Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I have an excuse. I've been bitten by the genealogy bug. I've been searching my little heart out, getting records in order and data input into MacFamilyTree. I've found a photocopy of my great grandparents marriage certificate from Sedgley, Staffordshire and his obituary from (I think) the New Haven (CT) newspaper. I've been trawling cemetery records and trying to find what the country names are for the various place names. I am totally astonished to find that on both sides I go back to pre-Revolutionary War settlers, and perhaps descended from Roger Williams on both sides. Therefore I am getting more interested in colonial American history. My BBBB is The Age of Homespun by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich which is a social history of material culture in colonial days. I thought it was all about weaving but so far chapter have been about Indian baskets (and the colonists relations with the natives whose land they stole) and furniture (and how property was inherited by male vs. female children). Do I have time for a new time eating hobby? No, but I've got the itch now.

There is nothing exciting to report on the knitting front: just socks our of a rather tropically coloured Regia (pink, orange and blue) cotton/wool blend. Spinning has been Robin's wool, and now sock yarn (wool & nylon) in shades of blue. I have wanted mindless knitting and neither finishing nor starting a project is mindless. Socks are.

Spring is starting to show: the willows are getting green and my daffodils are almost open. I weeded Saturday to make room for peas and we then fell into several days of exceedingly windy weather so I haven't done more. The berry bushes are all pruned and attached to their trellis (if I can only keep the possums from eating the leaves). I've got permission from the council to take down the juniper at my front door. It is heaving the paving underneath and becoming a hazard. Another not so cheap task to do on the way to tidying up the front of the house.

Social networking is all well and good and I am on so many discussion threads and other time consuming sites, but I keep thinking I could be actually doing stuff instead of nattering about how much I adored the latest Torchwood series or what I'm knitting. I'd even prefer to read (Saturnalia by Lindsey Davis) than live online because there aren't enough hours in the day to do all of that and clean, iron, vacuum, wash dishes, do laundry, get groceries, etc. And sitting for extended periods give my legs the fits.
I am trying the Ming method of pain relief and it does help but it's counter productive to stretch all my muscles and then spend hours in front of the computer, especially when work requires me to do that already. If I do too much walking around, my legs hurt; if I do too much sitting, my legs hurt. Do you see my dilemma? Hence no blog for a while.

Friday, August 07, 2009

At left is the Imp with her two newest possessions. I replaced the old scratching post that had gotten beyond repair and, wonder of wonders, she prefers scratching this post to the furniture. (The chair in the background has suffered through many cats) It has a pedestal to pose on and is all round satisfactory. The tunnel was a shot in the dark and it's the best $ I've ever spent on cat toys. She adores it: runs through it, grapples with it, pops out the holes on the side, just sits in it. It makes a wonderful taffeta-like noise as well. The catnip mice I tried at the same time were ignored.

In case you think I've stopped knitting, here is the first of D's socks. It's a Regia Kaffe Fasset colourway. I am almost finished with the ribbon shell (altho I found it on the floor this morning and I hope it just fell and was not subject to cat investigations). I am thinking about knitting a very cabeled Dawn Brocco pattern from my handspun but was worried that I hadn't enough. Today I dove into the stash and found 2 more large hanks of grey wool. The wool chosen for the jumper is similar in weight but is varying shades of grey.

Book report:
I have finished Green Thoughts and, while it was interesting in the way serious garden writing is to serious gardeners, I found her extremely opinionated in strange ways (were American stawberries full of flavour in the 1980's? Why are tree peonies given such a bad review?) and in other ways very unskilled. How many years had she grown tomatoes without knowing they had to be pruned and tied to a stake? If it's not written in one of her reference works she deems it impossible. She wants some authority to give her instructions on grafting instead of experimenting. She might have considered her extension agency, or today one would Google grafting but she sits and waits for instructions (preferably from Europe because Americans are clueless).

I have also given Spin Control by Amy King more thorough read and found descriptions of some types of spinning I haven't had described much. Core spinning and plying with commercial thread or yarn is something that might be useful in the future. I think there is not enough attention paid to basic spinning, or rather intermediate level. Very little about how different fibres behave. I'd like to have some more about control of fine fibres. The assumption is also that you spin on a standard wheel. No bobbins or electric wheels.

Next in the queue is The Age of Homespun, which fits in nicely to my family history research, where I am trying to find Clement Cornwell's (b. 1798) father. Here I was sitting in the middle of Duchess County last October for Rhinebeck unaware of the family ties there. I should have gone to the historical society. I now know there was a town named Beekman in Duchess county but there's lots of work to do to tie little pieces of information together.

I was all prepared mentally for a day of shopping, groceries, markets, off to look at lighting fixtures and fireplace inserts. My body refused to come to the party and my planned brief excursion for groceries was pulled out into lots of standing and waiting and now my right hip hurts. So today will be spent on sedentary activities (maybe some genealogy!) and tomorrow I'll go to the other side of town to look at lighting. It has also gotten very windy which always puts me on edge. The Weether Pixie should have her hair tossing around.