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“Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people … they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favorite haunt.” (FotR, p. 19)*
After reading Tolkein’s extensive prologue on the details of Hobbit life, I have come to suspect that my not-so-secret desire to take off for the country and live on a farm is a rather hobbitty inclination. Tolkein describes them as being not terribly fond of complex machinery, and skillful at all sorts of hand-crafts (except shoe-making). Yes, I think I’d be very much at home in Hobbitton. Maybe one day I’ll visit.
The official first project on this knitted tour of Middle Earth is actually a small test run for those new at mosaic knitting. It’s tacked onto the end of the Bag End pattern (coming next), and I actually knit it while we were reading the end of The Hobbit a few months ago. I thought such pre-gaming would be appropriate, since the name of this mini-pattern is “There and Back Again.”
What is “There and Back Again” supposed to be, exactly? I don’t expect you to be able to tell from the above picture, which is the only one I remembered to take in-progress. They are accessories, to go with the Bag End tote – a glasses case and a change purse, to be exact.
There is one point in which my taste is not altogether hobbitty: “They dressed in bright colours, being notably fond of yellow and green” (20). I do love green, in most of its variety, but I have a finicky relationship with yellow. We flirt, and hang out sometimes, but I’m just not willing to go steady. So instead, my greens are accompanied by naturals and earthy reds.
“Bag End” calls for five colors, but I must have forgotten this when at the store, because I came home with six. I picked the most redundant one, a heathered brick red, and made it the dominant color in these accessories.
The pattern is really quite clever. The mosaic pattern is interlocked in such a way that if you turn the pieces upside down, you get more hobbits!
You then fold them up different ways, sew them up and add edgings, and ta-da: oversized accessory bags, ready to be felted. I’ll felt these things later, when I felt the bag. I’m not about to do in two hot washes what I could do in one.
At least three people have independently called my little girl an elven princess, several have called her an elf, and one shopkeeper at the renaissance festival memorably remarked, “Oh, she’s fey.” But she has inherited at least a few hobbitty characteristics from her mummy, “bright-eyed, red-cheeked, with mouths apt to laughter, and to eating and drinking. And laugh they did, and eat, and drink, often and heartily, being fond of simple jests at all times, and of six meals a day (when they could get them)” (20).
Though she is quick to point out: “Mom, you don’t own glasses. Not even sunglasses. And when was the last time you used change for something other than scale in a picture of handspun?”
You got me, elf baby. I’m sure they will end up being notions bags.
“Hobbits really are amazing creatures, as I have said before. You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch.” – Gandalf. (96-7)
(All references to The Fellowship of the Ring in this blog, now and hereafter, are from the August 1971 second printing of the Ballantine Books first paperback edition, volume 1 of The Lord of the Rings in three volumes.)