Friday, 31 January 2014

Winter, after all. And books.

It has finally cooled down far enough that we have some snow hanging out on the lawn and on the streets, and that the temperatures are more winter-like.

While I'm not so easily feeling cold when walking around outside, though, the cooler temperatures mean I get cold easier when sitting at my desk. Which, for me today, means warm socks and a warm sweater and nice, hot tea. And chocolate. Everybody knows that chocolate is a warming food, right?

Links, too. Links make one feel warmer. Possibly. (Though even if they don't, you will get some anyhow.)

Oxbow has a large amount of special offers on their webpage, including quite a few textile-related ones.

If you would rather test your (German language) knowledge of the medieval times, you can try yourself in this quiz from Uni Tübingen. (You're out after the third wrong answer.)

Also German: how to make a brush out of a goose feather, a bit of goat fur, and a wooden stick. Plenty of pictures, though, so you should be able to follow it even without knowing German.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

About fairness, and being content, and making the world a better place.

I stumbled across a blogpost yesterday that really, really touched me... written by Pat Rothfuss, and concerning charity, and why he does so much for charity.

Personally, I try to be a positive human being, and I try to believe in the good of others. I am generally very, very content about the many good things in my life; and I can sleep comfortably at night in a proper warm bed, unafraid of getting up tomorrow with no money, no home, no friends and no chances. That is a big thing, and more than enough to get a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
I also believe that if life were fair, there would be no hunger in the world and no utter poorness, my friends and family would never fall nastily ill (nobody cares for a cold or a small nuisance now and then), and everyone who was working honestly for a living should be able to lead a reasonably comfortable life off their income.

Unfortunately, life is not fair. There were illnesses and diagnoses of illnesses and deaths aplenty last year in the circles I move in, and there's nothing one can do against it but try to encourage and support those that live and remember, fondly, those that have stopped living. There's also war, and poverty, and misery, and lots more stuff going on in the world that I don't even really want to know about in detail, because it will mean I get a bellyache and become frustrated with how unfair the world is and lose sleep for a week. (It's a good thing there are petitions against a lot of political things in this flavour, and that these actually turn out to do some good. Much relieves my frustration and accompanying symptoms.)

I also know that I am not enough to change these big things. I can't make everyone become healthy, wealthy, and friendly to their fellow human beings. I am not the person who will develop a cure for cancer, or ring in world peace, or end all misery on the planet.

However, I've long tried to lead my life so that I can leave the world a little better. I try to be friendly to my fellow human beings, try to pay fair prices for crafts (and make others pay them, too!), spread the word about good things, and I believe that sometimes small acts can make a big difference - especially when there are more people involved.

So what Pat writes in his blog... really touched me. There you have someone trying to make the world a better place, and using his fanbase to help him do so. Thanks, Pat.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Structure, structure, structure.

I have had my first big insight this year, and it goes thusly: The only think I did lack in my work for being more happy with myself was a tiny little bit more structure.

One thing I love about being a freelancer is the freedom - you can decide, all by yourself, whether you want to work day or night, morning or afternoon; whether you want to take many small breaks or few large ones; and whether you want to work on this project now or the other one. It's not completely free, obviously, as soon as you have something like a social life (which I very much recommend) and something like customers who actually want to see results for the money they pay at a given point in time. But you get my drift - nobody cares whether you have lunch at ten, at four, or not at all.

Turns out nobody cares except myself. A few weeks ago, I started smattering a few more structural anchors into my week, and I am amazed at the difference it makes. Part of them are work-related (projects that I now work on every day, for just a short burst of time), part of them are personal things, and part of them are social. This means that most of my day is still free for me to shift things around, but that all of the current projects on the list get a share of the time, and none of them is neglected over several days, followed by a burst of activity.

I'm not sure whether this little bit more structure has made my work more efficient, but it has certainly made me feel happier as I start my day and work my way through it. So if you are a freelancer starting out, or have self-organised work times and feel not really content with how it goes, you might want to consider giving your days a little more structure... maybe it works as well for you as it does for me.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

More digital books.

