Some birds seem to just get us humans, so to speak. There will be individuals, that interact with us on their own terms. They learn our habits, evaluate advantages and assess our risk factor. Before long, us humans give them names and a routine of interaction is established.
One of my family had just such a relationship with a blackbird. He called the bird Blackie. The bird learnt to trust his human and would come to be fed when called. He was quite a character. Every time we visited, we heard more of this blackbird’s antics.
Blackie raised several clutches of little blackbirds, over the years. Always keeping his nests in close proximity to the dwelling of his human friends. Then one day, he didn’t turn up. No-one knows what happened. His adult offspring are still around, but not Blackie.
So I decided to make Blackie. A young version. Why not?
To start, I used pipe cleaners to form the frame. Makes it easier to shape and re-shape, I find. The white is from a Jacob sheep fleece which forms the base. It is springy and felts up to be a firm structure.
I felted the base of the body, tail and the head separately and fitted them into the pipe cleaner frame, then felted more white fleece over the top, until the pipe cleaners were hidden and I had the right shape.
Next the black. I kept the length long, so it covered the whole length of the body. It was at this stage I knew I was getting the shape right. It’s very difficult stabbing a needle into something thats starting to look like a living creature.
The legs are wire, covered in brown fleece. I used silk filaments to give the impression of wings folded back along the body.
The eye is a felted circle of yellow, with an inner brown circle. I added a touch of white, for a sparkle in the young blackbird’s eyes. Giving him character. The beak was a mixture of orange and yellow, that I hand mixed, to avoid a solid block of orange.
I took these photos, to check the shape. Afterwards, I thinned down the tail, added shoulder definition, flattened his back and chin. Totally forgot to take a final photo.
Blackie has now been gifted. I could have played with the shape for longer. I wonder if I would ever be totally happy with it. Probably best that he’s gone to live somewhere else.
It’s Wednesday. Time to share my knitting progress and current read. You’d be forgiven for thinking it doesn’t look dissimilar to last week’s offering. Despite appearances, there has been progress.
I’ve turned the heel on the first sock. Always makes me feel like I’m on the homeward stretch. The yarn feels thinner than my recent sock yarn. I’m knitting it on dpns (double pointed needles) and was finding that moving from one needle to the next was leaving more of a holey ladder effect than usual.
I know most of the tricks to solve this, but they weren’t working, so I’ve slowed down, to ensure the stitches are sitting closer together between needles, which seems to have sorted it out. May take longer to knit this pair, but at least my husband won’t be wearing a socks with a lacey inset!
I finished Hidden Figures over the weekend. So glad I read it. I found the second half of the book with more touches of hope. They didn’t seem so bogged down by people’s attitudes preventing them from achieving the ultimate aim of their work. It was still there, but they seem to push on through. People helped each other to succeed and progress in their careers. There was a momentum. There was passion in their work.
I still found frustrating moments, such as the mathematicians not moving to Houston to follow the project, due to family commitments, but it has to be seen in the context of the time. If it was me, I would have packed the family up and gone before you could solve a simultaneous equation. A new adventure, but that is me. I’ve not walked a mile in these pioneering women’s shoes.
Only problem with devouring such a fantastically, good book is deciding what to read next. It’s a toughy. Nothing in my pile of books to read, jumped out. So instead I chose a sci-fi short story.
I’ve been running an experiment. Let me set the scene. We live in an old house. It is over 260 years old. No foundations. Walls that you could use to build a cathedral. It’s the way they used to build humble cottages. The down side is that air circulation is not so great. Bookcases against walls tend to lead to musty books if left undisturbed for too long, which has happened to a bunch of my older sci-fi books.
So I did a bit of research. Not wishing to read musty books with a peg on my nose, I looked at a way to freshen them up. I ruled out fresh air and sunshine, as I started this experiment at the end of our UK winter. If they had mentioned heavy rain, that would have been another matter, but they didn’t.
That left three possible alternatives. Kitty litter, talcum powder or sodium bicarbonate seemed to be the most popular. No cats in the household, but fortunately, I had large amounts of the last two options in my science kit, so I tried leaving a few books in each, sealed in old biscuit containers.
Result. Given time, they both worked to freshen up the books. The thinner books were fresh after a week. The thicker book took longer. Certainly after a month (hmm..I kind of forgot to check inbetween), I could read it without being bombarded by the terrible smell. So now I’m reading a good old Asimov, with a touch of talcum powder aroma!
Also reading a new-to-me magazine – Dressmaker. I’m trying to make something for me to wear every month. January, I made gloves. February, I made socks. March, I would like to add to my work wardrobe, and I quite liked the patterns they were including. Always interested to see dressmaking tips too.
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