Saturday, September 13, 2008

Decisions, a drawing, and ethnobotany

So, I dunno. I'm leaning towards the wood-grain ones (I think they may actually be plastic, since I only buy washable buttons for baby things) rather than the gold ones, but what do you think?

I'll do a drawing from everyone who expresses an opinion about these buttons by Monday afternoon 6:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time; the winner gets a copy of the first issue of Yarn Forward, a British knitting magazine. It has a lovely design in it by Ysolda Teague, among other things (remember, I recently knit a beret of her design) — but nothing that I personally plan to knit.

(I'll be passing on a few other magazines and books over the next few weeks. I'm paring down a bit to make room for the books and magazines I do use.)

One of my blogreaders asked what ethnobotany is, presumably because I list it as one of my interests. Ethnobotany is the study of food, medicinal, clothing and other plant uses by various cultures. I am in particular interested in the use of desert plants by various Native American cultures of the southwestern U.S., but I'm always on the lookout for ethnobotanical information when I'm travelling, as I find it fascinating.

For example, take the U.S.desert plant commonly known as creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). This very slow-growing plant that reproduces by cloning is responsible for the characteristic "wet pavement" smell of the desert after it rains. Over 40 chemical components have been extracted from this plant, some of which may have verifiable medical properties; it was used by the native tribes of the area for everything from glue and firewood to an analgesic, anti-cancer, antiinflammatory and antibiotic/antiviral medication. Other desert plants, like the flowers of the chuparosa and ocotillo plants, were used to make "soft drinks" and were part of the extremely varied diet (over 300 documented items) of the Cahuilla Indians.

Er... anyway, you get the idea. :-)

7 comments:

Karpy said...

The gold buttons are gorgeous, but more appreciated by an adult. I think the "woodgrain" ones look a little simpler, good for a child. Love your work. Maybe one day I can move past plain stocking and garter stitches and do something more fancy. Actually, I am knitting my first pair of socks. I've dropped stitches and cos I'm knitting in the round with little needles, the tension is a bit wonky at some of the turns, but its lovely wool :) I am the world's slowest knitter so they'll probably be ready when I'm 75!! :-)

Alyson said...

Karpy has a really good point about them being more appreciated by an adult, but I just love them....with the green and the cables, it's all very Irish-looking.

jae said...

i vote for the wood grain ones. it is interesting what all we can get out of plants that is useable eh?

April said...

I *really* like the gold buttons. I think a baby clothed in a garment with those buttons would grow up to be the editor of Vogue and live in a penthouse in NYC. :)

twistle said...

I like both, but my choice would probably be the wood-grain ones....
/me waves...

Sarah-potterknitter said...

Have to add in for the wood grained. I love the shape of the others, but not in gold.

Julie said...

I really love the gold ones, but for a baby I'd probably go with the wood grain.