It’s been a while.
There’s something about the light as I type this — the brilliantly cold light of January at my latitude — that fills me with a warmth and goodwill towards my fellow living creatures. We’re all in this together, after all. Stephanie Zvan has a nice bit on this up at her blog.
“What I’m saying is the really amazing thing about Minnesota is that more of us don’t die each winter. A few do, but in terms of the opportunities for freezing to death (and I haven’t even talked about ice yet), we have an amazing survival rate.”
I mean, it’s cold enough that boiling water precipitates out of the air.
So, hello, fellow living creatures.
I’ve been knitting.
You can see what I’ve been up to at my Ravelry page. Socks and dog sweaters, mostly.
My family got me some Tuff Puff super-bulky yarn for Christmas, and I knit myself a pair of bed socks. Which I LOVE. So now I am attempting to knit a pair of slippers which I will them felt. I am currently at the stage where I have this ENORMOUS BOOTIE, and I am doubting whether it will ever shrink enough to be a usable slipper. I’m sure it will. But. You know. Geez.
As a result of four years of cooking and a year of knitting, I have become obsessed with historical material culture. Specifically, the things people made for themselves all the time because they needed the things. Clothing, to start with. Knit and woven and sewn goods. Leather goods. Baskets. Wooden items, carved and hewn and bound and constructed. The smaller bits of jewelry — not crowns and goblets, but horn beads and polished shells. Headbands and hairbands and sleeve holders, dustmops and hot pads and sheets, pails and trays and stools and looms.
Before you sew the shirt, you need to weave the cloth. Before you weave the cloth, you need to build the loom and spin the thread. Before you spin the thread you need to carve the drop spindle and build the combs and card the wool. Before you card the wool you need to shear the sheep. Before you shear the sheep you need to make or trade for metal shears. To trade for the shears you need to have made excess goods of value.
… There’s just no end to the complexity of everyday items. Looking at a shirt or a pot or a basket or a shoe is looking down an endless well of skilled, creative, stubborn, relentless human effort.
I want to learn more about it. About everyday historical material culture. I find it endlessly hopeful, optimistic, and just fascinating as all git-out.
What’s making your world brighter this week? What’s making you feel good about being a human being? Here’s a few I’ve spotted recently:
– it’s never too late to publish your first book
– Carrie Fisher is completely out of fucks to give, and is a national treasure of sincerity and snark
– the game Simpsons: Tapped Out is mindless fun
– the Twitter account @dog_rates
– Chris Kluwe’s essay in Uncanny Magazine
– Wooden Feathers, by Ursula Vernon
So, internets, tell me what’s making you happy. As always, I probably won’t reply to the comments, but I *absolutely do read them all*.
It’s been a while. How have you all been?
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