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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tending to My Knitting in Krygyzstan

K is one of those letters I had few preconceptions about. As I dug through folders, I was hoping to find more images of Kyrgyzstan, but I liked this yurt, and could see using some of this as a backdrop for K.

I was  also partial to a few images of keys:

The ones on top, in particular, could form a nice palisade-like fence. I'm regretting now that I failed to scan some 1980s images of keys. They'd make a poor palisade, but they combined amazing soft blue lighting with a very silly attempt to make utilitarian, black rubber-topped car keys into romantic objects.

Inspired by the pirate told to tend to his knitting in Donald Barthelme's Slightly Irregular Fire Engine, I went to look at the Knitting folders. They are filled with beautiful sweaters and swatches of knitted patterns, but I was drawn most to the instructional images of knitting needles and balls of yarn:

But the folders for K that surprised me the most were the images of knights. There were, of course,  the  romantic and medieval images:

 And then there were the 20th Century commercial images of knights, shilling for oranges and driving trains forward.

I loved some of the oldest and simplest images, like this drawing of an 8th century sculpture from a Merovingian church:

As well as later engravings:

But when I saw the particular engraving above, I immediately thought that I could duplicate the knight in the lower-most image holding his sword aloft, then reverse the copy so their two swords were crossed, and paste in  other images so that the two knights with crossed swords were actually holding knitting needles! Posed against a key palisade, with the mountains of Kyrgyzstan in the distance and the  Royal Knight of Sunkist oranges looking down on them from a rocky crag in the foreground, this would be an arresting scene for the aye-aye to encounter. I hope the knitting knights will not catch him on their needles...

On the same day that I looked at these images, I read a scrap of a Rumi poem called "The One Thing You Must Do."

There is one thing in this world which you must never forget to do.
If you forget everything else and not this, there is nothing to worry
about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you 
will have done nothing in your life.

As a mom of two young kids, I feel I'm constantly forgetting EVERYTHING I should remember to do.
Some days I feel like the heroine in Allison Pearson's hysterical novel I Don't Know How She Does It, who's always juggling work and home responsibilities with tragicomic results. But I'm very lucky to be able to create my own imaginary world of knitting knights in the Picture Collection and then come home to meet the princesses and fairies having tea with my kids.

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