Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Story to begin Lent....

Take a few moments to read Norman Dietz's Old Ymir's Clay Pot

It seems that most weavers enjoy hand thrown pots. And I'm sure more than a few of us have tried a hand at the potter's wheel. If the theology in the story escapes you, perhaps the pottery part of the story will draw you in.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Distressing News....

Charleen asked how I was planning to distress the denim skirt. I didn't find much through google. There were suggestions to use a sanding head on an electric drill, or to dip the sanding head in bleach before using on the garment, and also just use sandpaper. I'm just looking to give the denim a 'broken in' look. Something to keep the skirt from screaming, "HOME MADE" from across the room...not necessarily the extreme frayed look that you can find on the racks right now.

I took a walk through the hardware store and found this artificial steel wool stuff. It comes in different grades. I chose "0" grade for this project, but it probably wouldn't hurt to have used the "1" grade to make the work go a bit faster. I wrapped the abrasive pad around a block of wood and rubbed the length of the garment. It seemed to work best if I worked slightly diagonal to the grain. And I focused on edges, seam lines, hem lines, etc. to get that comfortably worn look.

This is the after picture:

Here's the after picture with the product I used, wrapped around a block of wood.

After I finish the last bit of distressing, I plan to wash the skirt with about a half cup of diluted bleach in the wash water to complete the look I'm going for. I'm pretty happy with the results of this project.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

More finished goods....

The scarf pattern is Argosy, the yarn is Paint Box by Knit One Crochet Too, color number: 09. Knit on size 8 US needles, the scarf took 2 evenings of watching tv to complete.

Also completed in the past day is a denim skirt from Vogue 7735

I made view C, on the the right. I need to "distress" the denim a bit, but otherwise I'm very pleased with the outcome and will probably make another skirt in brown corduroy.

On tap for this afternoon: more sewing and perhaps a bit of weaving. Then out for a dinner party with old friends tonight. Dress is casual...can't decide if I'll wear Swallowtail or Argosy.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Finish Line:

Two posts in one day! I thought it best to provide documented evidence that Swallowtail was indeed finished by my self-imposed Valentine's Day deadline:

Despite the necessity of using the flash and the general difficulty in getting good digital pictures of red, the color on my monitor is pretty accurate. The dye color was Prochem dark red (I forget the number). The yarn is handspun, from superwash merino top, so the original fiber color had a lot of yellow tones to it, typical of merino wool.

I am happy with the finished product. I added two more repeats to the edging pattern. The dimensions are 24" down the center back and 50" across the top edge.

These guys have been at the birdfeeder all week. Actually they are only two males of about 7 pairs of cardinals who have been frequenting the feeder outside our kitchen window. They seemed to be cheering me on each time I stood at the sink. Unfortunately they are quite shy and I could only get a photo through the window. (Believe me I tried getting one from outside, but these guys are extremely camera shy!) Maybe we should change the name of the shawl to Cardinal tail?
Some entertainment for a snowy Valentine's morning:

You Are: 50% Dog, 50% Cat

You are a nice blend of cat and dog.
You're playful but not too needy. And you're friendly but careful.
And while you have your moody moments, you're too happy to stay upset for long.

I would have guessed that I was more cat than dog.

And now I must go feed the cat and my "inner cat".

Oh, and the Swallowtail Shawl was finished last night, meeting my self-imposed deadline. I'll wash and block it today after we clear the snow out of our driveway.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Response to ?'s about Print O' the Wave Stole:

An anonymous responder asked about corrections to the Print O' the Wave directions. I'm short of time today, so my suggestion is to read the entry on Another Knitting Blog . Her suggestions and edits pretty well cover it, tho' they are in narrative form rather than charted.

I did contact Eunny about the needed corrections. She's aware of them, but I've never checked back to see if the directions were amended. (This paragraph for those who would leave comments for me to contact the author.....I'm learning to anticipate.)

Mondays and Tuesdays are very busy here. I have two rows plus the bind off row for my red Swallowtail. Anyone want to cheer me over the finish line for a Valentine's Day completion?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Knowing when to be quiet....

I just got home from a memorial service. The deceased is the daughter of a weaving friend. The family is devastated at the loss of this young woman. They worked with their pastor to put together a beautiful and fitting memorial service to commemorate the life of this young woman as well as express their belief and hope of an afterlife where she may now be at peace. My friend is not a young man and I'm deeply concerned about his broken heart.

In the middle of the service, after the pastor had shared the scripture and comments about the young woman's life, there was an interlude. Quiet organ music played and there was silence. It was noted in the worship bulletin: Interlude/Meditation. So why did the middle age couple behind me feel this was their moment to carry on a conversation, not in a whisper, but in normal conversational tone?

In today's culture, is it too much to ask a person to keep their thoughts to themselves, out of respect for others, for 3 minutes?!

