Friday, July 20, 2012

Professionally Pink

Several years ago (fall 2007) a historian of medieval law visiting at the Yale Divinity School sat in on the seminar - are you ready for the name? - Medieval Law! It was being taught in the Yale Law School Lillian Goldman Library Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room and was one of those epic experiences professionally, recreationally, anecdotally, educationally, and socially. It was also the semester my Degenerative Disc Disease had a glorious relapse and I was on pain medications that sent me into hysterical giggles ca 30 mins after taking  a pill. Of course, in order to sit through a seminar I had to medicate myself right before class. I am deeply grateful to the Professor and my colleagues for their patience, support, and help. Minus points to the Law School for disabled access to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, though. I could not take the stairs for months, so I had to take an elevator up to the modern library, trundle my wheely bag across the way, and take another elevator down to the basement... To figure this out required discussions with two librarians, two security guards, a call to the Disability Access office, and several friendly law students who carried my bag and let me lean on them. 

I know you wanted that back story.

Anyway, the medieval law historian. Let us call her Ms. Law Mentor.

 Ms. Law Mentor took me under her wing, and has been extremely helpful and supportive in my career. Plus, she is bucketloads of plain, pure, fun and has fabulous common sense. And as my adored sister-in-law would say: Common sense - not that common. But Ms. Law Mentor has it. Part of this common sense is realizing when to let go of things. So she let go of 14 skeins of Cotton Classic yarn by Tahki Yarns, and gave them to me! We are talking beautiful mercerized cotton any knitter would kill for. Unless they hate knitting in cotton, but we are ignoring that possibility in this utterly common sensical blog posting. The color was black. Now, I almost never wore black at the time, and even now only if I can pair it with bright colors. Preferably bright oranges or pinks. At the time, I did not do pink. There is a follow-up to that statement.

So, what should a non-black wearing girl do with such a treasure? Well, the answer came browsing Ravelry, of course. Hilary Engebretson's design Emerald Seas was the perfect solution! It is a top, knitted with a series of eylet rows down one side through which one threads ribbons of potentially very bright, contrasting colors. See where I am going, eh? So I knit the top, with some modifications: I reduced the ribbing at the hips, and shaped the top quite dramatically by decreasing needle sizes twice. As I had about half of the yarn left over, I knit myself a skirt, too! And had just enough  to finish the piece! I actually had to use left over needlepoint floss to stitch the waist elastic in...

Then the question was: what color ribbons do I use? I settled on burnt orange, red and pink. But Jo-Ann's Crafts and Fabrics did not have the perfect colors! So I did two shades of pink and a red:
Niece, eh? Here's a full frontal view:

I particularly like the decapitated look. And the pink. It was my first foray into pink, and since then I have become increasingly excited about the color. Preferably in combination with orange (this is me, after all), but I now own several items that are unequivocally: pink! 

And notice the shoes? My Fuzzband convinced me to get those once upon a time, and they are amazing! The ensemble from the back: 
This photo really should have been taken with stockings that have seams in the back, I know.

I have since mainly worn the ensemble at conferences! With a read suede jacket I bought at the Amsterdam Airport back in the early 2000s, or with a burnt orange cardigan, or with a lavender top... It is surprisingly versatile, and incredibly comfortable. This past five weeks I had three conferences in Europe, and I wore it at all of them. In fact I presented two of my papers in it, at separate conferences, of course. I wore sensible black Clarks Wave.Run walking shoes in Huddersfield, and cute little Söft kitten heels in Leeds. As Söft does not have an image online of them, here they are via my smartphone:
All in all, the ensemble is fabulous for conferences. It is comfortable, travels well, is unique, and flattering. I felt great! Oh, and the papers went well, too. Is there anything like presenting your research in an outfit you have hand made from yarn given by an academic mentor, I ask? The answer must be "No". Thank you Ms. Law Mentor!


  1. I know that dress! I love that dress and the shoes!

  2. You know I am a HUGE fan of those shoes...and the dress!

    Courtney ~

  3. Oh, and I forgot to add: this ensemble also taught me to appreciate black. I have since bought three (3!!!) black t-shirts, a dress in black (and white, and orange, and pink), and two black cardigans.