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Lovely things

Indoor springtime! I decided I wanted to start seeds successfully this year, and after investigating all the options, I decided to purchase the fancy shelf unit from Gardener’s Supply. I went kind of crazy ordering seeds during a snowstorm (there’s no way I can fit seven kinds of heirloom tomatoes into my three raised beds, but so pretty). I finally got the shelves put together. They are very sturdy, and went together nicely.

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There is light! It’s too early to start tomatoes, but maybe some herbs or flowers? I need to sort through the seeds and see what I can start when. It helps to distract me from the bitter, bitter cold.

The cold has been less trouble than it might have been, because a Lovely Friend (who may choose whether or not to take credit) sent us beautiful and comforting knitwear. Aren’t these Laurel mitts just lovely? I’ve been wearing them just about nonstop for the past few days.

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Lovely Friend also sent something for Thorvaaldr, who is just as enthusiastic but has spent fewer hours wearing his present.

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I’ve been knitting myself, on more things to dress Eugene rather than anything fancy or elaborate. Still, pretty and warm.

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The article about us dressing Eugene was passed on to the sculptor and the donors, and all were thrilled. Such fun! And a good thing as well.

Sale!

Interweave has a bunch of stuff on sale for President’s Day, including the Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory at $5.

I’ve had an e-copy for a while (weaving patterns on the iPad; very convenient), but jumped at the chance to complement it with a physical copy. I bought two; one will show up in the FFF silent auction, I expect.

Sticks and string

In the distant future: I just submitted four class proposals for the PA Fiber ArtsFest in September. I taught at the first one two years ago, and was on the schedule for last year but had to cancel for health reasons. I hope they let me come back; I haven’t been teaching nearly enough.

      Proposal 1: Card Weaving for Anyone (Half-day)
      Proposal 2: Fingerloop Braiding (Half-day)
      Proposal 3: Ply-split Braiding (Half-day)
      Proposal 4: Sticks and String: Weaving with Minimal Equipment (Half-day)

That last is a new one. I’ve written about it here before but not taught it hands-on. But I just got the wonderful new book Norwegian Pick-up Bandweaving by Heather Torgenrud, and it has reignited my enthusiasm for that particular textile technique, including my desire to do it with the least possible equipment.

See, everything you really need to weave these bands is available at an office supply store: a box of unsharpened pencils, a package of rubber bands, a ball of twine, and two bulldog clips. I’m still working on the best low-equipment warping method, but I have time to figure that out.

I’ve started a new Flickr album for band photos, though there isn’t much there yet.

One of my great enthusiasms is getting people interested in weaving without forcing them to purchase complicated expensive equipment. Another is the way skill of hands and equipment complexity can be interchanged. And look: they overlap right here, in pick-up band weaving. Perfect!

String books!

This has been languishing in my to-post pile, but that’s unhelpful, because you all NEED TO KNOW (no, really) that many of Penelope Walton Roger’s books on Viking, Anglo-Viking and Anglo-Saxon textiles are available free online, including the one that is so hard to find that even I din’t have a copy.

Go forth and download!

Yarnbombing and manuscripts

I have an enormous backlog of links and neat things, but wanted to get a couple of them out quickly.

The knitting group I’ve been a member of for some years has been engaged in a charity yarn-bombing project, and this has been noticed. Fun!

I’m taking a free online course thru Stanford University called “Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts.” It’s on week three, but you can still sign up. I just did, and blew through the first three weeks in an afternoon. Fascinating stuff! I haven’t hit much new to me yet, but I like getting to hear and see the experts talk about and handle the books.

Warm woolies

I’ve belonged to the knitting group at Schlow Public Library since its formation five or six years ago. We’ve always done a little bit of knit/crochet to give away – afgans, mostly, and some of our members do other things.

This winter I proposed yarn-bombing Downtown Eugene Brown, the statue outside the library and the CATA bus office, and the crocheting Sarah quickly chimed in with an even better idea: charity yarn-bombing! We’re knitting cold-weather gear and dressing Eugene with scarves and such bearing tags that say “Cold? Take me! – the Schlow Knitters.” The first scarf went to someone who even thanked the library for it, and I took another batch down today.

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A lot of the chitchat about this project has taken place on twitter (where else can you talk to a library and a statue about warm woolies?), so let me share with you today’s conversation.


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@phiala: Doesn’t @DTEugeneBrown look toasty in his new scarves and mitts? @schlowlibrary

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@schlowlibrary: BIG THANKS to the #KnittingClub!

@DTEugeneBrown: Thank you, @phiala & @schlowlibrary knitters! You’ve warmed me all the way to my toes. #yarnbomb #RandomActsOfKindness

@phiala: @DTEugeneBrown I hope you and a few other people are toastier. We will try to keep them coming. @schlowlibrary

@DTEugeneBrown: #ManOfBronze will be here waiting! @phiala @schlowlibrary @CATABUS

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@schlowlibrary: #SchlowKnitters #StrategicKnitwear has all found new homes as of 4pm today. :) #RandomActsOfKindness @phiala @DTEugeneBrown


So much fun! There are more things on the way; I’ll keep a tally (so far 3 scarves and a pair of mitts) and keep you posted.


