Friday, October 19, 2007

Every Home Should Have One...

Okay. Please admire this. (Shoe is for scale). This is Juno’s collar. It is finished, but unblocked (as you probably noticed). This is my first ever attempt at cables and I did nearly 6 freaking feet of them – four intertwined lines, edged with four more lines.

It looks like this when you get closer.

I can’t believe the sheer scale and gorgeousness of what I have created. I am continually impressed by the amazement of knitting. By the way – if you see any mistakes (I know there is one stitch in there that is not doing what it is supposed to and I’ve decided to live with it because it was 2 feet from the end when I saw it!), I don’t want to know – really, I don’t. (You don’t see any, do you – because – well I’d just have to cry at you and then we’d both be embarrassed and I look so awful when I cry – you know how it is – drippy, swollen, red nose – what do you mean you can’t see any difference from the way I look normally? I’m going to cry!)
I like to think of that stitch as the deliberate imperfection included by a knitter. Japanese master potters always marred their work slightly, introducing a deliberate imperfection to make their work human, and to not challenge the gods. Every time we packed a kiln, someone would do something that made them bleed (accidentally, not on purpose – though if there had been no blood….), and we always considered that a sacrifice to ensure the firing went smoothly.

That misplaced stitch is my sacrifice. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

On a different note, I thought I’d include this photo of the incredibly originally named Blue Lake. The colour has not been touched and it is a very grey day – isn’t that the most gorgeous aqua you have ever seen? Apparently the white clay at the bottom of the lake reflects the sky, but if that is so, by my reckoning the water ought to be a drab grey with dark grey overtones.

I have a theory. I have decided that the world consists of two types of people (stop me if you’ve heard this before). The first type is the instruction reader. When they receive a new appliance or gadget, they open the box, remove the instructions, read them from cover to cover, acquainting themselves fully with the device and its controls. They ensure they understand its quirks and the expected outcomes and results. Only when this process is complete, will they unpack the appliance or gadget, carefully removing all components from the box, assemble it and turn it on. My husband is this type of person.

The second type receives a gadget, rips the box open, whacks it together and turns it on. They may mutter things like ‘Yup – this bit goes here’ and ‘I wonder what that is for?’. They may occasionally look at the picture on the outside of the box – just a glance to check that it looks roughly right. They will refer to the instruction manual if, and only if, the device will not work, breaks down, or makes a peculiar noise. I am this type of person.

In 1998, we bought a 6 year old, second hand BMW. The Accountant had coveted a BMW since he was a teenager, and now he owned one (in both our names, of course). He read the 240 page manual from cover the cover several times, making sure he really understood this piece of German engineering perfection. Then he told me I wasn’t allowed to drive it until I read the manual. I didn’t drive the car for nearly a year. I still haven’t read the manual – I just waited him out.

I thought about this again yesterday, when a friend rang to ask if the Accountant would chauffeur her eldest son to his Grade 10 School Leavers’ Dinner. In Tasmania, you finish high school in grade 10 – except in some private schools which offer classes to grade 12. Grades 11 and 12 are offered at matriculation colleges, on separate campuses and with entirely different rules to high schools. They generally don’t require a school uniform and have a more relaxed attitude to pupils coming and going from school property.

They were originally designed as a bridge to the independence of university. Now they mainly exist to keep kids off unemployment lines and try to get them to stay at school until they’re 18. Tasmania has the lowest rates in Australia of school retention to grade 12, mainly due to this system.

But, back to the Leavers’ Dinner. I remember when this couple started dating. I remember when the son was born – the Accountant and I have been together longer than he has been in the world. This is a sobering fact – or perhaps the sort of fact which requires drunkenness – I’m still working on that one. Of course he can arrive in the BMW.

There is a tradition of arriving in exotic transport for these dinners. Rich parents have supplied helicopters and limousines. Inventive parents and children have used enormous trucks, tractors, horses (with and without carriages) and all types of cares – from the sublime (beautiful vintage cars) to the ridiculous (tuktuks and gogomobiles). It’s all part of the fun.

So he will get the BMW. He’s just got to clean it first!


amanda j said...

Hm, the Leaver's Dinner. I get to attend every year and marvel at the extravagance. Thankfully the kids only go once and never tire of my LBD!!

My daughter is in Grade 8 and Dad bought a Morris Minor . . . and is planning on driving her to her Dinner. No conversation with her about this!

Next year will be interesting, keeping the kids at school until the end. Good job probably.

Rose Red said...

I think the collar is *perfect* - great job!

Taphophile said...

Juno's collar is divinity itself. Well done for sticking it out.

We have the same education system in the ACT but with a higher level of retention. I don't know about the unusual forms of transport, though.

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

The Amish do the imperfection on purpose with their quilts for much the same reason.

Hmmm do you think that my teen would want to arrive at a school dinner like that on our riding mower???? Didn't think so but the visual was hilarious.

MadMad said...

Love the Juno collar! It's gorgeous and perfect! Good for you! The color if spectacular, too. I am also a non-reader of manuals, and thought the story about the car was hysterical. Men and their cars!

Georgie said...

Yay you - great work on the collar!

In our household, I am the reader of instructions, and Beloved is not (although I do take it out of the box first, then look at the manual). We once had a race on putting Ikea bookshelves together - me with and him without instructions. I won. Ner ner ner!!

Family Adventure said...

I cannot believe he wanted you to read the manual before driving it. Only a man!

I think your collar looks amazing. I could never, ever have made anything like it. Good job!

- Heidi

Donna Lee said...

I am a manual skimmer. I want to learn enough to use my new thing and not break it in the process, but not so much that I get bored before I use it. Our kids do that strange, elaborate vehicle thing at prom time. Some families spend enormous amts of money for this. The hummer limo was my favorite car of excess.

kms said...

what is really amazing is that you knitted SIX FEET of something. anything. meanwhile, me, being stubbornly right brained, all about the manual. im hopeless without one. this applies to knitting as well :)

2paw said...

Juno's collar looks marvellous, and you are so clever!!! I read that The Amish deliberately include an error and so did Persian rug weavers. I didn't go to any Leavers' dinners, I am philosophically opposed to them, though as a teacher we even had them for Grade 6!!!
I always install or turn on new stuff accoring to the booklet, but then I just do my own thing: I might never want to do all the things the applaince does!!!

Amy Lane said...

I'm type two--definitely. And that's interesting about the grades 11 & you have vocational classes to take care of all those kids who don't want 11 & 12 but would like to work? (Asks the woman who really doesn't want to teach anymore!) Blue Lake is lovely...I should show you some pictures of Crater Lake, but I've got to tell you, it kind of scares the hell out of me...