Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The song of Hiawatha and knitted patchwork




"Should you ask me, whence these stories?
Whence these legends and traditions,
With the odours of the forest, 
With the dew and damp of meadows,
With the curling smoke of wigwams, 
With the rushing of great rivers
With their frequent repetitions,
And their wild reverberations,
As of thunder in the mountains?
I should answer, I should tell you"       The song of Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1855 

I found a treasure. A first edition of a 1960's version of The Song of Hiawatha, illustrated by Kiddell Monroe. It was the  illustrations that were the barb that first grabbed hold of me and reeled me in. But then when I began to read the poem again, I was hooked once more. I know it's all a bit romantic but hard not to be seduced with narrative like this:

" Ye, who sometimes, in your rambles
through green lanes of the country, 
Where the tangled barberry-bushes
Hang their tufts of crimson berries
Over stone walls grey with mosses,
Pause by some neglected graveyard,
For a while to muse, and ponder
ON half-effaced inscription,
Written with little skill of song-craft,
Homely phrase, but each letter
Full of hope and yet of heart-break, 
Full of all the tender pathos
Of the Here and Hereafter;
Stay and read this rude inscription,
Read the Song of Hiawathe!"
"   


...It's a tale of  hope and love and heartbreak. How could I resist. 

...I'm knitting little wigwam shapes...well almost...I've picked up the  knitted patchwork blanket again using up sock wool remnants.I It's a nice light project to carry with me wherever I go. I've changed to 4mm needles so it no longer feels like pixie knitting. 


I'm joining with ginny, tami and  nicole...are you coming for a peep too?
debx

14 comments:

  1. Love that book! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi there. Thanks. I know I couldn't resist it and can't put it down now. I think that I'll be drooling over it for a quite a while!
      debx

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  2. Your book first edition book is such a lovely find! Those illustrations would have caught my eye as well. My daughters and I are planning to visit the Wadsworh-Longfellow House in Portland, Maine in a couple of weeks. Amy became a Longfellow fan after she came across a lovely edition of his poetry in a used bookstore last winter. I really like the scrap yarn blanket you are knitting. Have you seen Karen's (of Pumpkin Sunrise)? She is using a different pattern. Now I can't decide which one I want to try--the mitered corner patchwork or the ten-stitch blanket. A happy dilemma, I think!

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    1. It is lovely and such great strong colours considering it's age. Have you noticed the hot bubble gum pink...it's so vibrant. I love the simple contemporary graphic style of illustration on each page. I read Longfellow as a child but didn't really know much about the man until buying this book and felt compelled to do some more research. I had no idea that he was a contemporary of Tennyson or Hawthorne. I envy your house trip and wish I could come too. I hope you have a an amazing time. Hannah and I have plans to visit Keats House in Hampstead some time soon. Another romantic poet. We got rained off last time.
      I have seen Karens sock yarn blanket and love it. Thankfully I had already starting making mine so don't have your dilemma. Although you I can never have too many blankets and this one is for Hannah...maybe I could have a go at the ten-stitch blanket next...
      debx

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  3. Thank you for sharing your treasure and giving away some glimpses of it - beautiful!!

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  4. You are very welcome Zauberflink. It's lovely isn't it? I couldn't help but show you all.
    debx

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  5. great illustrations!!! I'd be hooked on that one, too. Are those little mitered squares??!!! :)

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    1. They are mitred squares Steph. Thanks to you. I just picked up the blanket again. I've only made thirty little squares but hopefully will be working on it quite a bit. I love how it's coming and can't wait to start stitching it up but feel that I should do more first with different yarns then I can sort out the pattern of colours. I may not be patient enough to do that though and just stitch it up as it is!

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  6. Aren't you lucky to find that book!! I love love and heart break, makes for a good poem or story!!

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    1. I know everything about it is lovely, the poetry, the images and that it's so old.
      dx

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  7. I love illustrations from the 1960s, too. Especially reading primers.

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    1. It's really cool isn't it. I love the images in reading primers too. I think that's what we would call Janet and John books.
      debx

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  8. Oh, that is a wonderful book, and, like you, the illustrations would have sucked me in too! Thanks for sharing some of the beautiful words as well.

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    1. I couldn't resist that one Emily.
      debx

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