Saturday, 30 March 2013

Mio my Mio

A collegue of mine has just had her second child. A girl this time. She asked me if I could make her a baby quilt. I'm always happy for an excuse to make something, but I warned her. I was going to make it sweet and pink this time. As you might have guessed, pink and sweet is not her thing. So to tease her, I made a pink knitted lace, with a white quilted silk carpet below. Could it be sweeter?

 A little worried about what she was going to say, I chose as a motive for the knitted lace a tableau from one of my favourite books as a child, "Mio my Mio" by Astrid Lindgren. This book has many dimensions, but the story I wanted the little girl to carry with her trough life, is to have the courage to stand up to people who want to control you.

Mio is actually named Bosse, and lives in Stockholm. He has only one friend in life and is bullied regularly by the other children. One night, a genie comes to him while he sits on a park bench crying. The genie tells him that he is really a prince in the land Far away and takes him home to his father, the King, who calls him Mio.

Mio finally experiences what it means to be loved, and he gets many friends. But he also discovers that there comes responsibility with being a prince. In the land Beyond, the evil Knight Kato rules with an iron fist. He captures disobedient children and turns them into birds who are doomed to circle his castle for all eternity.

Mio, which is a scared and shy little boy, realizes that he is the only one who can save these children. He finds the courage to ride out with his best friend Jumjum, to challenge the evil Knight Kato. Because of his kindness to people he meets along the way, he gets the help he needs to defeat the knight and free the children. The motive for this blanket is when Mio challenges Kato and wins.

At the centre of this blanket, I have knitted a pattern called "The Ginger bread castle". I can not remember if this happens in the book, but I chose to put the knight's castle on fire. The flames are a pattern called "Bleeding harts", while the cliffs below the castle is a pattern called "Purl shell pattern". Around the castle birds are flying, which is a pattern called "Shower head". All these patterns you may find in Barbara G. Walker's book series "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns". The blanket is knitted in a beautiful silk and alpaca yarn from Du store alpaca, named Fin, in a deep pink colour (229).

Many of us meet people who are trying to get us to do things we really do not want to do. It takes great courage to stand up to such pressure, to be who you are.

To the little girl who has just been born, I wish you all the best in life and that you may find happiness. I also hope that you will find the courage to stand up to your Knight Kato. Be who you want to be. Think for yourself. Make your own choices. 

"Mio my Mio".

Monday, 25 March 2013

Glamour for my daughter

My daughter Elise was a little grumpy because I have knitted many shawl, but none for her. It was cold, and she had no scarves that she thought looked nice. So I went to the store and found a yarn that looked like it ought to be a scarf for my daughter.

The yarn is called Kid Silk Haze Glamour from Rowan, and is a silk and mohair combination with sequins. The sequins are attached to the yarn with a nylon thread. Fortunately, this tread is not very visible because the yarn is relatively fluffy. I also found her favorite color (called Trance 284), so she was very happy when I got home and showed her yarn. She wanted a simple scarf, so I made a version "Thousands of blue anemones".

As of now, she has not used the scarf yet. She may think that it's too fancy to use at school. It doesn't really matter because in seven months time there will be another winter.

Friday, 15 March 2013

A caged songbird

When I was at university, I was looking after a canary while its owners lived abroad. They thought it was a female, because it didn’t sing. When the bird had gotten used to me and its surroundings, I opened the door to the cage and let it fly freely inside my student lodgings. It was not a large room, but I thought it was better than sitting inside the cage all day.

Then a miracle happened. During the next few weeks his eyes became sparkling and the feathers became brighter and more intensely coloured. But the most amazing thing was that he started to sing. Every day when I came home from university, he flew out of his cage, sat on the highest point of the cage and sang for me. It always started with some beautiful trills, sliding into a series of long melancholic tones. His song was very sad and amazingly beautiful (not unlike these samples; one and two, but a bit more melancholic). He kept on singing for half an hour before finishing, always in the same way, and then flying back into his cage again.

