09 June 2007

Little Boxes

This week my Netflix fix included Weeds, the comedy about the suburban, pot-dealing widow delivering a bit of chemical escape to her fellow private-community-dwelling pals. At first, I skipped this one, finding the whole concept a bit too contrived in its methodology of bringing up stereotypes and then, oh surprise of surprises, inverting them. There are a few groan-worthy moments, but overall, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how smart and funny this show really is. And for the time-challenged among us (um, that would include pretty much all of us except for those bored, rich housewives with nothing to do outside of daily Pilates class, a weekly PTA meeting and ordering about the maids), I give it many, many stars for being cute and clever in bite-size, less-than-30-min. chunks.

Anyway, the whole point behind my recommendation is that the theme song for the show is wonderful and is completely stuck in my head. (If you haven’t heard it, go here for the lyrics.) Since I’ve been walking around humming “Little Boxes, Little Boxes” to myself, I’ve been thinking first of the points the song and show make about our positions in the world and interactions with people and the stereotypes around them. When I haven’t been vegged in front of the TV this week, I also had a few dates with some perfectly nice but perfectly sheltered suburban boys who clearly had some “little boxes” of their own. There’s probably more to say about that, but I think I’m just going to leave it with this rule for future dating: If you’re scared to come into my neighborhood at night, you’re too uptight for me. And no, I won’t walk you to your car. My neighbors won’t eat you. They might give you a much-deserved hard time for being an uptight suburbanite, but you’ll make it to your vehicle safely if you don’t pass out on the sidewalk like a ninny. Humph…

The second, and more knitting-relevant, “little boxes” point to cross my addled brain is on a much more literal level. I never realized how much of a thing I had for containers… boxes, jars, baskets, bags, all these little treasure chests sitting inconspicuously on the edges of bookshelves, tucked into the corner of a chair, hidden away inside larger containers. I suppose I like the illusion of organization and control, all those boxes lined in a row, but I think it’s more about the tiny bits of treasure that are too dear to toss, too insignificant to know what to do with.

Perhaps this is a crafting thing, the knowledge that those little bits are often just the perfect touch for a project or perhaps they’re the inspiration for something much larger, something that may not even incorporate that tiny sliver of ribbon or small scrap of flannel. Of course, we’ve probably all had the experience of forgetting what is lurking in our little boxes. Sometimes you just know that you have beads that you absolutely must use, but a search under lids and inside pockets everywhere yields everything but those special sparkly bits. Most often, I get frustrated in my search, give up and hit the store for more tiny bits, promising myself that I’ll do better this time, putting my extras away in the perfect little box which will never get lost and will always be remembered. And the cycle of storage, search and loss begins again…

In a rare moment of fortuitous crafting, I happened to open one of my special little boxes around the same time I discovered the pattern for the Spring Things Shawl and just after I purchased the very yarn the pattern calls for, even in the same exact color as the pattern picture, frighteningly enough. A project was born.

If all goes well and my needles take on a never-before-seen speed, I’ll be wearing a beaded shawl to a beach wedding next weekend. Granted, I didn’t bother counting the beads after I discovered them to even see if I have enough stashed away to complete the project, but where’s the fun in that? I’m just planning to knit merrily along, smug in my capacity to finish off leftovers from a previous project while simultaneously taking on my first ‘real’ lace.
Last night when I finally got to the beaded section, I did a massive hunt through all my assorted tool bags for that miniscule crochet hook that I just knew I had holed away… just in case. Oh so many little bags to dig through. Just as I was about to throw up my needles in despair, there it was, hidden amidst all the missing stitch holders, point protectors and odd tape measures that I’d forgotten about entirely.

I’m not sure I should declare this publicly, but so far, this project is coming together ever-so-nicely. Maybe the enchanted little boxes have been conspiring to help the crazy lady who feels the need to store every six-inch piece of scrap yarn. Perhaps this is actually just a tease put together by all my clutter as word has gotten out that I’m doing my darnedest to either use up my stashes or start posting weekly on eBay. I can just hear them, “Oh, we’ll put together one nice thing for her. She’ll start paying more attention to us and opening up all sorts of little boxes to see what’s inside and how it can be used. The next thing you know, she’ll embark on some grandiose scheme and that’s when we’ll get her. We’ll shuffle our contents so she can’t find anything at all, she’ll have a crafty breakdown and run to every store in town with credit card in hand, ready and willing to fill up every little box, bag and jar will tiny bits of unknown origin and design. Each tiny bit will beget 20,749 other tiny bits and nary a completed object will be found.”

Yeah, I worry myself too when I imagine talking little boxes planning an uprising. Best stick to just finishing the shawl and planning some beach knitting for next weekend. I think I’ll only tackle the stash one little box at a time.

1 comment:

Redheadskydiver said...

Can't wait to see the shawl blocked! It looks gorgeous! I have lots of little boxes too.