March 11, 2011

Things Involving the Learning of Wiggly Lines


My head is still spinning.*  It seems to have been a head-spinny kind of day.  I’m waiting for the protein to rise to my brain** so that the above-shoulder area will settle down a little and possibly produce some coherent sentences, both fictional and non-. ***

            . . . Okay.  It’s true.  I went back to the yarn store.†  So, you want to know why, right?  Before you suck in your breath to castigate me.  You’re going to have to start putting up with a certain amount of secrecy about my proliferation of knitting projects.  Because one or two (or three) of them†† pertain to people that I know at least occasionally read the blog.  So I went back to the yarn store in pursuit of one of these Secret Projects, having got the details wrong first time.†††  And the other reason is . . . I’ve been talking to one of my enablers again.  The great drawback to enablers is the way they . . . enable.  And I asked her, when you get Stash Fever, how do you know how much of a given ecstatically thrilling yarn to buy?  —I having, with a month’s experience behind me, realised that one of my initial purchases is not really suitable for legwarmers, unless I start living a delicate ladylike life, which is not (ahem) terribly likely.‡   Oh, said my enabler airily.  It depends on what you find out you like to knit.  I like to knit coronation robes with eighteen-foot trains, so I have to buy sixty-six quadrillion leagues of anything I really like.‡‡ 


            So I pulled out a Rowan magazine‡‡‡ and started trying to figure out how many skeins of their Skittish Gorilla weight yarn I would need to make . . . well, anything, really.  And then I took out the tag that I had thoughtfully brought with me so that I could check the dye lot from one of the skeins I had bought a month ago§ and . . . bought some more skeins.  Ahem.  I basically bought every skein they had left in my dye lot, but that wasn’t actually very many.  No, really.  It’s a small shop.§§ 

            And then I had to pelt home, as if a hellhound were after me, because there were handbells.  There’s been what may be a Startling Development, which is that Fernanda may have run away to sea.  So there were only three of us tonight, and there may continue to be only three of us for the foreseeable future.  —GAH.  I am now used to eight bells.  The treble comes down to lead way too fast and often when there are only six bells:  on eight you get into the sloppy habit of believing that you’ve got a little breathing space between leads.  Not with only six.  But what’s worse is . . . at tea break the three of us sat there looking at each other and then said, more or less simultaneously, I have a great idea!  Let’s learn a new method!  AAAAAUGH.  I thought it was a great idea at the time, flushed with sugar§§§ and caffeine and secure in the knowledge of Pooka and her bell ringing ap.  It is now past midnight and I’m tired and I still have to sing, and St Clements minor has too many wiggly lines, especially when you’re ringing two bells.  And I know from bitter method-learning experience that Thursday rolls around again with uncivil speed.

            Right.  Singing now. 

* * *

* BACK, Jodi!  BACKNot that kind of spinning!

** Roast chicken for supper.   And an enthusiastic vortex of hellhounds adding interest to negotiating the space between the roast chicken sitting aromatically on the kitchen counter and your chair at the table.  And gods help you if you go back for seconds.

            These are, you understand, the hellhounds who refused to eat their lunch and made me late for my appointment with Dentist from R’lyeh.^  The moment they saw me fold up in despair, and prepare myself for leaving them lunchless, and spending the afternoon in a fog of prospective woe^^ . . . they changed their minds and ate, delaying me even more. 

            They were really only doing their best.  Any loyal dog is going to try to keep his beloved mistress away from Dentists from R’lyeh. 

^ Maybe I could skip all the pain and trauma of the actual visits, put a permanent lien on my bank balance, made out ‘on demand from Dentist from R’lyeh’, and stay home.  There is a new hazard about the Dentist from R’lyeh:  his office is very near the yarn shop.   

^^ Remember that these guys, if they miss a meal, are less likely to eat the next one rather than more—and that by the end of 24 hours without food they are miserable.  That comforting old cliché about how not to let your dogs get the high ground, ‘a hungry dog will eat’, has a very large caveat subheading:  except hellhounds.   I regularly remind myself to be grateful that at least they aren’t scheming little ratbags with it or I’d’ve been forcibly retired to the small room with the quilted walls by now.  

*** I also still have to sing.  I’m singing The Roadside Fire^ for Oisin tomorrow.  Eeeeeep.  It’s going to be gruesome.  Nadia’s one shortcoming is that she doesn’t play the piano any better than I do, and so does not accompany.  Lots of voice teachers don’t—they’re voice teachers—but Blondel did, and to me anyway learning to sing something with the accompaniment—assuming that it was written with an instrumental part for the singer to collide with—is a crucial part of finishing learning the piece.^^  But the piano or the six Theremins or twelve contrabassoons or what-have-you still is/are to me One More Thing in the herding-cats experience that is singing, and I don’t care how well I thought I knew the mere tune when I took a new piece in to Blondel, it was always a nuts, bolts and blood ordeal, singing it against—er—with the piano.^^^ 

            I’m not sure whether this is going to improve or—er—dis-improve the chances of the New Arcadia Singers becoming a reality.  It may dis-improve my chances of being chosen to be a member.  Sigh.  But how dumb would it be not to be able to sing for your choir director?^^^^


^^ Also possibly because I’m a kind of ersatz pianist and I had+ fantasies about being some kind of very low level accompanist myself, I think there ought to be a better word than accompanist.  Have you seen—for example—the piano part for some of Benjamin Britten’s (himself a serious pianist) songs?  Cheez.  This is two-soloists-with-a-single-aim++ territory.

+ Okay, still have

++ One hopes

^^^ Why didn’t I take up knitting?  Oh . . . I did.  In hindsight, I’m sure it’s significant that ‘why didn’t I take up knitting’ has been my outcry for decades against whatever is driving me nuts at the minute.  I guess I now need a new scream.  Why didn’t I take up alligator wrestling?  Tornado chasing?  Pooktre tree shaping?

^^^^ Why didn’t I take up collecting abacuses?   

† Fortunately the woman who is usually there—who has been there every time so far when Fiona and I come panting in for our fix^—was not there, so I could saunter casually up to the till like any old normal customer and engage in desultory banter about dye lots and the extreme depravity of Rowan yarn’s magazines^^, where everything is more beautiful than the thing before and just buying the yarn will cost more than 1,000,000 pairs of limited-edition Blondie All Stars^^^ and that’s before you’ve put eleventy squillion hours of good income-producing time in on knitting up the freller.  Supposing you knew how.  Protected By Sheer Sandblasted Ignorance.  Sigh.

^ We’re going to a new shop next time 

^^ for example.

^^^ And why would you want 1,000,000 pairs?  1,000,000 different pairs, now . . . (with perhaps a few repeats for back-up).

†† Four.  Since you’re asking.  Well, five.  But they’re all extremely simple minded.  I’m not entirely stupid.  Just a little excitable.

††† Sigh.  Trying to extract salient details without saying LOOK I’M ASKING FOR A REASON, OKAY?  JUST UNGLEBLARGING TELL ME, can be challenging.

‡ That sound you hear is hellhound laughter.

‡‡ Yes, I believe she does have a stash problem.


§ I ask you.  Am I amazing or what.

§§ And I didn’t buy any books.^   So stop looking at me like that.

^ Well.  Not about knitting.

§§§ There’s also a café across the street from the yarn shop.  With a take out bakery.  Carrot cake to die for.  Lemon icing.  Not cream cheese.  My new hero, whoever the baker is.


Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.