We <3 Hearts!

5 Feb

Did you know that 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease?

Sadly, we did. Because one of us lost her mom to heart disease way too early, and another came damn close when her mom had to have a heart transplant.

It’s scary. And it’s sad. So, when La Femme Knitkita told the rest of the Knittas she wanted to do something for “Wear Red for Women” day, we decided that not only #lovelansing’s residents should wear red, but so should its inanimate objects.

So the Knittas took on some individual projects to tag our town red. Some of us added informative little notes, while others just stalked parking lot trees, but nonetheless we took little steps to try to help our community get smarter about heart health. You can check out pictures on our Flickr page.

Want to help too? Think about getting involved with the American Hearth Association or the Mid-Michigan Chapter. You can even tell five friends how they can help fight heart disease.

And give your mom a call tonight to tell her that you love her.

Geekiness is…

20 Jan

Last night, some of us participated in the Michigan Girl Geek Dinner. The idea, founded in 2005 by some fed up gals sick of being the only chickies at tech events, was to gather a bunch of gals and just hang out, relishing in our girliness.

I’ll admit, I was kind of surprised to be invited. I don’t consider myself a techie. I can’t code, and about as technical as I get is Twitter and blogging. But, frankly, I liked the gals hosting it so I thought, “Sure, why not?” I was happy to see plenty of familiar faces upon arriving (and to realize I was definitely not the only Knitta present).

Some of the groups’ organizers, including Betsy Weber of TechSmith fame, kicked off the program and introduced our special guest for the evening: Rachel Hawley. In addition to being a Brit and by default rocking a fabulous accent, Rachel started off by telling us all that she often wonders how she wound up a Geek poster child, being a linguist, not a techie.

BINGO! I could relate! And then she shared a fabulous token of wisdom:

“Geekiness is whatever you’re passionate about.”

<Insert lightbulb above head here.> I mean, we all know we’re a little geeky sometimes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve started a sentence with, “I know this is geeky, but…” And just recently I had a conversation with a friend trying to isolate the difference between a geek and a dork. Our conclusion: a geek owned his or her own geekiness. A dork tried to make up for it.

I’m a total geek, and the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that embracing that geekiness also allows me to follow my passions, no matter how small. I knew I wanted to do something to make the community I lived in better, and a year ago I never would have guessed that one of the best and most fun ways I’ve been able to pursue that simple passion was by picking up a couple of sticks and some yarn. Yet, here I am today, with a new network of friends all laughing, drinking wine and doing something good for our community on a regular basis.

And we have some sweet scarves as a result. So rock on, geeks. Follow your passions, whatever they may be.

Awesome Venn Diagram courtesy of the wizards at Great White Snark, greatwhitesnark.com

Merry Christmas to Austin!

25 Dec

image

Christmastime is here, and despite everyone feverishly finishing their holiday gifts, we have a solid 20 feet of scarf for Austin, including this lovely gift box from the dollfaces at the Purl Street Scarf Project (modeled by the lovely Chad Badgero of the Old Town Commercial Association). Thanks so much, gals!

Join us next week in our last ditch effort to sew together the patchwork masterpiece at Knitting Happy Hour – The Final Saga, Tuesday, December 28 at 6:30 pm at MBC Lansing. Join us to turn in your last bit ‘o scarf and to help put the finishing stitches onto Austin’s scarf.

Or drop off your pieces by Tuesday to Rae’s Yarn Boutique, or drop off or mail pieces to the Old Town Commercial Association. No piece is too big, too small, or too ugly! Holes add character.

Blog Lovin’

1 Dec

So, some of us Knittas are new to this whole “blogging” thing, while others are old hat… preferably a knit one. But it’s been faboo to get such wonderful blog lovin’ in response to our growing efforts to make Love Lansing a little prettier.

The fantabulous Purl Street Scarf Project involved its followers to help keep Austin Blair warm:

“This is a fun project and the lazy way to be involved in a yarn bombing! Believe me, the knitting/crocheting is the easy part. We all have ends of skeins from projects that we’re keeping for goodness knows what. Well, this is the goodness you’ve been saving it for! Make room for more yarn and be involved in a subversive project, what could be better?!”

We agree gals! If the cops in the minivan taught us anything, it’s that the knitting/crocheting IS the easy part!

We’ve gotten bloggers chatting up their Austin pieces too, like Hands Occupied. Or chatting with us on Twitter about their yarn bombing like @bigTangle did!

But maybe the awesomest yet, was this post from the blog You Learn Something Every Day.

