Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cold, Protests, and a Felted Wool Project

The first cold weather of  fall  blew through Jordan this past weekend, bringing wind, rain, and renewed seasonal concerns of staying warm and dry in a land of expensive, inefficient heat and poorly insulated buildings. Once the temperatures drop, "I'm cold" is a regular mantra muttered, exclaimed, and yea, even whined by the womenfolk in our house. This year, however, I've informed Tatya that not a thought of complaint should cross our minds or a word,our lips as we remember the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees housed in unheated tents in a nearby U.N. refugee camp. From all accounts I've heard, their situation is miserable.

Jordan's beleaguered government announced steep fuel price hikes yesterday, due to necessary government subsidy cuts, sparking protests around the country. Fuels prices were raised 35%, with cooking and heating gas prices up 50%. Schools were released early, and roads were blocked and closed around Amman and other cities in the kingdom in an effort to curb further protests this evening. This is about so much more than fuel price hikes, but as Tayta put it, the price hikes were the lit match tossed onto the fuel. Forget about Arab Spring; Jordan's got a tough Arab winter to get through.

Dear Husband is toying with the idea of installing a "jiff" burning stove, a heating method  introduced to him by tent-dwelling Bedouins. Jiff is made of compressed remains of olive pressing waste. It burns clean, Dear Husband tells me. We'll see. I've not met one house dweller who has a jiff burning stove, but today I did read that the that Feynan Ecolodge is using jiff in their fireplaces. I'm warming to the idea.

Working with felted wool is a perfect cold weather hobby. I've put away my cottons for a season and my sewing corner is now all about wool. Last week I finished  my first wool throw. I began it last spring when I was inspired by Kris' great tutorial at Resweater.  I (obsessively) cut hexagons for about a week last spring, but I wasn't able to finish the throw until we returned to Jordan this fall. Each of the 50 shorter rows took about 15-20 minutes to zig-zag together, and points were easily matched as even felted wool has some give to it and can be gently coaxed to meet  where it should. It was the perfect project to use up small scraps of wool that I had from other projects, though I did cut up a couple of  sweaters just for this throw.

I predict this throw will see a lot of use this winter.


Anonymous said...

Wow!! Hard work! Looks really nice and your daugther seems happy!
How do you find life in Mafraq, compared to life in Amman? My elder sister lives in Amman with husband and 2 children and they are very happy./S Susan

Quotidian Life said...

The life in Mafraq is quieter, which I enjoy. I do get into Amman every couple of weeks for shopping/seeing friends/Tayta's activities. If you come to Amman for a visit sometime, let me know and perhaps I can meet you.

Laura A said...

Are your protests similar to ours last week, or are they more particularly Arab? Here, the high school kids definitely added to the strength (and in some cases, vandalism) of the protests.

Your heating situation puts mine into perspective. We share a thermostat and bill with all our neighbors, and I'd love to turn the thermostat down. But at least we have heat!

And the quilt is lovely! All those patches mean some flattering colors for every complexion!

Quotidian Life said...

Yes, I think the protests were similar in that they were economically inspired, fueled additionally by general Arab Spring unrest and confirmed suspicions of governmental corruption. They went from slightly violent to peaceful, which is a good sign that people don't want to unleash the chaos that is affecting other Middle Eastern countries. We'll see if anything happens again this Friday (usual day for protests) but right now many eyes are on Gaza.

Laurie said...

Did you mix woven wool with knitted wool? The hexagon in the links did not show up...what size is one edge of your hexagon? I have loads of wool and love your blanket.

Quotidian Life said...

Hi Laurie, I used only knitted wool. The hexagon sides are 1 1/2 inches long. Have fun--I really enjoyed making this blanket!