Monday, September 29, 2008

Another update on the frenetic pace around here:
  • the draping class with Coni Crawford on Wednesday was like trying to drink from a fire hose.
  • the dress form class with Jan Bones on Thursday was very good. I now have a dress form hanging in my sewing room waiting for its finishing touches.
  • I had lots of time to study my notes and Coni's book in the car on Friday and Sunday as we headed out for this road trip:
This would be the best photo for identifying location. Anyone been there and recognize it?
This clearly identifies that we are indeed in the midst of autumn.

The image below invokes the sense of peace of the weekend (hint: we were out of the country and did not access any US political/economic news. However, this country has its own pending election which you can learn about here ):
And this was the reason for the trip:
Those are "my guys" on that boat. They are headed out to complete the 2008 scuba diving season's goal of diving all five Great Lakes in one season. (Hmm...I wonder how many of you can name all five Great Lakes? One is named below. Can you come up with the other 4?)

If you haven't guessed by now. We were in Gananoque, Ontario. As the sign says, Gateway to the Thousand Islands, located where the St. Lawrence Seaway meets Lake Ontario.

Favorite Quote:
"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel."
Carl W. Buechner

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More Busy....

Still working on the photo directory. The studio photo's are finished. Spent yesterday at church with a professional photographer getting shots of the aforementioned stained glass window for the directory cover. That stuff is now handed off to the design team. I am now the official data monkey....entering and formatting member data for the listings.

Meanwhile, I have classes at the Sewing Expo tomorrow and Thursday.

Tomorrow: class with Coni Crawford on draping/fitting. If you scroll down the linked page, it's workshop #1.

Thursday the class is this one with Jan Bones.

This all came about because of the time with Randy Darwall and the Weavecast Episode 26

There's more...but I'll save for later.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thought you might like to get a sense of where I've been spending my days this week:


The forebears of our church installed a unique and amazing contemporary stained glass window at the front of the church, with a 90 degree angle behind the altar. The altar is an isosceles triangle that faces south and a tad to the east. This photo is a segment of the left edge....the tree in the garden.

The span of the window covers the entirety of scripture. I've spent a lot of worship services just basking in the color, movement, and imagery of that window in the past 25+ years. Sometimes it's a distraction, but most times it's an assist to quiet contemplation.

And maybe it will even be an assist to some future tapestry weaving. Once we get this directory "put to bed".

PS: we had our photos taken tonight. We laughed so hard at the proofs, that the guy threw in a copy of all the proofs as part of the package. He'd never seen anyone laugh so hard at their own professional portraits. Not a good sign! (Actually, there was one that came out pretty good.)
Busy Week...the power of a free and independent press....

My current WIP is a photo directory for our church. A project no one has wanted to touch for the last 10 years. I advocated for it, so I'm chairing the project. This week the photographers are here for photo sittings. So, I am spending 40 hours at church this week and it isn't even Lent. So far it's been a good experience. People are connecting in good and surprising ways as they arrive for their photo appointments.

Two other people with graphic arts backgrounds are doing the design. They're skill and competence takes that part off my shoulders. Once the photo's are done on Saturday evening, I just have to make sure that everyone's data is correct. Then I have an excellent proof reader ready to look over the data.

Meanwhile, election craziness goes on. I am delighted to see that this is finally moving out of the small independent online news into the national media:



Also, take a look at this article.

If you think your vote doesn't count, remember the 2000 election. Our country would be in an entirely different place today but for that Supreme Court decision.

Bottom line, do your research, think things through (be careful of being a single issue voter) and get out and vote....and don't let anyone intimidate you or take away that basic right.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Handspun update:

Below is the finished teal blend handspun yarn originally posted here

These two skeins are about 700 yds each, weighing in at 3.6 and 3.8 oz. respectively. I've left it as singles yarn. The photo below shows the washed skeins. Note that they don't twist back on themselves excessively. The yarn knits up just fine as a singles and the energy in the yarn will open up the lace eyelets better than a plied yarn would.
I've changed my plans for the yarn from that earlier linked post. Instead I'm swatching for Loden Mist. It suits the yarn better than the February Lady Sweater mentioned in the earlier post.

I still have about 2 ounces of this fiber to spin up, but there's sufficient yarn for Loden Mist in these two skeins.
I am so sick of being lied to.....

And am even sicker when I hear people cheerfully lapping up lies. For that reason I'm going on a news black out for the day. It's my way of honoring Sept. 11: A sobering fact that this current administration has used as grist for one lie after another.

I remember sitting in front of the tv and watching Colin Powell deliver the reasons for invading Iraq as he presented them to the United Nations. I made a point of watching this. I wanted to hear the facts.

Colin Powell: remember him? He has an even greater right to be angry about lies. This administration spoon fed them to him so he would trot them out before the world. A lot of us, spurred by the fear induced on 9/11 believed him. The result: a war that distracts us from the Afghanistan front and had nothing to do with 9/11 was begun....and continues to this day.

