Thursday, November 29, 2007

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation

Knitting baby pants. I am So. Sick. of lime green, purple, lavender and blue. I am almost finished with the first leg. I held it up to Len last night and asked what he thought the chances are of a one legged baby. He thought slim to none and that I had best NOT ask the sure-to-be-insane-with-hormones mother. She has a sense of humor, but some things you just don't joke about. I could just quit, but I'm much too close.

Beading a birthday present for my step-mother (whose birthday was last week). It turns out, beading pinecones with brass wire is not so obvious.

Making Christmas cards. Don't ask.

A little bit of weaving. I got close to the end of threading the heddles and discovered that some idiot had checked to make sure there were enough on the first harness, but didn't check the second harness (these two use about double the number of heddles that 3 and 4 use). I had to make about 20 temporary ones, I hate that. So now, I just need to tie up the harnesses and I'm ready to go.

Color Gamp Warp

And taking a lot of pictures. I was rather amazed to discover I'd taken 179, many of which are the same shot with different settings (I think I took about 6 or 7 of the above picture). Very good practice. Here is one of my favorites:

Still Life with Walnut

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Greetings


From the Land of Dial-up. Life is slower out here...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Simon and the Fireplace

Len was trying to clean our chimney yesterday. Simon had concerns.

Simon & the Fireplace

Something is Happening


The Dale of Norway baby sweater is done!

Dale Baby Sweater

Sorry for the crummy picture, my flash blew it out (the detailed pictures are better). Nothing has fallen apart yet, but I can't help but feel it is only a matter of time.


I'm especially concerned about the shoulders. The machine stitching seemed weakest there, and because the yarn is superwash, it won't felt together. I could point out other little mistakes, but what's the point? I'll be the only one who notices and overall I'm happy with how it came out.

Tiny Cuff and Facing

I love how the colors came together, and I'm very glad I decided to use the lavender for the collar, cuffs and facings. It keeps it from being overwhelmed by any of the other colors, and it's feminine without being nauseating.


When I visited my mom several weeks ago, we went to an antique shop in Saugatuck, where I bought a bag of assorted white buttons. I picked through them to find these three, which match each other reasonably well, and I can't really imagine any other buttons working so nicely.

Pretty Angle

I'm working on the little pants to go with this. I've got about an inch to go before I need to make a decision about the crotch area. I don't like the way it looks in the picture (click on it to make it larger), and I'm thinking it could benefit from some kind of gusset. Another possibility might be to knit everything from the crotch down flat and add snaps for easy removal in a diaper emergency. I may not have any kids of my own, but I have changed enough diapers in my time to know that easy access is one key happy outings. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Some Weaving Family History

I don't have much to say. I've started the finishing process on the baby sweater, which is to say, I've laid into the poor thing with scissors. Totally planned, but still. I am not taking pictures of the process because. Well, I'll just say it: I'm terrified and I don't want pictures to remind me, in case it all falls apart. I've done this before, on a much bigger sweater, but I can't help but feel that was beginner's luck and sticky yarn.*

While I was at my parent's house on Saturday, my dad gave me some slides to scan. I'm not sure if I've said this before, but when my grandparents retired, they moved back to Stevensville, Montana (where grandpa was born) and took up weaving. My grandpa wove Navajo-style (it was an important distinction to him that since he was not Navajo, he did not weave Navajo rugs, but Navajo style rugs). When I was at their house on Saturday, my dad received a box of my grandparents' stuff from one of his sisters, in it was a set of slides mostly of my grandpa's weaving.
The quality of the slides isn't great, they're from 1982 and who knows where they've been stored, but you get the idea. This seems to have been for some kind of show: the orange bit at the top left corner has his name and town on it. The clip board on the bottom left has his pattern notes, which is only a little more visible when the picture is larger.
I love this piece. I'm having trouble deciding which of my grandparents wove this. It looks like something my grandma could have done on her loom, but there is one tiny clue that it may have been done on the tapestry loom. In the upper left corner there is a little bit of thread, which looks like the way my grandpa's rugs were tied off. I don't know.
And here is my grandma, looking none too excited to have her picture taken. I've said this before, but I wish very much I could convey to them how grateful I am for this legacy they have left me. My grandma, especially, didn't believe in an afterlife, so I really don't think she's looking down and watching me. If there is an afterlife, I hope she has better things to do. Pinochle, maybe.

