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Archive for November, 2009

Hot off the “press” (Video)

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Hubby Brian Hefferan & Lil’ Rev just recorded a video in our living room. I heard it live, you can see it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN4ZjaMLK_w

revbrianpiganklerag

Come hear Lil’ Rev, Ten Pound Fiddle

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Tonight, Friday November 13, our friend/award-winning musician Lil’ Rev is performing for the esteemed Ten Pound Fiddle Coffeehouse. The show is at the Unitarian Universalist Church in East Lansing, on Grove St. near the E. Lansing (Mich) Library. The show starts at 8pm. (More details if you click above link.)

About 9 months ago, Lil’ Rev visited us (he is from Wisconsin). At that time, we recorded a YouTube video of the three of us singing “Shake that Thing” in our living room.

As of this writing, that video has been viewed over 41,000 times. I’ve had a number of folks tell me they have seen it and enjoyed it.

It appears that we (The Fabulous Heftones) will probably be joining Rev on stage toward the end of his show tonight. The plan is to do one or two pieces as a trio. I think it sounds like much fun!

Locals, this man is great entertainment. He plays a multitude of instruments extremely well and is also a storyteller. He wraps the history of some of his songs into the stories without lecturing. He’s fascinating, and riveting. On top of that, he’s just a comfortable and trusty friend.

I highly recommend you consider coming out to East Lansing to hear Lil’ Rev’s show. You will spend a few hours with a smile on your face!

Glorious Day

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Thursday was a wondrous day. The sun shone, the sky was blue, it was warm, I got ready for our guest, I prepared my car for the winter.

I love feeling like I have taken care of my car, in particular. I want to baby and nurture the “steed” which is so dependable in my life, even at 146,000 miles.

Sleep will happen Thursday night, but everything else feels great to me. I hope your day was as pleasant as mine.

No way to get photos today. Meanwhile, I want you all out there, reading this blog, to know how much I appreciate you.

Quick Hello

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

MsLynnFixingTalking-byannamaybe10I have never been tidy. For many years, I have had many friends.

Tomorrow a beloved friend is coming to stay for a few days. This means I need to do a whirlwind in the house so our friend will be relatively comfy. There’s no time to post much.

However, I’ll share this photo. It was taken of me in a Knitting Rocks! class at Rae’s shop. This is my group of young knitters.

I put the camera down and invited the kids to take turns snapping photographs of the session. Someone, I don’t know who (A?) took this shot. (Edited later: Yes, A. took the photo.)

I like it. I’m knitting, chatting, fixing someone’s mistake, and wearing bright color. That’s me.

Kids are the best. I like them more every time I spend a few hours with them.

See you tomorrow.

Melissa Leapman Workshops

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

This weekend I took four workshops from Melissa Leapman. The classes were sponsored by and held at Rae’s Yarn Boutique in Lansing, Michigan’s fun and funky east side.

Saturday am was about designing a sweater that fit. Saturday pm was edgings. Sunday am was Colorful Cables, and Sunday pm was Celtic Cables. I learned in every class. I especially adored Colorful Cables, but nobody will be surprised to hear that!

Here is a photo of Me, Melissa, and Melinda (who works at Rae’s shop).

melissaleapmanwithlynnandmelinda400
I have several swatches I knit in the class, all tangled up in one big mess of yarn in my class projects bag. I think you would no doubt much rather see a larger swatch that Melissa brought with her. These illustrate some possible Colorful Cable stitch patterns. Woohoo! Love this.

melissaleapman1

You may guess, correctly, that I like the possibilities in swatch #2 (just below) very much. After all, it is a zigzag pattern. I love zigzags, triangles and diagonal lines. I also, ironically, really love circles.

In the final class Sunday, we learned how to knit textured circles on a background of purled stitches (reverse stockinette). It was really cool… but I could not help myself thinking how I’d like to then duplicate stitch a new color on the circle. I’m incurable…

melissaleapman3

I had such a great time learning for 2 days rather than teaching. It is also lovely to just meet someone else for whom knitting/designing/teaching is also their full-time work. Peers are precious in this business.

I do have good friends in Lansing who are also self-employed women. Some work full time or more, some work part time. Rae and Sarah Peasley are in the yarn biz, and I unfortunately don’t see Sarah often. I also have Altu (restaurant owner), and a massage therapist friend, another restaurant owner, several freelance artist friends… but getting to know one more person in my field, who teaches on the road, is wonderful.

melissaleapman2

I really enjoyed getting to know Melissa. We chatted over several meals this weekend and got to chat a bit. My life is now a bit richer for one more acquaintance/peer. Someone else who “gets it.” I’m delighted!

