Saturday, September 30, 2006

More Pokeberries... & other things...

So I was riding my bike down our street today to see if there was any goldenrod in any of the weedy areas... Didn't see any goldenrod, though I'm sure I will see it once the blossoms start blooming... But I did see a Pokeberry bush. It was pushed over and had some other weeds blocking the sight of it from most angles, but it was covered in berries that are just now ripe. Score! So I picked most of them and will go back for the rest in a few days once they've ripened also. I'm letting them sit in the bag in the garage over night to finish ripening and will put them in the freezer in the morning.

I've also got three marigold plants that started flowering again after they've apparently recovered from the late summer heat. They are in fact going completely nutz with flowering... So I may be able to collect enough for dyeing by the time they stop, whenever that will be.

In the meantime, I will continue to look for goldenrod on waysides, in ditches and fields... I'll probably notice them when people start sneezing... (However, not because people are allergic to goldenrod, because apparently most people are not. I just found out that the majority of hay fever attacks in the Fall are caused by ragweed, which blooms at the same time and in the same places as goldenrod. Isn't that interesting?)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New Photobucket pictures...

This is in no way connected to my persuit of the fiber arts... These are mostly fine art pics and family photos... but it has been updated for those who care...


After working for three hours this afternoon on Latin homework, I've just had a treat, and it was so yummy, I have to write this down for all to see. Run, don't walk, to your nearest good grocery store and get yourself a pint of Stoneyfield Farms Organic Nonfat Vanilla Frozen Yogurt. It is *so* good! It has the texture and taste of frozen custard and it has real vanilla bean specks in it... Oh, and you can taste the real vanilla beans too! ... So yummy... You would never in a million years believe that it's nonfat.

Monday, September 25, 2006

What I've done lately...

Here's the latest thing I've knitted and almost finished (I have to weave in ends):

This is a dishcloth from the Monthly Dishcloth KAL Yahoo Group. Go there and join for the pattern. We get two dishcloth patterns every month and everybody has the option to knit them at the same time. This is the Mid-September 2006 pattern. I changed it by doing a seed stitch border instead of a garter stitch border... I'm just not that fond of garter stitch borders on dishcloths.

Here's the plain pine root/red cedar dyed yarn sample I did:

The photo might be a bit blurry, but that's the color pretty closely. It's lighter now than it was when it was wet. This is how I did it:

- 4 cups of pine roots

- 4 cups eastern red cedar bark

- 1.5 cups of vinegar (you could add more, I think it does help with the dye absorption)

- add enough water to bring the liquid amount up to about 2 gallons.

Boil the roots and bark for at least an hour, cool and let it sit overnight. The next day, strain out the roots and bark and add enough water to bring the liquid amount back to approximately two gallons and add the wool to the dyebath. Heat to near boiling and hold it for an hour or so. Cool and soak overnight. The next day, heat again as before if the color is not dark enough for you (it wasn't for me... it was a light fawn tan after the first day). You could try adding salt or more vinegar... I haven't experimented with this anymore than what I've just described. I dyed 4 ounces of wool with this amount. I did not use a mordant.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tannic acid neutralizing...

So Ilana - my new online friend - suggested that maybe there is something that could be added to a dyebath to neutralize the tannins in things like pokeberries, where you don't want the brown color which comes from the tannins but the bright color that comes from the other chemicals in the dyebath to effect whatever it is you're dyeing.

I started by asking my mom, because she was trained as a chemist many, many years ago, if she knew anything about it, but she came up blank.

So I asked my friend Zinzi. Zinzi is a nurse with a 4-year BSN degree, but that's not the end of her career path, just a stepping stone. Nursing is her fall-back plan... She's fabulously ambitious and so smart it's scary. She's getting ready to go to grad school at UCLA or Johns Hopkins so that she can eventually do research into infectious disease or viruses... Her ultimate unlikely (and she knows it) dream is to discover the mythical panacea, the universal medicine, which will cure any ailment known and unknown to humankind. She knows a lot about chemistry...

