Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
What Dutch sampler could be complete without the spinning monkey? Although upon first viewing, many of you may not have known what that rather scary looking motif was. The one at right is from Permin's Dutch Beauty. I was enlightened on this whole monkey symbolism after reading a lovely historically-based article in the fall 2006 issue of Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly. It's a nice magazine with another stunningly ugly example of that monkey on the issue's cover (it looks like he is wearing a bright red pullover). The monkey typically represented mischief and lechery - the folly of man. In the motif, s/he is usually seated in a chair and hand-spinning flax or something from a distaff. Yes, that really is supposed to be a monkey! In the end, I had to add the ugly ears to my monkey to keep it from looking like a cat on the bicycle.
I am a knitter and a spinner and distinctly recall the conversation I overheard a few years back in a yarn shop that inspired my version of this motif. Two women were talking about this "great new spinning class" they were taking. How the instructor was such a cute guy (!) and how much they were learning. Without blatently eavesdropping, I tried to learn more, but it just wasn't making sense. It was this final confusing remark by one gal that left me with a deep sense of being led on and tricked. She mentioned that she wished the Court Club near her would get their own spinning class so she wouldn't have to cross town. Doh! Even in a yarn shop, "spinning" meant bicycles and not wool.
Perhaps a slight bit of an anachronysm here, as the bicycle wasn't invented until 1817, but it seems perfectly fitting to have a bicycle on a Dutch sampler. The Dutch lead the world (save for China) in bicycle use. I was simultaneously impressed by the Dutch and disgusted by my own country's statistics. I guess the speed skating can only get the Dutchmen from place to place during the winter months.
Needless to say little Monkey Shines liked the retro look and opted for the orange Schwinn with the mustache handlebars. She had them remove the sissy bar (it interfered with her tail) and had them upgrade her to a banana seat.... which she promptly ate.
I did also want to thank everyone who has left such nice comments here and on various forums. I'm glad you are all sharing in my fun, because it wouldn't actually be any fun without having someone with whom to share these jokes.