Akoites and Melampos, part 2

The Akoites and Melampos Project, part 2 Where'd I leave off, anyhow? I'm writing this offline, don't have access to what I wrote before. Also slightly under the influence of both dark cherry hard cider and books set in the Florida Keys, and between the two, I am regressing to my Southernness. So do please pardon me. I imagine I already posted the materials and the beginnings of weaving. So I'll pick up about there. The body of Akoites, ready to be cut off the loom. Sounds painful, eh? He don't seem to mind it though. To get the dolls to stand upright, you turn the middle of the strip into a flat-bottomed pocket, and put flat river stones in. Then you stitch up the sides and stuff the tube with more wool, and a layer of lavender to keep the moths away. Looks a little wonky, doesn't he? It'll be ok. Needs some more shaping is all. I foolishly tied together the warp ends at the top and stitched the shoulders closed. Foolishly, because I hadn't made the arms yet. I had to unpick it. And here are both bodies without arms, waiting. And waiting for me to do the dying of their head-wool. In the mean time, while I figure out what on earth to do now that the tea dyeing and the coffee dyeing haven't worked, I'd do some of their accoutrements. A tricorn pirate's hat for Akoites, a cloak for Melampos, and a tiny thyrsos for one or the other of them. Finally, I got the colors for the heads sorted, although not really to my satisfaction, and made the two sets of arms merely by twining lengths of yarn together. Here's Akoites, more or less finished, just needing dolphin and thyrsos, front and back. Here's Melampos, who's so dark he doesn't photograph well in my living room, but who still needs his braids finished, plus a staff and his sneks. And here's the pair of them, finished. Materials: Akoites: Plymouth Select DK Merino Superwash, white brown merino black merino red merino raw wool (hair and stuffing) lavender (stuffing) brackberry bramble, thorns removed (thyrsos) tiny pinecone (thyrsos) Dolphin: white merino silver-grey kid mohair Melampos: Plymouth Select DK Merino Superwash, black red merino (cloak, snake) white merino (cloak, snake) dark brown merino raw wool (stuffing) lavender (stuffing) no 12 crochet thread, black (hair) metallic charcoal Angelina (hair ties) blackberry bramble, thorns removed (staff)...

Akoites and Melampos, part 1

A friend has commissioned me to make dolls of two Starry Bull heroes, Akoites and Melampos. Akoites was the captain of the pirate ship that kidnapped the young Dionysos and planned to sell him as a slave. Akoites was the only one who thought this was a bad idea, because he sensed the god's divinity, but his mutinous sailors did it anyway. When Dionysos awoke, he trapped the ship in vines and turned all the sailors into dolphins -- except Akoites himself. Akoites later went on to serve as herald for Dionysos when he returned to his mother's home, Thebes, warning King Pentheus that Dionysos was a god and not to be trifled with. Melampos came upon a nest of snakes as a young man, and, killing the adults, took two of the young ones and raised them by hand. They slept on his shoulders and cleaned out his ears with their tongues, giving him the power to understand the speech of birds, beast, even insects. He went on to be a great seer and had a number of adventures, including acquiring the cattle of Phylakos, a bride, and a lot of land -- which he gave to his brother. When the Argosian women were driven mad by Dionysos, it was Melampos who healed them by correctly divining the source of the god's anger and addressing it. So. Both dolls will have the white-red-black thematic colors of the Starry Bull. Akoites will wear white, with a black tricorn pirate's hat (by request) and a red cape of cloak. His hair will be made from brown-black raw wool with sun-bleached tips. He will be accompanied by a dolphin, and possibly wear vines. Melampos will have a darker face, braided silk-thread hair in black, and wear black, with a white-and-red cloak, one red and one white snake, and possibly a thyrsos. Some pictures! Wool and yarn, almost all of the materials for the dolls. Warping! I usually hate warping, but this time it felt good. I haven't touched this loom in months. And the weaving has begun!...