She said that there *should* be some way to neutralize the tannins in dyebaths, since they are essentially types of acids (though apparently, not all tannins are tannic acid, that's just one type of acid in the family of tannins). Essentially, tannins bond to proteins with no intermediaries (don't need mordants) and this is why henna dyes skin, hair and nails so well (and wood and wool, if you're so inclined to try it). It's also why the bog mummies get so well preserved in swamp muck, which is full of tannins, and why a lot of dyes will eventually wash to a brown that doesn't wash out... The tannins permanently bond to natural fibers. She wasn't sure what would neutralize tannins, just that there should be *something* that will do it.

So I've done some research...

To quote (page 30): "Although the ability to precipitate protein is the defining characteristic of tannins, the detailed chemistry of the interaction is still only partly understood. It is now clear that both the type of interaction and the strength of interaction are dictated by both the chemistry of the tannin and the chemistry of the protein. In addition, the interaction is influenced by the reaction conditions including temperature, pH, solvent, composition, and tannin [to] protein ratio."

This would make sense to anyone who has ever used henna to dye skin. When dyeing skin with henna, it is generally recommended to use sugar, lemon juice and tea or coffee (both of which contain tannins) to produce a better henna paste. Lemon juice is used to make the pH more acidic. Sugar is used to make the henna stick to the skin better without crumbling. And it is generally recommended to wrap the henna pasted skin in cotton and cover with a sock (to raise the temperature) and let it remain over-night while you sleep. But still, the final result of how long and how dark the henna dyes the skin depends on how fresh the henna is and how it reacts to the individual's skin chemistry. This is also why henna paste used in theme parks and similar places does not usually stain skin well. They usually use water mixed with henna powder to make the paste, and it is usually very old and/or poor quality.

So I'm still not completely sure how to neutralize the tannins in a pokeberry dyebath. Zinzi suggests determining the pH of the tannins and neutralizing them with a base. But now that I think on it, perhaps this is where the suggestion that adding soda ash (sodium carbonate) to pokeberry dyebaths will help with the fastness of the dye comes from? Since soda ash is a base... How much soda ash, I don't know... but I've also heard that making a pokeberry dyebath completely neutral or alkaline will ruin its ability to dye... so there must be some acidity maintained. The pH of pure soda ash is 11.4 by itself. Assuming that the tannin in pokeberries is tannic acid, from what I understand, pure tannic acid has a pH of approximately 3.5. Considering that, and that we don't want to end up with a base solution, a weaker base than soda ash might be better for neutralizing the tannic acid.

Okay, I'm not a chemist... and I couldn't even do a titration properly in my high school chemistry class... But I would think that the first thing you'd need to do is neutralize the tannins in pokeberries if you don't want them turning anything brown. If I had some pokeberries to work with right now, this is exactly what I would try. I would use a weak base solution, such as water-diluted soda ash solution with maybe just a little vinegar added to be sure, and pour that over the pokeberries in a dyepot. Smash them. Then let that sit for a while at room temperature, so that the base might have time to neutralize the tannins, if it's able. Then I'd add the vinegar to help extract the dye and bring the pH back down to definitely acidic levels. (To be absolutely sure about all of this, I recommend getting one's hands on pH papers to test what the pH is doing at each stage of the process and record it for future reference.) The rest of the dye process, I would continue as normal. Fermenting a few days, straining the solution off, adding mordanted wool, simmering, cooling overnight, drying, rinsing... Not sure if the washfastness would be improved at all... I would guess that it would not, since most berry-derived dyes are not very washfast.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Result of Pine-root & Cedar-bark Dye

Here are the pictures...

The spotty greenish tones are due to the silly camera phone doing funky things with the light. The skeins are overdyed 1st batch pokeberry yarn and the single string is what I got using only pine root and cedar bark - it's just ever so slightly lighter than the pokeberry dyed stuff. In any case, it is a slightly red/pink-tinted medium brown. I think it will look good with blue...

OMG! You *have* to see this car!

Check out this video! I couldn't believe it! I want this car!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dye update update...

Well, the pine/cedar dyebath is just short of boiling now with 1 and 1/2 cups vinegar added... the amount was arbitrary on my part. I picked up some of the wool carefully with a wooden spoon and let the liquid run out and it seems significantly darker than it was earlier when I did the same. Whether this is wishful thinking, because of the vinegar, or just the added soaking time in what by now must be a more concentrated solution, I don't know. But it's a nicer color than it was before, so I think we're headed in the right direction.

