Friday, December 31, 2004
The holidays are a great time to visit old friends and family. They also present an opportunity to visit old creations. It is always nice to see that someone is still wearing or using an old scarf, mittens, socks or some other article that was knit up years ago. It is pleasing to know that the gift of years past is still "giving". Sometimes, I find myself looking at the item with fond recollection of moments spent working on it....you know...the type that summons up a season of the year, or the particular music one was listening to at the time the item was being created. Other times (I hate to admit) it is as though I had forgotten I had ever made it, just vaguely recalling it, not quite sure if the memory is even correct...somewhat like meeting someone who knows your name, and you know you have met them before because they look familiar, but you cannot remember where or when, or what their name is.
But either way, fond memory or no memory, it is always interesting to see how the object is holding up. Is the wool pilling? Any holes developing? Is the object holding its shape, or is it rolling or sagging in spots. What about the colors, are they fading? Did the garment shrink?....etc. etc. etc.
This Christmas while visiting with my mother I came across one of these types of issues that I had never seen before. A phenomenon that I like to refer to as the "dreaded locks". This apparently occurs when handspun singles are used to fringe a shawl. This shawl was my first creation on the triloom. I had purchased some beautiful red merino roving and then blended some of it with a dark lavender merino roving. I spun thick and thin singles and wove them on a 5 foot triangle loom. As a beginner, at the time all I was thinking about was color and texture. Structure and function never entered my mind, and I did not consider the fact that the singles would not hold up well as warp threads. They stretched and frayed somewhat, but I was able to compensate for this in the fulling process, so that when the shawl was finished, this did not show up. However, one thing I did not anticipate was how the fringe would behave with the passage of time, ergo, the "dread lock" effect. I believe their formation is caused when the singles slowly disentwine upon themselves and other singles, while twisting onto others. They become a braid like felted matted mass, clumping together in a random fashion and looking somewhat like dread locks. An novel design element, but not what I was going for.
In order to correct this oddity, I had no choice but to clip them off and brush the ends. Interestingly enough, this is also the only remedy for those who decide they no longer wish to wear dread locks in their hair. So, the scissors did the work, and my mother was pleased with the outcome.
So here we are at the end of another year. I am a sucker for those rhyming slogans you always hear tossed around on NY Eve. So far, I have heard "Come Alive in 2005", "We will strive in 2005", and my personal favorite, "Enjoy the ride in 2005". Naturally, I have my own versions of Fiber related slogans. "Double-drive in 2005" or "Navaho Plied in 2005" and finally, "Space Dyed in 2005". Happy New Year!
Friday, December 24, 2004
I know it is hard to see him from this picture, but there is a flying squirrel hiding behind the lantern. Not at all what I expected to come down my chimney! We had suspected that there was some critter scurrying around on the roof, or in the eves of the house...but this little guy really caused some commotion when he decided to drop in for a visit! We finally caught him and took him across the bridge to the other side of the river, just in case he decides he liked it here..hopefully he will not find his way home.
I have encountered flying squirrels many times around here. I was surprised to learn that they are endangered. I once had car trouble that turned out to be a flying squirrel living in my air filter! Since they are nocturnal, it would be asleep in my air filter while I drove around to work and grocery shopping etc. When I had trouble starting the car, I took it into the shop. They took the lid off the air filter and out ran Glaucomys sabrinus to everyone's surprise.
So, I can hang my stockings by the chimney with care, in hopes that Glaucomys sabrinus will NOT be there! Merry Christmas!
Saturday, December 18, 2004
World Affairs have found their way to the riverrim. Sometimes, when I walk down to the river and bask in the sights and sounds of the water flowing by, it is hard to imagine that there is a War going on. I am aware of the headlines. I listen to the news. But when I am standing on the edge of the river, and watching the water, the real world seems very far away. News came last week that brought the real world right into my backyard. The sons and daughters of some of my friends are going to be deployed for duty. Suddenly, the words of Service, Duty, Honor and Country take on a huge meaning.
My best friend's daughter will be leaving on Jan. 7th. She serves in the 228th Forward Support battalion. Her mother shared a story with me last week, and I found it to be very touching. It seems that her daughter went out shopping with 2 of her friends that will also be deployed. They were looking to purchase a lap top computer to take with them. They went to a Circut City and naturally, they were approached by a salesman who asked if they needed any assistance. They told the salesman what they were looking for, and joked about being shipped out to Iraq, asking if they could get a discount on the computers. The salesman asked his manager, who said the best he could do for them would be a rebate. After awhile, they made their selection, and a customer who had been standing nearby, told the salesman that he would be buying the laptops. He purchased all three of them. A random act of kindness. A blessing. It was something he could do, and wanted to do. An individual way to show support.
So, one persons act of support has inspired me to see what I can do. If anyone out there in blogosphere has any suggestions for links etc. feel free to email me with information that I can pass along.
There has not been to much time for fiber works lately. Most all of my projects are ready to be wrapped and I am looking forward to some nice cozy down time after the holidays to devote to new project ideas. There is a basket of Icelandic Wool sitting hearthside. It is carded up and ready to spin. I can hardly wait to get to it.
Big cold front moving into our area tonight...burrhhhrrrr! Extra flakes of hay for rabbits and chickens, and an extra blanket for every bed! Stay warm.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
or never say never again!
The spring of 2003 was the last time I had chicks in the house. I promised myself that I would not do this again, mainly because of the mess they make. Not so much the manure part, because that can be managed easily enough...no, what I object to is the dropping of the down feathers. This happens when the chicks are about 5 or 6 weeks old, and they begin to get their pin feathers. At this time the down feathers drop out and fly around the house like little milk weed seed on the breeze. There is a very fine white dust that accompanies this process, and it is something that I have noticed, but I don't know what it comes from. I think I probably don't want to know. That is why I said I would never raise chicks inside again. They belong outside.
However- Ed, the rabbit guy, had been over to the house around Halloween. He said he had a little banty hen that was sitting, but because he did not have a rooster, her efforts would be futile. I offered a few of my eggs, ones that I knew would most likely be fertile from my rooster. I had forgotten all about them, when one afternoon in November, my phone rang....and it was Ed, with a favor to ask. Turns out, he was getting ready to go on vacation and had no one to baby sit some chicks...the banty had hatched them out. She was only big enough to cover three of them, but she did the job.
So, now they are getting big and bad and rowdy. I am anxious for Ed to return and pick up his chicks. I saw one of his neighbors and asked him if Ed was home yet. He hung his head and said, "no...I have to water the rabbits." Ed owns over 100 rabbits. He raises them and butchers them to sell to the fancy French restaurants in NYC. I was glad that I only agreed to watch the chicks. Ed will return soon, no doubt he will be well rested and nicely tanned. I will be glad to send the chicks home.
Yesterday was the local Holiday Sale in town, and I shared a booth again. I sold about the same amount as last year, but this year, I sold more yarn than anything else. The trade was sparse, and I made a few good connections, and appointments for demonstrations of spinning and weaving. That is all that is new around the riverrim...we are expecting 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow, so I'm off to get the chickens and rabbits all ready for a snow day, and dust off the snow shovel.