If you (knitters) ever get a chance to take a class from Melissa, see if you can make it work out. She does such a good job, and she has her own style that really works for her. I recommend the experience.

Quick Photo, New One-Day Neckwarmer

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

This one will be a sample at Threadbear Fiberarts, in Lansing, Michigan. I really like this one. (You knew that… light turquoise and dark turquoise would work for me!)
neckwarmerthreadbear400

The aqua/lighter yarn is Cascade Venezia (color 105), a silk/wool yarn with many plies. The structure makes it look lustrous and tubelike. It’s wonderful yarn.

The teal/darker yarn is also silk & wool, but a handspun single-ply yarn from Manos del Uruguay. It’s called Silk Blend (color 3043). They work very well together.

Between the two yarns, I achieved both color contrast and texture contrast. One is shiny and one is subtly silky. It has a lovely drape.

The shop plans to carry the pattern for this project soon. I’ll bring them the sample at the same time they get the patterns.

Please buy at a local shop whenever you can. However, if you are not in Lansing, Michigan, you can buy the pattern as a PDF download here.

OR better yet, ask your Local Yarn Shop to carry my line of patterns. They can write me at Lynn AT ColorJoy.com and get details.

Susan B. Anderson’s Blog Entry about Michigan

Monday, November 9th, 2009

ittybitty1

On Friday, I wrote a bit about Susan B. Anderson’s visit to Lansing. susanbandersoinSusan is still on tour, but she just wrote a blog entry about Michigan. She shows a photo of me holding the Itty-Bitty Elefante that Rae knit (I’m standing next to friend Gwen), near the end of her blog entry.

I have downloaded the photos I took this weekend, but have not had a chance to edit any of them besides the ones here. It was such a jam-packed weekend with non-routine things, that I’m drowning in work today/Monday.

Catch you soon.

ittybittybird

Fun and Learning with Melissa Leapman

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

neckwarmeremilyredfinished400What an information-packed day I had Saturday! I spent the morning in “pattern drafting” class.

I spent the afternoon knitting edges that could replace ribbing on a sweater, or doll up other projects. One has bobbles that I find adorable and it makes me want to knit a dress for my beloved Isabel. In my spare time…

Anyway, I’m learning a lot and I do have swatches to show you, but I am knitting more homework swatches for tomorrow’s classes. One class requires 5 swatches in knit 1/purl 1 ribbing. Not my fave stitch pattern in a long shot, but those are done.

I did the 5 swatches for Colorful Cables. You can imagine I’m looking forward to that one!

Now I need to do 2-3 more swatches for the afternoon class on Celtic Cables. The word is that I will learn a TON in that class. Melissa says she loves teaching it, and Rae took it once and raves about how good it is. I’m looking forward to that.

I’ll check in with you, with photos from the workshop, soon. For now? Knit knit knit, sleep.

Photo today? A One-Day Neckwarmer that Test Knitter Emily knit. Yarns are Elsebeth Lavold Baby Llama in Red, and JoJoLand Melody superwash in reds/blues. Nice job, Emily!

Student Project, Being a Student

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Melissa Leapman Teaching Sat/Sun in Lansing

Saturday and Sunday, I’m going to be a student myself. I’m studying four half-day classes with Melissa Leapman, at Rae’s Yarn Boutique. I believe most of the sessions still have room for a few folks, if you want to join in. It should be fun.

I believe that even professionals need to keep learning from those who have gone before them. Melissa has been in this business a long time.

Most of the time, I do not knit sweaters. Most of the time, Melissa designs sweaters. This will expose me to things I do not normally contemplate. However, I believe that some of the techniques can be used on the socks and accessories which are my own specialty. I’m sure I’ll learn something exciting. (I’m particularly happy about colored cables.)

Susan B. Anderson’s Presentation

Life is busy… Friday night I enjoyed the presentation by Susan B. Anderson at Schuler Books. If you are in Grand Rapids, she will be at their Schulers on Saturday. You can check their website, http://Schulerbooks.com, to get details.

Darn It!

To keep the subject on classes… I taught a “Darn that Sock” class last week. Elizabeth (who works at Rae’s) had a pair of handknit socks she made, which had blown small holes in their heels. She was very disappointed. So she took my class.

