Archive for the 'Shark Week' Category

Tswim with the Tsharks at Rhinebeck 2013

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

(Oh yes, I know - it’s been a long time. There are reasons, and they’re good reasons… if you interpret “good” according to that little-known definition that is universally translated as “bad.” Some things need to be explained and/or apologized for; others are best not mentioned at all. But this isn’t the time or place for that. Not with RHINEBECK coming up!)

Long story short: RHINEBECK. It’s NEXT WEEK. And after that, NEFF. And after that, Stitches East.

If THAT is astonishing to you as it is to me (in a where-did-the-time-go sort of way), it is less so than this:

In spite of the fact that we are carrying some 30 times more stock this year than ever before… and in spite of a couple of epic reversals experienced over the summer… we are very nearly ready. In fact, we’ve already got about 1/4 of the new inventory loaded in the trailer. Thanks to indescribable awesomeness on the part of Team Dye and the Tsock Tstaff, thanks to long hours and long days and long nights and long weeks - well, if I weren’t superstitious about jinxing things I would be bragging about being slightly ahead of schedule. But I am, so I won’t.

Anyway, that probably isn’t what you really want to hear about right now.

This is.

As promised in this space and others so long ago, the time has come at last for the public release of SHARK WEEK. Right on schedule, no less. That’s right, do not adjust your monitor; I really did say RIGHT ON SCHEDULE. And I meant it. We will have the first kits at Rhinebeck, and as long as dye and stamina hold out we will keep on producing more - for NEFF and then for Stitches and then for on-line sales.

Not only that - to mitigate the Saturday morning rush, we are making a limited number of kits available for PRE-ORDER and PICK-UP at Rhinebeck; that is, buy now and pick up at the booth any time on Saturday. If this works well at Rhinebeck we will do the same thing at subsequent shows. If it doesn’t - we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it. Hey, we’re figuring this out as we go along.

For full details on who/what/where/when/how, please see announcement HERE.

Sigh. Would love to stick around and chat - so MUCH to catch up on - but I’ve got to get back to assembling kits. See you at the shows!

St. Distaff and the Shark

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Today I picked up the phone and called Stringtopia Fiber Arts Studio, where the Remote Batt Bar was open all afternoon in honor of Roc Day, and I commissioned a little something-something.

We’ll have to wait until a little later in the week to see how it turns out.

I had e-mailed ahead of time so they’d have some idea what to expect; when I finally got through (that phone was BUSY today!) Shelly told me that Abby “has something in mind for you,” and I did not need to hear the giggle in her voice to know that devilment was afoot. Abby her ownself was slaving over a hot drum carder while this conversation was going on, but the whole time Shelly and I were on the phone I could hear her hurling the usual torrent of very audible invective at me from across the room, and I could just SEE the evil glint in her eye. Especially when Shelly said “She does know you pretty well, after all,” and I had to admit “Yeah, I’m afraid so.”

Something wicked this way comes, I am sure of it.

So here is the plan.

Remember I said the Shark Week fund-raiser for hurricane relief would run about a week?

Today is the last day of that week, and I’m still in some danger of getting choked up over the generous outpouring. It’s just started to taper off now, but at this writing the total is well over $19,000. So in amazed and thankful hindsight I’m setting a goal: If we haven’t reached $20,000 by midnight tonight I’m going to extend the period a little longer - long enough to reach that nice round milestone. At the rate things have been going, I’m betting it won’t take long.

Once that’s done, the logistics of moving money will take a few days, and while that’s going on I will figure out a clever way to do the random drawing thing I mentioned the other day. With a twist. I’m still going to be giving away three full shark kits, as promised, but now there’s another layer of cool randomness: A couple of lucky spinners will receive special shark-themed sock batts made by Abby Franquemont. What exactly these will consist of, or look like, I don’t know. The mandate was simply this: “Make something tsocky and tsharky for me, plz kthx.” How she interprets this is entirely up to her. I’m afraid I even told her to have fun with it.

Do I look worried?

Do I look afraid, very afraid?

Yeah, like I said - the woman knows me well.

Seriously… I can’t wait to see what she’s dreaming up. I am confident that it will be entirely awesome - as awesome as the recipients.

And that, my friends, is saying something.

The Utter Awesomeness of You

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand;
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

Edna St. Vincent Millay,
“A Few Figs from Thistles”

 
 
 

Happy New Year!

So far it is exactly that for me, I can tell you.

