Senin, 29 Agustus 2011

What I am Reading

What I am re-reading, really. This chapbook is a thing of beauty, written by Vermont Poet Karin Gottshall and published by Argos Books. Read it from beginning to end in one sitting, because there is a gentle but perfect narrative arc, a cumulative intensity that poetry manuscripts don't always have. Read it soon, while NPR is sharing news about Hurricane Irene's staggering damage in Vermont. Read it later, when those stories aren't being told. Read it in the bathtub by candlelight (I did). Read it in the sunshine (I am). It's sad and it's haunting, but it's hopeful too.

Here is where you can order it:

Jumat, 19 Agustus 2011

Mother and Child Spirits

I made a set of Mother and Child Earth Spirits about two years ago, and they've always been one of my favourite creations. I've also had quite a few requests for me to write up their pattern, and now I've finally got it finished, and available in my shop.

One of the problems with making these is getting hold of nice mohair yarns that are the right thickness. The yarn I originally used, Patons Spirit, is no longer being produced, although I've still got a small stash of it. It is also thicker than most of the other plain mohair yarns I have, many of which I picked up from charity shops without labels. I bought some Luxury Mohair by King Cole, which has lovely colours but is comparatively thin, and when I tested my pattern using this yarn, the Water Spirits ended up quite a bit smaller than the Earth Spirits I made using the Patons yarn. In the end though, despite the size difference, I was happy with both yarns and the creatures I made with them.

I think that what I like most about these creatures is the way they seem to interact when you put them together. It feels like the mother is looking after her child, or even listening to him telling her what he's been up to!

Dobby the House Elf

When we rewatched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 recently, my 9 year-old son got very sad at the part when Dobby dies. He would not be comforted, and kept insisting that he hated JK Rowling for killing off his favourite house elf. In the end, I had to promise to crochet him his own little Dobby.

I used a pattern that I had worked out when I made this Grey Hobgoblin, I just didn't give him the furry hair or a tail.

I had wanted to dress Dobby as he's described in the books after he becomes a free elf, with shorts, a tie, mis-matched socks and a tea cosy for a hat. However, my son (who hasn't read the books) wanted him to look the way he does in the films, so I crocheted a smock-like garment that's supposed to look like his pillowcase. I might have looked better made of fabric, but I always find it easier to make things out of yarn. Anyway, my son loved him, so that's all that counts!

Kamis, 04 Agustus 2011

The All of It, or Why I Love Bookstores

At what point does a recipe become yours? You know that recipe you got from your neighbor when you lived in some other state? Then you moved, and the recipe came with you, and you made the dish for a potluck in your new neighborhood. That night, the recipe became yours, right? Everyone asked you for it, and they came to know it and speak of it as your recipe. But then there’s my (my?) Apple Nut Coffee Cake. It is my mom’s recipe. Within my family, it will always be my mom’s recipe. Outside of my family, it has become mine. But who really ought to get the thanks when someone eats a slice and wants a second slice…and the recipe? What name do I write on the top of the recipe card when I hand it to a friend who has never met my mother? Mine or my mother’s? (My mom says I should put mine, because she's generous like that.) And who did my mother get the recipe from?

I’m thinking along those lines as I try to figure out who to thank for the pleasure of the book I just finished, Jeannette Haien’s The All of It. Do I owe the pleasure of the meal (because every book is a meal) to the author (well, yes!) or to Schuler Books & Music, where it was displayed, and where I discovered it? Or do I owe the pleasure to Ann Patchett, who wrote a forward to the novel? Her name is printed on the cover of the book: “Forward by Ann Patchett,” and that, really, is why I picked it up. I trust her, I believe in her, I’ll read whatever she recommends, and when she writes a forward to a book she loves, I want to read the book…especially when this is part of the endorsement: “I want this book to have a second life because it deserves to be read by many generations to come, but selfishly, I want it back in bookstores because I’m going to need more copies of it. There are so many people who will love it the way I do. It is the surest sign of a great book; the overwhelming desire to give it away.”

For the sake of bookstores everywhere, especially independent ones, let’s thank Schuler’s. I found the book because I was there, and it was there, and I walked by it and wanted to hold it and flip it over and read the back of it and feel it and bring it home and read the all of it. Thank you, Schuler Books & Music. Thank you bookstores everywhere.