Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

12 October 2006

That Michigan Weather

You have to love Michigan weather, especially in the fall -- it has such a great sense of humor!

Those white flecks on the tomato leaves and the four-o'clock plant are indeed snow. I have been trying unsuccessfully to get a picture of the snow when it comes rattling down in tiny mouse snowballs.

Snowy weather is great weather to work on something warm, like my Pi shawl. (I had to put it down when it got up to 70 degrees F!) You can just see at the edge where the doubling round is pushing the border rows out.

I checked out Barbara Walker's "Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns" from the library, and I was intrigued by the pattern she calls "Chinese Lace". The third picture shows a "thneed" based on the Chinese Lace pattern, sitting on the Pi shawl.

The word "thneed" comes from a Dr. Seuss book called The Lorax. In The Lorax, a creature called the Once-ler discovers the Truffula trees and:

"I chopped down a Truffula Tree with one chop.
And with great skillful skill and with great speedy speed,
I took the soft tuft. And I knitted a Thneed!"

What is a Thneed? The Lorax pops out of the chopped-down stump of the Truffula tree and asks that very question: "What's that THING you've made out of my Truffula tuft?"

The Once-ler answers, "This thing is a Thneed.
A Thneed's a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!
It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat.
But it has other uses. Yes, far beyond that.
You can use it for carpets. For pillows! For sheets!
Or curtains! Or covers for bicycle seats!"

My Thneed is made out of cotton carpet warp, basically cotton string, and is meant as a soap washcloth. You put the soap inside and use the thneed as your washcloth. I started out double-knitting it like Elizabeth Zimmermann's knitted baby blanket, thus the moss-stitch edges that look like fins. After half a repeat, I switched to knitting in the round, and the fins became a three-stitch moss repeat. It is fascinating to see how this pattern likes to bias. And the fins are interesting, too.

Now I am thinking (as if I didn't have enough works in progress in various stages of completion) about how I could knit a fish, switching between regular knitting in the round and flattened double-knitting, with the fins an integral part instead of knitted on later. Barbara Walker has another pattern in this book called something like "Dragon Scale" which might work for the body. The simple horseshoe pattern from the Pi shawl also makes scale-like shapes. Hm.

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Blogger Julie said...

I've got yarn here bought specifically to knit a 'real' thneed, with the sock foot and arms and a neck hole all sticking out... Still haven't gotten to it.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Alwen said...

Now that I knit, I take exception to the Lorax dinging knitting for the destruction of the Truffula forests!

10:26 PM  

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