Monday, April 21, 2014

Still knitting: Quess'qui tricote, and a tiger

I am still knitting, though trying to read a bit more as well, and I've not had so much heart of late for posting about such fluffy stuff I suppose.  But it's still a very good thing to do, not least because of my lovely group of tricoteuses/bloggeuses, which now goes under the official name of Quess'quitricote, a pun on Quessoy, the town where we meet, and 'qu'est qui tricote?' - who's knitting? 

We turn up at the library every two weeks, five of us - Lyse, BN Soize and myself (with the occasional supportive masculine visit from Quercus), and Sonya who doesn't blog but is quite amused by the rest of us nattering away about it, plus the assorted children of two of our number, who either racket around or sit quietly making things and looking at books - this library is not a formidably quiet place like those of my youth but really rather lively. The librarians make us coffee and bring people over to show us to and generally make much of us, the children are involved and welcome but not made the centre of attention, we talk knitting and blogging but plenty of other things too, we swap plants and wool and stories, I don't understand everything that's said because the speech is quite fast and familiar and funny, but I'm not afraid to jump in and when I do and can't always find words people are patient and helpful, and often I find myself laughing at the stories even when I don't understand them completely because they're being told in a funny way. I always come away smiling and feeling better about life.

'So,' asked Lyse a few weeks ago, 'why haven't you put your tiger on your blog?'
'Because I've only just sent it to my sister, and I don't want to spoil the surprise if she sees it there.'

The tiger in question was knitted from Muir and Osborne's latest work 'Knit Your Own Zoo'. On the whole I restrict my knitting to the practical and wearable, but J gave me the book for Christmas, my lovely sister has a penchant for tasteful tigers, and the leftover wool from my nieces marmalade socks did strike me as very tigerish, so I thought why not do something small and silly for a change.  In fact I ended up having to buy more wool, as the skein of tapestry wool I had around and used for the dark stripes with stranded knitting proved to be nothing like enough, and the whole project was so fiddly and detailed, though brilliantly conceived and coded, that I think I could have knitted myself a full length sweater dress in the time.

The stranding with multiple wools was lumpy and he had to blocked before finishing and assembling, which amused me because it looked like a big game taxidermy project, prior to being frolicked on by an Elinor Glynn character. In miniature, of course.

when put together, pipe cleaners are required to stiffen the legs so he stands, but even so, perhaps because the only ones I could find were craft ones which really didn't have much stiffness at all (BN said afterwards I'd have been better going to a tobacconist and getting real ones, which apparently you still can), his back legs are inclined to sag and slide and he looks like he's about to pee.

However, he can be propped, and I was not unhappy with the final result.  The librarians nearly stole him to use as a prop in the children's storytelling session, and my sister seems to like him too. Still, I think I'll stick to socks and gloves in future.


Stella said...

Your tiger is adorable, he looks very intelligent. I think it is easy to achieve a crazed look when making little pets out of yarn. There is a woman in our knitting community, she comes out to Show & Tell, who makes fantastic animals and sells them. The baby was born yesterday (Easter Sunday's Child) that I am knitting for -- Liam -- i won't meet him until July or August but a diligent knitter would have his sweater finished and in the mail pronto.
I am not a good enough knitter that I can talk much while working at the needles.......there are projects for socializing and projects for solitary. Your group sounds divine.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I love that tiger. I love that you did something "small and silly." And I most love the photo where the tiger is lying flat, as in a tiny imitation of a bearskin rug. Wonderful!

- alison

Anonymous said...

'Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?......'

He's gorgeous. Now can you knit a Blue Heeler Cattle Dog?

Susan hhb

Anonymous said...

Oh he's lovely :D I like how he's sort of slightly multi coloured.You should knit more animals :)

the polish chick said...

i thought the tiger pelt *was* the finished product. how lovely that you resurrected him and let him stand proud again, albeit on wobbly rear legs.

The Crow said...

Well, he's stolen my heart, I can tell you that!

Catalyst said...

Oh, I love him!

Zhoen said...

The wonderful thing about tiggers...
their bottoms are made out of spring.

Anne said...

I am back in the blog world after a long absence,and I know I'll always find something beautiful, thoughtful and original on your blog. This time I was rewarded (and surprised) by the sweet, feisty, slightly wobbly almost peeing knitted tiger.

Soize said...

Ces rendez-vous sont vraiment agréables pour tout le monde ! je crois que nous sortons tous de là avec le sourire en se disant : "vivement la prochaine fois !" ;-)
Je te l'ai déjà dit, mais ton tigre est vraiment extraordinaire !

Ellena said...

