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Archive for August 16th, 2006

Text-full Tangent

So, how many more pictures of bobbins can you take? How about a short break from them (for you, not for me. Heavens, no!)

I’ve been reading my Knit the Classics selection this month during my lunch break…instead of knitting. August is Nabakov’s Lolita, and my lunch break is an exactly perfect amount of time to spend with it–just enough to be absorbed into the story, but not so much that I need a shower after. (I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in a day once, for school. That’s crazy-making stuff. I need breaks, you know?)

At any rate, in July I listened to that month’s selection during my 30 minute drive to work, mostly because of the time constraints with that silly class. This month, though, I couldn’t easily get a CD version of the audiobook. So what was I to do on those long drives? Continue trying to cram the Old White Guy Classics into my head.

(Note: There is much debate about teaching “classics” in college Lit programs. A good definition of classic is here: “A classic, according to the usual definition, is an old author canonised [sic] by admiration, and an authority in his particular style” [bolding mine]. The problem with these Standards of Good Literature is that they are generally white men–the literature of a lot of women and most of the non-European world is barely taught. Most of my undergrad was spent with these “new” authors, especially Latin American authors (I lived in Florida). The only problem is that there is a body of work that a Lit major is expected to know to be considered educated, and I wasn’t taught it. I don’t regret it, just have to fill in some big gaping holes.)

So, yesterday I popped Heart of Darkness into my CD player. If you’ve read this you feel my pain already, don’t you? Listening to it, I was dying. I was trying to keep my tortured mind from wandering as far away as possible when I heard the magical words: knitting. You betcha. My ears perked up, and for several glorious minutes I actually paid attention. Here’s the excerpt:

Two women, one fat and the other slim, sat on straw-bottomed chairs, knitting black wool. The slim one got up and walked straight at me — still knitting with down-cast eyes — and only just as I began to think of getting out of her way, as you would for a somnambulist, stood still, and looked up. Her dress was as plain as an umbrella-cover, and she turned round without a word and preceded me into a waiting-room…

I began to feel slightly uneasy. You know I am not used to such ceremonies, and there was something ominous in the atmosphere. It was just as though I had been let into some conspiracy — I don’t know — something not quite right; and I was glad to get out. In the outer room the two women knitted black wool feverishly. People were arriving, and the younger one was walking back and forth introducing them. The old one sat on her chair. Her flat cloth slippers were propped up on a foot-warmer, and a cat reposed on her lap. She wore a starched white affair on her head, had a wart on one cheek, and silver-rimmed spectacles hung on the tip of her nose. She glanced at me above the glasses. The swift and indifferent placidity of that look troubled me. Two youths with foolish and cheery countenances were being piloted over, and she threw at them the same quick glance of unconcerned wisdom. She seemed to know all about them and about me, too. An eerie feeling came over me. She seemed uncanny and fateful. Often far away there I thought of these two, guarding the door of Darkness, knitting black wool as for a warm pall, one introducing, introducing continuously to the unknown, the other scrutinizing the cheery and foolish faces with unconcerned old eyes. AVE! Old knitter of black wool. MORITURI TE SALUTANT.”

About halfway down the page at this link, I found the translation for MORITURI TE SALUTANT: “those who are about to die salute thee.” The tradition was that gladiators would shout “AVE! Ceasar…[those who are about to die salute thee!]” Personally, I kind of like the knitters in that role. I’ll be reading this one, instead of listening to it.

Final Note: Blogger isn’t notifying me when someone comments, isn’t sending me the comment, and its taking 8-12 hours to deliver said comments to my email. Just so you know: if I don’t reply, its me, not you.

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Navajo what?

Yes, the ones who Navajo ply are the clever ones. Sadly, I didn’t realize–until looking for a link for this here post–that one could Navajo ply on the wheel. (You may smack your foreheads in shame and embarrassment for me, its ok.) I had only remembered this tutorial out there– probably because I only had a spindle, when I went searching last.

Sheeesh, let’s move on, I’m embarassed for myself. What you see here is (a rather fuzzy) final shot of the very first wheel spun yarn of mine (!!!!!) I have fully embraced the “novelty” aspect of it, as thick and thin is truly its hallmark. But isn’t it pretty?? I’m pretty impressed with myself that it looks like yarn at all, since most was spun during a time that I have little memory of. It really really wanted to be Clapotis, but I’ve had to break the news to it gently that there’s simply not enough yardage.

So what’s next? Just moments after moving the wet yarn to the clothesline outside, I had Kelly’s hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester tucked securely under my arm and was making a bee-line for the wheel. I hear a small voice say: “You’re spinning that?”

I nod my head slowly. What on earth else am I to spin? (Let’s forget the bin of fiber in the corner, ok?) Mr. Cygnet says, “What about what you bought for me?” I wrack my brains (Swiss cheese though they still be) and can’t come up with anything. “You know, that you bought at Cummington!”

Now, I have no recollection of this. The day was winding down, and we had just finished talking to a mill that had not only processed roadkill raccoons that were last year’s S&W festival hit, but they were conveniently located just across the river from us. I was possibly still shaken up about the image of these guys pulling a truck over to the side of Route 9 when Mr. Cygknit asked for some roving for me to spin for him. Unfair, I say. So, sadly, I put down Kelly’s luscious roving and was handed this:

This is half of the 4 oz., the other half is sitting next to the wheel. The colors are not what I’d choose, but it makes the man happy and he has been doing a bang up job of keeping me in good spirits. I pulled a bit out for you to see–this wool is so fine that it practically spins itself. As sad as it was for me to put away Kelly’s gift for today, this isn’t too bad. Here’s it spun a bit:

Of course, the bobbin is much more full since I’ve taken the picture 🙂

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