Sunday, August 27, 2006

A little travelling music please......

....... Something to feed the gypsy soul. There were a few things that had to be done very early Friday morning before we set off for the first leg of our trip to Hilton Head. Yes, we were driving. It’s an 18 hour haul which we spread over 2 days, stopping for the night in Beckley, West Virginia – 10 hours from TO. I guess that there aren’t that many people these days that take long driving holidays, when it’s relatively cheap, quick and easy to take a plane – not with 4 people; but 1 or 2, yes. Still there is something about journeying through every mile, however tedious, that makes you feel that you have really earned the destination. There is also something about “hitting the open road”, that gives one a sense of freedom – no stripping to the waist, no marshalling through metal detecting arbours, no idling for hours in soulless airport lounges – just hit the gas and go!

But we do need music – traveling music. Selecting the right CDs for the journey was one of the Friday morning tasks – I still buy CDs. I deal with copyright daily and I like to think that I contribute to Art and culture by supporting the artists that enrich my life. I would hate to think that, because we are now able to enjoy without contributing, emerging artists – will never thrive – our entertainment will be limited to a few with influence, and we will lose the diversity, the endless choice that has made our lives so rich.

As a result, I took all my Paul Simon CDs – I just have 3; but I do have his latest – “Surprise”. I took Bob Dylan – for the phrase “like a rolling stone” and I took K.D. Lang in case I got homesick.

There is something about pulsing down the highway to traveling music, that feeds the Gypsy soul!

Now when I wasn’t driving, I was working on this: I will call it something like “Savannah Shawl” or “Squares of Savannah Shawl” – for everyone who has read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” and has crocheted a square – you’ll understand. When I left TO, I had the small centre section started. We are now in Hilton Head – I guess I could have done this much on a plane, but I wouldn’t have felt as much like a Gypsy and the design might have lacked something! Oh, well – must get to the beach!


PS when I get back I am going to re-work the design - not quite right yet.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

maggie and millie and molly and may

"maggie and millie and molly and may"

maggie and millie and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles, and

millie befriended a stranded star
who's rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and may

came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea.”

e.e.cummings is another favourite poet of mine. He is one of my wordsmiths -poets who are able to use words tightly in a very remarkable way. I group him with Dylan Thomas, Gerard Manly Hopkins and Carl Sandburg.

I love this poem for its simplicity and its depth - how many of us can relate to stones as large as alone!

In January when we were planning this vacation (planning holidays is my husband's escape - so we start early - very early) I said to Dorothy Siemens - Fiddlesticks Knitting - that I had already found a poem for my weblog and that I had planned to refer to her Creatures of the Reef shawl, if that were OK.

I have seen Creatures of the Reef knit in several colours of Zephyr yarn and each colour changes the shawl into another remarkable place. Shown here in Sage, it is a northern beach, in reds it becomes P.E.I. (Prince Edward Island), in Copper it is somewhere very warm and sunny, I even think that it would work in pink for Bermuda - just pick a colour; knit it; wear it and be transported.

The motifs that Dorothy used are so much like those in the poem. There are star fish, crabs, sea horses, shells, fish, waves - all original motifs in the breeziest lace. Just think of the fun of knitting each one and remembering your beach adventures, or dreaming of a time when you will go to the beach too.

I won't take the shawl as a knitting project for this holiday. I would rather wait until January, when I need to be taken back to the sea...back to the sun, the warmth, and the freedom.

But I've started thinking of the project, particularly the colour. Now let me see, how about Violet for that magical time just after sunset and a little before dark - that half light of our imagination - with the water shimmering under the rising moon...hmmmm...maybe Lilac would be better - it has more blue in it.

Dream on


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Send me the pillow you dream on....

More on organic cotton and beaches. The picture is from Fiona Ellis' new book "Inspired Cable Knits" (with permission from the publisher.......) When Fiona first started to work on her book she asked me - and others - for yarn suggestions. I was thrilled to be able to give her skeins of organic cotton. I was equally thrilled when I saw the finished project. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined such a perfect combination of pattern and yarn.

The photo from "real life" - where Fiona took her inspiration for The Beachcombing Pillow is that of a beach. Actually the very edge of the land where the water eddys up on the sand and leaves wavy lines of different sea colours. It is quiet and subtle, as is the yarn; but it also invites one to imagine, to dream, to take that first step into a sea of inspiration!

The photo was taken by Lindsey Maier. For more on Fiona's book see:

Just 2 days to go and a ton of work to finish!

Enjoy Carol

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Carolina dreaming.......

In just over a week's time, I'll be travelling with my husband and 2 of my 3 children to the beach, actually to Hilton Head at the southernmost tip of SC. I can't wait. Certainly it's the idea of a holiday, of being with family, uninterrupted by work, of eating too much SC shrimp and spending too much time in the sun, sand and water but it's also about going to the ocean!

Even though I have spent most of my life landlocked in southern Ontario, I am fascinated with the sea!

I love poems like John Masefield's, Sea Fever

"I must go down to the seas again to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."

or The Sea, by Byron
"Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean-- roll!

There is so much about "casting your bread upon the water" - about taking chances, about enduring fate, that is caught up in the image of the sea.
I know that we can be challenged by mountains, and by journeys overland; but the sea is more mysterious. For me it is like Art, itself - vast, deep, unpredicatable.......or as this quotation suggests "Art and business require you to play by the rules, without knowing them." I am reminded that the sea has her own rules - like life - we are asked to navigate through the storm without knowing the rules and/or the forces that maybe with us, or against us.

And so I will go to Hilton Head and re-affirm my relationship with all that is unpredictable - I did not have to leave home to do this. But I have a chance of a holiday and I love to be transported. We all know that knitting is a great vehicle. It transports us to places we have never been - to different locales, different eras, different stratas.

Come with me to the sea through these seaside knitting patterns.

My favourite is Sand and Sea designed by Dorothy Siemens of Fiddlesticks Knitting. It's a favourite because it is knit in organic cotton and it has a very festive "We're on holiday" feel about it. It remains me of European beaches that have those little striped canvas tents as change rooms. There is always activity - picnics, games, flags waving, dogs barking, the constant rush of the wind and flush of the waves - in any picture that I have ever seen of Calais or other seaside towns.

When I first saw Sand and Sea I was amazed at the excitement that Dorothy had brought to an otherwise - unexciting yarn. Environmentally important yes, soft and subtle, yes, but not exciting. Well, let's face it; sustainability, however necessary, is not very exciting - I don't think that taking out the garbage has ever been considered "sexy". No matter how short the skirt, how high the heels or how cute the neighbour - composting and sorting through trash can never be considered sexy.

Yet, here is Sand and Sea Wrap, with all the excitement and romance of the French impressionist painters. Such, I guess, is the power of the artist to raise the mundane to the level of the sublime. More seaside knitting later. For now, I must get out there and turn my compost heap - hey do I know how to have fun!!!!