Everybody remember where we parked.
One of many memorable quotes (memorable to me, at least) from the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, that line was delivered to amusing effect by Captain James T. Kirk after landing a captured Klingon scout-class warbird in the middle of Golden Gate Park in 20th century San Francisco. This reminder to the crew made sense in the context of the scene because the ship was cloaked and therefore invisible. But even when walking away from your perfectly visible vehicle, it’s still a good thing to make note of where you’ve parked.
I can never remember. I might attribute my lapses in recall to advanced age. But this is one instance I can’t play the “old” card because I have been losing track of the car ever since I learned to drive at seventeen. You know that feeling, huh? You emerge from a grocery store with a loaded cart, or from the movies with rowdy kids in tow, or from holiday gift shopping with arms filled with packages. Your heart stops as you scan the sea of parked vehicles and you can’t find your car.
Only once in my life did I experience the worst case scenario where my vehicle was actually not there, stolen. That’s another story. In the back of your mind, especially after you’ve hiked up and down several aisles of the parking lot searching for and not finding your car, this is a real, nagging possibility. Most of the time, though, the car is there somewhere.
Way back when cars had sticky-out-y rod antennae, you’d often see funny things stuck to the tops of them to serve as locators. I tried doing that for a while but annoyingly the stupid Smurf doll wouldn’t stay impaled.
If you don’t mind cruising for prime spaces, you could try parking as close to the front of the building as possible so your car is immediately and easily seen. This works well outside of destinations with only one entrance. But where there are multiple portals, like at the mall, it’s useful to park in the same place every time or within a few spaces in a specific area, someplace less frequented, quiet and therefore usually empty. That’s why I automatically eschew the main mall entrance and head for an end cap, the door at the back of one of the anchor department stores. All I have to remember is which store, which entrance, and use it every visit. After years of practice I now do it without thinking.
So every time I go to the mall I find myself winding through the same departments of the same store in order to get to the coffee, without which I cannot contemplate any shopping. This path takes me through shoes, then menswear, then jewelry, handbags, women’s fashions and finally the scary, shiny cosmetics counters before I see the light from the mall. I routinely fly past everything, but once in a while something catches my eye and it’s always a garment display.
What captures my attention isn’t the garment itself, not the beauty or lack of it, not the style or even the color. I am drawn to fabric, the drape, pattern and textures of materials, knitwear, knits that mimic crochet and of course crocheted pieces. I see it all in terms of stitchwork and spend inordinate amounts of time dissecting the fabric and putting it in terms of crochet stitches and filing it away in my brain for inspiration later.
People who have the misfortune of accompanying me on these shopping forays get terribly disgusted with me. At first they might wait for me while I examine the enticing fabrics more closely, even when they can’t imagine why I’d be looking at those particular items. But after frequent long stops they generally abandon me and cover the retreat with “Hey, meet you at Starbucks later!”. This is why I go to the mall alone.
The point is, I see crochet stitch patterns everywhere, even where there’s no crochet to be seen. By stitch pattern I mean a set or combination of crochet stitches that have a cohesiveness or form an image, a discrete piece or parcel of crochet. We call that parcel a stitch pattern repeat, because that’s what gets repeated across a row and up the rows to form crocheted fabric. I encounter and experiment with many stitch patterns, but few can be counted in a rarefied group that has become my comfort zone.
And that’s where crocheted spirals live, in my stitch pattern comfort zone. I am so familiar with the look of spirals, how they are made, and how they can be shaped and manipulated to get the desired results, that designing with them is really fun. Over the years I have used variations on spiral stitch patterns in several designs. With the release of the latest booklet in my self-published pattern line I think I’ve finally been able to get spirals out of my system and onto the page.
So I present DJC: Spirals, a collection of seamless tops that puts spiral construction in your hands. This top may resemble one of my old designs published in a now out-of-print magazine, but it’s so much more than a mere reclaiming and re-print of Sophisticated Swirls from 2006. With new, detailed written instructions, tips and techniques, options for body and sleeve lengths, a tutorial about interior shaping, stitch diagrams, fresh samples in current yarns, and extended sizing that covers XS through 4X with 12 sizes, DJC: Spirals is a master class.