Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Wood Nymph Shawl ~

As a child I was brought up on a steady diet of nursery rhymes and stories of magical creatures.  As a result I have had a life long love affair with all things fairy.  This shawlette is dainty enough to remind me of frilly mushrooms and clothing made from cobwebs and flowers and something a wood nymph might chose to wear.  Ethereal and fun.

Speaking of magical creatures, I'll share with you one of the nursery rhymes that my maternal grandmother used to recite to us well into her dotage, complete with acting out the various characters.  The Selfish Goblin (author unknown) as told by Mary Cunningham (1902-1982) who learned to recite this and many other rhymes as a child growing up under the care of a nanny in turn of the century England:

The Selfish Goblin

Upon the open moorland, the rain was falling fast,
and through the dripping heather a goblin hurried past.
His eyes were small and cunning, his hair was very red.
He had a green umbrella he held above his head.

He chanced to meet a fairy, whose clothes were very wet. 
As she had no umbrella he wished they hadn't met.

Oh please will you allow me, the little fairy cried, to share
your green umbrella by walking by your side.  I wandered from the pathway
as I was going home.  Oh dear, oh dear,
I'm frightened, don't leave me all alone.

Puff, nonsense, said the goblin.  Can you not plainly see,
that under my umbrella there's only room for me. Goodbye.
And off he went, his clothes completely dry.  And left that little fairy
to sit alone and cry.

But, as he crossed the moorland the wind with angry din,
caught hold of his umbrella, and turned it outside in.  Hooray! Exclaimed the
hedgehog.  I am extremely glad.  Now I know a clever way to make old
umbrellas new.  I wouldn't dream of telling it to you.

So he rolled the goblin over and then he hurried back, to help that little
fairy upon her homeward track.  And left that selfish goblin struggling
with labor vain to mend his green umbrella, which let in all the rain.

It's interesting how something like a nursery rhyme can become etched into one's subconscious.  In our family whenever anyone is being selfish they are referred to as being a greedy goblin.  Steve hears this on a daily basis but never changes his ways.

Particulars:  Crashing Waves by Grace Akhrem; 1 skein Tosh Merino Light (100% superwash merino wool); fingerling weight; colorway: Blue Gingham; US 6 circular needles; size small as modified by 3 extra repeats (189 stitches).  As a result of adding 3 extra repeats my bind off is not centered but that is fine with me as I generally prefer a more rounded shape at the point of a triangle shawl anyway. Merino wool does not hold a block very long and will substantially "relax" post blocking.  The pictures in this post are relaxed post-blocking; final measurements 44" x 18."

The MisAdventures of Simcha

It is the start of snake season here in Southern California and since we live in an area with lots of rattlesnakes we took Simcha to be rattlesnake trained. It involved exposing him to rattlesnakes both with and without their rattle so he leaned to avoid their sound and smell. The trainers used a shock collar and I know it made an impression.  Regardless, for safety reasons, Simcha's walks will be on-leash until the weather is cool again.  

I was touched afterward when a little girl came over and put out her hand to Simcha and he licked her fingers.  She asked me “does he rescue people?”  Considering how hard we worked to socialize him this made me feel very proud.  I smiled and told her I was sure he would.

Until next time, be well and love and well make yourself something ethereal and fun to wear!  There are lots of free shawl patterns to choose from including Bitterroot, Annis, Citron, and Springtime Bandit ~


raining sheep said...

I love the shawl Claudia - you are so talented with the needles. I love hearing these stories about Simcha. How sweet. We have a lot of rattlers here on the prairies as well, quite frankly they creep me out. Ugh! snakes! My mom was a librarian back in the Czech Republic. Books are a part of my DNA and especially fairy tales. I remember her telling me the most fantastic stories at night. I still love fairy tales, probably why I love the movie Princess Bride so much!

gMarie said...

What a beautiful shawl. You are looking lovely as always. How is work these days?

How great that Simcha was lovely and nice and licked her hand. He's gonna be a good boy yet, isn't he? g

Allie said...

Oh it's very fairy-like, Claudia - I too grew up with stories like that and I still love them. I'd not heard that one before, but I love it, thanks for posting it! Your shawl looks pretty enough for a fairy to wear.

Rattlesnakes - YIKES. So glad you got Simcha trained!

Monika said...

