Saturday, May 29, 2010

What's black and white and read all over?

Some weaving, some flowers, and a lot of reading:

Black and white:
Finished table runners. I liked both sides so hemmed one each way.

A longer view:

Just white:
More white:
Three sisters:
 Read all over:
I've been doing more reading than anything else lately.  Just finished the last of the The Girl W.... books last night.  I started it on Wed. evening and read every spare moment until it was finished.  Well, okay, maybe some of those moments weren't so spare.

Let the Great World Spin went much the same way.  Tattoos on the Heart ditto, except it was read in the car on the way to my nephew's wedding.  One afternoon and it was done.  I highly recommend all three of these books.

Brooklyn was not quite as compelling, just a cozy narrative story. 

True North is my current read and was an early reviewer's copy from Library Thing.  So I must get it read and write a review.

Meanwhile, I am still threading the next warp.  Maybe an audio book for that.  Recommendations?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Spinner's tip of the day and flags...

I probably should have remembered that the cottonwoods are in seed before I put this freshly washed black alpaca fleece outside to dry:

I'm a little disappointed at how much vegetable matter is in this fleece and this just adds to it.

To assuage my disappointment, the irises (aka flags) are blooming.  Here are several of the light purple blooms.  The dark purple and white plants haven't fully opened their blooms yet:

When I was a little girl these and gladiola's seemed to be particularly ugly flowers to me.  Now that I am grown, and then some, I find irises and the range of colors they come in particularly appealing.  I still don't "get" gladiola's though....even in funeral baskets.  (Maybe because of funeral baskets?)

I'm posting these to remind myself how much I enjoy them when they are in bloom, because I hate cutting them back and cleaning up in the fall.  Hope you enjoy them too.  Want to come help clean up in October?

Gotta go pick cottonwood seeds out of damp alpaca.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Colors of May

Time to join in Life Looms Large colors of May!

 Lamb's Ears

Sweet Woodruff

Lily of the Valley (the last two pictures should be scratch 'n sniff!)

Honeysuckle (non-native invasive species....aarrgh!)

The obligatory bug on the honeysuckle leaf (click for big).

Commencement colors.  Not colors in nature, but colors of May none the less.

There's a six year story behind this degree.  One that involves: going from honor student, to a fall from a ladder and resultant head injury, academic failures, therapy and hard work, and now a magna cum laude bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with a graduate certificate in energy and environmental management.  He did the last 3 years as a full time student and working 20 hours per week as an engineering intern, thus is one of the lucky few to be graduating right into a job.  It has been a privilege to witness the character development in this young man.

One of his graduation presents was the following Rudyard Kipling poem in calligraphy.  Not because it is something to strive for, but it is something we have seen emerge:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Say what?

Yesterday I did a brief presentation on the sample that was on my loom from Robyn Spady's workshop last fall.  The workshop topic was There Are Two Sides to Every Cloth and my sample was Four-Shaft Overshot-Patterned Double Weave.

Now when it comes to knitting, you can name or describe a stitch pattern and I can pretty much visualize it from a verbal description.  I have been knitting since I was seven years old, so it's like a second language to me.

Weaving?....Not so much, even though I've been weaving since 1980.  Unless it's something like plain weave, 2-2 twill, or some other twill......I have to see the threading, tie-up, treadling and draw down.  Even then I might not get it until I sit down at the loom and noodle around with it.  So for me to get up and talk about weaving......uhm...kind of nervy.

So there I was talking about the threading and treadling blocks that I played around with in this weave structure.  Passed out some handouts that I'd made up along with a reference sheet for some articles that were related and noted that the articles referred to this structure as 4-shaft 4-block double weave.  Immediately the light went on for several people and they said, "Oh 4-shaft 4-block double weave....that makes sense!"

Inside I had this little chuckle....I'm so glad those words made sense to someone because until I can see the fabric it is all just so many words to me.

Now I understand that four-shaft overshot patterned double weave is really only a subset of 4-block 4-shaft double weave, and there are other structures that can be included under the set of 4-block 4-shaft double weave, which is really only a subset of double weave which comes under the universal set of weave structures, to which card weaving would be a complementary set..

I may not get weave speak, but I really loved set theory in math.  Ciao!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Palette of Green

by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird---
  equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old?  Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
  keep my mind on what matters,
Which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be 
The phoebe, the delphinium,
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
   and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
  to the moth and wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
from  Thirst; Poems by Mary Oliver
(a volume you will never regret owning)

It is a very wet, spring day...the kind of day when living here feels a bit like living inside an old 7-Up bottle.  The very atmosphere glimmers green.

Later today I have a warp to wind.  The colors are bronze....

and green.