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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I'm Back!

Yesterday morning we got up early and headed into DC for a day at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History with some friends, so no time for blogging. Today I'll show you a couple of things I got done over the weekend, and then some pictures from the museum. Remember the wool that was used in packing and I thought it was really pretty? Well, I combed it and ended up with 3/4 of an ounce. Its just so soft and pretty, I keep squeezing it (gently, must not felt it), instead of spinning it. I will spin it eventually, even though its just a little bit. In spinning news, I finally finished spinning the Opalessence singles!
You can see them here, sitting in the Lazy Kate waiting to be plied (they are sitting with one bobbin of the Frostrosen, it will not be plied with the Opalessence, its just waiting for its second bobbin to be finished up). There are 3 ounces of singles on each bobbin, one bobbin is just wound better than the other so they look like they have different amounts of fiber on them. I've found that if I wait 5-7 days before plying when it takes me this long to spin the singles, I get a better plied yarn. The first bobbin of singles has been sitting around for several weeks and the twist is starting to set. If I plied it to the second bobbin of singles as soon as I finished spinning the second bobbin, I wouldn't get a great yarn, because the second bobbin of singles still has active twist. By letting them sit a week or so, the second bobbin can relax into the twist and then they'll ply evenly. Of course, I have to ply them just until they look slightly overplied so that when I wash the skeins (water will reactivate the twist), they are still balanced. I could also avoid this if I didn't piddle around so much during spinning and finished both bobbins much quicker. Oh well.
So yesterday at the museum, there were the dinosaurs and the fossils, and the mammal exhibits, but there was also a really nice orchid exhibit. My Dad grows orchids so I grew up thinking that orchids were as common as dandelions. OK, maybe not that common, and to the best of my knowledge, there are no orchids that do that cool thing when you blow on them like dandelions do - Daddy just had a heart attack - but still, I didn't realize that orchids were so exotic and mysterious.
I've since kind of figured out that most people think orchids are really difficult plants to grow and that you have to know special plant things to keep them at all, but you don't. I've kept them alive before and even gotten them to bloom (OK, it was a pretty hyperactive bloomer anyway).
When they do bloom, they usually stay in bloom for quite a while. (Side note to Daddy, if you're still here after the dandelion comment: see this one in the picture above? You need one like that. I've never seen one that was a blue violet color before, only the red violet kind of colors. If I had been thinking I would have gotten a picture of the label with it, but now you have kind of an adventure.)
Anyway, as you can see, I got a bunch of pictures of the orchid exhibit and I thought it was really well done.
If you're going to be in the DC area before April 22, you should come check out this exhibit.
And when you're done with the orchids, you can head upstairs to the History of Civilization section (or something along those lines), they have a display of ancient spindle whorls.



Anonymous Cindy said...

The dark purple one looks like a phaelentopsis (sic, most definietly). That's a fairly common one, I think. I love orchids. My get well wishes to your Dad.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

I think the blue orchid is a Vanda. There are lots of varieties, and all easy to grow if you have enough light. Nice pictures!

11:02 AM  
Blogger ~Sherie~ said...

Love the orchid pictures, they are gorgeous. Do they still have the whale hanging from the ceiling in the natural history museum?? I loved that as a kid, but I haven't been to DC since 1978!!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

My mom grew orchids in the bathroom. She said the humidity was good for them and I can remember the blooms seemed to last for months!

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melanie, please explain that I did not have a heart attack after your comment. And Sue is correct, that is a Vanda. The problem with growing that genus is that the plants get large and need a lot of light--about as much as the Cattleya do.
Love your blog.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Anyone who loves orchids should checkout http://www.orchidsbyhausermann.com/ I am lucky enough to live close by, and can go to their open houses. Beautiful, and some are so frangrant!

2:25 PM  

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