Thursday, March 29, 2007

mermaid scales & chometz

I've been busy teaching myself to take photos of my handspun for my new venture over at etsy: http://www.joanneseiff.etsy.com
This replaces my sadly out of date handspun on my website. This blurry close-up is of "caramel and chocolate" or camel down plied with a luscious rich naturally brown soft wool. Until I learn to take a picture in focus, I don't think I'll post it!

My newest combination is just plain luck. I bought a gorgeous Cotswold fleece in the fall, and dyed it, a pound at a time, into different colors. Some colors were a light spring green, slightly darker at the tips of the locks, and a darker, grassy green. I sent them off to be carded at Stonehedge Fiber Mill because, well, everyone has limits. More than 10-20 lbs of wool? I get overwhelmed sometimes, and large quantities of raw wool in a town with hard water? Send it Away!! The boxes were (hidden,) scattered around my house. Yesterday, I got out these colors, blended them a bit, and put the two rovings together. What a deep, shiny color! To me, they look exactly like Mermaid Scales. Amazing.


The professor's sweater is coming along but the front doesn't seem to be nearly as interesting as the back. Isn't that always the way? Our recent heatwave hasn't helped. Mid 80's in March makes all the flowers bloom and wilt overnight. I've felt a little wilty too.

My Passover preparations are slow and steady. The chicken soup and brisket are cooked and frozen. (The first night seder at my house takes a lot of cooking preparation.) Every day I'm tackling something new. Passover gives me a good excuse to do spring cleaning, and since, at best, I'm an inconsistent type when it comes to housework, there's plenty to do. The cleaning helps get rid of chametz, which means: (courtesy of Dictionary.com)
–noun Hebrew.
1.
a food forbidden for use by Jews during the festival of Passover, esp. a baked food, as bread or cake, made with leaven or a leavening agent.
2.
a dish, kitchen utensil, or the like used in preparing or serving such food and similarly forbidden for use during Passover.

So, this is the time of year to clean off the shelves and cupboards, wipe them down, move all the pasta, flour, yeast, oatmeal, and granola bars out of the kitchen. People do this to varying degrees to observe the holiday. Some folks have entirely different kitchen set ups for Passover, and follow very careful rabbinic cleaning guidelines. Others clean up, remove the chametz (or chometz) and do the best they can to avoid all bread products, because when the Jews fled Egypt, there wasn't time for their bread to rise. We remember that by avoiding anything that rises for the holiday. I also have friends and family who may go to a seder, but their only big dietary change might be giving up beer!!

(Seder means "order," and the ritual meal has a certain order in telling the story. That's why the prayer book is called "Haggadah" which is from the verb, "Le-hagid" or to tell) It's all to remember the Exodus from Egypt, that our ancestors were slaves and we're now free. This is meaningful in the context of social action--we should always be helping others towards safety and freedom, so the discussion's always relevant. I expect civil rights, Darfur, and many other serious political issues will come up at seders all over the world this year.

While Sally is always tidying up (this is a daily occurrence here, 5 stuffed toys are on the office futon right now), I'm not... how is this dog related to me?! so I'm off to force myself into vacuuming, oven cleaning, changing dishes, and other household challenges.

I'm very excited by the number of people who seem to drop by my blog! Thanks to all of you who left nice messages about my new pattern. I'm working on my set of napkins right now. I recently found out that if you want the exact yarns I used in the pattern, you might order them online at Joann's and get a discount! (Nope, I didn't arrange that one ahead of time! :)

6 Comments:

Blogger Peggy said...

I love the Exodus story, it is so amazing. And I love your "mermaid scales," those colors are beautiful and so perfect for one another. On my way to your Esty.

March 29, 2007 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

hi Joanne! Saw your comment on Harlot's blog - you can use knitting needles in NZ! Still not in Aus but not sure about the UK. I'm moving there soon though so I suspect I'm about to find out...

March 29, 2007 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger annmarie said...

Mermaid scales! What a perfect way to describe these lovely colors and how they work together so beautifully. :)

March 29, 2007 at 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Sam said...

Joanne, the mermaid color yarn is spectacular! The luster of the Cotswold is an amazingly beautiful thing. Do you have future plans for it? Congrats on the professor's sweater, and thanks to you for the explations regarding Passover. I always learn something fascinating from you! :-)

March 30, 2007 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Diane said...

I've been having a look at your yarns - I love the adobe one! For some reason the mermaid picture isn't coming up for me, I wish it would as it sounds great.

Thankyou for describing your Passover plans, I have always been interested in the customs of other religions but sometimes it's awkward to ask people.

March 30, 2007 at 2:44 PM  
Blogger vanessa said...

your mermaid scales are beautiful :-)

March 31, 2007 at 9:40 PM  

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