Monday, November 10, 2014

Summer's Gone

Summer was very short, but lovely, especially the visit to Scotland, our third trip but the first time with a tour and the 'shepherding', historic sites and great step-on guides made it well worth having to be part of a 'herd', and the fellow travelers were a great group.

Our first night in Edinburgh we were treated to  a festive dinner including the traditional haggis (best spiced with a wee dram of whisky) tatties & neeps, and concluding with shortbread and scones.  The entertainment included a rather good band, Highland dancing, and the Queen's own Piper who, after working well and long, socialized with this tourist - and her attire could not clash more with his tartans if she had tried!

Dolly, cloned from a mammary cell (thus her name) of a Finn Dorset sheep  is now on permanent view at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. She had a short life but a famous one, mothering 6 lambs before her passing at age 6

One of the looms on exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland boasts its own version of live-weight tensioning.  This is not the curling stone on a Paisley shawl loom that triggered my application of athletic weights, but it obviously is an  effective warp tensioner.

A visit to the Geoffrey Tailor of Edinburgh shop brought a  mind-bending look at some contemporary bespoke kilt outfits.  Goeffrey Tailor has made two of John's kilts, neither of which is pin-stripe!

The strongest impression was left from our visit to Orkney and the Scara Brae archeological site.  This ancient village, built about the time of the Great Pyrimid, was first revealed to modern humans from a severe storm in the 1800's. Covered passageways connect  the various family and work spaces.  They even seem to have had inside-houses (as opposed to out-houses).  It is said that if the wind ever stops blowing on Orkney, that everyone will fall down.  We too learned to lean into the wind and embrace the constant mist.

Back home I learned of a great secret at the Thunder Bay Arts Gallery.  My shawl/runner, "Thunder Bay Ice Scapes" was missing but I was not to know who bought it!  It wasn't long before John's (graduated) piping student and her husband invited us for dinner.  There on her magnificient table was my weaving.  The dinner and their compay was great, as is this photo by Deb Houk taken from the balcony over their dining room.

Two weaver friends from the Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo came to Alpena with the Model T touring club and Cindi and Judi came out for a studio visit.  Judi's photo caught my 'stash-reduction' kimono and Cindi too.
 In October a talented and energetic Lithuanian researcher came from New York City all the way to Alpena to  visit me.  Aldona Rygelis  is documenting weaving in the Lithuanian Diaspora and developing a web site so  that images of the unusuallly beautiful National Costumes will be available to the descendants of the emigrants as well to the rest of us admirers of fine weaving.  Aldona has 10 years juniority (her coinage) on me and I greatly champion her project.  I will post a link to this new web-site when it is available.

Alpena is having very Scottish weather just now, windy, misty and cool.  Perfect for staying inside and weaving.  I'm currently working on a Lithuanian National Costume blouse for a friend.  It is an interesting challenge to me as I am learning how to make my 24-shaft Toika weave like a draw-loom.  Maybe next post I'll have some pictures of this project to share.

 Keep warped and shuttle on, Kati  11-10-14