Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Distractions

Sorry for the silence. Let's just say there hasn't been any grass growing under my feet, wild flowers maybe but not grass:
Mock sunflower

Wild Iris

Ladies Slippers.  

I call this particular location "Imelda's Closet" for Imelda Marcos.


All of the above from here:
Creating:  The thing that I have been best at creating this summer is havoc.  No pictures of that today.
There has been spinning....much of it spindle spinning which works nicely in the above location.  My Jenkin's turkish spindles have been happily producing little yarn turtles.
Not much weaving and knitting has been peripatetic at best.

Reading....Do I have a book list for you!!  That will have to wait for a later post.  Currently my reading is happily ensconced in the Middle Ages.....nonfiction, ancient writing, and fiction.  Barbara Tuchman's A Distant MirrorThe Icelandic Sagas (these are a total and happy surprise), The Nibelungenleid, and Kristin Lavransdatter.  Not to worry, that is my personal obsession right now.  I do have some more contemporary titles to share with you, later.....

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Happy!!

Last week I spent a lot of time winding this warp:
I was taking the cookbook approach to weaving and pretty much copied the Conservatory pattern from Kelly Marshall's book Custom Woven Interiors

This was the first Rep weave project I've done on my own, even though I've been weaving since 1980.  Until I got my Macomber Loom, I didn't have a loom that would hold enough tension to do Rep Weave.  Then last year I took Rosalie Nielson's workshop on designing for Rep weave. 

Last week the time was right:  I had the yarn, I have the loom, I had Kelly Marshall's "recipe", I had  Rosalie Nielson's instructions, and since spring is dragging it's feet I had the time!  All systems GO!

Winding a warp with so many colors at 48 epi on a warping board is not for the faint of heart, but it can be done.....one block at a time.  It did inspire me to download images for building a warping reel from Edward Worst's instructions for a project for hubby. (It's page 11 of this document...thank you Handweaving.net!)

Dressing the loom produced all the usual glitches...threading errrors, repair heddles to fix those errors, sleying errors.  The only error I didn't make was a crossed warp...oh, and the tension stayed even through out the weaving.  (By that sentence you know that the warp is off the loom....no weaver says those things until it's all over.)

On to the relaxing part: throwing the shuttle and swinging the beater.
I slept really well last week, after weaving a couple hours every day.

This morning I set the table:
Can you tell I'm really happy with the outcome? 

It usually takes me awhile to like a finished project but not this time.  The only problem is that I did not pay attention to the weft directions in the book.  I had it in my head that the thick weft was used doubled, and the book calls for it to be used as single strand.  As a result, the placemats are about 22" long....kind of long for placemats.  But hey, we like to spread out around here.

Now I'm dragging out all of my yarns, notebooks, and graph paper with an eye to another Rep project. 

May all your projects make you happy!


Tuesday, April 07, 2015

10 Books on Tuesday

It's been awhile since I've posted about books and Carole has provided the opportunity to catch up on that with the last 10 books read.

With the start of WWI being 100 years ago, it seems that WWI related books abound.  I started reading a lot of WWI nonfiction back in August 2014....I guess you could call it commemorative reading.  Since then it seems like WWI books are chasing me down.  The first 5 books on my list fall into that category:

1.  An Officer and A Spy by Robert Harris is an historical fiction account of the Dreyfuss Affair in France from 1894 through about 1905 in the voice of Colonel Piquard.  Piquard gained a post as the head of military intelligence as a reward for his participation in the court martial of Alfred Dreyfuss.  Once inside the intelligence machinery, he doubts the validity of the evidence used against Dreyfuss and believes that he has found the real spy who gave information to the Germans.  The story is critical in understanding anti-semitism in France and Germany at the end of the 19th century.  It also helps the reader to understand how the Franco-Prussian War in the 1870's was never really resolved and provided tinder to fuel WWI.

2. Dead Wake by Erik Larson is a narrative nonfiction account of the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915....the 100th anniversary of the sinking will be on May 7.  If you're familiar with Larson's work (Devil in the White City, In the Garden of the Beasts, Thunderstruck....)  this work does not deviate from his excellent research and story telling.  I found it engrossing to read about what was going on in the German submarine, the British Intelligence Service, the White House of Woodrow Wilson, as well as on the Lusitania.

3. Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear is the first Maisie Dobbs mystery that I've read.  The mystery series is shaped by the aftermath of WWI.  Maisie is part psychologist, part investigator who has her own business as a detective in London.  This story had me hooked and I went back to read the first in the series:

4. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear.  Not sure how this series has been around for 10 years before I found it.  The author's relationship to WWI can be read about here.  I like the writing and the attention to detail (dress, cars, living arrangements) that are true to the era.  This would make a great BBC mystery series...think Downton Abbey costuming.

5. Mr. Mac and Me by Esther Freud is the story of 12 year old Thomas Maggs, a boat drawing son of a pub owner on the Suffolk coast of England.  One day a mysterious figure in a dark cape, smoking a pipe, appears on the beach and Thomas begins to spy on him.  That figure is Charles Rennie Mackintosh, or Mac as he is referred to in much of the story.  Just as friendship begins to emerge between Thomas and Mac, war is declared with Germany.  The story is one of the homefront during a brutal war told from the eyes of a 12 year old boy.  It provides an oblique view of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and is fueled by the fact that he did spend time in this region during the time period covered.  I'm a fan of "The Mackintosh Style" which is what drew me to the book.....and there I was right back at WWI.

6. Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast is a graphic novel by the New Yorker cartoonist that tells the story of dealing with her aging mother and end of life issues.  Well done but not a happy story.

7. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande.  This was recommended to me by a friend who is dealing with a brain tumor.  I am so glad that I read it and have pushed my husband into reading it as well.  PBS did a Fronline episode with the author.  I highly recommend both.  Again, not happy reading, but a good conversation starter for some very difficult topics.

8. Lila by Marilynne Robinson  This is the third of the Gilead series of stories by the author, but it is very good as a stand alone novel.  Lila is a character that appeared in the previous two books, but very little about her is revealed in those books.  This story is entirely about her.  The story begins with a young child who is locked out and crying on a front porch when a woman comes along and snatches her away.  The child is Lila, the woman is her rescuer, Doll.  The two become attached to a group of migrant workers who struggle through the dust bowl and depression until times become too hard for that group to hold together.  By then Lila is an adult and sets out on her own finding day labor where ever she can.  While living in an abandoned shack she meets Reverend John Ames, a much older man.  A complex love story ensues.  Beautifully written, slow and painful at times, it is well worth the praise it has been given.

9.  Burial Rites by Hanna Kent.  I don't remember how I came across the book, but it was a great find.  The story is based on the true story of Agnes Magnusdottir who was convicted of killing her employer in Iceland in 1828.  While awaiting execution orders to be ratified in Finland, she is interred on an isolated farm with a family who serve as her death-row custodians.   As part of her confinement, Agnes is to have spiritual direction of a clergyman.  This is a reluctant young pastor whom she has requested.  I loved the story and the textile processing tidbits added to my enjoyment.

10. Montana 1948 by Larry Watson  Told from the viewpoint of (yet another) 12 year old boy, this beautifully written novel tells the story of a year in the life of a Montana sheriff's family that would forever change their life and their relationships with their own family. The story is told through the eyes of the sheriff's son as he remembers events later in life.  It deals with bigotry, injustice, and the misuse of power by the privileged over less fortunate people.  It is really more of a novella and  was originally published in 1993, but is our book group discussion book this week.

So, those are my most recent 10 books.  Am looking forward to clicking around to see what others are reading.