Summer Camp Socks

I’ve been plodding along in spare moments to get another pair of socks finished to help fill up my daughter’s sock drawer. I started knitting her socks when she was tiny. She loved the warmth and the lack of a toe seam. It was easy enough to cart along a tiny ball of wool to preschool activities and bang out pair after pair of adorably small socks in relatively short order.

Children do have a tendency to grow and what used to be a quick and easy endeavor now requires lots of knitting and very regular washing of socks to keep her feet in hand knits.

This year we reached a moment of planetary alignment where we share the same foot size, and thus, the same sock size. This one beautiful moment when I can knit as many pairs of socks as I can – and even if she outgrows them next year, it will not have been wasted effort as they can migrate to my own sock drawer.

There is, of course, the chance that her feet are done growing and the socks will remain her own. When that day comes I will celebrate the fact that every pair I knit from that point onward add to a growing accumulation – each pair lengthening the time between loads of sock laundry. Perhaps I’ll even take a moment to knit myself a fresh pair.

Things of Interest 2020 Week 48

Reading

  • The Art of “Cool As Ice” (via Ironic Sans) Quick – what do Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and Vanilla Ice vehicle Cool as Ice have in common? They all have the same cinematographer. For extra fun, show the pictures in this article to an unsuspecting friend and have them try to guess which movie they are from.
  • Everything Was Fake but Her Wealth (via Smithsonian Magazine) A fascinating look into the life of Ida Wood, a reclusive woman who lived in a New York City hotel for 24 years. Stay for the twist at the end.
  • A Rant About “Technology” (via Ursula K. Le Guin Archive) A response to the idea that “hard” science fiction must deal with high technology and a pointed reminded of what technology actually means.

We’ve made it through Thanksgiving and are starting down the barrel of December. We are almost to the end of this year. Only one thing to do – move onward, friend, to next week.

Things of Interest 2020 Week 47

Music

  • Meet Shameika Stepney, Inspiration to Fiona Apple on Fetch the Bolt Cutters (via Pitchfork) Fetch the Bolt Cutters is on heavy rotation around here and is, by far, my favorite album of the year (side note: if you have a record player I highly recommend picking up the vinyl – the mastering is exceptional). If you haven’t listened to it yet, please do, and then read this article that has an interview with Shameika Stepney, inspiration to the absolute banger of a song “Shameika”.

On Survival

  • The Comedy of Survival (via Austin Kleon) A great read on the usefulness of a sense of humor as a survival strategy. It’s also an interesting read in that you can almost see the wheels turning in the author’s head. You can see him pulling together ideas from different sources and watch his thinking circle around to greater truths. Austin Kleon’s blog is one of my favorite follows if you are in the market for new blogs or newsletters to read.

Stationery

  • Forever Stamps for 2021 (via USPS) The United States Postal Service has released images for their new forever stamp designs for 2021. I’m particularly partial to the Lunar New Year, Day of the Dead, Raven Story and Western Wear designs. What are your favorites?

Art and/or Frivolous Nonsense

  • The Book of Pop Out Earrings (via Supersassy) I am a simple person and seeing these delighted me. Paper earrings actually seem like a reasonable idea from a weight perspective and potentially are an interesting way for artists to make a little money. I would have wanted these desperately when I was younger.

Another week into the grinder. If you are in the United States, enjoy your hopefully tiny and at home Thanksgiving. And no matter where you are, onward, friends, into next week.

Ixchel Sweater

Two years ago the fall edition of Pom Pom magazine came out. On its cover was a sweater so spectacular that I immediately bought both the magazine and the specially dyed yarn to make it. The pattern notoriously had many mistakes and was not a particularly knitter friendly design. Much like the sirens luring sailors to their deaths, the beauty of this sweater lured me in anyway – and now, after multiple years of on and off knitting – I’ve finished.

Ixchel Sweater

I’m not particularly adept at colorwork, nor do I find it incredibly enjoyable, but sometimes the results are worth the process.

This sweater has had various parts reknit multiple times. Particularly frustrating was when I got well down one of the arms when I realized I had been knitting with the smaller sized needles you are supposed to use on the cuffs instead of the main needle size and had to rip it all back.

The final scare was when I went to block it. After pulling it from the water it seemed to have grown much more than what my swatch would have indicated. Even worse, the yarn seemed stringy and sad. It was a tense day and half but as it dried, the yarn puffed up again and the growth was more in line with a drapey, comfy sweater instead of something that would fit Sasquatch.

