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Conventions

We very much enjoy conventions, where we get to meet a lot of fellow fans, talk all night, and give our lovingly humorous History of Star Trek slide show, which Jenn wants to put into Power Point for me. I think that’s a very good idea since many conventions no longer work with slide projectors, and the ones they have are usually in really bad condition, or the light is burnt out, or the right cord wasn’t brought along, or something else has gone wrong. However, with everything on a CD, we could show it on a laptop if necessary. John and I attended only 3 conventions in 2007, which surprised and disappointed me since it was Trek’s 40th birthday, and I sorta thought we’d hear from someone. We didn’t, so that certainly put me in my place! Oh well…

LACON IV: The 64th World Science Fiction Con, familiarly known as L.A.con IV, was held on August 23-27, 2006 at the Anaheim Convention Center, where we observed Star Trek’s 40th anniversary with a Babel Conference Ambassadorial Reception.

John and I hosted this gala Star Trek event which started a long weekend of special Trek guests, exhibits, programming, and other Trek activities. Reception Master of Ceremonies was “Trouble with Tribbles” author David Gerrold. We were assisted by daughters and sons-in-law: Lora and Jason Boehm, Jenn and Chris Eplett. We had only one other big guest attend. However, since it was Chase Masterson, dressed in something very shiny and extremely skimpy, she raised a few blood pressures!

Fans who knew Chase as red-headed Leeta the D’abo girl on Deep Space Nine were surprised to see her as a blond for the film noir project she was filming at that time.

The beautiful caketop design was by Gina from the LAcon print department. John and I were on several panels and other program items. I particularly enjoyed being on a panel about getting youngsters to read, especially to read SF, with author Larry Niven and several librarians. The audience was notably filled with librarians and teachers. I mentioned Reading for the Future and found that many were already familiar with RFF and its goals.

There is an excellent media-oriented LAcon report at http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/news/index.html.


   

LOCKS OF LOVE: Daughter Lora and a friend, Cate Manzo, did two days of hair-cutting especially for Locks of Love in the LACon Exhibits hall. They remember being the weirdo kids in school because they liked Science Fiction and fantasy. But they could at least blend in; a bald kid can’t do that.

They met with outright hostility from long-haired fans who evidently thought that two professional cosmetologists would chase them down the halls with snarling scissors. Most of those worried souls could have done with a good hair trim rather than look like a Eukanuba Show entrant, but no one will ever convince them of that. However, there were also generous donors of hair for children who need wigs, some of whom had grown their hair just for this purpose. The ladies also collected cash donations to help pay for wig-making supplies.

You don’t have to wait for a convention to donate hair. Just call around until you find a hair salon that does this special hair-cutting (sadly not all of them will do it). Anyone, any gender, any race, any age, can donate 10” or more of freshly-washed DRY hair. Or bring that long braid of hair in. This is such a simple way to help build a child’s self-esteem. If you know a child who needs a hairpiece, please fill out the Locks of Love submission form at their website: http://www.lockoflove.com or call them at (561) 963-1677.

Dye & Fiber Retreat 2006

We had a smaller Dye & Fiber Retreat this year than in 2006, but that was mainly due to the wildfires that scourged the Tehachapi Mountains between Los Angeles and Bakersfield. Watching the local news on TV it often looked as if Camp Verdugo Oaks had been lost in the conflagration, and we could not get any news for a long time. Everyone was on tenterhooks wondering if the Retreat would have to be canceled at the last minute, while I fussed about people coming from a distance who could not be reached in time to prevent their trip. Especially one participant who was arriving a week early from Sweden!

But the fires were finally conquered and our Retreat site ended up, as Ranger Terry described it, “an oasis of green in a vast sea of black”. The Forestry Service grudgingly allowed us access to the camp since there was little else that could burn. When we got there, we found that the fires had burned out the camp’s archery and rifle range, but all buildings had been saved.

Those who attended the Retreat had loads of fun while learning more about fiber and dyeing from our excellent fiber teachers. Barb Klessig (The Dread Viscountess Seelie) was an enthusiastic addition with an entertaining slide show of Northern European textile finds. Jennifer Tan, one of our new teachers (Tunisian crochet) brought her 7-year-old daughter, Joey, who gave a child’s-eye Retreat Report at Spindlicity. You can also read my 2006 Retreat Report.

We welcome one and all to the 2007 Retreat, which is still in planning. Join the Retreat discussion and tell others about it, too!

Snow!

Written January 17, 2007: Sorry for not dating blogs as I enter them. Just never occurred to me. I didn’t usually number my fanzines back in real publishing days with mimeograph and stencils until collectors of same asked me to start numbering my publications. Then I numbered one as “#4 or 5 or possibly 7” just to get a reaction. One of my early pulp paper fanzines was also named Bjottings. There are copies of it in the Riverside U. library.

