched on chair taking photos of my socks, PGR looking on.portlanddebpriscillaphotos

Nelda, poised to steam the sock into shape for photos.

portlandnildawithiron

Deb with magnifying glass, inspecting stitch irregularities while Priscilla pins sock to maximize photo quality. Deb spoke of this on her own blog, here. It turns out that the (anonymous Turkish) knitter ran out of white yarn and substituted another, part way through the sock. Unfortunately, it was handspun and very different in gauge. This introduced a change in stitch count and other irregularities which Deb and Priscilla investigated in depth.

portlanddebpriscillaclose400

Deb and Priscilla, expert spinners, determined that the second yarn was from a different fleece altogether. I would not have noticed.

Many Gifts

Deb and I made friends through my blog. We have communicated several times a week for a few years now. However, I knew that some day I’d meet her at one fiber event or another. I did not have to manage a trip to Oregon in August (slow time for knitting income) to see Deb.

But Priscilla is not teaching these days, she’s mostly retired from public events. She did decide to do Ethnic Sock lectures at Sock Summit, after she was assured that Nelda and Deb would assist her. I was not sure I’d have a chance to meet her at another time. (For the record, Alice volunteered to schlep a lot of Priscilla’s materials around for much of the time. I don’t have Alice’s photo but she was great fun at all times.)

I told Priscilla that the reason I made sure I did this trip, was to hear her speak. Meeting her in person, working with her for 4 hours, was an icing on the cake that I did not imagine possible. It was totally surreal, in all the best ways.

What Now?

I’m sure my work is ready to change in the direction of more colorwork. I have many projects partway in development, but I need to follow my singing heart, toward more and more colorwork.

Can you see why I’m still sort of twirling and not settling down quite yet? I don’t know which direction to point next. Thanks, Deb, for making this meeting of the minds include me. I’m honored, and still blown away, by the experience.

Sock Summit Once More

Monday, August 17th, 2009

I’m still trying to emotionally/mentally process my overwhelming/wonderful trip to Portland, Oregon for the Sock Summit. I am sure things are changing for me as an artist/designer/teacher. I am not sure what this will be, but I am pondering possibilities. Meanwhile, here are some photos from that week.

The vendor booth of Yarn Hollow, where I worked part of the weekend. (Yarn Hollow is owned by the artful dyer Rita Pettys, near Grand Rapids, Michigan.)

socksummityarnhollowbooth

The line to get in to the market on the first day. What you can not see here, is that the crowd started singing “99 bottles of beer on the wall” and then changed it to “99 skeins of yarn on the wall,” as they were waiting for the doors to open.

For the record, the line went to the back wall, then made a u-turn and came all the way back to the front where I was standing. LOTS of socknitters!

portlandsocksummitline

Approaching the Convention Center from the light-rail system (like a subway but above ground). I stayed at an International Hostel in another neighborhood, so I got to ride public transit each day and see the city more than if I’d been stuck in just one area.

Have I mentioned how much I love big cities? How I “collect subways?” Actually, I collect public transit systems. I’ve now been on trains or buses in Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Cairo. And I’ve ridden the Detroit People Mover, though it is more like a tourist attraction than real transit system. But I digress…

portlandconventionview

I have many more photos, but this will need to suffice for now. Thanks for sticking around.

Slow and Simple

Monday, August 17th, 2009

Today I will practice the artform of slowing down. I slept in two days in a row, maybe I feel human again.

I made pancakes with strawberries for brunch (got up too late to call it breakfast). I’m listening to Steppin’ in It‘s latest CD.

There is plenty of work for me to do, but no deadlines today. Nobody is expecting me to show up at a particular time. I have two shops to visit today, and will enjoy that.

Grateful

I am practicing gratitude as my life theme, and it is making all things nicer. I remain grateful, especially, to those who buy my patterns/classes/yarn. These people, even those who buy a single pattern, contribute to my choice of work.

I have the enviable position of making my primary living as a knitting professional. I could not do it without every single supporter, no matter how small.

