Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Cate!

Celtic Knot

" . . . knit your heart
With an unslipping knot."

from Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, scene ii

Bouguereau's La Fileuse
shows a woman hand-spinning,
using a drop spindle in the right hand,
with a distaff held in the left hand.

La Fileuse / The Spinner / Girl with Spindle and Distaff, 1873
William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905)
French painter of classical and mythological subjects, known in his lifetime as one of the world's greatest painters.
{To learn more, see Artsy's William Adolphe Bouguereau Page}

Waterhouse's La Fileuse
shows Fate spinning human
destiny on her distaff.

La Fileuse / The Fate, 1874
John William Waterhouse(1849 - 1917)
English painter particularly of women from Arthurian and Greek Legend, in the Pre-Raphaelite style.

to the best knitter I know, my friend CATE

Cate likes to say that the whole world and all of life are about knitting. Knitting & unknitting! As Shakespeare says:

"Sleep . . . knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care."
from Macbeth, Act ii, scene ii

A few months ago, I came across a great passage about knitting in Sandra Tsing Loh's highly entertaining book, Mother on Fire: A True Motherf%#$@ Story About Parenting! Early in the story, trying to put up a good front at a pre-school fundraiser for literacy, she springs for a "Knitting Kit," confessing, "I don't know from literacy projects, and I've never knit in my life. I'll buy two!" (42).

As her quest to find the perfect grade school for her daughters grows ever more stressful, and her career spins out of control, she attempts to calm down and make the best of things: "Where's that knitting kit? Here it is! Turquoise wool! Fluffy! Nice!" (154).

By the end of the book, she's in full swing! She's like Cate!

"To calm myself, I reach into my bag and take out my knitting. Just touching the fluffy sapphire - colored wool, with its little red and violet spots, like hidden jewels, and unfolding the cascading foot - and - a - half length of my muffler, and its many satisfyingly even stitches . . . I instantly feel a lift. I sit back on my chair and begin to absorbingly clack my needles" (ellipses Loh's).

Sandra has brought along her knitting to her special wine and cheese session with her therapist, who asks how she is doing amidst all the issues: "'I guess the main thing I have to report is that for once in my life I am incredibly happy,' I reply. I have moved to the end of my row, which was almost finished, and now flip over the muffler and begin a new row. This new row picks up a little more of the violet, with the sapphire. the whole effect is very pleasing. It's such a kick - ass scarf."

Loh is sleeping better, not obsessing at the computer: "'I'm so into knitting now. Oh my GOD, do I love my knitting. It's almost obscene how much I look forward to it. It makes me happy. Look at this scarf! Just looking at it makes me really really happy. That's why I'm graduating from therapy after two decades. I'm just pretty . . . damn . . . happy'" (ellipses Loh's).

All's right with the world: "I have wine, I have cheese, I have my knitting -- there is nothing not perfect in my universe" (248 - 49).

See my previous post
on Sandra Tsing Loh,
A Mom On Fire

and previous Cate posts:
Sandal Weather
Cate's Books
Cate's Coffee Table

and more on Bouguereau
Portland / Minneapolis

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