Today I Googled for “Trimble” and, among other things, discovered that there is a Trimble GPS unit for sale. This is pretty funny considering that several Trimbles are not the people to ask for directions, excepting John. If you want to know how to get anywhere in Southern California, ask him, but be ready to take notes! You’ll get a whole lot of “… you take the 210 to the 134 to the 509 to the 1325 to the 1776 to the…. “ at which point my eyes glaze over.

One site that I can’t translate into a URL has, for no reason but the obvious one, a lovely semi-nude young lady at the top of the home page. Though the Google search part actually has a quote from this Bjottings, I found no evidence of it in the listings. But I thought maybe I could get away will claiming to be the pretty lady…

Aw, c’mon! I need some cheering up after getting my seriously ugly passport photo taken, and paying a heck of a lot extra to make sure the darned thing gets to me on time. Dead-on shots always look like one should have a set of numbers across your chest. But looking on the bright side, nobody else is ever going to claim that photo!

Anyone paying attention can guess that I’m getting my passport for the Mayan Highland Backstrap Weaving and Dyeing tour. It’s on! Whoo-hoo! Six people finally signed up. At least one of them knows me, so I assume the person is on the Natural Dye list. Not everyone has come forth to get acquainted before the trip, which I consider odd. I’d certainly like to know a bit about someone sharing 9 days in Mexico with me. But maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, it’s a revelation to check on one’s given name as well as surname now and then. I’ve discovered my own listing in Wikipedia, and wish I knew how to correct it. It’s pretty close, but there are bits that need changing.

Hope everyone enjoyed the photos taken last season of our lovely avocados. We won’t have such photos this year. The cold nights made most of the fingerlings (finger-sized new fruit) drop off our big old backyard tree. Larger avocados that already developed will have to be removed from the tree and ripened in the warm house. Then we’ll see if they are edible. The leaves have all been frost-bitten and look dead or dying, but we won’t know the damage for several weeks. If new growth comes out, we’re OK. My heart really goes out to all the avocado and citrus growers whose orchards were devastated by this unusual SoCal freezing weather. Farmers never seem to get a break. Several good years can be totally wiped out by having to re-mortgage the farm in bad times.

It’s a good day to dye!

We managed a few good dyeings this year, though not nearly as many as I’d have liked, mainly due to a full calendar and highly variable weather for ourdoors work. The Blue Nails Dyers Guild held a couple of dye days at Pitzer Arboretum gardens, one of the many Claremont Colleges, where we had loads of fun. This enjoyable outdoor venue is arranged courtesy of Ruth Schooley, a college complex librarian.

I’d hoped to get more work done on our on-going dye demo samples this year and even be nudged by Sherry Acton-Snowden into making that sample book. She plans to raid my baskets full of older dyed samples, putting them in booklets for better reference. Yay! This project is moving forward slowly with Sherry putting mordanted samples together for dyeing to show how dye colors change with the different mordants. You can find out more about mordants at our Griffin Dyeworks site. Maybe we’ll have more dyeing in 2007…

Last January Kathryn and I helped the Mount Wilson Girl Scouts with their Cookie Kaleidoscope Kick-off event in Arcadia Park, with the much appreciated help of Theresa Boscia, one of our webwrights, and John Trimble, all around water-schlepper and good sport. Various crafts were offered by companies and groups, including Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts showing how to dye quilt or pocket squares with fiber reactive dyes. Natural dyes take too long to develop to use at a demo where the public – particularly children – has the attention span of gerbils.

When it started sprinkling, a few scaredy-cats packed up and left, but lots of Scouts stayed. Our craft was already wet, so though the rain got heavier, we stayed to the last, and are invited back for 2007. John, Kathryn and I also went to Simi Valley to help a group of Girl Scouts and Brownies get their textile badge/patch, since dyeing qualified as one of the textile crafts. Their dyeing enthusiasm included the puzzled willing Australian shepherd pet of the site owner. I assured her that the dye would not harm the dog and would eventually wear off his fur.

Medieval Embroidery

Griffin Dyeworks is branching out from dyes and roving to embroidery since we can tap into some amazing talent in that area. We have found some wonderful embroidery designs and are currently preparing kits of historical designs.

Griffin Dyeworks has also self-published a truly informative book on the subject, written by Mary Jenkins, who is Baroness Ealasaid nic Suibhne in the SCA, and an excellent teacher of medieval embroidery techniques. This is a great book for other teachers of medieval embroidery techniques, so students can carry home a reminder of how each stitch is formed, see how stitches were used in a given century, the colors and cloth used, all in a well-illustrated book for only $20.00 plus shipping, so look in our BOOKS section in the Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts online catalog.

NØSTEPINDER

This is the plural of a very old low-tech Scandinavian fiber tool used in as a winder for making a center-pull ball of yarn. Norwegian: “Nest-stick”: nøste = nest; pinde = little stick; literally, ‘making a birds nest’. Also known as nøstie, nøsty, nøstepinne, nørstepinde, nystepinne, depending on which Scandinavian describes it. It’s also called a “dib-ble” or “that ball-winder stick thingie.”

