Tone Police, Politics & Crochet Projects

Having survived interrogation by the Tone Police (one of my many crimes and misdemeanours being the use of italics) I’ve begun to scale a new mountain of marking. Once in the zone, I enjoy it—and it’s well-paid. The problem with relentless bureaucratic nonsense is that it drains energy from important tasks and produces low level stress that’s unimportant enough to feel guilty about mentioning but impacts on efficiency. Academics (supposedly) are paid to think and if we can’t—or won’t—then we’re not doing our job.

It wasn’t all nonsense. My communication can get rather irate when high-status professionals are eroding disabled rights. I admitted that and promised to be more meek in future. (Stop laughing!) However, on top of the stress of being a carer, standing for Freedom Alliance in the May Scottish local council elections and being doxxed by a colleague for my views on political theatre and crochet, and the continuing assault on civil liberties by Big Pharma and associated technocracy, it was all a bit too much.

So I remembered the wise words of a physio friend, “motion is lotion”, and decided to continue using the lovely set of crochet hooks that the party Nominating Officer had lent me—and to make her a shawl.

12 crochet hooks ranging in size & colour in a black silk pouch with a dragonfly motif.

It may seem odd that someone with RSI would enjoy this craft, after all it is repetitious, however it doesn’t involve finger tapping (unlike almost everything else in modern life) and the twisting motion is good for my circulation. Fundamentally the rhythm of the work and the pleasure of crafty creativity is a very good antidote for stress.

I’ve previously made some tea cosies, following a very simple free pattern: a combination of single crochet and slip stitch.

White wool chunky tea cosy on a white China teapot

I’d also had one attempt at this shawl, for a family member who was very pleased with this flimsy lime green version. But a friend said the pineapple stitch looked more like Christmas baubles so I resolved to try a more compact format in a different colour.

Long and narrow flimsy lime green shawl crocheted in pineapple stitch, spread out on couch cushions.

I found I needed a brightly coloured tray or blanket underneath the work to see the black thread clearly.

Pineapple stitch centred on top of orange tray

To be honest I’m still a bit confused between double and half double crochet (especially as the UK and USA use the same terms for different stitches) but in this version the pineapples were certainly clearer. I continued on.

Long and narrow compact black shawl crocheted in pineapple stitch, spread out on couch cushions.

I was pleased with the finished version but being compact it had lost some length—and the edges were a bit irregular.

Black shawl showing compact pineapples clearly hanging off arm of tan coloured sofa

So I decided to attach tassels and found this YouTube tutorial a great help. As instructed, I used a CD cover for the loops.

Fiddling about with even small kitchen scissors was a pain until I swapped them for tiny sharp embroidery scissors. The first tassel looked okay and I continued.

The tassels on the two sides aren’t symmetrical because the patterns is different so I went with a quirky rather than a regular look.

Shawl shown with tassels along both sides, large pink crochet hook and small kitchen scissors at bottom and tiny gold embroidery scissors at top.

My friend, who is an artist and always appreciative of creative projects—however irregular—was delighted with the result and tried it on immediately. She insisted on gifting me her lovely set of crochet hooks and, as I also bagged some of her lovely skeins of wool, my next project is a green and black beanie for her hubby.

[Photos (c) Alan McManus 2022 may be used with a link to this blogpost]