Dye update

I've let the wool soak overnight in the pine root/red cedar bark dyebath and now, I'm going to boil it again. It seems to be taking on the reddish color slowly... *maybe*... We'll see. The brown color that it is now is not an unpleasant one as browns go (kind of a rootbeer float kind of color when you first pour the rootbeer over the ice cream and the ice cream starts the melt and mix with the rootbeer), I just don't really like brown... Perhaps if I had vinegar or salt, that would help... Time to go shopping! ('cause I'm still out of vinegar.)

I have a theory concerning dyeing with pokeberries and that is that most of the tannins are absorbed in the first use of the dyebath and that the later batches are more lightfast because they have absorbed less tannin than the first. I have not really tested that theory *at all,* but if anyone who might be getting ready to do pokeberry dyeing has extra wool and might want to dye little samples in each dyebath use to set out in sunlight to see how long it takes for and to what extent the samples turn brown and then publishes the results, I would be most interested to hear what they find out.

Now, I have tested the washfastness of alum mordanted wool dyed with pokeberries, and the red-pink dye continues to bleed out of the wool until it fades to almost non-existence, no matter whether the wool was in the 1st dyelot or the 4th. The 1st batch has the most brown color left in it, and the later batches have significantly less (hence the above theory). It washes out faster in hot water than in cold, but even in cold, it *will* bleed and wash out. So if you use pokeberries, try to make something with the wool that won't need to be washed very much or at all to help extend the color... outer garments, like scarves and shawls, etc. might be best.

Monday, September 18, 2006

So here's the problem with pine root...

So I've created my dyebath of equal parts pine root and red cedar and it looks great. The color of the water is a bit like cherry coke... a dark reddish brown color. I've put in half the pokeberry 1st try, alum mordanted wool. I decided to do this because the wool from the first pokeberry dyebath is already turning to a reddish brown and I'm hoping to stabilize it... who knows, it might work. (I may try over-dying the other half of that batch with indigo, once I get it. It's backordered two weeks from, so perhaps in a month I'll be able to try that!) I didn't use any vinegar or salt, only water. This is totally experimental. I am not working from any concrete sources on this. I also put in a 10-inch string of white wool to see what the color would have been on plain white wool in case I want to do it again... But somehow, I'm not so sure I will 'cause here's the problem with pine root...

1.) I figure you can only dig up and cut off so much of pine root before you're going to damage the tree...

2.) Now, I have a thick layer of boiled-down pine sap around the water-line on the inside of one of my dye pots. I can only hope that I'll be able to get it off with a mild abrasive because it's enamel and I'm afraid to use anything harsh.

The third reason I might not do this again is that the red cedar seems to not be the main source of the reddish color in the dyebath. The reason is that the cedar bark doesn't look really red at any stage in the game, but the inner layer of the pine root is a dark magenta color. So I think the cedar probably gives a more orange-brown color... which might be nice on its own, but it's not the color I was hoping for...

But even if the red cedar bark doesn't give me the color I wanted, that should by no means discourage others from trying it. It peals off the tree naturally, so there's no struggling to get it off and you won't damage the tree in the slightest bit as long as you take just what's already pealing. It free if you or someone you know has red cedar trees or if they grow wild in your area (Free is always a plus if you ask me!). And the dyebath smelled wonderful, like an old cedar chest. Plus, cedar is a natural moth repellent, which is a bonus for people who have problems with moths getting in their wool.

I'll post pictures when it's all done.

Today... well, yesterday, since it's almost 2 am...

It was a really great day, despite the questionable start.

Went to Ulta with Zinzi to get a Bare Essentuals makeover... Just to see what the "professionals" would do as far as colors on my face... The girl who did mine wasn't a professional though... Didn't say a word beyond the first few minutes and had a look of "what am I going to do with *this!*" on her face like the whole time... She asked when I sat down, "So have you ever used Bare Essentuals before?" I answered yes, I use it all the time. She looked at me sideways and said, "Well then, why are you here?" I was like, "Well, I've never really got into the colored makeup yet and I'm curious about it. I'd like to try it out before I buy it." And she was like "O...kay..." Seemed like every other woman getting theirs done at the same time also already used it and their makeover people weren't giving them a hard time... Whatever... So she proceeded to spackle my face (a major no-no with Bare Essentuals makeup) and it was clear to me that she was very disinterested in what was she was doing. I will not even go into how she applied my lipstick. I ended up looking as pearlescent, pastel and pink as Lana Lang on "Smallville"! With a really bad collagen job because of how she applied the lipliner (which I don't usually wear). Not good... I know pink is a good color on me, but I would rather not look like a sugar-frosted pink Peep, thank you. So I didn't get their recommended colors. I got nothing actually. I decided the best thing to do would be to go back on a less busy day (the store was crawling with people!) and bring the make-up colors I already use (they're all Clinique) and see what Bare Essentuals colors match them best. Because I really like the make-up colors I use now (see photo in my profile to see why), I would just rather use Bare Essentuals eye makeup and lipstick now that I'm running out of my Clinique and I need to either buy more Clinique or switch to something else.

