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.)

07 July 2008

Lazy Summer Blogging

Aside from getting owls' dinners dropped on me, I've been doing and seeing and thinking about things I mean to blog about, and then thinking, "Oh, but I should do X post first."

Good old perfectionism. And if I wait to post about X first, I'll never get to Y or Z or back to A again, so I figured I better do a random, jumbled-up post and clear some of this stuff out of my brain.

Yesterday I went to the Lake Michigan beach with my husband and our son. There was no wind! This is very unusual. We almost always (I would have said always, but not yesterday!) have a lake breeze, generally onshore most of the day, then offshore at night.

With no wind, the water was flat and calm. The child waded in the freezing-cold stream, then when he went into the lake, it felt warm, so he immersed himself. I walked up and down on the sand and picked up stones.These days I try to limit myself to small coin-size stones, otherwise my house would be avalanched. The ones in the dish are mainly crinoid fossils.

When I pick them up, I think how different Michigan is now compared to the Paleozoic Era when the crinoids lived in the Michigan basin. It's strange to think about Michigan being tropical and growing corals. But the rocks say they were here. And there were lots and lots of them, because even with the centuries of waves grinding their fossils down, here their remains still are in my dish.

While we were at Origins, I finally braided the second drawstring for the first Valdani bag. That meant I was allowed to start a second one.

The thread is Valdani size 8 pearl cotton in M60 "Mountain Hike", described as "plums, grays, khaki, tan". I would say deep purple, gold, and a steely blue-gray. I started knitting the bottom on Dritz 1.1mm doll needles, and now I'm needling-up to Inox 4-0 1.25mm needles.

On our way home from Origins, we visited a friend in Ohio and dropped off various of my husband's meads, including a 15-year-old orange melomel (mead made with orange juice). My husband was told, "This is good. You need to make more 15-year-old mead. Start now."

So this is a photo of 15-year-old orange melomel, at T-minus 14 years and 364 days and counting:
This is also a good example of why he doesn't put the airlock on the top in the first enthusiastic days of fermentation. The plastic baggie keeps the fruit flies out, lets the carbon dioxide out, and keeps the sticky spewing orange juice and honey spray under control.

You can't really see it in this photo, but the carboy is sitting on a big deep cookie sheet to catch what's dribbling down the side. Within a week or so, things will settle down and it will be safe to put the bubbler on the top without worrying about it clogging and blowing off.

He has both of the bubbler/airlock types to the left. They serve the same purpose as the plastic bag, keeping fruit flies and other airborne contaminants out, while letting out the carbon dioxide that the yeast is blowing off.

Summer birds
Brown thrasher, Toxostoma rufum and male ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris.

The thrasher was sitting on a branch in the early-morning sunshine, calling and preening himself. Thrashers are mockingbirds, so he was doing local birdcalls, each one repeated twice. I found it very funny to hear him doing a chickadee's call, since he's a great big reddish-brown bird and the chickadees are so little.

I might be doing some netting. I've been reading through and trying to learn some of the decorative netting patterns from things like The Ladies' Work-Table Book and The Young Ladies' Journal Complete Guide to the Work-Table.

Anyway, I started filling my steel netting needle with gray pearl cotton. I have no idea where this is going. But when I find out, the netting needle will be ready.

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Blogger Donna Lee said...

15 years? Like in you have to wait 15 years to drink it? Do you ever forget that it's there? We tried to make mead once and it was a bust. Maybe we didn't wait long enough.

1:19 PM  
Blogger amy said...

Those rock fossils are beautiful. Just beautiful. They look so smooth.

I keep telling Chris he should take up brewing beer. I think he should have a hobby, too, one that he can do at odd times (he has a classic car, but doesn't really manage to find much time for it). Plus, we both like beer. What's to lose?

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Orange. Mead. I WANT SOME! Also, I love the swirly pattern on the bottom of that bag you're making, very cool.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

As always, you scare me. Why haven't you gone blind yet, working in those gauges? I would be.

If your hub doesn't have a mead blog, would you consider sharing more information about it, here? I've always wanted to try home brewing but don't have the first idea where to start.

6:59 PM  
Blogger Roxie said...

Netting? Now There's a survival skill! Eager to see what you produce.

Beautiful rocks. So hard to leave those pretties just sitting there, isn't it?

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Rita said...

Now you've done it! You mentioned two wonderful books and now I want to go look through them again and choose something to net. Before I can do that though I have a meeting to attend, and need to finish knit 2 sweaters, a net doily, a couple of net bags, and school uniforms for a couple of children ... (life seems determined to stop me).

If you get stuck on figuring out how to do the patterns for those old books, let me know what and where since I would love to have a a valid excuse, I mean reason, to open them and brainstorm with someone who knows how to net.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

I love the T-minus calculations :) Rick used to brew beer, but then kids came along. Maybe it's time to start again?

1:07 PM  

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