Monday, September 24, 2012

Surprise Item One: My Own Submission.

Surprise! I guess I spoiled the extra-cirricula-ness of alternative projects already with Hurstbridge, but these to-be-four little projects will be my own submissions to future knitting calenders. One day, when you grow up and want to step lightly in the footsteps of those who have led the way in arguably legendary knitting-blogging expeditions and decide to spend your own year starting a hundred and twelve knitting projects and tying them in with a philosopher's wise words, then maybe you will pick a calender in which one of these patterns appears. I'll be famous: you'll have an exceptionally untidy and disorganised spare room. I know you can't tell what the surprise item actually is from the picture. As usual it is a work-in-progress. Unusually, it is a surprise, and so I cannot reveal any more than I already have. A break away from the neutrals: the wool is Moda Vera 'Beetle', a fifty/fifty cotton acrylic mix—makes great, crisp stitches. The pattern is simple but hopefully versatile and interesting. Judgements will be sought later.

And because there were still a few minutes left in the day, I thought I would also go out and learn a new skill. I enrolled in an Intensive Shoe Making weekend at the CAE (Council of Adult Education). And I made these (left). I was relieved. I thought I would be making a hand-sewn pair of moccassins or elves boots that could only really see the light of day if you were a well-known eccentric from Melbourne's hippie hills. But there were lasts (wooden feet for making 'real shoes') and tools and sewing machines and, from all this technology, a bona fide pair of grown-up shoes in as close an estimation as I could get to my coveted Vivienne Westwood's (for the moment): Click here for a picture of said covetees. Intensive was the right adjective. On the Saturday I stood for about nine hours—making patterns, cutting leather, skiving, glueing, sewing. And because it is all about shoes, I had worn some of my mad shoes—not standing-up-all-day-with-a-dash-to-Clegs-at-lunchtime-for-extra-knitting-needles kinds of shoes. Ouch. Those of you who know me can wander off and have a cup of tea while I explain my shoe collection to those of you who don't. One year, when I had just finished a portion of my walking from Land's End to John O'Groats (LeJog), in sensible hiking boots, I stumbled upon a shop in Carnaby Street, London, called Irregular Choice. I had dabbled a couple of times in the world of exciting and unique shoes. I had a pair of hot pink 'cowboy' mary-janes with boot heels and the pointiest toes you ever saw, and a lovely pair of red Hispanitas with fish etched in the sole that made great impressions on tram floors after rain showers. But this was a world of shoes I wasn't aware existed. They were called Can Can. Red and white zigzag stripes placed horizontally on one side of an ankle length boot-shoe-heel, vertically on the other with a gold ribbon on the back. They are sometimes known as my road-furniture shoes: a double meaning which describes both their resemblance to the warning signs used during road-works, and their ability to stop traffic! They changed my life forever. I have now purchased (or received) twenty-seven pairs of Irregular Choice shoes. I have recently tried to cull that embarrasing number by a few ill-fitting pairs via the cleansing technique better known as eBay. But they will, I am confident, be shortly replaced—Autumn/Winter '12 range is dripping onto the website as we type. Resigned, I now have a pshoedo-methadone program that I try to stick to. I allow myself two or three pairs for each season. That quickly becomes four. And I gladly accept gifts. I am not well. But it is nothing that a walk-in wardrobe wouldn't fix.

I have been sitting here poking myself in the cheek with a pointed fingernail for quite a few minutes trying to find a way to tie Osho into this blog's wafflings. I would have kept going but I have a low pain threshold, and I cannot find the point on my cheek where Osho says we have no feeling. Apparently some Indian mystics are known to pierce their cheeks with arrows at this point and feel no pain and bleed no blood. I'll hold off until I find the spot for sure. Osho recommends a pin. [I am sure he doesn't really mean this literally, even if it sounds awfully like he does, and I would say he wouldn't want you doing something silly just to center yourself, so any actions you infer (or carry out) as a result of reading this, or that, is at your own risk. Neither of us can be responsible for your possible stupidity. This disclaimer is for the odd person who stumbles on this blog by accident when trying to look up 'skiving' or 'Carnaby Street', rather than you, my dear reader, who is much, much smarter than that!] By using a [metaphorical] pin, or by concentrating on a pain in your body that already happens to be there, you can pin[pun]point your pain into such a small and concentrated atom that you, firstly, turn the pain to bliss, and, secondly, create a gap between yourself and the pain, thus centering yourself. You are, you may be happy to know, not your body. [Excellent, because I am not a fan of that thing!] Narrowing pain down into it own singular tininess by meditating on it, you become a watcher of pain rather than a feeler. The pain seperates from the 'you'. Bit of semantics happening here maybe. The real you can't feel the pain as the pain exists only in the vessel that holds you—like my Italian herbs did not feel the pain the glass jar felt when it shattered on my tile floor this evening after its fall from the cupboard. I can see the logic. But the only way this is going to work without a sore and bloody cheek is if I managed to center myself before I stuck the pin in. Am I getting lost in the ouch-factor here—the goal is the center, the path is the pain. Maybe I'll concentrate on the bliss (although he doesn't go into that in any detail). And maybe I'll concentrate on the pre-existing pain too. Next time I have a headache, or smash my thumb hammering tacks into wooden lasts, I will concentrate the pain into an iota and turn it into bliss (somehow, magically??). Then I can use what I save on pharmaceuticals to buy an extra pair of shoes from AW12. Yay. Osho, you have the best ideas, ever!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Carillon—Rainbow Cloche: February 29th to March 4th.

