Sunday, February 15, 2009

a love letter to crochet.

up there is a brand new white heart i got from shannon yesterday. i love it so much, shan! so much, in fact, that i continue to wear it over my heart even the day after valentine's day. it looks like a deformity under my coat and also reflects my current feelings about the world. i have a friend who used to work in biotech doing something with pig hearts. i wonder if they blanch when devoid of blood. i will have to ask her. i know shannon also consulted an expert in updating the design for her crocheted hearts - a medical illustrator, no less. karyn wrote all about it in a recent interview with shannon here.

as for me and my hooking, i just wrapped up a super fast hyperbolic model over the last couple of days.

after reading about the institute for figuring's various hyperbolic sub-reefs (the toxic reef, the ghostly bleached reef, et al), i felt motivated to get over my personal fibre snobberies and dive into some weirdo yarns i had kicking around. although i usually lean towards working with natural materials (and took a more stark mathmatical approach of only making hyperbolic models out of solid colours), the arguments for crocheting out of discarded materials seemed to me (in a lesser way) to seep into the shameful stash of acrylic and novelty yearns that i never use. i have collected this stuff over years to make soft toys and hats for vegans but my interest in both undertakings has steadily waned. over time, i have developed a pronounced distaste for synthetic yarns, likening their content to that of garbage bags - a non-biodegradable, spun fossil fuel that i didn't want to interact with anymore. now that my crochet adventures have brought me full-circle to crocheting with actual plastic bags, it seemed time to revisit my shame stash - or at least the stuff that didn't sell at the trunk show.

i have to admit that this latest model looks more like a sea creature than any of my self-imposed purist hyperbolics. the plastic makes it luminous and the bizarre loft of this yarn gives it a loamy, spongy feel. it also measures 10 inches across and only took a few hours to make. score a few for synthetics. it will also last forever and survive moth attacks.

i am now working on another model out of what seems to be a mix of cotton and fiberglass. i might even edge it in eyelash yarn. crazy.

i am not saying that i am about to go out and buy a bunch of new crazy yarns, but i certainly feel inspired to go through what i have and possibly acquire more if it is used and free. but i don't entirely know what i am going to do with all these models. my overbearing aesthetics (and kindly life partner) probably won't allow for keeping these as part of my home's decor. i am considering shipping them off to join the reefs maintained by the institute for figuring. but i could also be coerced into beginning a collective toronto reef, if anyone else is interested (global coral proliferation is a peripheral goal of the iff). who is interested? and what should we do?


leah b said...

i'd be interested in contributing- on the road, i crochet a lot. i sent home twine hyperbolic structures as an xmas present to milosz (pseudo-spheres where the twine is so stiff that if you sprinkle a little cat-nip in the cone and twist it, it stays put)

stacey said...

ok, asked for it. here's the boring biotech answer. the conduit of the vessels is naturally light in color, but the atria and ventricles are muscular (to pump all that daggum blood), so the majority of the heart looks like rare steak. for it to "blanch", it would have to be chemically treated (probably with a strong base). even then, the muscle would only turn a grayish/brown color instead. so, if anyone asks why your heart is white, might i suggest telling them it was kissed by angels.

sweetie pie press said...

oh, stacey. you are always the font of information i hope you will be. thanks for filling us in and offering shannon a new colour palette, should she choose to use it. do you think there would be a market for chemically treated hearts, shan?

i hope the bleached coral reefs were also kissed by angels, too. and if so, i wish those angels would reconsider their displays of affections. my heart was made to be kissed by angels. coral doesn't seem to be.

shanne said...

yikes-- that colour palette is terrifying!

sweetie pie press said...

but back to leah - although nothing has been fully decided yet, it looks like a toronto coral reef is becoming a possibility. i certainly have some models to contribute to get it going. plus, a few other folks have stepped to offer help in getting it displayed. much to think about, indeed.