Zinzi looked much cuter than me after her makeover! The guy doing her makeup also wears Bare Essentuals, so he knew what he was doing. When he started, he said something to the effect of, "I just got here, honey, so I'm a little frazzled. I haven't even had time to put on my eyes yet!" His eyes needed no help though! Very thick, dark lashes and gorgeous hazel eyes. He had a great sense of humor, joked around with us, asked questions about what kind of look Zinzi was going for, how she liked her makeup to look, etc and so he did a great job with Zinzi's makeup. He used dark olive green and burgundy eyeshadows, which perfectly complimented both her skintone *and* the shirt she was wearing. And the lipstick was perfect for her skintone too. Very jealous was I 'cause her makeover was *way* better. I looked ridiculous...

After that, we went back to my house, I redid my makeup and then we went to TGI Fridays for dinner. We tried their new appetizers, the fried mac & cheese balls (evil! good, but *evil!*) and the fried green beans. Fried green beans are my new favorite french fries substitute. They were *way* better than the fries!
After dinner we stopped back at my house to get our books and stuff and then headed to Borders to study - Zinzi for the GRE and me for my Latin test on Tuesday. We were there for three hours but it seemed more like a third that time. Our friend, Laura, was working and talking to her gave my brain a rest from studying several times. Zinzi is focused though. I don't think I ever saw her take a break that wasn't instigated by me whining about one thing or another. She tolerated the interruptions well, bless her. I can't ever just sit and study. I have to have some kind of noise and interruption or I get headaches... whether figurative or literal.

Just a bit before closing at 9pm, I got up to go get the few things I was planning to buy - the Fall Interweave Knits magazine because they have got some *cute* patterns in there, including a silk knit spencer jacket, of all things (::wails:: but the yarn would cost $275!), that I have to remember to show to Susan at some point, and a "Studs 'n Spurs" calendar for Maria. It was Maria's birthday last week and we both *love* cowboys and horses, so it is appropriate. The calendar says on the back, "Ride west and fall in love with these toned and tanned cowboys. Each moth a new young buck will have you swearing a pair of jeans never looked so good! This is the perfect calendar for those with a western persuasion, so saddle up for a year filled with hunky heartthrobs." The models all have that wholesome yet sexy farm look about them... like they'd say "aw, shucks, ma'am," at the drop of a hat... ::nods thoughtfully:: She'll like it...

Well, just before I was coming back to the table that Zinzi and I were using, I saw Roy, of all people! He was my inspiring professor of Medieval history... lordy, like three years ago! And he still remembered me! I was shocked! I put my things down over at the table really quickly (the "Studs 'n Spurs" calendar would have been too embarrassing) and then went over to where he was standing looking at the magazine rack. I asked him how things were going and if he and his wife had moved to Boone, NC yet. They haven't, but are still planning to eventually. He asked what I was doing, I told him I was still working on my BA in Medieval history and that I was there studying for a Latin test next week. He asked me what my future plans are, and I told him how I wanted to go on to grad school and get an MA in Medieval too. He remembered that I was interested in the early period without me even mentioning it (he actually remembered that, after three years! I couldn't believe it!), rather than the later one, and expressed what a shame it is that most of the emphasis is on the later period in the History part of academia, but that it will be interesting to see where the field goes in the next decade or so. "But," he said to me, "If you like it, stick with it," and that I should keep an open mind about what to do with it. And I told him that was the plan. He also mentioned that there's a much bigger interest in the early period in archaeology circles and that perhaps I should consider that. Roy is so great! I wished him well and went about my business and he did his... It was really nice to see him again.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fall Knitty and other knitting stuff...

