Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Giving Up, Giving In, Giving Out

For non-native speakers of English, the hardest thing about the language seems to be memorizing the dizzying number of idiomatic expressions that stem from little verbs like "get" or "take," to which we add a cute little word of seemingly small significance that somehow totally changes the entire meaning of the phrase. For all you non-native speakers of English, this post's for you (and anyone who wants to wade through it just to see my new shawl).

Lets take "give", for example. You add "in" to it, and you get a little expression meaning that you've had it. You just can't stand it anymore. Like, say, when a 4-year-old begs and begs and begs for candy, and just when you think your eyes are swelling so huge they're about to pop right out of the sockets and fall to the floor at your preschooler's feet, you give in. Why? You need your sanity. Yep, you give them the candy.

Then, if you add "up" to "give", well, this also somehow means that you've had enough and just can't stand it anymore. But, somehow it's different. That's English for you. Go figger. See, this one means you're going to quit trying. Say, for example, that you're working on a never-ending shawl pattern that doesn't seem to grow with the numerous stitches you continually add to it. At some point, you just throw up your hands in dismay and "give up". You either cast off right at the completely arbitrary spot you're at, or you throw the entire thing in the trash, needles and all.

That last of the three "give" idioms in the post title (you did notice I was explaining that post title, I hope) is "give out". This is a fun one that I suspect even many people from the northern parts of the US are not totally familiar with. That's a shame, too, because it's entertaining to say and hear said. Alright, say you're a redneck, and you've been on your tractor all afternoon plowing the fields. Once again, you just can't take it anymore. Yep, you've had enough. Except this time, it means you're tired (in a physical sense). So, you fling open the screen door, walk quickly to the silverware drawer and pull out a fork to scratch your back with. When you finish, you chuck it back into the drawer and head to the fridge for a beer, exclaiming to your wife, "I'm just plumb give out." Plumb's another great word to know. You can use it with all kinds of verbs to mean "completely".

So, why the English lesson today? Well, I was knitting on that Feather and Fan Shawl that I must have started some time in January or February. I had a total of three skeins of yarn to use on it. And, last night as I neared the end of skein number two, it occurred to me that I was a bit tired of this shawl. It's pretty repetitive once you get the hang of it, and, honestly, all I really want is just to be able to wear it (now! - if it gets cool enough). So, I "gave in" to my urge to "give up" entirely on doing the whole three skeins. 'Cause, people, I was just plumb "give out."

As it turns out, it was approximately the right size after blocking. I didn't even need that third skein. And, you can look at the little picture to see it in all its glory.

I know, it's a little weird to take a chair outside just to snap a shot of a shawl, but I don't have one of those pretty wood decks or even a nice fence to hang it on. I even tried getting Lambchop #1 to pose with it, but that girl's got no future in modelling. She may be cute, but forget knowing how to pose. I couldn't get her to stand still or even keep from dragging it through the weeds while she tried.

We're having an outdoor dinner this evening, and it may just be chilly enough to slip this baby around my shoulders without looking like a total idiot whose way too proud of her most recent FO. I've even dressed in something that won't clash with it just in case. I'm sly that way.