This November has been filled with all sorts of interesting challenges, and today was no exception.
The first challenge was walking our puppy, Clooney. He is what could best be described as a reluctant walker, and his only purpose in walking is to find exactly the right patch of grass for sitting on or the perfect pile of leaves for rolling in, and once he has found his puppy nirvana, it is hard to persuade him to move of his own volition, which reminded me of a book that was a favorite of mine as a child: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.
I did not have my own copy of this book, but there was a copy at my aunt and uncle’s house, and every time we went to visit, I would sit and read the book cover-to-cover.
Ferdinand, the story’s protagonist, is a bull who lives in the countryside and enjoys spending his days sitting in a field and smelling flowers.
One day men from Madrid come in search of a fierce and talented bull for the bullfights just exactly at the moment that Ferdinand sits on a bee and suffers (if the pictures are to be believed) a frightfully painful sting. The sting disrupts Ferdinand’s placid afternoon and sends him on a wild rampage, kicking and snorting.
The men from Madrid, impressed by what they believe to be Ferdinand’s fierce nature, eventually capture Ferdinand and take him back to the city secure in the knowledge that they have found the fiercest bull in all of Spain.
My memories of The Story of Ferdinand are inextricably linked with memories of my aunt and uncle and their lovely house built on a steeply sloping lot that was nestled in the hills that overlooked the City of Berkeley.
When my uncle was not watching one of the television programs he favored (he never missed an episode of Lawrence Welk or Big Time Wrestling), he would sit in his favorite chair in the living room where he had a view of the road that ran below the house; he would ask me if I thought the house would be toppled in an earthquake, covered by mud in a landslide, or consumed by fire.
So this morning, when I found myself at a standstill at the other end of the leash while I waited for Clooney to get back on his feet to resume our walk, I could not help but think that perhaps we should have named him Ferdinand:
Once I had the challenge of walking Clooney behind me and had run some necessary errands, I decided that I should face my color demons:
Having done a burn test several days ago on the center skein which came with a label that identified it as a wool yarn in a colorway known as “antique gold,” I used the same test to determine that the other two skeins (neither of which came with a label of any kind) were also wool.
The results of the burn test indicated that both unidentified yarns were wool as well, so I decided to put the powers of felting and Kool-Aid dyeing to the test. Using a 10.0mm hook, two strands of the antique gold wool, and this pattern:
I crocheted the main body of the flower basket:
Using one of the other colors of yarn, I made one of the eight flower motifs needed to complete the project. Here is a view of the flower with the entire body of the bag:
and here is a view as it will appear from the side once it is completed:
I don’t know that these are the sort of flowers that would capture Ferdinand’s interest, but they have captured mine.
As for my aunt and uncle’s house, it was consumed in the Oakland Firestorm of 1991.
The house that was one of the cornerstones of my childhood is gone, and another house has been built in it’s place, but my memories of the many afternoons I spent reading The Story of Ferdinand at their home remain.