I stole that title from a really excellent short story by Greg Egan, which you should all go read. Since I read the story, it’s one of those phrases that has stayed rattling around in my head for years, popping out now and then and filling simple thoughts about cheerful moods with complex evocations.

Which has very little (but not nothing) to do with what I’m thinking today… See, I need to retrain my brain. Or adjust the settings, or something. I am constantly hampered by the conflict in my head between doing something for the sheer joy of doing it, and doing the same thing for a reason, with at least a partial goal/purpose. On the one hand, I like having fun, making things is fun, and I am constrained by few external forces or causes demanding that I do or make any specific thing. So I should be able to make or do whatever I want without guilt or more-than-reasonable hesitation, right?

Except that leads to impulse-driven behavior that actually restricts my range of skills and/or experimentation, while attempting to restrain the first impulse leads to irrational hesitation and inaction.

What the heck am I going on about? Well, for example: Today I got fluff in the mail. A lovely box of joyously purple mohair. It’s fluffy and slippery and curly and very very purple:

Now, I’ve already managed to talk myself out of the “I spent money on fibre” guilt. Mostly. As much as is ever likely to be possible. I’m pleased as punch to have this box of purple looking at me, waiting to be spun, calling my name in it’s curly little voice…

And it showed up less than two hours ago and I’ve already spun some of it. Just a tiny bit, to see what it was like. And to stop that finger-itch that started the second the mailman’s car slowed down in front of my driveway. (What IS it with this spinning thing? It really is like crack, you know. Or maybe more like heroine. I AM SPECULATING. I DO NOT DO OR SUPPORT THE DOING OF DRUGS. But I mean, smack is one of those drugs where you don’t just pop a pill in your mouth or snort something, there is preparation involved. Tools are required, a series of activities that must be pursued in the correct order, or they are meaningless, an altered state, and even perhaps a level of intuition… it’s very like a craft that can kill you.)

So completely beside the point. Sorry. Which point is that this mohair hadn’t been in my house for ten minutes, and I was ready to go; I’d broken out the cat brushes, I was all set for working my way through the (really quite large) box of purple. I was seriously considering taking a drop spindle in the car to Windsor (where I’m going later today) instead of a sock.

If I do that, I will have a bunch of fine purple thread. Which is great, but if I hang on to it for a bit, and don’t spin it, maybe I could do something a little more complex? Fibre blending, for example? Which I haven’t done yet, and as such is a mountain that must be climbed. Must, not as in “gee, it will take some upwardly mobile effort to get over that mountain” but must as in “get your butt moving up that mountain now you lazy lout!” On the other hand, if I don’t spin it – I will not be spinning it. And it is unspun! It will just be sitting there looking at me, being loose fibre! And finally, on the third hand I sometimes wish I had, if I spin it it will be gone, and I will not be able to spin it any more. I know you understand this, that’s why we all have a “stash” category in our thoughts and on our blogs.

I hope you’re not all waiting for a resolution from me right now, ’cause I got nothing. I do this will I/won’t I/how/when thing all the time. Comments welcome. (Comments welcome anyway, who are you people? Oh well, it’s ok. I’m shy about commenting too.)

I am playing around with a fabric sample for this wedding dress I’m doing.

If you picture it in white, that’ll probably make a lot more sense, but I did the sample in what I had because we’re chopping up the bride’s mother’s wedding dress and re-using the fabric, so I wasn’t going to waste that on playing around! Basically it will be this, with a LOT more tulle bunched over it, and the tulle will be over-embroidered and beaded here and there. and the part where it looks like two leaves? There’s actually a tulle-bunch flower there too, but I’m thinking in the picture it doesn’t show very well, so in accordance with the ten-foot rule*, I think I’ll put beaded lace behind those flower-bunches as well. That should pop ’em out a bit.

*Ten-foot rule: Stand back at least ten feet and gaze upon your work. If it is blurry, blobby, blind-making or just plain ugly, fix it. Most of the world will get their impression of your work from about that distance, if at all. Coming in closer and finding fantastic detail is a GOOD thing, but as with everything, first impressions count.

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