Archive for February, 2008

Necessities and OCD

After a fairly productive morning (I moved 2 courses of landscaping rocks in the yard, came in, baked a dozen healthy muffins from scratch and started a weightwatchers-friendly cauliflower soup), I looked at the godawful mess I just made in the kitchen. I peeled garlic for the soup and wondered what to do with those few loose cloves that always fall off the bulb. I usually keep them in a cheapie purple easter basket in the pantry with potatoes and other root vegs, but they always fall to the bottom and dry up or get moldy. I needed a little container, but someting flexible that wouldn’t tip perched on toppa the spuds. I suddenly got very excited about finding some yarn and a hook, but composed myself, finished the soup and sort of cleaned up.

Detail of “Myrellen’s Coat”

I get jazzed about being able to make something that I need, and not having to wait for it. It makes me think of colonial times or maybe the great depression, when the tenet was to make do or do without. I occasionally go overboard with hoarding (my basement “craft space” holds way more than just my yarn stash) and I freely admit to being an active thrift shopper (making new buttons for an old coat in my Ravelry queue) and sometimes, when I need to clean out the closets, I recall a trip to the John Waters-esque American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore.

The museum of “outsider”/self taught art was closed for renovations save one gallery. I saw the embroidery of a woman named Myrellen from Knoxville, TN. Her husband committed her to a psychiatric hospital in the 1940’s, there she saved tiny pieces of thread from clothing, sheets, etc. to stitch artwork and messages, her entire autobiography onto a denim coat.

Though the coat was similar to the long dusters that the burnout girls in my 8th grade class wore in 1981 (you know, when dinosaurs roamed the earth between classes), more memorable to me was the frame of mind this woman was in to unravel rags to obtain materials for her work.

Myrellen was later treated with electroshock and thorazine and retained no memory of her work. She denied ever making it.

Now how can I throw out that old sweater with the hole in the neck that is under a pile of workout clothes in my closet? Because I’m not insane, you would answer.

I crochet, therefore I have therapy. I spy a nice big addi turbo hook and some jewelry making hemp sitting in a drawer in my coffee table, waiting for this moment to come along. I used hemp once before for a coin purse and that stuff hurt like a mothertrucker in sc at a small gauge. But this I could handle.  I had previously toyed with the idea of fashioning a little catchall for the bathroom sink or dresser like (a. recent. pattern. I. saw. that. I. can’t. find. now. that. I. need. it. the. story. of. my., so I had a maybe 2’x3″ dc patch started. Boy was I like the wind. You have to understand, my 4 year old’s favorite pastime is climbing all over my lap the instant I plant my butt on the couch, yarn be damned; but I persevered. Tadee tadah, lookee here!

the garlic nest…

I hdc’d around the edges of the bottom, adding an increase in each corner on every row. After about four rounds, I wanted to tighten it up so I went 2 rows sc, then a sc with decreases. And since I just learned crab stitch edging, I finished it off nice and purty, ‘n even wove my ends so I could show it off  fill it up and put it back in the cabinet.

So I got’s me a garlic nest, in about 20 minutes or less. The kitchen will probably look the same after 2 hours, though. One thing I’m not obsessed with is cleaning, unless you count my obsession about not doing it. My husband often tells me he wishes I had the “good OCD”. Like him.

Britney hooked.

“Oh, this old thing? Just part of my “creative rehabilitation”, ya’ll!”
* Link over to Extreme Craft’s photostream for images from the Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, MO or check out a gallery of works by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching fame for a modern “outsider” look at traditional embroidery.


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