Over on the Stringpage blog (which you should totally check out in case you still don't know it), Sarah posted a link to the new Virtual Library at the Getty Museum of Art. Like the Met before it, the Getty has made out-of-print backlist publications available for download, free of charge.

Hooray for these two wonderful museums and the books they offer us!

Monday, 27 January 2014

de Gruyter Open

The phone, I blame the phone for eating up almost all my morning! Now I'll quickly give you today's links:

De Gruyter has bought up Versita, now called de Gruyter Open. This part of dG will offer open access articles and journals, their start page is here.

And, to (semi-)quote* the webcomic Questionable Content: Baking is science for hungry people. If that makes you hungry for some baking science, head over here to learn everything you ever wanted to learn about chocolate chip cookies.

* It's a semi-quote because there is merchandise with that phrase, but to my knowledge, it doesn't turn up in a comic.

Friday, 24 January 2014


I have just finished the first piece for the project I am working on currently - male and female clothing in the style of the Codex Manesse. First piece was the woman's undergarment, and it's now hanging to dry after a quick rinse, all sewn and neatly hemmed, the tailor's chalk rinsed out, and thus ready to be worn. (Well, except for being dripping wet yet.)

Next pieces in line will be the man's undergarments - and then, once the wool fabrics have been dyed in beautiful, bright colours, the real work will start.

For the rest of today, though, I am going to immerse myself in books, as it's time for a library visit again. There's books waiting for me on several different topics and for several different items of writing - so I should get myself into the car and get going to have a productive day!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Gratuitous Yarn Pics.

A while ago, I went to a monthly spinning meet-up for the first time. That was fun.

A month later, I went there again... and fell in love with some fibre. It's not that I do not own enough fibre for spinning. (Seeing that I have fibre to sell, that would be sort of weird.) It's also not that I don't have enough spinning projects already, or things and techniques I should (or want to) try out, or improve in. And I also own more than enough sock wool for the next few years worth' of sock knitting, seeing how slowly I knit. (Intermittently, and that is probably mostly to blame. Even if your actual knitting speed is not snail-like but only on the low end of mediocre, leaving a knitting project in a bag for a few months because there just is no leisure for it means that making a pair of socks will take ages.)

That fibre... it sang to me. It was dyed, modern-style, in blues and greens with a dash of teal and a dollop of grey in it, and it looked too, too lovely. Long story short, after a while of considering and getting a snippet of the fibre to test-spin, I caved. I bought the fibre and took it with me to spin it during our post-Christmas time with friends. (They know me. Neither of them did blink an eye when I turned up with my spinning wheel in tow.)

I divided the dyed top into three parts, length-wise, and spun each part in my normal thickness and my normal amount of twist (and that's lots). I plied it up three-ply, feeling very generous with my time and very modern, and came out with almost sock-yarn thickness. (It's about as thick as normal sock yarn if you stretch the normal yarn a little.)

When I was finished, I knit up a little sample... which I then tossed into the washing machine, the normal cycle that we use for our clothes. Twice. It came out a little softer than it had come in, but unchanged in size.

And then I started knitting socks from it.

I am insanely happy with this yarn (even though I could have added more plying twist in a few places, and even though the colours from the three plies don't exactly match up).

The different colours and the mixing of them, however, make for interesting patterning.

And I'm looking forward to the time when both socks will show a share of green and blue...

because at the moment, it looks a bit as if I were knitting one sock each from two different wools.

I don't really mind, though. I am very happy watching my hand-spun wool knit up, and looking forward to having new socks at an unspecified time in the future.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sad news.

Professor John Munro, who has written an immense amount of publications about economy, with lots and lots about the importance of textiles in economy, has passed away on December 23, 2013.

Here is his obituary from the University of Toronto; here is his life story. He was a very interesting man for sure, and I'm sad that I never got to meet him.

I hope that the university will keep his homepage accessible; there are links and downloads to many of his papers, working papers, and course notes available on the page, and I've found a lot of things of interest there.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Not more coherent, but this time there's links.