While it wasn’t my favorite thing to knit, it might be my favorite thing I’ve knitted. I think it was worth the trouble.

Things of Interest 2020 Week 46

Listening

  • Take a Walk (via 99% Invisible) Episode 419 of the podcast 99% Invisible is a collage of people talking about the walks they take. It is an absolute balm.

Watching

  • The Victorian Farm (Amazon Prime) This series follows three historians as they try to live and replicate life on a farm in the Victorian era. It reminds me of the shows like 1900s House that used to air on PBS.
  • Jack Black as Monster Hunter Hunting Horn Main (via You Tube) A delight for those specific people who have played Monster Hunter and love Jack Black. Especially delightful as Hunting Horn main.
  • Playstation 5 Unboxing ft. Dr. Sydnee McElroy (via You Tube) If you haven’t listening to or watched any content from the McElroy family, I urge you to listen to their podcasts.

Take that 2020. We’ve got another one in the books. Onward, friends. And watch out for Balrogs.

Things of Interest 2020 Weeks 44 and 45

Things have been… dramatic the past few week with the election and then, eventually the results. My town has been filled with honking, dancing, and fireworks. Here are some things of interest…

Watching

  • Community (Netflix) We’ve be rewatching this show since it became available on Netflix. The parody and homages to different genres are some of the best.
  • I Think You Should Leave (Netflix) A little gem of a comedy show for those that also liked shows like The State.

Art and Stationery

Customs Around The World

  • Christingle (via Wikipedia) I only discovered this while watching James Acaster’s comedy special on Netflix wherein he describes the candle and candy bedazzled orange, and immediately I had to google to see if it was a real thing. Dear reader, it is real and the images do not disappoint.
  • Radiator Versus Forced Air Heating. During the podcast Wonderful, one of the hosts mentioned being freaked out by the radiator in an old house. In the Facebook group of fans, many in Europe were very confused both by why a radiator would be scary and, if there is no radiator, how people in the United States heat their homes. Thus began an interesting exchange showing the vast differences between radiators in Europe and the old, exceedingly hot ones in the U.S. and how the need for air conditioning here led to the success of forced air heating. I love discovering new things I didn’t know about the world.

Pumpkin Bread (but not)

A strange Halloween this year, but we find celebration where we can. This year I tried my hand at shaping a pumpkin loaf.

It exceeded my expectations and I will take that wherever I can get it this year. It is my basic naturally leavened bread I make every few days – just shaped into a decorative loaf – no pumpkin flavor here.

Here’s to successes where we can find them.

Things of Interest 2020 Week 43

It was the week of the final presidential debate and another week of rising Covid cases in the United States and Europe. Still, there were some things of interest…

Animal Interests

  • Siphonophones (via Wikipedia) -These weird creatures are technically a colony of animals, that function as a single animal. The Portuguese man o’ war is the most well known example. I’m still having trouble wrapping my head around why they are considered a colony versus a type of animal that has a unique growth pattern. I call shenanigans!
  • Blanket Octopus (via Wired) – There are many wonderful and strange things of interest about these octopuses but the particular one that caught my attention was the fact that the males and young females rip tentacles off of man o’ wars and use them as weapons. For real.

Reading

  • Making a Life by Melanie Falick – I’ve been enjoying dipping into this compendium of artists of various mediums with a focus on why they make by hand.

We’ve made it through another one. Onward, friends, to next week.

Things of Interest 2020 Week 42

This week saw dueling presidential town halls, the beginnings of early voting and the rise of Covid cases in the U.S. Still, there were a few interesting things…

Listening

  • Arcade Fire – Reflektor (via Spotify) I get the urge to listen to this every fall. I enjoy it all but the second half is especially good.
  • Fleetwood Mac – Rumours. This is another album that feels especially suited to the fall to me. Of course the cranberry juice skateboard video has had it stuck in my head this year as well.

Watching

  • Reflektor music set to the film Black Orpheus (via Vimeo)When the album first came out they dropped this video online. The match up between the the film which is a re-telling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, with the music on Reflektor which covers the same themes is beautiful and haunting.
  • The blue skies. The combination of cold fronts and fewer planes has led to some of the bluest skies. Between September 11th and now the pandemic I wonder if at some point we’ll start associating blue skies with catastrophe.

Art

Reading

The one common thing you hear from everyone is “Why does this hurt so much? I didn’t know the guy.” Yes, you did know the guy. You shared 100 meals with him, if not more. 

Matt Goulding

We’ve made it through another one. Like sped up astronauts, onward, friends, to next week.