Sunday, November 30, 2008

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. This video expresses my sentiments pretty accurately:

We are under a winter storm waring with 7-10" of snow predicted by tomorrow. I've been weaving, knitting, and spinning. More about that later....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November Light:

November is fast becoming my favorite month. It's quiet, dark, and conducive to turning inward and working on your own "stuff". As someone who loves Thomas Hardy and holds her nose at Jane Austen....November makes sense to me.

It's the month that the guys go off to deer camp for awhile and I have the place all to myself. So here's the list of the week's fiber related accomplishments:
  • Cleared out the weaving stash and hauled 44 lbs. of yarn to the Salvation Army. A few knitting yarns went along with it.
  • Cleared out my closet and hauled a similar weight (maybe more) of clothing to the Salvation Army.
  • Finished sleying the warp pictured above through the still procrastinating on tying onto the front apron rod. Maybe later today.
  • Knitted a pair of socks for ds to take to hunting camp. No photo's since he snatched them out of my hands as soon as the last end was darned in. (Personal best: a pair of adult male socks knitted in 4 days while still living a life.)
  • Repaired a worn spot on ds' hunting gloves that I knitted for him about 5 years ago. Again, no photo's: same fate as the socks.
  • Washed 2 lb. of fine raw wool (very fine Corriedale) in the roaster pan method described by Judith MacKenzie McCuin in the fall issue of Spin Off. (There is no longer any raw wool in this house to be washed.)
  • Spun some more of the silk cotton sliver on the support spindle and on the wheel.
  • Went shopping for clothing and bought: 2 jackets, one vest, 3 pr. of slacks, and 5 tops. Thanks to what I learned while knitting through a few episodes of "What Not to Wear" and "Tim Gunn's Style", everything fits well, in flattering colors, and stylish cuts. The most amazing part is how well the new items integrate with what remains in my closet after the wardrobe culling in the second bullet above.
  • Went to Weaving Guild presentation by Boisali Biswas
  • Browsed through the winter issue of Interweave Knits which arrived yesterday. This looks like a good one. There are a couple sweaters in there that I may actually knit.
I still have a few things to do:
  • finish tying on that warp and start weaving.
  • finish organizing the rest of the fiber stuff in the sewing room.
  • Organize my notes and pictures from the weaving workshops I took with Suzanne Halvorson and Jason Collingwood earlier this year.
  • Plan and wind a warp for the 4 harness loom.
  • Hit the Michigan Surface Design Association's Exhibit at the Riverside Arts Center.
  • Check out the Botany: Beyond Flowers exhibit. I intended to do this when it first went up and haven't made it yet.
So please excuse me. I have things to do, places to go, and things to see.

What's not to love about November?

PS: The wild turkey photo in the banner was taken on April 11, 2007 near Harbor Springs, MI. As far as I know, he did not turn up on anyone's table anytime close to this photo shoot.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Update: Just after I wrote the post below, Diane Rehm had the most intelligent discussion on the topic which you can listen to here The discussion corrects a lot of the myths and old information that I complain about below. If you have strong opinions on this topic either way, please listen to get yourself current. Thanks.

Ignorance is...

a. Bliss.
b. Inexcusable.
c. Something to be corrected by gaining new information.

Because of the situation with the auto industries, we who live in the Detroit area are in the national news. It is truly astounding to me the lack of current knowledge and information being touted in the national news regarding the auto industry and this geographic region. It truly sounds like no new information since the era from Ralph Nader through the 1970's has been assimilated into the national consciousness.

For example: Alabama Senator Richard Shelby (R) is extremely vocally opposed to any Democratic proposals to provide any aid. However, if you look at what's going on in his state, there are quite a few new jobs in Alabama because of the auto industry. Jobs that did not go out of the country. But maybe he thinks they'll stay there and be more stable if there weren't an American auto industry? Or maybe he feels assured because some of that work are vehicles that will go to the defense department and with two wars on, there continues to be a pretty good turnover for those vehicles.

For the past eight years I have stood in disbelief at an administration that waves the flag at national pride, then sells out the middle class to the lowest bidder.

Susan Tompor's article on the front page of our Sunday paper says it better than I can.

PS: In an odd bit of synchronicity: Last week I received a Christmas letter from friends in Australia, with complaints that their 3 year old Toyota Camry suffered a valve spring failure. After those repairs there was a subsequent head gasket failure. Unable to get satisfaction with the dealership or the company, they are currently working with the Department of Consumer Affairs.

I guess it takes awhile for a reputation to catch up with a company.......

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New finished object:

The pattern is Celtic Cable Neckwarmer. (Click on the name to go Lindsay's pattern.)

The yarn is Plymouth Yarn's Suri Merino, 110 yds. per ball. The pattern took exactly one ball of yarn. The yarn is left over from this vest. I still have 2 balls of this yarn. The question is: Shall I knit two more for Christmas gifts, or knit a pair or matching fingerless gloves instead?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Oxymoron Post....

Taking such tests with a grain of salt: Is humility still my best virtue if I post this? Or maybe it's just my "dark secret side".

