Maybe cane-abalize the plain old maple one
Monday November 22nd 2010, 11:33 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Friends,Non-Knitting

Stepping away for a moment from the intensity of a new knitting project…

So. I have this cane. It’s made from sassafras wood, it’s spotted and hand carved and very cool, and my childhood friend Karen found it at a shop in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Yes–that is her on the left in the original Water Turtles shawl; new book copies available at the cover price+shipping at Purlescence.) I’ve used it as my main cane for five years now; I have to admit, the upper curve in the handle is looking rather well used by now.

Shown in the picture above, I have another one from Karen, who finds just the coolest ones, this one from Africa with painted animals on it and an ankh symbol for a handle: zebras, the perfectly-colored and -spaced spots of a giraffe, it’s got it.

Some small child got entranced with it at church recently and a zebra lost an ear.  It’s not very noticeable, except to me, but, so that one got put away for special occasions for its own good. Hearing aids for wooden horses are in short supply.

I went looking today out of idle curiosity, my local shop seeming to have gone to ugly aluminum only last time I checked, and where’s the artistry in that? I say, if it’s a permanent part of your life it needs to earn it a little bit.

And so I found someone who took an old cane and had fun with it. He steampunked it!  There’s a gear here, another few there, leather added to the handle, and, of all things, a lace-up black leather corset going up the shaft. It’s really, really cool! (But I can’t buy it without seeing if it’s comfortable with my hand leaning on that metal there, and I need  35″ and have no idea how long his is.)

I tell you. With apologies to my fellow knitters, this way beats the candy-cane stocking cover that every year about this time I start to daydream about knitting it for the season. Or maybe it’s just that that idea has lost its novelty for me by now.

Hmmm… How would you decorate one?

13 Comments so far
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Love it! My cane, from when I broke my leg line dancing a few years ago, is a cheapie from the dollar store. Bamboo with maybe some gesso applied, and then lacquered in a faux-mahogany color within an inch of its life. It is definitely in shabby-chic territory these days, with chipped lacquer and glaring white spots (think 1960’s-era lifeguard nose). One of my favorite little old ladies has several canes in patterns that look like Laura Ashley threw up all over them 😉 I agree that if you need one on more than an occasional basis, it ought to have some personality, or reflect yours. If I ever need to use mine again, I just might trick it up a la steampunk.

[Poor little one-eared zebra. I have a resin nativity set, and one of the camels has suffered a similar fate. Maybe we should introduce them?]

Comment by Lynn 11.23.10 @ 1:47 am

Make it look like one large crochet hook, maybe with the word “Boyle” down the side, what else? 🙂

Comment by afton 11.23.10 @ 4:55 am

I have a beautiful cane with hand carved birds of prey on it. I rarely use it because I’m afraid I’ll damage it somehow. Also I’m a very shy person, and it always draws attention I’m not comfortable with. I love your posts about the birds at your home!

Comment by Sharon M 11.23.10 @ 6:14 am

What fun! Do you ever watch House? Dr. House has some really funky, fun canes…

Comment by Channon 11.23.10 @ 7:50 am

when my daughter was very young there was a woman at church that had been injured in an auto accident and used crutches to get around — she had done the most beautiful tole painted flowers all over them

(were you able to retrieve the zebra’s ear? perhaps it could be glue back on — or he just needs ear muffs for the winter!)

Comment by Bev 11.23.10 @ 8:01 am

Oh, deer, cane it be true? The zebra lost an ear?
I don’t use a cane anymore — too wobbly for my yucky balance. I use an undecorated hemi-walker. Maybe I should decorate it somehow.

Comment by Don Meyer 11.23.10 @ 10:55 am

I found my cane at an antique shop. It was only $15 and beautiful wood. They had several. The wood is worn smooth from use and I like to imagine the hands that have used it. How many people have it supported over the years? Beautiful.

Comment by Betsy 11.23.10 @ 12:20 pm

I think I would do yarn wraps! Silk and wool and alpaca, oh my.

Comment by Lanafactrix 11.23.10 @ 9:00 pm

Maybe little dots of acrylic paint, like the aboriginal art Down Under. Or painted white and covered with quotes and poetry in colorful permanent marker. Or beads! Lots and lots of ’em! (But hard to beat steampunk – that corset sounds awesome.)

Comment by twinsetellen 11.23.10 @ 9:25 pm

I hope I can include a link here. I’d love to have a walking stick decorated as this one is.


Comment by RobinM 11.24.10 @ 7:38 pm

Oohhh I need to get a steampunked one!

Comment by Diana Troldahl 11.24.10 @ 10:28 pm

I love my cane (well to be honest I hate having to use it at times). It’s just one of the plain metal adjustable ones but it’s got butterflies on the shaft in some very pretty muted colors. Couldn’t get by without it.

Comment by Mary 11.25.10 @ 5:27 am

Mine is ash or poplar, I believe, stained purple so you get the color AND the woodgrain. Ever since I tanked my hip two years ago, that thing goes with me whenever I’m in unfamiliar territory, or likely to be on my feet a long time, or there’s a chance of having to walk any distance. I can even dance with it when I go to a club to hear music. But, cool as the purple cane is, I really covet one made of Irish blackthorn wood…

You know you’re getting old when…you go to a concert given by a former punk rocker, same age bracket as yourself, and he asks where you got your cool cane…true story!

Comment by Paula 11.30.10 @ 6:49 pm

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