Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fiberworks Abroad and Very Close to home

There's not just up and down! There's sideways and slantways and any other kind of way you can think of!

Since last posting, your usually humble staff has driven to Florida (to drop Tom off at school), flown to France (for Tom's sister's wedding), begun a new school year, and made plans for a dyeing project with the students. A full life is generally a good time, but isn't always the most productive (for a very narrow definition of 'productive' which only includes prepping yarn for sale).

There are three sweaters' worth (plus a bit) of yarn balled up and ready to be used again, but it's been so busy I haven't gotten to measure, skein and photograph it yet. It will come soon, likely as soon as I make my new niddy-noddy. As much as I love my ball-winder, there's something very elegant about the classic skein. I had to return my niddy-noddy to its rightful owner, who finally needed it again, so I'm in the process of making my own. I have my $3.00 worth of hardware, I just need to get out the saw and cut the pipe. (Dr. Dirt has great illustrated plans for the niddy-noddy made of PVC piping here. She also has ferrets and a Roomba.). However, that will have to wait until I take MTEL #047 this Saturday, which, much like the Blue Fairy, will descend and transform me from a puppet on strings into a real math teacher! (Obviously, the algebra I've taught under the guise of knitting and the trig I've taught under the guise of art history and quilting don't mean anything - standardized tests wield the magic wand!)

In the meantime, here are some pictures from France. Soon I hope to have a fully-annotated non-Facebook gallery, but for now, that's the option. Because there are so many, I've broken it down into five albums, arranged by place:
There isn't much about a fiber arts in there, though I made an as-yet undocumented pair of socks during the week, which have a genuine French wine stain now, but it's still a good time: Sunflowers and cathedrals and crustaceans, oh my!

I am also doing a natural dyeing project with my students coming up soon. We will be using the ink that wrote the Declaration of Independence, and collecting it along the bike path here in Easthampton. I will share as many pictures of the pokeberry-dyeing endeavor as I am legally cool to share. In the meantime, Carol Leigh has some interesting observations about how to use pokeberries. The plant seems to play a much larger role in American history than I knew when I chose it because it grew conveniently and dyes a pretty (if not lightfast) color. The more I learn about this plant, the more fascinated I am - all the medicinal uses? The AIDS research? The poisonous but makes a good boiled green? The pokeberry jelly? Dyeing with this plant makes me feel very rooted where I am, which is a refreshing contrast to all the traveling I've been doing. To be continued...