We had snow on Christmas eve and it stuck around today. I thought this was pretty unusual and then this morning I saw a news story about it, this is supposed to be our third White Christmas in the last 100 years. The bird bath was icy until afternoon so the chickadees, sparrows and juncos were squawking until it softened up. The hummingbird feeder didn’t freeze at all so I still had customers there. The sheltered spot on the porch and amount of sugar in the mix must combine to keep it from freezing.
Most of us around Seattle have had a gloriously, long Summer, marred only by the smoke and ash of the recent wildfires that the rest of the NorthWest have suffered. But Sunday, like turning on a faucet, the rain started and we have overcast skies and rain forecast for the rest of the week. Crystal Mountain went from Wildfire to their first snow in two weeks. How quickly the Fall weather begins…
I’ve been away but I have a very good excuse, I’ve been moving. Not moving far, just moving upstairs. One thing we’ve learned having a small house and living in it for over 20 years now is that we keep re-purposing rooms. It is how we avoid outgrowing the house I guess. This move started when Nathan’s mom, Eileen, asked if I would like to have her loom. She and her husband are selling their house and downsizing. I’ve turned down loom-offers before but this time as soon as Scott texted me her offer I had the feeling this was a loom I wanted. Now squeezing another loom, especially another, bigger floor loom into the studio downstairs means getting rid of the desk, the couch or possibly the bathroom…
I’ve thought about changing the living room around for a long time and almost bought a couch the other month but I just couldn’t do it and I finally figured out it was because I was trying to figure out a way to fit a loom upstairs. I haven’t been weaving much recently and that keeps me from being as happy as I could be and it’s because I don’t have much time to spend downstairs in the studio during the day and not enough light in the evening. However I do have time to weave a little every day if I had a loom more conveniently located upstairs where I work all day. Meanwhile Scott is insulating the den with stacks of cigar boxes and has two friends coming to kick me out of the studio over the Summer so when I suggested moving my stuff out and giving him the studio he jumped at the opportunity.
We drove the truck over to Port Gamble on Saturday to meet the loom. We disassembled it and I took the small pictures to be able to put it together again when we got home. The big side pieces just fit into the Tacoma with blankets between them and the center jack or shed-lifting mechanism is one piece that actually lifts out of the frame. It is elegantly designed with sliding wood slats in dowel frames that require minimal hardware. The larger picture is reassembled that evening in the living room. Isn’t the light great? It went back together easily. I still have a lot to do moving the rest of my yarn and jewelry-making supplies out of the studio and moving the rest of Scott’s cigar boxes downstairs but I could not be more grateful!
We’re counting down to the 2016 LYS Tour: Five days of fiber fun, May 18 – 22, 2016. Puget Sound, Washington. Click the sheep to see the cool countdown timer counting the days.
LYS is an acronym for Local Yarn Store and each store on the map will have items on sale and a free pattern. There are also prizes for filling your passport with stamps from all the stores but I never get to all of them.
Seattle seems to have joined Tacoma and all the other cities around the country with some amount of lead in their drinking water. The public utility says that IF your home is one of the ones testing positive for lead the lead isn’t from the water, it’s from your old goose-neck pipes used to attach to the city water supply. Wouldn’t you know it, we’ve replaced every piece of pipe in this house except the supply line which is still old galvanized pipe. Perhaps in light of this news someone will offer a rebate to replace supply lines to older houses.
“As a temporary precaution—SPU is asking all Seattle residents to run their water for two minutes before using it if the water has not been run for more than six hours.”
Now we don’t drink unfiltered tap water and I don’t buy bottled water unless I’m on a road-trip or something like that because I don’t like tossing those disposable bottles into the trash or even into the recycling. We use filters for drinking water and ice, both the one built into the fridge and a pitcher type. These remove 99% of lead and also remove pharmaceuticals, microbes and many other pollutants from the water. I usually use tap water for the dog bowls and for boiling pasta and stuff like that just because I keep the filter pitcher in the fridge so it takes longer to boil but I’m officially switching to filtered water for everything.
Running the tap for two minutes if it has been unused for 6 hours seems pretty simple. In the morning, take a shower first instead of brushing your teeth first. That way the shower will use up the two minutes of water just warming up before you get in and you haven’t wasted water by just letting it run without any purpose.
When I was little Chicagoans used to brag about the taste of Chicago water and how fresh it was since it was drawn from waaaay out in the center of Lake Michigan. It didn’t taste like chlorinated pool water and it was mildly effervescent in the glass. If a friend took you out in their boat two things that they insisted you see were the city skyline from the water and the visible edge of the water pumping station two miles from shore. Ya, that is what city-folk do with a boat. This is what the water plant itself looks like these days right at the edge of the Navy Pier Complex.
It was also known as Imbolc or Candlemas in the old European Calendar. These mid-season holidays fit between the solstices and equinoxes in what is called the Wheel of the Year. Candlemas is the final deadline for Christmas or Yule decorations to come down. But you are wondering about the weather, here is the full poem for the day:
If Candlemas day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight.