In spite of an early morning walk and coffee, I'm not feeling so much more coherent this morning than I was yesterday. The Project G, as I shall name it from now on, is a little bit delayed, through some unfortunate circumstances and not to the fault of my fabric suppliers. So I'm still waiting for part of the fabric to portion it out and send it off for the dyeing process. Meanwhile, I can take care of other things, though.

Such as reading. And sorting some stuff. And getting started on the undergarments (where I already have the fabrics, and said fabrics do not need dyeing). And planning things - it has been decided that I will go to LonCon together with some friends, and we're in the hot planning phase for this.

There's also an update on the next Textile Forum due - we have been sorting out possible focus topics, and have decided. There's only some few things to clarify before we can set out to finalise our planning for this stage. Whew. (Staying in one place definitely has its huge advantages for the planning and organising part!)

If you've read all this, you are probably due some links to keep you amused - here they are:
A long list of digitised manuscripts is here; the (very funny and fabulous) blog that posted the list also asks for your support with a nomination for a UK blog award.

For those of you interested in some of Scientology's history, you might want to watch this. (Consider watching it anyways, if you're not interested in the topic but like to see good storytelling - that guy really knows what he is doing, with all the bells and whistles on.)

Or maybe you'd like to read snark about stock pictures? Getty Critics, then.

Finally, for those of you doing yoga (or something else where you use a mat) - if you have ever wondered whether your mat has a name, this handy guide will tell you what it is. (Once you found out, tell your mat hello from Sergeant Magic Thing, who is hanging out rolled up in the next room.)

Monday, 20 January 2014


The weekend is over, a new week has started, and I have already managed to get some of the paperwork stack cleared from my desk. That's nice. Unfortunately, it's also just a drop on the hot stone.

There's the Big Project going on, which has hit a bit of a snag at the moment, and part of today will be set aside to clear that up. And otherwise, this phd comic sums it up pretty much at the moment.

I have a long list of things to do, issues to clear, stuff to sew, other stuff to organise, and things that I ought to write, and pretty soon. Also, the cat wants to be cuddled. And if you are lucky, my blogging will be more coherent and more interesting tomorrow... when I hopefully will have coped a bit.

Friday, 17 January 2014

To-do list, revisited.

It's been almost a year now since I discovered HabitRPG, which I posted about back in February 2013. (For those of you who missed that first post and are too lazy to click the link, it's a to-do list with integrated life gamification. You have a little avatar that gains gold and experience for every task you do, whether one-off or recurring, and can die if you miss too many recurring tasks. Like a roleplaying character, it will level up when there's enough experience amassed, and the gold can be used to buy either in-game rewards like equipment, or buy permission to treat yourself to some real-life rewards, like the book you wanted, or having coffee with friends, or whatever you set for yourself at whatever gold price suits you.)

That was not the first planning gadget I had tried, but contrary to my expectations, I did actually stick with it and did not drop out after a week or two, or even half a year. My to-do list is still quite long, and some items stay on it nauseatingly long, but I do have the feeling that I am getting more done overall.

Habit is especially useful, for me, in keeping track of recurring tasks such as book-keeping (and you faithful readers will know exactly how much I love that task), but also small everyday things that tend to get forgotten. The to-do list can get a bit unwieldy if it becomes too long (if? it's always way too long), and tends to make me sigh because I have still not gotten around to doing this or that, but that is not a problem of the programme, but of my too-ambitious planning.

There are plenty of small things to keep you motivated, too - special gear turning up from time to time, a chance of finding something such as a pet or pet food, and recently implemented are "boss quests" where you have to fight a special monster by doing all your daily tasks, for example. You can also join friends in a party, or join a guild of like-minded folks. For long-term positive reinforcement of getting things done, there's the real-life reward opportunity, which also works nicely for me (and is the main reason why my little avatar does not have that much equipment - I preferred having coffee or lunch with friends, or saving up to buy that yoga mat, or a book).

