Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Still on the loom!

Still on the loom!  That is the only sad report I can give on the progress of the denim coasters.  Sad and a bit embarrassing.  I have had no motivation to work consistently on these.  Three sets have been woven so enough warp for 5 or 6 coasters remains.  I decided to add a fat plied yarn to the last 2 sets just to vary the weaving.

This also gave me an excuse to ply 6 strands of bronze colored rayon chenille into a nice thick yarn.  I now hope to get two sets of coasters with this chenille alternating with the denim strips.  This should be a nice pop with this particular warp of blue, brown and bronze.

The socks that could never be finished are finally finished!  Honestly, I have forgotten when I started these but I have been knitting them forever.  The second sock took an especially long time.  I'm surprised that they match and that the first one hasn't faded while waiting in the knitting basket!

I started this new pair the very next evening.  I love the feel of these already.  I am using a 3 ply yarn that I made from 3 cones of yarn I found at a garage sale years ago - I believe it's acrylic, which is usually not my first choice, but I love the weight of the plied product, a little heavier than standard sock yarn and the knitted rib top has a nice hefty feel.  I guess it is an experiment to see how this yarn performs as a sock.  We'll see. 

I am considering my next project carefully, scouring magazines and books for inspiration,  I want to do a pattern that I haven't done before or adapt one I love to a new use. Celia set me on this quest when she suggested that I should weave something totally different!  Change is good. Celia will recognize this mantra - she evidently will use it to influence me now!

So, all right  . . . . . .   Change is good!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mini Collection #2

I had so much fun making these brooches from all the little bits of yarn left in my stash.  All those odds and ends of pretty little leftovers that you can't bear to let go.  Heaven forbid that you would throw any scrap of yarn away! They all speak to me of past projects. Some even have the added bonus of a vintage button tucked into the center. Each one is a little individual piece of fiber work to be enjoyed on it's own.  

But after taking the photos for their blog appearance I find that I love them all together.  As a group, they make a strong visual statement.  I think this would make a charming framed collection and a fun accent in any room.  Here is the link for this collection in my Etsy shop.

Think spring.  Maybe if we all concentrate we can conjure up warm sunshine, spring showers and before you know it  .  .   .  . spring flowers! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Books,books and more books . . . . .

I have been reading some unusual book choices this winter based on suggestions from my family.  I liked all of these very different books for very different reasons. Getting recommendations from trusted sources has led me to books that I might never have chosen on my own.   So for the new year I started out with two big commitments.

First I read 1776 by David McCullough on the recommendation of my son, Joseph.  He had recently finished it, really liked it and left his copy at our house.  I started it shortly after Xmas.  As you would guess it is about the Revolutionary War.  Coming to this meticulously researched book with only a high school history based knowledge of the subject, this was fascinating.  The campaigns and battles were brought to life by the descriptive details of the locations and the American and British officers.  The descriptions of the conditions endured by the soldiers were heartrending and the quotes from their letters to families were touching.

It was a slow read for me because there was so much to absorb.  But it was worth the time and the effort. A good read.

At the same time, I read Cloudsplitter by Russell Baker, recommended by husband, Patrick.  This book of historical fiction was an account of the religious fanatic, John Brown, abolitionist and ultimately terrorist, told in the voice of one of his surviving sons, Owen Brown.  An historically fascinating but sad account of how one man's obsession, though well intended, destroyed his whole family. An excellent read. 

I just finished Flight Behaviors by Barbara Kingsolver, recommended by daughter, Celia. She gave this a 5 out of 5 star rating and Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors.  So it was a no brainer choice!  Very good read - climate change, monarch butterfly migration, love, loss, sexy scientist, and ultimately a coming of age story about a likable main character, Dellarobia Turnbull.  Read it!

To the mix I added Of Human Bondage by William S Maugham.  Looking for a next book to read I asked Patrick for suggestions and he tossed this out, I'm not sure why.  It is one of those classics that I have always meant to read so it seemed about time to do it!

Wow!  I loved it.  It had all the old English charm of Dickens, the strict class divides, wealth, poverty, privilege, and great contrasts.  But it was again a wonderful coming of age story about Philip Carey, a timeless tale of his journey to maturity and an appreciation of what life can be.  Beautiful, moving - an excellent read.

I have moved on to some choices of my own, The End of Faith by Sam Harris about the clash between religion and reason in the modern world.  This has been on my list for a long time.

I am also rereading The Middle of Everywhere by Mary Pipher about connecting with the newest members of American society - refugees, written from her volunteer experiences in Lincoln, NE.

And most recently, Patrick and I are both reading Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, an explanation of why modern wheat causes so many health problems and the science behind it.  Patrick has just found that he is wheat sensitive so we are redesigning our diet to be gluten free.  We may need the companion cookbook!

There is never enough time to read all the wonderful books on my list but if you have suggestions, please pass them along - a reading list can never be too long or too varied.

Read on . . . . . . .