I fell completely in love with this bird, and it was with a heavy heart that I gave him up when the owners returned. I knew they were not going to let him out, and that he would become pale and quiet again. It still hurts to think that he ended his days locked inside his cage.

Currently, I have to make do with the birds outside. Wild birds are very interesting. They are not used to being seen, so when you make them aware that you see them, they get confused. Some get frightened and fly away, while others are curious and want contact. When I was working in my garden last spring, I got in contact with a small red robin. He jumped around me, flew away with some nesting material, came back again, sat in some bushes close by and sang for me. Observing me from a safe distance. I met him several times that spring, and every time he jumped around me and sang a bit.

I love birds and I wanted to make a tribute to them. It was very difficult to find patterns that resembled birds, but I found two: one looking like birds flying in a flock and one that looks like a beautiful caged bird spreading its wings.  I chose to place the songbird trapped inside a frame in the centre of the scarf, while the wild birds fly past outside. Fri.

The pattern of the wild birds flying in a flock is actually called "Shower head", and is a pattern that I founde in  Barara G. Walker's book series "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns". The pattern of the songbird is a butterfly pattern that I found in Siri Reimann's book "The Haapsalu Shawl". I found the pattern for the boorder on the edges in Nancy Bush's book "Knitted Laces of Estonia". 
I have knitted the scarf in a thin and hairy alpaca yarn called "Air" from Du store alpaca, in a deep purple colour (no. 110). I made this scarf to wear with a filted black and purple coat of mine (see the pictures).

I have made this scarf for all caged songbirds, in hope that theyat least ones in their life may experience how it is to be free. As the bird.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Faun's veil

One late summers day when I was four, my mother took me and my two older siblings into the forest to pick blueberries. At one point, my mother warned us about a beehive. But I could not see any hive. I just saw trees and heather. It was as if someone had drawn a veil before my eyes. As if I could not focus. I saw absolutely no hive.

It went as it had to: Both my siblings walked around the hive, while I, who saw nothing, went straight on. I just stumbled over the beehive. When the others asked why, all I could reply was "I didn't see it." The next thing I remember is sitting in the kitchen taking off my T-shirt. I was covered in beestings. Every time I think of this memory, I still smell the vinager my mom used to make the stings less painful.

In the movie "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", the little girl Lucy meets the faun Tumnus under the lamp post which marks the outer border of Narnia. He takes her home for afternoon tea, where he plays his flute for her so that she falls into a trance and do not discover that something is wrong. Tumnus actually plan to hand Lucy over to the White Witch, but luckily for Lucy, Tumnus feels guilty and fails to complete his plan.

When I saw the film for the first time, the story about the faun Tumnus made me think of the blueberry trip that ended so dissasterous. It was as if a faun had played his flute for me, so all I could see was trees and blueberry heather. Unluckily for me, my faun had no qualms throwing dust in my eyes, unlike Mr. Tumnus, who failed to betray Lucy in the end.

The pattern in the center of this shawl is called The Faun's eye, and looks like the head of a faun. This is a pattern I found in Barara G. Walker's book series "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns". On the inner border, I have used a pattern of blueberry heather, with nobs for berries, which I have composed myself.

The outer border is also partially self-composed. It consists of two patterns; leaves on a sling and three berries in a pile. The outermost pattern is a modification of a pattern I found in Sharron Miller book "Heirloom Knitting". The leaf pattern in the inner loop of the outer border is self-composed, inspired by a sweater I saw in a newspaper.

At first glance, it looks like this shawl is covered by blueberry heather. But if you look closely, the eyes of the faun emerges. When you have seen the eyes, you discover that there are many of them. The whole center is covered with fauns.

Now, as an adult, I know that the reason I did not see the hive was that I was simply too short to see it over the vegetation. However, at the time, it seemed almost magical. It is funny how we try to find an explanation when we observe something we do not understand.