March 25, 2014

Spotlight on the Brontes

Re-reading after many years.
I first read Wuthering Heights when I was about eleven or twelve years old, and since that time, I've been fascinated by the Brontes.

When I read Wuthering Heights, I became bewitched by the moors, Heathcliff, the ghostly presence of Catherine, yet most of the content went over my head which was a good thing because from the beginning the book steams with intrigue and pulls the reader into a wild world of cruel dysfunction and passionate obsession.

Recently, I watched the  2009 TV production Of Wuthering Heights with actors Charlotte Riely as Cathy and Tom Hardy as Heathcliff.  Tom Hardy draws the viewer into the black hole of the Heathcliff's volatile, repellant yet magnetizing psychopathic personality swiftly; he's definitely the wild man of the moors. What an outstanding performance!

Jane Eyre...Not as tumultuous as Wuthering Heights but it's another wild excursion fraught with passionate characters. Consider Jane with her carefully constructed stoicism that ripples through still waters that run deep, and, of course, Rochester contorted by betrayal, fired by anger and smoldering with need. Rochester could be defined as {a}"man who broods over his life like night above a lamp." (A wonderful line snipped from the Collected Poems In English by Joseph Brodsky.)

In the Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Helen is brave and insular woman who can't speak the unspeakable, but whose shocking story is read: conveyed to the reader via a diary. A framing device that creates distance, but also serves to pump up the suspense.
Emily, Charlotte, and Anne were courageous writers.  They ventured into the darkness to spread light  on the things that people, then and now, are shocked and haunted by and still tend to hide.

And what of the father, Patrick Bronte? I cannot understand why he dropped his daughters off at Cowan school and drove away without so much as a peek inside.

Charlotte's depiction of the school in Jane Eyre must have caused him great pain when he read her novel. And it's naive to assume that the clergy are insulated individuals. Long before Patrick's daughters were grown women, he had probably seen and heard it all.

And what were people in the village saying about his daughters and about their books? Could they afford to buy the books? What was the literacy rate in the village? Did Patrick read Emily's and Anne's books as well? Obviously, Patrick recognized his daughters' genius, but just how progressive and open minded was he? Maybe his daughters' novels tell that tale.

At this time, since I can't visit the parsonage or haunt the moors, (I'd love to visit) I'm off to search for biographies about Patrick Bronte.

(Interesting to note and something I recently read stated that Bronte ( the surname name chosen by Patrick ) was a Greek God whose name means thunder(Fitting because the sisters used storms to foreshadow moods or events, and because they are still taking the world by storm.) 

March 21, 2014


A favourite: Matcha Latte.

After trying a few different methods to join yarn, I finally settled on the overlap join. I had planned to begin again with the yarn from the rest of the hank and join on the lace section, but I decided against ripping it out. Of course, I think I can see the join, so the following slogan applies.

On the plus side, the colour is gorgeous and I love the design. You can see the one I made for my sister here.
I hope to find a tea cup with this pithy bit of advice on it.

Enjoy the weekend...

March 17, 2014

The Ides and Beyond

A wee pom pom made with a fork for a bit of fun.

On past the Ides of March and soon we will cross the line to meet the first official day of spring as it creeps slowly up the eastern seaboard. In the meantime, I am writing short stories, enjoying the sunlight, and knitting a few rows now and then.

Unfortunately, as I was knitting my shawl the yarn broke at a weak spot. I've tried a spit splice, but for some reason it didn't work, and I've tried a Russian join but that looked too bulky. I'm thinking of adding yarn at the beginning of the row and weaving it in later, although if I Russian join looked less than stellar, I am not sure about weaving in the ends. I've never had a problem with a Russian join before. Oh!  If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know.

                                                          Happy St. Patrick's Day!

March 12, 2014

Looks Like Leisure

When I saw this picture, I had to take a photo of it. Although sparsely furnished, I think the only thing missing from this room is a rocking chair; however, like the link suggests, the room was probably part of the kitchen and the chair Laura sits in was likely pulled from a nearby corner.

The ornately dressed mantle, like the rocking chair, may not have been practical or affordable for many households at the time, but a hooked rug would have added a little warmth and style to the room.  I have an old hooked rug made from scraps of wool.  I'll post a picture of it soon.

March 04, 2014

Courting Favour

Even before wool courted royal favour, I loved it. Royal favour?  (European citizens are probably aware, but on this side of the pond, because I've just tumbled off the turnip truck, for me, it's big news.) The news: Prince Charles is the royal patron and initiator for The Campaign For Wool.  Thanks to Prince Charles' efforts runway models are now wearing more knitted garments and more wool products are enhancing homes. And because of the increase in demand for wool, farmers are now raising sheep for their wool instead of, in some cases, only for their meat. Prince Charles' campaign has, no doubt, also helped save a few rare sheep breeds.

With so many great indie knitting designers and yarn dyers to choose from, I've been prompted me to be a bit more daring with some of my purchases. Of course, I've ordered a few hanks of wool that I was certain, after I touched them, that I wouldn't like, but I've learned that you can't always judge a hank by how it feels, looks, or by the hype attached to the ball band or lack there of.  Of course, after I cast on and knit a few rows I know if the yarn works for me. Although I've had a few disappointments--one recently, thankfully, there have been many more wonderful surprises. As those who knit know, when the yarn and the knitter mesh, it's cloud nine elation: pure bliss.

Samples from my blue hoard.
Although the camera didn't capture it, the blue yarn is indigo. It's gorgeous.

I've heard some of you are enjoying spring. Hurray! We, the winter weary folk, are still besieged by banks of snow and cold temperatures. However, since March arrived like a lion, I am hopeful that it will go out like a lamb. I can't wait!

Thanks for reading...

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