Monday, September 29, 2014

A Wine Weekend

Part of a weekend, anyway. Yesterday morning, bright and early, we drove north to the home of friends in Gilroy (south of San Jose) and then the four of us drove northeast to Lodi in California's Central Valley for a winery event at Bokisch Vineyards.

I've posted about them before, a couple of years ago. The winemaker is of Spanish/German parentage, thus the German name combined with the Spanish varietals he plants and makes wine from.

Every year, when the winery releases a new vintage of their wines, they host an event for members of their wine club (as well as non-club-members who just like their wines). In the past, it was a traditional paella feast, using the biggest paella pans I've ever seen - about 3 feet in diameter!

Since they've visited Argentina several times in the past couple of years, this event was a traditional barbeque in Argentinian style: whole lamb (butterflied) and goat (not butterflied) roasted slowly over an open charcoal fire.

*Note: if the sight of a lamb carcass, butterflied and roasting, upsets you, please feel free to close this browser window and visit the next blog on your blog roll. I acknowledge that humans are carnivorous, however, and do not faint at the sight... And I do love lamb and goat, even though there isn't much meat on either one...*

The traditional Argentinian method of roasting a whole animal uses a metal structure called a "cross" for obvious reasons:

The two lambs, front left and back left (almost invisible behind the frontmost critter) are butterflied; the goat is simply spitted on a rotisserie. All I can say is "yum."

The meal, accompanied by various Spanish and Argentinian appetisers and side dishes, was absolutely delish. And the beverages served were equally appreciated:

Garnacha Blanca
Garnacha (Rosso)

Needless to say, we brought home an adequate quantity of many of the above wines...........

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The 200,000-Pick Tune-Up

Well, close to 200,000 picks, anyway.

The Jacquard loom is at the 185,568-pick mark, and we decided it was time for an oil and lube, complete cleanup, and (finally) the conversion from the original small black clips that connect the hooks to the heddles to the newer snap swivels. Here are the 2 parts in question:

The snap swivels are supposed to prevent a lot of hook errors, so I hope the results justify the tedium of the exchange.

Here's DH the engineer, working on a module that's been removed from the loom, cleaning off all the old, sticky, gunky lubrication and checking for cables that may be ready to fracture.

The loom looks kind of empty, with the empty spaces left by the modules now occupied only by the heddles which are secured with long wires so that the threading can be preserved.

The modules, once cleaned, are resting on the work table so I can replace the old black clips with the new brass snap swivels.

In between these activities, I've been dying some yarn for a couple of table runner warps. First are the red tencel and the small quantity of blue-violet tencel that will go on the loom with the variegated skeins that I posted here.

I also dyed some skeins for weft for a runner warp that will have an interleaved threading in blue and green. The wefts are 30/2 tencel:

In addition to these, I'll pull some navy or black from the stash for the fourth runner on the warp.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Land of the Living

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth. The cold and horrible cough I caught in Prague has stuck with me until now. The last few nights I have finally been able to sleep through with out waking 5times in the night, coughing.  The clean, pure air at the cabin in Montana has helped clear my lungs, I'm sure. We've been here for about 10 days, doing nothing more strenuous than reading. My brother, who loves his remote I controlled toys, from boats to planes, has been having fun with a new one, a helicopter capable of carrying a GoPro-type camera. The resulting birds-eye views over the lake give a good idea of our surroundings.

Another task has been winnowing through all of DH's and my photos from the Danube trip. So I hope to be able to post some pics of the textiles we saw along the way.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Iron Gate

Sorry for the lengthy radio silence. I caught a cold, and although I've been able to enjoy the sights, cities, and events along the way, I did not have the energy to do any photo editing or writing.

Yesterday we reached the stretch of the Danube known as the Iron Gate. There are mountains on both sides, and the river channel narrows dramatically. Throughout history, this has been a frontier of one sort or another. The Romans defended their empire against the barbarians here, the Austro-Hungarians tried to keep out the Turks here, etc., etc.

Very dramatic landscape. Around one corner was a tiny monastery built into the cliffs. Farther along is a huge, famous carved face, a Dracian king. I had been under the impression that it was very old, but no, it was carved in the 20th century.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Our hotel is on the Pest side of the Danube, with wonderful views of Budapest Castle on the Buda side of the river. It was overcast when we arrived, with rain forecast, but after dinner at a terrific restaurant, we were treated to the sight of a warmly lit castle.

The next day we had a city tour, and tomorrow a visit to an historic castle outside the city, then we board our riverboat for a cruise down the Danube to Bucharest.

More Prague

The first two images are of the main square in Old Town Prague. There are Segway rentals everywhere these days.

The lilies were just one of many over-the-top floral displays in the hotel.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Museum of Decorative Arts

Everyone who advised me that the Museum was a must-see was absolutely correct. We spent the morning there, happy as any aficionados of the handmade/handcrafted could possibly be. The featured exhibit was wonderful - a retrospective of the work of ceramicist/sculptor Vaclav Serak, entitled "Fire Clay Ice." I'd have taken hundreds of photos had I been allowed to...

The afternoon was dedicated to a leisurely stroll through Old Town, after having the lightning-fast 'official' guided version yesterday.