Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Regrets July 12, 2016

I haven’t played my recorders for a couple of years or so.  I was just busy with other activities and the time and place where the monthly recorder meetings were held were no longer convenient.  But recently I tried playing the recorder again and found that arthritis in my hands made it difficult to play.  Alas.  Up until now the things associated with aging haven’t really bothered me.  But now, trying to play the recorder is painful and it is bothering me to find that I just can’t spread my fingers with enough agility to make playing the recorder possible.  I really wanted to attend and play in an up coming one day jazz workshop.miscellaneous-ian-009  In younger days with the bass recorder.  7 or 8 years ago?  in my early 70’s

I have a friend of similar vintage whose mother had very bad arthritis in her hands.  My friend is taking piano lessons to hopefully ward off similar problems.

Come to think of it, my own mother also had bad arthritis in her hands in later years.   She was an avid knitter, as am I.  When she moved to Hawaii, knitting was no longer so important in her life.  So I don’t know if she could have continued to knit if she had wanted to.  Knitting is still important to but I could substitute other fiber activities just as satisfying.  After all, my abandonment of weaving has been partially age related and I don’t really miss it – I can still maintain my interest without physically crawling under that big Glimakra loom.






Recorder Playing Again November 16, 2015

Filed under: Music,Musical instruments,Recorders — Janet @ 3:00 pm

Apart from singing in the church choir, music has been taking a back seat in my activity schedule.  BUT – I have resumed                  that activity with my attendance yesterday at the meeting of the Moss Bay Recorder Society over in Kirkland.  And happy was I to be playing again even if I couldn’t remember much of what I knew before and I have developed arthritis in my hands since I last played 3 (?) years ago.  The fingering was difficult.  But I was very happy to be playing again and to meet up with some old friends.

IMG_0001 photo of husband Ian, unrelated to recorder playing except if he is listening

003    Katerina lurking behind my scarves, pretending she is not listening    miscellaneous-ian-009 photo taken in 2009, Janet trying to play the bass recorder


Larry McMurtry’s Memoirs October 3, 2011

Filed under: Authors,Books,Music,Musical instruments,Recorders — Janet @ 9:15 pm

  I have now read all 3 volumes of Larry McMurtry’s Memoirs.  Slightly out of order since I waited for the soft cover edition of the one pictured above.  This memoir is actually the 2nd  of his 3.  The first one was titled Books and the third one was titled Hollywood.  I am a fan of Mr. McMurtry and have read most of his work.  We are of similar age, that’s part of the attraction.   He is a prolific writer and his themes/topics are of interest.  He loves books – so do I.  But he is a successful author – I just dabble.

As well as trying to read through my long list of unreads, I have joined another recorder playing group.  A small group which meets on Tuesdays at mid-day.  Most of the members are advancing beginners.  That is the category I fall into in an effort to learn the bass clef and play my bass recorder.  Here is a sketch I did a few years ago in Dublin – this is supposed to be an aide memoir to help me remember the positioning of my fingers in relation to the notes produced.  I did the sketch in my painting group there at Kenilworth – I miss that group very much – as well as the lawn bowling which we did in season.  Old pals well remembered – it’s time to move on as I find myself 6000 miles away with new friends to make and new activities to build on the former ones. 


  this is not the photo I was looking for – this is the Yamaha alto, my first recorder that I bought in Cambridge England

This is the photo I was looking for:


Small World July 19, 2011

Filed under: Music,Musical instruments,Recorders — Janet @ 2:34 am

This past week was so interesting at the Early Music Workshop, named Port Townsend, but now held at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma – only every 2 years so it was a real opportunity to find that this was the year.  I really liked the setting and the ambience of the University.  It seemed a smallish college/university – very attractive and elegant brick buildings, not too far apart except the distances seemed to lengthen the more musical instruments one had to carry – and the shorter the time between classes.  Oh well, I was glad I wasn’t lugging one of those big viols.  A music stand and several recorders and a bottle of water and a miscellany of other items seemed quite enough.  The university is expanding and there was a fair bit of construction going on – it was hard at first to find one’s way around – some people got lost.  I didn’t get lost but I did miss several events due to poor planning, mostly on my part.  The security system was daunting for getting into the main building where everyone was staying and was the focus for many of the events.  Actually getting into the building was o.k. since the main door  was unlocked during the day – but then there was the problem of getting into one’s suite (shared with 2 others) and then into one’s room.  By the end of the week I finally had those keys and locks figured out.  I was on the 3rd floor of this building so that of course added to the drama – fortunately there was a lift/elevator.  I had 4 workshops each day, interspersed with coffee and meal breaks.  The locations of these workshops did shift a bit.  Of course, the dining hall was in yet another building.