There are two ways I teach folks to mend socks. One is “duplicate stitch” which makes stronger knitting right on top of the knitting that is already there. It works well if there are still thin strands of yarn left intact. It is very hard to accomplish if there is an outright hole.

darningbyelizabeth

Duplicate stitch stretches and feels more like knitting than the other technique, which creates a woven patch. Weaving just is not as stretchy, by nature, as stitches made with looped strands of yarn.

So Elizabeth reinforced her heels with duplicate stitch all the way into the strong fabric on the sides. Had she stopped short, there would be a weak spot next to her patch. The edges are uneven on purpose, it makes the patch less likely to tear on a straight line.

For two very small spots, she did go ahead and make a woven patch. The rest is stretchy and flat.

Nice Job, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth did an exceptional job with this project. I’ve never seen such a complete job!

She dyed the yarn (in Rae’s sockyarn-dyeing class) and then knit the socks herself (they are knee socks). She really wanted to preserve them as much as she could, the way they were originally intended. This surely did do the trick.

Purple?

Oh, the reinforcement color? Well, it is a lot easier to do a mending job if the working thread/yarn is a different color than the base knitting. You can just see what you are doing better that way.

I personally sort of like doing it in other colors. It makes me feel good and perhaps a bit clever, to show off my darned spots.

Elizabeth likes purple anyway. About as much as I like turquoise, I think.

So when I had some purple reinforcement thread (100% nylon fine yarn made for sock reinforcement), she asked to use that. Of course she was welcome to do so. Nice accent, don’t you think?

Susan B. Anderson in Lansing Tonight!

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Knit Designer/Author Susan B. Anderson has written several wonderful books I just love. I have no kids to really knit for, but I buy her books anyway, just to “vote for” the delightful work she has done.

First she wrote Itty-Bitty Hats, which are just as fun as toppers can get. Then she outdid herself with Itty-Bitty Nursery. I particularly fell in love with the mobile for over an infant’s crib. I even bought an automated plastic mobile and tossed the stuffed animals it came with, hoping that someday a friend would have a child for whom I could knit that project.

ittybittyelephantAnd just this week, the book Itty-Bitty Toys has been released. It is wonderful. These projects are great for kids, but I would not be embarrassed to knit one just for myself, because they are so fun.

I’m a bit in love with her projects that can be turned inside out. There is an egg, which turns into a bird in a nest, which turns into a full bird. There is a whole chapter on these transformative stuffed toys, and they are most fun.

You can listen to the Never Not Knitting podcast which interviews Susan about this book. The podcast is here.  You do not need an iPod to listen.

Friend Rae of Rae’s Yarn Boutique has already knit an Itty-Bitty Elephant from the new book. The photo here is Rae’s version. Adorable, yes? She has already started a giraffe, as well.

Tonight at 7pm at Eastwood Town Center in Lansing, at the incomparable Schuler Bookstore, Susan will be giving a talk and bringing a trunk show of her projects from the new book. She will be doing a booksigning for those who purchase the book there tonight.

Please consider being there. The book and its projects are sure to delight!

Roasted Root Vegetables

Friday, November 6th, 2009

My late friend Betsy taught me about root vegetables and how full of minerals they were. As a vegetarian, she found them an important part of her overall food plan.

She had a cookbook full of eastern-european recipes, many of which included parsnips, rutabagas, turnips and the like. I was fascinated.

Now I’m hooked. My favorite root (except perhaps the onion which is in another category) is sweet potato. I also adore parsnips, and I like rutabaga when cut in very small pieces (a la steak fries) and roasted in a hot oven for a very long time.

roastedrootveggies

The other day we made a batch of veggies which I purchased at the Allen Street market and the East Lansing Food Co-Op. I’m still learning which varieties need to be cut larger or smaller, but these turned out quite well. The batch I’m speaking of is in the photo above. We had sweet potatoes, yellow carrots, parsnips, blue potatoes, fingerling white potatoes and onion.

The general formula is this:

Roasted Root Veggies (A formula, not a recipe.)

Preheat Oven to 400F.

Peel veggies if you wish (we peel carrots and parsnips but not potatoes). Cut into chunks that are appropriate. Sweet potatoes need to be biggest, carrots in the middle, rutabaga very thin. If you use fingerling potatoes they may not need cutting at all.

I always include at least a half of an onion, it makes everything else taste great. Sometimes they almost melt but they flavor everything.

After chopping, drizzle olive oil on a jelly roll sheet cake pan. Put veggies on the pan and drizzle more oil on it, as well as salt and fresh rosemary if you have any. Toss until all the veggies are coated with oil. Parsnips need oil or they dry out in the oven, so pay special attention to those if you have any.

