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Thursday, November 17, 2011

My Interest in Other Things

This post is not going to be geologic related stuff but on my other things.  For over 50 years I had to entertain myself without using the internet.  Needless to say I've developed some hobbies and interest that have kept me busy all these years.  Geology has always been my main love but living up north with the snow I couldn't always go outside or do things outside for very long.  I had to find other things to do during the winter time.
  My main form of entertainment was reading.  I came by that naturally since my mom was a grade school librarian, (also my sister and my brother-in-law are both librarians too.)  I grew up in a house were my mom would be making dinner and reading a book and that book was not a cookbook but a best seller.  She'd have it propped on the counter as she would mix ingredients together.  I could never figure out how she ever mastered that technique because whenever I try reading my cookbook to cook something I get all sorts of ingredients into it.  Also in our house we only had one TV for the longest time.  Most of the time I didn't care for what was being watched. Since my mom was a librarian we'd have books all over the house. I'd much rather go and curl up with a good book and be entertained for hours by reading it.  My favorite genre is science fiction.
  I was a middle child in a big family.  Most of the time I was left alone to do my own thing.  The only person who really took an interest in me was my mom's mom.  She lived about 2 miles away and when I got older I was allowed to go visit her.  In fact I was encouraged to visit her since she was house bound and couldn't drive a car. My grandma believed that idle hands were the devil workshop and so she decided I needed to learn how to do certain things.  First and foremost she made sure I knew how to sew.  For that I will always be grateful to her.
   Next she decided I needed to learn how to embroider.  I was about seven years old and she thought I could handle that.  She used to be a school teacher in a one room school house and was very good at instructing you and then leaving you be to master it on your own.  She would only help you when you ran into a major problem that would keep a piece from being finished.  If it was something minor she would say 'Leave it, every hand made piece needs to have at least one mistake in it so that people know its hand made - otherwise they will think it came from a store.'  That was some of the best advice I ever got.  It allowed me to make minor mistakes in my stuff and not have everything perfect.  But don't get me wrong even though she wouldn't get upset with one tiny mistake she would not let you have  a lot of mistakes either.  I would hate it when she would look at something and say 'You can do better than that'.  She would undo what I did and then hand it back to me to do it better.  Here's the first piece I ever embroidered. It's a pillow case.

  After she taught me embroidering she taught me to crochet with a single needle.  I don't have anything from when she did teach me.  It was mostly dollies and edging for the pillow cases. But knowing how to crochet later in life I did crochet a couple of major pieces.  The first was an afghan.

(Please excuse the shape of it.  I used to have a dog that when he'd get nervous with thunderstorm he'd hide under it.  Then he developed the bad habit of sucking on it.  Needless to say he started to put wholes in it and I ended up putting it in storage thinking one day I'd get around to fixing it.  Trouble is the colors in my house are no longer in that color scheme and I didn't have a lot of motivation to get it fixed.)

Here is the second one. I did this one using an afghan hook and stitch.  You were suppose to embroider on top, but I was lazy and thought it would be faster just to change the colors of the thread and just crochet the colors in.  It took some experimentation but I eventually figured it out.  I was pleased with the way it did turn out. Can you guess what team my husband was a fan of at the time. 
 Blogger wont let me download the picture of it on the bed.  I have it on a queen size bed.  But here is a closer look of it where you can see I crochet in the colors.

After I mastered crocheting she moved me onto Knitting. At first I mostly did scarves.  But then I eventually moved up to other more complicated things like hats and mittens.  I have nothing from that time.  But I still to occasionally like to knit.  I've had some on going projects for years.  My children wanted to have an afghan like my husband had.  I prefer to knit.  I was so happy to find that they now make needles were you can have your knitting as long as you want it to.  I was able to knit afghans for two of them and am working on a third one for my youngest son.  I usually like to work on it when I watch TV.  I don't watch a lot of TV so these projects are taking a lot longer than I had planned on them to take.  (Because blogger is messing up with what it will include and the order of things I'll show you what blogger will let me have.)

The completed one on my son's twin size bed.