Also, today is my seventh blogiversary - and never have I had occasion to celebrate either with such a bang.

We’re 24 hours into the Shark Week fund-raiser, and already the fund is well over the 10 grand mark.

I am not sure what I expected, exactly - as I mentioned yesterday, I’ve never done this before, and I was diffident enough about it that I couldn’t even imagine how to set a goal. So what that goal would have been, even in my most secretest of secret hearts I honestly don’t know. What I DO know is that it has been surpassed. Like nobody’s business. I could shut this thing down TODAY (not to worry, I won’t; just a thought experiment) and be completely thrilled with what it has achieved.

It is not news to me that knitters are generous and awesome. But it’s one thing to know that and to see it, and it’s quite another to be on the receiving end - or even to be the conduit to the real receiving end - and to experience the full blast of it.

I am not generally known for running short of words - you may have noticed this, yes? - but I have to tell you, I do NOT have the words for how this makes me feel. Thankful. Awed. Hugely moved. But those are just words, and they don’t begin to describe the emotional reality of this thing. The wonder.

“Thank you” is laughably inadequate.

So instead… let me tell you a little hurricane story. I have LOTS of them, and some of them are kind of funny, in a black humor sort of way. This one is not mine, though. It belongs to the previous generations of my family; it’s the hurricane story I grew up hearing all my life.

For most of the 1930s my grandparents had a summer house on Fire Island.

On the bright, sunny morning of September 21, 1938, my mother and uncle - aged 8 and 11, respectively - wandered down the beach past the bait shack. The little old man who ran the bait shack was tapping his nose and telling anyone who would listen “Big blow a-comin’ - I can smell it.” Nobody believed him.

A little later that day, my uncle was riding his bike on the boardwalk, and he fell and cut his chin. It was a nasty cut, and it needed stitches. This meant taking the ferry to the mainland and the nearest hospital. Since my grandmother was already packing up, getting ready to close the house for the season, she made the executive decision that the whole family might as well just load up and go.

So they piled onto the ferry.

Which later turned out to have been the last boat to leave the island before all hell broke loose.

By evening their house was gone, swept out to sea with many of its neighbors. Just gone.

To this day, the 1938 Hurricane remains one of the benchmarks for storm devastation - even to those of us who have seen and/or experienced the ravages of Katrina or Sandy, or any part of the fallout from same.

My uncle carried that scar on his chin to the end of his days, and no one in the family could ever forget what it stood for.

Just one of those freak pieces of dumb luck, you know? the kind of randomness that can determine whether or not the next generation will even exist.

Hurricanes. Life is weird.

And surviving is good.

 
And “thank you” still just does not even begin to cover it.

World Without End

Monday, December 31st, 2012

TL;DR: Lots and lots and lots of illustrated exposition about surviving the hurricane, followed at long last by two announcements (you wanted me to shut up and take your money? sorry, I can’t do that first part…) - (1) a special Shark Week fund-raiser for hurricane relief, and (2) sign-ups for the 2013 Tsock Club.

 
And we’re all still here.

The world didn’t end on December 21.

(o hai. mai repreevd to-do list, let me sho u it.)

Since 2013 has not been called off… that means we can go ahead and open sign-ups for the 2013 Tsock Club. And at the end of this post, I’m going to do exactly that.

But first - as 2012 draws to a close - there’s something else I want to talk to you about.

Remember this?

The world didn’t end on October 29th, either, but for a lot of people in this part of the world it got pretty hairy.

Flooding
These pictures aren’t as dramatic as the Daily Mail ones, except that I took them myself, right outside my house. NOT during the worst of the storm, because that happened at night. Still, you can see where things are going. A car shouldn’t throw this kind of wake.

And it has stayed that way. Hurricane Sandy isn’t monopolizing the headlines any more, but two months later we’re still hurting here. And by “we” I mostly don’t mean me - though I can’t exactly claim to be the exception, come to that.

Flooding
Storm isn’t here yet, but waters are rising. It’s about ankle deep in the street.

Still… I’m one of the lucky ones. My house is old and it’s solid. It’s on relatively high ground, with a deep cellar and a first floor about four feet above ground level.

Flooding
My front stoop; storm is almost here.

I knew it was safe. I also knew that for at least 36 hours it would be completely surrounded by water.

Flooding

It was.

Flooding
All these things that look like canals? They’re streets.

Flooding
Alongside my house.

Flooding
That’s not a body of water - usually. It’s my across-the-street neighbor’s yard.