If Candlemas day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
~ E. Holden
The US tradition honors the groundhog, or marmot depending on what they are called in your state, as the local weather prognosticator. Other countries honor the fox, the robin and a host of other animals. The animal chosen is not important, nor is the forecast supposed to relate to a whole country, but is said to describe a local micro-climate phenomenon. So don’t look at the TV News, look out your window. Today is was overcast and cold in the morning but sunny and mid-forties by 9 am so a groundhog, robin, fox, or human would have been able to see their shadow. I guess we are in for a longer Winter. Actually, I was greeted by these when stepped off the porch today. They are right on time, next the true crocuses will come up and then the camellia will bloom, then the riot of bulbs will begin and we’ll have narcissus, tulips, muscari, and iris until the lilacs and then the roses take over. Are your crocuses opening up yet?
The Peru exhibit is over now and I wanted to share a little of what we saw there with you. According to Seattle Magazine, ‘Seattle is the only U.S. venue to host Peru: Kingdoms of the Sun and the Moon, a rare and astonishing collection of sculpture, metalwork, paintings and textiles spanning a whopping 3,000 years and several cultures.’ – Brangien Davis, Seattle Magazine
Did you catch that? Seattle is the only place this in the US where the collection will be shown, pretty cool, eh? Some of the pieces in the collection were from Machu Pichu and were discovered by Hiram Bingham III. He took over 46,000 of them back to Yale with him where they lived until 2012 when they were finally returned to Peru. Seeing how Peru just got them back, one can understand why they are loathe to let them out again. I have a picture of Bingham in the gallery below, if he reminds you of Indiana Jones, there is a good reason for that, Indie was actually modeled after the Yale Historian and tomb raider.
Why is Peru significant?
K, Peru is a South American country that, alone with Meso America in this hemisphere, holds cradle of civilization status. This means that it attained a culture with a level of complexity and advancement, with or without writing, that places it in the same club as ancient Egypt, China and Mesopotamia.
What did we see?
We took a few photos before we saw the NO PHOTOGRAPHY sign and the rest in my slideshow are from the SAM website. The exhibit was a good combination of history and art and this is something SAM seems to do particularly well based on other shows we have seen here. I would have liked more textiles but just because that is my thing. There was a beautiful blue and yellow hanging that I waited in line for specifically to read what dyes could have given those colors only to find that the “dyes” were in fact macaw feathers traded with the Amazonian tribes, still bright after 700 years. Another complicated textile design turned out on closer inspection to be eight strips woven in two long narrow strips, each in two colors on a backstrap loom no doubt, then pieced together in alternating sequence, with a border in a narrower pattern. Clever, but not complicated.
There was a jug found in a temple that had obviously Lunar symbolism on it. I can’t find a picture of it online to share with you but it had 4 little guys each depicted at different angles, one facing front, one facing left, etc., which I figure have to represent the phases of the moon, below was a dragon with heads at each end with each head swallowing a black stone (even now our symbol for a new moon in the calendar or almanac is a black circle) and along its back were 29 glyphs (because there are 29 days between New Moons). Unfortunately there wasn’t any placard explaining any of it so no one would know about it all unless they knew what to look for.
There was a small bowl that was half silver and half gold to represent the combined energy of the Sun and Moon. I also found it intriguing that Aztec Mummies were buried with gold trinkets on their right side and silver on their left side as those are the same sides of the body said to correspond to solar and lunar energies in Western tradition. There were several examples of turquoise that were interesting because they were much more blue than the color we associate with turquoise, really almost a royal blue. Quite different from the aqua or sky-blue colors of Kingman or Sleeping Beauty mine turquoise from the American Southwest that we are accustomed to.
In spite of the lack of a written “language” they did have pictograms and a way of keeping historical data by tying knots in different colored cords. There was a beautiful example of knotted cords in a case showing the different colors of fiber and different complicated knots. Unfortunately each “scribe” had their own system of knots and colors so while it was useful for the keeping of records, it was was not transferable for the sharing of information. You can see my bad sketch of it below.
There were two more rooms about the Spaniard’s encounter with Peru which had all the amazing European-style silver and gold work you would expect and then another about the post Colonial era but we were mostly interested in the PreColumbian era so we went back that direction again.
Many items had stories, for instance the ornament pictured above:
This spectacular Mochica gold forehead ornament from the fourth or fifth century A.D.—a representation of a terrifying sea god surrounded by eight tentacles—was intercepted in a London gallery by Scotland Yard, subsequent to a 2004 tip from an individual informant. Instantly dubbed by some newspapers the “Peruvian Mona Lisa,” the famous Mochica octopus was recovered in 2006 by the Peruvian authorities and returned to the Museo de la Nación in Lima. It had, according to archeaologist Walter Alva, been discovered during the illegal excavation of a tomb at La Mina in the Jequetepeque Valley, which had been extensively looted in 1988. The present exhibition of this masterpiece of Mochica goldsmithery, which quickly became a symbol of the war on art trafficking, is its first showing outside Peru since its incredible recovery.
We followed our tour of Peru with a stop at the Pike Brewpub at the Pike Place Market, We haven’t been down here in years and the brewpub has really grown but it winds around so many levels that it is hard to really tell. The pub has turned into kind of a museum as well with copies of early Kent Valley settler Meeker’s pamphlet on Hop growing and various ephemera about the history of beer making in the Washington territory.