Friday, 13 July 2007

There's something between us

Full disclosure : on wet, damp, sad days, when the rain streams against my window panes like tears, I like to read a good love story. Be it comic book, fantasy, or conventional novel - works for me.

Like a good stocking stitch pattern, there is something soothing about a good romance: interesting characters (I don't have to like 'em, but I demand that they be interesting), a decent plot, the dance between the characters as they fall in like and then stumble into love. Then, because the concept is predictable as knit one side, turn and purl the other side, there's a conflict, realization, admission and then happily ever after.

For now.

I have no problems with for now.

The thing of it is that most romance novelists, perhaps embarrassed by how easy plot contrivances are, tend to try and wordsmith throughout the entire novel. Each sentence is bejeweled with meaning, bordering on hyperbolic: the characters can't hurt; they must ache for what is not there. Then there are the adverbs and adjectives. Oy.

If people smile, it is seductive, if they speak because they are overcome, their voices are husky. Their touches are 'sensual caresses' and when they have sex, it's an 'all consuming passion'.

We will not even get into the extended metaphor - for example the book that I'm reading - the guy identifies himself as a hawk (a hawk!) and sees relationships as conquests, and he is pitted against this woman called Angel (gagging over here) who, when she casts around for calm, she envisions a rose in the winter (Janis Joplin, anyone?).

I have heard of purple prose, but this novel I'm reading is damned near aubergine. My eyes are stuck in mid roll so I'm staring north-north west right now, and typing this entry askance.

The thing is, you can get the required emotion across with simple words. For instance, daft punk and a song in their animae Interstella 5555. The song is called something between us. The words are simple, curiously affecting, and it makes my eyes mist, just like the weather outside.

In a way, knitting designers can be like writers: some like to fuss, to show off their designing skills at the expense of the pattern or reader. Others tend to be like Daft Punk, they know that some things can be simple, using the colour and luster of the yarn to show off the pattern.

I wonder where Louisa Harding comes in. On one hand, the woman loves her colour and fussiness. Her yarns are colourful, beribboned, fuzzy, and space dyed. Yet, her designs are simple, bordering on well... a sort of laziness at times.

This glove is from her Accessories book. They will be a gift for my friend’s Mum. The pattern is relatively straight forward. You cast on twice the amount of stitches that the glove needs, decrease (hence creating a flounce) to needed stitches, rib, increase for thumb and then do enough stitches to cover the backs of hands, then cast off. The pattern itself is simple, but the fussiness of the yarn gives it an edge.

Specifics: The Yarn is called ‘Impressions’ and it’s a ribbon/string/mohair sort of blend. The mohair gives it the dreamy halo and warmth, the ribbon its colour and the string (of a darker hue) gives the whole effect‘grounding’. It is as if the yarn were dreams at the edge of waking, almost real, but with a shimmering quality to them.

The pattern is dead easy; I did the pair of gloves in one day on 3,5mm and 4,00mm needles. One ball did both gloves with half of the yarn left over. Impressive.

I’m still ambivalent towards Ms. Harding’s designs. On one hand, I admire her cleverness, the way how she will pair a hazy yarn with a crisp one, and the garment seems to be half real/ half vision. The colours of the yarn are candy bright and busy enough so that the designs are dead simple. On the other hand, she does the same thing: A-line jackets with cables along the edges, or shrugs that drape over the shoulders.

I’m still knitting in the round, have yet to slip my sleeves. *headdesk*. I've my thoughts on doing stuff in the round, but I'll keep my counsel until the knit is done.

Ugh. Blogger is being a butt. They've deleted the picture of the book. Huh.

You can have a butchers of her stuff here :

1 comment:

JayJay said...

The gloves are lovely! I may have to check out that book. I like simply styled items for the most part (although for some reason I love the Nantucket jacket from Interweave Knits, which is full of cables and such).

As for Fitted Knits, I love the book. The designs are simple and seem flattering and there are directions for making your knitting fit better. However, I haven't actually made anything from it yet so I can't give it an unqualified endorsement.