So the Fall Knitty is up... Some of the patterns look really cute. I also appreciate that all the ones that I would want to make have the size I wear in the pattern, most especially Ivy and Viveka. Even Intolerable Cruelty, a knit skirt, has my size! That's like unheard of, a knit skirt pattern at in my size.

"*Would* want to make" because most, if not all, of the yarns chosen by the designers are freaking *expensive*! I've calculated a couple in my size and every single one ranges between $50 - $150! Even thing that aren't garments are made out of the expensive stuff. Like, I love the look of Lizard Ridge. I'd love to make it. But in the yarn it was knit in, it would cost $150-$170+shipping! For a blanket! That's nutz! I don't have that kind of cash for yarn... I can't think of anyone who does... Plus, I usually can't work with commercial wool. Most brands, even most of the higher-end brands, make my hands itch and swell. Not sure yet if I'll have the same problem with alpaca... My uneducated hope is that because it's hair and not wool, it's commercially processed a bit differently. So... I'm going to put those kinds of patterns aside for now. It's not like I have the time, resources or true inclination to knit them right now anyway...

But I have to say that the pattern that I do so love in this quarter's Knitty is Back to School! I'm so going to reserve some of my cotton stash to knit those the next time I'm working on dishcloths/facecloths/washcloths/what-have-you. I also really like Sugar on Snow. I love the little leaves and the cables... And the yarn isn't wool! And you don't need much to knit it up! If only I had someone to knit it for...

I want to make hats for Rachel and Heather for their Christmas presents... or well, part of their Christmas presents because I'm sure I'll get them more than just knit hats... I think they'd probably want something more grown up and trendy than Sugar on Snow. Maybe Topi or Coronet? I e-mailed both of them a week or two ago with a link to a bunch of hat patterns, asking if they'd look around and see what kinds of hats they'd like and let me know about colors... I haven't heard back yet, but I'm sure they're busy... I have a while yet before I need to start on them, so I have time... Or maybe one of them (or both) would like Odessa? I really like the look of it and I adore Rowan Cashsoft DK yarn... and the beads! That would be superfun. I just had a thought that perhaps it is difficult for them to look through all those links listed in that archive of hat patterns... They might not be working on computers that surf quickly enough for it to be easy or efficient for them... So perhaps I should just look around myself and send them just a few options to consider... Yeah, I think I will... I probably should have done that in the first place...

Other hat patterns I think are cute:
Cabled Wide Brim Hat
Simple Fair Isle Hat
The Frivol Hat (without the pom-pom)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI impersonating Urban II?

Or, "Just in case I haven't pissed everyone off at least once, I'm posting this."

Benedict XVI is drawing fire from Muslim clerics and the leaders of predominately Muslim countries the world over today for his supposed inflammatory statements about Islam during his speech at the University of Regensburg entitled "Faith, Reason, and the University." In particular, they object to his quoting a 14th century account of a conversation between a Byzantine Emperor and a Persian scholar. The ancients were discussing the truths of Christianity and Islam... Something that, despite their nearness to the Crusades, they could do with more respect for differences of opinion than we can now, I'm afraid. Here is the quote they object to: "[Emperor Manuel II Paleologus] addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'" He goes on to say later in his speech that "The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to G-d's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, G-d is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our [Catholic?] categories, even that of rationality."

Muslim leaders in Pakistan are going so far as to compare Benedict XVI to "Hitler and Mussolini"... Uh, reality check... Sorry, but - No... The statements he's made are nothing to either of those tyrannical sociopaths. A better comparison would have been saying that Benedict XVI is like Urban II, the Pope who first preached the Crusades at the Council of Clermont in 1095. But even there, what Benedict said was not so bad as Urban II and it's not a fair comparison... In fact, what Benedict XVI said, if anything, is preaching the exact opposite of Crusade. He's calling people of all faiths to have a dialogue in order to end violence in the name of G-d because violence is wrong and against everything reasonable (and one could take his argument further to where G-d = Reason, and I think he'd agree with that... It's a pretty traditionally Greco-Roman influenced Catholic idea there...). Benedict points out with this controversial statement and some of those which follow that Islam, unlike Christianity, has explicit exceptions for when violence is good, holy and necessary in its holy writings. This is true; the Quran does discuss holy war in a frank and open manner, something that the Christian Bible does not... There are some passages in the Christian Bible and other writings that have been interpreted to justify violence in the past, but the Quran is different in that matter because it goes into the idea of a holy war in specifics. I believe that is what Benedict was pointing out. And if they argue with or take offense at that, I would tell them that they need to explain those passages of the Quran then.