Oh dear! No, I am not lamenting the banal sounds of Big Brother playing behind me in the tea room as I write. Instead, I am looking at what this hat was before it went silly. I took it to the UK. The brown wool is upcycled from a lovely men's jumper I bought at the Red Cross Op-Shop in South Melbourne; the rainbow is tapestry wools in extremely muted versions of the spectrum. I wore it in the lovely cold British summer. Their summer, regardless of the number of Brits recently heard complaining about how hot their summer was, requires a lot of wool hat wearing. After a few days, I started to notice that the hat was slowly getting bigger. And bigger. And bigger. Needless to say, I have since googled 'getting the kinks out of upcycled wool', and so now have squared wire hangers wrapped in wool hanging and dripping from my shower head in an attempt to stop the kinks coming out of things as you wear them, ending up with items several sizes larger than desired. Eventually, after finding myself in a too-breezy hat on top of a mountain in a snow storm (yes, still in my British summer), I bought a new hat and op-shopped this one with the hope that an enormously large headed person would go in a seemingly futile search for a very big hat, and find one!

Money where my mouth is time. I promised you news of the extra project filling my spare time. I also complained about yarn bombers being unambitiously small. Fate threw me an antidote to my rambling mouth: First Train to Allwood. Knitters and crocheters from the vicinity of Hurstbridge are yarnbombing a train onto two blocks worth of fencing along the main street, and they are looking for volunteers. So with the derisive laughing of my closest and (supposedly) most loving friends ringing in my ears (they did not for one minute think that I would make an eight a.m. tram on my day off), I made the one hour fifty-four minute commute to Hurstbridge. It turned out to be a little longer as they were doing railworks and I had to change to replacement buses. Tram, train, bus. A public transport kaleidoscope! In my mind I thought I would spend a day sitting in a cafe, drinking coffees and knitting bits of train, but instead I ate breakfast, drank coffee, listened, talked, claimed two pattern pieces, rolled out copious amounts of venetian cord (the yarn of choice for this project which makes it durable and hose-down-able down by the local CFA), ate cake, drank more coffee and left with my patterns, a promise of speedy completion and a bigger commitment than I had bargained for. Not complaining. Don't get me wrong. But how much time do I think I have. I wish work would stop getting in the way of things I like to do. Having said that, I did finish most of my (relatively small) pieces at work! When you make it out there to have a look, mine are the left and right lower wooden panels on the sheep carriage.

As usual, Osho manages to weave himself, post-fact, into the happenings of my life. This week he is arguably talking about the zen of public transport. The technique is described thus: in a moving vehicle, by rhythmically swaying, experience. Or in a still vehicle, by letting yourself swing in slowing invisible circles. Yep, that's right. I got car sick. I don't normally get sick in vehicles, but I was concentrating so completely on the knitting project I was working on (and continuously mucking up) as the bus curved its way back through the hills from Hurstbridge, down to a working railway station that instead of becoming centred by my otherwise unconscious 'rhythmical swaying', I became nauseous and had to spend the rest of the trip really trying not to throw up my cake. But I have been sitting here now on a couch in a rental property in Robe, South Australia (white! what! how are we supposed to ever get our bond back with a white couch, but it does have a chaise which I am finding very hard not to make my second favourite relaxation point—after the hammock) trying to swing in imperceptible circles. I can see that this would work. Maybe, because I have trouble being still (even though sitting around seems like laziness, there is a lot happening (knitting)), a meditation technique that involves movement works better than one where I have to go against my nature and totally still the ceaseless ticking over of my mind. It actually feels good to try and make yourself make the smallest possible circles with your body that you can, all else does, for a minute, stop butting in like an inquisitive three year old. My fellow white-couch-rider says he can still see me moving, but there was a moment when I felt gone, and it was quite refreshing. Well that is enoough of meditating, now let's go see if we can find a shark while boogie boarding. Eek!