Saturday, January 17, 2009

moaning, bitching, and waulking

Ah, January.

In New Brunswick, that means short days (but getting longer) and cold weather. There is usually what we call a "January thaw" when the temperatures leap to above zero and melting happens only to have us plunge back into the deep freeze. This year we have foregone the thaw part and skipped right into "Holy **** is that ever COLD!" -34 C the other morning! Not including the wind chill factor. For those of you from balmy regions, a wind chill is how cold it feels with the wind blowing every molecule of warmth from your body. Think humidex in reverse. It has been this way since Monday and tomorrow we are scheduled to have a daytime high of a balmy -12 C. Ah, bliss.

Pretty sick when -12 seems warm.

I'm taking a new class this term. It is Surface Embellishments 2. This is where we get to apply a lot of our techniques learned last term into actual projects. The first project is called "Pillow Talk" and we are suppose to make a pillow that "says" something. This could be actual words or some sort of conceptual idea. We need to incorporate dyeing, silk screening and stitching on our pillow.

After looking at many images of pillows on the internet, I decided to make a pillow that resembles a pile of leaves. Thinking of the childhood pleasures of jumping into a pile of leaves. I can't remember the last time that I jumped into a pile of leaves. It certainly wasn't a pile that I raked up! But what joy and carefree abandonment. With no thought to the consequences. Which in this case would be having to rake up the leaves again. And put them in the bag. And get the bag to the curb while hoping that some drunken yahoo doesn't kick it open and spread the leaves out again. Sigh.

While I would like to make a beanbag chair the size of a pile of leaves (all the flopping with none of the raking) I am going to have to settle for a model beanbag pillow. Maybe 18 to 24 inches round. And sort of pile shaped. It is due in two weeks and I'll be back periodically with a report.

In the mean time, I'll leave you with an image of some yardage that I wove in the summer 5 years ago. It is 6 yards, 38 inches wide, 100% wool that I and another woman wove for a waulking demonstration the summer that I was pregnant with wee Nicole. It lost a yard in length and 7 inches in the width during the waulking.

And for those of you wondering what waulking is, it is fulling woolen fabric by stitching the two ends together, wetting it with hot water, and grabbing and squeezing it and the pounding it on the table. It is done by a group of people around a table and the fabric is passed around the table so that it is evenly fulled. See a video here. It seems in the video that they are doing it dry. Thankfully we were outside on a bright sunny day because we managed to get everything soaked!


Julia said...

That is a beautiful blanket. I hope that you are making use of it to keep warm on these frigid days.

Thanks for the video clip that demonstrate the waulking. It must be an unknown word to my spell check. I never heard of that word either until now.

I still have that very catchy la la tune running around in circles in my mind.La la la la la la la la la....

Chris said...

That's beautiful. I have covetessness in my soul.

~Sarah, too lazy to log in with other account

Dani said...

What a gorgeous fabric. It reminds me of those Hudson Bay blankets my grandparents used to have (different colours of course).

mira's papa said...

I see we are headed for some beach weather on Monday. At -4 I'll be putting on my shorts. :-)

TadMack said...

Brr! This is why we didn't fly through Minnesota on this trip home; they're having the same weather. Even flying into Schipol in Holland was a surprise -- it's always mild and rainy there, and the canals were frozen. That was truly bizarre.

I guess Global Warming is really Global Aberrations.

mira's papa said...

Wow, the canals in Holland frozen? So this year one can believe Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates. Cool. It's not many winters these last couple of decades when the Dutch can skate on the canals.

Yes, I think "global warming" is a bit of a misnomer. Global weather extremes is more like it. We shattered a 125 year old record for cold this week. It stood since 1884, and now we have it. Not a happy record to break.

DaviMack said...

Exactly! Way back when I was in high school (okay, not that way back, I'll give you, but ... in the 1980's) and I was first introduced to the whole "global warming" thing, they stressed that it would lead to extremes of weather - that it would actually get colder in some places, in some parts of the year, and that places like the Pacific Coast would get more rain, while the interior would end up getting far less. It's an amplification of the seasonal oscillation, not a shifting of the base of the curve. But people will use this nasty cold weather to "prove" that it's not warming. Bah.

f. pea said...

I love the pile of leaves idea!

Julia said...

Leave your comment, leaf your pillow. I like the pun.
I think that wee Nicole would get it, like the Little Bear adventure in The Talking Tree. Leaf us alone.