When I started using Habit, it was still very much in development, and quite... buggy. That has much improved now, though it's still being developed and gets add-ons periodically, such as the long-awaited checklist option. More gamification is possible now than in the first months, with a class system and more complex stats (that you can also ignore if you want).

Sometimes the documentation and explanation on what things do is a little... vague, and there are still plenty of bugs being had, but the developing team (which sports many, many volunteers) is doing a really good job of tackling them. So while there's the occasional glitch, overall I don't mind that much. I really like using Habit, and it actually has made a difference for me. If you like RPGs (or even if you are just curious about that thing), go and check it out. If you need help or want to read some more about it first, here's the wiki for Habit... but I'd actually recommend you to jump right in and give it a try with a few tasks and a few recurring tasks, and see if it suits you. It just might.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

More Distaff Questions.

As requested in one of yesterday's comments, here is a follow-up post with a little more stuff about the distaff... for the basic explanation about the reconstructed medieval spinning, see also this post.
I am guessing that one takes fibre from the distaff and somehow moves it to the spindle, but I can't tell from this part if you are taking it randomly from any part of cousin It, or if you intend to take it sequentially, in the same order it was placed on the band, or what...
You draft from the distaff, and the flow more or less occurs naturally. I try to work my way along around the distaff, turning it a bit from time to time, so that I don't use up all the fibre on one side first. Otherwise, I don't much care where my fibre supply flows from, as long as it flows easily and evenly.

I am also curious to know how much time this distaff dressing process takes, and how much spinning time one gets from it. I gather from other posts of yours that it used to be that "everyone" used a distaff, but for modern spinners it is not so common to use one (though becoming more common again as more historical reenactors experiment with them?)
I can tell you exactly how long it took me for dressing this one: I snapped the first blurry pic at 13:56 and finished with the Portrait of Cousin Itt at 14:04. That's eight minutes, and I guess that at least three of these minutes were photo time. So in textile work terms, dressing a distaff this way does not take any time at all.
The spinning time you get from it, on the other hand, totally depends on how fast you are spinning and how much fibre you are using up per make (i.e. how thick you are spinning), so I can't tell you. Me, I go a long way with 42 g of fibre.

Modern spinners don't use a distaff, for the most part, because their spinning technique does not technically require them to do so. For the medieval style, however, the distaff is essential and you cannot physically spin without it.
Is there a savings in total time when using a distaff? (e.g. while dressing the distaff takes time, the spinning part goes enough faster as a result of having done so to make it worth it) Is there an improvement in the quality of the spinning (I am guessing "yes", since I imagine that it would be easier to be consistent as to how much fiber is added per second to the spun yarn).
Since spinning in the reconstructed style is not possible otherwise, you might argue that yes, yarn quality is improved ; )
Joking aside, what really does take time and has a big influence on yarn quality and ease of spinning is the fibre preparation. The five minutes (even if it were fifteen minutes, same applies) for dressing a distaff are really next to nothing compared to the time needed for spinning a substantial amount of medium-fine to fine yarn, and preparing the fibre to accommodate this. Spinning quality hangs on the quality of the fibre prep and the spinner's skill. If you muck up in dressing the distaff by wrapping it too firmly, for example, or too loosely, this is easily and quickly remedied, and there is quite a bit of leeway in how it needs to be; you just need enough friction between the held fibres to make drafting possible.
If you had mucked up in prepping your fibre, though, not the best distaff-dressing in the world will make that better.

The distaff is, essentially, your third hand for spinning - the one holding your fibre and helping you draft. And just like a real hand, if it holds only crap... it will give you that same stuff it holds. You have a say in how firmly it holds on to its stuff, though, depending how you dress it.

Any more distaff-related questions, folks?

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

How I dress my distaff.

The following is a photo report (wow, this word makes me think of my youth and those crappy romance photo stories in teen mags) of how I dress my distaff. Please be aware that this is a work in progress and a technique still in development, and that there are probably fifteen gazillion other methods that are at least as suitable as mine, if not better.