Spinning Crocus Colors

In 2013, I was painting some silk hankies (aka mawata, a preparation of silk for spinning in which one stretches single entire cocoons over a square frame to form incredibly thin layers), and I did one ounce in peacock shades, which I eventually sent to a friend who was learning to spin, and another in purple, green, yellow and white, for spring crocuses. A few months ago, I finally got around to starting to spin the crocus colors, and even wrote a poem about them to submit to an upcoming anthology in honor of Flora. (I still owe that anthology a piece on Hekate and lavender.) I was in a lot of pain at the time, and I used the spinning to catch some of it up and pull it out of me, one of the things that can be done with spinning magic, and one for which sticky, grabby silk preparations like hankies are particularly good for. I've been working on it in bits and pieces, using it to capture pain, worry, depression, anxiety. I finally finished it! One ounce of thick-and-thin energized-single silk yarn. The colors got rather more blue in the drafting and spinning than I had meant them to be. Next time I try this, I'll add some other colors to get a better balance. Some red to the violet, some yellow to the green. But it's pretty anyway. I hope to use it as warp and weave it into a narrow scarf. The thick-and-thin and the extra twist should give it some interesting texture. It may take a while to get that done, though. The RH Cricket loom is missing a length of dowel, and I'd have to replace that before I could weave....

Linkspam from Beyond the Grave

I used to do occasional linkspam posts. I think I'll take it up again. Maybe I'll start posting them Fridays, as weekend reading suggestions. Where There's a Will, There's a Ghost on Strange Company Animism at the Dinner Table from Sarah Anne Lawless Feeling Grief + Dreaming Another World at Woolgathering & Wildcrafting 8 ways white witches can support #BlackLivesMatter on Little Red Tarot 51 of the most important things you've ever fought about at Autostraddle Death & the Maidens at, well, Death and the Maiden, writing on a topic I'm also working on a piece about. Here's a waulking song Beth from Little Red Tarot shared. Waulking is a (sadly dying, if not already dead) traditional way of fulling newly woven cloth. The tweed or plaid would be taken off the loom, and all the women of the village would gather to help. Warm stale urine (wash) would be poured over the cloth as a way of scouring out any dirt, oils or foreign matter (this was before soap was readily available in the quantities needed), the cloth would be placed on a long table or board, and thumped against it rhythmically. The women would sing to keep time and amuse themselves. A waulking song with no waulking, no matter how lovely (and it is lovely) being done just doesn't seem right to me. At least put some nice thumpy thuddy percussion in. A video of waulking the tweed whilst singing a waulking song, which I think shows the need for that percussion, and some explanation of waulking: Although it's not stretching the cloth, it's fulling it. And finally, on a personal note, after nearly twenty years of threatening to shave my head in the summer, I've now mostly done it. Inspired by Holtzman in the new Ghostbusters movie, I've shaved the back and sides, leaving only the hair on my crown long. It's cool and comfortable, the clipped part is all velvety and nice to touch, and it looks fuckin' awesome! So here's an incredibly rare pic of me, just minutes after it was finished. ETA: Note to self: Going to give shorn hair to Hermes and Athena. Hermes, asked if I should hang it from a tree for birds, told me to wait before doing anything. Athena turned down a Woolly God image of her stuffed with it, but accepted jewelry made from it....

Greek Key Belt

112 inches, including the braids, Greek key design in red, white and black. I had to weave it in two sections to get the length I wanted. It's meant to be a belt for my ritual chiton. I'd've liked to have it wider, but it wasn't practical for various reasons. Perhaps sometime I'll have a better loom to hold it, that will allow for both more length and more width. Also, preferably, with the design running in the same direction the whole way. The reason it changes direction every four repeats is that the threads twist with each turn of the cards, and the only ways to release the twist is to turn the cards the other way or to untie the threads and untwist them that way. I'd also like to weave one using six-sided cards, which would allow me to make a more convoluted pattern -- more like the key design we usually think of, and a true meander pattern. Like so: If I'm understanding the mechanics correctly -- and I think I am -- then the hex cards would allow me to do that. For something like this one, I'd need 8-sided ones, which I'd have to make myself, I think....