What a surprise it was to find that among the 75+ participants and 15 or so tutors there was actually a classmate from Middlebury, for one; and two, a woman hailing now from Kelowna B.C. but who went to Trinity in Dublin and went to secondary school on Zion Road – when we first moved to Dublin in 1968 we lived on Zion Road, just a block from the school she attended.  I walked past it every day.   Her attendance there preceded our arrival but all the same, that’s quite a coincidence.  I so enjoyed chatting with her about all things Irish and Dublin.

  a sample view of part of the campus

  another view

  one of my classes – that’s me on the left in blue

  Trimble Hall – our dorm and action center.  The dining area was down the hill to the left – not far.

  Our percussion group – a bit blurred but never mind, maybe that’s what happens if you play percussion all the time.

  my room was on the 3rd floor


  Elizabethan dance instruction in mid-air

Another very nice thing about this week-long workshop was that by the end of the week I was getting to know various people and where they came from.  Hopefully we will be able to get a little group together of people who live near me here in Seattle and I’ll be able to play more often than the once a month meetings of the Seattle Recorder Society.


Have I Been Away? July 17, 2011

Filed under: Air travel,Family,Family history,Music,Ogunquit Maine,Recorders — Janet @ 3:12 am

Late June, early July – that’s a popular time for going away.  And that’s in fact what I did.  We had a big trip to the East Coast to visit family in New England.  Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, with arrival in and departure from Logan Airport in Boston.  Almost immediately upon our return I went off to an Early Music Workshop which lasted all week.  It was great.  I am just back from that wonderful week, my head full of music from the Baroque and Renaissance periods in history.  The workshop was very well organized, the tutors outstanding, and the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma a very suitable setting.  That small college campus reminded me of my alma mater, Middlebury College in Vermont.  And lo and behold, one of the attendees was a Middlebury classmate from way back when.  Small world.  I attended a similar event in Ireland back in 2007.  This one was even better, possibly because I have that much more experience in playing the recorder and other instruments.

On the final evening there was a very well catered banquet and many of the people dressed up in Elizabethan wear.  It was really splendid and we didn’t need any wine to make us feel very merry.  However, wine was provided and then of course the prevailing mood was even merrier.

Here are a few photos taken at random:

Little League baseball in Connecticut proved to be most exciting and dominated our schedule, depending on the team’s fortunes.

Meeting with Middlebury friends.

Then came the lobster the evening before the 4th of July Reunion.

A few left in the pavilion while the rest dispersed to play games etc.

  Sisters and cousins at the reunion

Snapshots from the Music Workshop

  One of the consort groups I played in

  contra line done to swinging music by Shera, one of the workshop leaders.

That’s it for now.  I can’t seem to get these pictures in the right order.  Will try again later.


Trying to Play the Bass Recorder April 3, 2011

Filed under: Dublin,Music,Musical instruments,Recorders — Janet @ 5:34 am

   A nice old postcard I found on the Dublin Sketchers website.  This is an early tinted rendition of Stephen’s Green.

Now to the subject of this post.  While we were living in Dublin in recent years I became interested in learning to play the recorder and proceeded to take lessons and to play with the Irish Branch of the Society of Recorder Players.   This Irish Branch was quite small and as a relative beginner I found it a challenge to integrate with the group of more experienced and expert musicians.  Nevertheless, I persevered and made other contacts as well so that I could develop as a player.  It was very enjoyable.  Now here in Seattle I have joined the Seattle Society of Recorder Players.  This group is a different kettle of fish altogether.  A very encouraging and welcoming group for all levels – at least that is what I have found.  It is large and one can feel less conspicuous compared with a smaller group.

Last night was the monthly first Friday of the month meeting of the Seattle Recorder Society.  This is held in the Maple Leaf suburb of Seattle.  A lovely name but difficult to get to from Ballard, particularly in the dark and the rain.  And it has rained each first Friday.  Bad luck, but I got there and back each time.

