Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Bits and pieces. Odds and ends. Transitions. Distractions. That's the way things feel at the moment with the bustle of Christmas approaching, with another year ending, and with the prospect of a new year ahead with all its possibility for change.

So, in this distracted spirit, a rather scattered and dispersed entry.



If you asked me, I would probably say that I really dislike things that might be described as 'whimsical'. Whimsy is too coy and too cute to appeal to me. Despite this, I've bought both editions of Ysolda Teague's 'Whimsical Little Knits'- the second of which arrived last week. I'm making the Scroll Lace Scarf from volume 2, using Knitabulous's 'Silkstream' - a rich, deep pink 100% silk yarn. I'm making it very slowly, as I've been distracted by Christmas gift knitting. Ysolda may see her creations as 'whimsical', but they also have the practicality of well-written, easy-to-follow instructions.


I work at a university, and last week the second year Industrial Design students held a market. The students had been given the task of designing a small white pottery vase that was inspired by a particular flower - daisies, tulips, irises among others. They then had to make an edition of ten vases, design and make the packaging, and sell them. Fortunately, my work group and I had read our notices that told us of the sale and were the first customers when the market opened.

What a great project. Some of the students sold all ten of their vases within ten minutes. All of them had sold within an hour. I bought three vases - initially thinking they could be gifts. But they look so good as a group I don't think I can bear to part with any single one.

Vases - filled

The packaging (each piece individually made) was almost as wonderful as the vases.

Vases - packages


This year I've been having my 'bah! Humbug!' Christmas moments about Christmas e-cards. I love getting real, ie paper, Christmas cards, though I'm not always so meticulous about sending them.

Christmas cards

However wonderful the e-cards are - and some of them use beautiful images - they're not the same. They don't have the anticipation of opening the envelopes, the pleasure of reading the message that the sender has taken the trouble to write by hand, and then the indecision of where to display them. And I hate being told that e-cards are more environmentally friendly! They require two sheets of paper (one for the envelope, one for the card) once a year - a minuscule environmental cost compared to the advertising brochures that flood into my letter box - and they provide employment for the card designers and manufacturers and for the post office.

Oh, and I forgot to mention. Most of the e-cards are from companies I've never used or people I've barely encountered - people who would never bother to send me a 'real' card - so they're hardly a saving of any kind.


Unknown said...

Oh dear. I described your blog as 'at times whimsical'. What did I mean? That the entry allowed one's mind to wander off to pastures not often visited - not with any high emotion, but with a sense of easy adventure. I like the word and so wanted to give it a wrap of sorts.

LynS said...

I think I'm going to have to review my attitude to 'whimsy'. Not only have I bought Ysolda Teagues's books by that name, and knitted objects from them, but now you, Barbara, have presented it in a most flattering light. Hmm...

Bells said...

i'm with you on the e-cards. I just sort of feel like 'why did they bother?' And I'm a bit ho hum about cards when they have no personal content in them - To X from Y does not suggest there was any real meaning or interest in the act of writing a card.

So I like to get cards made from a photo i've taken and try to write something personal on each one. Otherwise I just wouldn't bother!

Bells said...

oh and I kinda like whimsical. It's misused though I think. I think it doesn't have to be mean cutesy at all!

Rose Red said...

Hmm, I think whimsy might have gotten a bad reputation. I think a bit of whimsy is a very good thing. It's only when it's overdone that it becomes sickly I think. I do not believe you could overdo it. You would always have the perfect amount of whim!

I LOVE those vases. Especially the tall curved one (with the rose in) - how very very cool.

And I totally agree with you on the e-cards. As much as I grumble to myself about writing Christmas cards, I do enjoy it and I especially enjoy receiving them. And I use the previous year's cards to remind me who to add to the list for next year.

Emily said...

I do use e-cards for long-distance people, though - mainly because otherwise the sending has to be so long before Xmas that I just don't feel the Xmas buzz at all, but also because once the numbers of people abroad are large - Royal Mail takes such a kick!

I do like the scroll lace scarf v much, might have to get that pattern. And the vases! Wow, very beautiful.

DrK said...

i know what you mean about whimsical. too much and its twee and sickening. but as small thought that signifies much, it can be a good thing. as barbara says, like your blog. i nearly gave up on cards this year but then remembered how much i like to get them. e-cards are no substitute. hope you are having a good one xx

Corrie said...

Oh I love the colour of the yarn! gorgeous!

I came to your blog via ailsa's and have to say the shawl you test knitted is just beautiful!!!