Knitting: Peasant Bonnet

This all started because I wanted a hat that would cover my ears.

Most hats, like berets, slouches, and beanies, only protect your ears from the wind if they are pulled way way down so as to cover your eyebrows. That’s not necessarily bad (especially in truly Arctic conditions), but we don’t always need it. Also, such hats tend to have tightish bands that don’t play well with most hairstyles.

It occurred to me that, for covering the ears and gracefully skimming over a bun or whatever, a bonnet might be just the thing. I checked Pinterest for bonnet patterns was immediately drawn into a whole new, magical world. Many of the patterns are for little girls or babies, and, well … swoon. Others are elfin-looking (swoon again). Plus, it turns out that women as far back as the Iron Age were wearing knitted or crocheted looking hair nets, and these can be found intact on bog bodies in Denmark, but I digress.

After one false start that involved purchasing a darling pattern that was way too small for me, I remembered this pattern.

It was in this book, which was the first-ever knitting book I tried to do a pattern from. It was actually too advanced for me, but I didn’t realize that at the time. I had found it in our local library when I lived in the Midwest, and interestingly, it’s also in our local library here in rural Idaho! I guess the book’s marketing team is really good with libraries, or maybe it has something to do with the gorgeous photographs. Anyway, I checked it out yet again, and looking at all the patterns and the photography was quite a trip down memory lane. I remembered that there was a bonnet pattern in this book, and it turns out that it’s a really useful and basic one.

Here’s what the bonnet looks like on the model in the book. As you can see, she has taken it in a more punk direction. I didn’t realize that putting my own spin on the bonnet – and then wearing it – would make me look like a close-up of a Millet painting, but I’m pleased with the results.

Here’s my version from the side so that you can compare them. I’m not sure why my edge is rolling in and hers isn’t. Theories: different yarn; my tassels have less weight than her long i-cord ties; they blocked their bonnet and/or pulled it straight right before the photographer snapped the picture.

I made mine with ivory-colored wool which I had left over, until I ran out; then I used ivory-colored acrylic that was also in my stash. (Did you know that if yarn sits around your house for several years, it becomes free?) Other changes: I cast on with dark green wool. I knit an extra inch of length before joining the hat in the round, because I have a big head. As you can see, the bonnet hits me right where it hits the model, even with the extra inch. Finally, I used tassels hung from a short crochet chain rather than long i-cords with “flowers” on the end for accents.

The bonnet does OK keeping my ears warm in windy subzero conditions, and it hasn’t blown off my head yet. If I were going to do a serious outdoor version, I’d want to line it with flannel or something and make sure it could tie under the chin. But this is fine for looking like a peasant and not getting rained or winded on while running to the car.

Kind of Disorganized Over Here

… my thoughts, I mean.

This post might be a little … rambling. A poorly thought-out combination of recent events in my life, vague political implications, and nostalgic revisiting of old favorite fantasy novels. You know, the way blogs used to be back in the day. Because I am just so dedicated to bringing you, my faithful Internet friends, content, even if it is crummy content.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve done a couple of knitting marathons (about which, more in the near future). I like having something to watch while knitting, and the least repellant thing on Netflix was The Lord of the Rings, so I have recently watched through all three movies. I enjoyed the movies mostly because they reminded me of the books, which I haven’t read in a long time. Yeah, I’m a purist. I couldn’t believe they left out Old Man Willow, Tom Bombadil, the Barrow Wights, and they completely messed up the scene in Bree, and they Hollywooded up Gandalf’s confrontation with Saruman and with Theoden, and they destroyed Faramir … but even so, even so, they kept enough of the original plot that watching the movies was edifying.

The theme that jumped out to me this time — well, there were a couple. One was the way that every single member of the party pays a high cost in the service of the quest. Even people with fairly minor roles, such as Merry and Pippin, suffer greatly – Merry from stabbing the Witch King, and Pippin has to deal with Denethor’s madness. Multiple people had to be willing to pour out their lives. Not just Gandalf, and not just Frodo. This rings true to me. Whether we are fighting the good fight by building a family, a school, or a local church, everyone feels like they are giving 110%, and then the job just barely gets done.

The other theme that I noticed this time was that of despair. Denethor succumbs to despair, kills himself, and nearly kills Faramir. Well before that, he essentially abandoned his duty to the people of Minas Tirith because he believed the cause was lost. And it turns out, this was a stratagem of the enemy, who had been showing him misleading things in the Palantir.

Meanwhile, over in Rohan, Wormtongue has gotten Theoden to abandon his duties to his people by convincing him that he’s old and tired and the heroic age has ended. Wormtongue gets inside Eowyn’s head, getting her to see Edoras, the glorious hall of her ancestors, as a stupid redneck hovel, and her own role in it as boring and stultifying. She ends up, essentially, suicidal, but luckily the presence of Aragorn has turned her suicidal impulses in the direction of brave self-sacrifice, rather than foolish action like Denethor’s. But this is another case where despair doesn’t just happen, it is a direct, intentional action of the enemy.

Other characters suffer feelings of, or temptations to, despair, pretty much in direct proportion as they come in contact with the enemy. Physical contact with the Ringwraiths pulls a personal partially into their world, as happens to Frodo at Weathertop, and the Eowyn and to Merry, who says to Pippin, “Are you going to bury me?” Victims don’t just despair of victory, but they doubt their own judgment, their own senses, even their own existence. It’s at times like these that we need the shoulder of a friend.

James Lindsay has posted recently about how modern-day deceivers will try to induce despair by robbing us of epistemic authority (“you don’t know what you are talking about.” “Do you have a degree?”), psychological authority (“you are crazy/phobic”), and moral authority (“you are a bigot/oppressor” “It’s so heartless/insensitive to say that”). The goal is to get their interlocutor to stop trusting their own mind and conscience, and just accept the new system of thought they are being offered. Perhaps this podcast of his was the thing that caused me to notice this dynamic happening in Middle Earth.

Anyway, you can make your own applications. Don’t despair. Your mind is probably working OK. You are probably not a crazy bigot oppressor who doesn’t have a working conscience. You are not the only one who has questions. There are friendly shoulders to lean on.

I was going to call this post “Don’t Despair,” but I thought that would sound too cliched and I wasn’t sure I could follow through on the promise of such a title.

This Is So Scary, Innit?

More from the Scary Book.

America is not lost. It is better to say the United States, as a whole, is lost; the GAE [Global American Empire] has captured it. But parts of America are certainly not lost. Hundreds of counties in the United States have a majority of conservative Christians, as do several states. … [W]e should organize and support Christian political visions for towns, counties, and states. In many places, our success or failure is not a matter of numbers but of whether we have the will for success.

Many claims in this book will worry American conservative Christians. I’ve said that political governments can suppress false religion, establish a church, even require people to attend church. I also wrote about a “Christian prince,” which is not the sort of title one would find in America. I will not walk back these arguments; I affirm my conclusions as good and true principles. But I have demonstrated that Christian nationalism can and should look different in different places, for all principles are applied according to a concrete situation. One application that is righteous in itself is not necessarily suitable for all situations. The means by which a Christian people achieve their good depend on their identity, their experiences, and their way of life.

Ibid, pp. 474 – 475 (Epilogue)

Another, Sort of Interesting, Personality Typology Book

I saw this at my local library.

I like reading personality typology books — as long as they aren’t too dumb — because I’m interested in stories and people. And people within stories. I am aware of the limitations of personality typologies. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that can capture all the nuances of a person; and, in fact, it would be surprising if we could. I have a made a few previous posts about the MBTI, but I know that it has been criticized and has been woodenly applied in a business context.

The MBTI yields sixteen basic types, and even it is not perfect. So of course, any typology that only has four types is going to be even less of a fit, unless you apply it generously and with some fluidity. (Which is different from making your typing of people unfalsifiable by always having an explanation for features that contradict your theory.) Carol Tuttle’s typology is a four-typer. Her four types correspond roughly to the ancient four types of Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic.

