You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.

Here’s a picture of the Norwegian Olympic curling team in their new outfits:
sochi-norway-curling-team-pants

They look adorable, and I am touched by their determination to add visual interest to the sport of curling. My daughter and I went to Youtube to find the 2010 curling outfits, and ended up watching an old hockey game; we both started shouting at the American goalie (idiot), even though we’re not hockey fans.

The title of this post is a quote from the truly alarming Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. It’s her birthday today! You could celebrate with an inappropriate seduction.

If that sounds like too much work, I’d recommend reading Cheri, and The Last of Cheri.

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My knitting app: be kind

This is not even version 1.0; it’s an infant. I made it at the Windows phone app studio, and ended up using a template designed for insect collections, which is why a beetle still appears at the beginning. There are only six stitches and three patterns on it, but the general setup works nicely, and should save me from overrunning my data allotment when I’m starting a new dishcloth in the ferry line.

My intention, in the near future, is to make a beetle-free app from scratch that incorporates a library of about fifty stitches, and will let me change the patterns I have stored. If any knitter with a Windows phone would like to look at this baby version and give me some feedback, I can (apparently) email you an address at the app studio where you can scan it on to your phone. If you have photos of swatches accompanied by instructions, email them back to me, and I will definitely send the final version to you.

Here’s a list of the stitches I’ve included on the app: feather and fan, seafoam, drop stitch, basketweave II, double moss stitch, and the seeded rib stitch.

And here’s a list of the patterns: the linoleum dishcloth, the Exeter hat, and the idiot dishcloth. (I can make idiot cloth without instructions – there’s a reason we call it idiot cloth – but it’s nice to have it on there to show beginning knitters.)

It’s not much, but I’m amazed I’ve gotten this far. I do love making things.

Hardly time to start a sweater…

BoeingKnitsB

I realize that Boeing intended “Hardly time to start a sweater” as a reference to the speed and efficiency of air travel (this is old, isn’t it?), but I interpreted it as expressing the inner objection of that man sitting next to the knitter. She does have a needle angled at his eye – what if they hit an air pocket? You can tell the flight attendant is a knitter, too, by the way she’s smirking. Also…was the sweater gnawed by wild animals just before she got on the plane? She seems to lead a somewhat reckless life.

I will write a post featuring an actual craft soon. In related news, Rebecca made me count up how many projects I was working on simultaneously; it was seven, which I don’t really think is so bad, but she seemed a little stunned. Still, it’s no wonder I had trouble finishing Christmas presents.

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The image above is from the lovely people at A Good Yarn – they offer other free images of knitting and knitters.

Bronzino

One of my favorite portrait painters is Agnolo Bronzino (1503-1572); his judgmental, half-dressed beauty was featured in an earlier post.

Most of the people who sat for him were aristocrats (we’re talking de’Medici; he was very, very sought after), people who expected to be flattered by their artists, and I love the contrast between the elaborate surfaces, the icy glamor he lends to many of his subjects, and the quirks, the vulnerability or the ferocity he hints at in so many of his portraits.

A caveat – as is clear by now :), I’m not an art historian, and the identification of some of these people is in doubt; if you’re interested and want to do a little more research, I’d be delighted.

Left to right, top to bottom:

Lucrezia de’Medici: she was married off at the age of fourteen to the Duke of Ferrara, and is widely believed to be the subject of Browning’s poem, “My Last Duchess,” in which a jealous nobleman murders his beautiful wife.

Bia (Bianca) de’Medici, Lucrezia’s illegitimate sister: this is a posthumous portrait, because she died at age six. By all reports, she was extremely affectionate and deeply mourned by her family. The short hair with the little braids may be due to her final illness, but I find it so adorable that I prefer to think of her as a tomboy who rebelled against frequent hairbrushing.

Ferdinando de’Medici: He was Lucrezia and Bia’s brother, and this portrait shows him at age ten. It makes me laugh because he looks so much like my daughter’s friend, the one Rebecca wrote about back in November. It’s the same unshakeable self-confidence. Ferdinando seems to have turned out well, bless his heart.

An unidentified young man with a book: I find this a touching portrayal of adolescent insecurity, but he could have been a pirate, for all I know. You be the judge.

The Holy Family, featuring the sexiest Virgin Mary ever. The angelic face contrasted with the gorgeous body in the semi-transparent dress…this is the first time I’ve seen a madonna whose body didn’t look like a pile of unfolded laundry.

Finally, the beautiful portrait of Alessandro de’Medici. The first Duke of Florence, known as Il Moro, he was assassinated at the age of 26. He was the illegitimate son of Lorenzo II de’Medici. His mother was an African or mixed race woman, described as a slave in one source. I find this picture haunting; he looks burdened, and vulnerable. After his death, his distant cousin Cosimo (father of Lucrezia, Bia, and Ferdinando) became the duke.

If you’ve ever tried to teach a child to knit…

French children don't drop stitches.

French children don’t drop stitches.

If you’ve ever tried (or wanted) to teach a child to knit, I have a traditional rhyme for you, from “Knitting Daughter” by Perry Klass.

For knit stitch:

Under the fence, catch the sheep, back we come, off we leap.

I could be the last knitter in the world to learn this; sometimes I’m staring out the window when instructions are being given.

And here’s a rhyme for purling, but it lacks the insouciance of the leaping sheep.
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Image of knitting child from A Good Yarn – they generously offer other free images.