Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

19 May 2006

Knitted Lace in Spring

Let's start out with the sweet (scented) rocket, also known as Dame's Rocket, Hesperis matronalis. These grew in the tiny garden of our very first house in Grand Rapids. I brought seeds from those plants and established them near this house. Most of them were white-flowered. This is one of the occasional lavendar ones. They bloom in a darker purple, too, but I don't have any of those.

I love the smell of rocket, a sort-of sweet clove scent. The hummingbird hawk-moths, a species of day-flying moths, like sweet rocket, too.

I only got a bit more lace knitted yesterday, a pattern I made up on knitting graph paper as I went along.

I spent some time picking out the weft I had woven on my tapestry loom. Today I will probably take off the warp. I plan to use up the pieces of wool from the loom in my gray Pi. Part of the warp was black Shetland wool, and two stripes were green, so those will get knitted into there, too.

The other thing I did yesterday while I was un-weaving (and thinking about Penelope) was try to get pictures of the birds in the yew bush outside the window where I was working.

First a brown thrasher was hopping around in the bush, right outside the glass, so close I could literally have touched him if the glass and window-screen hadn't been in the way!

Tuesday a pair of thrashers started a nest in the rosebush by the birdfeeder. I was relieved when they gave up this nesting site and started building in a juniper outside the fenced yard, as I had uneasy visions of baby thrashers being chomped by dogs, or dogs getting pecked by long, curved thrasher beaks! The scientific name of the thrasher, Toxostoma rufum, refers to that bow-shaped beak and the thrasher's reddish-brown color.

Both the wikipedia entry and some of my bird guides claim thrashers are shy. They're related to catbirds and other mockingbirds. Maybe it is just that I have been eyed suspiciously through a window by yellow thrasher eyes too many times, but I don't think of them as shy. Cautious, certainly, but shy? Naaaahhhhh.

(This rosebush is one of those "climbing" roses, and forms an untidy heap of sharp-thorned canes. Years ago, a pair of thrashers did nest successfully in it, and birds take cover in the bush all winter. I keep it pruned to a big thorny dome-shape mostly for the sake of the birds.)

Next, a male rose-breasted grosbeak landed in the same yew bush, in nearly the same spot. I think they might have been seeing their reflection, but neither the thrasher nor the grosbeak attacked the window.

Time after time, I reached for the camera, but by the time its little digital brain had woken up, the birds had either flown, or hopped where I couldn't get a good shot. I got a couple of pictures of the thrasher on the ground, only to find that thrasher feathers blend almost perfectly with dead leaves!

At least they entertained me while I worked. :)

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