Now, there is no love lost by me on the Pope... I disagree with a lot that he and pretty much every single one of his predecessors have done... There is little he is likely to do that will make me happy. ::shrugs:: I really don't care that much for Catholicism in general. And I disagree with a number of things he discusses in this speech, including what seems to be his main point here, that skepticism of religion (i.e.: Catholic Christianity) and the push for secularism is dangerous (to human society, culture, the world), and that Faith (i.e. Christianity) should have a place in Reason, that is, in the modern sciences, and therefore in the university. As a Jewess and as an American citizen, I believe in both skepticism and public secularism wholeheartedly. I believe that theology and questions of faith and G-d (as defined by any religion past, present or future) have absolutely *no place* in the hard sciences and are entirely a question of individual preference and education. (It is funny that this point has very little if anything to do with the state of Catholic-Islamic relations, and, in fact, that the statements he made that have so inflamed the Islamic communities were a minor footnote in his overall message.) I'm also offended on a number of levels by the way that the Pope speaks of "Catholicism," "faith," and "religion" as if all these words and all the ideas they imply are perfectly synonymous with one another... but he's the absolute spiritual leader of a religion which purports itself to be monotheistic (and therefore "the only *true* religion"), so it doesn't surprise me, even if it offends me. Furthermore, the statement that, "[The convergence between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry], with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remain the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe," strikes me badly in two ways that I can articulate. If I were a Turk, I wouldn't like that because it seems a dig against the Turkish desire to enter the European Union, as if he is saying in a way that Turkey, as a Muslim country, can't be a part of the European Union because it is not Christian. And at the same time, it strikes me badly because in context it equates "Biblical faith," a phrase that can be widely applied by itself, exclusively with early Christians, as if that's the highest "Biblical faith" there is... To give him the benefit of a doubt which I don't really feel, he is probably not meaning this as a slight to the legitimacy of the Jewish faith... It could just be the result of his upbringing in a society where anti-Semitism is unconscious but nonetheless pervasive... i.e. Europe... most especially, Germany... They can't help it. It's too ingrained at this point for them to realize that a statement such as this can be taken this way by someone of a different background, the same way that older white people in the South don't realize what they are doing when they do or say something that would be considered by everyone else to be grossly racist, and it doesn't surprise me anymore, even as it continues to be an irritant. So I would never go out of my way to defend any of his statements or actions arbitrarily.

I think the Muslim leaders who are angry with these statements are either, at best, being too sensitive, or at worst, trying to be deliberately inflammatory themselves, accusing the Pope of things he has not done by taking his statements deliberately out of context in order to stir up their followers to further violence and protest. If it is the first case, I can understand why leaders might be too sensitive. After all (and this might piss a lot of people off, but it's still true), Islam is not yet at the point in its development where it (as a whole) takes criticism and decent among its followers well, and you can forget about shrugging off criticism from outsiders. Islam is at the point in its development where Christianity was in... well... right around when the Crusades and the Inquisition happened. This isn't particularly good when all the other major religions on the world stage take critique much better... or ignore it altogether... But we have to deal with it anyway. ::sighs::

