Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'm not the kind of person who wins things....

..unless we are talking books.  When it comes to books it seems I get freebies in spades.  Just got a notice from Library Thing that I've snagged a copy of To Siberia by Per Petterson, who also wrote Out Stealing Horses (link is to my review).

I'm feeling a little guilty because I haven't had a chance to get to my last free book from this post.  Am currently reading A Reliable Wife for this Friday's book discussion group.  So far, I can see why the reviews compare the writing to Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca , but I think it is much darker and colder.  Or, maybe it's just the November weather we are having at the end of September.  October and November have always been big reading months for me, and this year I have plenty of reading stockpiled to get me through.

The first phase of The Big Project is complete, which left us without gutters and downspouts for the continuous rain and high winds since Sunday night.  So the drip, drip, drips have been disturbing our sleep.  We're waiting for the next dumpster to come in, the shingles, and gutters to be delivered and phase two of TBP to begin.  It would be nice if the high winds and rains would cease and allow progress.

I have spinning and knitting to show, but that will have to wait until the next post.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Someone has actually done it....

Silk from spiders (the link will take you to the article and photo's of the fabric.)

From the NY Times:
"The other day in a fourth-floor storage area deep within the American Museum of Natural History, two women wearing blue rubber gloves carefully pulled back a plastic covering to show what Mr. Peers and Mr. Godley — along with more than a million spiders and a dexterous team of intrepid Malagasy spider handlers — had accomplished. It is an 11-foot-long, brilliantly golden-hued cloth, the first recorded example of a hand-woven brocaded textile made entirely from the silk of spiders, according to experts at the Museum of Natural History, where beginning on Thursday it will go on display for six months in the Grand Gallery."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Because...

Yesterday was the fall sale of the Spinner's Flock guild. I wasn't going to go because there was absolutely nothing that I needed. But it was a beautiful day. Too beautiful to just hang around at home. So I went...and I acquired a few things anyway. And here's why:

Because it is so black:

I brought home 2 lbs. of raw black alpaca. It is very black, which is very hard to find. Here I am spinning it directly from Forsythe mini-combs without washing.

Because it is so soft:

I brought home 3 oz. of dehaired Mongolian cashmere. Also because I know Mary, the vendor, and I know that she has been to Mongolia more than once. I'm so glad that she generously shares this experience because it's a place I am never likely to visit.

Because it's in such great shape:

This is an actual printed copy of Oelsner and Dale's A Handbook of Weaves. The link is to the Amazon edition of this book which I purchased earlier this year. The photo below is the disclaimer printed in front of that book.

Although the Amazon copy is readable, it can be very hard on the eyes.  So you can see why I was so delighted to find an "original" (there's no publication date on it, but it's certainly not 1875) that is in wonderful condition. Below, yesterday's acquisition is on the left, the Amazon edition is on the right:

Which one would you rather snuggle down to read? And it was only $15.

I am very happy that I took the time to make the trip yesterday.....just because.

Oh...and the Big Project from the previous post did not start today because of rain. But they did move in all their equipment this morning. Now it really looks like a big project.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Big Project Ahead:

These are some of the materials delivered today to begin the "Big Project" on the exterior of the house. This is just the stuff for "phase 1". They are to start tear down work tomorrow (Saturday?). The summer has been short and wet, so they will work anytime the weather allows except Sunday. The entire job is supposed to take about 10 days of work, provided the weather holds. Keep a good thought for us: that the weather holds out and things proceed smoothly.
The Queen Silvia shawl continues apace. I am beyond the halfway point for pattern repeats in the body of the shawl. I don't mind the nupps so much, but in row 15 there's a stitch that involves knitting 5 stitches together 5 times. It creates a little bird's eye effect which is quite pretty, but sure is a PITA. You can see them if you click for big. Hmm...just noted that the nupps aren't all the visible in the photo.

Also still spindle spinning the silk and cotton. Am way past the halfway point on this too. But it sure seems like there's still a long way to go. But I do like the process and the results.

In the "Learn something new every day" category:

Did you know that you can make plain ol' popcorn in the microwave without it being the pricey microwave popcorn and without a special microwave dish? Click on the link...it works. I've been making it that way for our evenings around the chiminea fire this week.