Back to the Rainbow Flag

More than a year after I stopped working on my rainbow flag throw, I'm finally picking it up again. To recap, the idea is, a giant queer rainbow flag throw made up of individual tiny triangles woven on my little 4" triloom. Each triangle will have a spell woven into it. Red for protection, orange for strength, yellow for prosperity (changed from wisdom), green for health, blue for peace, and purple for passion. Each color is to have two rows built of 72 triangles, not 54, as one of the previous posts states, and not three rows as I originally planned, because my math was wrong and it wound up being like 8' long. (I thought the little loom was 4" along the hypotenuse, but it's 4" along the leg and about 6" along the hypotenuse.) So the finished thing should be 6'x8'. If I ever finish. I did finish one row of red before I left off, and have it all stitched together and everything. Somewhere. Now I can't find it. That's bad. I hope it turns up before I'm ready to stitch the whole thing together, or that's a lot of work down the drain. I'm sure I put it somewhere "safe". At any rate, it feels good to have an ongoing project again....

The Fable of the Tuft of Wool

by Rebecca Lynn Scott Once upon a time, there was a mother who had three daughters who quarreled all day long. So she sat them down and handed them each a tuft of wool and said, "Pull it apart." They did, and it was easy. It came apart in their fingers like a puff of cloud. Then the mother took up her spindle and another tuft of wool, and spun it swiftly into good strong yarn, and said to her daughters, "Now, pull that apart." And it was much harder. "When you work together, you are stronger, just as fibers twisted together are stronger than loose ones." She taught them all to spin. Leaving the youngest spinning, but telling her to watch because soon, this would be her work, too, she taught the elder two to weave. When they had a piece of fabric, she said to her daughters, "Now, try to pull that apart," and they could not, for the weaving was strong. Leaving the middle daughter weaving, but telling her to keep watching because soon, this would be her work, too, she taught the eldest daughter to build a loom for herself. "Now you can all work together to make the cloth that cannot be torn," she told them....

Pattern Sampler

Project notes for miscellaneous patterns Tarot of the Tailors card: The Tool: Good fortune with tools, especially mechanized ones. Materials: Background: 14/2 Euroflax linen in Emerald Pattern: 3/2 pearl cotton in Silver Border accent: Stash pearl cotton scraps, probably 10/2, dusty blue Long-path warp on the inklette, one HEX.INK bracelet, plus assorted pattern tests. Pictures! Meant for a bracelet. May or may not be a good length for that. A thunderbolt for a Zeus band. Full band would have these on either side of his name. Eye and crown for a Hera band. Full band would have one of each of these on either side of her name. Double A, bow and arrow, and tripod for the Artemis and Apollo band. Full band would have either the AA or the tripod centered, with the other and another bow on either side. Haven't decided yet. And since I had some warp left, I tried weaving a tube for the first time. This is done by simply always passing the shuttle in the same direction, e.g. left to right, and then pulling the loose warp behind the web tight later, to pull it into a tube. I like it....

Glimpses

I'm just sort of noodling around creatively lately. I threw a linen and cotton warp on the inkle because I liked the colors, and then decided to test out some patterns for god bands on it. Artemis's bow, for a band for the Twins, came out pretty well: But the first attempt at a tripod for Apollon -- the visually simplest of his symbols -- came out pretty much incomprehensible: A second try is more plainly a three-legged stool, at least, which I think is about as good as I'm going to manage: I've been trying to finish plying some thread I've been working on rather desultorily for months, and finally managed it: Nice soft gray, with purples, pinks and yellows. I think I want to do an abstract tapestry of hills and angles, something about mists and sunrise, when I get some more of it spun up. Finishing left me with a naked spindle: This, of course, is scandalous, and cannot be allowed, so I grabbed the next rolag of the color and began to dress it again: This weekend's project is the next Art is Anathema prompt, "Even the monster was once a dear child." I know what I want to do. We'll see if I can pull it off....