I think another idea of which Pope Benedict speaks here is interesting however... It is not one that he subscribes to - he does reject this idea, and anyone who knows anything about Catholicism will quickly see why... That of the trend toward "dehellenizing" Christianity in recent centuries since the Enlightenment. I find it interesting because if one was truly to "dehellenize" Christianity, it would end up looking a lot more like Judaism than any kind of Christianity that exists today... Jesus wouldn't be considered divine in any measure, Mary wouldn't be considered to have been a virgin, Christian baby boys would be circumcised as a matter of religious law, the Eucharist would be a lot more like an Oneg, pig would not be eaten with such gusto at Christmas and Easter, the idea of staying unmarried and childless would *not* be considered a good or godly thing... to point out a few... In short, there would be no Catholic Church as we know it, no offshoots from it, and Eastern Orthodoxy would not exist either. Christianity is *so* influenced by Greek thought, tradition, culture, etc that it would be utterly impossible to separate out all the Hellenized parts of Christianity and still be left with anything that looks fundamentally Christian to modern eyes. The Pope says as much in his speech and he is right in this. Seriously, if you took out all the Greek elements, what would you be left with? Like half the "New Testament" is written in Ancient Greek, for goodness sake, and the Hebrew Bible that they traditionally use is the Egyptian Greek translation, the Septuagint. And most of the stories in the "New Testament" are written with Greco-Roman literary influence and style... It was a Hellenized Mediterranean culture that produced it! So the idea of dehellenizing Christianity is the most absurd thing I've heard of in a while... Unless the goal is to not have a religion left when you're done with it. And you know, the ironic thing is that the Judaism that Christianity probably grew out of was a type of Judaism that was rebelling against the Hellenized Judaism of Judea's aristocracy and priesthood as it was being practiced right around the year 1 (by the Gregorian calendar... and we wouldn't have that calendar either since that comes out of Greco-Roman Christian tradition!)... LOL! I find it incredibly amusing...

It was nonetheless an interesting speech and so I encourage everyone to read either the entire speech delivered by the Pope, or the "key excerpts" at BBC News' website.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"Takings" Will Leave Us In Dire Straights

Please, take a minute to read this article and write your elected officials opposing "Takings."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Okay, one more thing before I go...

All of my newly dyed and dried wool together... The lightest one looks a little too light in this photo and the darkest one a little too dark, but oh, well, you get the idea...

See ya...

I'm going to Virginia tomorrow afternoon and will be back home on Sunday. No updates til then.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pokeberry dyeing update #4

Ha-Ha! Ballet pink! I did a normal dyeing (1 hour, 160 degrees), but removed the wool immediately after the hour was up, instead of letting it soak overnight.

Pokeberry dyeing update #3

It keeps coming along... The third time I used the same dyebath, I've gotten an... almost ballet pink. It's a little darker than ballet pink, but of the same hue... just a darker tone... ya know? Here are pictures...

This is the wool from the thrice used pokeberry dyebath. My phone is wonky... It's a bit lighter than this (though not as light as below).

For comparison, this is the third result (on the left) next to the second result (on the right) that I've gotten. The left one should be just a touch darker than shown.

This is a better picture of what I got the second time I used the dyebath than I was able to get and post yesterday. It's about this color.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pokeberry dyeing update #2

Second batch is in and looking pretty good! Here are pictures:

I tried to take a picture from far away like I did with the first one, but it came out very electric looking... it is nowhere near this bright in reality...

But neither is it quite this dull looking...

The last one comes closest out of all the photos as to what the actual color of the second dyeing looks like. It's really a kind of pinky-orange-red... almost a salmon, but a bit more red than salmon. The first batch of dyed yarn is on the right and the second is on the left in both of the last two photos here.


Hey, all you Floridians out there, did you vote today? You've got four more minutes before the polls close! Go vote!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Pokeberry dyeing update #1

Well, yesterday I dyed my alum mordanted wool. 8 ounces of it. Enough for the stripes on two shawls. Today (as per Rita Buchanan's instructions to soak overnight in cooling dyebath), I took the wool out and have hung it up to dry. Here are pictures:
Will have to wait and see if the color changes after it dries and is rinsed. Rita says to let the wool dry completely and then rinse with plain water until the water runs clear.

I haven't thrown out the dyebath yet. It's still in the pot in the garage because I think I can dye some more wool in it. It's very dark still... might get a lighter color that's still pretty? Plan to start that after I see how the first batch turns out. Might do some cotton too, just to see what happens. This was fun, even if the dyebath smells horrible!

I also dug up some pine roots yesterday. Dad's instructions were "just don't kill the trees." Well, duh. From the sources I've found, they dye wool a dark red, garnet color... Will get to them soon, with luck. I hope we get some goldenrod before it gets too late in the season. All the marigolds have stopped flowering. I wish I'd found out how pretty they dye sooner. I would have saved them in the freezer all summer. We had hundreds! We still have some sage, rosemary and other herbs, but not enough to make a dyepot. Thinking of also trying to collect enough live oak bark to do a batch of something... and maybe leaves too. We also have dozens of Eastern red cedar. Probably should get some bark from those too while I'm at it. Need to remember about onion skins too!