The other thing I've learned this week is that the cat gets seriously PO'd if I'm drop spindling when she thinks it's meal time. Not really surprising....but funny to watch her head butt the spindle and my leg rather than try to play with it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Thank you Tom Friedman

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging much about fiber lately is because my thoughts have been caught up in this country's crazy behavior around health care, energy, and the economy.

Several times I've written draft posts for the blog, but thought better of it. When we got home from Canada on Labor Day to hear that the conservatives were attempting to prevent the President from addressing school students for the beginning of the school year, I was ashamed and embarrassed for my country.

Yesterday's NYT op ed piece by Tom Friedman expresses my frustration much better than I can. Go read his article Our One-Party Democracy.

This behavior of opposition for opposition's sake is supremely evident in the screaming opposition to healthcare reform. Not a single bill had been crafted, but there was the opposition: "Kill the Bill". A bill that doesn't yet exist. No conversation about such a complex and nuanced topic, just opposition.

How quickly they forget that every single presidential candidate in the 18 months leading up to last November's election had a plans for healthcare reform. Not business as usual, but reform.

It's time we make sure that it is not acceptable for elected officials to "Just say no" to impede progress in addressing the critical challenges we face as a nation. We need to hold their feet to the fire and not allow them to wait out the election cycle to try and change the composition of Congress.

All of us have had to learn to work with what we have. It's time we require our elected officials to work with what they have in the composition of the House and Senate. They need to sit down, generate ideas, have difficult conversations, and make decisions based on reality not political ideology or brinkmanship. It's the name calling and the fear mongering by the conservatives on the hill that we can no longer afford.

Apples, Afghans, and Away....

September in Michigan brings ripe apples and fresh cider. The cider mills typically open the week after Labor Day and close for Thanksgiving. This morning I made my first cider and Michigan-grown apple run:

The knitting is not actually an afghan, but a prayer shawl. I made much progress on it on our Labor Day weekend trip to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to stay in Tobermory, Ontario. Not to be confused with Tobermory, Scotland which we have also visited, and long to return to one day.

This trip to Canada used to be an annual pilgrimage for us from 1977 to about 1995. We looked in our travel journal and discovered that our last trip here was 2003. Too long! More people from all over the world have discovered this remote natural area, so it was more populated than we remember. But the nature is still lovely:


Photos above and below are from my Saturday morning solitary hike on Burnt Point loop (the link is to an exquisite Flickr photo of the interior of the trail. It was too dark for me to get such a good one.) I had the entire 3.7 km. to myself. The silence and beauty were stunning!

On Sunday, five of us took the water taxi over to Flower Pot Island to do some hiking and exploring:

Here's the little flower pot:
For scale, here's my adult son in front of the other flower pot:
And tho' inuksuit
are not culturally appropriate to lower Canada, it seems that many can't help themselves when there are rocks and trails to mark:
But can you blame them when they are the official logo for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver?

It was a great weekend with sun, fun, friends, and 10W30 Canadian Lager !

Thursday, September 03, 2009

One of the reasons I love yoga....

It's the end of summer, the week between yoga sessions. I attend yoga classes 3x per week, plus practice at home. But this week I'm really missing my classes.

Seane Corn Demonstrates "Body Prayer" from Speaking of Faith.

Just so happens this week's episode of Speaking of Faith is a summer repeat with Seane Corn. If you're not familiar with SOF, take a look/listen at the link.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Buried in Books

These are my "to read" books pictured with the ongoing red knitting (note that I have not yet stopped.)
The top book was a freebie won from Rev. Songbird. I'm really looking forward to this read, since I've enjoyed Marilynne Robinson's previous books.

I've recently completed Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo and The Likeness by Tana French (links are to my reviews are posted to Library Thing). I have been reading a lot this summer and during travels, we've been listening to books as well. The current Playaway book is In the Woods, the prequel to The Likeness. We should finish with that this weekend. I try to make a point of writing reviews on my LT account, so I won't duplicate that here. The link to my account is over to the right.

Summer is drawing to a close. It's really quiet around town these past couple weeks, which I have enjoyed immensely. School starts back next Tues. and the community Fall Festival is the following weekend, so the quiet will soon end.

I'd like to wind a warp this afternoon, so I'll leave you with some zinnias: