Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mittension of Rovaniemi

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Actually, it was a fairly laid-back class; we were quiet because we were _busy_, thank you.

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Susanna Hansson is a good teacher and a fun and pleasant person, as well as one of the most astoundingly fluent non-native English-speakers I've ever encountered. I was happy that she has encountered and used correctly the fine word schlep, which my years at Brandeis taught me was best translated (when used as a noun) as 'A steamer trunk full of rocks.' She did have a good deal of stuff with her.

And though the room (rather harshly lit) was full of knitting teachers there was a familiar face who picked out a familiar colorway:

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I don't seem to knit as loose as I once did, as 000 needles turned out to be unnecessary and 1's were fine. I think either I am growing up or my drugs are perfectly balanced because I restarted once because I screwed up the first row and ruined the cast-on, at least once; then I learned I hope for the last time that if you're knitting in the _round_ you read the chart normally (like a typewriter, for you antiquaries) instead of boustrophedon;then I just plain read the chart wrong and skipped a color repeat: and yet I was not crazed or suicidal, or even the least complete in the class by the time we gave up and shopped, being at WEBS after all. I'd have a picture of my partial cuff but I pulled it out again this afternoon because I would really like to do it right. But I may try it again in sport instead of fingering and with a whole line of different colors because I managed to get the first and second and third pale greens mixed up.

One particular thing struck me: Susanna was discussing Saami weaving and one thing led to another and there I was talking about Women's Work, the First 20,00 Years,which some of you may recall my mentioning other times. Anyway, one of the WEBS employee-students went and fetched the four copies in the store and people bought three of them. My kind of fanatics.

Susanna and Lene will have a article in PieceWork this coming winter sometime and The Secret of the ColorChange Will Be Out. It will still be a lot easier to learn with kindly human tuition. I can't show you over lunch. It is really absorbing and those folk (you know, folk tradition) were awfully clever.

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Everyone picked colors that went with what she was wearing.

I behaved fairly well at WEBS except for the five skeins of sportweight alpaca... And I have almost finished my mom's second sock!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I am about to go to WEBS (slightly more than halfway down) and be out of my depth, but I am sure I will have a good time anyway.

Here is how I've been: As the week went on, I became more and more impatient with Being at Work. Usually it's just a dull throb but this week it became acute, until by Friday I wanted to snap "Oh, get a HOBBY! and stop talking about things I already know and just LET me ALONE so I can DO my JOB!" The boss is in one of his slightly manic moods where the forest is thick and he is concentrating on teeny little leaves, while complaing that we must make it through to the other side in the next ten minutes. It makes me anxious.

Down the hall, Saisquoi did her job in seraphic calm. It is a comfort when you know someone understands why you're making Igor "The-Marsther-ith-MAD! MAD, I tell you!" faces and full-body gestures all the way to the bathroom.

The weather decided to be strange. Along with peri-menopause and heat sensitivity from SSRIs and being fat, I hate high humidity. I hate all of these things and all of them are active in my life. So it was 65 degrees F (usually a well-enough behaved temperature, if not clammy)with about 90% humidity and my knees were sweating. This was toward the end of the week; it had been 90 F+ and broken records on Wednesday, not your dry heat either. It's better now; I am wearing wool socks for the first time since about March.

On Tuesday I had a pleasant but not very productive silver class. On Wednesday I had a fine time at lab, where we gave Dick an atlatl for his birthday because I was tired of listening to him try to explain how they work. The atlatl is the way most of the projectile points were are occasionally lucky enough to find were used to kill food
or in other parts of the ancient world, food. His wife won't let him hang it up over the mantelpiece with the little brackets made of dead deer-hooves. I can't really blame her.

Thursday they had promised the weather would break, but it did not. I went to tea at the home of friend's mother, and it could not have been nicer. The most English home I have seen in the New World, with (honestly) horse brasses and blue-and-white ware on the walls. And zucchini bread, which was a nice touch of inculturation (I suppose they might have zucchini bread in England, but I rather doubt it).

When I got home I found Effectively Blogless Sarah had, as she promised, come to visit. And tidied the whole downstairs. I kiss her feet. I said I would make us something to eat and she pulled the quiche out of the oven. Sarah is welcome to raid my stash anytime (which she has only done with encouragement, I hasten to add. As far as I know. The stash is such that quite a number of things might be disappeared before I notice. But don't get any ideas, I am going to do the Ravelry penance/inventory soon, I mean next week, I mean in mid-October...).

I have finished one of my mother's socks. Taking a class is hardly the same as starting another project, is it? I mean, I have no choice about the timing. Or buying supplies...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Kool-Aid is tasty

In particular, I finally Did Something with my Ravelry invitation (Jess told me I must have signed up for a beta tester several years ago. I have only the vaguest of memeories of doing so). Just ankle-deep, of course. I joined Facebook last week; it has been great for being in touch with my friends of the later generations. Like, I hear 40% of Facebook are over 35, but I haven't run into anyone my age. My father is 80 and possibly the oldest person on it; one of his friends invited him.

Both of these are addictive timesinks. At least Ravelry has the prospect of doing me some good; my stash is bigger than I am and some kind of fearless exploration would be a good thing. I wish there were some kind of book thing (any suggestions?) I could add to this blog; Facebook has an 'I'm Reading' app that ties into Amazon, which I would feel guiltier about if I were not one of their frequent flyers.

I forgot to mention I bought just a very small Icelandic fleece at Wool Day. Moorit. I would enjoy it just for the pulling-into tog and thel goodness.

Honestly, I will take some pictures soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pictures? Why would I have taken pictures?

A delightful note on boredom as an anthropological item.

I figure I am reasonably contented these days but the fact is I am reading way too much and the house has descended from barbarism through savagery and is dipping into chaos. One reason to find solace in Robin McKinley is that the space inside a book is tidy, and also not my problem.

Except that we are in a drought, the weather lately has had some perfect days. It managed to be pleasant for the Canterbury Shaker Village Wool Day, where Doug and I go and spin. This is a very small atypical wool festival, in that the demonstrators far outnumber the vendors, and the visitors often know _nothing_ ("Is that a spinning wheel? Do all spinning wheels look like that?").

I am finally beginning to recognize some of the people I don't know from blogging, like the woman whom I taught to spin four Wool Days ago. She would pop up and say "Hi! Remember me?" and I would gulp and say, "Um, no...." She managed to imprint on my adamantium skull at Spa and even though I couldn't recall her name I knew who she was. Hi, Pam! Maybe we'll get solid on your name next.

My parents came up from Boston and enjoyed the sheep. I dragged them the extra hundred yards to see Gina Gerhardt (whom I just Googled and ended up with my own blog entry (down a ways) as the top pick. Gina, your profile is TOO LOW)'s flax braking setup. I take spinning and even weaving pretty much for granted (unlike most of the visitors, which is why they are at Wool Day), but flax processing is rare. My parents were gracious enough to be actually interested, and Gina was gracious enough to let me play with her stuff and demo it for them. She was a hoot, actually, and yelled at me for not remembering _everything_ she had taught me a year ago. Since I failed to remember _her_ when I saw her at Fiber Revival (you would have thought the hank of flax on her wheel would have been a hint) this was particularly funny. (I do usually recognize my parents.)

I have roughly enough silver equipment to furnish a small craft fair, and no apparent time, no apparent space, and a tendency to freeze. I am taking a Keum-Boo on Argentium class and messing around in Keum-Boo with silver clay and it's _magic_.

I will post this and go to work and hope to update more soon. But this weekend, because I need another project, I am going to Northampton to visit the daughter and take the Rovaniemi Mittens workshop at Webs. Why, given that I have maybe 12 projects ongoing and am not that great a knitter in the first place? I blame the Harlot. Show me a lost art and I am anybody's. (Raider of the Lost Art...)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Art and fear and housework and !@#$% global warming

Finally, something to which I can find washing catfood cans preferable. I blame Sara Lamb for starting me down the silver clay road to ruin. Sending me back to hang with the vicious, friendly, vegetarian bead store owner, who happened to have classes... chainlink jewelry with beads. Doug, my so-called friend, dragging me with him to a wirework class (at the Fiber Studio! Even in a warm fuzzy place full of fiber, the sultry gleam of brass and copper and silver. Carol is giving another class there Nov. 11). There are books on enamelling out there and I already have a small kiln.

Sadly, as the equipment and materials and books piles rise, so does my apprehension. I know, this is neurotic. But I really needed to clean the kitchen up last night, and I am really happy I did, and I still managed to go play a bit. I am making a cross for my ex (I know, the ex has me, who needs another cross?), whose birthday is Monday. I want it to be nice. The design options are vague: no stones. "Make it look maybe like a tree." What, it's a cross, and it's teeny, and it's silver. And I am not rich in technique or experience. I am trying a couple of things involving carving a Sculpey mold. As always the work was not nearly so intimidating as the anticipation. It may not be what the ex wants, but it will be small enough to put in a drawer if necessary. And I _will_ finish the tea cosy by Christmas.

Imagine how hard it would be to start if I were an industrial-size metal sculptor.

Meanwhile, we are having a drought. Two months and counting since there was any significant rain. I top up the frog ponds from the well, wondering how the aquifer is holding out. NPR woke me up with a cheery tale from the BBC about rising sea-levels in Bangla Desh leading to refugees in Assam. Assam is where the tea I like best comes from. AND the human suffering, yes. As good as the wakeup last week about the Huichol being done out of their peyote by drug tourists (one of whom didn't sound completely evil, either).

On the plus side: the mozzerella recipe from the Kingsolver website works, if you have a source for rennet (Sarah, in my case). With tomatoes from the farmers' market and olive oil from the daughter's sojourn in Italy on the homemade bread. Yum. I nearly want to eat more healthy.

The hummingbirds left after Labor Day. They were insane, and like Etherknitter, I miss them. I would not have believed how noisy they are.

Reading: Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum, not the stuff with cars, and not for the first time; brain candy), The First Fossil Hunters(brain whole-wheat bread).