Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Second Thoughts

OK, I guess I will give something of an introduction.

Why blog?

It finally seemed like the right time to do it. I have more free time than I've had in years, and my internet connection is finally a bit faster than slow-dialup. If the connection goes down or my free time vanishes, I expect that the blog will go dormant for a while.

I wanted a place to share photos and to talk about projects I'm working on. It's too boring to do that on most lists.

I wanted a place where I could re-post old patterns, essays, and project notes. Some of what I'll be sharing is many years old.

I wanted a place where I could write about any of my interests, not just the ones that conform to the standards of a mailing list. Some lists are more flexible than others, but there are still limits.

I want to improve my writing ability and I want to learn how to manage a blog, html and all.

Why call this The Doily Underground?

The Doily Underground is my term for the informal network of people who love to knit doilies. We keep the old patterns alive this way, by knitting them and discussing them and buying any new doily publications that show up.

I love knitting doilies. They are very addictive. I'm not sure why. There's a rhythm to doily knitting that I find very soothing and compelling. When I am under stress, I like to do something that involves concentration but no thinking. Following a complex doily chart provides exactly that combination.

I usually have a doily on the needles. Some are large, some are small. Some are done in fine thread as doilies, while others are done with yarn to use as shawls.

There are other people who knit doilies, many of whom are far more ambitious and accomplished than I am. I will add some links to this blog one of these days. Good eye candy is only a click away. Or it will be.

The best doily patterns were first published decades ago. The Golden Age of doily designing seems to have been the early to mid twentieth century, from about 1920 to 1960-ish. The best-known designers all seem to have trained in central Europe, in areas that are part of Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Switzerland. (I am still trying to learn about the history of lace knitting, so don't assume I'm totally correct here!) The patterns have been published and republished in many countries and in many languages. They are still being republished today.

Most patterns are charted. This is good. I can pick up a book written in, say, Japanese and still knit the doily patterns it contains. However, there is no one standard charting style. Dealing with different chart styles in different languages is part of the joy for me.

This blog will feature a lot of doilies and a lot of posts about doilies.

What is a doily? A decorative cloth, I suppose. They tend towards being lacy. They can be any size. Some are knit flat. Some are short-rowed. The ones I like best are knit circularly (though they may have a flat-knit section or two).

What else will be in the blog?

Whatever else I want to include, of course! In addition to knitting doilies, I knit a lot of other things. They'll be in here. I also spin, dye, and do other textile crafts. They'll be in here, too.

I'm not sure how much of my life outside of fiber-fun will be in here. We shall see. I think it's semi-obligatory to include cat photos, recipes, interesting nature photographs, and the like. I'd include gardening except that it is not very compatible with the climate I currently live in.

What am I working on now?

That will be in the next post(s).

However, I usually have a doily on the needles. If I've just finished one, I'll be in the dithering phase for the next. This morning, I'm nearing the end of my current doily. It was meant to last a bit longer, but I couldn't stay away from it. It's too cute and fun.

In addition to a doily, I usually have a small project or two around that can be used as travel knitting. For now, it's a scarf. More on that later. I'm also in the middle of a lace shawl and a sweater. A few other things are in the planning or dreaming stages.

I have a couple of small projects on my drop spindles and a larger project on my wheel.

Everything else is either dormant or I don't feel like mentioning it yet.

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