This is the season for knitting. The intricacies of straight-needle knitting remind me now and again of the interweaving moves of contradancers. Yesterday I drove to Nezinscot Farm in the dead of winter, stepped around the black lab curled up on a rug at the top of the spiral staircase, and entered the yarn room. I looked for and found something resembling celadon, the mysterious cool shade somewhere between green and blue. I was curious about the newest Nezinscot blend, 50% wool, 30% mohair, and 20% angora, spun for the farm by the Green Mountain Spinnery. I added to my stash a generous skein of 226 yards. Outside the yarn loft a kitten slept curled up under a mannequin wearing a long cream dress and a moss-green triangular wool shawl.
The scarves pictured are knit in the Kudo F-352 pattern, resulting in lovely designs on both sides.
Yesterday at the Lisbon Falls Kitty Korner thrift store I noticed a baby outfit with an old-fashioned touch, a dress and matching coat in red with black trim. After rolling up the sleeves a time or two, it is a fine fit on a Francois Gaultier reproduction fashion doll I made years ago in porcelain class. I never found time to dress her. Doesn’t she look fine in her new outfit? I can always take a tuck across the shoulders, shorten the sleeves, and add some cuffs.
One of my favorite tasks as a doll maker is to play shoemaker. I sorted through my tiny grommets for laces and think I can create a fine pair of French black leather boots for my lady.
Yesterday I listened to the “World of Gypsies” CD recording of music from many countries where Gypsies live. Once again I wonder where the Egyptian and the Spanish come from in my family genealogy, when the ancestors surnames are English or German. I wonder once again whether Grandpa Price, with his common Gypsy last name and Gypsy profession of blacksmith, had Gypsy roots in Manchester, England, that he kept hidden from us. Part of my cultural heritage is lost.
What did the Gypsies do with the active little children while traveling in a bowtop wagon? How did the parents ever earn enough money to feed everybody, including the Gypsy horses? Several books about Gypsy life sit in treasured places on my bookshelves, but many questions remain unanswered.
I would like to go the the Appleby Fair.
“Idylls of the King” jogs my memory as stories of knights but these are tales of the ladies. I read “Enid” with amazement at how well this reads as a story. Now I am reading “Vivien” and what a vixen is she! This I knew from reading the Mary Stewart novels and others, each with its unique viewpoint. Next comes “Elaine” and then “Guinevere.” My copy was published by Ticknor and Fields in M DCCC LXIV. I come up with 1864. My book is that old! It’s pages are still strong but the leather binding began to give way and I strengthened it with strips of thin gauze inside the front and back covers.
The book is propped up with my newest scarf in “Drooping Elm Leaf” pattern.
Amy Clampitt wrote this lovely poem.
Recently I reread “The Lady of the Lake.” I am memorizing German poetry. What a turn-around to read German poetry that was originally written in English!
This will be a very quick note and photo to tell you that I am reading Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsun, who won a Nobel prize for Literature in 1920, partly based on this book, which was recommended to me on the basis of the theme of connection with the soil. No one prepared me for the theme of infanticide that dominates. I notice that in this former era the author’s thoughts and opinions and judgments could be expressed almost as a side commentary to the plot, a practice that I doubt would be accepted today. I would like to enter into dialogue with the author on some of his assumptions and regret that I cannot.
Yes, the African Violet is in full bloom and is one of the very few house plants that remains indoors. My front porch is a conservatory for most of the potted plants during the summers.
I tend the gardens and I read.
We have a new clump of Foxglove that is about to open with a hint of pink., next to the Russian Sage. The Oriental Poppies are more than a hint of luscious pink. I moved a tall variety of violet to the other side of the house under a newly trimmed pine and gave it a dose of dark compost. Out in the vegetable garden my tomatoes grown from seed are safely snugged inside half a dozen wire towers. The carrots and beets are weeded. The only strays I leave near them are young California Poppies. At least a few Nasturtiums have sprouted near the picket fencing. Wild and tame Morning Glories twine together. I marked the prettiest blue and white lupine stems with twistie ties to distinguish their seeds from the plain violet spires.
I am reading THE BLACK BANNERS by Ali H. Soufan and have just finished JAYBER CROW by Wendell Berry. I cannot afford to miss these books. If anybody knows of other must-reads, please tell me.
Now I turn to doll-making.
The lower branches of the pines snapped off easily and once removed left pathways through my little forest. I planted Impatiens and clumps of moss and Forget-me-nots. Two Jack-in-the-pulpits already grew there, and a Painted Fern, and a Goatsbeard. Two large Rhododendrons close by are now in full bloom.
…From a dark and fertile corner springs something glorious….