Monday, 19 December 2011

Another one under the belt

For the longest time I have wanted to learn how to knit. I even did a knitting lesson a year or so ago, it was nice, I knitted and I purled for a couple of hours and dropped a ton of stitches and then came home and felt disabled without a teacher, and work and lack of transport (I still cannot drive) made attending more knitting classes prohibitive, and I never knitted again.

My mother can knit, occasionally she knits half of something, she gets bored fast. When Amber was growing in my belly she started knitting her a pants and cardigan outfit, some 18 months later she finally completed the newborn sized outfit and so it did not fit toddler sized Amber, instead, newborn Hazel wore it for about 3 days, before her legs grew a billion inches (how do babie's do that?) and it didn't fit her either.
So all my life, I have had this marvellous untapped knitting resource in my own mother, but there are plenty of reasons I did not tap it.

For a start, my mother is just not a great teacher. When I was pregnant with Bluebelle and living in rural France I decided I needed to learn to drive. I came back to the UK to do an intensive course, supplemented by lessons from the parents (this was somewhat embarassing given that I was 30 year old woman and not a teen) in the evenings. My dad was great, kinda freaked out but calm all the same, my mother made it about 500 yards down the road with me driving, before yanking at the steering wheel and pulling on the handbreak, all the while screaming that I clearly had a death wish, I actually got out of the car and made her drive me home.

My mother has one way of doing things, her way. There is no other way, and much like she yanked the steering wheel as my learner driver self pootled down the lane at 10mph, anything I have asked her to help me with has resulted in the same "You suck, let me take over" approach and hence, I stopped asking for help. I have spent years wishing I knew how to use a sewing machine, knit, make clothes or curtains and tons of other stuff, but could not face my own mothers infuriating mode of teaching.

She does the same thing with my kids, and I often see them bawl with frustration as she manhandles their art materials and starts doing their homework for them, I smile and remember the pain in the ass that is her teaching methodology, it tickles me to see them feeling the same as I did, it validates the feelings I had as a child, as well as proving my mother is clearly bat shit crazy.
Honestly, I am painting my mother in a poor light, she is a brilliant, loving and generous woman, she just cannot bare to stand by and watch you do something wrong, she has to dive in and take control, hence, a patient teacher she is not.

Anyhoo, when Hazel expressed an interest in knitting, I thought about sending her over to Nan's, felt bad about the potential fury this would likely cause, then sent her anyway.
Hazel came home a ball of rage, but she could knit. Then she discovered a knitting club at school, and started knitting like a girl posessed. There were some crazy Nan teaching moments, like the time she unravelled about 12 inches of Hazel's knitting, despite her hysterical screams, to fix a hole right at the beginning (that was actually kinda bad but not unheard of behaviour, I told you, bat shit crazy!), but Hazel perservered.

And so it came to be, that this thirty something mama of 4, who desperately wanted to knit, learned not from her own mama, but from her daughter, and oh, how wonderful that is! Get your kids to suffer on your behalf, thats some fine parenting on my part, I am sure you will agree.
There are now balls of yarn all over the house and the constant clickety click of needles making, MAKING. Christmas making, no less. Well, scarves, I am not following patterns yet, but boy I am I excited by the possibilities (socks!!!).


There will be many a scarf filling many a christmas stocking this year. Oh Yes.
Also, did you know, that the village I lived in over in France, was the village of the SHEEP, every kind of sheep on my doorstep, with women hand spinning wool and knitting beautiful things, and oh, to be back there.... so many things I took for granted. I am learning not to do that.

Certainly, I am not taking Hazel for granted, as knitting teachers go, she totally rocks. And my mother... I am learning that a patient student is a pretty good pacifier for an impatient teacher, I might even ask her how to crochet, after a stiff drink, maybe.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Art, Science and the bit in between

Lately my work time doodling has taken on a splodgy organic direction, I am fascinated with the idea of putting things under the microscope and seeing how they look, and translating those visuals somehow into stitch. Of course I don't have a microscope (I need one), but I draw cells, all colours, organic forms, free flowing, I still don't know what it means.

Then today, I found this....



Not cells, but watermarks....


Ghostly when out of focus...


A veil of cells, of sorts...


On a window...


On a Train.... mother natures paint brush.

I took so many photos, until someone asked me what stop we were at, and I realised, I was supposed to get off the train several stops ago.
But I think it was worth it, I can't stop looking at these photos. So many possibilities. Sometimes the most unexpected things inspire the most, and I am wondering how to translate this on to fabric, in stitch, or, with water? colour? coloured water?