*Update: Since writing the above, I have both sleeves sewn in and the collar started. Nothing has fallen apart. Yet.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Something Strange Blooming

It hasn't been atypically warm this Fall. Lows in the mid-30s, highs in the mid-40s, windy and cloudy, not particularly wet. So why this?


I took this picture on Saturday! In Ann Arbor. Pretty, but very strange.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Favorite Movie

I wasn't planning on posting today, but I wanted to point out that Pajiba (which has great movie reviews) posted a review of one of my favorite movies, Lone Star, directed by the great John Sayles. Read the review. Then rent the movie. Or buy it, because you'll want to see it again. Or a dozen times.

Also, Len and I have had proof that we are indeed middle aged: One of his favorite bands, the Meat Puppets (they're like punk alt-country), played for the first time in ten or more years on Tuesday at the Blind Pig. We didn't go because it was a Tuesday night and there was no way they would be going on before midnight which would put us home at some ungodly hour. On the other hand, we are going to see our favorite NPR/PRI host, Kai Ryssdal (of Marketplace) host a panel discussion on sustainable consumerism. We are both very excited. Because we are nerds. I mean one doesn't really have anything to do with the other, but they struck me as a funny juxtaposition. It isn't weird to want to stalk Kai Ryssdal, is it?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Home #9

I stopped to take some pictures on my way to work today -- one of the less fun things about the time change is that it is now too dark to take pictures on my way home, which means being late. Obviously, I could leave a little earlier, but, let's face it, that isn't going to happen. The yellow tree picture would have benefited from a tripod, at this size it is fine, but it's kind of fuzzy in larger incarnations.

Yellow Tree
Yellow Tree

Sunrise on Norvell
Sunrise on Norvell

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tagged Again!

So instead of punching me in the eye, my dear friend Stef tagged me with another meme (which, of course, means she does not get to hit me). This one is hard, seven things I haven't previously disclosed on the blog (and which I actually would want to disclose). I'll see what I can come up with:

1. My grandfather (my father's father) was a professional photographer.

He first worked for the Portland Museum of Art, and during WWII he worked at the Portland Shipyard, for Kaiser Motors (which was sold to AMC in 1970). Kaiser transferred him to Michigan after the war and he retired from AMC in 1974 (??) Some, or all, of their family vacations were centered around taking vehicles out to places like the Grand Tetons or Badlands to take advertising pictures. Thus my grandmother, father and his sisters appear in some Kaiser Motor print advertising. I'm very proud of this legacy.

2. My grandfather's reason for working at the Portland shipyard was to gain some extra points and avoid being drafted. My father went to college (at the University Michigan), got married, and had me and thus avoided being drafted for Vietnam. I'm very pleased to have helped. (My mother's father, on the other hand, was a doctor in the armed services during WWII. I'm not sure whether he served overseas, but I think he did. He died of ALS when my mom was 5.)

3. I majored in history at the University of Michigan. My two favorite classes were a class on the Vietnam war and a class called "The Social Experience of 20th Century American Wars". Because it is a tiny little world, one of Len's sisters took a version of the second class at Eastern Michigan University from the same instructor, Tom Collier, and because he was such a great teacher, she loved that class, too. I still have the same fascination about the experience of war -- not the guns or troop movements, but the experience of those fighting, those left behind, and those of us watching from the sidelines.

4. My parents divorced when I was 8. My brother Ken (who is a little older) and I were raised by my dad (my younger brother and sister went with my mother -- no, I won't say why -- who then had my youngest sister Sarah). He raised me on lesbian-feminist music, e.g. Cris Williamson, Meg Christian and Margie Adam, as well as Holly Near and Joan Baez. I didn't lack for the influence of women in my life, but I never learned to wear lipstick.

5. I lived with my mother for a couple of years, while she was attending seminary and acting as part time pastor of the White Pigeon United Methodist Church. It was. Interesting. My mom was the first female pastor, and there were people who quit because of it. I was the church secretary for a time. I could say a great deal about that time, but I'll stick with this: one of the lessons I learned was that even when people are individually very kind, as a group, they may still be very cruel. That church had many kind, loving people but it was not a nice place to be.

6. I have to borrow one of Stef's: After high school, I spent a year in France (kind of a miserable experience, to be honest). I came back fairly fluent in French and considered majoring in the language. Now, while I can understand some written French, I can't speak a lick of it or understand it when it is spoken.

