Some Weird Backgrounding on Project Blue

By Holly Lisle

Am deep in developing a “written” language for the worldbuilding in Project Blue. I’m having to think way outside the box, because the language is encoded for weavers, knitters, and others who work in fabric, and it’s got to be compact but flexible. So patterns have meanings, and so do colors, and so do textures (think of knit and purl as the ones and zeros of binary). Because it’s a cold-climate culture, I’m at least spared the complexities of lace, though this was not a happy accident. I MADE it a cold-climate culture in order to be spared the complexities of lace. (Call it a cop-out if you like.) I’ve already graphed a series of teusyl (labyrinth) patterns that connect to solid bars at top and bottom, or on the sides, which are designated as summoning or power patterns, and which carry messages in borders, and a series of free-standing aswul patterns (designated request or prayer patterns) that are worked as designs either in colorwork or in texture work, and that can be tucked into the body of a larger piece of work. This language is a huge part of the magic system of the world in which belongs.

As part of that magic system development, I’ve done the meditations in color (training tools for apprentices who are learning the “written” language), and got the limited list of dyes that fit in the language.

Here’s a little snippet of the meditation chunk of the worldbuilding, for the deep-dyed writing geeks among you:

o Yellow—Yellow is the sun in summer, flowers in the fields, wisdom in word and deed, and the search for learning, thought and questioning, pursuit for the sake of pursuit, decision and uncertainty in their turn. Yellow moves through the air, and its seat is in the mind. Yellow brings power, and the power can work to good or to evil.

  • • marigold yellow
  • • burdock yellow
  • • dandelion yellow
  • • willow-leaf yellow
  • • cumin yellow

o Green—Green is spring in new growth and summer in profusion, the fields and the forests, meadows and gardens. Green is the giver of nourishment, the milk of the earth, riches sought and unsought. Green is born of the earth and is fed by water and air, and its seat is in the hands and the feet. Green brings power, and the power can work to good or to evil.

  • • artemesia green
  • • grass green
  • • spinach green
  • • nettle green
  • • lily-of-the-valley-leaf green

o Blue—Blue is the sea and the sky, the wild places where humanity cannot travel unaided, the great mystery. Blue is the serenity of open spaces, the rivers rich with fish, the air bursting with birds. Blue is the curiosity of the unknown, wildness and confusion, storm and gentle rain in their turn, change and change and change again. Blue travels in water and air, and its seat is in the heart. Blue brings power, and the power can work to good or to evil.

  • • grape blue
  • • indigo blue
  • • red-maple-bark blue
  • • cherry-root blue
  • • blueberry blue

If you carefully read the meditation on blue, you might get an inkling of the theme of Project Blue—which has, in fact, a much, much better title, a title I adore—but I’m not telling until I sell the thing.

I have this weird image of chapter headers or separators done as photographs of finished knit work, or maybe knitting (weaving/ cross-stitch) graphs, each which would spell out the name of the chapter or some key element within the chapter (with the name in English in the usual place.)

I’m still working out the degree of power in the magic. I’m pretty sure at this point that well-knit pieces could double as serviceable armor in a battle.

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