Sunday, April 19, 2009

Herman, the cabaret starfish

Right, another non-hat-based post!
I've been meaning for a long time to post things by other people, and this seems like a great time to get going with that, starting with a present I received from (the awesome) Miya.
This started off life following Knitty's Swell pattern, but was heavily modified and accessorised into a cute stuffed toy. It reminds me a lot of the style of Mochimochiland (which is awesome, and everyone should visit), particularly their Mochimochi-grass. I particularly like the little coloured tassle.

And of course, every stuffed toy needs a backstory, so here goes - Herman is a starfish, who works in cabaret, and dreams of becoming a star(in the astronomical sense). He's not really sure how a starfish develops into a full-blown star, but he knows this is what he truly wants in life. For the moment he's reading up on astronomy in the hope that the other stars will be able to give him some helpful advice.

The photos here show him on a visit to Musselburgh beach to see some old friends, and feeling a bit wistful.

...also, it's just possible I've been playing with stuffed toys for too long.
Anyway, thanks Miya, and happy knitting everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

More Hopf link fun

Hi again folks! I think I said I'd post some hats next, but am having some computer issues that will delay taking the photos for a little while. So, in the meantime I'll write a new project involving the Hopf links. I should add a quick warning - this is going to get quite political.

So, a while back I made a Hopf link, a pair of interlocking tori in pink and blue. These were a present for the awesome Juliana and family. (There was an earlier version, but I didn't manage to take pictures of those ones).
There was something which bothered me about them at the time, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it - I figured it was probably a sexuality thing, that they were a bit exclusively heterosexual, and I should really make a gay Hopf link too to make things more balanced, but that didn't seem quite right either.
Just recently I came back to the idea, and I think I can see now why they bothered me - they're what feminist folks would call heteronormative, which is a rather broader concept - it's not just that they were explicitly heterosexual, it's that they push a view that heterosexual relationships are a necessary and unique way to live. If there were some gay pairs, that would be slightly better, but not by much. It's broadened the criteria slightly, but is still prescriptive in the same way. There are *lots* more types of relationships around, and the issue isn't really validating each type one at a time, it's realising that they don't *need* validating in the first place.

So, rather than making a couple more Hopf links to balance things out, I've decided to make a whole collection of them, all of different kinds. It's going to be a bit ad hoc and random, but this is part of the plan. There are a couple of things I've decided though:
- It won't include every permutation. It's not trying to classify everyone, it's more about celebrating diversity.
- There will be at least a couple of single tori, cos I think the "you don't have to be in a relationship" message is very important too.
- There'll be some tori which will be yellow or green, rather than blue or pink. Cos not everyone falls neatly into 'male' and 'female' categories, especially not in the 'blue' and 'pink' sense.
- There should probably be some kind of polyamorous grouping too, though I'll need to think through more how to do that one.
- There will be at least one that just doesn't really make sense. This will, broadly speaking, be to represent "variations I haven't thought of", but also to stress that there is some room for interpretation here, that what each one means can be subjective and might mean different things to different people.

So yay! That said, I don't know what I'll actually do with these when they're done, other than revel in having a big pile of stuffed toys. Suggestions, anyone?
Also, knitting-wise I'll be using this project to get some practice at continental knitting. I've just about got the hang of the basic motions, but I need a lot more practice and still find it quite unnatural, especially for anything other than basic knit and purl stitches. But I'm improving!

Happy knitting everyone,