Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Man Aboot the Hoose

Ted is safely home in Canada, after an all-too-brief visit. He is a model houseguest: polite, considerate, neat, and brings wool with him. Come on back any time, Ted.

I will end the suspense right now and tell you that Dolores did not succeed in adding another notch to her lipstick case. It was not for lack of trying. For most of the weekend she was in constant motion around Ted, doing backflips and pirouettes like an errant member of Cirque du Soleil.

On Friday, we visited the zoo and conservatory in Lincoln Park and she trotted out her "Madcap Maisie" routine. Think 1920s flapper crossed with Cyndi Lauper in the video for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."

At first, it seemed like this actually might work. Note this picture in the conservatory garden, in which Ted is obviously enjoying himself.

But then she overshot herself by screaming "I want to live la dolce vita!" and throwing herself into the fountain. Ted got the Anita Ekberg reference, but his inborn Canadian reserve found the gesture just a touch outré early in the morning.

In any case, he was more interested* in the Jacob sheep that live in the Farm at the Zoo. The Jacobs, for their part, were quite taken with Dolores. One of them shouted after her, "Hey baby, do fries come with that shake?" but she just curled her lip and threw a fistful of jujubes at his head.

On Saturday, which was of course Canada Day, Dolores woke Ted with a sunrise serenade: "Maple Leaf Rag" (theme and variations) played on her harmonica. For added frisson she wore my mountie hat. Alas, Ted is not a morning person.

Later in the day, we visited Millenium Park and the Art Institute. Sensing Ted's strong intellectual bent, she tried out her Sophisticated Woman of Culture pose.

But as Ted contemplated Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, her feral nature got the better of her and she couldn't resist giving his tuchus a little pinch. He yelped, there was a confused scuffle in the crowded gallery, somebody got pushed into a Van Gogh, and Dolores was once again asked to please leave the Art Institute and not come back.

Once she was out of the way, we were free to explore the museum at length and Ted's eagle eyes spotted things like this weaver (Penelope, wife of Ulysses) on a panel from an Italian Renaissance marriage chest.

He also pointed out this piece of mind-blowing miniature knitting in one of the Thorne Rooms, a series of dioramas that chronicle the history of interior decoration.

That swatch, which truly is knitted, measures a little less than an inch square. It's the only example of knitting we found in any of the rooms, although some include knitting baskets with balls of yarn. Our guess is that after flirting with blindness while turning out this specimen, the knitter told Mrs. Thorne that if she wanted anything else of this sort she could do it herself.

By Saturday night, Dolores had given up the chase and gone to console herself at the Lucky Horseshoe, which was celebrating the Fourth of July Weekend with male strippers dressed as figures from United States history. It must have gone well, because we didn't see her again until Sunday afternoon, when she stumbled in wearing Lincoln's stovepipe hat and Franklin D. Roosevelt's dickey.

I offered to take Ted to see the strippers, as I assume they're not easy to come by in his corner of Canada, but he demurred and instead we did fibery things.

He showed me a small selection of his lace output. Inspiring.

This is the beautiful "Spider Queen" shawl, which I tried to steal.

Ted and the "Rosebud" shawl by Sharon Miller, which he knocked off on a lazy Saturday afternoon during a matinée showing of Maid in Manhattan.

Ted also gave me pointers on my spinning, and then (wonder of wonders) succeeded in getting me to give the spindle another shot. And this is what happened:

It's merino. And I spun it, on the spindle. And it was fun. And it was not difficult, once Ted had helped me grasp the process.

Will you all please join me in asking Ted why he's frittering away his time at some day job when he's the sort of person who can teach one to do this is ten minutes? Where is Ted's book? Why is Ted not teaching full time? Where is the justice in this world?

He had to leave on Sunday afternoon, far too soon, and now Canada has him back. However, we will need to borrow him again soon, so consider who you might like in exchange. How about Alexis Xenakis? Hell, we wouldn't even ask you to give him back.

*Interested in their fleece, that is. Not, you know, "interested."


Tallguy said...

Hehehe, no, Ted is one of ours, and I think we will keep him. He is very talented, of course, we know that. And a super nice guy too! We grow them like that up in the north, you know; although he is way far down in the south (it's all a matter of persepective!) as far as I am concerned.

So glad that you all (Dolores included) had a great time!

Anonymous said...

Independence Weekend, indeed. Glorious work! Glad you had a terrific weekend!

Dave said...

Thanks for the offer, but you can keep the X-man down there and just borrow Ted whenever you need him. We Canadians are generous that way :-)

Pixiepurls said...

mmm, spinning is wonderful. A wheel is even more fun :)

Rabbitch said...

I think we'll have to keep him unless you come up with a better trade. And really, from what I've seen, it would have to be a really good one.

Why don't you and C move here instead?

FiberQat said...

Hm. We could have the Bosworths go north for a while with their spindles and wheels while Ted comes down to teach handspindling. Or I could swap Leigh Radford (she lives here in Portland).

I'm glad you and Ted had a marvelous time!

Anonymous said...

Her feral nature... *snicker*

Mel said...

