Once upon a time when the world was young and I was a college student, I had the luxury (which I did not, then, appreciate) of spending hours lying about discussing topics of High Import with my classmates. Imagine Plato's Symposium, only instead of growing drunk on wine we were getting buzzed on chocolate chip cookie dough.
One of my pet themes was whether one can impose a hierarchy of values on the world of art. For example, was it valid to declare, as the French academics did, that history painting was the pinnacle of achievement, with other genres (still life, portraiture, etc.) ranked below. At times I was known to become quite heated about this and say "ergo"-and even, when I'd had too a little too much dough, "quod erat demonstrandum."
(Heh heh. Crazy days. Remind me to tell you some time about the great Schopenhauer Kerfuffle of 1991. Man, I wonder how we didn't all wind up with police records?)
Anyway, without fail I was on the side of those who felt the creation of an absolute hierarchy of either individual works of art, or of media (i.e., oil painting is "higher" than watercolor) was silly. I'm still of the opinion that an artwork itself has no inherent value; it acquires it in the mind of the beholder. The Mona Lisa, for example, is nothing but mineral pigments when there's nobody standing there looking at it.
I feel the same way when it comes to shoving needlework techniques into a caste system. For example, there are those-and they are entitled to their opinion-who hold that knitting is somehow superior to crochet. I don't happen to agree. I think it's not the technique, it's what you do with it. Knitting snobs would do well to remember that nice yarn and two needles do not always result in a work of art...or have you forgotten You Knit What?
By the same token, crochet can be used to create an object so hideous that just looking at it takes seven years off your lifespan, or it can be used to make the rather spectacular filet tablecloths I bought in Greece last summer.
I must admit to certain prejudices. For example, when I was child every household had at least one revolting zig-zag crocheted afghan over the back of the sofa. I hated them. Hated them so much that I can't even stand the Shetland lace "feather-and-fan" pattern because it makes me think of those afghans.
Ditto granny squares. I know, I know. They're hip right now, they're funky, they're vintage. People just love them. They're on the runway, they're in the books, everyone's making them, blah blah blah. I look at them and have unfortunate flashbacks to sitting around watching Lawrence Welk and eating stale cookies while the grown-ups discussed their gall bladders.
However, like a good Buddhist I do my darnedest to avoid Fixed Viewpoints and, on occasion, even my congenital aversion to certain yarn-based atrocities can be overcome.
John Brinegar, over at Yarn Ball Boogie, has just done it. He's come up with a granny-square scarf with which I am in love, to the extent that I may lie in wait outside his door so that I can conk him over the noggin with my copy of Five Little Peppers and How They Grew and steal it.
If you've seen John's work, you know he's good at pushing the boundaries enough to make you look twice at things you've seen so often they're easy to overlook. Rosebud is definitely a pattern like that. I love the metal connecting rings, and I love subtle shifts in color.
It makes me...it makes me wish I could...crochet...granny squares...
Excuse me, please. The room is starting to spin. I think I need some cookie dough.