Place sheet with veggies in the oven, making sure the veggies are spread evenly throughout the pan. Every 15 minutes, take them out and toss them more.

Somewhere between 45 and 90 minutes, they will probably be done. Use a fork to test for a softer center. Carrots and parsnips usually do not get all the way to soft, and they still taste good.

Remove from oven. Cool a little, and eat still warm. YUM.

November Harvest

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The open market on Allen Street has closed for the season (sigh). We have had frost a few nights around here, and occasionally they say we might see some flakes of snow, though I’ve not seen any yet.

However, I picked these tomatoes green (two were actually slightly yellow-green) in early October. Two ripened faster than the others. I was apparently too skeptical, so they actually got over-ripe and I had to toss them out. Rats.

tomatoesripened

But here they are this week (actually, that last semi-ripe one is red now). I have a handful ready to put into perhaps a pasta dinner this week. How lovely!

I think it’s ironic that I have more ripe tomatoes in November than I got all season when they were on the vine. What an odd summer it was!

Final Fall Foliage

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

fallelderlysmokeleavescloseIt’s almost over, the leaves here are nearly gone. Orange and red maples are done for the year. However, I found a few photos Tuesday showing the few showy trees/bushes I could find.

The first two were taken in front of Elderly Instruments, in Old Town Lansing. It’s called a smoke tree, and it was equally pretty this spring.

fallelderlybench

The next photo was taken at Turner-Dodge mansion, also in Old Town. It’s a Gingko tree. I adore these trees. In summer they have perfect green leaves, and in fall they turn solid yellow.

fallturnerdodge

fallfenneryellowThe last photo is from Fenner Arboretum at Mt. Hope and Aurelius on the southeast side of town. This is a place I pass by often but rarely enter. It is a magical place, I’m not sure why I typically go to Mt. Hope Cemetery across the street rather than the Arboretum. I think I just like old cemeteries a lot, and somehow that is where more fall color happens as well.

Sad News Today

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

I got word today that my knitting friend, Luann Cosper, died Thursday. It was so sudden, I had no way to say goodbye.

I am glad I always told her how great it was to see her, every time we connected. I always hugged her goodbye and told her I loved her.

I guess I’ve lost too many people young, and I’ve just learned to tell people how I feel as often as I can find a way. You never really know when one of you might be gone, and good memories are important. (She was quite camera shy and I did not push it, so I have no photos, only memories.)

Luann was only 54, merely 3 years older than me. She’d had mysterious health symptoms off and on for years, but they never seemed to know what it was. Or that’s what she told me, anyway.

We sometimes went to Altu’s for dinner, when we were lucky. Often I got to see her at Rae’s shop, which was between her work and her home on the east side. It is funny, she bought herself a house only 4 blocks from the house I purchased for myself when I was single, on the same street. We had been neighbors, but I did not know that until after I had moved.

She worked at LCC. When I had trouble registering last year (I first registered there in 1977 and had a very old student number), she got it straightened out. I know she helped a lot of folks out, as she did me. She knew how to work the computer system when others could not figure it out.

I got to know Luann initially because she and Jean volunteered to help me out, the first summer I had a CityKidz Knit! program at Foster Center. (Luann and Jean both knew the kids in the photos today). Jean could help only once a week, Luann helped me two times a week that year. We lost Jean about a year ago. Now Luann is also gone.

You know, sometimes you do not need to see someone often, for them to be really special and important. I remember one year I was stressed out about scheduling my classes at Foster Center, several years into my program. I no longer had volunteers, and other things had also changed a lot. She reminded me that I’d had a very rough time the previous summer. She encouraged me to do something different to avoid a repeat situation. I was able to change gears, thanks to her input.

When I went to Africa in 2004-05, Luann gave me a mug for drinking tea, some teabags, and a small red leather pouch in which to carry my tiny double-pointed needles on my trip. I took that pouch everywhere I went in Africa, it was just the thing to protect my tools from breaking or getting caught in other items in my purse. The mug was huge, and currently sits on my desk holding double-pointed knitting needles.

I have a good bunch of yarn Luann gave me, very special yarn. I guess I’ll be knitting with that very soon. I can remember her with each stitch.

Drat. Triple-drat. The only way to not hurt when people go, is to not love others in the first place. I refuse to go that direction.

Today, I will remember that if someone impacts us after they are gone, this is a tribute to the quality of our relationship. She’s not all gone yet, as long as I feel her love in my heart.

Drat. There is no way to make loss feel OK. Hug someone today, OK?