Friday, 31 October 2014

Forum Time!

The books that were due are back in the library, my lists are all written, and stuff to pack is accumulating. It's time for the Textile Forum!

It's also time for eating pumpkin everything. So in case you are celebrating (or taking any excuse to have pumpkin foods and other delicacies): Happy Halloween! And happy Halloween weekend!

Oh, and since I will be spending the whole next week in plant-fibre bliss at Mayen, there will be no blogging until Wednesday, Nov 12. (Time to recover. It's vital. Or the only thing I can blog about is little "z"s...)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Still busy...

Yesterday was a quite long, and quite busy, day - but also quite successful. The preparations for the Forum are going well, I have procured almost everything that I need, and the presentation is finished apart from a few more pictures to put in.

Which is very, very good, since I have to visit the library today and bring back a book or, if I manage, even two.

Not much other news from here, though - so you might want to look at the medieval tiles collection that recently got linked to in the comment section here (thanks!).

Or you might want to try and draw some circles after you've seen this:

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Stocking up.

The last few days, I did not only do some last-minute shopping for next week (I will be bringing hemp fibres, proper long ones, to the Forum), but I've also been stocking up on things. As of this morning, the linen tape in 3 and 5 cm width is back in the shop again, and I have finally taken the plunge and will soon offer naturally-dyed silk yarn for embroidery. The skeins have arrived, and now there is some winding into portions to do, and then some taking of photographs. I have a very dark blue that almost passes for black, a dark blue, an orange, brown, white, red, yellow and green - enough to serve quite a few embroidery needs!

I won't be able to get it into the online shop before the Textile Forum, so it will take a little longer before it's available - but I'm working on it! When I'm not doing the Forum preparation stuff, that is... fortunately, I'm almost finished. One of the big things still left to do is packing all the things I have to take with me, and taking care of details such as charging the camera batteries. There's a growing list of things to pack that will help me no end when I do the actual packing on Friday or Saturday, though. All hail the power of lists!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


It's time to shower you with links again! So here you go...

Are you looking for a movie to watch on Halloween? Here's a list of 10 horror movies featuring archaeologists.

If you prefer some real-life horror, how about this: the Swedish government wants to close all of the Swedish archaeological institutes in the Mediterranean. No joke. Archaeologik has done an article about this, in German; there is a petition running against the closure. If you want to sign (please do, and please spread the word), there is an explanation at the bottom of the English translation of the letter.

For those of you interested in the history of People of Colour, check out this tumblr "bookshelf" with free downloads - the books are concerning early modern and modern time.

In case you are looking for an excuse to visit Rome, there's a Protolang conference planned for September 2015, with the CfP open.

And finally, a very interesting video on how a seemingly small change in environment can have huge effects: Wolves in Yellowstone.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Gaah. Sometimes it just won't work.

I have worked some more on the spinning wheel tuning project - and it was frustrating. Sometimes, you sit down and try things and make a prototype and do the maths and then you go for the real thing and everything works beautifully. This, however, was not one of these times. About nothing in the current setup worked as planned.

The two whorls I 3D-printed are too slippery to give good traction to the drive band. (3D printing is still very cool.) So... I tried to make the drive band less slippery. I had had wonderful de-slipping success some years ago with using Seamgrip, a sort of glue originally intended to fix holes in outdoor stuff like tents. Unfortunately, the new tube of SG that I ordered made the thread I had planned to use stiff and slick, not supple with a rubbery outside.

So, after a while of fiddling and some more fiddling and lots of cursing, I have now switched back to the prototype setup from before, which was always intended to be temporary. For the current spinning tests that I have to do, this is what I will have to use - provided it will work well enough.

After that, I will have to sit down and plan again. I have not given up yet - but it looks as if there has to be some more fiddling and making of parts before my original plan can be implemented.

Friday, 24 October 2014

More Open Access stuff. And a bleg.

The OA week has provoked some more blogging, not only here. Doug has posted a longish article about OA publishing concepts that sound a lot more reasonable than the ones I ridiculed yesterday. And one before that, with a lot more information about free or affordably-priced OA journals, and links to said journals. Go read it here.

In other news, I'm still busy editing (the Beast is losing words - it's like a book diet!) and also preparing for the Textile Forum. Additionally, I am thinking about offering an embroidery set for doing a small medieval motif, about 4 cm in diameter. I would like to offer that as a complete package with cloth (that has the pre-inked design), naturally dyed silk thread, maybe gold thread, short instructions and possibly also a small (non-medieval, but affordable) embroidery frame. Suggestions as to motifs would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Open access and "open access".

I just found out that this week is Open Access Week. Yes, it's nice and comfy here under my rock, thank you for asking.

I found out, by the way, from an email sent to me by Maney. The email says they are partaking in Open Access Week - and my first reaction was "yay free access to articles!". Turns out that was wrong, though.

The email tells me about the very generous offer of 50% off the fees if you want to publish an article as OA with them. Yes, that's right - Maney is one of the "author pays for OA" journals, and their fees are quite hefty. Even with 50% off, you'll still shell out between 400 and 1000 USD. Erm... thanks, but no thanks. In my universe, the One Rule still stands: the author never pays. Yes, I know that publishers have to eat, too, and that their money does not come from publishing for free and giving away the published articles, too. It comes from selling what they have published - and I still think that it is fair to pay for what you want to read, provided it is not what Germans call a "Mondpreis" (moon price, literally - an astronomical sum that is totally unrealistic). I'm also convinced that a reasonable pricing of articles, especially older ones, would raise their income far enough that a fair-for-everybody model will be possible. (Or would you hesitate for a second to pay one or two dollars for immediate access to a paper that interests you? Instead of being asked to shell out 30+ dollars, even though the article is several years old and you do not know whether it will really help you on with your research, or not?)

You can laugh about the pricing yourself here. Incidentally, the page also offers the full list of OA articles published with Maney. I do not wonder why there are so few... (There is one about spinners and yarn regulation in 1550-1800 that might be of interest to you, too, written by John Styles.)

If you want to read some more, you can go to Paperity, an article aggregator of OA articles. (I found that via, by the way. The site seems to try for promoting OA, but also seems fairly small, impact-wise, and it has a layout that is a bit confusing to me.)