Every time I’ve tried to blog about this thing for the past week, something has distracted me enough to completely forget whatever I was going to say, and I’ve not done it. Really, it shouldn’t be this hard.

I know what I’m doing. Right now I’m having a little fight with an embroidered bird on the thing I’m making, and we’ve had to take a “time out” in our separate corners and think about what we’ve done, but we’ll work it out. The fault is entirely mine, being as (as I believe I have mentioned) I don’t actually like doing embroidery much. I like the idea of it, I love the look of it… I just never seem to have much fun making it happen. When I mentioned this to Carrie, she brought up that seahorse incident, and fairly enough. But that really was something of an anomaly.

Anyway, point is my in-prog pics look pretty much just like they did last time, except now there is also an incredibly ugly and soon to be torched bird, as well. Actually it looks like a kind of weird lumpy-spiky flower, and no, I’m not taking a picture of it! But that’s OK, because now would be a really good time to share my idea/inspiration with the rest of the class, so to speak. Actually, about a week and a half ago would have been a great time, but see opening paragraph.

I said right back at day one that I’d been thinking already about a couple of people I admire, and so while there may be other persons out there who are more inspiring in some way, or who have a closer connection to me or a greater impact on the world, I think it is completely right that I use as my subject inspiration the person who first came to my mind – who was already in my mind – when the project was announced. So I did. And I’m not going to tell you who it is at all, but I will now tell you some stuff about them:

This person makes beautiful things. They are lucky enough and clever enough and talented enough to be able to contribute to the support of their loved ones by making beautiful things. Which is pretty cool.

This person’s values, and indeed mode of living are – “traditional” just doesn’t quite cut it – “dated” sounds weird and is inaccurate – “primitive” is totally wrong – “almost completely out of whack with the modern world” is closer, but still not right. An outsider’s take might be that they are “living the simple life”, although having found myself on that path and knowing how bloody complex the “simple life” can be, said outsider would deserve a clout on the ear. But complexity aside, this person reveals a connectedness and a joy in simple pleasures, at least, that is often overlooked in the let’s-be-trite-and-say-”hustle-and-bustle” of many people’s lifestyles. This person has not got a “lifestyle”. They have a life.

Now at least half of you are thinking “ok, I see why they get along, but what’s this got to do with the project?” And a third of you – at least – may be thinking “hey, that sounds like ME!” Well, maybe it is. I ain’t telling. But on to the admiration. What I was thinking about, back on the first, was that this person, who has strong beliefs and values about which they can be quite firm – not stupid-stubborn, not unyielding in the face of all challengers, just firm – is so amazingly unfazed by the myriad of stupid things that people say and believe and try to contradict with. (Sorry, that last was grammatically unforgivable. I’m tired, and trying not to betray gender. I give up; my inspiring person is a girl. There. It’s narrowed down to slightly more than half the human race.)

Anyway. I share a lot of beliefs and experiences with this person, but where I differ, greatly, is that when someone comes up to me and makes a dumbass judgment about things they haven’t thought through, don’t know squat about, and/or have a perfectly valid but inappropriate to my situation opinion that they are trying to impose on me anyway, I get very upset. I brood, and rant, and funk, and can if I try generally ruin a perfectly good week by being annoyed that some other person said something rude.

I am trying to get over this.

And that is what I was thinking on the first. That this other person, comments like that just slide right off. She doesn’t make a big issue of it, or take it to heart, because she knows that it doesn’t really matter. It cannot affect her. That impresses the heck out of me, because although I know it’s right and healthy and smart, I still seem to have a couple fewer layers of skin than I should or something. And I would like to be more like that. So when Sharon posted the challenge this month, that’s why my little mind moved right away to making a garment. I’m going to make a garment that represents this person to me, so that I could if I wanted symbolically put on their good qualities like armour. Add a layer to my skin as it were, and have a tangible reminder that these irritations (whatever they might be at the time, seems like there’s always something, if you look for it – and I do, that’s part of the problem) don’t matter.

So what I will be making, if I get this little dispute with the embroidered bird resolved, is a corset from around 1810. It’s an odd period for corsetry, they weren’t anything like what you might think of as a corset, really. They’re very transitional from the half-boned tubular stays of the 18th c to the gored and whaleboned Victorian curves. They’re not boned, but rather stuffed with cording for light figure molding. (Medievalists – picture a gambeson; everybody else think of a teeny tiny moving blanket.) Like the MUCH later girdles of the 1960s, they are really more about keeping the figure smooth so that those high-waisted dresses could drape prettily and not be impeded by anything so vulgar as an actual human body. Because they aren’t all boned and rigid, they can be prettily embroidered. And they have an optional wooden busk, also often carved or painted to look nice.

i.e. a beautiful thing, designed to make someone feel/move beautifully, firm but flexible, oddly placed in time, whose purpose is not to constrict or impede but to allow other, less structured garments to flow over it without conflict, and with indeed improvement to the look and feel of the whole. Natch.

In other news, I’m working on the second striped sock:


Which, as you can see, is in fact striping. Yay! I made it work! This is way more exciting than it ought to be. I’ve divided they yarn and am working toe up, which I haven’t done before. Started with a short-row toe, but decided to forgo the short-row heel in favor of my usual flap heel, because I’m just never satisfied with the fit on the short rows. I’ll try it again someday, I know there has to be a way to make it work on my foot, I just haven’t found it yet, and I’m enjoying these socks so much I didn’t want to ruin that by having a heel I regretted on them.

The short-row that I use, which is the same whether for heel or toe, is from Simple Socks by Pricilla Gibson-Roberts, and it’s great. I don’t always think it’s great when I’m actually knitting it, in fact I often think a number of things it would be inappropriate to say in this blog when I’m knitting it. The instruction P3tbl, which occurs a lot, is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat, especially on 2mm birchwood dpns. But it’s worth it.


That, my friends, is lovely. And it’s all because of the instructions; I assure you it has nothing to do with my slapdash knitting skills.