Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I is for . . .

Today tastes like illusion, illutation1, icicles, and ichor.

Thorax says I is for Illustration. Who am I to argue with such a learned and worthy sage? For that, I give you a picture of Nuala's Wings.



When she first saw the finished shawl, Thorax hugged it to her bosom and proclaimed that we simply had to fly to England right now so she could be photographed twirling through a field of wildflowers. "it would be so, so Rowan, so very Heathcliffe and Catherine," she sighed.



We compromised.

I love this shawl for the details. Check the center neckline:



and the transition from the body to the border:



and the edging:



By way of Illustration, I would add that I is also for Inspiration. This shawl has been in my head for years, ever since I saw a picture of Anne Hanson's glorious Wings o' the Moth.

I loved the way the diamonds gave way to the leaves, and the way the undulating leaves led to the eyespots of the Corona. However, I wanted a Faroese shape . . . but with a different texture down the back panel.

I convinced myself that it would be "too hard" to follow all those patterns at once. And how to reconcile the leaves with the eyespots? There's no easy lowest common denominator between the stitch patterns. The leaves simply had to line up with the eyespots--so there's another stitch pattern to work with.

Do you see the capering gremlin, Ikant? Of course you don't. Now.

I gave her swatches and an abacus and told her to prove to me that this was impossible. That there was no way at all to make this complex thing work itself out. That we couldn't bend string and make it go the way we wanted.

Yes, it helped a lot when I flipped the Spade Lace pattern. Like taking a deep breath and walking across a child's wading pool before taking on the Sea of Galilee.

About a third of the way through the knitting, I took a long look at the color, and realized it wasn't so much insectile as fey, and the name dropped into place. Nuala's Wings.

Neil Gaiman is an author I admire very much, and not because our short story voices sound very similar. (I was reading a collection of his shorts, Fragile Things and found a section that delighted me so much I began reading it aloud to DH Gareth, who was in the kitchen. When I finished the pages, Gareth poked his head around the door, frowning quizzically, and asked, "Which of your stories was that from? Is that a new one?")

Long and long ago, Gaiman was writing for a comic book, Sandman. There was a minor character, Nuala, a fairy. Of course she was drawn long and lean and lovely because you can do things on the page that would be grotesque in real life. Well, Nuala and her brother were forced to give up their glamour. (Why? Don't recall in full, and what there is would take forever to line up. This was back in the day where comics were actively working to be serialized graphic novels, rather than a quick self-contained story each month.) Her brother didn't change at all, but Nuala became a drab, brown, skinny little thing with tiny eyes and big pointed ears.

I like to thnk, in my own Jasper Fford way, that perhaps off-page Nuala was able to get at least a little of her former self back. Her wings, perhaps, and a chance to fly in the gardens.




Perhaps.










1. Mud bath

2 comments:

FaerieLady said...

That shawl is beyond gorgeous.

freebird said...

Wow. I've never knit anything like this. Lovely, lovely is all I can say.