Monday, January 16th, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. How will you be spending it? Do you get the day off? I’ll be at a service workday for the Backpack Lunch Program. The program provides weekend lunches for children who are at risk of hunger on the weekends, when no school lunch is available. If you’re in PDX and looking for something to do, come and help us pack lunch sacks for the kids we serve at Woodlawn and King Schools. After packing lunches, there’s a short program with folk singing and honoring Dr. King. The Day Old Pastries, my music group, will be leading the singing, so I’ll be there with guitar in hand. Last year we packed about 580 weekend lunch sacks for kids at risk of hunger — just about equal to a month’s sacks that we need for the two schools. The event is at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, NE 15th and Dekum Street, from 1-3 p.m. Hope to see you there!
(backpack logo copyright Jill Penney)
So what’s up, knit-wise? I’m working on a little project. Yesterday Lorajean dropped off these colors, and I’ll be picking one for this project. I’ve already knitted a sample with some yarn I had here, so I know where this is going. I love it when the knitting cooperates with the vision the first time around…
Spring is coming, and that makes us a little bouncier around here. Off the wall dreams seem like good ideas. And perhaps they are. What if we take those ideas one step further? You may remember the Teen’s Franken-tar.
I had a lesson the other day with Jim Loewenherz. He’s a local musician and luthier. We worked on some strum patterns for Irish reels and jigs. Near the end of the lesson I asked him about bass runs and fills for a song I’m working on with the Day Old Pastries, but all of that was pretty much over my head because I’d have to learn where the notes actually live on the guitar neck first. I’m a pretty rudimentary guitar player; I love my open cowboy chords, strummed or picked!
So we discussed ensemble play, and he talked about each instrument having its own sonic space, each doing something a little different. The Day Old Pastries have five guitars and a mandolin. The mandolin has its own sonic space by default. But the guitars can each have their own space by having one of them strum, one pick, one capo up for a different voicing. And then Jim asked if we have a 12-string. Nope. an extra guitar? Sure! So he suggested high string Nashville tuning, just for something different. Basically, you string a six string guitar with the extra six strings that you’d find on a 12-string guitar. The lowest four strings are an octave higher than normal, and the top two strings are the same as usual.
I just had to try this to see what it sounds like. I decided to try it on the Teen’s Taylor Big Baby, because he doesn’t play acoustic guitars much, and it’s a comfortable size for me. I poked around on the web and found that D’Addario sells string sets for high string tuning.
What a cool sound! (Listen to the video on the link.) I’m going to take it to practice tomorrow, and we can play around with it.
And now I’m about to go pick out some mis-crossed cables on my Heather Hoodie, ten rows back…ouch! That last “O” isn’t an O.
Here’s a sign of spring that I saw on my walk this morning.
Crocuses are blooming here! Is it winter or spring in your neighborhood?
But there hasn’t been much knitting this last week!
Last Monday I participated in a service day for the Backpack Program. We packed 420 weekend lunch bags, which means 840 lunches. This program provides lunches for low-income children who are at risk for hunger. The program began in the fall of 2008, serving 10 children, and quickly grew to 30. It now serves 60 children, and the current goal is to serve 100 children for the entire school year. It’s a cooperative effort of four local United Methodist churches, and has grown to include community volunteers and school groups.
I love that people of all ages volunteer for this program.
The Day Old Pastries led some singing after the lunch packing. We’re a group of friends that like to play and sing together, 6 guitarists and a mandolin player. Occasionally a guitar gets swapped for an accordian! We were all acoustic that day (no amps, no mics), and it was folkie fun. I recorded it with my Zoom H2. (This little stereo digital recorder is fabulous; it’s easy to use and works well.)
Down by the Riverside
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Wade in the Water
I’ll Fly Away
Blowin’ in the Wind
The week blew past, and DH celebrated a significant birthday. Happy birthday, Sweetie!
We had family in from out of town, and ended the weekend with dim sum before they headed back to the airport. Who got the last piece of shiu mai?
Back to knitting this week! Here’s a little yarn for this post:
Hat tip to the Twist Collective Blog.