Tag Archives: Coraline

It’s the little things….

Call it Miniature-itis, Fi-FI-Fo-Fum Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Tiny Hysteria….  It is a pathological weakness for all things tiny.

It is age-old.  No one is safe.

Lots of my friends and loved ones are similarly afflicted.  I like that.

It’s a gift, I think.

The girls and I got our miniature-freak on with Althea Chrome of Bugknits.  The National Museum for Women in the Arts had her there for a lecture and workshop, and we were lucky to be able to spend some time with her.

What a crazy-lovely woman.

The workshop that followed the talk was part of the museum’s Role Model Workshops, which “brings area teens together with women who have achieved success in the visual, literary, and performing arts and other areas of creativity. Visiting artists serve as role models and mentors, offering career information and guidance and leading hands-on activities that encourage creative self-expression.”  She taught this group of girls how to knit, and was so patient.  We’ll be keeping an eye out for more of these programs there at the museum.  Really great!

She is so sweet and captivating and full of life.  It was a joy to hear her speak in her lecture about the process and history behind each of her teeny tiny works, and I can’t tell you what it was like to look at them in person.  AHmazing.  To see such craftsmanship and concept applied at such a minuscule scale.  It makes my brain hurt.  Rosie was even hypnotized…. She asked some pretty great questions too.

The scuba sweater, the City-Country sweater and socks, and the Truth and Wisdom Kimono were three that were particularly fascinating to hear about.  They have such great design work in them– which is so SMALL, and then they also tell little stories, with symbols and illustrations from times or events of her life.  It was also fascinating to hear the stories about her work for Coraline.  The long process she went through arriving at what was finally the sweater.  You might imagine that something so small would be easier in concept– but the design and material challenges are wonderful.  I imagine that it is part of the fun for her… making it work and then making something that goes beyond that to beauty and amazement.

Marigold and I could not resist some of her needles and patterns which you can get on her site.  We have a mini cardigan and pair of socks to make.  If I make it through without scratching out both my eyes, I want to make her Queen Elizabeth sweater too.  I have some other BIG ideas of other big that I might like  to try TINY as well.  It’s a little addictive. :)

It was so funny– ( paraphrasing) ” People make 3 assumptions about me– that I am crazy, that I have really small hands, and that I have excellent eyesight.  None are true.”

She mentioned an interesting looking new book coming up called the Culture of Knitting which she’ll be appearing in.  I am hoping on big things for she and her tiny masterpieces.  See if you can catch her teaching or speaking sometime.  She is a fascinating artist, woman and parent–you’ll fall in love with her too! She’ll be at the Guild School in Maine this Summer teaching a miniature knitting class.  They have classes there like “MIni wheelthrown raku pottery. Just kill me.  Better yet, just TAKE ME if you go!!

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Button Cake

This happened while I was napping today.  What do you think happens to you if you eat the Coraline cake?

I’m scared.

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Neil Gaiman and TINY KNITTING.(The Tiniest Knitting Ever.)

On the drive to and from NC we listened to The Anansi Boys by the bewitching Neil Gaiman.  It is read by   Lenny Henry and was magical and captivating.  ALL of us loved it.  We’d get in the car and even Rosie would say ” Turn on Fat Charlie!”.  LH was as wonderful to listen to as Jim Dale ( of the Harry Potter audio books) for me.  I loved it.  I recommend it as a listen just so you can hear the many wonderful voices of this man.  Here is a quick plot line a la Amazon–

Adult/High School–Charles Fat Charlie Nancy leads a normal, boring existence in London. However, when he calls the U.S. to invite his estranged father to his wedding, he learns that the man just died. After jetting off to Florida for the funeral, Charlie not only discovers a brother he didn’t know he had, but also learns that his father was the West African trickster god, Anansi. Charlie’s brother, who possesses his own magical powers, later visits him at home and spins Charlie’s life out of control, getting him fired, sleeping with his fiancĂ©e, and even getting him arrested for a white-collar crime. Charlie fights back with assistance from other gods, and that’s when the real trouble begins. They lead the brothers into adventures that are at times scary or downright hysterical. At first Charlie is overwhelmed by this new world, but he is Anansi’s son and shows just as much flair for trickery as his brother. With its quirky, inventive fantasy, this is a real treat for Gaiman’s fans. Here, he writes with a fuller sense of character. Focusing on a smaller cast gives him the room to breathe life into these figures. Anansi is also a story about fathers, sons, and brothers and how difficult it can be to get along even when they are so similar. Darkly funny and heartwarming to the end, this book is an addictive read not easily forgotten.

Thanks to Clancy Frankenbacon for bringing that along.  It is a big part of the adventure-memory for me now.  Lighthouses, beach days, knitting and Spider-Gods I love when a book just permeates life like that; it all gets jumbled up and intertwined with your days.  Magic.

That leads me to Coraline.

Called “An Adventure To Weird For Words” and carrying the message ” Be Careful What You Wish For,” Neil Gaiman  also has this wonderful and creepy book called Coraline.  Marigold has been equally obsessed and terrified by it since her dear Berman sisters introduced it years ago.   For those not familiar with it, here is an Amazonian quip–

Coraline lives with her preoccupied parents in part of a huge old house–a house so huge that other people live in it, too… round, old former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and their aging Highland terriers (“We trod the boards, luvvy”) and the mustachioed old man under the roof (“‘The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,’ said the man upstairs, ‘is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed.’”) Coraline contents herself for weeks with exploring the vast garden and grounds. But with a little rain she becomes bored–so bored that she begins to count everything blue (153), the windows (21), and the doors (14). And it is the 14th door that–sometimes blocked with a wall of bricks–opens up for Coraline into an entirely alternate universe. Now, if you’re thinking fondly of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, you’re on the wrong track. Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is far darker, far stranger, playing on our deepest fears. And, like Roald Dahl’s work, it is delicious. What’s on the other side of the door? A distorted-mirror world, containing presumably everything Coraline has ever dreamed of… people who pronounce her name correctly (not “Caroline”), delicious meals (not like her father’s overblown “recipes”), an unusually pink and green bedroom (not like her dull one), and plenty of horrible (very un-boring) marvels, like a man made out of live rats. The creepiest part, however, is her mirrored parents, her “other mother” and her “other father”–people who look just like her own parents, but with big, shiny, black button eyes, paper-white skin… and a keen desire to keep her on their side of the door. To make creepy creepier, Coraline has been illustrated masterfully in scritchy, terrifying ink drawings by British mixed-media artist and Sandman cover illustrator Dave McKean. This delightful, funny, haunting, scary as heck, fairy-tale novel is about as fine as they come. Highly recommended. 

The funny and amazing thing is that this turns into a KNITTING CONTENT POST here!

They are making Coraline into a movie!  They seem to be REALLY farming kids/young adult lit. right now for movies… I don’t mind as long as they do it well!  Beats the Disney-formula works any day! Have a look at this –

Now, have a look at THIS! ( Erin-of-the-animals, your head is about to explode)

Althea Crome is one of my knitting heroines.  Because I am fatally afflicted with an adoration of all-things- tiny and because she is one crazy and talented knitter!  I LOVE her.  She has been featured in the subversive knitting show that was local last year or so.  She also has a great site called Bugknits where you can gaze at  her mad-knitting for hours.  Things like this

So a chance to see her work, in a movie by a director I admire, and one about a book and author I dig– WOW!  Can’t wait!  Wanted to share it up!

Check out Mr. Gaiman’s Stardust too!

sweet dreams to you all!

Tomorrow is all about what dyed in my kitchen today.  Boy does it smell! ( Sorry Clancy.)

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