I was browsing Facebook the other evening, when I came across this post by Koliber Anna Droździoł. Freeform crochet landscape dresses. How beautiful?!
She’s done a stupendously brilliant job. I love the exuberance, the colours, the technical skill, everything about this. (Also, I would so wear this.) It got me thinking, and now I’m wondering whether I should make a dress or a skirt based on the landscape around here in Oxfordshire. If you’ve been here for any longer than it takes the twinnage to sniff out hidden chocolate, then you’ll know that a while ago, I knitted the panels below, each one depicting a different season in the local countryside. (Post here.)
They were surprisingly easy to make, so a skirt or a dress seems doable. I’m definitely not finished yet with using yarn to recreate the local scenery. The longer we live here, the more I get to know this rural landscape, and how its geology has shaped its human history and its wildlife. Believe me, I’ve had plenty of time to study the shapes and shades of the area, ‘thanks’ to the ****ing, ******ing, ****************ing, marathon training. At the time of writing, it’s sixteen days until I
hobble run this ****ing race. As I’ve trained, I reckon I’ve covered nearly every square mile of south Oxfordshire.
To be grudgingly fair, it’s been interesting and it’s been pretty, and I set off every single time without a clue where I’ll end up, which is a big part of the fun. There’s always another trail or track to be noticed and explored.*
Last Saturday, I managed my longest run to date, all 21 miles (34 km) of it. The downside to this experience was a whole load of aching, having run up and down (and up, and down) hills in the blazing midday sun. But the upsides were surprisingly plentiful – if badly phone-photographed because I don’t like to stop. There’s the history, for starters. I run a lot on the Ridgeway Trail, a 5000-year-old route along a chalk ridge over southern England. When you’re plodding along up there, you have plenty of time to think about the hundreds of thousands of folk who must have passed this way before. Often, there’s not another person or settlement within sight so you’re alone with the wildflowers growing on chalky soil, the birds of prey (no doubt anticipating carrion when I fall over, exhausted), your own maladaptive thoughts, and the occasional evidence of our ancient forebears, such as this ancient hill fort that I wrote about before. (Photo below taken ages ago, before the current heatwave/drought.)
I run lower down, too, through woodlands:-
Past some charming old timber-framed thatched cottages:-
Taking care not to frighten the baby kestrel that was just figuring out how to bird:-
And around a nuclear research facility:-
Ever onwards across this parched landscape:-
Where the sun blazes relentlessly down:-
And always, I think:-
(i) This hurts. WHY am I doing it? It’s far too hot and my ears are melting.
(ii) How beautiful is this place?! I wonder where on earth I am. Would I seem odd
er than usual if I asked this woman which village I’m in?
(iii) How has this landscape been shaped by its rocks and its water and its people?
(iv) I am never, ever, going to enter a marathon again. Ever. Definitely. No way.
So having had plenty of cause to study the landscape, I really do need to knit or crochet it a little more. I’m sure you’ll understand?
Anyway, that’s all for today, because I need to head up to Yorkshire for another Stylecraft Blogstars weekend. I’ll keep you posted.
∗ Publicly accessible ones, I mean: I’m not trespassing.