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!


  1. I hope it wasnt the Spaghetti Bolognese Herbs that hit the Deck. I think until a lady has at least a minimum of 50 Pairs of Shoes in her collection, her Life is not yet complete. I will assist you in achieving that Goal.

  2. "I am not well. But it is nothing that a walk-in wardrobe wouldn't fix."

    So love this.

  3. i really wanted to try out that CAE shoe making course, but the price put me off. I did an overlocking course there recently though, loved it!

  4. It was exec, but all the materials were included. They do have lots of great courses though!