I once had an argument with a friend (this was probably in 2001) about whether the term “emo” was a well-known term. I said that if *I* knew what emo is–and I am someone who owns 5 CDs and no iPod–then it was a well-known term. We then proceeded to poll random strangers at the now-defunct Tower Records about their knowledge of “emo,” and shockingly, only one person knew what it was, and claimed it “was an obscure term.”

On a related note, I was reading Vanity Fair (the mag, not the novel) today, and in their letters section, one of their readers wrote, “Can you explain ’emo’ and ‘frenemie’?” Apparently, emo is continuing to confuse people across the land.

the sock and emo

Anyway. If you take emo to mean “emotional” or “overly emotional” rather than relating to a specific era of music, the sock went to see various emo acts this week. On Tuesday, it went to see Morrissey at Hammerstein Ballroom.

I have two friends who love Morrissey with a deep and intense passion, so when I heard Adam was going to see the Moz, I invited myself along, to experience the madness firsthand.

The sock also went to see Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci, the former famous for being featured in Godfather III (amazing what you can learn from the program notes!) and the latter for being in a Seinfeld episode. Both are also very emotional. Pagliacci is about clowns, and on the subway home, I sat next to someone reading a flyer for the New York Clown Theater Festival AND who had small stuffed clowns hanging from his backpack. I was overcome with a desire to whisper, “Laugh, clown, laugh” when he got off, but I restrained myself.

Posted in travelingproject, Uncategorized at October 28th, 2007.

travleing sock

It all began a couple months ago, when Adam asked me if I had heard of some sort of yarn festival upstate. One of his friends had gone a few years ago, and he thought I might be interested. I was like, “Yeah, I think it’s in Rhinebeck. I think it’s popular.” As of yesterday, I think Adam might have regretted suggesting going, since he probably saw enough yarn to last a lifetime, but I, at least, was happy. (Adam, as usual, took all the nice photos.)

Anyway. I was a little scared of being surrounded by fiber-loving fools, or “yarnies,” as I started calling them. (Who, as someone pointed out later, were like “carnies, but less evil.”) But I decided to try and be social and joined Rhinebeck Blogger Bingo, where you got a bingo card and marked off other knit bloggers that you saw (players were supposed to wear a badge or something that said “I’m a square,” to help you identify them). Adam was quite good at spotting fellow bingo players, but despite normally being a nosy and chatty person, both by personality and profession, I was kind of uncomfortable approaching people.  It felt weird to say, “Hey! Are you a square?” I did find several other players, and though I did not get a BINGO, I was glad I played. But even though the game made it okay to approach strangers and introduce myself, I hung back. Soon, though, my creepy side would emerge.

ravelry founders

It all began when I walked by the Ravelry founders, Jess and Casey. (Also, it turned out to be a blogger bingo meetup, which I accidentally stumbled onto, and yet, I was STILL anxious about approaching other players.) I kind of shoved Adam and Casey together, and was all “Adam, this is the guy who made Ravelry.” “Hey Casey [Clearly, Casey had no idea who I was, yet I decided that Casey and I were on a first-name buddy-buddy level. Such is the madness of the Internet], this is my boyfriend, he works at an Internet start-up too.” Casey was very nice, though I’m sure a little weirded out by my forwardness.

Then, while we were wandering around the sheep barns, I spotted Yarn Harlot. Instead of politely saying something normal, (like “Oh, hello. You do look familar, are you the woman who writes Yarn Harlot,” or something) I said, “Hey, it’s the Yarn Harlot.” This is kind of like the time my uncle opened his car door and stood face to face with Norman Fell, and said, “Oh! Mr. Roper!” The Yarn Harlot looked decidedly uncomfortable, and said hello. Then like a hick, I yelled, “Hey Adam, look! It’s the Yarn Harlot!” Because nothing makes a person feel more comfortable then being referred to in the third person in front of their face. Anyway, she was also very polite, though I think she wandered away quickly to avoid being confronted by me.

The Yarn Harlot

Here’s a blurry photo of the back of Yarn Harlot, and I’m guessing from reading her blog, her escort, Juno.

Then, as the festival wound down, I saved my creepy speciality–conning strangers into spending time with me*–for last. I didn’t want to wait for a taxi to take us into the town, since they were being really slow, so I approached a hipster couple who seemed to be about my age and was like “Hey! Do you have a car? Are you going into Rhinebeck?” and after they said yes to both, said, “Can you give us a ride?” (Adam pointed out that by having assented to my first two questions, they were almost obligated to say yes to the third question.) They were so nice and gave us some good tips about places to dine in town (and made the funny yarnie=less evil carnie comment), but I did realize that I had potentially become some kind of horror-story stranger (“Please give us a ride…before we kill you.”)

* I have many stories, mainly from a few years ago where I did a lot of traveling by myself.

Anyway, click after the jump if you want to see more sheep photos. (And one very very cute little goat.) Read More…

Posted in Uncategorized at October 21st, 2007.