Flooding
Two blocks inland. Do we detect a theme here?

Flooding
Dinghy in the street - about three feet above it, actually.

Nor any drop to drink.

Astonishingly, my neighborhood didn’t lose power until quite late in the evening, when the storm was at its peak. There were some fluctuations, but it hung in there until about 11 PM, when I’m fairly sure they shut it off intentionally to prevent fires from downed power lines. After that… it was a long night. Long, dark, and noisy.

Overall - I have to say I got off pretty easy. The high-water mark in my cellar, we were to discover, was at five feet; miraculously, just 1/8″ below the circuit breaker panel.

By the time I got down there the next morning the water level was down to about four feet. I know this because I waded through it to kill the main breaker, and it was up to here on me.

It was cold and it was nasty and it was not what you’d call clean. Still, it didn’t include any fuel oil or any raw sewage; lucky me, as I later learned.

With that much water down there it wasn’t really possible to assess the damage or chaos yet. It was a pretty safe assumption, though, that everything was a total loss.

Flooding
Next day - the flood waters begin to recede.

Flooding
Most of the streets aren’t usable yet, though.

When it finally became possible to walk around the block, this was my first look at the street behind mine.

Debris
Noon on the day after the storm. It begins.

It was to become a common sight over the next few weeks. That block - like most of the other blocks on this peninsula - is mostly slab houses. Unlike me and my immediate neighbors, these people don’t have cellars. There is no place for five feet of flood water to go except straight through their main living spaces.

Debris

You can’t exactly say they lost everything - I mean, their houses are still standing. So that’s something.

Debris

But all their stuff is ruined. Furniture, appliances, clothing, toys…

Furniture

Debris

Debris

… wallboard, floorboards, carpet, wiring, plumbing…

Debris
This picture was taken just a week ago.

Debris

… all wrecked. Day after day after day, then and now, a constant parade of trashed belongings.

My area was without power for about a week, give or take. Some people were luckier than that; for others it was a lot longer. A lot longer.

Power Lines

You can see why.

Trees

For several weeks we had curfews and checkpoints and police escorts. Most of us were deeply thankful for this; anyone who wasn’t is about due for a serious reality check.

Trees

(The police were wonderful, I have to say. Well-organized, sensible, uniformly patient and kind.)

Trees

Three days after the storm, I got my first look at the lowest point of the street.

Boats

Boats
This isn’t the boatyard. This is ACROSS THE STREET from the boatyard. These boats do not belong in this guy’s driveway.

I was down this way because I was on the trail of the elusive Pump-Out Guy - someone knew someone who knew someone who knew someone who had a truck and a pump and a generator, and after much phone tag and pavement-pounding I was hoping to snag this guy’s services to get those four feet of water out of my cellar.

I found him at last, a couple of houses up from the boatyard, and was thrilled to learn that I was his next stop. This is one of the most beautiful sights I saw that week:

Pumping

Yeah. That hose is coming from inside MY cellar. They had to climb in a window, because the outer door was completely blocked from the inside, by debris. But they managed it, and four hours later my cellar was reasonably close to dry.

We were leaving for the Fiber Festival of New England early the next morning, so I didn’t even try to deal with the cellar beyond that; was just glad to know I wasn’t leaving it full of water for the weekend.

That afternoon I managed to score a full tank of gas with only an hour’s wait; that was almost as exciting as watching the water gush out of the cellar.

It was weird, leaving the island. We passed gas lines that stretched for miles - people waiting hours for gas that wasn’t even there yet but that was rumored to be arriving later in the day. I felt a little guilty, looking at my gauge reading full. Felt a little more guilty crossing the bridge - like a rat leaving a sinking ship.

This was the loveliest and most exotic thing we saw on the way North - at a Home Depot in Connecticut:

Batteries

Until it was surpassed by the beauty of the hotel room, with its working lights and working heat and apparently inexhaustible hot running water.

Got back from that weekend to find that my neighbors across the street had working lights. Next morning I went down cellar and switched on everything but the furnace and dryer circuits. Let there be light! I also got my first good look at the cellar itself. It wasn’t a happy sight.

Freezer
Yes, that’s a freezer; a formerly white freezer. Yes, it’s lying on its back, open, no longer submerged. Yes, that’s rotting meat you smell.

We didn’t actually reach the freezer for almost two weeks.

Laundry Room
Post-modern sculpture? Why, no, that’s the laundry room.