Before leaving home for the memorial service, I checked the news online while listening to Scott Simon on NPR's Weekend Edition where this segment which finishes with "Anna Nicole Smith's death makes some question how they lampooned her life." It's a beautiful segment and I hope you'll click on the link and listen. Scott Simon, a broadcast journalist, speaks with words that are kind, thoughtful and generous.

As counterpoint, Rev. Marcus Sheffield, pastor of First Baptist Church had these words for Anna Nicole Smith: "Anna Nicole is not somebody we consider one of our own, one of the great citizens we're proud of," said the Rev. Marcus Sheffield, pastor of First Baptist Church, who did not know Smith. "If people connect her with what Mexia is, I'm not proud of that."

What kind of pastor doesn't know the basic courtesy of speaking well of the dead....and if you can't find anything nice to say, be quiet? What kind of Christian pastor is not familiar with the concept of "comfort those who mourn"?

I hold a leaderhip position in my church, a Lutheran church (obviously a more liberal church since women are allowed to be pastors as well as lay leaders.) One of my responsibilities is working with lay leaders to do the pastor's performance reviews. If one of our pastors had made such an insensitive public statement, my phone would be ringing off the hook and my email box would be full.

Perhaps this topic is on my mind because I was engaged in an email misunderstanding this week. I fired off an email response to, what to me, is an exasperating ongoing situation of people behaving badly. And so, I behaved badly. There were hurt feelings, apologies, reconciliation and now I think we are beginning to move forward on addressing the exasperating situation. I should know better and should have been quiet, or at least waited for a face to face conversation. The other party sh
ould also know better. But we are human and here we are.

Fiber News: I'm on the last chart for the Swallowtail shawl. The red is so delicious! Maybe I'll have photo's for Valentine's day. Meanwhile, it's back to the loom this afternoon to work on those kitchen towels.

And now, I'll be quiet.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It all becomes clear....

Last night I had the good fortune to attend a budget planning class at the credit union with my 21 year old son. He wanted to learn more about personal finances and didn't want to go alone.

I am so glad I went. First of all, it's amazing to me that the savings rate for our country was below zero for 2005. That's scary.

Second: It was gratifying to hear the 30 something presenter confirm all of the things we've been telling DS for 21 years: "Live within your means. Don't buy into a lifestyle and amenities that are beyond what you earn."

On the way home he said, "All the things you & Dad did and said through high school make sense now. Gosh, I feel sorry for my friends who had cell phones, new clothes every week, and cars as soon as they turned 16. The parents provided those things as a convenience to themselves, but it taught my friends to think they couldn't live without them."

There are two more classes in the coming weeks. I'm looking forward to them. (Not that I'm one of those people who always needs to be right....ha!)

Friday, February 02, 2007

More Shawl Stuff....

Sharon asked about the prayer shawl ministry in the last post's comments. A friend, Pat, who attends a sister church to my own hosts a group who gather to knit prayer shawls as means to reach out with love and concern for anyone who is hurting for any reason, be it spiritual, physical, or personal. It's a quiet evening of knitting (or crocheting) as spiritual practice. We can use any pattern we like, but they do ask that we use yarns that are easily laundered and safe for those with allergies.

We begin with a short blessing to dedicate the work of our hands to the intentions of the receiver. Sometimes we know the person who will be receiving the shawl or lap robe, most of the times we don't. When a number of shawls have accumulated, Pat's church holds a "blessing of the shawls" , where the shawls are draped over the altar rail, as part of their worship service.

Pat's pastor carries two shawls in her car at all times: one which is feminine, the other a more masculine sort of lap robe. She says these have been so helpful for those visits when words are not sufficient to minister to the person in need.

Pat collects the shawls and attaches a small hang tag that has a brief statement about the ministry and a prayer for comfort. She keeps the inventory and the rest of can request a shawl for someone at any time, specifying a color range preference, etc. Here are some links to other shawl ministry sites:

The Waiting Room Shawl Ministry

Belief & Practice (includes a video clip)

Hands On Spirituality

Meanwhile, I have begun the Swallowtail Shawl twice. On the left is the laceweight merino that came from Yarn Barn of Kansas (see earlier post). On the right is some of my two ply handspun merino, slightly heavier than laceweight, dyed with Pro Chem dark red sometime this past fall..

The commercial laceweight yarn is just not doing it for me in this pattern. It's a tad too fine and there are over 1300 yds. in the skein. The pattern only calls for ~437 yds. It keeps telling me that it is destined for some greater project in the future. I'll be looking through Sharon Miller's book for ideas over the coming week.

However, the handspun is very happy to be assuming the Swallowtail pattern. It has the right elasticity and drape. And there is just enough yarn to make it to the finish.

Funny how the yarn really does speak to the project.

And I will close with the final shot of Print O' the Wave. This was taken just before I released her from her blocking pins.

It always amazes me how something so light weight and airy can be so cozy!