Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amigurumi pour mes amis

Oui, je sais que j'ai utilisé deux langues. And most people don't understand either language.  I'll admit, I barely know the latter nowadays and my grasp of the former is limited to pleasantries and the word in the title. So why am I using it you ask?

Because who wants to say "I'm making a knitted or crocheted stuffed doll" every time they're asked when they could just as easily declare "I'm making an amigurumi" instead.

Broken down into its components,  amigurumi is made of two words. Ami meaning knit or crocheted and nuigurumi meaning stuffed doll. Often the word is used to describe cute animal representations, but anthropomorphic inanimate objects such as food are extremely popular as well.

And when popular culture is inundated with animated feature films and tv shows, the obvious leap is to convert 2D images into soft 3D companions.

Instagram is filled with creations of yarn and stuffing in the image of animated characters. I have even done them myself.

For those who have an adoration of food, how about a healthy fruit filled morning?

Like this strawberry

Or maybe a tomato?

For those who need a little more sustenance, I always love dumplings!

When it comes to animated and scifi love, there's nothing a girl can't do with some yarn, a little stuffing, black beads and a hook. After all, there's a reason why we crocheters often dub ourselves happy hookers. ;)

Any Doctors out there? Or perhaps Dr lovers? If so, you need to have Oodles more fun in your life.

Or maybe you're just a kid at heart. Maybe you just need a friend. A personal healthcare companion to watch over you.

Whatever it is, you can't go wrong with any of the choices above whether they are for your own enjoyment or the love of others.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lonely Starbucks Lovers

I started this ages past. And finished. But debated the posting.

Why? You ask. Because every time I set pen to paper and my fingers to the keyboard of my laptop, I give a little of myself away and... I wonder. Wonder if I should. Or should not.

Some debates are better left unspoken, so here is a posting from the middle of March and a little knitty goodness.

I cast on, the forest green yarn wrapped around my index finger and thumb, reminiscent of norway spruce, the color I have chosen. It reminds me of trees, of getting lost in the wild and leaving the world behind. It carries a mountain of regret and a tangle of broken dreams.

I never thought that I would feel this way. That my knitterly pride would be broken.

But when the sweater curse makes its claim, nothing will stand in its way. And in its most dire form, the creation of a sweater need not be pursued. No. For this version, the stitches have been cast for a pair of mitts, fingerless so that the recipient may use a phone, cabled for a look most elegant.


Oh, he was. The tousled hair. The innocent look. The loose fitting ensemble concealing a body I'd dream of at night. He was a rake. A rake of the first degree.

In a Regency romance, I would be the debutante, a diamond of the first water, and he the consummate rake, never to be tied to a woman. Yet, by some chance, we would be thrown together, our dislike stemming from shared misconceptions. For the man, the diamond is rough hewn, simple, without substance. For the woman, the garden tool is useless, unsuited for the task.

But somehow, I fall for him. I encourage the lingering glances, the meeting of one's gaze across the room, the brush of fingers across heated skin. I conceal my smile behind a hand, my eyes cast down. I blush.

I am rendered speechless and I know not what to do.

But that is a story. A story of another time. Another place. Another century where roses and romance hold sway. Where a courtship is rife with dramas, debacles, enough for a play. Where the players are pawns in the machinations of society.

I sit in bed and knit. My back propped against a bevy of pillows. Turquoise, gold and scarlet. Oh how I feel like the scarlet woman, the one of myth, of stories told. Shunned. Unwanted by those would would have her then...

But now... now a creature of disdain.

I weep.

I weep tears for a broken heart. Tears for time.  Tears for the torment I brought upon myself. For what I offered yet did not receive in kind.


It is another day.

The stitches I have cast on are slowly taking shape. Ribbed for his pleasure. For mine.

The yarn rolls in the bag, chaotic movements completely at odds with the rhythmic clicking of my needles, the circuitous loop of yarn around my index finger wrapping round, pulling through.

It is therapeutic. The movements calm the thoughts tumbling through my mind, soothe my ruffled feathers, like the cock tethered to the air conditioning unit behind the apartment.

Knit 4, Purl 1. I repeat the words in my mind, silently counting.

A cup of coffee sits on the conference table, the product of a lunchtime run between two students and the need for caffeine stemming from sleepless nights and jet lag.

We talk. We laugh. We whisper and wonder.

The afternoon passes and we go our separate ways.




The night is more than I can bear. The silence deafening. The dim lights a testament to my emotions, the storm raging within.

I tap and type. These words... these words do not flow. They are not the happy thoughts of the week, the joy of long held dreams. Nor are they the hopes I had of a future now lost.

My eyes are wet. My heart is heavy. And the lights are yellow in this room, casting a sad glow upon my face. Like the man on the moon, I can watch all that passes but feel none of the comfort, the embrace of another.

The first cable awaits. Slip 1... 2... 3... 4...

I slip and knit my way around. Each stitch falling through my fingers, off the needles and out of my life.

How did this happen?

One day, I was still laughing. Lying in bed and loving.

The next....

I hurt.

I feel betrayed....

For, I put my trust in others and I love without restraint.

I give all of myself to those in my life and ask for naught in return.

I do not speak with the words of my lips, my tongue nor my wit. Instead, I speak with my hands and craft with them the shape and texture of what I cannot say.