Your result for The Best Thing About You Test...


Humility is your strongest virtue. You are humble.

Humility is the defining characteristic of an unpretentious and modest person, someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others. And you? When you do the right thing, you're doing it for all the right reasons. All 7 virtues are a part of you, but your humility runs deepest.

It is likely you're a quiet type. But if not, then you just have dark, secret side that loves to give.

Humble famous people: JD Salinger, Isaac Newton, Harry Potter (pre-puberty)

Your raw relative scores follow. 0% is low, and 100% is perfect, nearly impossible. Note that I pitted the virtues against each other, so in some way these are relative scores. It's impossible to score high on all of them, and a low score on one is just relatively low compared to the other virtues.


50% Compassion

44% Intelligence

75% Humility

56% Honesty

38% Discipline

29% Courage

25% Passion

Take The Best Thing About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Walk with me Thursday ...
(through nature and literature)

My November Guests (thank you for the title, Robert Frost)...
We have a pair of Trumpeter Swans visiting the pond at the township park. They are indeed trumpeters, note the little pink "smile" line on the lower mandible. There are Mute Swans on Phoenix and Wilcox Lakes across town. Mute Swans have an orange bill and are much more common (and quiet).

I hear them arriving in the mornings when brewing my tea.

By the time I arrive for my walk, they are settled in and enjoying their paddle around the pond. They are quite comfortable around humans, in fact the one even seems to mug for the camera. I'm thankful for the great photo's they gave me, but do wish they were a little more timid since they are an endangered species.

Interestingly, swans have inspired a lot of literature over the years. For one that contains knitting and nettles, I'll send you to Hans Christian Andersen's Wild Swans or a shorter overview here.

The weather is due to change with snow in the forecast for Sunday. So it's likely they will spread their wings and move to a milder climate soon.
And then, My November Guest will truly arrive.

The Wild Swans At Coole
by W.B. Yeats 1917

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysteriously beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting and warping...

There was no knitting at the polls. I showed up and was immediately processed through the system. They are using the same optical scanning system that was new at the previous presidential election. The difference this time: poll workers were well trained in its use and in proper election procedures.

So my day goes: From the polls, stop for a flu shot, haircut appointment, and home to this warp. (Only a dentist appointment could make such a day complete.)

Yesterday must have been warping day. Peg was warping, and so was I:

This is a warp with 792 ends. I apologize for the picture quality but that was the best I could do at 8 PM in the dining room. With a cat in the house, I was not going to leave that out until the morning just to get a better picture.

The weave structure is turned overshot. The colors (which I'm sure you can barely make out) are #30 crochet cotton. There's a story to the crochet cotton, but I'll save that for a later post.

For now, just note that crochet cotton has a lot of twist energy. The ground warp is black 10/2's cotton. If you are a weaver, this is beginning to sound like a sadomasochistic exercise. Keeping this 6.5 yd. warp under adequate tension to wind it on the back beam was going to be a challenge. Hence the Rube Goldberg tensioning device below:

This contraption came about after thinking about the recent posts on WeaveTech about the tensioning box used for sectional warping.

This loom bench was made out of maple by my dh. It is heavy, solid, and happens to have two nice handles routed out of the side supports. The dowels are 1" wood which serve as stops in our sliding glass doors, when not being recruited for weaving purposes. The smaller wooden blocks used as shims on either side are from ds's wooden block set received when he was 2 years old (he's now 22, so I'm reclaiming ownership of those blocks!) The steel rod is an extra tie on rod that I picked up at Home Depot. There's another one weighting the end of the warp. And the C-clamps were lifted from dh's workshop.

The good news: It worked!!! I would crank the warp, inserting separator sticks, until the loom bench began to tip forward. Then go around and adjust the bench position to maintain the tension on the warp. Then back around the loom to wind some more.

Now I have to settle down and thread all that through the heddles and reed. That may take me all week.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Random Update:

Tomorrow is election day. We are told the lines at the polls will be long. For presidential elections in our precinct, the lines are always long. I think I waited almost an hour at the last presidential election.

So I've been thinking about how to use that wait time. My conclusion is that the time would be best spent knitting a cap for Knit One Save One. It's a fitting project to take to the polls. I'll cast on for that tonight.

So, are you taking any knitting to the polls? Blog about it and let us know.

I spent much of my fiber time last week wrestling with a new warp. It's not all the way on the loom yet. Stay tuned.

And finally, there is yarn in the stash cupboard (room?) that has been singing out to me at 3:00 AM. The song has been "Please release me, let me go...." My 3:00 PM self has been balking, saying that you could still use that yarn for ______ (fill in the blank). But after about 2 weeks, the 3:00 AM self is clearly becoming the more practical voice, so I plan to work on culling commercial yarn to take to the Salvation Army later this week.

Once that is done, I will treat myself by going to visit this Gallery Show.

I'll sign off in hope that the election will truly be over on Wed. AM. With all the situations (crises!) that need to be addressed, we don't have time for a contested election.