I start off with my distaff, which is a stick with a few notches cut in at the top to reduce slippage. The notches are a horizontal cut at the bottom, then a sloping cut downwards to meet the notch, resulting in something like a tiny shelf. Attached to the stick is a linen band about 1.5 m long (I used small copper nails to attach it). The band helps to secure the fibre evenly and give the necessary little friction.

I start by placing the distaff somewhere suitably flat; a table or the floor will do. I've chosen mixed brown wool for this, about 42 g of it.

In my experience, you can use the fibre that sticks out from the bottom of each band and the fibre still touching the band, but usually not the fibre sticking out above the top. So I position my wool accordingly: I place the end of my top at the upper edge of the band, put my hand down on the band and pull the top away, leaving a bit of fibre on the band.

I work myself along the band in this way with a first layer of fibre.

I then go back and forth, evenly layering the fibre into the thinner spots, not going too thick with the layers. (I have not gathered enough experience yet to know how much you can load on without it getting awkward.)

I leave the last hand width worth of the band without fibre

and then I start rolling up the distaff.

Rolling is done with only the gentlest pressure, and without tensioning the band (at most, I put on enough tension to just keep it properly straight). You can roll up with tension, but that may prevent you from drafting out easily - I've had more success with going easy on the distaff when rolling it.

Roll until you can roll no more, resulting in something like Cousin Itt with a nice headband, and secure the end of the band (I used a modern pin for it here).

That's it. You can go spin now. The band may shift with spinning, developing into a spiral that sort of droops down the distaff. Thus, after a while of spinning, it might be necessary to adjust the distaff - I do that by gently unrolling and re-rolling the band.

If you try this method or a similar one, I'd be delighted to hear about your experience!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Who needs bridges, anyway?

I have managed to empty out my distaff yesterday, so I was actually planning to go and take photographs of the dressing this morning. Then, however, I read some blogs. And was stunned.

Imagine you have a bridge that was built in the 13th century. There were repairs, sure, and major restauration after the war, and one of the three arches was then re-built with a larger opening for better passing of ships. Still... it's a piece of history.

There's such a bridge in Tournai, and it's in danger of being torn down to make way for a new bridge with even larger openings, in preparation of a channel whose realisation is not even a sure thing yet.

Luckily, we live in the Age of the Internet, and there's a petition against the demolition. (For those of you not reading French, "je signe" means "I sign", so that's the button you want.) The person who started the petition has also written up some info about the bridge and the project, and that's in English.

The usual remains to say - please sign, share, and nag your friends with it...

Monday, 13 January 2014

Spinning like "back then".

A good week ago, I received a nice email from somewhere in the US, asking me this:

I do living history demonstrations, and since I am learning to spin, I will be adding spinning to what I demo. I've seen the pictures of the long double tapered spindles with distaff, it looks like there was either no spindle whorl, or it was a bottom whorl.

 My problem is trying to learn how they actually spun the wool on the spindles.  Do you know where I can get enough information on how the spinning was done so I can demonstrate it correctly?

First of all, I am thrilled that demonstrators pause and think about what tools were used, and how exactly they were used. Thrilled! Because (as I have learned, and to my great chagrin much too recently) that modern-style spinning, even with a distaff, is a long way removed from how medieval spinning pictures look.

So how do you spin medieval-style? First of all, the caveat: This is the attempt to reconstruct a spinning style from, basically, pictures and a few surviving tools. Spinning is, at its core, a very basic thing (adding twist to fibres) and this thing can be achieved with a myriad of tools, and a myriad of techniques; there is no guarantee that everybody in the MA spun alike, and there's no guarantee that we as modern people trying to reconstruct it actually hit the correct version(s). Even if it works really, really well, it's no proof. (It is a strong indication that it may be right or close, though.) If I'm talking about "medieval spinning" in the following text, it may refer to pictures and other sources or the reconstructed technique, so please read accordingly.

Typical modern spinning is drop-spindle spinning, where the spindle travels down, hanging freely from the hands and wandering towards the floor; the hands stay close to the fibre supply. Drafting takes place between the two hands. The spindle is flicked periodically with one hand (which leaves its normal drafting place for this).

