We came back from our annual trip to the Jersey Shore yesterday and it rained (a lot), but fortunately, not for the whole time. I turned the heel on the sock on the bus going down to the shore, and on one of the first days of downpour, we went bowling (photo 1). We did walk along the beach (photo 2) and bike ride, but we didn’t lounge on the beach, because it was basically mud. It was kind of a San Francisco-esque beach experience, one might say. We also went on the boardwalk, where this somewhat odd paintball shooting booth is a strange Rorschach test for the American psyche–in the past it has had “Shoot the terrorist” as a come-on for passersby, and this year, I think it had a mannequin of Dick Cheney (?). I’m not totally sure this is Dick Cheney, and I’m not sure I understand what his role is as advertising–is he a possible paintball shooter or a possible paintball shooter target? It was all strangely unclear to me.
We also went to a Ye Olde Time village called Cold Spring, (picture 4) which had various people in olde time clothing chatting about spinning (!), printing, farming, etc. I have to say that some of the people who worked there, were, ahem, a bit curmudgeonly, which led me to the belief that in Ye Olden Times, everyone was a grouch. We did love the printing guy though–he was cheerful and had a lot of interesting info, and showed us how to set lead type. Due to either an emphasis on colonial times in elementary school or my own personal interest in crafts, I think I actually knew a lot of the rather vague information dispensed at the village. Also, I think many of the skills demonstrated at the village are still being used today, which made the whole Ye Olden vibe a bit false. (That might be the point, I’m not sure–you know, living history and all.) When I was a kid, my dad used to occasionally take me to watch the Chinese newspaper being typeset, which, at the time, was still set using lead type, like in Ye Olden Times, and I took Intaglio in college, so I was familiar with the basics of the press. Adam even has a small press at home that he occasionally letterpresses with, so though that was definitely the most interesting stop in the village, it was not so novel. The “handicrafts” stop, was, obviously, a process (knitting!) familiar to me. The woodshop was run by a somewhat suspect tour guide, a young man whose thumb was wrapped in a giant bandage, which made Adam and I wonder if he really had any skills. My high school actually required wood shop, metal shop, and machine shop, as classes, and though I was pretty bad at all of the shop classes, even I could tell that our guide (a) had no chisel skills and (b) seemed a little anxious around a pedal-powered scroll saw. We will not speak of the tinmaker.
I think I might also have a rather large store of vague Ye Olde Time knowledge from a devoted reading of the Little House on the Prairie series (1870s-ish), The Great Brain series (end of the 19th century), and All of Kind Family series (1910s) as a kid. Visiting Cold Spring further convinced me that I would have hated life as a Ye Olde farmer, and would have rather made it as a city person, if possible. (I think in The Great Brain, the narrator’s dad was a newspaper editor/printer, and I have no idea what the parents did in All of a Kind Family, but at least the kids got to go roller skating and ice cream eating, whereas Little House on the Prairie was all crow-chasing and lard-hoarding. Lizzie Skurnick over at Jezebel, with her hilarious Fine Lines series, describes the Little House books as “frontier porn for the underaged.”) Adam was all, “Well, you could have knit all the time,” but I pointed out that it wouldn’t have been a fun hobby, but instead a horrible toil, where I would have been forced to knit socks for my many many children and husband non-stop as I stirred my lard soap day in and day out or something. Or hoped to scrape by with bits of gristle as a crotchety old spinster. (I recently read an Edith Wharton short story where a couple men were mourning a great beauty who had grown aged and grey in her dottage, and then I came across the shocking line that said something like, “At 32, her best days were far behind her,” and I was like, whoa, clearly I would have been put out to pasture in some old knitting hut in Ye Olden Times, since I am SO OLD.)
Anyway, back to the sock.
Pattern: Monkey, by Cookie A., in Knitty
Yarn: Toe Jamz, by Happy Hands, from Just 4 Ewe in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Color: Secret Garden. Price: $22. Each skein has a TON of yardage–450 yards. I had a lot left over. Enough to make a third sock, probably. Maybe even a second pair.
Needles: Size 0 9″ Hiya Hiya, and regular size 0 DPNs from Susan Batees for casting on, the heel, and the toe.
Project started/finished: March 9, finished June 25–so three months, since I had second sock syndrome for about a month in the middle there.
Modifications: Well, I knit these on a tiny circular needle, and I did a different cuff (regular ribbing instead of twisted ribbing), heel (short-row instead of flap), and toe (round instead of standard), but the body of the sock is the same. Since the ENTIRE online knitting community has knit these socks, I don’t really need to say a lot about the pattern except that it’s fun! And easy to memorize!
Photo shoot notes: The completed socks were shot in Cape May, NJ, in front of a WWII fire tower and on the beach.