26 June, 2008

Me Make Fire

Have you ever held up a finished item and done a little cave-woman style dance? You know the one - it involves some foot-stomping, some hooting, and not a little embarrassment when your ManCandy/roommate/mother/husband/etc. comes in the room and gives you The Eyebrow. Then your embarrassment evaporates as you get to tell the walker-inner that you've just had a Finish. Good, I'm glad I'm not the only one, because that would be awkward. And get your mind out of the gutter.

I got to do the Finishing Dance twice yesterday. The first was when I bound off the last stitch of the Black Forest Shawl with about 1.5 yards of yarn tail. After the dance, which the cats observed with a mild amount of interest, I quickly Soaked and blocked it on the TV room floor. I toddled off to work, and got to do my favorite part of lace making when I got home.

I use blocking wires and T-pins, and I love them. Lurve is actually a better not-word, but anyway. All the stretching and pulling and measuring and protractoring is, I know, necessary to make lace go from cygnet

to swan. Yes, I use a protractor. Shut your face. Anyway. The thing of it is, if you take away the wires and the T-pins while the shawl is still wet, it sproings back into the cygnet stage. Our intuitive knowledge of inertia - or something - tells us that this will continue to happen even when the garment is dry, because when you stretch something it rarely remains stretched. So when I get to unpin and un-wire lace, it's a reverent treat. First, I take out all the T-pins and hide them from the cats in the box under the coffee table. Then I carefully pull out the wires, trying to leave the lace undisturbed. A miracle! It hasn't reverted to bumpy, weird-looking knitting, but remains serenely upon the old sheet I use to block upon.

There is a moment in a ballet dancer's life when she feels both part of the sky and rooted in the earth. Her feet seem to move three inches below the ground, so solid is she, but if you look at her chest, arms, and face, she appears to be floating away. She is no longer a mere human, but a Being. This is the state my teacher called "expanded," and I strove for it every day with every fiber of my being until my body gave me an ultimatum I couldn't refuse. The moment I pull out the wires and survey the work of my hands, I feel expanded. I cannot dance on my own two feet anymore, but I can dance with my hands, two sticks, and a bit of string.
Black Forest Shawl, handspun merino/silk, 383 yds.

Zug zug.


  1. Tika, the shawl is goooorgeous! But what I really loved was your description of a ballet dancer. I'm going to pass that on to Emma. She'll love it. (BTW, she's getting to attend a week at Ballet San Jose this summer!!!)

  2. That is stunning!

    Great job!