In contrast to that, medieval spinning always keeps one hand close to the spindle tip and one hand close to the fibre supply. Drafting takes place between the top hand (drafting hand) and the distaff, which is indispensable for this kind of spinning; the other hand keeps the spindle in motion.
The spindle can either be kept in the hand and turned between the fingers or suspended right below the twisting hand from the thread already spun. In both cases, there is an almost continual twisting action done with the twisting hand.

And because you will probably be all confused now, here's a video of me spinning in that technique.

I am indebted to Cathelina from the 15thcenturyspinning blog, who has done a lot of research on the reconstructed technique. She also has some videos on her blog, most of them showing the in-hand spinning, not the close-to-the-hand-suspending that I prefer. Especially this slo-mo one is worth watching.
If you want an overview on spinning pictures, I can also recommend her pinterest board.

With this technique for spinning, you can use a spindle with a whorl (giving a little more heft to the spindle and making for a better twist when spun suspended) or without a whorl (in my experience, nice to do when the spindle is already quite full, or when you are spinning long fibres such as linen). You do definitely need a distaff, either a free-standing one or one that you tuck into your belt, or place beside you.

You try to draft an equal amount of fibres from the distaff, letting the twist enter these fibres as fast as needed (the twist travels upwards from the spindle). As every style of spinning, it takes practice - but it's a lovely and quite fast style in my experience. The well-dressed distaff with well-prepared fibres is crucial for this. I'll try to do a blog post on how I dress my distaff one of the next days, since it's different from Cathelyne's version.

For now, though, I hope this helps to shed some light on medieval spinning!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Random thoughts.

I've barely started on the current big project, and first complications have already arisen, hooray - there is an issue with the fabrics I had planned to order. If I am lucky, I can get very similar replacements for them. If not... well. We shall see. At least it starts out quite, quite interesting.

There are bits and pieces I can get started on, though, and I am firmly planning to do so today, with just one single other point on my agenda.

(Sorry for the vagueness - if things work out, I'm planning to de-vague it soon, and you will be along for the ride.)

So while I'm feeling a little torn about how things will work, here are some scattered random links for you.

The Yarn Harlot writes about a baby sweater, and how only love could buy it. Yes. This. (Fits right in with the Fair Prices stuff that I blatantly plugged again yesterday.)

If you read German, Archaeologik posts about an excavation of a modern ceramic firing pit (pit was courtesy of a school project). If you don't read German, there's piccies.

Random fact of the day: I'm still doing yoga. My standard go-to site is, which I still highly recommend. There are pay-for sites that are by far not as nice as that one. And online yoga is a business with quite a bit of money to be made, as noticed by a company called YogaGlo... who have, apparently, patented a certain layout of the room for video classes.
This has led to hubbub and kerfluffle with the other yoga class sites, among them Yoga International. How is that interesting for you, you ask? Go read their open letter - and then you might want to enjoy their offer of all their classes for free (offer stands with undisclosed end time, but probably not forever).

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Blogging Archaeology Carnival January

Dear Doug, thank you so much for your January question. This was a welcome excuse to go waste a lot of time finally catch up on my blog statistics again. Though I confess that I am a slight bit confused by them...

To keep those of you not checking into Doug's summary up to date, January’s questions are:
What are your best (or if you want your worst) post(s) and why? Compare and contrast your different bests/worsts.
I leave it up to you to define what best is. We bloggers have all sorts of different stats available to us.
(Doug then gives a list of suggestions on what could be defining best and worst.)

So naturally, the first thing I did was look at stats. As all bloggers, I have the blogger stats available to me, plus I have an extra statcounter installed. Both are somewhat... lacking, to my taste, in giving a good and complete overview - the blogger one tells me that some of my early posts (from back in 2010 and 2009) have never received a single visit, which I find hard to believe. This one here, for example - which is admittedly not one of my most brilliant posts ever. However, at least the most patient husband of them all usually reads my blog every day, so it should have at least one view, right?

