Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Piece of Cherry Pie: February 24th to 28th.

Knitting is de rigeur. Too cool for craft school! I am a maiden-aunty knitter in Saver's upcycled lamb's wear in comparison. The reason I am so un-nifty is that you see me knitting. To be en-trend, the knitting needs to be invisible and the results anonymously bombed. But I would almost start to argue that yarn bombing is reaching passé status. Am I cynical (probably), but is random knitting attached to stationary objects becoming too predictable? I noticed the other day that there are photos on Facebook of my hop-on, hop-off blue bike (Melbourne Bike Share) with yarn bombed handles, executed during a recent Melbourne Yarn Bombing Festival (at which you could even do a yarn bombing workshop!) There are books about it, web sites. Something subversive has gotten way off track here. Maybe there is hope for my boring home-style knitting to become cool again—like when trendy people starting knitting on their way to work on public transport a few years ago, or in pubs, or in knitter-natter, stitch-'n'-bitch groups. The more I think about it, the more I realise how popular knitting is again. It is nearly as big as tablets or One Direction. Nearly.

Maybe my real issue (beside an obvious desire to be 'cool' matched with a lack of a cool bone in my body) is that what I see of yarnbombing in my home 'burbs is actually just the minimum amount of knitting someone can do, place, and show-off, rather than big, bold exciting and awe-striking pieces. I want Melbournians to yarnbomb the Art's Centre Spire, not a bicycle rack on Sydney Road. Yarnbomb the Owl on Wurundjeri Way rather than putting a knitting sampler on a tree in Flagstaff Gardens. I want us to think bigger. I will of course be thinking all about this while I knit small cherry pies like this one on my couch. I want to be surprised again by what the cool knitters are doing, rather than just thinking: 'Oh, they yarnbombed the blue bikes. I didn't even notice.'

For your wordification delight, you can read this article over and over by replacing the word yarnbomb (and its conjugations) with one of the following: knithack, urban knitting, graffiti knitting, yarnstorming and guerilla knitting (also known as gorilla knitting if you knit a gorilla and put it on the street).

All these words in turn can also be adapted to include crocheting, although cro(t)ch-hack means something completely different.

There is no way I can create from my rant up there a sedgeway to Osho. So. Stop. Deep breath. New thought. Look lovingly at an object. As usual, this is a way to centre yourself. It has been a while since I wrote these blogs, trip and all, and so you may have forgotten the predominant theme of Osho seems to be centering. But there is something sweet in this technique too. Here comes the sentimentalist in me. He talks about the difference between love and lust, and the difference between object and person. For the former the difference lies where the desire for happiness does. To love someone is to want to make happiness for them, to lust someone is to want to make happiness for yourself. And when you love something you make that thing a person, even if technically it is an object; when you lust something, you make it an object, even if technically it is a person. What an amazing thing then, to be truly and unselfishly loved! Never happens does it? Ooh, I can hear the arguments from here (that's good, I am glad). But, really, pure, crystal clean, unselfish love? It goes in the 'nothing anyone ever does is truly altruistic' basket with all my other hesitations over the goodness of humanity. And in that little basket of doubt lies my never becoming enlightened. Oops.

What are you meant to do with this little Osho nugget in order to reach enlightenment if you don't carry around a basket of doubt, you ask? The rest of the sutra says: 'Do not go to another object. Here in the middle of the object—the blessing'. By looking at one object—only one for the moment—and pouring all your love, not lust, into it, you surrender everything into it, emptying yourself, forgetting yourself, removing your self from yourself and in your self's place comes the centre and the blessing. Theoretically. Then you just have to try to not want that feeling again from looking at the object because that will be lust and the love will have been lost. Fine line. Maybe just practise not having a head for a while so that you operate through your heart and can access that muscle in pure loving for the sake of loving. I never said any of this was going to be easy as pie.

