Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Stick people make great models, but mannequins are your real friends

I have long had a fascination/obsession for mannequins. It is odd, then, that I have never owned one. When I was little, my mother spent a considerable amount of time in the dept. stores of that era scouring the shelves for something she could afford to buy so she could say , "thanks, I bought it at (insert your smelling, dank 70's dept. store of choice here)". This may come as a surprise to someone in this world but I am not so trendy-ish so I never have understood the need to keep up with the Jones'. I'm much more likely to ask the Jones' if they would kindly stop treating their yard with chemicals and then let me pick all the dandelions for them. This explains my stagnant social life. Well, that and the mannequin thing. During the summer, when all was so hot you felt like crawling in the freezer for a nap, I would opt to go along on these long, boring, horrid shopping trips for three reasons: 1) we didn't have air conditioning until I was a teenager and those stores were darn near a morgue with how cold they were 2) I got an icee on the way home if I was good (good meaning less weird than normal and I pretended to be mute and shook my head and smiled when the clerks spoke to me) and 3) I got to play in the window and talk to the mannequins. They were my friends. I spent many hours asking them things like, "So, what do ya'll do at night when no one is here?" and "How do you go pee?". You know, the standard curiosities of a deranged child. My mom would just shake her head and assure the suspicious clerk that I was really a harmless child. "Weird as all get out, but harmless - I assure you," she'd say, and then buy something else to confirm that we were 'okay'.

I almost scored a free mannequin in college but my apartment manager saw me talking to it while heading up the stairs and it freaked him out really bad. He was a weird one, for sure. Anyway, he got terribly upset and started sweating and panting and telling me that he didn't want those kinds of things in his building. I sent her home with a friend and she ended up at the Salvation Army. I can only think this karmically destroyed my chances at a mannequin to join our lovely family. Now, I have things 1,2, and 3 and their mental health to consider and even hubster has remarked a time or two that my fascination with them is unsettling. Who knows what kind of freak I'd have turned out to be if all these people hadn't protected me from such a fate. Still, I need something to model all these shawls and things I'm a knittin' for the Common Ground Fair.

pretty stick womanHubster's been working with his twigs to make neat things and I guess he must have felt sorry for me because he made me a 'shawl stand' out of twig. She looks like a stick woman to me and since my drawing of the human figure never graduated the stick people stage of sophistication - it seems fitting that I have a stick woman instead of a mannequin. Unfortunately for the family - we've already bonded and she was delighted to model this shawl for my post. No biggie. It's just the Mystery Stole 3 - finished, blocked, drooled about, etc. etc. I DID IT! For those of you who remember my many 'issues', finishing is a real problem for me. Always, I wait until the very end to give up and walk away. Not this time. I worked like a drone on it all of Saturday and blocked it in two sections (one half at a time so I could really S-T-R-E-T-C-H the wing) on Sunday.

I had this approach to this knit along - use only what you are willing to burn in the front yard when this, inevitably, as all lace knitting has ended at my hands - in total disaster. Hmmm. This is some old hand-dyed lace from back when I first started dyeing. Back then, I was primarily using this yarn for socks so I space dyed it. Now, seeing how it blocks out, I think I am really going to love hand-dyed yarn in lace knitting after I tweak the dye style a little to get a more fluid distribution of color. Good thing, too, because dyeing up my lace yarn is on scedule for next week. I have two designs that I'm charting as we speak and me thinks I may be knitting lace forever. What has caused such a turn around? First, everyone in my house is now a knitter. Hubster is finishing his first scarf. Now that they knit, they understand the rule of worshipping THE ONE WHO IS COUNTING. Now, they walk in the room ready to demand their item of emergency necessity, see that I am knitting a row and promptly exit the room. Well, okay, it has some to do with the fact that they understand the frustration of having someone distract you while knitting and maybe a wee little to do with the fact that my eye twitching, hissing, and fang showing is now second nature to me so I can do all that and still keep knitting. I believe in efficiency.

spinnin'againMy excitement has more to do, though, with the fact that I can now read charts with relative ease. Wow! If you make a mistake on a chart, you can troubleshoot, fix it, or - if you can't fix it, you can figure out a way to 'cheat it' on the next row. What freedom! Once you can read a chart, you can make one, too - which means you can actually knit what is in your mind Frodo, and not just what someone else creates. This entices my distractable mind in a powerful way. Totally off topic but, you're in MY mind, now, so you knew it would happen - there has been some spinning go on as well. Just gray cotswold/silk, pure silk (cuz I needed a thrill) and some navajo ply 50/50 merino silk roving that i dyed in my 'Tia Dalma' colorway. It is so soft I have had to specify that no one is allowed to touch it. I've been a horrible example to my things about how to enjoy fiber. The rub it against them and make noises just like I do. Urgh - though I'd curbed so many of my unacceptable ways but I guess there's always room for improvement. In my case, maybe a palace instead of a room.

tincturesNow, I'm off to pick more herbs to dry. I had a great growing of Basil this year and these are the tinctures I've made up so far: Skullcap, lemon balm, sacred basil, borage, and an echinacea/spilanthes powerhouse mix for warding off all those winter colds that people spread around by sneezing on you while you wait in line at the box store from the place of eternal fires that seems to have 28 registers and only two cashiers pretty much every day. Last year I developed a nervous twitch while waiting in line between one person who was buying tissues, cough drops, and had an antibiotic prescription from the pharmacy (gee, do you think she might have covered her mouth whilst she was hacking all over everyone?) and some guy who I thought might keel over right in line. By the time I got out of there - I was just about ready to come home and bathe in bleach. Weird as all get out, but harmless - I assure you.