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Memorial Day – Observed

May 24th, 2015 at 09:41 am » Comments (0)

Memorial Day – originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.

God Bless America

God our Father, Giver of life, we entrust these United States of America to Your loving care.

You are the rock on which this nation was founded.

You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Reclaim this land for Your glory and dwell among Your people.

Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders.

Open their minds to the great worth of human life
and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.

Remind Your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing Your will.

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate,
Patroness of our land,
grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.”

Lead us into a new millennium of life.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

(author unknown, found on a Catholic prayer site)

To learn more about the history and traditions of
History of Memorial / Decoration Day

Respecting Tradition

February 10th, 2015 at 09:08 am » Comments (1)

In cold weather I find myself often focused on exploring food – TheHenry likes this most of the time and early on in our decades together starting name the experiments he liked. So I could make a point of remembering what I did. In fact most dinners start with “What are we calling this?”

Inspired by a comment in a recipe group – today’s Passing (and perhaps prevailing context) thoughts.

Whether it is food or fiber work or any other aspect of a culture’s roots I prefer the commonality – the desire to give one’s family “comfort” using the best possible ingredients available and affordable.

Do you honestly think any ancestral home maker would have shunned the use of a food processor? Even and perhaps especially in many ways the Amish use technology – they just prefer people power.

Do you really think your great-great-grandmother would have found it preferable to hand sew a shirt rather than use a sewing machine and then have hours of time to spend on the embroidery or other fine details?

Is it really such a sin to use a circle cutter, rather than laboriously hand cut circles for whatever form of stuffed dough you and your family enjoy?

Are those who oppose machines also opposed to taking advantage of their home freezer to that found can be prepared in advance – meaning “on the day” they will have more time with family instead of alone time in the kitchen?

Quite frankly if they were not open to change and the opportunity to improve on their daily lives, would they have crossed an ocean as did the forebears of so many members of this group and migrate to North America?

No, I believe they would have welcomed the means to have time better used in other ways to provide comfort to the hearts and souls of their family and community.

I believe they would as reading accounts of every day life show, have made decisions based on their economic situation and the value of the “machine” – choosing to work and save for those most beneficial – I don’t have a dedicated machine for every food prep process, but I do have a Kitchen Aid with the specialty attachments that “cost justified” based on frequency of use.

Perhaps that is the tradition we should honor, careful use of our resources and not just acquisition for the sake of “owning”.

Yes, we should honor the past, allowing it to empower us in all ways while at the same time moving forward with respect for what brought us to this point.

Luathadh – Waulking the Cloth

January 25th, 2013 at 10:16 am » Comments (2)

According to Miss Penny Morrison and group of ladies at the waulking board-June 1970 House of Scotland.org “Fulling, milling, or waulking of home-made cloth for household use was carried out in Gaelic Scotland by pounding the material against a board or trampling it with the feet. The techniques are of great antiquity and were also used elsewhere, but they happened to survive in the Hebrides into the twentieth century. The process of waulking is called luadh (“loo-ugh”) in Gaelic, and the songs of waulking are known as orain luaidh (“or-ine loo-ie”).” (see more about waulking at House Of Scotland )

Norm Kennedy Leading A Waulking Apparently there are many songs, but the “beat” remains nearly identical for the best result, a fabric fulled, allowing for the drape needed in a Tartan, so not felted but with a fabric provide warmth by keeping out the wind and provide protection from wet weather.

Below is a clip of the wonderful teacher of weaving and weaving traditions
Norman Kennedy leading a Waulking at the John C Campbell Folk School several years ago. I was lucky enough to observe when he led a group at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in the past.

You may also be interested in
Norman Kennedy: From Wool to Waulking: Spinning Wool and Creating Cloth

Enjoy The Making


Diversity Need Not Mean Division

September 20th, 2012 at 09:10 am » Comments (7)

There is NEVER any excuse for creating a atmosphere of hate and intolerance and most assuredly not one that leads to violence.

Nor can we solve today’s problems by turning the other cheek.

It is no secret that I was raised “Terminally Catholic” – Roman and Orthodox with all the twists an turns an ethnically diverse city and neighborhood can provide.