Swift mosaic 

(I will be referring to the photos from left to right, top to bottom.)

So, I recently bought  The Oregon Woodworker’s Mama Bear swift and the Royal ball winder. Together with shipping, it was $94.40.

If you are contemplating buying one, you have to ask yourself whether you really need this gadget. Personally, I have wanted one since I got caught up in the knitting fever two years ago, but I tried to hold off. Most yarn stores in the city will wind your yarn for you and many brands come pre-wound in balls. But I’ve recently acquired some skeins from the internet, unwound, and I didn’t want to wind 400 yards of sock yarn by hand. Thus, I gave in. I’m still not sure all knitters need a swift and ball winder, but I am thoroughly enjoying mine, so if you have an extra hundred dollars to spare, go for it.

I chose to get this flat one, instead of an umbrella swift because it took up less space and is easy to pack up. (See photo 1, the swift in its carrying bag.) I also chose to order the ball winder from The Oregon Woodworker, instead of using a coupon and ordering it from JoAnn’s, where it probably would have been a tad cheaper, because I figured if I had any problems, I could contact an actual person to complain, instead of a craft store bureaucracy.

(Photo 2) I love it. And thus, I am hugging it.

(Photo 3) The swift is probably pretty easy to make. I took two and a half years of woodworking in high school, and despite my lack of talent in the woodworking arena, even I think I could make it. You would need some kind of saw (like a band saw or a jigsaw) and some wood. That being said, $51.95 (the price of the swift alone) is fair. If you assume it takes about $10 of lumber and other materials costs, then I think $40 is a fair price for the labor. It’s very carefully made, and I was glad to pay the cost. But if you have a woodshop at home or know someone with one, you might try making one.

(Photo 4) The pegs are adjustable to fit different sized skeins.

(Photos 5-8) The pieces are carefully cut so they’re super easy to put together.

(Photo 9) Peter Charles, the maker, marks the arms with red dots so you know how to match them together.

(Photo 10) A needle-tip protector thing caps off the center pin.

(Photo 11) The ball winder is also very easy to use. The instructions (written by the ball winder people, not Peter Charles), however, are written in goobley-goop. Just look at the pictures and ignore the written words, which confuse “left” and “right.”

(Photos 12-14) I took out the center core to weigh it.

(Photos 15-16) Then I weighed by yarn.

(Photos 17-20) Putting the skein on the swift and attaching the yarn to the winder.

(Photo 21) Occasionally, I would take the ball off the winder, along with the core, and weigh it. I was hoping to have equal amounts in each ball.

(Photos 22-27) Winding…winding…winding…

(Photo 28) Argh! Despite my weighing, one yarn cake is still bigger than the other.

Anyway, my swift is great, and, (according to Peter Charles), since a tabletop swift is the same height as your ball winder, it creates no tension in your yarn cake, a possible problem with umbrella swifts. The only possible flaw I can see with this design is that it is trickier to move the pegs to hold the different sized skeins than in an umbrella swift, which might be a problem if you wind different sized skeins frequently. Otherwise, awesome!

Posted in Gadgets, Uncategorized at October 14th, 2007.

Adam and I were discussing what constitutes a hobby, with Adam arguing that reading was not a hobby. His argument boiled down to two points: If the activity in question is a commonly listed question on an online dating profile (favorite book / favorite movie / favorite tv show)* and if it doesn’t require gear, it’s not a hobby. Though I agree that tv watching, is not, in general, a hobby, I was like, c’mon, reading! It’s a hobby!

*I think his theory was that if it was common enough to be a category in an online dating profile, then it meant it was practiced by most people, and thus, not a hobby.

Anyway. Gear. Gear is the favorite element of a hobby for many people, I think, and I finally bought some exciting gear for my hobby, knitting. Yup, I now own a swift and a ball winder! The purchase was somewhat expensive, but look what it makes:

Watermelon Yarn 

Yarn cakes!

And I was so excited by my yarn cake that I started knitting these socks right away:

Watermelon Yarn 

I am calling them the Queens Center Mall socks, because they seem kind of like the thing an eleven-year old outer borough* girl would buy after reading The Official Preppy Handbook, but getting it wrong, by buying the socks in a poly-blend at the Queens Center Mall. They’re pink and green, total ’80s prep colors, but also strangely garish, and kind of tacky. I totally love them. As you can see by my coat, which I had customized with the addition of pink ribbon (by my Queens dry cleaner), I think I just might be this girl. 

*If you’re not from New York, the “outer boroughs” are Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, with the main borough being Manhattan. I think New York dominates the media enough that the rest of the country gets that each outer borough has its own sterotype. Queens, home of the Mets, Archie Bunker, The Nanny, The King of Queens, and George Constanza’s parents. I can’t think of any literature set in Queens. Apparently, we are an illiterate borough of tv-watching yahoos.

Posted in Gadgets, Socks, travelingproject, Uncategorized at October 1st, 2007.