Saturday, February 02, 2008

Spanish moss

Spanish moss
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
This is the spanish moss that grows in the area -- it's much finer than what grows in the southern US. It gives a nice yellow brown that turns a spectacular green when overdyed with indigo. To see more detail, click on the photo and click on the Flickr "All sizes" link.

Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
This is the view from where we got the spanish moss, looking down toward Teotitlan. It was so spectacular -- but we were going even higher!

More landscape
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Another landscape shot - can you see that road snaking up the mountain? Yup, that's where we're headed.

Fiber progress today was pretty impressive, yet rather disheartening. I've plied up all but a small bit of the Prudence singles, and I've got a lot less yardage than I estimated. Like ~900 yards instead of the 1200 I was hoping for. I was ready to be done spinning on that, but I guess not!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Gathering oak galls

Gathering oak galls
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Up the road a bit from the chamomile, we hiked to these trees. You can't quite see the oak galls in this picture, but they were mostly in reach for the guys. There were quite a few more on the ground.

Oak galls
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Demetrio shows us an oak gall. These galls were on the branches - later in the day, we also gathered some that were leaf galls.

I don't have any pictures of the cattle, because the van was moving a bit too fast for a good shot. But the cattle are pretty much free range. As in, no fences AT ALL. And the cattle frequently come down to the roads this time of year, where there's a bit more greenery to eat. Thank goodness there wasn't too much traffic, or they'd be tough to get around. Demetrio said they're accustomed to coming to their owner's whistle, because they bring salt licks.

Once in a while, a cow will get into a cornfield in a neighboring village. As soon as they're found, they get tied up and taken to jail. Well, they get tied up outside the jail, at least. Their owner has to go negotiate fair compensation for the damage to the crop, and then they get their cow back.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gathering chamomile while we may

Gathering chamomile while we may
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
One of the highlights of the whole trip was when Demetrio took us up into the mountains behind Teotitlan to gather dyestuffs. We were even shadowed by Carol, who was filming a documentary. Here, we're collecting a small flowering herb that Demetrio called chamomile (probably related to the herb we drink as tea, but not identical). He also had us strew seeds from previous gatherings, so that he'd have more plants in the future.

Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
This is the chamomile plant. If there are any experts in Oaxacan botany that can give me a latin name, please do!!

Tomorrow night, I'll show you the oak galls.

Fiber progress: I spun about 20-30 yards of tussah silk that's going to be beautiful. This has a lot of short ends, so I'm glad I decided to spin straight from the tops. Usually, I get the smoothest yarns from spinning from the fold, despite what Judith McK McC says.

I also cast on for another sample of the Ice Queen from Knitty. This time, I'll have a rounded corner at both ends, and a couple of repeats in the middle. It took me a couple tries to get the stitch count right, but it looks awesome so far! It might be just the ticket for Superbowl Party knitting.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


You know that wool/silk that I was spinning last night? I'm on the Reference Desk, and in between questions I've been browsing Ravelry for ideas for it.

Now, you'll need to forgive me, but you'll have to be logged in to Rav to get access to the next few links... I was browsing through the links for projects in Zephyr and happened across this project for Sugarspun's Hanami... wait- I have that in my queue!! Here's the link to the original webpage by Pink Lemon Twist...

Now, wouldn't this look luscious in a gradation from pink to blue? ooooo...

(later tonight - rethinking the choice of fiber)

Well... maybe I won't use the wool/silk laps. This stuff is full of dust. If I work too much more with it, I'm going to make myself sick. I might try to wash a bit of it, but it will probably felt too easily.

But I have a Plan B. Why not use 100% tussah silk? But of course!

Here's tonight's pretty picture:

Stairway to...
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Stairway to heaven...
... more books! It was a very cool way to extend the bookshelves up to a very tall ceiling. This is a different bookstore than last night, sorry I don't have the name.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Amate Bookstore in Oaxaca City

Amate Bookstore
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
This couple acted as greeters at Amate Books. They're wickerwork- quite impressive! If you go to the larger size picture on Flickr, you can see that the frame of the door is all dried flowers.

Fiber progress? Not much. Is Mercury in retrograde or something? My ambition is definitely in retrograde. hmmm... how much can I complain about a coworker who might read the blog? Not much. But the theme continues-- I work hard, and get abuse for the privilege.

Shifting to the positive-- I've been getting the bug to dye. Tonight I feel the need for color, and the fiber I have that takes the color best is some tussah/wool laps. I'm pretty sure this is the factory laps from Jagger Spun. I may jump in and dye it differently, but right now I want to do a 3ply dye gradation, sort of like JoJoland. I'll stay within these guidelines when I want to, except when I don't. Or when I change my mind. When I can find it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Restaurant Bar Pizzeria

Restaurant Bar Pizzeria
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
This is the local pizzeria. Do you see that scooter? That's the pizza delivery vehicle!

Would you buy ice cream from this fish?
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Apparently, the fish's driver has gone home for the day. And taken the ice cream with him. So, since he's parked by the "No Parking" sign (the E with the circle slash), who pays the ticket? The fish or the driver?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stuff I did today

OK, a bit of bragging on myself, to keep up the spirits...

There's sun this morning! Ah, I love the sun, especially in January when there's been a lot of rain. I took advantage of the short bit of good weather to go out and weed the front planter, where I like to grow the dyeplants. I cleared out the leaves and put them on the compost pile, and dumped a sack of planter mix where the soil needs building up.

Now, I'm going through my shoebox of seeds, to see what I can put out. Some of these are pretty old... it's the same ol' thing. Buy stuff when I feel the inspiration, before I get the chance to work the ground I get distracted with other stuff. Or I sow half the envelope of seeds, and forget about it the next year.

So, here's the list of seeds I'll liberally dump and see what happens.

  • In back, by the fence:

    • Pole beans, Kentucky blue. Seeds from 2001...
    • Sweet peas, Old Spice mixed color. Seeds from 2001
    • Bishops Flower, White Lace improved. Ammi Majus, seeds from 2005. This looks like Queen Anne's lace, but isn't a noxious weed. I tried this once before but it didn't sprout-- QAL gives a good yellow, I wanted to see what this does.

  • More in front:

    • Dyer's Marguerite - seeds from 2004. *good* dyeplant! This is the rest of that dye packet, those plants kept coming back until this year.
    • Carrots - packed for 2001. I just want to get rid of these, if they come up fine. Carrot tops give a good yellow.
    • Parsley - packed for 2001.
    • Cilantro, slow bolt - packed for 2004.
    • Salad leaf basil - packed for 2004. I just want to get rid of these seeds and see what happens.

It feels good, and you know what? Going through the shoebox and seeing how much I've got keeps me from buying more. Most years, anyway!

And the other fly in the ointment? There's a ground squirrel hidey hole RIGHT THERE. We'll see how much they leave for me.

Rex and yarn
Originally uploaded by OriginalTwistedSpinster
Last-minute edit: I have spun 9 bobbins worth, 24.13 ounces, in one week. I did two bobbins just today, and yes, my arm is a bit sore.

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