Friend’s Baby and Baby Blanket In-Progress

I started project blogging back in 2006 with posts about blankets for my twin nieces (https://www.jmjamison.com/basil-for-twins-the-blanket-not-the-plant/). Knitting them Basil Blankets from Courtney Kelley’s pattern https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/basil-5.

In that time before Ravelry her patterns were sold from her Smith Island Pattern Factory site. Now her work is available from: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/courtney-kelley

So, fourteen years later the original recipients are in high school and and another child and another blanket is on the way.

politics and personal

As they say the personal is political. Most of the time my textile related projects are here and my politics are over in my friend, Edi Vache’s facebook group: Punks for Bernie in the Apocalypse (ttps://www.facebook.com/groups/punksforbernie/ ). Something she started back in 2016.

Right now, for me, it doesn’t feel like the time to write about sock knitting, spinning or weaving.

With that in mind, here are some resources.

The above list comes from my co-workers. We work in a library, we know how to find things.

“Class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you’re on.
“Class analysis is figuring out who is there with you.”

I need to properly attribute the above poster. Will update when I find it.

UFOs (Unfinished Projects)

This one is embarrassing. About a year or so ago I received a box of heirloom cotton. The project was to gin it, spin, and do something. It sat on my desk for way to long while I’d occasionally get some of the ginning done, comb, roll some punis, spin a bit and that was about it.

Since I’ve been working from home – the faux cubicle with a view – I got on a roll hand ginning all the cotton. Unlike my backyard Pima this cotton didn’t peel easily off the seeds. I ginned through Zoom meetings, breaks, the occasional netflix movie and about two weeks into quarantine that part was finished.

Originally I learned how to spin cotton on a book charkha from Eileen Hallman / New World Textiles (https://newworldtextiles.com/). She’s a fabulous teacher and if you have the chance to take one of her workshops do so.

Ashford Charkha

Over time my cotton spinning preference has been the Ashford Charkha. I’m able to spin in a chair with the weel in my lap. Wheel base is less than a foot in length and very portable.

And recently I bought myself a GypsySpinner Mini-Lap Charkha (https://www.facebook.com/minicottonspinner/). Spins beautifully and even more portable. So I have no more excuses.

GypsySpinner Mini Lap-Charkha

On the Internet No One Knows You’re a Dog or That You’re Spinning Cotton During Zoom Meetings

GypsySpinner Mini Lap Charkha and the cotton shrub that ate my clothes line

Still working from home. This is the first time I’ve had a window in my cubicle. And I can water what’s left of the post-drought garden on my breaks.

Today, like about an hour ago my GypsySpinner Mini Lap Charkha arrived in the mail (https://www.facebook.com/minicottonspinner). Picture me happily spinning during Zoom meetings. While my co-workers assume I’m knitting another pair of socks.

I work cramped and I like fold-able and portable. This is as portable as a book charkha. When UCLA employees go back to working on campus the mini-charkha is going with me for lunch breaks.

Interminable reboots during software updates no longer irritates me. Grab a spindle or sock knitting.

Back at the home-cubicle I have a UFO (Unfinished Project, not a flying saucer) that involves cotton spinning so more on later.

On the Internet No One Knows You’re a Dog or That You’re Knitting During Zoom Meetings

I’ve been fortunate to not lose my job during the Covid19 quarantine. In my case this means working remote from home. My co-workers know me pretty well so they probably assume I’m knitting during Zoom meetings whether I am or not so I might as well do so. (Now there’s a dreadful run-on sentence…)

various knitted socks
My summer sock knitting binge

Lots of sock knitting so far, burning through my stash of Patons Kroy Sock Yarn. Basic sock pattern from Wendy Johnson’s Socks from the Toe Up. Her web site: https://wendyknits.

End of Oxalis 2020

Last of the Oxalis
Last Oxalis 2020

I’m really a craptacular blogger. Haven’t posted since January when the Oxalis started to take off. As I have often posted, Oxalis is a pain-in-the-neck for gardens but a great dye plant. It goes rampant around January and starts to die off around May-June when the weather heats up.

dye plant demo
From the Huntington Gardens Fiber Day Demo (last year)

January 2020: Oxalis and Bees Again

In Los Angeles the Oxalis invasion start around January

January is when the Oxalis starts it’s annual invasion. As annoying as it can be – taking over the garden – it’s still my staple for yellow dye and a favorite with local bees. I let the bees have at it in the morning and pick after. By the time it starts dying off I’ll have a good supply of dried oxalis, enough for myself and to give away to other dyers.

oxalis samples: wool, soy-silk, cotton
Oxalis samples: wool, soy-silk, cotton

Recipe notes here: http://www.jmjamison.com/2008/01/

Of Woad, Oxalis, and Cotton Mordanting

[Bees in the Oxalis]

About the Woad.  I haven’t written much about Woad since there hasn’t been any for awhile. Woad is not a desert plant. (Pause for a moment of duh.) My area of southern California is what some may call “reclaimed desert”. Something you can forget until the car breaks down in the San Fernando Valley in July and there is your reminder. 

Two years of drought wiped out whatever Woad I still had growing. But, I still have seeds from the last plant so I’m going to try again this year. Nothing of course can wipe out Oxalis.  And the bees like it.

My other on-going project will be mordanting cotton following the method described in John Liles ‘Art and craft of natural dyeing”.    Lots of scouring, soaking and then mordanting, more steeping, more soaking and then you get to the actual dying.