Hmmm,now I'll just have to figure out getting Ted to visit Maine. Maybe we could do a day trip to Webs & hang out with mamacate, then another trip to Halcyon....

Anonymous said...

Of course if Ted was a kiwi he probably would have been "interested".

Ok trans tasman joke. from a aussie.

Angie said...

That is a beautiful shawl,just gorgeous. I love Dolores naked except for a hat and handbag .It's a good job I know F.D.R wore a bow-tie "Dickie" being slang for a male member .What she'd have liked would have been the 1962 tableau of The White House pool with Fiddle and Faddle she could have been Fondle.

Carol said...

Oh, Ted must come to Rhinebeck this year, Fer sure. That lace is exquisite! And anyone who could put up with sheep hijinx and not end up with mutton for dinner surely has enough patience to handle the Wolvies.

I would also like to say that the photography is, as usual, extremely well done.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I remember that miniature knitting! I loved the Thorne rooms. And the Art Institute. (And the Field Museum and Marshall Fields (sob) and Powell's Books...)

I need a trip to Chicago, I think.

M-H said...

Gee, thanks from a kiwi, Anonymous. It's such a dud, that old joke.

Anonymous said...

That tiny swatch is amazing. I would've loved to see them making that. Sounds like you had a great visit to the Institute. I always loved that place when I lived there. Did you get to the dark little room off from the Chinese collection? I can't recall the architect who designed it, but it's a beautiful serene little room in dark woods. I always loved spending a few minutes there decompressing. That and their ornamental artwork was always mustsees for me. Of course there's the Chagalls too... well.... too much really. What a place.
Glad you had the joy of a good guest. We've had a few of late and they're always a blessing.

Anonymous said...

A trade for Ted? For the love of wool. You already have all of our comedians and newscasters.
We're keeping the knittere/spinners.

Do I recognise that merino? If so, what a lovely end it's arrived at.

Susan said...

I love that on the table with the itty-bitty knitting is also...a book!

JoVE said...

Was the Cirque de Soleil routine an attempt to compensate for her anti-Canadian comments earlier in the year, perhaps?

And you can keep Alex. Send him to Vegas with Céline. Neither of them is much use to anyone else.

The alternative, of course, would be for you to move here. I'm sure we could cope with that :-)

Unknown said...

Wow! The lace knitting is just incredible! What a talented man Ted is. And Franklin, when ARE you going to start your own book? Hmmm? When?

Anonymous said...

maybe we could swap Rick Mondragon instead....

dpaste said...

There are worse things than witnessing an ass-pinch on a Sunday. There are worse things than witnessing an ass-pinch, of a knitter you've been hosting, who had riden down on Amtrak, and was woken by Dolores, even though he wouldn't date her, and had tutored you in spinning, and should really quit his day job, on a Sunday.

Sean said...

Terrific work on the spindle. I think the concept is easier to grasp after spinning on a wheel, personally. (not to take anything away from Ted's obviously wonderful teaching skills.)

I can't believe I'm telling you to tell Dolores, "You can't win 'em all." Who ever thought that would apply to her?

AND, finally...THAT's what I call lace knitting! Yes, sir. Please tell me he really didn't finish a lace shawl in a day...I'll hang up my needles and never knit again!

Unknown said...

For all of youse, Ted has already written a book, "Christmas Stockings." Back in '94.

As far as I'm concerned, Ted is my favorite Canadian. Bar none.

And yeah, M-H, I'm with ya on the dud joke.

Nerdy Knitter said...

I want to know what Ted told you to help with your spindle spinning...details, please!

Anonymous said...

Miniature knitting- this site will have you weeping:

Wonderful blog...


Diane said...

So where do I find Ted? I'm in Nova Scotia on vacation.

Anonymous said...

Oh, hell, we'll just give them Alexis and Rick for free. Maybe those Canadians could just agree to visit once in a while in exchange?

Anonymous said...

No. You may not keep Ted. Sorry.

(I'm a displaced, cranky Yank and I'm NOT generous that way ;-))

He's a gem, eh?

You, on the other hand, are welcome to move your tuchus up to Canada, any ole time.

(I am SO proud of you and that spinning. Merino's not so hard after all, given the right spindle and the right teacher.)

Anonymous said...

You know, I think there's about 21-23 stitches in that little knitted swatch. Amazing.

Spindle spinning: Franklin did just fine once he had a well-engineered tool and well-prepared fibre in his hands. A good lesson for anyone wanting to learn: it's a huge mistake to try to learn with poor quality materials and tools. (Which don't necessarily have to be expensive. I have a really lovely, expensive boat anchor of a spindle that I use as a Christmas decoration.) And Sean is correct that having experience with a wheel was helpful: the skills are transferable between the 2 tools. So, it goes the other way as well.

dragon knitter said...

those "needles" looked like steel pins. amazing! i actually know a few people who microcrochet, and the hook is so small you could pierce your ears with it! what is the fascination with micro stuff, other than the mt everest excuse?

sounds like ted had a good time, despite dolores. girl needs to learn.