Thursday, February 05, 2009

Art vs. Life

What is it called when you have a story that teaches a lesson? Not fable. Not parable . A *something * tale. I think it's medieval. I have one of those today.

It all started with a brown coat. I usually buy black. I've had black coats for years and years ands years. Hence, all my accessories revolve around black. Black hats. Black gloves. Black printed scarves. Note that. Printed scarves. The scarves are where I go for color. I have to do something or people would think me a Johnny Cash imitator. The thing is, most of my scarves don't work with my new brown jacket. In a word, they clash. The only scarf that doesn't is the Scribble Lace scarf (there on the far right) I made early in my knitting days.

The Scribble scarf was an adventure for me. I was so new to knitting -- a couple of months into it as opposed to now, with all of a couple of years -- I didn't understand how the rows of stitches work together, with subsequent rows determining how the stitches present themselves. I was at the follow the pattern slavishly stage, because none of it really made sense but it all seemed to work. Truly magical. I love my Scribble Lace Scarf.

And here we come to the meat of the matter. Scribble Lace is art, and art can only imitate life. It's beautiful, but it is clearly not wearable. It catches on things. Anything. Hangers. Keys. Corners. Coat hooks. Zippers. Buttons. That little knob on the deadbolt lock. For a Scribble scarf, the world is a perilous place.

I've given up trying to realign the stitches and now just try to loop it through in such a way that the biggest snags don't show. I'm wearing it, but only because it's what I have and it's been freaking cold out there.

I may need toget a life, but I've been giving serious consideration to what I want in a scarf. I like to wrap scarves around my neck a couple of times; I need length. I don't like the feeling of wearing a neck brace; I don't want bulk or stiffness. Long and pliable, those are the keywords. Well, Scribble is long and pliable, so I suppose I have to add long, pliable, and not loosely knit ("No one expects the Spanish Inquisition ....our two main weapons are ... three, three main weapons ...").

This is what I've some up with.

The yarn is Reynold's Odyssey in 503, picked up at the actual (as in not virtual) Patternworks store that fateful trip to New Hampshire when Amtrak lost my yarn suitcase. It's a merino worsted weight, which meant, in my quest to avoid bulk, I didn't want a wide scarf. Since the yarn is variegated, I went looking for a pattern that would break it up a little. I decided a bias knit would work, something along the lines of Grandma's Favorite Dishcloth (ArtisanAmy has a picture if you scroll down a bit). Then I realized I didn't want to work it in garter stitch. I find that garter stitch, while it can be stretchy, is not always flowy - that whole stiffness issue. Which is how I came to choose "Elizabeth's Wool-Angora Diagonal Scarf" from Luxury One Skein Wonders. It has the yo increases like Grandma's Favorite, which I think pretty, but it's stockinette, so it will drape better than garter stitch (I hope).

All of which sums up why I am not an artful knitter. I once read that someone described their home as "for use, not for show." That's the lesson I learned, the moral of the story.That's how I want to knit, with the additional requirement that something made for use can also be beautiful.


Diane H said...


alpineflower said...

Or morality tale? Or exemplum?