And Sarah Palin? One of the biggest liars of all.....the paper trail of her support for the bridge to nowhere until is was politically dead is real and substantial. Yet she shamelessly and repeatedly stands up before people to tell them how she's against pork barrel spending...and people cheer when she says it!? People, what she's really against is anyone but her dipping their fists into the pork barrel. (And that smarmy "Thanks but, no thanks" comment is like fingernails on a black board!)

And there are lies of omission:

Michigan is hurting. As I go about my errands and appointments I drive past homes with heaps of belongings stacked outside. Sometimes there are big dumpsters. These days it's much more likely to be an eviction or foreclosure than a remodeling event. When I sit in church on Sunday, I can look in any direction and my eyes will rest on someone who has lost their job. Several of those have lost or are close to losing their homes. Those of us who are on more solid ground stock the church pantry and buy gas cards for the pastors' discretionary coffers.

That's why it makes me sick to read this. Yep...the first thing you do when you lose your home is run out and change your voter registration. It's hard enough to tackle when you've moved under the best of circumstances.

But it's in the best interest of the current ruling party to prevent its victims from voting. And with that in mind we learn this.

Before I end this rant, there's one thing I ask you to do: educate yourself.

Put FactCheck.org as a button on your browser. If you're not familiar the quote below is from their "About Us" page:

"We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit, "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding."

And note that the McCain campaign twists FactCheck facts here

Pick up a copy of Hot, Flat, and Crowded, read through it, and latch onto the spirit of optimism that Tom Friedman threads through some of the scary reality in which we live.

And most importantly: Think about what you learn and take it to the polls.

I have to go write a check to the League of Women Voters

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Odyssey of a New Project:

Meet Zetor, the newest work in progress:


The yarn is handspun merino singles from here. Knitted on US size 2 needles.
The pattern is by Finnish blogger, Jatta. And here begins the Odyssey in the title of this post.

I have no idea how I found Jatta's site and this lovely pattern. Obviously, I was clicking through links, lost my way and fell in love with this design. The yarn has been looking for a project since May, and here it was.

Although the pattern is made available in English, Jatta writes her blog in Finnish so I have no clue about the origins of the name Zetor. As I cast on and began knitting, the meaning of Zetor kept nibbling on the edges of my consciousness and curiosity.

After dinner last night I googled "Zetor" and came up with tractor pull videos in Finnish, Swedish and Czech which you may sample here. The sounds of the videos attracted the mechanical engineering males in the household, which led to clicking from one video to another. Of course most of these videos involve some kind of crash or explosion...why else post a video of a tractor?

I tired of this sort of entertainment and headed to bed with my current read. Soon I was snuggled into the pillows to sleep, "perchance to dream".....of tractors: crashing tractors, flipping tractors, low flying tractors, tractors belching smoke, and anthropomorphic tractors. A whole flipping night of tractor dreams and nightmares.

Now go back and look at this shawl. How does this relate to a tractor?

New day, new google search, still more tractors and one other Zetor link to Finland that is not Jatta's. It's a bar with a tractor?

I give up. It's a lovely shawl pattern, I plan to knit it no matter what the word zetor means.
What a strangely accessible new world we live in.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Iceberg or Lettuce?

I turned in this finished prayer shawl last night:

The yarn is stash yarn purchased a number of years ago to make a housewarming gift for people who ended up not moving (still haven't - 8 years on). The yarn is called Iceberg. It's a chunky two strand yarn: a wool acrylic blend wrapped with a cotton spiral boucle' giving it the texture you see. It feels wonderfully cozy over the shoulders and I do hope that it provides comfort to someone in need of such comfort. I have enough yarn left for two more.....very gratifying way to use up stash.

You know that old memory aid they teach you: remember the name of someone (or something) by attaching a word that describes them to the name and it will help you. It never works for me. In fact it backfires in the most embarrassing ways. The yarn is a mild example. The name is Iceberg.....for at least 8 years, when I think of that yarn it is "Lettuce". That one's pretty benign. But you can see where this is heading when attached to people. Better to just concentrate on attaching names and faces and forget about adding anything into the mix.

Reply to comments: Peg asked why I wait until after washing to trim in loose ends. I do weave the ends a bit before wet finishing. However, during wet finishing of woven and knitted goods, the yarns migrate within the fabric. They wiggle together and nestle in among themselves. I like to leave a long enough tail for those yarns to settle in, then I can trim it to be sure the end migrates into the finished fabric.

On the pictured shawl the yarn design was such that after wet finishing I tacked the ends with a sewing needle and thread to an adjacent yarn loop as the final finish. Otherwise those ends would have continued to waggle to the surface forever.

Onward to yoga class....."Flat Belly", uhm I mean Adrianna, is teaching this morning.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bamboo-silk finished shots:

Here this is off the loom. The photo below is prewashed. Note the looseness of the open sett. (And yes there are dangling threads in the web. I weave them in right off the loom, but wait until after wet finishing to trim them.):


Here it is after a wash and press. You can definitely see the luster of the silk. You can also see that a selvedge threading beyond the floating selvedge would have made a nicer edge.

It's okay. Not my best work. Now I know what this yarn can do. There's still some warp that could be woven as a twill. I don't know if that's what I want to do....in some ways I'm "over" this yarn. Meh.