All of you reading this, everyone who takes a class, every shop who asks me for patterns or a scheduled class… all of you make things work as part of a whole.

It’s a wonderful life!

A Portland Fire Escape for Paz

Monday, August 17th, 2009

My friend Paz likes taking photos of fire escapes. She lives in New York City, where there are many. In Lansing, there are few.

I took this photo out of the window of the public transit train in Portland, Oregon. While I assemble more photos and longer stories for you, here is a lovely city view…

portlandfireescape

Photos from Sock Summit

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

I’m still crunched for time, I will be at Allegan/Michigan Fiberfest Sunday after being there all day Saturday. At least I got to sleep a full night for the first time in weeks. Small things become big sometimes… like a good night’s rest. Monday I can sleep in again. Two nights in a row may just let me catch up!

I processed a few photos from the opening reception of Sock Summit (international socknitting conference in Portland, Oregon last week). Here is a very nice shot of Sock Team One (ST1) and Sock Team Two (ST2) the first night. I’m here to tell you, this group is top notch in all ways. They worked without enough sleep and kept positive and helpful throughout. Much appreciated.

portlandtwoteams

Here is a photo of the group hug that ended the first night’s opening reception:

portlandteamshug

This was a very female sort of event. It was huge but it really represented all that is best about women and how they care and organize.

For an example, when someone needed a hanger for their vendor booth, an announcement was made to the whole sales floor asking if anyone had a hanger or two that they did not need. About a half an hour before we were to stop setting up booths, another announcement came saying that if anyone needed help setting up, please let the front desk know. They had volunteers at the ready, to help anyone who was behind the schedule. Wow.

The volunteers were plentiful and friendly. When we needed things, we were assisted in our need. I was having trouble finding food I could eat (given all my allergies), and one ST2 member told me of a place that did in fact work out well. For me, that was major. Being hungry is no fun when one is working.

This was a total class act from A-Z. Nice job, ladies. I hope you got some good sleep since the closing ceremonies!!!

Happy 75th Birthday, Mom!

Friday, August 14th, 2009

My mom is a fascinating and extraordinary woman. I could tell many stories, but one more time I am scheduled to get a short night of sleep and I can not type enough for them all.

Suffice it to say she grew up on a farm in SE Minnesota, without electricity, with a party telephone line,  a pump house to pump/carry water, a wood stove for heat, and an outhouse. All this in a community of 430 or so people, most of them Norwegian. Where everyone was in the same situation for the most part, no big deal.

Mom went after a teaching degree and got one, in spite of dyslexia and the fact that she was legally blind without glasses until high school. She is brilliant at teaching reading. Colleagues are fond of saying “Liz can teach a rock to read.” I tend to believe they are very close.

Mom taught school before I was born, before she married my father. She loved teaching right away. For a handful of years she raised us and did not teach in a school. However, she went back to teaching when I was in 4th grade. She was widowed at age 38, with two young teens. Here she is with her two “kids” at either side, at Matthei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, a few weeks ago.

LynnH, Mom, Eric, Fred at Gardens

LynnH, Mom, Eric, Fred at Gardens

She and Fred win ballroom dancing medals (lots of them). She rides her bike to exercise class at the mall, usually twice a week. She is a tough cookie, not one to complain much and always full of hope.

And she’s my mom. We almost lost her to cancer about 12 years ago. After losing Daddio in 1973, we really know how lucky we are to have her around.

Mom’s beau of over 20 years, Fred, took her to the Grand Canyon for her 75th birthday. I left her a voice message (sang her the birthday song) on his cell phone, but she was too busy to call back. This is a cool story, I think.

Mom and Eric, Birthdays 2009

Mom and Eric, Birthdays 2009

Here is a photo of Mom next to my brother Eric, blowing out birthday candles together a few weeks ago. We celebrated both of their birthdays together, though they are 5 weeks apart.

Mom, you rock. Happy, happy birthday!