Monday, April 21, 2008

Twinkle twinkle!

When I got out of hospital, all I wanted to do was dinky, pretty, dainty things. Those that know me well will realise this isn't really in keeping with my interests. I don't mean to suggest that normally I participate in hobbies best described as "clunky" or "craparse", but I'm not really a twinkly kinda gal. But there was something about the hospital that left me itching for something tiny and twiddly -- I suspect it has to do with the utilitarian nature of everything in the hospital. Everything you see has a purpose, a strict and specific purpose, and there's procedures in place for every eventuality. Even the paint on the walls and the generic artwork in the corridors had an air of "Here For Therapeutic Reasons" about it.
During my week off after hospital, wherein I was bored silly by constant errands, I decided I would make some stitch markers for myself. There were necessary and useful and I had intended to buy some more eventually -- but now I had a reason to go to the bead shop and make something twinkly! So off I toddled. And I can tell you, I can see how people fall hard for the beading.

Bead Street, in Phillip, is like a cross between Aladdin's cave and an old-timey apothecary (not like those newer, more upmarket apothecaries, obviously). The walls are lined, crowded, with shelves filled with wee jars. Each jar is filled with squillions of tiny beads, and the jars are arranged to gradually phase through the all the colours available. Upon entrance, you collect a dinky wire basket and fill it with jars, which you then take to the counter to be measured and weighed. (How do people know how many to order? A million? Four? How many is a useful quantity of tiny beads?) Then, the beads are slipped into tiny ziplock bags and packaged up for you. It was great. I felt like some sort of...I don't know, magician's apprentice or jeweller's supplies gatherer. Anyway, it was cool. I wandered about for the best part of an hour, vague and bemused and lost in the tiny things.

Eventually, I came to my senses and trooped my basket over to the counter. In a fairly spectacular tumble, I had racked up a huge bill. Luckily, the charming store persons had encountered this kind of delirium before. The girl serving me helped me rifle through my booty and work out which was worth keeping and which was worth putting back for someone less greedy and insane. She deftly recalculated the total, which was a far more acceptable price to pay for twinkly doodads, and encouraged me to come back soon.

I took my tiny parcel of beads home, had some lunch and promptly broke M's computer, then settled in for a silent afternoon, crouched breathlessly over the dainties. It was an awful lot of fun, far more than I would like to admit. I made six or seven sets of stitch markers, and I love them all to bits. I'm so proud that I was able to get the wire so neat and tucked in, and I love the way they sparkle, and that I can match them to my yarn when I'm knitting. Simple pleasures, etc.

Despite this, I don't think I want to get too hardc0re into the beading. There's only so many applications for beads before you start making crocheted gumboot covers just to have something to ornament, and then you lose perspective and end up with ginormous necklaces that look like nothing so much as a thousand fat bugs in a spiderweb around your neck. No, I don't think beading is going to be listed as a blog topic any time soon. But still, it was fun, it was calming and pretty, and now I have heaps of stitch markers. And now I have a cache of beads for some beaded knitting, should the mood ever sweep over me.

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