Here’s how it happened:

“When I was promoting the news to festival followers on twitter I got a reply from someone asking “Does yarn bombing count as art? We think so!”. I wasn’t sure what that meant, and we do have a fibers section in the festival so I naturally assumed ‘yarnbombing’ was some type of knitting. Well, it is, but it is not what I expected. I googled the term before I sent a tweet back to this lady. I now think that yarnbombing is one of the coolest things in the world. I literally googled this minutes ago, but I don’t care, I’m sold.”

We know exactly how she feels.

So nice we did it twice!

29 Nov

Knitting Happy Hour was such a fun success we just HAD to do it again. So Round Two is scheduled for Thursday, December 9 from 6:30 p.m. on at MBC Lansing, or check out the Facebook Event.

Austin’s scarf is certainly coming along (I’ve gotten a couple of sections done myself), but WOW! And I thought finishing my dad’s Christmas scarf was tough?!? In laying all the pieces out on the floor, I realized we’ve got, oh, say, three feet total of scarf so far. And frankly, that’s just not gonna cut it. The wonderful Purl Street Scarf project gave us a much needed holla (THANK YOU) but we’re a long way from the 30 feet guesstimated for Austin’s scarfing needs.

EEK! So get those needles moving, and drop off your contributions to the Old Town Commercial Association or Rae’s Yarn Boutique in Lansing, or snail mail them to:

Austin Blair Needs a Scarf

c/o The (Awesome) Old Town Commercial Association

1232 Turner Street

Lansing, MI 48906

The inspiring work of the Purl Street Scarf Project

Long distance knitting

14 Nov

So, you want to participate in Austin Blair Needs a Scarf but don’t live in Love Lansing?

Good news!

You can mail your bits and pieces ‘o scarf to:
Austin Blair Needs a Scarf
c/o Old Town Commercial Association
1232 Turner Street
Lansing, MI 48906

Send ’em in and we’ll tack them on!

How to knit (K4L style)

11 Nov

I learned to knit just to start Knittas 4 Life. Now, I’m hooked, and I can’t wait to get others into it too! Plus, I’m really proud and excited to be creating “art” around Love Lansing.

And throughout this process, I’ve had lots of people ask me if I’ll teach them to knit. So, you want to learn to knit? Here’s how (K4L style):

Lesson One) Knitting is better with beer and wine. MUCH better. It will help your hands to stay loose, it will quicken your stitches, it will keep you from pulling too tight and it will make you not even care that I just made all of that up and really your first projects will be full of dropped stitches and huge inexplicable holes. So, open an bottle and dig in to lesson two.

Lesson Two) Knitting is better with friends. They can actually show you how to knit. And, when you’ve been working really hard on a scarf for your dad but start to get a little down that you’ve only progressed a few inches, friends will ooh and aah and tell you how amazing your golden afghan you want to throw out the window really is. That’s why you should come to Knitting Happy Hour on Thursday, November 18 at 6:30 p.m. at MBC Lansing. Also… see Lesson One.

Lesson Three) YouTube is your friend. Lots of people swear by The Knit Witch, including our own La Femme Knitkita. I personally credit Corinne of ThreadBanger for teaching me to knit with this nifty little vid:

Lesson Four) Set a realistic goal. For most of us Knittas, a full-on project (especially one requiring very few mistakes) was just unreasonable as a first project. Which is why yarn bombing is PERFECT for learning. Do you really think Austin Blair minds if his scarf is a little sloppy? (PS, the answer is no… he’s a statue). So whether it’s a tag on a co-worker’s coffee mug or contributing a piece to the community knit project (even if it’s only 5″x2″) setting a realistic goal with a deadline with keep you going. And if that fails, you can always come hang out with friends and beer and “forget” your needles at home (See Lessons One and Two).

Austin Blair needs a scarf!

3 Nov

Doesn't this guy look like he could use a scarf for winter?

I’m super stoked about our next Knitta project. Why?

Cause Austin Blair needs a scarf!

Who is Austin Blair? And why does he need you to knit him a scarf?

Austin Blair is that dapper young man who valiantly keeps watch over our state Capitol building, or at least, he keeps watch over the Avenue of Michigan, day and night. And frankly, he looks as if he’s feeling a little drab lately, so what better way to cheer him, and #lovelansing, up a little than by knitting him a giant scarf?!

When Knitster Miyagi returned from Maker Faire Detroit she shared with the Knittas this article about an amazing project she participated in.

