Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Green Zebras

Green Zebra tomatoes. Crazy. The skin is beautiful: I can think of several knitter-bloggers who love these shades of acid green and chartreuse. This is my first venture with an heirloom tomato. I thought that it was just hype - the rush toward all things artisanal and organic - like the scads of yarns that came out this spring that were organic and naturally dyed, and they may be great to work with, and but while I'm proud to be called an ex-hippie by some of my best friends, I just couldn't let my cynicism lapse at the sudden influx of yarns that are all things Green. But I wander. Back to a better green: the green zebra tomato.
When you slice into it, your mind thinks: green tomato. As in not yet ripe. Then you taste it. And it's mellow, a tiny bit sweet - but more like a well-rounded pear than an overly ripened cherry tomato or grape, and perfect just as it. I sliced up an Early Girl (or is it a Better Boy - we have four tomato plants growing and everything is ripening at once - why will Mother Nature not stagger the zucchini and tomato crops?) with the Green Zebra, threw them into the salad bowl, and will just toss them with some good olive oil and some balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of kosher salt, and some ground pepper, and that's it. The salad will go with a zucchini frittata on the stove at the moment and a fresh fruit salad of cantaloupe, nectarine and plum.

And another domestic endeavor to show off: the loom, warped, threaded, and almost ready for me to start weaving.

One of my favorite discoveries is a better way to tension all of those individual threads that make up the warp. In this case, and this isn't even considered a piece of fine weaving, there are 488 ends, or threads. You can tie each of those threads into bundles of one inch, or 24 ends in this case. Then you retie the bundles over and over, until you can run your hand across the width of the warp and feel even tension throughout.

Or, you can use of a piece of cord (one that won't stretch, and you'll want to slightly burn the ends so that it doesn't fray, but that part is fun, for some reason) to help even out the tension of the many bundles that make up the width of the warp.

You make an overhand loop in each bundle. Then you tie the cord to one end of the sawed-off broom stick that will hold the end of the warp. (The broom stick is sturdy and won't flex the way that the lease stick that comes with the loom will, and a bendy lease stick means an uneven tension.) Then you snake the cord over and out of each loop, tie the cord to the stick on the left side of the warp, and start playing. It will take several adjustments - taking up slack here, distributing it there - until you either decide that enough is enough (that's the product weavers, and they will suffer in the long run because the slight laxity in one area of the warp will continue, and increase, for the entire 175 inches that are to be woven) or until you persevere (these are the process weavers) with the hope that now all warp ends will stay intact, no threads will suddenly snap, and the mistake that you made in warping will float away, like the clouds in the sky.

I'm a product weaver. I should have stuck with the tensioning for at least five more micro-adjustments, but I just wanted to start weaving. I put in a few rows of leftover Mason-Dixon cotton and started to adjust the peddles under the loom. Next up, a few more rows to even out the threads across the warp, then decide what I'll be using for weft.

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