When her Uncle Bilbo returned from his grand adventure, young Peony Took sat at his feet and listened to his stories. She did not laugh like the others at his wild imagination. She went home and knit his entire story into a scarf, from his green door at home straight on through to his legendary treasure chest, and gave it to him for Christmas.
Bilbo treasured that scarf and wore it every winter until it was practically in tatters, though his neighbors laughed to see his silly, impossible tale hanging round his neck.
Peony, encouraged by her uncle’s appreciation for her art, grew to become known far and wide as an expert with a pair of needles, and her bright and beautiful scarves, hats, mittens, socks and sweaters were highly sought after.
Years and years later, when Frodo Baggins’ parents died, Peony would have taken her young cousin into her home, though by now her own children had children of their own. But Bilbo wanted the lad. “Let it be,” she said to her family. “Uncle Bilbo has been alone for many years. I won’t leave him lonely. Besides, maybe taking on the responsibility of raising the child will help steady him.”
And feeling nostalgic, she pulled out her old, crackling paper pattern, and once again knit the scarf she had once made for Bilbo, and wore it for herself.
My latest offering. I am super, super excited to share it with you! I keep referring to it as “the story scarf,” and my husband finally asked, “Story scarf: is that really a thing?” No, as far as I know, nobody else has done such a thing. I felt a kinship, in designing this scarf, with pictographs of ancient Egypt or Sumeria, and the Bayeux Tapestry. Not the style or the level of sophistication, you understand, just the idea of using pictographs all in a line to tell a story.
My husband is walking around wearing it today, and it just keeps catching my eye. You’d think I’d be more critical, as the designer, but this one really makes me smile. All my projects have delighted me lately. I’m not sure why – like any artist, I usually am disappointed by how far my art is from what I had imagined. But lately, I look at my stuff and I think it’s just peachy, and I don’t even feel worried about what other people might think if I put it out there. This is not normal for me; I’m generally pretty self conscious and start thinking my handmade thing is weird, stupid and embarrassing just before I show it to anyone, and then I make the presentation really awkward because I get scared to actually let anyone else’s eyeballs land on my sad little attempt at expression. But I’ve apparently turned exhibitionist.
Maybe I’ve learned to accept my limitations. And maybe I instinctively trust the online knitting community, which I have found to be upbeat and encouraging. Or maybe I have a brain tumor that just makes me giddily happy to share. Fine by me!
Anyway, how do you like the There and Back Again story scarf? What other story should I try tackling in pictographs?