We still haven’t made our way to the washing machine and dryer, but a couple of weeks ago we finally managed to excavate as far as the furnace and water heater. This is important. It means they can now be ripped out, carted away, and replaced. It gives us reason to hope that we will be able to have heat and hot water again some time in January.

It will be good to have heat and hot water again. Really good. At this writing, the weather isn’t getting any warmer, and I have to admit that living without a furnace is becoming increasingly onerous. Sure, I do normally expect to be able to see my breath at this time of year… but not in my living room, plz kthx.

The Way of All Flesh

And we are the lucky ones.

The Way of All Flesh
This book, of all books, washed up on a high shelf just at the water line. Before the storm it was in a box on the cellar floor - at the other end of the house.

In Gilgo we were even luckier, though it was a couple more weeks before we had power again there.

Generator

Starting with this BIIIIG BEYOOTIFUL generator, under 24-hour guard, which kept the whole community going until a few days after Thanksgiving, when they finally got us reconnected to the grid. That’s also when they eliminated the last of the police checkpoints on Ocean Parkway. They’ll be rebuilding the road for the next six months, though.

But our houses - unlike those in Breezy Point and Rockaway - are still there. Unlike many of those in the towns on the mainland, they are mostly intact. We are counting our blessings.

OK, so why am I telling you about all this now?

Because of all those people who are way way worse off and still in need of help; because I want to do something about that.

I may not have heat or hot water, but at least I didn’t lose anything irreplaceable; I’m OK, and so are my animals, and so is all the property that really matters to me. Meanwhile, a lot of people I know (and far more that I don’t know!) still aren’t able to use their houses at all. They’re camping out with friends and relatives while they try to repair or rebuild or relocate. They’re lucky if they managed to salvage more than the clothes they stood up in.

Every single house in my neighborhood, and in scores of neighborhoods just like mine, is infested with contractors of various kinds. Every day there is something being torn out or put in, replaced or repaired. Every day, even now, there are fresh piles of detritus lining the streets. More furniture, more appliances, more mold-ridden wallboard. Rusted pipes and oil tanks.

It is now way too late to make a long story short, but sooner or later we had to get to the chase, right? So here it is: I’m taking advantage of the freak popularity of Shark Week to raise some funds for hurricane relief.

You know how I said I don’t release club designs before their anniversaries? You know how I said I don’t release them as standalone patterns?

I’m making an exception. A temporary, unprecedented, special-purpose exception. By kind permission of the members of the current Tsock Club, I am making the Shark Week pattern available as a downloadable PDF, for a limited time only, at a premium price - most of which will go directly to hurricane relief.

Limited time: Through the first week of the new year. Maybe the second. (I’ve never done this before, and I’m not sure what to expect. So there’s going to be a little rolling with the punches here.)

Premium price: $40.

Yes, that’s outrageous. Or rather, it’d be outrageous for just a pattern. But most of it - 75% - will go directly to the local rebuilding effort.

The Babylon Fire Chiefs Association is giving out gift certificates to places that sell building and plumbing supplies and appliances; I love this, partly because it’s practical and immediate, answering a specific need; partly because I know that many of my hardest-hit neighbors are firemen themselves.

Save the Beaches is a non-profit dedicated to preserving and stabilizing the coastal environment - the barrier islands that protect the mainland, the reason that most of Long Island and Connecticut are not still underwater - and they’re going to need funds for dune planting. By way of full disclosure… here again I have something of a personal stake - the more so because my mother was a co-founder of the organization - but there’s a much bigger picture to be considered, and this may call for some explanation. It’s sort of the opposite of a domino effect. When a big storm comes in off the ocean, the dunes are the first line of defense for the barrier beaches; the barrier beaches in turn are the first line of defense for the mainland of Long Island; Long Island itself, on a larger scale, is the first line of defense for the southern coast of New England. The dunes along the South Shore of Long Island were pretty much destroyed by Sandy, but they served their purpose. The airbag inflates and it cushions the impact - this destroys the airbag, but it saves the driver and passenger.

Naked Dunes

Underpass

The dunes have already been partially rebuilt…

Naked Dunes

Naked Dunes

… but they’re naked. Naked dunes are unstable; naked dunes are just… sand; sand alone is not enough to protect anything.

This is what healthy dunes should look like:

Dunes

Dunes

Dunes

… and that is what Save the Beaches will be doing, come spring - putting in the grasses and scrub plants that anchor and stabilize this crucial coastal airbag.

