Friday, August 22, 2014

A Different Kind of Joy

Dear Hearts,

I was passing through Alsace-Lorraine a few weeks ago and paid a call on my old friend Mathilde. You would like Mathilde–handy with a crochet hook, tells marvelous jokes, and makes kugelhopf that is the envy of five towns.

Anyhow, Mathilde and were sitting in her kitchen, she working on a lacy bed jacket and I trying not to lick kugelhopf crumbs off my plate. 

"Take another slice," said Mathilde. "I will bake again tomorrow morning."

One does not say no to Mathilde.

Unless one is Alice, Mathilde's daughter. Alice is newly thirteen. Saying no to her mother is her heart's delight.

"Every day some new rebellion," says Mathilde. "The hair must not be as I would wish it, the dress must be not a style I will admire. If I say I hope for her to study medicine, she will sit with her nose in a law book. If I suggest she might pursue law, she will throw the law book out of the window. Or at my head."

Alice won't even touch the kugelhopf, which leaves more for me.

"Take another slice," said Mathilde. So I did.

"It must be terribly frustrating," I said between bites.

"Like nothing I have ever known," said Mathilde. She set her crochet down on the table. "But also, fascinating. Perhaps from the far distance, rewarding."

"I'm afraid you must explain that," I said. "You have lost me."

"When you have a baby," she said, "you have one kind of joy. You have the joy of the baby whom you may dress as you please, and coo at as you please. For her you dream so many things, all grand. Maybe she will grow to be strong and powerful. Maybe she will be quiet and compassionate. Of course always she will be happy. You dream the dreams for her and right now she cannot tell you no."

My mouth was full of kugelhopf, so I merely nodded.

"Then you have a little girl, and it begins that her opinions are not your opinions. At first she will be led, but less and less so. Until one day a law book flies at your head. And if you are not to be in tears all the time, you must find another kind of joy. You must think, she cannot become powerful or compassionate if she does not think for herself. If she thinks for herself, she will not always think as I think. She will have her own dreams, and make her own way. This is as it should be. Another kind of joy."

I nodded again.

"Also," said Mathilde, "you learn to duck."

* * *

This spring, I had the joy of sending our first yarns off to make their own way across the United States and around the world. As finished objects and new patterns begin to emerge, I am perpetually startled and amazed and occasionally flabbergasted at what is being done.

Just this week I had a lovely letter from the designer Joyce Weida (NorthbrooKnits):

Hello, Mrs. Crosby!

I thought you might like to know that I will be posting a pattern on Ravelry soon that uses your yarn.  The pattern is a triangle scarf made with Satchel.  I named it after the Santa Maria replica we have in Columbus, Ohio because of the three stitch patterns (Trinity, Sailor’s Rib, Spanish Windows) decorating the stockinette and garter stitch surface.  I used Monkey Orchid for the small and Vintage Port for the large. The yarn was lovely to work with and is so soft to wear.

I am delighted to hear it and to show you Joyce's pattern (below is the version in Monkey Orchid), which is now available.

It gives me (as Mathilde would say) a different kind of joy to be see what is happening with our yarns after they have left us, but without having to endure anguish or flying books.

To that end, my darlings, I have decided that in the next month or so I shall begin a project, to be announced in this space. I intend that it will help me to make much of what you are doing and where you are going; and also I hope spur you on to more and greater journeys.

Do keep your eyes on this spot, won't you?

Yours Ever,
Mrs. Crosby
en route to Burning Man