Thursday, July 23, 2015

Panathenaia

Toddler for scale.
In ancient times, people would make a pilgrimage to Athens right around June or July for the Panathenaia. Back then, one of the things they did was to dress the statue in new clothes, which, considering that it was 42' high, was kind of a big deal. Fortunately for me, "pilgrimage" really only means about a half an hour drive. Why go all the way to Athens when we've got a perfectly good Parthenon just up the road?

So every year, right around June or July, we head up to the Parthenon and have our own festival. For us, this means a picnic and some time to be quiet and present in the temple cleverly disguised as a tourist attraction. I'll bring an offering of wool, leave a prayer, and knit or spin while I listen to what Athene has to say. Most of my prayers are for my kids, but not all. We had a picnic after and this year was particularly nice because we had the opportunity to stop by the SSK marketplace afterward. I brought home a skein of Miss Babs' Yowza in the colorway Joan of Arc and Iris brought home a little something for herself with which she might make a hat. Bekah summed up the visit pretty well, actually.
This is Sam's brother, Frank.

The fiber arts mean a lot to me, if you haven't noticed. They've shaped who I am at least as much as any single event or even my academic pursuits (also the purview of Athene). Especially when I'm sewing, there's a connection to the people who taught me or inspired me. Mom taught me to use a sewing machine and Mamaw (her mom) gave me a sewing kit that I gave to Iris. I'm not that far removed from those who had to sew from necessity and though I don't really have to, there are lessons I've learned from sewing and later quilting, knitting, spinning, and weaving, that have been invaluable. I won't go naked if I don't sew or knit, but I still need to for other reasons.

On a completely physical level, I would not have the dexterity or spatial reasoning I do now if I hadn't learned to sew at a very young age. Understanding the connections between fiber arts skills and academics is, to me, like saying that spoons are great for both soup and ice cream. ...I'm not entirely sure that makes much sense, but here is a goddess who presides over two very important parts of my life that often overlap in unexpected ways. I can't not seek excellence in both, not only because She expects that of me, but also because there is so much joy to be had when the socks fit or when your paper is well-researched and clever. No small part of that joy is gratitude toward the ones who taught me and who continue to teach me.
It's not so much that I'm learning particular skills, but really that I'm continuing to learn, period. Focus, patience, and perseverance are each part of what it takes to become skilled in a craft and you have to practice those so that you can practice the things like cabling, buttonholes, afterthought heels, spreading butterflies, writing papers, making distribution maps. By extension, Project Make isn't about making things, as such, but really about making a better me through practice. That's where the wisdom is.

I'm rambling today. I hope you'll forgive me for it.


I don't do posts like this often, but knitting is happening, too. I've got one heel done on these.


And the BFF cowl is back on active needles. 34 sts, as it turns out, was the magic number. 


And I froze some corn this week, which isn't really related.


And this happened. There was a laundry basket, so she climbed in it. You might remember the shirt from earlier.

I'll try to be back next week with a more regular post with a little less incoherent philosophical rambling and a little more actual fiber arts content.
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