Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The parade was my kind of parade. Your basic small town parade: be there by 8:30, line up with the other 99 Girl Scouts and their leaders, fall in at 9 behind the 18 year old with the deely boppers who is shepherding this gaggle, between the fire engine and the Cub Scouts. (The Vets, the American Legion's Ladies' Auxiliary, the marching firemen and the high school marching band have already gone). March around the block (wave at the folks on the front step and at the people in the window at the retirement home) and head down (up?) Union Street to the cemetary. Wave to everyone as you go by, arrive at the end point at 9:30. The Mayor makes a speech. The Assemblyman makes a speech. The Memorial Day Volunteer Middle School Band (seated at the end point from the beginning of the parade) plays God Bless America. Two recitations by veterans (Flanders Field and Gettysburg Address). The bugler plays taps, a bagpipe band plays Amazing Grace and we head back to our cars. I'm home by 10:27. A little hot and sweaty, but a nice start to a holiday morning and not a problem that I parked in a 2 hour parking space.

The rest of the day was quiet. The younger offspring managed to fry himself in the sun the day before when the neighbors opened their backyard pool for the first time. (We've since had a few discussions on "I'm not treating you like a baby if I tell you to put on sunscreen" and he's now had a lecture by the dr as well.) He needed to hibernate from the 95 degree weather and I was not loathe to accomodate. I got spinning done and knitting. My mother got me Gathering of Lace for my b-day and I spent some time leafing through that. Lovely stuff.

Thanks for all the good wishes about my birthday. It was one of the nicest in a long time.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me!

I'm off to go march in a parade. Have a good day!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pictureless blog for a while - the camera is dead. It's been eating batteries for a while but yesterday it just flat gave up the ghost. Pity about that - I was all set for a picture taking orgy, catching up on everything I've been working on.

So, your imaginations will have to go into overtime for a while...
Item 1 - I've reached the end of the upper fan section on Hyrna Herborgar in the extended mode, which means I've gotten to row 62 (227 stitches) and am about to move into the diamonds. In a not-overly-blocked state (stretched but not as it will be in final blocking) the upper fan section spans my shoulders so I think it will be enough to add 3 repeats in the upper section and 3 in the lower section for 13 fans total. Sylvia, I can't thank you enough for the spreadsheet you sent with the numbers all worked out - for as far as I've gotten, they're bang on the money.

Item 2 - I've been spinning the black cherry and have plied the first batch with the yellow/orange/red and I like the way it's coming out. More on that later.

Item 3 - I've been spinning the cherry end of the multicolor ball on the spindle and I really like the way that's coming out as well. It's a subtly variegated red and in such nice matte shade. It makes me want to spin a compatibly colored silk and weave a scarf so that it came out in blocks - one block all wool, one block all silk and two blocks wool/silk. Small blocks, about 1 inch or so, all over the piece. I can picture it, I just haven't figured out the best way to get from here to there.

I dunno when I'll get the camera working again - I may have to borrow a friend's.

Friday, May 19, 2006


The falcons at the Kodak site have had a rough start this year - six eggs laid, three viable eyases. The female parent (Mariah) had an accident early on and her leg is still not "right", but they are fun to watch and the kids are big enough that mom isn't always on top of them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Sara has posted a series of very interesting commentary and questions on the state of weaving, weaving guilds and conferences. There is no particular doubt that weaving is on the wane at the moment, the guilds are growing somewhat older and the conferences available are consequently in danger of falling to the ax of an aging, tiring membership. I have absolutely zero answer to any of her questions. (Except as a sidelight to one comment she made, that only 20% of the subscribership to Handwoven is estimated to actually currently weave, and that is just to say that that would strike me as typical of any endeavor - that catch phrase of 20% of the people do 80% of the work has truth behind it no matter what the field. So what are the total numbers of subscribers to Handwoven and are they going up or down? 20% of 100,000 is a lot larger than 20% of 5,000)

Her posts have given me furiously to think, however, and have made me pull my head from the sand to some extent. I'm not a weaver. I am not exactly sure I want to be a weaver. But in view of the cost/time/space/effort thing perceived to be involved with being a weaver, I have been doing that metaphorical sitting in the corner, fingers in my ears, La la la I can't HEAR you. So I haven't really explored what I need to do in order to be able to do what I want to do. And if someone came up to me tomorrow and said, you have 3 weeks to live, I would be kicking myself big time for wasting time and that's just plain stupid. I may not want to do what I think I want to do, but not finding out whether I do or not is idiotic.

So. What do I want to do? I'll start by thanking Sara for outlining some of the ways to be a weaver on the cheap, to see if you like it. That's a most excellent start, because I look at all of those and say, No, that isn't what I want to do. And so for me, the answer is No, I don't want to be a weaver. Weaving for the sake of weaving is not what pulls me in. I admire the heck out of 99% of the woven stuff I see but it doesn't grab me and say come play.