Inspired by the Purl St. Scarf Project and Maker Faire Detroit, Knittas 4 Life is organizing a community knit (or crochet) project. All you need to do is create a 5″ wide section, any color any length any pattern, and drop it off to the Old Town Commercial Association (1232 Turner St., Lansing) or Rae’s Yarn Boutique (2004 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing) before December 15. We’ll assemble and deliver Austin a fancy new scarf before the first of the year!

If you’ve been meaning to learn to knit or crochet, haven’t broken out the needles in years, or just want a break from your Christmas projects, help make Michigan a little prettier by adding your piece to Austin Blair’s scarf!

To RSVP or for more details, check out the Facebook event: Austin Blair Needs a Scarf — A Community Knit Project.

Story time!

2 Nov

So, what, exactly, happened last night when the Knittas went out to do our first tag in #lovelansing?

WELL, let me tell you the story.

I’ll be honest… throughout the day, I actually started to get a little nervous. I mean, I can’t imagine the #lovelansing police wouldn’t appreciate our effort to make Lansing a little prettier, but, well, I guess I didn’t really know if that’s true. Graffiti is graffiti, right? Wrong? I dunno. But I do know that as the day went on, I got a little more nervous, which wasn’t helped by Betty Cable’s hubby offering to bail us out, or La Femme Knitkita’s repeated pleas, “I have to leave for a business trip tomorrow… I canNOT get arrested.”

And so with much nervous energy, we collected at my place (Thread Head again), and gathered scissors and yarn. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of adding little ties to our pieces to make the (well-lit heavily traveled) job go faster… brrrrilliant, and a definite tip we’ll keep for future tags. We all admired Knitster Miyagi’s amazing Michigan with the little heart over Lansing, and Wonder Pup even wore it as a cape. The photos are adorable, but rather incriminating, so we’ll leave those out for now. Our sage Knitster accepted, “Once I release this into the wild, I will no longer have control over what happens to it,” and after a solid 20 minutes of nervous giggling and stalling, five Knittas (Thread Head, Knitster Miyagi, Betty Cable, La Femme Knitkita and a yet to be knit-named Knitta) set out for the tag.

As we pulled into the parking lot, a suspicious van did the same. We waited… it waited… it left… and we all breathed a nervous sigh of relief. AND THEN IT CAME BACK! Were we busted? “What if it’s an undercover cop (in a minivan)?” Betty Cable asked?!? So we bolted to drive around the block until the suspicious van disappeared.

My phone rang, and we all jumped… it was the Wonda from Down Unda. “I think I’m here, but no one else is…” “Oh wait,” I replied, “do you drive a minivan?” “Yes…” “Okay, we just ran away from you… we’ll be right back!”

And much giggling ensued. We jumped out of our car/minivan… the bravest Knittas heading to the street (Knitster Miyagi was illuminated by a streetlamp in front of a traffic light, no less!) and feverishly tying on tags while Wonda diligently grabbed pics. Ten minutes later, after much admiring of our handy work (or as much can be done while nervous and riding a naughty adrenaline high), we jumped back in our cars and headed away.

And just like that, our first tag was up! And a day later, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect on Knittas 4 Life.

So far, I’ve found this project rewarding in so many ways. I’m proud to be doing something for my city, even if it is just to make ugly parking lots a little prettier. And I’m proud that we’ve actually made this idea come to fruition. Even if we never do another tag (which is doubtful… because this is addicting!), at least we did one. But I’m also surprised by how rewarding it is to learn something completely new and to challenge myself. I don’t usually do things I’m not good at. It sounds horrible, but it’s true! I’m naturally athletic and a bit artsy, so if it doesn’t come easy, I just switch to something that does. But this was a totally different ball of yarn, here. I had NO idea what I was doing, and I was completely relying on the kindness (and patience) of others to teach me. At first, I sucked. I probably knitted at least half a dozen “scarves” only to tear them apart because they were so bad. Until, finally, one looked okay… and then another… and now it’s so rewarding to watch myself grow, to watch these girls grow, and to further develop some brand new, and some very old and cherished, friendships. Who knows if I’ll keep knitting for the rest of my life, but I will always cherish these memories

.

And so it begins!

2 Nov

Making #lovelansing just a little bit prettier!

Well, Love Lansing, the first tag is up! Check out some yarn-based prettiness on the corner of Howard and Michigan Ave in Lansing, Michigan! Daytime pics (and of course, stories of knitta silliness) to come!

For more pictures, check out our Flickr page.