The book is somewhat woo-woo. (And whoo boy — I mean, hoo boy, her web site is even more woo-woo!) The way Tuttle explains her philosophy is that there are four types of energy present in nature, and while all people use all of these four types, each of us “expresses” one of the types of energy in particular. When she writes about people who have attended her seminars, she tends to describe them as “a woman who expresses Type 3 energy” instead of saying “a woman who is a Type 3.” I feel like there’s wisdom in that. Other woo-woo aspects: she explains how each type handles its energy in terms of yin and yang, and in the profiles of each type, she even includes a description of physical features that people with that sort of energy are likely to have. It was the physical descriptions that lost me. That seems like way too much of a claim. I have a much easier time accepting a typology that is just based on the way you approach life and the effect you have on other people, not just with things you explicitly do, but with the energy you bring into a room (about which more in a minute).

And yes, people do attend her seminars. Each chapter in this book has testimonials from people whose lives were improved once they were able to recognize and accept their type.

And yes, she did name the Types 1, 2, 3, and 4, which I think shows admirable restraint. Here they are:

  1. Energy that is light, lively, cheerful, and vertical, like the movement of an aspen tree.
  2. Energy that is smooth and down-ward flowing, like the Mississippi River.
  3. Energy that explodes outward, getting things done, like the sun or the appearance of the Grand Canyon.
  4. Energy that is constant, still and stable, like a rugged mountain reflected in a glassy lake.

(Notice: Air, Water, Fire, Earth.)

One thing that caused me to actually read this book (and then even go so far as to review it!) was that, as soon as I started skimming it, I began recognizing family members in the descriptions. One of my children, for example, clearly has Type 1 energy, and even loves rabbits, which because they move by hopping are cited as a Type 1 sort of animal.

Of course, not everything applies perfectly. Not everything said about Type 2 express-ers is true of me, for example. (No, I am not diplomatic nor am I good with numbers.) And some people don’t immediately seem to embody these types. So, despite the testimonials, I am recommending this book as an item of interest, not as something that is going to change your life.

What it really teaches you is how to dress.

Apparently, Tuttle has an entire seminar called “Dress Your Type.” The idea is that, when you dress in a way that matches the type of energy you bring, people know what to expect from you and they are more likely to respond to you in a way that’s in keeping with your general approach to life. I am all in favor of letting people know what to expect. I relied heavily on this principle when naming my children, for example.

Tuttle recommends that only people with Type 4 energy wear black. These people tend to be striking and somewhat forbidding in their aspect, and serious in their approach. Other types, she says, will be made to look tired or older by black. I’m not sure I’m ready to give it up, but OK.

Her approach does explain an awful lot about my sartorial preferences. I love flowy things: long belts, fringes, shawls, ponchos, bell sleeves, long hair, medieval historical dress, and all of these things are totally impractical for everyday work around the house, but apparently they express my flowy, Type 2 energy, so you have been forewarned. (I also write long, rambling novels.)

According to Tuttle, Type 2 is “a double yin” whereas Type 3 is “a double yang,” which might explain the following story.

My husband and I had just come through an extremely stressful period at work. We then had to travel for some meetings. The site where we were staying was sort of a vacation site, but it was a working trip too. We were trying to do a good job in the meetings, but also sort of relax and process all the stress we’d just been through. It was also a place where many people were coming and going, including a very energetic gentleman whom we had first met about a month earlier. This guy was one of those types who do an amazing job at their own role, and also insist that “everyone can do it!”

I was supposed to be taking notes at the meetings, but one morning, I woke up feeling awful. I dragged myself down to the kitchenette area and was just trying to force down some breakfast, hoping it would make me feel better, when the door burst open and in rushed Type 3 Energy Man. He didn’t even speak to me, but his presence was all it took. I dashed outside and threw up in the flower bed.