I sit and I knit. The yarn is a comfort, a salve for the shards of my heart, tying knots to hold the pieces in place. The friction is a welcome rub, the fibers weaving together the rivers of my despair. The music of my needles filling the silent void in my mind.


It is morning. Midweek.

And I cable. The twist in stitches confusing me further. My mind is a knot, a tangle of yarn, a skein left to the paws of a cat.

Nine rows.

One row for each month of the year leading up to our meeting. I saw him then, watching. And I looked back. But it was not to be.

We played. Feet tangled together beneath the table. Fingers locked together out of sight. And kisses stolen in the night.

A knock. And I stop, fingers stilling on my needles. There are other needs more urgent than mine.


I sit. Back straight against the chair. The rooms are empty, patients gone and I sit and knit.

People pass and I smile. Nurses ask and I respond. But my heart is not involved. I speak without soul, without the feelings I possess, the animation I once threw to the wind.

Slip 1... 2... 3... 4

Another cable. Another twist in fate.

Third time lucky.

Third time doomed.

A three leaf clover of fiber, never to wilt, never to die. Always the same spring green, everlasting as the pine in winter.


The yarn... it waits.

I make dinner as the sun sets, the rays of light disappearing behind the shades. Water boils in the pot, simmering gently as pasta goes from hard to soft, the perfect tenderness... al dente. "To the tooth" Such language makes me want to bare my teeth and growl, a testament to the year of my birth.

The smell of bananas and sugar waft from the oven, telling me twenty minutes has passed. I do not pay attention to the time, the passing of seconds... of minutes... of the hours since I walked through the door.

I sit. A bottle of cider to the right of my hand. A plate of carbonara placed before me.

I eat... and I knit.

The stitches have formed a cable, a twist in the fabric of the fiber, the knots of yarn created by each loop of my finger over the needle.

Eight more rows. One for each hour I lay alone in bed that night.

1... I talked.
       2... I cried.
              3... I dried my tears and lay my head upon my arm
                     4... 5... 6... 7.... I slept, a fitful night...
                            8... I woke, wishing it were all a dream, a nightmare from which I would escape

But the tears... the tears they do not not stop. I remember and I weep. I read and I regret. I knit and I know in my heart that I will continue to love until the well of my tears runs dry.


My thumb needs a place to sit. A place to call home.

The next row I count, I wrap the stitches round my hand, gauging.

Knit 14, M1R, Purl 1, M1L.

I continue to knit in pattern, the ribbing an easy task. The next row I knit, I follow the rib, adding the stitches I made. Two new stitches flanking an old. Two for the phones on which we spoke. Two for the hearts which were broken. Two for the time we may yet try again.

I increase. Another row gone. Another two stitches added.

Again and again. I add. I add stitches to the width. I add love to these loops. I add the melancholy of my heart to the mitts. And I add forever to the fingers.

Five times I increase. One increase row for each month I knew love. Each row more than the previous. Each row greater in number... greater in love... in sex and stitches.


It is the end.

The end of the the week. The end of my increases.

And the beginning of the split. Knit 14 in pattern. Slip 11 to a stitch holder. Cast on 1. Continue in pattern. The words make little sense to those who do not knit. But to me, they are a beginning.

The beginning of the end.

The tears... they come only when prompted. But the pain shall remain forevermore. 11 more rows to cover the knuckles, to cover my pain and shift my desires.

I bind off.

Each stitch lying heavier than the last.
        Each stitch pulling tight on my heartstrings.
                Each stitch I cast off, I close off more of myself until the bleeding is staunched.

I pick up 4 stitches. One for each day that has passed since I last heard his voice. Since I last felt joy.

Knit 4. Purl 1.

The rhythmic chant becomes the salve of my soul, the bandage to the wound I bear. I knit and I count.

5 rows. 5 days since the first.

And I am finished.


One mitt sits lone on the table, surrounded by emptiness.

And I start the other. New stitches wrap round the cable. The same number. The same pattern.

Yet different.

The cables twist wrong way round. Undoing. Undying. Another twist of fate.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Year of the Sheep

Happy Chinese New Year!!! 新年快乐 🐑

This lunar year is in honor of the Ram (or sheep, or goat, depending upon your preferred English translation). Arriving with the monkey and rooster at the Jade Emperor's palace,  he was given the eighth position of the Chinese zodiac.

Those born under this sign are said to be peace loving,  trusting,  kind and popular folk. Yet their very nature also makes them clingy and resistant to change. Perhaps this is where the phrase "stubborn as a goat" comes from. Again, another description,  "flock of sheep" comes to mind; this one far from complimentary, preying upon the characteristics which make sheep people easy targets - their kind and trusting nature. For woolen locks may hide a wolf among men.

The lunar new year is a time of celebration, of plenty, the welcoming of new beginnings,  shedding the old and starting anew. It is a time to eat, to rest and be merry. In many ways, more meaningful than the first day of the calendar year, where most individuals are sleeping in, recovering from hangovers and dreading the return to work.

And for fiber artists the world round, sheep are one of the mainstays of our creations, merino, BFL, the breeds could go on. Sheep may be seen as peace loving but what is created from their offerings seems to me the true representation of kindness, and belief in the human race.

Hats for the homeless, blankets for babies, scarves for soldiers. With every stitch we create, we bind the world together. Knitting hearts, crocheting chains and weaving together the words we cannot say with our mouths but feel with our heart.

May this year bring happiness and prosperity,  fulfilling all your dreams. 喜气羊羊!