What I want is something different - I want to play with silk. I adore silk. Playing with silk cocoons doesn't interest, I don't want to reel silk, particularly. It's fun to watch but doesn't draw me in. I like spinning silk, on the wheel and on spindles. I like needlepointing with silk. I like knitting with silk, and crocheting with silk, but while silk in any of these options is fun, it doesn't show the silk to its absolute best advantage, such as here, or here. So. What I want to do is make silk fabric. Which then leads back to: weaving. I don't want to be a weaver; I want to weave with silk. A distinction without a difference some might say, but one that I'm finding important in the clarification of my thoughts on the subject.

And that 's about as far as my coherent thinking has gone on this topic. I've more ideas rolling about in my head, but mostly what I have is questions. All of my other fiber activities involve miniaturization - itty bitty needlepoint and cross stitch, lace knitting on #2 or 3 needles, filet crochet with a #3 hook, spinning laceweight on a lightweight spindle. I'm not an ultraminiaturist but I like the fine stuff. How does that fit in with weaving silk fabric? What sort of weaving equipment will let me produce what I want and where do I get it and how best to learn how to use it? Can I start with a rigid heddle table loom and get to where I want to go, or is that a dead end. Much to ponder. Even more to research.

So, Sara, I don't have any answers to your questions. I do know that the items mentioned to lure knitters into weaving through Big Yarns just make me shudder. Not to say that they won't work, but I didn't get into knitting through Big Yarns either.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I finally calculated grist on the alpaca/silk lace. It's just about 4123 ypp. And since Sylvia tells me the Icelandic is 2234 ypp, my eyeball feel that this was a finer yarn has been confirmed. It doesn't really affect what I'm doing except to agree that I'm going to go with the expansion module on the shawl. And oh, by the way, I'm going to have finish spinning the last bit of silk hankie and ply the last skein or I won't have enough yarn. On the other hand, I'll get back the two bobbins that are being held up by my dilatory nature (or rather, by my unwillingness to spin the hankie - it was making my hands hurt).

Dyeing can be fun

My favorite kind at the moment is dyeing when you don't know precisely what you're going to get. As with many things, this may progress to the stage where one is happiest being able to reproduce exactly what one wants, but at this point in time, randomness is good.

This started life as a black and white spotted fleece (from Whitefishbay Farm, so it's Corriedale, but I didn't order it myself so who it was is a mystery). I washed it by hand and flicked it with a dog comb then grabbed random bits of white or grey or black for spinning. This was then dyed once and I didn't like it (too dull pink) and dyed it again. I'm now a happy camper. Red is good. Dark red is even better.

I did say I was working on the Hyrna Herborgar and I now have pictoral proof.
I'm up through the first fifty rows and am going on for that next three sets that will give me a larger shawl. I had vaguely worked out that this is what I thought I wanted and Sylvia says yes indeedy and went on to say I want three more sets of the next pattern too without my having to figure it out at all. Thanks Sylvia. This is being knit in a silk/alpaca laceweight I spun up last year. I've still been a complete slob about figuring out the grist. I promise I will. Soon.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dyeing and spinning: I'm spinning up the dark cherry first - I'm putting it with some more of the red/orange/yellow which is currently hogging the bobbins. The blue/red bump will have to wait its turn. I think I'm going to go for a graduated look from one end to the other but I'm not going to try to preserve the colors with a Navajo ply. More thought is required before I start.

Books: Robbing the Bees is a history of honey and bee keeping. Makes me want to run right out and get some bees to keep, or if not that, at least to start buying exotic types of honey and comparing them. Half the types in there that were mentioned as special are things I've never heard of. I like alfalfa honey and buckwheat honey and wildflower, but there are any number of other types I need to check out. Most excellent reading.

All of My Patients are under the Bed. Somewhat dated, but still interesting story of a vet in New York City who came to specialize in housecalls on cats. If you like amusing stories about cats, or stories of life in NYC in the 50s, it's a good book to dip into.

New Rules. Political satire and social commentary; screamingly funny.

Why is the Foul Pole Fair? A trip to a baseball game with the history of the different parts of the game, ballpark, and people explained. Very readable even for this non-baseball fan.

Baseball an Illustrated History This goes along with the PBS series on Baseball from some years ago. I enjoyed that and I enjoyed this also, even though, as mentioned previously, I'm not a big baseball fan. My interest lies in the historical commentary and there is lots of it here. Wonderful collection of pictures and personal vignettes. It's a huge book and you'll get a hernia.

Feminist Fairy Tales. I keep meaning to check the copyright date on this. I liked most of the stories, but it falls into a category I've come to avoid: stories or books that are written just to emphasize that girls are just as good as boys. There's got to be something more to the story than just that, or why bother? It's readable but not something I'll bother to keep.

The Big Over Easy. Funny, but a lot harder to read than the Thursday Next stories. It took me a while to figure out what the problem was. One of the main characters had to decide if she was going to betray another or not and I couldn't decide for a while if she would or wouldn't. I hate that kind of thing and had a hard time making myself keep reading it till she got past that decision. After that I buzzed through the rest of the book and enjoyed it quite a bit.