Walking AND Crochet!

So, I am officially combining my two loves -walking and crochet – into a single blog.  I am not able to post as often as in the past, so I’ll simplify and post my thoughts, insights, etc in a single space.

Today, Kris and I walked a fairly rugged three mile loop at West Tyson Park.  We had only walked this trail once before and had the dog with us.  We had remembered that there were place on the trail that were two narrow for me and the dog so we left Liz at home (much to her chagrin!).

The park is lovely.  It’s about 15 miles due west of the St. Louis Arch and about 3 miles east of Six Flags along I-44.  Tyson Park is one in a row of parks and ‘unimproved’ land along I-44.  It’s on a short outer road tucked in between Lone Elk Park and Route 66 Park (the old Times Beach).  While Route 66 park is dead flat, Tyson and Lone Elk have plenty of uphill climbs.

With 95% of the leaves on the ground, even an overcast day like today was lovely in the woods.  We encountered few other hikers and only 2 bikes.  At the top of the trail we hiked – at the very top where you can look out over the Meramec River – there is a single picnic table that bears a plaque on which is recorded the telephone number of the park ranger!  Hmmm.  Were they expecting trouble?  It’s a bit of a struggle getting up there – but certainly nothing that requires more than a few deep breaths and a bottle of water.

So, we didn’t take pictures today but the vistas were worth it.  We will walk this trail again.

Declaring Independence From A Craft Store

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Today is July 4.  That’s Independence Day in the United States of America.  In this wonderful country, every citizen is free to express political, religious, and philosophical opinions without fear of government repression.  It’s one of the wonders of our amazing country.  I fully support the right of every citizen and company to do so.

In today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, our venerable daily newspaper, Hobby Lobby placed a full page ad.  That’s not unusual for Hobby Lobby.  Unlike most of their full page ads as I recall, this one did not prominently display the name of Hobby Lobby.  Rather, one had to read the fine print at the bottom of the page to determine who paid for the full page ad – a costly endeavor.

This ad quoted liberally from the Bible and from some of our revered statesmen of old – Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and others.  Not unusual for an ad on Independence Day.

However, the gist of this ad was that the US is a Christian country.  Each quote, hand picked for singular effect of course, nailed home the notion that this country was founded as a Christian nation, is now a Christian nation, and that it must remain that way.

I have a question for Hobby Lobby which I will write to them about in a few minutes.

What about those of our citizens who are not Christian?

Are they to be merely tolerated?

Should they buy their craft supplies at Hobby Lobby and keep their mouths shut if they aren’t Christian?  Does Hobby Lobby support the notion of another company or individual taking out a full page ad to state that this is the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave no matter what religion the citizen is?  The owner of the business is?  The immigrant is?  The soldier is?  The protester is?

In the US, the right to freedom of speech (and print) is held to be a sacred one.  I strongly support this right.  I believe it is both God given and inalienable.  Clearly Hobby Lobby does not share my strongly held conviction that all our citizenry has the right to both full citizenship and freedom of religion.  That this country was founded – yes, mostly by Christians – as a haven for believers of all religions or none.  That those who are not Christian have the God given right to be more than tolerated.

As much as I love “I Love This” yarn, I will not be buying any more of it or anything else that HL sells unless I get a really compelling answer to my letter to them asking about what I see as their intolerance of all the US citizens who are not Christian.  It’s just that simple.  Either we are all free and equal or none of us is.

High Water Walking?

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Emmenegger Park under water ;-(

Kris and I tried to walk there the other day.  The Meramec River had other ideas.  It was a hot day and my asthma was flaring.  We detoured to nearby Powder Valley Park since we did not have the dog with us.  The scenery there was lovely but the hills proved too much for me that day.  We ended up walking only about a mile.  Too hot, too humid.

It will take Emmenegger Park weeks to dry out even after the water recedes.  The trails there are all mulch/soil and the cover is dense so the trails remain moist.  We don’t mind moist!

The pavillion at Emmenegger was under at least 4 feet of water.  It’s closest to the river.  The walking trails are on higher ground but, as seen in this picture, the creek backs up and covers the trail access.

Still one of our favorite places to walk.  But, we will have to wait it out.  Al Foster Trail, here we come!

My ‘New’ Water Bottle Carrier

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I clearly should never have let this picture been taken, but I wanted to share my ingenious ‘new’ water bottle carrier.  I got tired of wearing a belt to clip on a water bottle or a sling over a shoulder or a back pack.  My dog and I both need a cold drink on the trail from time to time.  This idea came to me after I saw a rather expensive back-worn bottle carrier on a sports web site.

Why not just tuck my shirt into the back of my waistband to create a pocket to hold the water bottle?  It cools me when I walk and leaves my hands free.  Simple, effective, and free.  I freeze smallish bottles half full of water then add a few ounces of water atop the ice.  As I walk, the ice melts and a cold drink is just a hand grip away!

So, if you want your hands free but want to have water with you on a hot summer walk, try this idea.  Works best if your waistband is not too loose.  My walking shorts typically have a drawstring so I can snug it up to hold the water securely.

The Crochet Lace Ladies Of India

 

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There is a remote area of India called Narasapur (or Narasapuram) in the West Godavari district of the state of Andhra Pradesh.  In this remote Indian town, some of the world’s finest crochet lace makers reside – and work feverishly to produce what can only be produced by human hands.  To date, there is no way to crochet by machine unlike knitting which can be accomplished by machines.

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More than 80% of this lace is exported – mostly to the US – but also to Europe and Japan and larger cities within India itself.  Chances are if you’ve seen a crocheted table cloth being sold commercially, it came from Narasapur.

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You can learn more about these lacemakers here.  One interesting feature of this industry is that much of the work is done from the homes of the women – thus the term ‘cottage industry’.  This sort of business venture is extremely important so that the women may care for their own children and household while producing income with the work of her own talented hands.  Imagine how quickly these women must be able to crochet!

This is one area where crochet is taken very seriously.  Lace production accounts for a hefty percentage of the area’s economy.  Skills are passed down from mother to daughter and the lace making tradition continues in a time when the vast majority of fiber arts are mechanized for mass production.

 

Learning Some New Crochet

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I have not personally taken a course from this online entity, but I wanted to share it with you in case you know someone who wants to learn to crochet or maybe you’d like to learn some new technique yourself.

Apparently some courses are free, like this 1.5 hour video course for beginners focusing on Christmas Crochet.  The two other crochet courses which are currently offered are $15 each.  Again, I can’t vouch for these courses since I have not taken them, but I always like to share new crochet discoveries with my readers.

If, like me, you are involved in more crafty endeavors than crochet, you’ll want to check out the other courses offered under the heading ‘Arts and Crafts‘.  There are plenty there.  You can also filter your searches to include only free courses or to cast a wider net, you can check out all the courses and perhaps decide to pay for a course.  While many great things in life are free, not everything is!

Should you decide to take a course, Crochet or any other arts and crafts course, please post a review here.  We’d all love to learn more about this new site.  Thanks in advance!