AZ Gov Jan Brewer
Arizona Gov Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that will allow bible classes in the Arizona public schools.

Certainly the “dark” part of the Catholic history be denied, fortunately we were taught that the inquisition, the crusades and the treatment of the “natives” were more about the flaws of man, than the evil of any religion.

It was the LEARNING about not only the differences but also what we had in common that made a huge difference. Maybe I was just lucky, but I remember the Dominican Nuns who made subtle note of the traditions of every child in their classes – we learned about the cultural traditions of the Irish, Scots, Polish, Ukrainian, Italian, Hispanic (Cuban and Puerto Rican mostly) and of course especially about their unique celebrations of our common religion and yes our common neighborhood (we all walked to school and most lived close enough to walk home for lunch)

Our Neighbors included wonderful examples of their faiths including a Baptist Minister and his family on one side and an elder in his church and his wife who taught me to Crochet at the age of five. Mrs E also will forever be remembered as the Cookie Lady by all who grew up in that neighborhood, largely Roman Catholic but with a diversity in ethnicity, blended into good neighbors.

Looking back, it is obvious the willingness to allow other to hold opposing views comes from the grounding in tolerance provided by my parents and my teachers, and more than a little by the diversity of my “block”.

No question we were also taught that others were misguided in their beliefs, we were never taught to think of them as evil or that those who did not agree should be subjected to torture or worse.

Nor, should we be tolerant of any entity which preaches hatred and murder.

We must take and all appropriate action to protect our citizens at home and abroad. There is no excuse not to do so.

Still, Arizona is right – teaching Comparative Religion could well be a first step to restablishing real tolerance – The United States of America is a nation that was made strong by taking our differences and blending them into a whole while respecting the rights of others to have some different beliefs.

We need to find a way back to creating commonality respectful of ethinicity, but at the same time sharing a “new” culture and language if we seek that

Diversity need not mean Division!

Portuguese Knitting & Asking Abby or anyone with an answer…

February 7th, 2008 at 00:16 am » Comments (9)


Ever since finding the Pony Double Ended Crochet hooks, about two years ago, I have been using experimenting with them for knitting – thinking this might be good for kids (and grown ups) to help in learning knit techniques.

When I started tripping over reference to Portuguese Knitting and its use of crochet hooks, naturally I got curious but then and now, there just never are enough hours in the day to “research”.

Recently Abby wrote about Andean spinning and that reminded me of how often I wished I could ask her Dad, Ed Franquemont about this. He was such a fountain of historical information – usually with good data to back it up.

Well, the last few weeks, it seems I am on something of a tear attempting to find more info about “Portuguese Knitting” which seems to share some technique with the Andean poeples as well.

What I have been able to find “so far”, mostly surmised from YouTube Videos, vagure memories of watching Ed Franquemont showing some “Incan” knitting and pictures in a few books, is that some how yarn is tension either by wearing the skein like a necklace, or using a pin on one’s shoulder. (See the picture of Andrea Wong here

Thus the yarn is between you and the work “most of the time”. And the yarn is manipulated to form the stitches, using your thumb in a seemingly very efficient manner. BTW, if you are a “visual” learner, then you may just find that the YouTubes with the voice over being in Portuguese to be the most helpful/clear.

Although many have suggested Andean & Portuguese are the same, so far only “Portuguese” knitting seems to use crochet hooks and at least one of the more esoteric suppliers of fiber art tools, sells these needles – hook on one end, point on the other in a limited variety of sizes, in sets of four or five per size – suggesting use for in the round type project.

I have been told that
Andrea Wong’s Video
is an excellent resource, but unhappily it will not play in any of our machines.

Several have suggested I might find more information in the out of print book, Andean Folk Knitting: Traditions and Techniques from Peru and Bolivia. by Cynthia Gravelle Lecount, ISBN: 0932394078, but so far I have not been able to find an affordable copy and/or library that has it.

I was able to find lots of sources for Marasha Lewandowski’s
Andean Folk Knits: Great Designs…

So Abby, (or anyone else) I’d love to hear from you – Or should I just resign myself, accept I can knit with crochet hooks and will never know the history

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