Those are the efforts I’m looking to benefit, and depending on what sort of response I get I am hoping I can also set aside a little to help a few individuals directly; knitters who have lost their stashes as well as everything else they owned; members of the community who one way and another just can’t seem to catch a break.

Because, you know, there but for the grace….

And the good thing is - it IS possible to help. I think of Sandy Hook, and how desperately everyone wants to help the victims and survivors there, and the awful thing is that there is really nothing anyone can do to mitigate that loss. People are banding together to offer love and support and money and knitting, and doing that is important for both giver and recipient; it’s part of grieving; it’s a need. And yet there’s also an element of aching futility about it, because you know that nothing you do can ever actually make things normal and OK again.

I don’t know about you, but in the wake of that it is a relief to me to remember that there are still some situations where giving actually DOES help in a simple practical way. Where people who have been hurt CAN have some normal again, and all it takes is money. In the final analysis, that is the kind of problem to have; it may be broken, but at least it’s a broken that can mostly be fixed.

So this is your chance: You can have your feets nommed by tsharks AND help hurricane survivors, all in one swell foop. The community will thank you; the region will thank you; I will thank you.

The special hurricane-relief edition of Shark Week (all 50 pages of it, stuffed with profusely-illustrated technique tutorials) is was available for purchase and download on Ravelry.

As a little extra sweetener, after we close the fundraiser I’ll do a random drawing, choose three names from among the participants - and those three will receive full tshark kits, velcro and all.

Update: Fund-raiser is now closed. Many, many thanks to all who participated, raising over $23,000 for the two charities! Watch this space - and/or my blog and/or my Twitter feed and/or Ravelry - for final report and for results of the prize drawings; I’ll be posting these as soon as I’m out of the latest Pattern Purdah.

We Are Open
Sign in front of a local business, two days after Sandy.

And now, if you’re still with me and still awake… another moment that at least some of you have been waiting for. The Art for your Feet Tsock Club. For 2013. Sign-ups. Open. Now. Go there. Do it. You know you want to.

Happy New Year to all, from everyone on the Tsock Team… including your friend Bruce!

Upshark

(Reminder to current club members: That purchase page is NOT for you! You guys have your own Speshul Renewal Page; if you didn’t get the letter about this, e-mail me, yes?)

CANDYGRAM!

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

An Open Letter to Shark Lovers

First of all, I want to thank all you lovely people who have been burying me in Shark Week love over the past couple of days. Um… Wholly Carp, Batman. Seriously - I’m whelmed, and overwhelmed, and ultrawhelmed. (And that’s just me. You should see the Tsock Team. Also, you should see my blog stats. Excuse me for a moment while I fan myself.) I’m scrambling as fast as I can to get blog comments approved and answered, but “as fast as I can” isn’t fast enough, so meanwhile… this. Thank you from the bottom of my strange and twisted little heart. Thank you for loving my tsilly tsharks; thank you for getting the joke and passing it along; and yes, thank you even for the weird and slightly mind-bending realization that literally tens of thousands of people world-wide have now ogled a picture of my left foot.

Second of all - wow. Sorry, I had to pause a moment to let that last thought sink in. Again.

Third - OK, here come the cold cruel facts that you probably don’t want to hear, but as you read them bear in mind that they are like the contents of Pandora’s Box: For every horrid U-No-Can-Haz-Nao there is a compensating ray of hope for the future. That said, I’m terribly sorry, but U No Can Haz Nao. Shark Week is not available - THAT IS, NOT YET - in any form.

There are lots and lots of reasons for this.

The primary one is that it is part of the current Tsock Flock Club, and is therefore exclusive to the members for a year; a deal’s a deal. (More about the club, and how you go about joining it, below.)

The other reasons are long and dull and (in some cases) whiny, having to do with me having the Insane Year from Hell and trying to do way too much all at the same time, and generally already being very far behind schedule with many things. We are in the process of rebuilding the Tsock Empire from scratch, and doing that has been a tremendous empirical lesson in how everything always takes much longer than you expect. (If you’re really a glutton for punishment, you can read a little more about this in my recent post In Which I Do Not Fake My Death.) We are a tinytinytiny business, gradually working our way up toward being tinytiny and then perhaps someday growing up to be tiny with fantasies of someday even being small, and we are perfectionists, and we’re already putting in about 48 hours a day over and above those pesky day jobs, and… well, the light we’re seeing at the end of the tunnel is NOT an oncoming train, but it turns out that the tunnel is way longer than anyone predicted. At the moment we do not have the personnel or the facilities or the supplies to put together a big production run in a hurry.