   I am from Irish descent and so was she.  She was very proud of it and made sure I was proud of it too. My grandmother made sure I knew how to knit like the Irish do.  In my day's of living up north I've made a lot of sweaters but they were always given away as gifts.  Now I don't do many because living in the south there is no need for heavy sweaters like there is up there.  I don't have any of those sweaters to show but I do have these swatches.  Before I would knit a sweater I would always make a sample piece using the patterns I had picked out. It would give me a gauge of how big it would run and how many stitches I would need to add to the needles.  (At the top is a piece that I was working on for my mother-in-law when she died.  She was only 80 lbs at the time and tinnie, tiny. I never finish that piece because I didn't know anyone else that small to give it to.  Since then I forgot what size needles I was using or the pattern.  I keep it as a reminder of my love for her.)
 Each design  represents something.  One is the tree of life - my you have a long life.  Another is a heart and that is my you love last a long time.  Another one is a symbol for money - may you have lots of it and a different one is for wisdom.  I can't remember all that these were suppose to represent.  I wish I had my grandmother here to tell me what they mean again.. 

 One of the last thing my grandmother taught me how to do was to quilt.  Quilting was her least favorite thing to do and so she was not into it very much.  But she did attempt to show me.  I guess I picked up on that but it never really stuck with me.  That was something I had to learn on my own.  And the reason being was when I was in high school she decided I needed to make a hope chest.  I started this piece of embroidery for my bed.  My family used to joke about it since I worked on it so infrequently.  They said I would never get married at the rate I was working on it.  And in a way they were right I didn't get married for the first time until I was just months shy of 30.  The piece was embroidered by then but it wasn't quilted. Later I had to take a class and join a quilting club to find out how to quilt it, but I did do it and here it is.  


 All of this was to lead up to the main purpose of this post.  I haven't been doing a lot of blogging lately simply because I've been involved with other things like the pumpkin patch ( here ) (Now I'll see what blogger is going to let me down load so I can figure out what to write about.  - I can't stand the way blogger is being so picky about which images it will let me down load.)
   One of the things I'm doing is working on another quilt.  I got this quilt kit years ago.  I was remodeling my house and saw it and thought that this would be perfect for my bed.  I bought it but then my sewing machine broke and I stopped sewing for awhile.  The sewing bug got me and I got a new machine only it was so complicated I didn't enjoy working on it.  I had to wait a couple of years later to afford a simpler one that was more to my style of sewing.  The other one I gave to a textile art major that was thrilled to get it.  Its taken me awhile to get around to it but I finally am. Here's what I've done so far.

The other hobby that I have that I love to do and takes mega amount of time is to weave.  In September/ October I usually have demonstrations to give at various places because there is usually a break in the weather. Some of the events I've gone to are Colonial Days, Red River Revel, Family days at the State museum and Pioneer days@ LSUS.  I've gotten some table top looms for these events so that I can transport them easily and they have to be set up for those demonstrations since most people don't like to see you warping the looms (besides it takes too much concentration power to do it while you are being constantly interrupted - its best to do it at home w/ relatively peace & quiet.) 
So now I'm going to see what loom images blogger will let me use.  This really is getting old and frustrating.

 This is my newest loom.  Isn't  it a beauty. Its got four harnesses. 
Look at the stuff I can do on it!! This is a modified chevron pattern.
Modified chevron pattern on a 4 harness loom

Here's a very simple basic one that gives a tabby or twill weave.

Simple one harness loom with a tabby weave

 Here's my inkle loom .  This gives you a different type of weave since the warp threads wrap around the weft.
inkle loom

 Here's my inkle again with a different project on it.  Look at how complicated it is.  Each thread has to be threaded individually.  Needless to say it takes a lot of time and patients to thread a loom.  I do it because it is such a lost art and I feel children need to see how cloths were made before modern machines could make them.
Inkle loom

And the final thing I worked on was making beaded jewelry from the material I had gotten at the gem & mineral show ( here  ). Here's just a few that I made.  Most of the time when I was making them I tried to keep someone in mind as I would make them. I would try to picture that person wearing them. This blue ended up being given to a friend of mind with blue eyes.
 Like when I was doing this one I thought of Silver Fox being in the dessert and  What she would wear.
I had Dana in mind when I made this green one. Hers is very similar but she has a brass dragon fly in the center and is longer. Its made from adventurine.  I liked it so much I kept  this one for myself. 

  Or this one - I thought of Anne Jefferson. Its tigers eye with howlite hearts.

 And this one was for Evelyn at Geolnerys.

 I had some with other people in mind like Dana and Jessica but they didn't get down loaded. 

 With the necklaces I make them to be given away at Mardi Gras time and for gifts.  I now muse upon when I can give some of these away. I'm hoping that maybe someday I'll meet up with a few of the geobloggers so that I can give them one a set of beads.  

Now you can see why I've not been blogging much and geology isn't the only thing I'm musing upon.