Fascinating ancient history

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was dense in detail but fascinating. Mann surveys traditional views of pre-contact Americas and shows how recent scholarship has undermined some and challenged others. Several are still unresolved, giving scholars more research to do.

It begins quite slowly, but for me became fascinating in the later 2/3 with the discussion of when and how the first peoples entered via the Bering Straits. Among other things, research has challenged there ever being a narrow window when there was a path between glaciers for them to traverse. Also the date has been pushed back and the three migrations questioned.

The biggest revision is the shift from natives who didn’t disturb nature to natives who farmed and tamed nature to their needs, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Another revision is the sophistication of civilization achieved. I was also interested in discussions of writing, especially the group who used knots on string, not as mnemonics, but as stories, in a binary system.

The first time history is given, the traditional view was stated more or less as fact with a “gotcha” and introduction of challenges to follow. Gradually the cues that a view was going to be questioned improved.

And the ending sets up the follow-up book, 1493, which I have requested from the library.

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Sock Time

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was active in knitting for Mittens for Akkol.  During that time someone was destashing (with the understanding that yarn would be used for Akkol) and I bought some, cheap. But before I started knitting it up, my attention shifted more and more to quilting.

I’d think about it now and again, but the time wouldn’t be right. And then the time was right–knitting being a sedentary project. So out came the yarn.

1 sock yan

And alas, the left over yarn is the only photo you will see.  When I finished the first pair I decided not to take a photo till they were all finished; then when they were all finished the deadline to mail was too close to stop and photograph! So you will have to use your imagination.

Those in the mail, six weeks till Christmas, and the knitting bug still active, I set out to make two pair of socks for Christmas presents. These did get their picture taken.

1 socks

I suppose I should block them, but it seems to me that feet do a good job of that.

The local shops that have a large collection of sock yarn have closed, so to get a color I liked I decided to experiment with dk weight. It makes a thicker, stiffer sock; we’ll see what laundering does for it. I’ll get to test-wear it too as there was a lot left over.

1 mixed sock

Almost, but not quite, enough for a brown (portobello) pair. But the toe will be in the shoe, so blue (coveralls) will work. (Love the names and colors by Hazel Knits!)

By the time I finish the second sock, I will have overdosed on knitting and be ready for a return to quilting. I remember a T-shirt with the slogan, “If I quilt real fast is it aerobic exercise?”–inquiring minds want to know.

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Zoo Lights

It’s that time of year when lights appear all over town.  So far I’ve seen Crale House, Peacock Lane and the Christmas Ships.  This year I made it to the zoo for its display. I was too busy gawking to take many photos.

Although there were some themed lights like the nativity and Christmas trees, most of the lights were animals or lights densely placed on tree trunks and branches. At one point we walked through a tunnel of lights so solid as to be almost disorienting.

At the beginning I was intrigued by the snake.

zoo lights--snake 2

One of the few snakes that looks harmless.

Midway a group of animals and trees

zoo ights 2

These alternated, flashing on and off to the rhythm of music. Timing the camera to the scene was difficult. I missed the two bright pink hippos and a bright green alligator. It would have taken video to do it justice.

And near the end, a dragon.

zoo lights dragon 2

Other effects, impossible to catch in photograph, were an eagle appearing to be flying and a peacock opening and closing its tail feathers. Some children identified another exhibit as scenes from Wicked.

There are two ways to view it walking the marked path or by train. I’ve been told each is quite a different experience, so I may have to visit again.

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Finished Group Quilt

After I sewed the borders, I passed the top on and sat back to await the finished product.

(You last saw it here.)

Anne and Betty made the back.  I don’t have  photo–I’m hoping to get one from te photos from guild show ‘n tell. Anne snagged a nice backing fabric white with a BIG blue dot.  They sewed a strip from top to bottom using pieces from the front and pieced the dots with a small strip of the dot fabric offset.about half  Then Betty quilted it and Tam bound it.

What If?

The title now is What If?

We have entered it in QuiltCon. If it gets accepted I won’t have to blog about it; you will have already heard the squeals of joy. If it doesn’t, no matter.

Its final destination is to the charity projects of the guild; they are always needing more larger, boy friendly design quilts.