You do like challenge, don't you Lucy? The world's tigers are proud of you. Beautiful specimen!
Our tricoteuses don't meet in the library but are always eager to help when we need props for story telling sleepovers (limited to 8 children). Recently they knitted 1 large mitten and 8 small ones and 5 tiny animals.

Lucy said...

Thanks chaps.

Stella - many knitted toys are awful, but I've seen some good ones too. I think some of the Japanese crochet amigurumi are fantastic. Muir and Osborne's animals are good in that they aren't too cuddly, they don't exactly strive for realism either, but have a kind of truth to materials about them. True about the talking and knitting, I managed about one row of the tiger at Qqt, mostly straight stockinette is the best bet! 'Tricot-thé' groups are just catching on here, but as with everything in rural France, the distances to travel are a problem. Soize's (who commented below) sister, who lives in the Paris region where they're a bit better served, encouraged us a bit.

Alison - yes, that rather tickled me, him pegged out like that. My sister has some Tibetan silk rugs which are stylised renderings of tiger skin, her near vegan daughter is a bit queasy about them!

HHB - lovely to see you. I don't actually have their dog book, but had a quick look on Ravelry to see if there was anything similar, some of their dogs are great, some don't work, the Airedale is good, for example, the cocker spaniel not so much so. There's a Siberian husky which with the right wool and shorter legs might make a Bryn dog!

Chloë - Hey, you've got a picture of you on your avatar! Aren't you lovely, just like I imagined. As I say, my making of stuff seems rather wedded to the practical just now. But the variegated wool struck me as a bit like the way a tiger's background colour is sort of shimmery and almost iridescent; so much of good knitting is choosing the right wool for the job, and that's where you can get a bit creative even when you're working from other people's patterns.

PC - that might be an interesting project, a knitted tiger skin rug!

Crow and Cat - glad you like him, he seems to be quite a crowd pleaser.

Z - hmm, he could do with a bit more spring in his bottom I'm afraid.

Anne - I saw, welcome back. I'll be over to yours anon, happy to see you too.

Soize - c'est bon pour le morale notre Quess'qui tricote!

Ellena - he wasn't exactly difficult, just fiddly really. You are a mysterious woman, what's this about storytelling and sleepovers? When Fanny, one of the librarians, came back from maternity leave, Soize and Lyse and some others organised a yarn bombing and covered the library with funny knitted and crochet stuff.

Lyse said...

Nous avons toutes le même ressenti en quittant la bibliothèque. Nos échanges sont agréables .
C'est bien que nous ayons des jeunes filles à passer du temps avec nous.
Il faudra qu'on mette Sonya au blog, aussi .
Je ne te parle pas de ton tigre, il est tout simplement magnifique .
A bientôt

Marly Youmans said...

Wonderful that the tigger stands up! Not that simple for a yarn tigger. And I wish you had liked it more and would soon present us with a whole zany yarn-a-doodle zoo!

Ellena said...

Me again Lucy. You mentioned props for children's storytelling sessions which I thought were taking place at your library and I am trying to tell you that our librarian arranges for a friend storyteller to come in every 4 months or so to entertain the children. A flyer is prepared showing the date of the story telling sleepover and title of the book to be read and parents that come by the library are asked to register their child/ children, if interested. Children bring sleeping bag, librarian decorates children's corner in accordance to story being read, provides snacks and drink, allows them to choose a prop to take home and then they all sleep here and there between the rows of books. Librarian does all that on her own time on an evening prior to her day off.

susan said...

He's wonderful. I too liked him as a faux tigerskin rug, but he's lovely in his standing state too.

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

Lyse - Sonya est peut-être un peu jeune pour le blogging, c'est vraiment plutôt une activité des personnes de la maturité et de la sagesse maintenant! Bienqu'elle fait du progrès rapide au tricot sous l'instruction de BN... À mercredi :~)

Marly - when I was a kid I made a lot of soft toys and cloth animals, and it's true that underbodies and getting the beasts to stand up is sometimes a challenge! No promises for too many animals, the puppet challenge is coming up, I shan't be knitting for that but have some ideas about doing stuff with bits of felted jumper and scraps of wool...

Ellena - ah, I see. What a lovely thing to do. Librarians are often really nice like that.

Susan - hello! Lovely to see you here. Tom speaks of you warmly and often reads me out things you've written and shows me your wonderful art.

Roderick Robinson said...

The whole "craft" industry condemned in half a sentence: "which really didn't have much stiffness at all." Then, as the craftees staggered into an upright postion you kicked their collective organic head off: "he looks like he's about to pee." I have thought long and hard as to whether these two devastating remarks are the result of using a foil or a claymore; I'm still not sure.