Posts Tagged ‘accessories’

Llorona

It happens every year. Autumn arrives, trees begin to change, and all of a sudden I want to wear color.

Like, real color.

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This design has been a long time in the making, so I hope you are ready for a long story.

I purchased the yarn (from The Haus of Yarn) and planned it out a year ago last October. Then I began to knit. When fall dissipated and winter set in, I couldn’t help it. My craving for color waned.

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remember this?

 

But like clockwork, like the seasons, like death, or like dormancy (if you’re a perennial, as so many of us are ;-)), color mania descended upon me again.

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This year, it came as a she. A she who was a ghost. A ghost who haunted me through a song, a song that would not relent, and which hearkened back to a campfire story I was told many years ago. Horrifying and beautiful, I became enchanted not only with the dying blaze of autumnal color, but with the ghost of La Llorona.

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This all makes sense if you take into account the thinning of the veil – This very time of year, when the barrier between life and death is most permeable. It gives us the opportunity to salute both Death Herself, whom we all meet, and the beloved dead who have come before us. In the same vein, it is the time of the Mexican holiday, Dia de Muertos. Take a look at this mind-blowing animated short:

This piece was recommended to A. by a Mexican-American colleague as a way to learn more about “the real” Mexican Dia de Muertos. I watched it and thought it was kind of weird (because I can be kind of prudish), what with the tequila/crotch/death worm. Of course it’s amazing, though. Afterwards, the song, “La Llorona”, as interpreted by Eugenia León, stuck with me in my thoughts… relentlessly.

And as is my habit, I went searching to learn more.

The legend of La Llorona, or the weeping woman, derives from a most intriguing web of story. Most simply, she was a woman who drowned her own children upon discovering that their father had betrayed her love. As such, she is a ghost who wails in the night, liable to abduct unwary children. This is the version of the story I heard when I was little, huddled around the warm glow of a campfire, and yes, it made camping out in the woods deliciously terrifying.

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But La Llorona is more than just a scary story for children. She is a cultural icon. She is linked to an ancient Aztec goddess called Cihuacoatl, or “snake woman”, who abandoned her son at a crossroads, and who returns there time and again to weep for him. She is also linked to an indigenous Mexican (Nahua) woman known as La Malinche, who was the translator, slave, and lover of Hernán Cortés, and who, by betraying her people, assisted, perhaps unintentionally, in the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. Malinche’s name has become synonymous with “traitor.”

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As a cultural figure, La Llorona is striking in her multivalence. She forever mourns the fate of the indigenous people of Mexico, her people, at the same time as she is a betrayer of those people, and the murderess of her own children, all because she has been driven to insanity by the pragmatic infidelity of her true love. She is, as they say, doomed six ways to Sunday. And so, she has earned the power of a tragic beauty.

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Although a mere knitting pattern could never capture her essence, La Llorona is basically the inspiration behind this design. Or at least, she haunted me constantly as I created it. So I consider it an homage to her.

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pattern: Llorona (my Rav project page)

yarn: Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca

colorways: Tangerine, Crimson, Rich Red, and Baby Pink

needles: 4.0mm (US 6) 60″ circulars

View or purchase the pattern on Ravelry here.

Bogolan

Happy Saturday! I’ve published a new pattern. Introducing, Bogolan.

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BOGOLAN

A series of reversible cowls inspired by West African bogolanfini (“mud cloth”) textiles. Mix and match colors and patterns to make it your own.

I used black and white, but imagine the color possibilities! My project pages are here, here, and here.

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Bogolan is like five patterns in one. There are five different charts for five different motifs. It’s worked in-the-round, beginning with a provisional cast-on and ending with a 3-needle bind-off. The result is no exposed floats, which means there’s nothing to catch on your glasses when you pull it over your head. ;-)

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Bogolanfini seems to be having a moment. If you aren’t already familiar with it, it can be very graphic and beautiful. Sometimes it appears to be so full of joy! I love the geometric rhythms of both traditional and modern interpretations of bogolanfini, and am happy to join along in the trend.

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Most bogolanfini motifs are more complicated and diverse than those in the Bogolan cowl. It was quite exciting to fuse together two such divergent crafting traditions, one from the northern reaches of Europe and another from pre-colonial West Africa. I wanted to streamline the motifs, to make them workable and wearable in a modern context, while retaining the vibrancy of the inspirational source.

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Bogolan is, incidentally, a great project for a Fair Isle beginner.

pattern: Bogolan, by Elizabeth Davis

size: one size

yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Fresco

colorway: 5313 (black) and 5301 (white)

needles: sz 4

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I am the Bogolan monster!

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By the way, this is a charity pattern. All proceeds from the sale of Bogolan through December 2014 will be donated to Women for Women International, an organization that helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives. There is a lot of rebuilding to do. It is, in all seriousness, a humbling mission. Bogolan costs $3 and can be purchased through Ravelry or by clicking this button:

Courage

Introducing… my first pattern! Huzzah!

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“COURAGE”

Stockinette rib on a field of reverse-stockinette mimics the appearance of exposed seams for the deconstructed look of these modern mitts. Worked inside-out for a pleasant and streamlined project. Unisex style in three sizes with two cuff-length options.

Yes, that’s right. Courage is unisex.

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(Man had just come down from Ladder, naturally.) My project pages are here and here.

Back to the lady version…

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I learned so much in the process of working out this design. I can’t even remember everything I learned.

pattern: Courage, by Elizabeth Davis (me!)

size: M for me / L for him

yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK / Brooklyn Tweed Shelter

colorway: French Grey / Meteorite

needles: sz 6

I learned: To bring something into being from your imagination takes courage. To unravel, rethink, and rework, in knitting and in life, takes profound courage. To share something with the world that you’ve made yourself takes another kind of courage. (I know it takes courage, because it makes me pretty nervous!) Hence the name of my first design, Courage.

Also they look a bit like armor, which should grant the wearer a bit of—you guessed it—Courage.

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These would make a really excellent gift. Give him the gift of Courage.

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Cats like them a lot.

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 And oh, they look really good with my new baby pumpkin! (that I grew myself OMG how did that happen???)

The pattern is available for download through Ravelry, but you can also download it directly. Please let me know if you find any mistakes, since it’s my first pattern. If you can’t tell, I’m really excited about these. Thanks for sharing this special moment with me. :)