Friday, February 25, 2011

Worst, best and some in between. No fiber content., except maybe moral fiber

Worst quote I've heard all day:
This post is inspired by the woman who came into yoga celebrating the vote in Wisconsin this AM.  When I said that's not a good thing, her reply was:  "Whadya mean?  Unions are ruining this country!"

Best Quote I remember from graduate school:  "Organizations which have labor unions have usually earned them."

For a list of possible ways this can happen take a look at An Eclectic List of Events in U.S. Labor History
Or review the events of the Italian Hall Disaster in Calumet, Michigan in 19 13.

Or the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911.  And if you don't feel like reading about it, tune into PBS on Monday night to watch The Triangle Fire.

Most important quote to remember: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

Oh and there's that other quote to remember:  "Money talks".  You can listen and read the transcript of money talking here.

Think it through....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More....

 Winter Storm Warning

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DETROIT/PONTIAC MI
424 PM EST THU FEB 24 2011

...QUICK HITTING SNOWSTORM LATE TONIGHT INTO TOMORROW MORNING...

.A QUICK HITTING...RAPIDLY DEEPENING LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL
TRACK NORTHEAST THROUGH THE OHIO VALLEY TONIGHT...TOWARDS
PITTSBURGH BY FRIDAY MORNING. THIS IS HISTORICALLY A FAVORABLE
TRACK FOR HEAVY SNOW IN DETROIT. SNOW IS EXPECTED TO OVERSPREAD
PARTS OF SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN DURING THE EARLY MORNING HOUR AND BECOME
HEAVY AT TIMES ALONG AND SOUTH OF THE M-59 CORRIDOR BY THE FRIDAY
MORNING RUSH HOUR. SNOW WILL LIGHTEN UP BY MID MORNING AND TAPER
OFF BY NOON. NORTHERLY WINDS WILL INCREASE LATE TONIGHT INTO
FRIDAY MORNING WITH GUSTS TO 30 MPH.

...WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 2 AM TO 11 AM EST FRIDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN DETROIT/PONTIAC HAS ISSUED A
WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 2
AM TO 11 AM EST FRIDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN
EFFECT.

IMPACTS...

 * ROADS WILL BECOME SNOW COVERED FOR THE FRIDAY MORNING RUSH
   HOUR.

 * ROADWAYS WILL BE SLICK WITH SLOW AND HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS
   EXPECTED DURING THE PEAK TRAVEL TIME.

I'll be sitting this one out at the loom.  At least until shoveling out time.



Monday, February 21, 2011

For the record..

We had another snow storm last night.  It was originally supposed to be an ice storm, but the ice seems to have gone south of us.  According the national weather service, snowfall accumulation for our area for the month of February is 17.5" with more on the way this evening.

Must sign off to help shovel out.  So I will leave you with this cozy image:

That's our Jazzy in the front.  The photo was taken while she was "visiting" Mowgli (cat in the back) while we were up north last weekend.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Random projects

I forgot to show you my new yoga bag:
In the spirit of my word of the year, Sufficient, the only things purchased to make this bag were the zippers and a spool of navy blue thread. 
The outer fabric, lining, and D rings were all from the stash.  And the pattern for the bag was designed by me.  My new Christmas gift Manduka mat is larger and heavier than most yoga mats.  So I needed a larger, sturdier bag.  I also like to carry my own block, strap, towel, and bottle of mat cleaner.  This new bag holds it all, including my favorite little Esopus bag.  I made a yoga bolster from the same fabric about 2 years ago and blogged about it here.

I'm thinking about this right now because today was Tuesday yoga, where I received one of the most backhanded compliments ever.  This is an advanced power yoga class that I've been taking for a couple years along with an Ashtanga Basics class on Friday morning.  Since Christmas there's been this African American gentleman join the Tuesday class.  He's middle aged and though fit, had no yoga exposure (or much flexibility) before joining this class.  I always pick the same spot for my mat in this class and he has generally picked the spot just to my left.  Today at the end of class he said in a very loud voice:  "You are my inspiration."  Well that would have been good if he had stopped there.  But he continued with:  "To still be able to do all this."  Uhm...still!?  He clearly didn't realize how that was coming out.  I thought it was pretty funny....but the yoga teacher and one of my buddies made a point of making me feel better about that "still" by commenting on my skills that were impressive...not my "advanced age".   Thanks Stacy and Sandra!

Anyway...more things I've been putzing with:
Cotton which promises to become very expensive this year.  This naturally colored cotton was a gift from J., who is the velvet lady from my previous post.  I've been carding it and rolling it into puni's and then spinning it on the wheel: (as always, click for big.)
I'd like to use this yarn as an accent with some 12/2's natural white organic cotton for some kitchen towels.

Still working on the Tunis post.  And still waiting for my new loom to ship. 

Oh yeah...in case you've missed it, the NPR show "On Point" has a knitting episode here .  It features Jenna from Cold Antler Farm .

Wow, this is a link heavy post!

Monday, February 14, 2011

More Pure Michigan...Valentine's Day Weekend

Here's what we did this past weekend:


 BTW  The antler they pass around while waiting for dinner is 26 lbs.  Imagine carrying two of those around on your head for 9 months of the year.

And we did this:


(We only did the cross country ski part, but we did see sled dogs and snowmobiles.)

Now today it is in the 40's and we are in the midst of a melt.  But I won't say "melt down" cause I'm still in an UP mood.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thanks!

Thanks everyone for your book suggestions.  Bill Bryson was suggested by several of you so I just came home from the library with a new one that he has edited:  Seeing Further: The story of science, discovery, and the genius of the Royal Society.  Okay, granted Bill Bryson didn't write this, but some fun writers are included:
Am looking forward to curling up with this collection of essays over the next few days.

Am currently reading The Girl with Glass Feet which was shelved under science fiction, but is more fantasy and perhaps allegory.  Okay, I admit it's a bit dark, but so far I like it.

Also, thanks for your encouraging comments on the double weave samples.  I hope to get some double weave project warps on the loom in the near future.   Cross Borders weavers was interesting yesterday.  The hostess presented on her exploration of weaving velvet.  Truly amazing work with #30 cotton sewing thread sett at 60 epi for each warp (therefore 120 epi total!)  If you don't know what is involved in weaving velvet take a look at Syne Mitchell's article here

I have woven one small piece of velvet, perhaps 3" by 3" in a workshop with Robyn Spady.  If you think that it is nerve wracking to cut into your knitting to make a steek, I assure you that it is truly daunting to slice across supplemental warp threads that are suspended by weights from the other side of the loom. 

Sigh....life it too short for all the books and yarns yet to be explored......

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Double Weave

Way back in October I took a double weave workshop from Jennifer Moore.  I asked for your help here. So the workshop came and went, I organized my notebook, but there was still warp on the workshop loom.

Two people who were key to organizing the workshop were not able to participate because of health issues.  So I decided to weave them samples from my remaining warp.  Here they are:
The draft is on pages 134 - 136 of Jennifer Moore's Double Weave Book.
Here's the color order that I used:
So the samples are all finished and labeled and ready to give to my weaving buddies when I see them tomorrow.

So a man walks into a bar....

Or, a robot rolls into a coffee shop...



more info. here

Strange new world we live in. 

Yesterday I noticed the women in the Cardio Blast class that takes place in the gym right before my power yoga class.  As I waited on the bench outside the room, I could see the class in the mirrored wall.  From my vantage point were three women in line from front to back.  The first was wearing a Hijab and tunic over her exercise pants.  The second woman was Asian.  The third woman was wearing a Tilaka.  And the music that they were working out to?


Thinking about Janis Joplin.  Considering the lyrics.  Having been a teen in the '60's....
Strange new world....

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Book Bound

Winter is a great time for reading and I've been doing my share.  So here's what I've read so far in 2011:

The first book finished in 2011 was The Glass Room by Simon Mawer.  This also happened to be the first selection for the year for our book group.  The link is a Library Thing link and my review is there. 

Second book into the year was Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh.  It's the March selection for our book group so I was reading ahead a bit.  It's an interesting approach to a novel.  There are in fact three Mrs. Kimbles in the book and the story unfolds around their relationship to the same (despicable) man.

Next was Great House by Nicole Krauss.  There is some beautiful prose writing in this book.  However I found it difficult to like any of the characters who are bound together by their relationship to a huge, dark, fantastic desk.  I'm not sure I got the point the author intended.  Judging by the other LT reviews, I'm not alone in that.

Lately I've been fortunate in winning Early Reviewers selections from Library Thing.  Little Princes by Conor Grennan was one of those selections.  I requested this book because of a concern for the problem of human trafficking and the various guises in which this abomination takes place.  Little Princes is reminiscent of Three Cups of Tea but perhaps not quite as well written.  Nevertheless it's nonfiction and a good read.

In a strange twist, the next book on my list explored a different dimension of human trafficking.  Room by Emma Donaghue is narrated in the voice of 5 year old Jack whose only experience of the world is an 11' x 11' room where he was born to his mother who was abducted by her captor at age 19.  The book is well done as a work of fiction and provokes some thought about an unpleasant topic.

This past Friday was February book group and selection was Mudbound by Hilary Jordan.  This is a story about the deep south (Mississippi) after WWII.  The story is narrated in six different voices from their differing viewpoints.  The primary issue of the story is racial discrimination, however there are aspects of gender discrimination as well.  This is another book about social injustice and our potential for complicity when we don't question local norms.  It is also a good read.

Just finished is the story Unbroken  by Laura Hillenbrand.  This is nonfiction, a WWII story of a man who competed in the 1936 summer Olympics in Berlin.  When the U.S. entered the war after Pearl Harbor he became a bombadier in a B-24 Liberator.  After several successful missions Louie, his pilot Phil, and Mack are stranded in life boats in the Pacific behind enemy lines.  Louie and Phil are picked up by the Japanese and their odyssey of horror through interrogations and beatings, starvation, and abuse in Japanese prison camps ensues.  As the subtitle of the book says, it is a story of survival and resilience.  This book is extremely well written, even though you want to cover your eyes sometimes.  I highly recommend this book.

Currently reading: Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell.  This book was made into a movie which won best picture at Sundance.  I'm about a third of the way into the book and the writing is very good.

That's the list so far.  Now, as DS was getting ready to go on a business trip he expressed the desire for some light reading on the plane.  When I invited him to take something from my shelf, he looked at me and said, "You don't read anything light."  When you look at the list above, he has a point.

So dear readers, here's a challenge for you:
Are there any "light reading" books that you would recommend to me?  Everything I've read in the past couple years are listed at my LT account, so you can check to see if your recommendation is already there.  But if it's truly light, it's probably not there. sigh

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Breed study - Scottish Blackface

It's taken me awhile to get to this post.  Partly because I've been busy and partly because of a lack of enthusiasm. 

My first encounter with Scottish Blackface sheep was on a trip to Scotland nearly 26 years ago when I was a new handspinner.  While watching a few lambs gambol about on the green, I asked their shepherd if their wool was good.  He replied, "Aye, for stuffing a mattress."  Thus was my introduction to Blackface wool (as always, click on any photo for big):

This is the mass of wool I started with in class.

I sorted the locks by length in order to see the variability.

This is a close up showing the different types of fiber found in a Blackface fleece.


I used a pet slicker comb to comb out the fibers and laid them out as you see here (above).
Below is the mass of fibers that were combed out of the locks above:


In an attempt to find the best use for this fiber, five different yarns were spun.
From left to right:
1. Yarn spun directly from the slicker combed fibers.
2. Yarn spun from the mass of combed waste.
3. 4 ply yarn spun from cut, combed fibers.
4. 2 ply yarn from cut, combed fibers.
5. 2 ply yarn spun from the fold of combed fibers.
Close up of yarn 1

Close up of yarn 2

Close up of yarn 3

Close up of yarn 4.

Close up of yarn 5.
All of the yarns are pretty stiff and scratchy.  I imagine this wool could be good for rugs and floor mats.  Of the kind of yarn crafts that I do, there isn't much use for this wool.  But then again, I may prejudiced by that "mattress stuffing" comment from long ago.