Isn't email great? I've had some lovely messages recently. One was from Dez who came over from Yarn Harlot's site - welcome to Ireland, Dez! Your Irish great grandmother came from Co. Clare near the mouth of the Shannon, and you hope some day to visit here yourself and stand where she might have done before leaving for ever. Dez, I can't resist such thoughts! I'm hunting through the image collection right NOW and will post some pictures of where your roots lie just as soon as I can.
And I had a really nice email from the Ukraine which restores all my faith in eBay buying. I'd ordered this gorgeous-looking laceweight yarn in silver, but when it arrived it was more of an untreated-flax-brown. I didn't have much hope, but sent a message to the seller via eBay. I got a prompt reply in very careful English, asking me to send it back. Which I did. (Funny thing, my post office didn't even raise an eyebrow at a Ukraine address - I wouldn't have been able to resist shrieking, 'Wow - the Ukraine - now there's somewhere fascinating' - but then that's probably why I'm not a postmistress.) And today I got another message, telling me they'd received it safely AND sending an image of three balls in a row to choose from.
Now doesn't a business like that deserve support? (You'll find these yarns on eBay under Lace-Weight Fine Wool Yarn SILVER (or whatever colour) 400 gr at a great price. Go Ukraine!)
Last night I succumbed to the siren call of the ocean and ordered not just one but two skeins of Sea Silk in Berry from Knitty-Noddy. Yes, I know I said I'd wait until I got to Canada next month, but the way things are going in the airline world, I'm wondering if I'll even have my purse, let alone a suitcase when I do get there. Anyway, it will be a practice run (albeit an expensive one) for buying MORE when I get there.
I was delighted to read that Peg doesn't like Addi Turbos either. I held forth at length on this topic in Knitter's Review Forum but thought it worth saying again. THESE DON'T WORK FOR ME. I was cajoled and dragooned into buying a pair last time I was across the herring pond, but despite all the claims for beauty and simplicity and speed and happiness, they were a no-no from the start. Unlike Colonial rosewoods or Lantern Moon which were instant love affairs. I'm offering mine to whoever wants them when I can find where I hurled them in a fit of rage.
And still on the topic of needles, I have been finding working that Elann cardi sleeve on either one or two circulars really hard work for some reason. OK, I'll try dpns. But this is Ireland. 6mm dpns? Gosh no, there's no call for those (the usual dismissal when you ask for something other than the blindingly obvious). But in my LYS in Cork, the ever-helpful Bernadette asked why I didn't simply get a pair of bamboos and cut them in half? Cut them in half? Well yes, why not? Maureen, she said, her fellow-shop owner, always turned her broken bamboos into cable needles. So I got a pair, took them home, and spent a happy half hour in the basement workshop cutting and sanding (a pencil sharpener did fine on the rough work for the tips).
How do they look? (The cardi had to be bundled up - it's getting way too long and tangly and awkward at this teenage, hoydenish stage.) Yes, you do see rubber bands around the needles. That's because - yes, OK, they're a bit too short. But I'll MANAGE. I'm not going back and buying two more pairs to get four too-long dpns... at least I don't think I am.
It was reassuring to find that others enjoy thrift stores too. Anne talked wistfully of the days she used to get old sweaters to make into hooked rugs, before knitting became king. And Angie remembered a dream she had of finding or at least recreating those wonderful traditional English smocks which she'd seen in a local museum. Which brought on another soapbox surge from your Irish correspondent. Listen now, and put down your knitting for a moment. There is nothing, do you hear me, NOTHING wrong with hooking rugs. Nor is there anything wrong with smocking, embroidery, lacemaking, macrame, any other fibre craft, or indeed any craft at all - be it woodwork or sculpture from discarded freezers. Quite the contrary, all of these are wonderful, important, vital, and beautiful activities, without which the world would be a poorer place. How would we get on without those divine spindles, those crochet hooks, those circulars from Jenkins Woodworking , tell me that? You don't need rugs on your floor? Chairs at your table? Curtains at your window? A work of art on the landing? You've never knowingly allowed a lace item into your house? (You don't have a house because you don't think woodworking or dovetailing or jointing or whatever is an acceptable craft?) Come on!
I'm shouting this extra loud because I have come across weblogs where people are positively snobbish about 'other' (and by implication, lesser) crafts. Crochet, for example, is considered downmarket, not the real thing by more than one. Why? Isn't it beautiful? Yes. Isn't it intricate and clever? Yes. Well? Just because you may not be good at one particular craft doesn't mean you can't admire it - not unless you have a very small mind indeed. I can't conquer tatting, no matter how much I try - but others make some beautiful and fashionable chokers and bracelets. My silk spinning and dyeing aren't as good as they could be - but boy can I admire other cleverclogs who create incredible yarns that way. One day I will be able to work in wood, if I live long enough. In the meantime, I'll envy and buy from those who already have this talent. I'm no elitist and I don't think anyone else has the right to be either. The world would be a pretty depressing place, not to say uninteresting (and possibly dangerously unbalanced), if we were all devoted to just one craft.
I've stopped shouting now so you can take your hands down from your ears. I went looking for those venerable volumes of Golden Hands last night and found a treasure trove. I mean, some of the things being illustrated in those weekly issues almost forty years ago are stunning. Here are just a few I photographed for you.
Just look at that jerkin of many colours. Do you think this is where Kaffe Fassett got his inspiration? What a skilful choice of colours and shapes. Actually I think I prefer it to Kaffe's designs - it's cleaner, less fussy. Here's another.
No, it's not crochet, it's macrame. Not a craft in which I'm very experienced, but I'd certainly like to try this. It's pretty fashionable for today's teenagers, I think too. Now take a deep breath and look at this one.
Ignore the two dated guys and feast your eyes on that knitted lace wedding coat. It's trimmed with tiny pearls as buttons all the way up the front. I don't have a wedding coming up, I don't know anyone who has a wedding coming up, but I sure want to try out that utterly beautiful garment. It would need to be in a very light yarn, otherwise there would be a risk of the weight dragging downwards. Isn't it superb, though? If anyone really wants it, I'll work out a way of getting it to you. (What do you mean, life's too short? Do you mean to tell me that if you sat up on your deathbed and found you had finished and tidied away every single project, you'd be happy? Of course not. You'd cast on for another gansey immediately.)