Last  night I wanted to play the bass recorder.  That meant reading the bass clef – which I can do – but I just couldn’t seem to transfer that knowledge to my fingers on the recorder to produce the right notes.  I can read the bass clef for playing the piano……but not for playing the recorder, at least not yet.  I will persevere.  I also want to get a special support for taking the weight of the instrument.  It is quite heavy on the thumb.  I enjoyed last night even though I really was not able to play very much.  I will practise and hope to get better in time for the big workshop being held for a week in July down in Tacoma.   This is the Port Townsend Early Music Workshop which is held every 2 years,  only it won’t be in Port Townsend – it used to be but for this year has been shifted to Tacoma.

  photo taken in November 2009    This is when I got the instrument but I have scarcely played it since then.


Building a Musical Instrument November 5, 2009

Filed under: Music,Musical instruments,Recorders — Janet @ 10:42 pm

Here is a link to a recent news item from William & Mary College in Williamsburg Virginia.  A student took on the challenge of building a contrabass recorder.

Recorder family  a family of recorders – the contrabass is to the right

Contrabass built by Evan Callaway at William and Mary  On the right, Evan Callaway and his Contrabass Recorder

miscellaneous Ian 009  my bass recorder – seems rather large but nothing compared with the contrabass

Recorder concert 002  the alto (treble) recorder is smaller again


The Provenance of a Violin October 22, 2009

Filed under: Authors,Books,Films,Ireland,Music,Recorders — Janet @ 4:26 pm

A couple of days ago, having coming to the last episode of the Lewis detective dvd’s,

Lewis  Lewis, Series One, Two, and Three –   remember Inspector Morse?


 I searched and searched for another series to watch.  I finally came up with a film called The Red Violin.

The Red Violin directed by Francois Girard  The Red Violin, directed by Francois Girard, with Samuel L. Jackson, Greta Scacchi, Jason Fleming.  A very good film about the makers and owners of a rare old violin.

And quite by coincidence I found a book on my shelf of  “unreads” called The Tender Wire.

Tender Wire by Claire Kilroy   The Tender Wire by Claire Kilroy – a very interesting novel about an Irish violinist living and working in New York.  She goes on a quest for a rare violin of dubious provenance.

I recommend all of the above.

p.s. on the same theme, I have been reading today about the theft of an old recorder in August and now it’s appearance for sale on e-bay.  Interesting!


Bass Recorder February 5, 2009

Filed under: Music,Recorders,Sketching — Janet @ 9:10 pm

sketch-of-recorder-playing  This is my art teacher’s sketch of me playing the bass recorder.  Now that the recorder/viol concert is over, I want to spend some time learning the bass clef and practising playing my bass recorder.  In our recorder consort I have concentrated on playing tenor.  But now we have a break and it’s a chance to try something different.  I can recognize the bass clef when I play the piano but I have a hard time recognizing the notes when I play the bass recorder.  Hence, I did the sketch below to try to help myself remember the notes.



Recorder Consort Class meet the Viol Consort Class

Filed under: Music,Recorders,Scarves — Janet @ 1:26 pm
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Last night was the night of the concert.  Our class of 4 recorder players plus our teacher joined the viol consort class of 6 viol players plus their teacher.    We played to a small but appreciative audience.


The recorders played 5 pieces:  Ah Robin gentle Robin

                                                                 Riu riu chiu

                                                                 Heth sold een meskin garn om win


                                                                Privilegi della corte

Then the viols played 2 long pieces, both by John Jenkins:  The Bell Pavan

                                                                                                                         Fantasia a6  (no. 12)

To conclude the concert the Recorders and Viols played together:  Canzona “La Nuvolina”

Then we all shared wine and cheese and other goodies.  A very pleasant evening.miscellaneous-ian-019  Recorder consort

miscellaneous-ian-024  Part of the viol consort

miscellaneous-ian-029  Completion of the viol consort

Now to knitting.  It is snowing heavily and is quite cold so this is definitely still the season for scarves.  Here’s my latest.     scarf-1-2009  Hard to see, but the main yarn is a purple tweed from Kilcarra in Donegal.