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Still Reading

The House of Broken AngelsThe House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The settings are San Diego, Tijuana, La Paz. The patriarch of the family is dying and throws one last birthday party that is combined with his mother’s funeral. I felt like I had attended the party, and the party felt like being at a family gathering as an outsider, trying to remember who belonged to whom and which generation they were. I was amused by a phrase at one point, “in the back room were children of unknown provenance.” To add to the confusion, characters are called by many names.

The first section (the mother’s funeral and the night before the party) and the third section (the party itself) are presented in time slots during which we are given a look into what various family members are doing–interspersed with memories, sometimes inner flashbacks and other times revelations in conversation. The middle section provides earlier family history.

As in any family, there are feuds and misunderstandings, members more and less likeable. All are presented sympathetically. Some of the drama is in the past, some in the present. The pace, never slow, quickens at the end when I couldn’t find a section where I could put it down.

Urrea is a new author to me. Thank goodness I heard him talk and read at Portland Book Festival. Now I have to go back and read earlier novels!

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Autumn at the Chinese Garden

I’ve visited several times since renewing my Lan Su membership, but for one reason or another didn’t take many photos. Last week I was camera happy.

First some overviews–it has been so long that I’ve forgotten names of some of the building.

1land boat

I do remember the land boat (left), but not the pagoda’s name.

1zigzag bridge

And the zigzag bridge–shaped because evil spirits go in straight lines, thus they can’t get across.

I was amazed at how much green remains in the garden. It has been a mild fall. On my street there are bare trees that had been yellow, red leaves still hanging and a few green trees delaying the color thing.

The poetry wheel is either new, or I’ve managed to visit at times when it wasn’t displayed.

1 poetry wheel

Workshops were taught–I’m not sure how many styles of poem were among the lessons. The form the garden sports is the couplet: two lines with patterned opposites.  If the first word of one line is “many” the first line of the next is “one,” for example. The poems I read did not follow that pattern. Workshop attendees could opt to exhibit their poems. I took some close ups to share, but the words weren’t visible in the photos. You’ll have to use your imagination.

The sun was bright and beautiful, but it did wash out color on some of my photos. On the other hand, it made shadow designs.

1 shadows

There actually were quite a few people visiting that day–and they did photo bomb some of my shots. It seems amazing I got any without people.

Some bits of fall color:

And pomegranates in two places, a large tree and a potted tree.

The tour guide said the ones on the small tree were the largest he had seen it produce. It seems a plentiful year.  In the past there has been fruit still hanging late into winter, so I guess they don’t harvest them.

And in spite of it being fall, there are still flowers.

I hope you enjoyed your vicarious visit.

 

 

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My Last NW Quilt Expo Photos

If I remember correctly this one was Judges’ Choice.

A-Golden Days

Golden Days Inger Blood

The center motif was painted then thread painted. Doesn’t it look like a page in an old album? The quilting in the border was exquisite.

A-Golden Days detail 1

A-Golden days detail 2

I admire representational art quilts, but I doubt I’ll ever make any. But who knows? Maybe it depends on what classes are offered at guild. Or on my seeing something that I just have to create.

Once again my photo program scrambled quilt and tag photos, and I don’t have enough hint of the quilt in the tag photos. So I have one tag and two photos, and I am not sure which the tag goes with.  The tag says Gnome Forest by Barbara Triscari. I think it went with this one.

A-Gnome Forest?

Then there is this unlabeled one.

A-VW plus bugs

I once drove a bug, but I don’t think that was essential to enjoy this one.

Another quilt that I didn’t get a label for–it was made by one of the two featured artists. If I had saved my program I’d at least have the quilter’s name, but alas . . .

A-Blue white whole

I couldn’t get back far enough to get the whole. I’d say it was queen sized. And here it is with my friend’s finger to show how tiny the pieces.

blue white tiny pieces finger

No, she wasn’t touching the quilt. It was the first photo of the day and I forgot to turn the flash off. Here is another to show the hand quilting.

A-Blue white detail

Hand quilting keeps getting more rare except for the occasional accent stitches.

And last, but not least, another densely quilted piece.

A-Laurel Leaf

Laurel Leaf Cathy Erikson

I wish I could tell you what that ribbon is! But I did get two shots of the quilting.

A-Laurel Leaf detail

A-Laurel Leaf detail 2

I really like quilting that becomes part of the design, as this does. I hope to learn to do this kind of quilting.

Till next year’s show . . .

 

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