And on top of all that - we just had this storm. Sandy. You may have heard of it. It came rip-roaring through here almost three weeks ago, and we are still digging out - literally. (You don’t want to see what my cellar looks like after five feet of water. Srsly.) Some of us still don’t have power. Mine was restored a few days ago, but I still don’t even know when I’ll have heat or hot water. And I’m one of the really really lucky ones; at least I do still have my house. One of the reasons Shark Week shipped late is that for several days there was no power to print patterns or labels, no post office open, and no way to leave my house without swimming.

Right - so with all these production constraints, why, you may be asking, don’t I just release the pattern as a PDF download? Well - even setting aside Reason #1 above, i.e. my commitment to the club members - because that is not how I roll. With a few special-purpose exceptions, sock kits are what I do. Is that ever going to change? Maybe. But it isn’t something I can turn on a dime. It’d be a massive change to my business model, and those things demand time and thought and planning and discussion. Even if I weren’t running on fumes, post-hurricane, that’s not a wand I can just wave overnight.

Which is sad, because if there is one thing I hate, it is disappointing people, especially people who have shown so much appreciation for my work. But I have to. I can’t give you Shark Week for Christmas, alas. I wish I could. (And by “can’t give” I also mean “can’t sell,” and don’t think that that is not painful to me too. I wouldn’t at all object to the beneficial effect on cash flow, believe you me.)

All that said - if you can bear to be patient for a while, you too can see light at the end of a tunnel, light that does not translate to imminent railway disaster.

Here’s how this thing works.

1) All club designs DO eventually go public, typically on or near their anniversaries. In the normal course of things we should be releasing the public edition of Shark Week in time for Rhinebeck (October 19) 2013. That is, in plenty of time for NEXT Christmas. (Yes, I can hear the groan. I’m groaning it myself. I don’t like having to wait for what I want, any more than the next fiberholic. But… anticipation. Remember the Heinz Ketchup commercial? No? Am I dating myself? Sigh.)

2) The club is a year-long subscription thing, with a season loosely tied to the calendar year. In a normal year, membership includes six kits, plus assorted goodies and squishy surprises, discounts, etc. In a normal year, we would have opened sign-ups for next season on Rhinebeck weekend. This… is not a normal year. Club shipments are one of the above-mentioned areas where we are frankly behind schedule at the moment (for those keeping track, Shark Week is #4 for this season, and in a perfect world we should have shipped #5 by now), and that is one of the reasons that Club 2013 is going to be a bit different from Club 2012. We didn’t open sign-ups at Rhinebeck because we are still working out the details, but as of now we are planning a one-time-only scaled-down season that will probably include four kits instead of six, with pricing to match (still working this out too, but the ballpark figure is probably about $170, as compared to $250 for the usual full run of six). This, we hope, will give us a little breathing space to ramp up production capacity, bring more of the older titles back into the line-up, and start being able to make and fulfill on-line sales.

3) Speaking of on-line sales, you may have noticed I still am not doing them yet. There is a lovely commerce site that is very nearly ready to launch, but until very recently there hasn’t been any stock to sell (see above re production capacity, etc.). We’re just trembling on the brink with this, and even now there is limited supply and a waiting list for a lot of titles. Progress is being made, but it’s turning out to be like Rome - not built in a day or indeed in a year. But it WILL happen.

4) For those of you asking about buying finished socks - again, terribly sorry, but I can’t do that. Your best bet is to become very good friends with a knitter (knitters make really great friends, incidentally, so it’s not a bad idea to do this anyway). You’ve got a little less than a year to cultivate this relationship to the point of sockworthiness. It’s worth it - not for sharks alone, but more generally because hand-knitted socks are a wonderful thing to have in your life. There may well be knitters out there who would do this for you for money - I honestly can’t even imagine how much - but better yet, there are way more knitters who will do it for love and for the pleasure of the process. Tap into that resource; you will not regret it.

