Saturday, 21 January 2017

Last quarter

Thursday was the last quarter in the moon's cycle. It still seems odd to be calling something that looks like half a moon a quarter, but of course, not only is it a quarter of the cycle, but also a quarter of the whole surface of the moon.

I am finding myself looking up all sorts of interesting things on line about the phases of the moon, trying to understand them with more clarity. I have discovered that there is the siderial month and the synodic month; one being the time it takes the moon to go once around the earth (27'ish days), and one being the time from one new moon to the next (29'ish days). There is a wonderful little animation here which makes it all completely clear. I think about our ancient ancestors watching this silver body in the sky grow and shrink, and marvel that they managed to figure this all out before any of our "modern" measuring and calculating methods. Of course the human brain is an amazing measuring and calculating organ all by itself, and mathematics an ancient calculating tool, but the move from believing that those lights in the sky were some kind of godly manifestation to understanding that actually, they were physical bodies, all moving in relation to each other is a profound leap of reasoned understanding. Imagine that dawning realisation; who first thought it might be so, what did they do to investigate, how did they prove that they were right, how did the powers that be of those times react? The University of St Andrews tells me that in 450 BC the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras was imprisoned for his theories, but I'm sure earlier enquiring minds must have had the same thoughts.

All this from an embroidery project! And where am I with that? Well of course I've moved back to the dark side again, as the moon is now in her waning phase. Still sticking to my rules of thread and colour, opening my wonderful stitch book at random and the choosing the nearest suitable stitch, or the nearest stitch which links the the previous stitch, or the nearest stitch that takes my fancy, so a little bit of leeway

So, back on the dark side we now have a little wiggly something that might be a centipede, composed of wheatear stitch; a small herd of chilly blue cows - tete de boeuf stitch, and today's stitching, a blue grey line of Portuguese stem stitch. 

As well as marvelling at the moon, I find myself marvelling at the wonderful inventiveness of the human mind and hand in creating all these beautiful variations on pulling a piece of thread through some fabric with a needle.

And this is where I have got to for now

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