7. And. I worked at Kinko's while in college. This was great training for office work because to this day, I am not afraid of copiers. Jammed? Out of paper? No problem! The store where I worked was across from the law school. My friend Stef notwithstanding, they were some of the dumbest people I've ever met.

There you go. 7 things you may or may not have known about me. I'm not going to tag anyone specifically. I think there are some people who read this blog regularly who I don't know (either through comments or in person) -- if you would like to try this, please tell me, so I can get to know you!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Weaving Happened

If by weaving you mean the entire process, rather than the simple act of throwing a shuttle back and forth, I got a little weaving done. Not a lot, but even a little is progress:


After 1.5 hours

After about one and half hours. Well. It's something.

In other news: I finished 2 hats and 2 scarves for the Euchre tournament, and I failed to take pictures (which is really too bad, the hat that went with the RYC scarf turned out nicely). I have also finished the second sleeve for the baby sweater. I will block tonight and begin the finishing as soon as it is dry. I've started the little pants to go with the sweater -- I'm thinking that, since I'm adding a fourth color, that I'm going to work the legs out so the stripes don't quite match.

Sarah's Book Meme

It seems that the love of books is genetic, 'cos if this isn't proof that Sarah and I are related, I don't know what is:

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?

I’m definitely a paperback person: 1) they are much lighter; 2) they are much cheaper; 3) when I read in bed my arms don’t get tired (goes along with reason #1, I guess).

2. If I were to own a book shop, I would call it…

Ye Olde Book Shoppe. Just kidding—my favorite bookstore is Kramer’s in Washington D.C., so instead of owning a bookstore, I’d probably just go live in that one.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…

Wow, this is a tough one. I’m very frequently struck by language in books*, but I can never, ever remember the quotes exactly or even where they come from. I guess I’m more of a nuance gal. I’m better at remembering poignant song lyrics, such as "Rollin’ On" by Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler:

It’s hard sometimes
but pretty much it’s alright

And of course, Paul Simon’s "Graceland":

And losing love is like a window to your heart;
Everybody sees you’re blown apart, everybody feels the wind blow

*especially in The Country Life by Rachel Cusk (I’m taking this asterisking thing directly from Lee…)

4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…

Charles Baxter is near the top, along with Madeleine St. John, aforementioned Rachel Cusk, Nick Hornby, Mark Haddon…can I have a luncheon party vs. one-on-one?

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…

I need something that will make my husband understand the amount of money I spend on books. There is something completely satisfying in the ownership of books vs. getting them out of the library. I’ve just reread a couple of my favorites and I didn’t even have to leave the comfort of my own home to obtain them.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…

An old boyfriend of mine had something about rifling through the pages of books and smelling them; when we were together I started doing it too. He’s long gone, but the practice lives on and I still think of him once in a while when I smell books.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be:

Nicola Barker from The Essence of the Thing by Madeleine St.John. I read this book when I was going through a break-up (hmmm, seems like old boyfriends and books are becoming a common theme to this meme…) and I really and honestly took a lot of strength from the character of Nicola.

9. The most overestimated book of all times is…

The Poisonwood Bible. With.Out.A.Doubt.

10. I hate it when a book…

I hate it when a book starts out making you think it’s good, but then devolves into boring mash (Possesion, A.S. Byatt comes to mind.

10a. I love it when a book…

I LOVE it when a book puts me through the emotional paces, whether it be crying or laughing out loud. Not that I love crying, and it doesn’t happen that often, but when it does, it’s great. Also pertinent to movies: like at the end of The Pursuit of Happyness when Will Smith is told he’s got the job, his reaction is what I’m talking about. Laughing out loud is just as great—make sure you read Motherless Brooklyn for this!

I used to belong to a book club several years back and got to trust the leader implicitly in her suggestions, which invariably turned out well (we actually did read The Interpreter of Maladies before it won the Pulitzer). After I moved away, I was at sea, so I started reading award winners. I figured that people much smarter than I have their heads on straight. I really like this method of guiding my reading, especially since I read equally from smaller awards as from larger ones (to be fair, however, I find myself drawn most to Booker Prize finalists/winners). If anyone thinks there’s a book I should be reading, please let me know!

Thanks, Lee, for the forum of discussion!