According to blogger stats, most of my relatively current posts get hits somewhere between the high twenties and low sixties, with outliers (often linky posts that get handed on by others) that are solidly in the one- to twohundred hit range. This is probably not counting any rss feeds, though I am not sure how many of you get this via feed.

The most viewed post of all time (9485 views) is actually a link post - this one here, linking on to instructions for unwinding a small skein of yarn. Follow-up with 6586 hits is my own post about how to untangle a skein of yarn, which has been popping up as the most viewed one consistently since I wrote it back in November 2009. I still like it, too - it's long and tries to be a little humorous as well. So that's probably what I would consider one of my best posts, in terms of effort spent to views gained, and possibly also helpfulness (at least I hope so).

Much lower in the hitcount lists are other posts that were a more than average effort to write, like the Skjoldehamn neck flap one (2775 hits). Pictures from this, however, have been turning up across the 'net (and not always with acknowledgement).
On a more positive note for me, posts about the Textile Forum (and there's many of them) are consistently getting higher hit counts than my normal posts, too - and since that conference project is one very close to my heart, this makes me very happy. They are not always what I'd consider a splendid piece of writing, though.

And some of my favourite posts in the blog are the ones about fair prices for crafts - all tagged under "fair prices for crafts campaign". They did get a good share of love (and hits), ranging somewhere between almost 500 and 1340 hits for the posts in the main series (the one also linked to on the sidebar).

That's about what I would consider the best posts of my blog. I won't go into the worst ones, though - with trying hard to post weekdaily all year around, there are bound to be plenty of non-brilliant posts just telling you that I ran out of ideas, or giving a random link and two lines of uninspired writing. I am sorry for those, and I feel a little bad about it every time I post such a one, but really - it can't be helped, and putting on pressure to be totes brill all the time... just won't work.

If you will tell me about your favourite post (or your least favourite one!) on this blog in the comments, though, I'd greatly appreciate that!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Catching up.

I am settling back into a normal work rythm after the winter break, though with more incentive to settle in quickly and efficiently this time - I have a deliciously large project on my desk.

In addition and as usual, this time of year is also interesting in regards to finishing stuff (such as the bookkeeping and tax stuff) and preparing stuff (such as fixing event dates for the coming months, and preparing for the big taxes thingie).

Finally, there's catching up to do - some catching up on the news, some on emails, and some on - you guessed it - interesting (or possibly interesting) links. So here you go:

Doug has summed up the archaeology blog carnival responses for December. It's a long post, and I was thrilled to be in there almost at the top. (I read all the way through it, though - it is worth it.) I'll post my reply to the January question one of the next days - once I have managed to look at my blog stats a bit...

If you are in the US and thinking of getting started in a conservation career, here's a grant to help.

There's a new book out, called "Clothing the Clergy" - it does sound interesting, but I have not been able to check it out yet.

If you are a language freak or just plain interested in the relation between languages, here is the graphic for you - and the blog posting that might then also be worth a closer look.

In case you are more interested in typology, you can play the kerning game here.

And as a final link for today, even though we're far away from Easter still, here's a post about the bioarchaeology of crucifiction.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A Happy New Year to all of you!

I hope you had a good start into 2014, with friends, family or loved ones.

A lot of people I know have had to struggle in 2013 - things going wrong, and especially health troubles seem to have been around more than usual. I've heard similar things from all around, from people I don't know too well, so much that it seems to become one of the themes of 2013. So here's my wish for you for 2014:

I wish for you to receive lots of good news this year and little of bad news, and find more friends than you will lose. I wish that you will have joy, and peace, and a bit of spice in your life.

I hope that you will be healthy and that you appreciate your health if you are; and that your loved ones are healthy too, and able to share their life and their joy with you a while longer. I wish that whenever things look bleak and bad, you will still be able to think of something positive, and look forward to better times, and never lose your hope. I hope that you will find the time, or take the time, to do things that make you happy, and to spend time with people that make you happy.

May 2014 bring us all joy, wealth, and happiness.