Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tomato Pincushion Excitement

After discussing them at knitting group last Thursday, I wanted to find a reason for why the traditional pincushion is a tomato with a strawberry attached to it.


As odd as it is for a strawberry to be attached to a tomato, I understand that it is filled with emory so that a person can sharpen his pins. Strange visual, but highly practical. As for why a tomato, I found a somewhat suitable answer.

During the 15th century, metal pins were very expensive, and thus were usually stored in fine cases. During the Tudor Era, however, it became a common practice to use fancy cushions. Later, during the Victorian Era, parlor rooms were all the rage, and the goal of the typical housewife was to stuff it full of opulent clutter. Pincushions began to come in fancy shapes, such as fans, dolls, shoes, fruits, and vegetables. These cushions were displayed on tables and hung from walls. In the 1800's they began to be mass-produced, and the tomato proved to be the easiest to assemble because of its simple design. Apart from that, the different segments proved useful in separating and sorting pins of different lengths and thicknesses. Now the tomato is still in use because it has become iconic of the entire sewing community (and yes, there IS a sewing community).

The strawberry tassel, believe it or not, is actually filled with emory (fine grain sand) and serves as a needle/pin sharpener. Even most seamstresses seem to be unaware of that.

Retrieved from AnswerWiki.

I wish I could have found a more reliable source but for tedious downtime research, this serves my purposes. It also makes me want to bring back either the fancy pincushions of the Tudor era or the whimsically shaped ones of the Victorian era. I do wonder, though, how informed the Victorians were of Voodooism when they decided that doll-shaped pincushions were a brilliant idea.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Knitting Podcasts

Lately at work, I've been listening to a lot of podcasts. I've got some music related ones, mainly from The Current and NPR. I've got a quite a few from news sources, including NPR, but also the New York Times and Slate. For fluff, I've got a few official and fan podcasts from television shows I watch. In addition to all of these, I have a lot of knitting podcasts.

The more I listen to these podcasts, the more I wish that the Yarn Harlot was a podcaster. I do understand why. I've certainly heard a few podcasters that should have tested out their recording setup before putting their podcast out there. Still, her delivery seems to make her wit even more hilarious. At least there are going to be audiobooks.

Two of the knitting podcasts I've enjoyed the most are Cast-On and Stash and Burn. Cast-On with Brenda Dayne is amazing. She puts a lot of thought into planning an episode and has a clear, smooth speaking voice. She's very descriptive about various things she's knit, different yarns she's encountered, and other subjects in the knitting world. Stash and Burn is two San Francisco knitters, Jenny and Nicole, trying to destash in 2007. While I haven't acquired too much of a stash myself, they are still enjoyable to listen to. They are two friends that have lively conversations about knitting projects gone wrong and a lot of ideas for how to lower your stash. If nothing else, podcasts help a tedious day move along when I've gotten sick of my music collection.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Surprising Thing You Learn About Your Partner #572

Liam hates the word snark.

He despises it. It's not even one of those things that a person doesn't like and you can just keep doing that thing to him 10 times in a row and he'll be mildly annoyed. He cannot stand the word snark.

This is odd to me. One of my favorite websites ever is Television Without Pity and their mission is pretty much to snark. It's a word I don't think twice about using and yet Liam can't stand it. I don't think he's against the act of snarking (not an actual verb, I know), just the use of the word. It could be that it's overused and many people that describe themselves as "snarky" think they are far more clever than they actually are. It could just be how the word sounds. He doesn't know why the word bothers him to such a high degree so I'm just going to respect that.

Now excuse me, I have to go try and remove a word from my vocabulary. Scary.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mission: Blog More

I started this mainly as a knitting blog but I'm going to try to use it more frequently. I think it would be a good exercise in writing. I used to write a lot more in high school and even early on in college. I noticed that a lot of my papers and essays for humanities courses I took last year were very choppy. The sciences have taken away the flow to my writing and I would like to have it back. I can't make a goal to post every weekday but I would at least like to shoot for once a week.

One of the things that was holding me back was wanting to include pictures in my blog. While I am going to still include them, I'm not going to let the lack of pictures keep me from posting. I'm especially going to try to post more on days like today where all I'm doing at work is the occasional mediocre task. I've even been knitting on the DNA scarf today because a lot of people took full or half days off to extend their weekend.

That's all I've got for now, but I am going to post more frequently. Liam's going home again tomorrow morning so I'll need something to occupy my time, anyways.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yea Yarn!

My wonderful boyfriend got his mother to purchase me some aran yarn in Northern Ireland when she was there in March. It's superwash and white (or cream, I can't quite remember). I have three skeins of it. Suggestions? I'm mainly thinking cabled scarf as it deserves to be cabled. I'm thinking a stictionary will be handy for this.

Also going on is the DNA scarf in alpaca. I haven't really gotten any further than I was last Thursday at knitting group due to going home this weekend and having Liam here. I did start a new pair of socks on Friday out of Trekking XXL that I've got most of one cuff done on.

That's all for now. I may add pictures later.