Shadowy Thinking, Plus Yarn
March 17, 2007
Ohhhhh . . . it’s . . . spring break . . . and I do not have a Plan.
I now question my decision to let this spring break be a loosey goosey aw-let’s-just-chill kind of spring break with my two boys.
I’ve already overseen the construction of a cement volcano, a trip to Michael’s, and four hours of card-throwing practice. There are playing cards all over the house. There are nine days to go.
We also visited with Leonardo da Vinci yesterday. As Belinda is my witness, I bought the makings of a genuine reproduction Leonardo da Vinci camera obscura back in December, in London. Now THOSE were the days, back when Mother knew how to fill up a week.
I’ve kept the camera obscura makings (or makin’s as we say down here) by my sink, where I’ve eyed them often, wondering when the perfect moment would arrive for putting it together. I knew the camera obscura was some sort of precursor to the camera. But I’d never seen one in action.
Friday was the day. Mostly, cameras obscura get glue all over your floor, and fingers, and your son’s fingers. But the glue disappears after you let it dry for “a few hours.” (By the way, what kind of direction is THAT? I’m sitting here writing knitting directions all day long, and it is just not cool to say “knit a few hours.” Where is the precision, people? Would LEONARDO say to let his camera obscura dry for “a few hours”?)
ANYway, it dried, and despite the fact that Leonardo da Vinci probably didn’t have laser-cut camera obscura makin’s, I felt a moment of great communion with the guy when I got my first peek into the window.
It’s just a box with a lens in one end, and a translucent screen on the other. I flipped this image, because the image in a camera obscura appears upside down. Ghostly. Dreamlike. Very beautiful. Everything you see in a camera obscura looks like a Vermeer painting.
Which may be no coincidence. However vague the directions were, they included a tantalizing comment. Apparently, everybody’s favorite artist, Vermeer, may have used a camera obscura in composing his paintings. Here’s a fascinating piece about a scholar who really wanted to figure out whether this was true.
Scholars are great, aren’t they? Always worryin’ about something. Always thinkin’.
I wish I could see all of life through my camera obscura.
Is Yarn Going Out of Style?
I have been buying yarn like it’s going out of style. I keep seeing new yarns that are truly, truly irresistible. I cain’t hep myself. Right now it’s yarn with a handwritten tag that really makes me nutty. If somebody’s taking out a ballpoint pen and scrawling on a tag–in this day and age where my seven year old can print out NFL team rosters on the computer–it’s special stuff. Etsy.com, as you might imagine, is big trouble for this sort of thing.
For instance, this:
All Spun Up yarn.
Hand dyed, handspun by Kristin of All Spun Up. Made of Bluefaced Leicester wool. “The Bluefaced Leicester should have a broad muzzle, good mouth, a roman nose, bright alert eyes, and long erect ears. The color of the head skin should be dark blue showing through white hair, with no wool on the head or neck.” Just the way I like my men . . .
Consider this pair of guinea pigs:
Sophie’s Toes sock yarn, hand dyed by Emily Parson. Emily is a quilter of some renown–you can see her love of color here. I got to meet Emily at the great Chicago Knit-in of ’05; who knew I would come across her hand-dyed sock yarn purely by chance on Etsy?
And look at these:
Malabrigo Lace 100% Baby Merino Wool. Shades 99 Stone Blue, 102 Sealing Wax, 69 Pearl Ten.
I had never heard of Malabrigo until we had the Future Search for the Perfect Yarn, and people kept talking about Malabrigo. I finally saw some a while back, and I was knocked out by the shifting solid shades. Clearly something good is happening when you dye yarn in a kettle.
And now I discover a laceweight version? 470 yards in a 50 gram hank? For ten bucks? The Uruguayan goodness is too much! I must go lie down now.
By the way, the Malabrigo yarn portraits over at Brooklyn Tweed are practically lewd. Go there to see the worsted weight of this glorious yarn.
Get Your Groan On
And finally, the Slogalong is almost ready to go. If your favorite Winnie-the-Pooh character is Eeyore, this is the knitalong for you. Email me if you’re working on a project that will not end, and you need a little company. A bunch of us are making the Blue Sky Alpaca Silk Shrug, but we welcome anybody trying to finish something that simply will not end.