The last time I changed apartments, the moving crew was deeply amused to find that I had five smallish pieces of furniture, eight huge bookcases, and 110 boxes, 97 of which were labeled BOOKS.
I attract books the way velcro attracts cashmere. In spite of a strict policy of twice-yearly culling, which sometimes eliminates as many as seven volumes, I'm still hovering around the 3,000 mark and fear that my cataloguing project will never be complete.
Some of what's on my shelves has been known, read and loved for so long that the books themselves have become almost superfluous; the contents are embedded in my brain and will likely remain until I am otherwise old and dotty and pluck at specks of dust, unable even to spell my own name.
The Alice books are on that list. I remember with absolute clarity the first time I met them, in the first library I can remember, at my first school. I didn't twig to all the jokes–unlike Alice, I had been deprived of peeks into an elder brother's Latin grammar–but I loved Tenniel's pictures.
They were unlike anything in my other favorites: Curious George, Corduroy or even Where the Wild Things Are. The last of these had scenes that were twilit and vaguely threatening; but the illustrations in Alice touched a level of absurd creepy chaos so spine-tingling and delicious that I suspected that I wasn't supposed to be looking at them.
Which is why Alice was the first book I ever stole from a library and hid in my bedroom. (Don't make that face. I felt guilty and brought it back two days later. I always brought the stolen books back.)
When I started working on the Looking Glass Socks I didn't want to get too elaborate. These needed to be low-stress travel knitting. I still hoped to have some kind of visual reference to Wonderland, but after the chessboard fiasco I gave up and settled for plain ol' stripes.
It wasn't until I was getting ready to write this entry, and actually pulled my copy off the shelf to scan an illustration, that I looked at Alice meeting Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum...
...and was startled to notice that in the second book, Alice is wearing striped stockings.
As the second of my pair reverses the colors of the first,
I've decided that one sock must be from the waking side of the looking glass; the other is from the dreaming side.
And I did it without realizing what I was doing. Funny, isn't it, the things that knitting will pull out of the deepest wrinkles in your brain?