Sunday, April 4, 2010

It Is What It Is

That's been my favorite phrase of late; it sounds Zen but in a proactive way. So, can I tell you how I spent my birthday?

Actually it started a day early. Ben's had a horrible cold since we've returned from Wellington, of the fever-and-headache variety. The night of the First was the worst; he was burning up badly I thought he night liquefy, and he was up several time, unable to sleep in spite of the nighttime cold meds. And he never takes meds so it must have been horrible for him to ask for it.

I must have slept around him, in whatever available space as he moved around, or, he asked for something and I jumped out of the bed "wrongly". On the Second, I woke up with an acute, local pain in my left lower back, and limped and moaned like an old lady.

Came yesterday and I Ben was well enough to go grocery shopping but I couldn't lower myself into the tiny red convertible so I stayed home. I was fine as long as I was standing upright so I tackled the long-accumulating ironing pile, all the while contemplating not so much "being" older, but "getting" older, being reminded I'll never again be as physically fit as when I was 29, nor even 45. At about 3PM, with still loads of shirts to iron, I remembered I had Deb Menz's two dye DVDs on loan, so I put them on as I ironed.

Theoretically dyeing seems so straight-forward, the color theory part, but I'm still bamboozled by the rest of the chemicals and haven't bothered trying. (I used to develop B/W photos in my junior high days, so when I finally make myself dye, I'll feel, and blog, that I sure made an entire mountain range out of half a mole hill.) I loved seeing how to mix rovings on a drum carder or on combs. I was impressed she mixed nine and 25 colors to make one skein of yarn, and really appreciated her showing us not only the spun skeins but the knitted samples.

I wished I could rent/hire a carder or a big comb to experiment. I don't mind using commercially dyed rovings, but I do want to play and spin and see how these yarns behave in the weft. I also have a secret ambition (but a very, very long-term plan) to clean, wash, dye, mix, spin, knit or weave and then felt a tiny something , but that will be very long-term, and it will be something for Ben, me or our home. Forget I said that for now.

Does it ever take a long time to do all of the processes, though, from fiber to fabric! I mused over the details of each process, and shouted kudos to all of you who do all, or many, of those processes. I'm fine with not doing the entire thing myself, (here in NZ, one can easily be made to feel inadequate, but I'm over it,) but I'd like to know how, so that if/when I am so moved, I can. And knowing each step no doubt will deepen my understanding of fiber and weaving, the last bit being of the utmost, only, importance to me.

And after the DVDs, as I continued to iron some more shirts, I cloths after cloths I want to weave, yardage all of them, but they were all whites and naturals!

We had a lovely birthday snack/supper, culminating in Neapolitan ice cream, (but vanilla, not pistachio), in our salute to Pompei. I always wonder why I appreciate the chocolate ice cream oh so much more in a Neapolitan mix than when I'm sitting with a whole tub of chocolate ice cream.

In bed, I started reading "Introduction to Art", and I had to read it out loud several times, even though my back hurt from laughing. The first chapter, entitled "What is art?" starts thus: "The word 'art' can be used to describe anything from prehistoric cave paintings to a heap of junk in the corner of a gallery." A book after my own heart.

It was what it was, my 52st birthday. What am I saying, it was a great day, so unexpectedly weaverly!

Ben's back to normal this morning, thanks; me, it's going to take a couple of more days. Today we're going to clean our closets, reducing the number of shirts Ben owns. I have plans, though; I might want a few of his old shirts after I go to the Boro workshop in September.


  1. What a day! How many shirts were in the ironing pile? Not my favourite job.
    Yeah, so you're going to the Boro workshop, I'll look forward to hearing about that.

  2. Yeah, Dianne! You'd never guess I was up until 5-ish finishing a really bad novel, and slept in until 11-ish, would you? Yes, I am going to the Boro workshop. Considering she's coming all the way to Nelson, and I don't need to pay for room/board/transport (it's at Ben's work!), I'd be a fool not to, I decided.

  3. Meg, since I followed Deb Menz' intensely when I started acid dyeing, I can say from experience that unless you're trying to get a level color in an immersion bath, with no areas of variegation, then you don't need all the chemicals. Vinegar is quite enough. Or acetic acid crystals, both of which I use, depending on how I'm dyeing. I have all that other stuff, used it early on, and stopped using it because I found I didn't need it to get what I was after.
    Hope you're both feeling good again!

  4. Hallelujah, Connie, thanks for that. I'm happy with salt and vinegar and maybe a few other things, but that's great to know because I'm not aiming for evenly saturated!


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