Speaking of pie, this one is made of bits of a pie crust coloured wool I found on sale somewhere, and red acrylic I had lying around from days of knitting St Kilda and Doggies football scarves. It is mostly sewn up so needs only completion, stuffing and accroutements (a.k.a. garnish). It is promised to a friend—who I am sure will try it out in several places at home before finally giving in and sneaking it off to the op-shop where they will take one look, try it out in several places in the shop, and then scoop it, uneaten, into the bin.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Honey Cowl/Headband: February 22nd to 23rd.

On the train between Fort William and Malliag, in Scotland, a man boarded with the largest Alsatian I have seen in a long time. Before anything else is said, how wonderful is it that dogs ride trains in the UK—and go to pubs and take ferries and go shopping and walk on long-distance footpaths in stunning scenery. The two of them took a pair of un-reserved, backward facing seats at the end of the carriage; the man had the window, the dog the aisle. The dog sat on the seat awasn't view was of the man and the dog's heads rising above the seats in front of them, both admiring the same view. Ultimately, they were like any other pair of passengers except one had a hairy face with a pronounced muzzle. On my return the pair again boarded my carriage. The man, at least, appeared to have imbibed a few bevies and was in need of company so he sat at one of the tabled seats opposite a woman and adjacent to a French couple. The French woman looked fascinated, her face full of awe. She seemed unable to speak. Her partner then asked the man to move: her awe, it turned out, was fear. Man and dog moved, but derived of his sort-after company he was soon asleep. And the dog, as dogs do, migrated to where he could cause most mischief. He sat himself in the seats directly behind the frightened women, whose surplus of emotion had sent her to sleep. Her partner tried, silently, to fend the not-doing-anything-anyway dog off with an umbrella. Eventually he called over the guard who suggested they move—'I can't stop dogs travelling' he said, as if the dog had bought it's own ticket.

What struck me as odd with the whole encounter was the French woman's face. It seemed so much more a countenance of admiration than terror. It seems noble to admire what we fear. It is somehow more empowering to look at what we fear as an adversary. Then there is hope of beating it. But how do you get to the point where you can look at what you fear this way. If I was afraid of dogs, I thought, would I have been squealing and gathering myself in a corner? Osho talks this week about unminding the mind, keeping in the middle. Emotions are scales with two (or more) extremities: love is the extreme of hate, envy of blitheness or contentedness, fear of bravado. He likens being in any one state to being on one swing of a pendulum—not a state in itself but a preparing for its opposite. What he wants us to do is to try to get the mind in the middle, where the pendulum no longer swings. If we are able to do this then mind dies, and Osho is a fan of the mind being non-existent. In the middle there is a calmness. It does not, I think, mean that emotion dies too. It changes to emotion with no opposite—a centred emotion. Pure energy. The French woman's fear appeared centred and pure. I am not sure if it actually helps her in her everyday relations with pooches.

Setting priorities, my first goal is to centre my eating-dieting emotion pendulum. What do you mean eating isn't an emotion? You cannot tell me the stuff that goes through your brain in the big decision-making, execution and regret of any cake-eating session is not emotion in it's most swinging extremes. 'I need cake.' 'I like cake.' 'I am fat; why can't I stop eating cake?' This is not healthy. I need to unmind my mind and keep in the middle—which in this case, luckily, just happens to be 'I like cake'. Oddly, this makes sense. If I just like cake without needing it or regretting it, the liking of cake is enough, the idea of cake is enough. I have the centred savouring emotion of cake without the calories of cake. Mmm, cake. The theory here is sound(ish). Theory, smeory—who am I kidding. Give me the goddam cake. Now!

Knitting, you ask? This toasty cowl is made from Moda Vera's Husky, a hundred per cent pure baby alpaca. It is delightfully soft and slightly fluffy. If you wear it as a headband it may stick a little up from the top of your head as it is quite wide, but if warmth to your neck is your desire, this is your baby. The knitting is all done and the final touches are almost finalised so this may even make it out into the world before the end of winter. Stay tuned, it will be cute and you will want to make an offer.