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Archive for June, 2010

Images: Growing Things, Downtown

Monday, June 7th, 2010

I took hundreds of photos on Saturday. My class canceled. I had many places I could choose from to do. However, my voice was tired after a night singing/socializing till the wee hours at Mac’s Bar. I decided to take myself on a solo adventure and rest the voice a bit.

It was Be a Tourist in Your Own Town day. I love this event, and it keeps getting better. This year Paramount Coffee opened their plant for tours, so I did that.

I also went to the new City Market building for the first time. (I loved it, in spite of my pre-visit reservations.)


I am still working on my pattern deadlines. The first is handled, but the second has a significantly impending due date with no wiggle space at all.

I’ve been knitting, taking photos and writing instructions. I’m alternating between PhotoShop, KnitVisualizer, Excel, Word and InDesign. I sure am using the capabilities of this lovely laptop to the max.

I continue to be grateful for my 6+ years as a software trainer. The things I learned during that time are still helping me every day. I can not imagine how frustrating this work might be to someone without as much experience as a professional geek as I have had.


Um… this is to say I have processed two uncharacteristic photos of the weekend at this point. I took photos of plants, one when I first got downtown and one when I was nearly done. I’m posting the last one taken as the first to look at. It is too pretty to wait upon.

That first photo is a garden near the corner of Michigan Avenue and Grand Avenue. It’s on the grounds of the Radisson Hotel, the only downtown hotel at this point.

I have NEVER seen Calla Lilies in this colorway before. I’ve seen white many times, and once saw some pale lemon yellow ones, solid colored. These look like they have been painted by hand. (I can envision them on a canvas by my friend, Barbara Hranilovich.) Gorgeous!

The second photo was taken somewhere between the Convention Center and the City Market, on/near the Riverwalk. This determined thistle plant rooted and grew sideways on its own. It’s a determined little plant, for sure. I’m guessing there is a poem in there somewhere. I’m content to let the poem be visual, though.

I’ll have more photos of my footie knitting soon, plus photos of Mac’s Bar and more Tourist day photos. For now, I’m giving you a feast for your eyes, two very different ways.

Coming Soon: Socklet Pattern

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

As I’ve said before, June is the month of 2 sock designs for me. The first is designed on paper right now, and sample knitting is proceeding nicely. That one is a project where I can not show you photos.

The second one will be advertised on Ravelry as a Featured Pattern, starting on June 15. That means I need photos by June 8 so I can submit an advertisement.

emilyfootiesmallI’m knitting 2 different versions of that pattern right now. The one I pictured a few days ago in pink and green, is the first. (Yes, Lindy, that is “On Your Toes Bamboo” by SR Kertzer, 75% Bamboo and 25% Nylon). It’s a great summer yarn and should be plenty comfortable underfoot.

Another I’m working on, in a darker purple and pale purple, is knit from Crystal Palace Panda Soy (60% Bamboo/ 22% Soy/ 18% nylon). Lovely sock, with a totally different texture from the first. No photos yet, though that one has a full foot knit already. It’s been my “knitting in public” sock this week.

The one shown here is a prototype version of the socklet. It was knit by wonder-knitter, Emily. We chatted, I gave her yarn, I showed her what I’d done so far on my pink/green sock, and she put together what she could. She did a great job, given that the only instructions I had written for that sock at the time were for the toe.

The yarn here is Cascade Heritage, a smooth and fine (75% wool/ 25%nylon) sockyarn. Yes, fingering weight wool yarn is good for summer socklets. It absorbs moisture very well inside the shoe, and is thin enough to not over-warm the foot much for most of the summer. Keep the cuff short as I did here, and it is quite practical.

Of course, you can guess that I like the color switch between socks. Emily and I think alike on such issues. Of course, most knitters will want matching socks, and I won’t hold it against them!!!

Fabulous Heftones vs. Wally Pleasant

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

heftonesversuswallyBrian and I will perform at Mac’s Bar on the East Side of Lansing tomorrow/Friday night. The show has been billed like a fight… Wally Pleasant vs. The Fabulous Heftones.

