Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ask A Ravenclaw

Peck the Wee Tiny Owl flies in from the Owlery with a note for Soprano1

::Peck find note!::
::Note have Good Question!::
::Bring to SopranoPerson for Good Answer!::

Soprano1 spreads out the bit of parchment and reads:

Dear Soprano1,

How many singing cupcakes does it take to blow up the lab?

Hiding Under the Mutation Table

Dear Hiding,

First of all, please, please get out from under the Mutation Table.  No place in Ravenclaw Tower's Lab is entirely safe, but the Mutation Table is definitely the last place anyone should hide.  Also, I hope you have your safety goggles on; the Sentient Goop is very sensitive about Lab Safety.

To answer your question, I turn to Deputy Headmistress GazeboGal.  GazeboGal looks at me and replies, "Singing cupcakes?  Oh, you mean last Monday's breakfast? You don't really want to hear about that, do you?  Of course not.  Singing... singing... I was wondering about lace singing.  Oh, that's right!  The other day I was hoping that lace would speak to me the way cables do... Ravenclaws came to the Common Room and shared their poetic answers.

Oh, I remember that, GG! The answers were lovely and interesting!

Drake told us that to her, 
lace speaks less definitively than cables. Lace whispers riddles, and speaks around the subject. (‘Mars is bright, tonight.’)
It murmurs around the subject, and the story shapes in the spaces between the stitches, the curve along a line of decreases. A conversation in the selection of a boutonniere, the flick of a fan, the flutter of eyelashes.
Cables tell you what they are doing, how they act. Lace hints about what it feels, what it thinks, about the hidden depths of its character. It does talk, but you have to listen differently.

Andryl, a self-declared "Math person," said,

The lace does not whisper to me of its feelings, its hopes and its dreams.
The lace boasts of its slowly and consistently increasing number of stitches, of the mathematical regularity of its repeated patterns. It shows me how cleverly it can produce different groups of stitches that all add to the same number. 

First Year Kere, apparently unharmed in the Unfortunate Singing Cupcake Event, chimed in too:

Lacey bits are kind of like the the characters in Jane Austen or Diana Gabaldon. They’re exceedingly mannerly and polite, and sometime you have to put everything down and read carefully to suss out what they’re trying to say. They can’t just say “what a lovely bit of lace!”. They have to get all flowery about it. “The elevation and drape of the line through the feathery section lends a bit lightness of being one usually finds in the blossoms of the dogwood in the spring which inspire a consequential lightness in the heart of the bearer…”

And SFCorgi shared the thing that hurts her most:

You know what hurts me?
When someone makes a lace shawl, and they’re like, “Oh, I made a little mistake, but I couldn’t find it and I figured no one will notice so I kept going.” Yeah, but they kept going in a way that meant that none of their subsequent stitches lined up properly with the pattern. Then the lace screams to me, “No, I’ve been mangled beyond repair!” I can’t believe sometimes that people can’t notice a mistake like that.
I fudge errors in garter stitch (I’m looking at you, Damson) but in a complex pattern, I always, always keep looking until I find that missing yarn over or botched decrease, and drop down and fix it, or at the very least, do my fudging in the correct location so that the pattern isn’t jarringly interrupted. 

Eightlegeddj and I (Soprano1) may or may not have compared our colorwork to rebellious teenagers, but Shawl Master OneNeedleKnitting reminded us:

What I keep forgetting when I do colorwork, coming from a lace background, is that you can block things besides lace. I do 8 rounds of stranded colorwork and get all frustrated because it’s so wonky, and then I wiggle it and stretch it all different ways on the needles, and suddenly it looks just fine. I just forget that I need to do that, oh, say, everytime I start a new colorwork project.
I assume you are way beyond me and block all your colorwork, in which case I can’t help you, but I had to share my perspective nonetheless. 

I leave you with this beautiful shawl by the Shawl Master herself:

Much love,


No comments: