I want to build this art in my living room. It could be wired to the “Speakers B” switch on the stereo, for special occasions.
This sounds like fado, and I want to add halos to every bearded image.
Thinking about enhancing thrifted plates reminded me of the vintage vandals shows from 2005.
About a thousand dollars for the set of six. More importantly, this gives me all kinds of ideas for things to do with thrift store plates.
For a moment I was feeling disappointed that I hadn’t come up with any simple theme for the photos I’ve been posting this week. (I don’t know if anyone even noticed them, but the matching sets of red and blue and crafty ideas and so on were making me more comfortable.) I got to thinking about the ways I use gimmicks like that whenever I make things, as a way to add automatic value to whatever I produce. Obvious extra effort. If nothing else, the project will look like a lot of work, which is impressive in certain ways, by default. I’m trying to stop doing that automatically and cut to the chase more. Be more honest instead of more impressive. Probably every adult thinks about this at least a little bit, in some context. I thought I was doing alright with this personal growth project, but then at a festive feast with my extended family, a cousin’s friend commented that I seemed well read. That’s probably my number one trying-to-impress-you habit, being smart. It’s complicated, because I do like to learn things and I do like to share what I find out and not hoard it, but if I want to be your friend I will almost surely start telling you a lot of fanciful trivia related by a larger theme instead of, for example, asking you to tell me about things you seem to know that I don’t. Reading about DIY education is helping me work on this. It makes nonconsensual teaching really, really embarrassing.
So. As my early morning mind-map hopefully explains, I was all set to embrace the non-patterned nature of my really low-effort holiday posts. Then I got to thinking about how much I love the way the last week of the calendar year can get divorced from daily reality and kind of out of time. Students and lots of workers are on holiday from their regular schedules, you never know when shops are going to be open, many households have visitors or go visiting, a lot of people eat really strangely… Regular patterns don’t hold. It reminds me of an ancient Roman intercalary festival that I can’t remember the name of. So now of course, that’s my theme for this week’s little photos. Intercalary disorder. I think this sort of doubly violates my goal of not acting so impressive.
I posted a few photos of knitting ideas this week, and when I was thinking about what to post to round on the week’s set, I got to thinking about men knitting.
Several times, I’ve had old white men come up to me while I’m knitting (or especially the few times Galen has been knitting in public), and they’ve talked about how they used to knit, or about how all their sailor or fisherman coworkers used to knit their own socks, hats and sweaters. People in my grandparents’ generation. Pretty much the exact dudes in that photo. The middle one is knitting. Can you tell? That’s my usual move, knitting while everybody else drinks beer.
My gramma, who has been my main knitting tutor other than books, is totally unphased about men knitting. She seems to find it normal and expected, which strikes me as odd since knitting is now cast as such a gendered activity, as a feminine art to be reclaimed and valued, as something our grandmothers did. When guys knit now, it’s celebrated as a happy transgression similar to chicks fixing cars. I should ask my grandparents about this, see if they remember a break when western or North American men stopped knitting.
(My brief googling for pictures of men knitting turned up lots of men knitting within apparently conventional knitting roles in Peru — Andean male knitting traditions are well-known— as well as Turkey, plus net-makers all over the place. Only the young urban male knitters in North America had any kind of “breaking tradition” vibe happening. E.g., a drummer, a subway rider.)
I wonder if it has anything to do with different modes of transmitting knowledge. I’ve never seen any written knitting instructions or patterns geared to guys before the last few years (Knitting with Balls and the like). All the heaps of vintage commercial patterns I’ve seen are for the ladies. I would assume the knitting sailors and knitting workmen maybe learned it right from another person. I could also see job changes, mass production, world wars, and gendered income differences being involved in there.
I haven’t even tried to google this. It’s just going in a pile with other vague research topics that I casually keep an eye out for. Knitting grandfathers. Maybe I’ve got some.
This scarf reminds me of my current favourite menstrual gear, fleece-lined underwear (e.g., lunapanties). It’s the right-hand photo that does it. Hidden fluffy surfaces, built for sensation and not for show.
This is a couple of years old, but it is still my favourite thing at Steal This Sweater. It doesn’t even make sense as clothes, only as decoration.
My instinct is to knit up a weird costume/uniform and wear it every day. When I don’t instantly know the name of an article of clothing, I seem to interpret it as having some qualities of a costume. This is a ruff, I suppose. I feel it is festive.
Galen is reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Partway through a chapter, he popped in to do a dance of excitement about how interesting he is finding fertility awareness. Ovaries! Mucus! Feedback cycles! DIY science! He asked whether it would have been cool to learn about cycle charting when I was thirteen or so, so I could have had a lifetime archive of data about my reproductive health. Wow, that caused a lot of feelings at once.
First, go team! It is useful and friendly for bio-guys to learn about female physiology, reproductive health, menstrual cycles and all that. I still tell people gleefully about the time last year that (male) Galen and our (male) friend Nathan were discussing their favourite features of the diva cup. (“Well it has marks so you can measure your blood.”) Doing their part to make the world safe for menstruators.
But also, awww, yes I do wish I’d known interesting ways to chart when I was starting out, or had any decent period information. It is amazing to me that after a solid eight or nine years of purposely investigating menstruation and cultivating positive attitudes and general insatiable curiosity, I still get ambushed by leftover sad feelings around menstrual cycles.
I don’t seem to have had an especially negative or ignorant upbringing compared to other people I know, but I managed to accumulate a fair amount of emotional trauma about periods just through a general lack of self-determination as a teenager. Dumb everyday stuff, like I was neither in charge of buying my own underwear nor in charge of how the laundry got done when I lived with my parents, so I was constantly frustrated and embarrassed (and often getting yelled at) about dealing with period laundry. It seems like surely I could have been responsible for either or both of those things if it had occurred to me— I don’t think my parents were that authoritarian— but strangely I remember arguing about wanting to do my own laundry my own way and being unable to work out any arrangement. Even now, I often find simple plans impossible to coordinate with my parents, for reasons I can rarely even remember. It’s deeply confusing. I think part of my lingering upset about menstrual cycles is actually due to the fact that I can’t recall any coherent explanations for past conflicts on the subject. Hmm.
Galen knows all this, at least superficially. I talk about vagina-related feelings with pretty much anyone who’s up for it. The most recent neighbourhood rock club was on the theme of songs to change your past and I picked a song that might have prevented me from going on the pill if I’d heard it while I was resigning myself to modern living through pharmacology. (In The Evening by Nina Nastasia and Jim White, because it makes me feel stubborn and that’s what I needed to be.)
I am sad that I ate all those chemicals, and that it seems to have done some damage to my cervical crypts (where the infamous eggwhite fertile mucus is produced). Sad sad sad. Angry too, to feel so misinformed. Disappointed that I didn’t listen to my own better judgment, and betrayed on behalf of the part of me with better judgment. I said most of that at rock club, but I’m not sure that is something people can relate to without a fair amount of relevant experience or other knowledge. Erin afterwards said she had a grieving process about the pill. Me too, going on it and again going off.
So Galen’s latest round of excitement about menstrual cycles is complicated. I was immediately glad to have company, and also immediately lonely, realizing I’m cut off from the possibility of feeling simple, impersonal excitement about uteruses and their ways. It was good to realize that he’s in the rather privileged position of not having personal emotional baggage about menstrual cycles. Once I managed to make him all sad about my damaged cervical crypts and assorted teen angst, we had a better connection there. It’s good to be on the same team.
So. For my future babies, I keep track of books like Cycle Savvy, in case they don’t want to talk with me about their personal strategies and feelings about periods.