I find this rather amusing. After all, both we and Wally are known for being rather… well, pleasant to listen to. We’re not fighting folks, though Wally has a few surreal pieces that could mess up that reputation.

Get to Know Wally Pleasant

If you don’t know Wally Pleasant, I would describe him as a poet who is a songwriter. His lyrics are important to his work. You might hear irony, a giggle, or a bit of pondering when  listening. His songs can be amusing, sweet, silly, preposterous. I always enjoy being in his audience.

Wally is a friend as well as a music colleague. We sang at his wedding, and Brian used to tour with Wally years ago. (He was also the driving force behind the Charlotte Gives Back concert to benefit homeless/domestic abuse shelters, a few weeks ago.)

The Fabulous Heftones?

Brian and I play mostly the music of the 1920’s. Our playlist tends toward love songs, but we have a number of novelty/fun songs in there.

One song fits both categories (love and funny): “I Love Me.” That’s perhaps our most requested song. It seems many bands have a funny piece that gets requested most. I’m happy some folks know us well enough to remember one of our pieces!

Not the First Time

We played Mac’s Bar once before, many years ago. We opened for several punk bands one night, for a birthday bash.

The birthday guy was Ken Knott, a local punk rocker, and his friends’ bands took turns on stage. We were listed in one newspaper under the headline “Punk Bands Play Mac’s,” just listed in there with the others. I treasure that newspaper clipping. Too fun! Absolutely opposite from the truth… but a giggle.

I’m pretty hyped that the place is now smoke free, for just over a month. (This is due to a new state law, for those out of Michigan.) For me, that makes bars far more accessible.

I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, though I have friends who do both. My voice prefers no smoke, though. No smoke makes one of the reasons to stay home, a non-issue. Bars still tend to be loud places to chat, and my voice likes to take it easy when not singing.Tomorrow I’m singing! Perfect.

The show is at 9pm. The cover is $7. Open to those 18 and older. Please consider coming out, to see this entertaining event!

Knit Socks: Delight

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

I have been “nose to the grindstone,” as they say, much of this long weekend. It’s the best kind of work, though! I’m designing two sock patterns. They share some structure but look vastly different… different yarns, gauge, patterning.

pinkgreenstripedtoeOne required me to use “only” one yarn. I realize that I am almost uncomfortable without the ability to contrast two yarns against one another. I have stretched a bit on this project, because of that. It has been good for me.

The resulting design is receiving excellent responses from those involved. It does not hurt that the yarn is incredibly beautiful!!! The yarn inspired the final design, and I’m happy with how they work together.

This first design is still in the “secret project” phase, which is not comfy for me. It’s required, for my work. Work is a wonderful “problem,” don’t you agree? I will show you when it becomes public, which will probably be another month down the road.

The Non-Secret Sock (see photo)

The other sock I’m working up in 3 different yarn combinations. The one pictured here is a fingering-weight sockyarn by SR Kertzer which is bamboo and nylon. It is lustrous, it’s fluffy rather than stiff, it has a decent stretch to it. I have not found a non-wool sockyarn in fingering weight I’ve liked this much before.

I must confess that I really am biased with yarns. I am very fond of animal fibers. I knit primarily because I wanted bright colored socks in wool, that fit my small feet. It was all about wool, when I picked up the needles after a decade away.

Many non-wool yarns are getting nicer and nicer. However, I probably would never have discovered this yarn had Rob at Threadbear Fiberarts not given me these two skeins to work with. So far, I’m quite pleased.

The pink and green combination just screams “peonies” to me. It’s a great time of year for this combination. I’ve also got two other combinations planned or in proces (one with a test knitter). One is more bold than the sample here, and one is more subtle. Two of the three samples are knit from non-wool summer sockyarns.

Although this is my 2nd-priority project for a few more days, it will be ready for you folks sooner than the other one. My planned release date for this sock is June 15. This is one benefit to self publishing!

The details on this sock are: toe-up swirl toe, afterthought heel, and a short tennis-like rib cuff for summer. It has been my “knit in public” project while the secret project has been at home. I’ll show you more as it progresses.