Friday, May 11, 2007

What's In A Name?

I love reading the comments people leave. Not only do they make me feel connected to the greater knitting world, I find out interesting things. Take Clare's on Promises Kept: "And, on an almost knitting-related subject (which is why I feel justified in tagging it on to my comment), did you know that spiral galaxies with fuzzy, poorly-defined arms are called flocculent spiral galaxies, meaning that they resemble wool?"

Clare was studying for her astronomy final. It's a term that never came up in my physics for poets class. Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, yes. Flocculent galaxies, no.

It's very rare for me to meet a word I don't know. I'm kind of excited about it. Flocculent. According to my birthday* present, it's from the Latin for FLOCK, which I had always assumed was one of those sturdy Old English words.

It means "1. Resembling tufts or flocks of wool; consisting of loose woolly masses. 2. Covered with a short woolly substance; downy."

I have been, well, maybe not embarrassed exactly. Maybe self-conscious about the name of my blog ever since I found out that Meg Swanson and Schoolhouse Press still issue "Wool Gathering," the newsletter Elizabeth Zimmermann started. I am secretly convinced that I didn't finish John's EZ Hybrid Sweater and thus justify my membership in the Zimmermaniacs because I don't want the other Z'maniacs to find their way over here.

Every now and then, I toy with new names. I'm feeling kind of attracted to "Collecting Matter of a Flocculent Sort." Or "Living in a Flocculent Galaxy." Or perhaps "Flocculent Uppermost Appendage." Or perhaps simply "Floccule" ("A small portion of matter like a flock or tuft of wool."). Okay, I'm mostly kidding. I think. Mostly. Surely anything so pretentious would be recognized as a joke, right?

It all makes my purchase of this yarn seem almost prescient.

Cascade 220 the Heathers in color 4006; 100% wool in Galaxy.

* No. It was months ago. I am, after all, a woman of a certain age.

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