Thursday, January 18, 2007
"Why does it only flood in Indiana?" my son asked.
"I assure you the river rises on both sides equally," I told him, "It's just that here- the banks on the Kentucky side are so steep, and we are on the flood plain, so we see more water here- but as you follow the river the floodplains switch sides."
This conversation gave me the opportunity to explain about the river's oxbows and how fertile floodplains are formed. I wanted to follow up our discussion with a good look at the elevations on a topographic map. Unfortunately I was not able to find a free map of the Ohio River basin, so we looked at the Aeriel photo on Google maps. The Aeriel photographs revealed much more than I expected because the patchwork of the farm fields of the floodplain stood in sharp contrast to the wooded hills with clefts of creeks which almost inevitably lay directly opposite.
The farmland lays on the inside of the curve of each oxbow. I found great beauty in the intricate levels of texture, color, land, water, straight and curvilinear, flat and jagged - all displayed like a rich textile, evidence of an ancient flow that carves and deposits the river silt. As we traced our way down the river from our town to Louisville- my son noticed a few dart shaped islands and I mentioned that sometimes in a slightly different situation, the curves of an oxbow become so exaggerated that they touch- cutting off an island and allowing the river to follow a new path. Just a little further on our aerial river trek we saw an amazing figure in the landscape- just across the river from Alton Indiana, can you see it?
If the path of the Ohio River interests you, I recommend this historical novel which is based on a true story which played out locally right along this river and along the backwaters. "Follow the River" By James Alexander Thom. It's the story of Mary Ingalls who was kidnapped from Virginia by Shawnee in 1755, escaped at Big Bone Lick Kentucky and was guided and tormented by the Ohio River as she used it to find her way home through the wilderness. Another suggestion if you like Historical Novels is "The Frontiersman" by Alan Eckert which details the life of Simon Kenton.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
My AnySoldier Valentine
I don't have my camera with me today- so excuse the poor scan of my own little gourd valentine. The scan couldn't get it all sharp because of the convex surface. It's woodburned with a light stain of red and blue color. It says "American Hero" and I really like the lettering because it reminds me of the Declaration of Independence. It's about 4 inches across.
It's still January- but I was thinking about Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day in the service specifically. I thought how hard it must be to keep connections with your loved ones when you are so far away and the everyday grind must be so difficult. Since I learned about Anysoldier.com I have been trying to send care packages, postcards and letters of support when I can, and I encourage everyone else to do so as well.
The most recent package I made up consists of a Valentine's craft project. I cut some heart shaped blanks from some hardshell gourds using a craftsman mini tool. The convex surface of the gourd makes a very pleasing curved shape that really gives each one a unique appearance. There is one group of soldiers I know of who have a woodburning tool, so I am just going to send them the gourd blanks. The package going to Ramadi is also going to have some purple and pink satin ribbon- some dimensional fabric paint- sandpaper, and some tiny self stick paper roses (I figure that they will want to pretty up the valentines they send home) It's probably not much, but I hope that spending a few hours crafting a little trinket like this will help lighten the heart of some dad to think of the smile on his little girl's face when she gets it.
If doing something like this interests you, please go the the AnySoldier website and spend some time reading the updates from overseas. You will quickly get a feel for the types of things that the troops are in need of... but beyond snack-food and hygiene supplies- what they need the most is the knowledge that they are loved, supported, remembered and appreciated by those of us at home. The postage on a letter or package is the same as sending a letter to the next town over. You can put your support on a bumper sticker... but you can also put it in a package and send it to them directly.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I finished the socks last week with little to no fanfare. I’m really not happy with them. I guess the gauge is too loose because they are not warm and they feel rough to stand on, like net. I used size twos as suggested on the ball band- but I think from now on I am going to knit all my socks with incredibly tight gauge.
Beyond the breezy texture of the knitting, the pooling really threw me for a loop. I thought it was fun on the first sock and anticipated more of the same for the second sock. Unfortunately the second ball of yarn had a very different pattern randomly developing in the colored plies and the large sections of solid red simply weren’t there. The second sock did wind up with a pooled pattern but it was very subtle- there are bands of marled rows alternating with bands of solid color rows red and purple. Because I planned to wear these with clogs- I switched back to my remaining first ball for the heel and ankle to at least get a little cohesion- so this is the end result.
As I lost enthusiasm for the socks I realized that this wonderful yarn had just been misapplied in the project and I decided to try it out on the Diamond Head hat pattern by David Xenakis from the “Knitter’s Dozen” hats book.
Sure enough the nature of the yarn really shines when knit into tiny facets of this diamond design. Can you believe this is the same yarn as the socks!?
It is a very fiddly project and there are so many ends to weave. As I worked on it I kept thinking that a person with forethought could avoid most of the end weaving if they began the project with seven bobbins of yarn and didn’t break the yarn at the tip of each diamond… well… next time, if there ever is a next time. This design seems more reasonable for crochet than knitting but I am enjoying it… let’s see if I can still say that after I weave in all the ends!