Sunday, September 2, 2018

If Spiders Could Crochet

This is the season she will make beautiful things. Not perfect things but honest things that speak to who she is and who she is called to be. --Morgan Harper Nicholls
We have a lot of trees around this new house, enough to make a little ecosystem all of its own. Each morning, I see hummingbirds coming for drinks out of the blossoms and bumblebees buzzing around our flowering shrubs. It's a nice change and a delight for my eyes each day.

And of course, there are spiders. One of them is doggedly trying to spin a large web across the stairs on the back deck, even though I keep messing up the plans by clearing it away so I can walk through. I'm not particularly afraid of spiders, but I know enough people who are to be sensitive enough not to put a photo of them up here... at least, not today. Catch me in a more vindictive mood and I might...

Anyway, I pulled my completed Double Pineapple Doily off the blocking board one evening and sat and looked at it for a while, wondering what I would do with it. I thought I might sew it onto a cushion, but I have a lot of cushions right now. I thought about putting it on the back of a jacket or a cardigan, but I didn't really think it was quite right for that. I thought about framing it, but I'm not particularly enthused by framed doilies. They're just not me.

A friend suggested to me that I might incorporate it into a dreamcatcher, but I didn't really have any materials to make a hoop big enough for it. This doily is over a foot in diameter, after all. I thought about cutting up a wire hanger and shaping it into a hoop, but then I remembered that I hate wire hangers and got rid of them all before we moved. I mused about it for a few days, and I don't know exactly how I got there, but I found myself going through a pile of branches the hubby had gathered and was drying behind the house for kindling.

And then I saw the spider web on the stairs. And then I knew what to do.

I thought I might build a square-ish frame out of some branches and lash them together with some twine to hold it together, but then I remembered that I have never lashed anything together successfully with twine or any other type of rope. What am I, a sailor? And then I thought I could just fake it by drilling four branches together and then wrapping twine around the corners to pretend I lashed it together.

But then I thought that it might be easier to use a branch at the top and then use two cords to hang a branch at the bottom and that would make a frame. I thought it might be a good chance to pull out the lucet I bought at the last 100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Festival and finally learn how to make a cord with it. I pulled up a few YouTube videos and spent a few days making cords. I got the distinct feeling that this was something everyone else learned how to do in scouts as a kid and that I was arriving to it thirty years too late:


It worked pretty ok, but the yarn I used kind of shredded as I worked with it and it became so frustrating that I gave up. So then I fell back to something more familiar to me and pulled out a crochet hook and made a cord using a single crochet foundation chain. That was much faster, and quite pretty in the end:


I spent yesterday morning making knots and sewing "webs" out of mercerized cotton thread. It got frustrating because it just wouldn't come together. I tugged on threads, tied and re-tied knots, threaded needle after needle, and did a lot of huffing and puffing. Finally, I cut the last thread and walked away from it feeling pretty defeated.

But, as it is when you get caught up in tiny details, when I walked back down the hall to look at it again, seeing it from a larger perspective made all the difference... and it took my breath away. So, here is my finished project. I call it "Arachne's Craft:"


It took some coaxing to make that bottom branch sit properly to allow that little wisp of cedar leaf to be visible. I think it's my favourite part of it all:


It was even prettier when I hung it outside for a while. It seemed to belong out there. I took it back in later on, but I might hang it out there again before it rains:


I guess doilies aren't so old-fashioned after all. I'm very happy with it, and I hope all my knots hold true and hold everything together. After spending a few days working with tree branches, going back to yarn and knitting needles seems a bit ho-hum... but perhaps not for long. This could be an interesting winter. Maybe I better go sharpen the gardening shears...

Happy Sunday!

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