Edited to add (in the interest of keeping all of this in one place):

Eugene is standing at one of the main bus transfer points, waiting for a bus. This is not only next to Schlow Library, but in front of the main CATA office. Not only have we gotten a nice thank-you email from the CATA PR manager, they also popped up on twitter.

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@CATABUS: Thank you, @phiala & @schlowlibrary Knitters, for your kindness! You are absolutely wonderful!

Wonderful things

Such things!

The Eddic Poem of the Vikinges Who Do Go Berserk

Oon Vikinge, al aloon
Carveth a bynde-rune on a bone.

Two Vikinges heed the calle
And steer their longshippes to hys halle.


God-night, Rune“: An Old English Translation
Cassandra Rasmussen

Goodnight, Rune. Goodnight, Stone.
Goodnight to the sleeping king, laid alone.

Goodnight goblets, and golden plates,
Wondrous workmanship, wrecked by the Fates.


The Cat in the Hwæt“: An Old English Seuss Translation
Cassandra Rasmussen

Hark! We have heard tales sung of the great storm,
And the raindrops that fell like cold, wet spears,
how they smothered the unshining sun!


And best!

Gloria the Cow

A cow in a Christmas sweater! Gloria was decked out for a charity fundraiser. There’s an interview there with the knitter responsible.

Doing what we do

This essay by Sara Lamb resonated with me:

I told her I love textiles, I wish more people did, and wish more people understood what makes a good textile, what makes good technique, and in support of that, I am willing to share what I know. I know a very small portion of the textile world, but I know my part very well! It’s likely what keeps me writing this blog, that desire to expand our base of spinners, dyers and weavers. That, and the wonderful feedback I get from readers!

Yes! And for me, the desire to learn new things and share my knowledge. I try to always be coming up with new ways to teach, and new ideas to cover. FFF was a few weeks ago, and as I often do, I tried out something new and experimental: how to analyze and chart a tablet-woven band from an already-woven band or from a photo. Some of that process is intuition and experience, and some of it follows a systematic process that can be taught. At least, my students seemed to get the idea.

I’m also disturbingly happy to teach a class on something I don’t know that well, because I’m confident in my ability to figure it out beforehand, and to keep ahead with my students, and in my general teaching skills. (I probably shouldn’t admit this, should I.) You want a three-day class on something I haven’t done in four or five years? No problem!

But that gets more knowledge out there, more textile goodness, more people who’ve at least tried these obscure techniques. My great joy, you all know, is obscure fiber arts that use minimal equipment. Tablet weaving is sort of vaguely well-known, and ply-split is becoming more available, but there’s very little on sprang beyond what Carol James is doing, and some of the other odd techniques are mostly in technical publications rather than popular ones (fingerloop braiding, fr’ex).

Teaching is how the knowledge and the enthusiasm are spread, that hands-on face-to-face transmission of fiber arts. If you think about it, we’re carrying on something that’s been happening for millenia in not too different a fashion. Our skills aren’t the necessity they once were (but just you wait until after the apocalyptic crash of civilization!), but they still satisfy some need for many of us. The gathering to learn and to teach is part of that satisfaction.

Though if I had the time, I’d be writing popular books on everything Peter Collingwood ever wrote about, except rug weaving.

Still alive

If just barely for a bit. But home, recovering, starting to think about fiber arts again.

Prompted by this, in part, courtesy of a group of fabulous friends.

qiviut

What to do with two skeins of qiviut? (And science qiviut too, from the Large Animal Research Station!). Something wonderful, a lace scarf almost certainly, just as soon as I figure out what. My urge to make something incredibly complicated is at war with my realization that I’m not really up to complicated yet. Meanwhile I’ll just pet it. A lot.

I also have some lovely Habu weaving yarn from another friend, but I’m too lazy to go get it so I can take its picture. (What? You think I was joking about petting the qiviut?) And I need to do a bit of weaving before my FFF class

But one thing at a time, and right now I’m trying to close some tabs.

Vikings in Ireland, a series of videos produced by the National Museum of Ireland.

Christina Petty has prepared a thesis on warp-weighted looms for the University of Manchester: “Warp Weighted Looms: Then and Now Anglo-Saxon and Viking Archaeological Evidence and Modern Practitioners.”

How to Be a Hedgehog“, according to manuscripts in the British Library. You MUST watch the video.

Trygvi is taking his role as Supervisor of Recuperation and Snuggling very seriously.

Trygvi

Free Norse clothing book

Via Katrin Kania:

Aarhus University Press is doing a free ebook of the month series, it seems, and this month’s book is Medieval Garments Reconstructed: Norse Clothing Patterns by Lilli Fransen, Anna Nørgård and Else Østergård.