Your new shawl is lovely! I love the corn flower blue color, and the lace stitch pattern very much.
My father sang to us many childrens songs, and told us nursery rhymes as well. I don't recall our mother doing that at all.
Simcha is so handsome, and whoohoo for him being so sociable!

One day I'd like to knit Springtime Bandit, I've had it on my to-knit list for quite some time now.

Tracy said...

LOVE, love, love the faiy-light shawlette and that forget-me-not blue color, Claudia! This is really lovely for spring. I've always been smitten with stories with fairies, magical forests, etc. In my late teens I came across a fairy ring on a walk... it was a magic moment. :o) Loved this story you share with us. And Simcha's too. Rattlesnake training... that sounds very heavy going. But what a good, smart lad he is. And I am sure he would be able to save someone. :o) Happy Days, my friend ((HUGS))

Bridget said...

That is a beautiful shawl/scarf - and I LOVE the color!

I'm glad to hear that Simcha will know how to recognize rattlesnakes, but happier to know he will be on a leash while they are likely to show up. He sounds like he is becoming quite a sweetie! Give him a pat from me.

Rebekah said...

I had no clue that they did snake training with dogs. Simcha definitely looks like he should rescue people, he just has so much authority in that face.

Lovely shawl.

Channon said...

Beautiful lace, and I love the wood nymph spin...

Sweet Simcha! Your heart must have all but exploded with pride.

I am jealous of the rattler class; I wish we had a copperhead version here. Gretchen needs it to be sure. The girl loves lizards and doesn't understand that lizards have legs... snakes don't.

Renee said...

what a pretty fairie shawl! gorgeous colour and so chic on you!

we're lucky to have few venomous snakes where we live, but up north where we holiday and go fishing rattlers are a big issue. Excellent that Simcha has been snake trained.

I so enjoy fairy tales :-)

Kate (KnitsInClass) said...

Pretty shawl - I've been working on the Butternut scarf (Ann Hanson) - love the idea of something light and lacey for spring!
Thanks for sharing all the Simcha stories - I have to admit I am thankful we don't have to do any rattlesnake training around here :)

Rachel said...

Such a beautiful piece of lace (as always!)...and love the rhyme you had accompany the FO shots. Made me smile.

betty said...

A very lovely shawl. I really should consider knitting a small shawl with some sort of luxury yarn. I like this pattern because it's not overly lacy.

I wonder if dogs naturally know to avoid things like rattlesnakes.

KnittySue said...

Oh I love the shawl and the color is so becoming on you. Simcha is so beautiful and obviously sweet. Hope all is well.

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Love the shawl, it definitely has a fairy look to it. The greedy goblin is a fantastic nursery rhyme that I am going to share with my kids. Love it.

We have lots of rattlesnakes here but I have never heard of rattlesnake training, I have to look into that for my dogs. Thanks!

Bubblesknits said...

Gorgeous shawl. : ) We saw a water mocassin this afternoon in our lake. Darn thing decided to swim to shore right where I was fishing. /shudder/ Needless to say, I decided I was done fishing for the day.

knittingdragonflies said...

Rattlesnakes! Wow! That's some excitement I'll skip. Simcha is looking big and beautiful, it is funny how they know to be gentle with children.
I love this shawl, and the color! Wish I could whip one up. I'll have to look at the pattern, and thanks for the links to the others.
Hoping I can find one to start in hopes of wearing it to a wedding!
Take care

Amanda said...

You always look so elegant in your knits Claudia. A success - as ever!

t does wool said...

beautiful knit..perfect for a breezy day.
the color is you entirely Claudia...
I love the continuing tales of Simcha
snakes...oh my........xx

Sherry said...

The shawl is beautiful. I enjoyed reading about fairy tales playing a part in your childhood ... very magical:-)

As for Simcha, he looks brilliant (both in looks & smarts) I've been so impressed with all of the hard work you & Steve put into making Simcha a good canine citizen.

Lap Dog Knits said...

Beautiful shawl...love, love, love the color! Not sure my dogs could pass the rattlesnake training but out at Lake Havasu there's no shortage of giving them something to look for!
have a great week.

Nantucket Dreams said...

Love the story...and love the shawl even more! That color is so pretty...like a blue sky...and simcha...always keepsnus smiling!

Murielle Creative Knitting said...

Beautiful color - and good news about Simcha! :)) Love it:)