Griffin Dyeworks is proud to introduce Mark Lindsay’s turned nøstepinder, hand-crafted from beautiful woods. A plain old broomstick can be a ball-winder, but it’s so much more satisfying to handle a beautiful wooden Quinn nøstepinde, and show it off in your fiber basket!

Mark is retired but keeps busy with his small daughter and working in his home workshop. He is also active in the SCA, where he is known as Master Quinn Phelan, builder of full-sized medieval ballista, catapults and trebuchets used by C.R.A.C. (the Caidan Royal Artillery Corps). He and his hearty band of fellow throwers-of-large-things can be found at major SCA events on the West Coast.

Star Trek & Other Media

If you showed up here expecting only expositions and opinions on media interests, you may be disappointed. You may find more about fiber arts and dyeing (that’s coloring fiber with dyes, not being laid permanently to rest) than science fiction, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, and Firefly. I’m still a fan, and still read science fiction and fantasy, along with art books, travelogues, humor, crafts books, dye books, lots of mysteries, and even a romance or two.

Fandom has given us Trimbles so much to be thankful for, especially wonderful friends worldwide. I’m on the Fans of Deep Space Nine Yahoo list so you can talk Trek with me on that list. From there you can find loads of other Trek sites. I particularly like the USS Moontype which serves blind and partially sighted science fiction fans. Their newsletter, Lunar Landscapes, is available in large print, Braille, disc and email – contact USS-Moontype at sbcglobal.net. There is a really nice group of gay and lesbian Trekkers and Disney fans at: USSNautilus2001. One of my favorite Trek sites is Curt McAloney’s Star Trek History sites where he restores film clips, explores the reasons why some things are seen but never explained, and shares a lot of behind-the-scenes stories, jokes, and other information. Try film clips: Location scenes, jokes on the set, promotional pictures, FX information and other trivia: http://www.startrekhistory.com/

Rumors

Let’s settle some stories that are circulating throughout various fandoms.

The Trimbles are not destitute. Not wealthy, but not bag people yet. Yes, we could use more money, so can everyone else except Gates, Trump, and Oprah. I am not on my deathbed from a stroke or heart attack.

John is doing fine after his heart attack 2 years ago, and at age 70 is healthier than many of his cardiologist’s 40-year-old patients. Aside from fibromyalgia and arthritis, both of which hurt but won’t kill me, I am doing pretty well for 73-going-on-74, and plan on a 2007 weaving and dyeing trip to the Mayan Highlands.

My 75th birthday goal is a trip to Denmark and Sweden to visit museums, attend Viking re-enactment events, and participate in an archaeological dig with Dan Carlsson, Associate Professor, ArkeoDok Blåeldsvägen 3 S-621 50 Visby, Sweden. Email: info at arkeodok.com for more information. Come join us!

The SCA

You will read a lot about The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., a medieval historical re-enactment organization popularly known as the SCA. Many of our fiber activities and in-person sales are within the SCA. Here I’m known as Maestra Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani, Order of the Laurel (arts), Order of the Pelican (service). John is Master John ap Griffin, OP and once one of the best field heralds in the entire SCA. We are also Court Baron and Baroness, which means mainly that someone on the throne liked you a lot.

Griffin Dyeworks sets up merchant booths at several large SCA ‘wars’ or other events through the year, and though our activities are presently in the Kingdom of Caid (Southern California) and the Kingdom of Atenveldt (Arizona), we hope to soon have the wherewithal to travel to other kingdoms in other states with our wares. We’d love to have the money to travel to Pennsic War in Pennsylvania, but that’s a lot of high gas mileage from Southern California just now.

Some people are second and third generation SCAers (or SCAdians) including our own children, who grew up in the SCA and in SF fandom: Lady Kathryn du Griffin (Kathryn Trimble) and Viscountess Lorissa du Griffin (Lora Boehm, see picture above). Lorissa is Seneschal of Altavia. You don’t have to be an SCA member to visit an event or to buy medieval goodies from Griffin Dyeworks. You’ll meet a lot of really nice, as well as fantastically talented, people. Most are very willing to welcome you in, teach you how to sew garb and do as much fiber art as you want to learn. Oh yeah, if you really want to wear hot armor and clonk your fellow man or woman with a rattan sword (see below), you can learn that, too. Find an SCA group in your area by going to the SCA website.

Our Location

We are not zoned to sell from our home in Monrovia, a small foothill town near Pasadena, so don’t try to visit our store. We don’t have one, though it would be great if we at least had a working studio and store – any million-aire investors out there? GDW ships from a mailbox where the nice people will be happy to see you but won’t tell you where we live.

If you plan to visit Southern California, contract us by email about a time when we can meet and talk about dyecraft. We can, however, hold dye and crafts workshops in our backyard. If interested in a workshop at our site or yours, contact us. Summer in Southern California makes us appreciate our big 50-year-old avocado tree in the back yard. Most GDW activities take place under that tree, sometimes with a mister spraying a delicate wetness on hot faces and arms.