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Archive for February, 2013

A Dose of Hope & a Smile

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

It’s gloomy today in Lansing, Michigan, USA. I’m staying in all day, working in the silence… just me and the click of the keyboard. It’s time to ponder the world and community around me.

I find good everywhere. It amazes me though… people share news of good encounters and acts, as if they were an unusual thing. People are good all over the world. (Here is a photo of a dance friend, Najida, dancing at New Aladdin’s restaurant with her daughter. Good, yes? Totally adorable and loving, if you ask me.)

For example, I lose things pretty regularly. My mind is always on the next thing and I leave creative “rubble” behind me.

Sometimes I leave behind a travel mug, sometimes it’s a handspun/ handwoven scarf from a trip to Mexico (returned to me from a train in Montreal and a park in St. Petersburg, Florida). I had a friend get her SUITCASE back from a subway train in Toronto years ago. And this is just the lost-and-found news in this paragraph.

I follow Twitter and Facebook, sometimes too much and sometimes not much at all. However this week I found three videos through them that are pretty inspiring.

Mitchell’s Day

A high school basketball player passes the ball to a developmentally-disabled kid who is on the other team, with seconds to go. On the OTHER team. I dare you to keep the tears back on this one. Short, but very sweet (click to see video… thanks to C B S Television:

Willing to Work

An 18-year-old boy was willing to walk 10 miles in icy conditions, to try and get a minimum-wage job. Got a job with twice the wages, by a restaurant owner who noticed the boy’s determination and intent quite accidentally. Everybody wins.

Photo by Fox59, story by the Daily Mail (UK)

The two above stories came to me thanks to my Facebook friend Annie Sisk. She’s a website specialist, and you can find her at Stage Presence Marketing.

Saving Lives Quietly

And below is another tear jerker. This man (now Sir Nicholas Winton) arranged trains and homes in England for Czech kids (mostly Jewish) who were certainly going to otherwise be sent to Nazi Death Camps. Most of them lost their parents at Auchwitz.

He saved 669 children and kept logs of their names. He said nothing about it afterward.

His wife found his log book, apparently. In 1988 there was a reunion of sorts. Here he gets to meet a few dozen of the kids he rescued, after they grew up. He did not expect or know this was coming. Wonderful.

You must watch at least the first 2 – 1/2 minutes. Really, you must.

Don’t be content in your life just to do no wrong.
Be prepared everyday to try and do some good.
Sir Nicholas Winton

Be Your Own Best Sweetheart – Nurture Yourself

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

It’s Valentine’s Day today. It’s also Self-Nurturing Day, a better idea yet. I know that this can be a rough day for a lot of people. I have empathy. I’m giving you this bouquet of flowers in thanks for being in my life!

At this time of my life, I’ve been very lucky to have Brian in my life. We are known for singing love songs, which offers us a rich choice of music.

The Joy of Self
I was single in my 30’s and I learned to take good care of myself. Being single was actually a powerful time. I learned to stand tall, to make my own decisions, to fix broken things. I bought myself a humble but lovely house, with my own signature.

If you are single (or not) today, please find something that you can do, to nurture and love yourself. Connect with those who are important to you. Find a furry animal and pet it? Take a long bath? Eat a favorite food? Make a phone call to a loved one? Put on your favorite clothes? Paint your nails? Go for a walk?

My Gifts to You
Today I hope to give you a little gift of my own. Click Here to Hear April Showers by the Fabulous Heftones.

They say that there are three sorts of Love Songs: 1) I wish I were in love; 2)  I’m in love and it’s wonderful; 3) I used to be in love and I wish I still was. The Fabulous Heftones stick to category 2 most of the time. However, April Showers is a “keep the faith” song. It’s not about love, it’s about life.

“When April Showers, they come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May,
So if it’s raining, have no regrets,
Because it isn’t raining rain, you know, it’s raining Violets.

So when you see clouds upon the hills,
You soon will see crowds of daffodils,
So keep on looking for a bluebird,
And listening for his song,
Whenever April Showers Come Along.”

I love you. Thanks for being a part of my community. Please love yourself in some way today, no matter which sort of love song you might be singing.

A Happy Knit

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Well, after 3 posts in a row about wonderful people who are no longer alive, it’s time for a smile, yes? Thanks for hanging in there with me.

The Good Stuff
I’m working now with a hand-painted dyeing company called Twisted FiberArt. It’s based in Mason, Michigan (25 minutes from Lansing). The mastermind artist behind the dye is Meg Campbell-Crowley, who once was a calculus teacher and who now uses her math prowess to design amazing colorways.

Sprite Cowl Class & Pattern
I’m teaching my Sprite cowl tonight at Twisted. This pattern was originally published in Knit Circus Magazine which no longer is publishing. Of course, this means I had to publish my own version of the pattern in order to teach it. You can buy it on Ravelry.com in PDF format here.

Also, since Twisted has a shop which only sells yarns that Meg designed (no commercial yarns like Cascade or Classic Elite), I had to knit a shop sample. It was a lovely assignment.

About this Yarn
The standard skein at Twisted (at least for this colorway) is 70 grams. When she dyes yarn with one slow color change from beginning to end, it’s called an “Evolution.” In this case, I needed just short of 90 grams so I got a double skein, 140 grams all dyed at the same time in one continuous color change.

The yarn base I’m using here is called Queen. It’s an Aran-weight yarn (usually 4.5 st/inch for sweaters, just a step thicker than worsted weight). The fiber is washable soft wool. It’s spun sproingy and smooth, with 3 plies. I loved knitting with it. Even though I had a lot of decreases to perform, the yarn did not fight me and it gave easily when I needed it to.

So since the yarn is a double-length Queen yarn, dyed in one “rainbow” of color, it is called a Double Queen Evolution. Sounds mystical, doesn’t it?

The colorway here is called Ember. Since I didn’t use the whole skein, I’ve got an amazing 50gm ball of red to red-orange to apricot, as my leftovers. My brain is cranking, trying to decide what I should make it into.

How to Get the Yarn
Most of Twisted FiberArt’s business is via the internet. You can visit her website at TwistedFiberArt.com to learn more, and order from anywhere.

If you live in the Lansing area, you can drive to the lovely town of Mason. Her shop is in the basement of Kean’s, an adorable old-fashioned “dime” store which still has a huge old-fashioned candy counter.

Kean’s also has quilting fabrics, jewelry and gifts. In years past, the toy department was in the basement where Meg’s shop is now. There are a few toys down there even today.

On Wednesday nights, there is a knit-in at the shop space. She’s got a little kitchen space with a lovely fireplace-heater and comfy chairs. I dance on Wednesdays so I don’t go, but do consider it.

In Other News
I’ve got a lot on my schedule… work is good. Off to proofread my pattern. It’s going to be a wonderful, busy day!