Springing up

It’s not here yet, not quite, but spring is coming, and I can feel it!  Today is a rare sunny day in a long span of El Niño related bluster and rain.  Don’t get me wrong: I’m thrilled about the rain.   California’s been in drought long enough that rain is always welcome.  But long rainy days one on the other do make a person a little claustrophobic and gloomy, and that golden sun today is like a shot of adrenaline!

My argula knows that spring is coming.  It’s all bolted and sent out funny lopsided four petaled flowers.  The winter garden has been a bit of flop, with illness keeping me from tending it and the plants have not done all that well with the neglect, but I hope to get things back in order for spring.

Nora’s been on a sewing kick ever since our Valentine’s kitty project.  Of her own volition, she traced a magnet shaped like a raygun onto felt and asked for help in cutting it out.  Then she seamed the pieces together and stuffed it and sewed it up and tied it off.  The only thing I helped with was the cutting and threading the needle!  Unfortunately, the raygun, named Boa, was quickly misplaced, but today she made a heart shaped pillow for her mouse puppet, Anatole.

I’m working on some Emerald Fingerless Mitts from a black pepper for another Ravelympics project.  Mine aren’t Emerald, but are rather a lovely blue: Azul Profundo.  I frogged the March mitts I’d started in my Malabrigo Dos last year, and I’m making these instead.  I loved the yarn, but the stitch definition wasn’t right for the pattern as I was knitting it.  These seem like a much better match.  Whether I’ll give them away or keep them for myself isn’t yet clear to me.  I love the color and the yarn, but I already have a number of fingerless mitts, and yet more planned, so giving them away seems logical and kind, especially as the yarn was a free gift from Malabrigo.  Pass it on and all that!  But it’s hard to determine on good deeds when temptation in the form of soft, springy blue yarn is ever present.  We shall see.

The new sweater project is whipping right along.  I bought some buttons earlier in the month for the newbie, and that made me realize that I’ve never really taken pictures of my button collection.  Here are a few of my favorites, including the new buttons for the sweaters-in-waiting.  Most of my buttons are old (new to me, but old) and obtained through inheritance, garage sales, Ebay, Etsy, and thrifting.  I cut the buttons off old garments before I make rags, and I hoard them all in my little button drawer, which is a terrible mess.

I have strong opinions about buttons.  I’m not terribly sentimental, and while I enjoy history, I don’t have any nostalgia for bygone days of yore.  I’m very happy to have been born in 1979, thankyouverymuch, and I have no desire to time travel or to find myself back in Regency days being wooed by Mr. Darcy or some such nonsense.  However.  I do believe very strongly that the necessity of craft having declined, we’ve left some of our best techniques behind us.  Buttons are a prime example.  My vintage buttons are better made, more interesting, and longer lasting than the buttons I find even at specialty craft stores these days.  The cost of new buttons is horrifying to me, considering that they are usually mass produced, made of cheap plastic, and might not last all that long.  I do occasionally buy new buttons, but it’s not something I enjoy doing.  Old buttons, however, offer a world of excitement.  I have in the past often bought large mixed bags of buttons obtained at estate sales and then offered on Ebay.  For ten or fifteen dollars, I get a picture of someone else’s crafting life, along with buttons of character and interest.

There’s also something to be said for using buttons that have been worn and used before.  I don’t just mean in terms of recycling.  Of course, that’s an added bonus, but I think there’s a lot of scope for imagination in someone else’s clothes.  My new sweaters will be made by me.  I drew the sketch, I bought the (new) yarn, I’m knitting them up with my own two hands.  The buttons attached to them will be Victorian or Edwardian glass buttons, buttons that once adorned another woman in some other time and place on some very different garment.  Buttons were never cheap, even when people made most of their own clothes, and there was a fad in the mid to late 19th century, immortalized in Caddy Woodlawn, for clothing with as many buttons as possible, just to show off the wealth and skill of the seamstress.  I can’t sew buttonholes very well, and the thought of sewing forty tiny buttonholes by hand down a long fitted dress gives me shivers.  Perhaps my lovely little buttons were once the pride of someone else’s wardrobe.

Yes, buttons are a joy forever.

Other news: I’m going to Stitches West this weekend, thanks largely to the generosity of others (there are some lovely, lovely people out there in the online knitting world, let me tell you!) and I’d love to see any of you who plan on being there!  I’m going only to the market, and I’ll have the day settled later today when I hear from my husband about his weekend plans.  I’ll post again shortly with a more specific date, but in the meantime, let me know if you’re going to be there!  My apologies if I don’t email back right away.  I’m still working out the kinks here so that my emails don’t post to the blog automatically, and it’s making me gunshy of sending off a reply.

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3 Responses to “Springing up”

  1. thea Says:

    Totally with you on the buttons! Hhave a great time at Stitches —

  2. Emily Says:

    BUTTONS. I so agree. Somehow details are the most evocative things to me – buttons, scraps, closures, vents…all tell their own stories. 🙂

    I thank my lucky stars every day that I was born in the modern era, but I have to cop to a certain amount of nostalgia about specific, selected aspects of the past. If I had to choose wholesale between the present & the past, though, the present would get it every time!

  3. Sarah Says:

    Hey, I think Nora and I have the same mouse puppet! My little guy used to live in a hole in the floor where there was once a radiator, but then we got a puppy. Now he and his fellow floor-hole-stuffer animals (there’s a fine Mr. Toad, another mouse, and a bear) live on top of the ice box or sometimes on the book shelves where he’s safer from the larger, toothier, more slobbery animals.

    I love those little silvery blue buttons you’ve got.

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