5) For those of you - that dizzying number of you - who are so kindly “liking” me on Facebook, a shamefaced confession: I am Facebook-challenged. I do have a Facebook presence of sorts, and I do see all those upward-pointing thumbs, and I do marvel at them… but Facebook makes my head go splodey, and I can’t respond directly as I would otherwise wish. It may just be because I am already overwhelmed with other things, or - OK, I don’t really know why exactly, but there it is. I blog; I tweet; I e-mail like there’s no tomorrow; I keep up (more or less) with Ravelry; but that seems to be my limit. So if I’m failing to interact with you on Facebook, be sure that IT IS NOT BECAUSE I DON’T APPRECIATE THE LOVE. I do. I absolutely do. I heart the love. I thank you for it. I reciprocate. In fact I… I think I’m having a Sally Field moment here. I just - well, for now I can’t really go there and do the thing at the place with the stuff, because I’m pretty sure that if I tried to do that it would swallow me whole and there would be no more tsock designing. I’ll find my way on this, someday. But not yet.

6) NOT LEAST. If you are still with me here, and if you are interested in any or all of the above, and if you have not done this yet (I see a lot of you have, dang, a LOT of you have) - please sign up for my mailing list. I haven’t sent out any announcements for a while, because I haven’t had anything big enough to announce lately - but I’m going to. When we figure out the details for the coming club and are prepared to open enrollment - there will be a mailing. When we release club titles for public sale, or bring back older titles - there will be a mailing. When the commerce site goes live, you betcha there will be a mailing. When Shark Week becomes available for public sale, boy howdy, you better believe there will be a mailing.

So that’s what I’ve got. Thanks, and love, and apologies… and promises. Hang in there with me. There WILL be gratification - it just won’t be the instant kind.

And now… I’m gonna take one more peep at the blog stats. Um, yeah… I’ll be in my bunk.

P.S. Behold my shamelessness. While you’re waiting… maybe you’d like to amuse yourselves by taking a look at Fronkenshteek. That one IS available as a PDF download, and I’m here to tell you it comes from the same place of crazypants brain. Plus - social knitting. Big fun. Ask me how I know.

Just When You Thought It Was Safe….

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

This one has been marinating in my brain for the past year and a half, and I wasn’t sure exactly when it was going to come to fruition. But then I started seeing signs…

Dangerous Sandwich

… signs of the times…

Fisheries Building

… signs of the end times…?

Dangerous Golf Course

… And Another Dangerous Golf Course…

… and it became obvious that the moment had really come.

Sometimes, Anna, a banana is just a banana. Every once in a while a tsock - or a pair of tsocks, as the case may be - must inevitably burst the bounds of the high-falutin’ high-concept fancy-schmancy… and just devote itself to One. Dumb. Joke.

This is that pair of tsocks.

Shark Week Cover

(I had some fun with typography here. The title typeface is called “Bite Me.” The tagline typeface is called “Amity Jack,” and I bet you can guess what it was used for in 1975.)

The shark theme has been done, of course; this, however, is the Tshark theme…

Both Socks

… and as such it is intended to go farther over the top, and deeper under the bottom, than your average sea-going pedator. (Check out my shiny new neologism that I just this minute made up! “Pedator” - a predator that is worn on the foot, geddit?)

Now just imagine how it feels
When first your toes and then your heels
And then, by gradual degrees,
Your shins and ankles, calves and knees
Are slowly eaten, bit by bit.

Hilaire Belloc,
“Jim”

 
 
 

One tshark has eaten your foot and is well on his way to finishing off what’s left of you;

Upward Facing Shark

his friend has already gorged on most of your corpus and has saved your toes for dessert.

Downward Facing Shark

Both of them are messy eaters, as witness the drops of blood and other scraps clinging to their pointy little sharky teeth; both have textured gills…

Gills

…and both are accompanied by the usual Remora…

Remora Remora

… which attach to the host wherever and whenever they please by means of… wait, are you sitting down…? by means of VELCRO.

Yes, Velcro on your knitting… on purpose. Ha ha, knitters, I am messing with your heads! Seriously, though - the top of a Remora’s head, by which it latches on to its host shark, actually does look just like a strip of Velcro, so I really don’t see how I was supposed to resist.

Remora Remora

Remora Remora

Remora Remora

You fuse or sew a little piece of hook Velcro to the top of each Remora’s head…

Remora Remora

Remora Remora

… and then you can slap the thing on ad hoc, or ad sock, so it clings to the shark’s skin and hangs from your sock wherever it will amuse you most.

Remora Remora

OK, so I got a little carried away with the remora thing. Can you blame me?

Toe-up? Top-down? Both. Neither. Some from Column A. Etc.

The Upward-Facing Tshark (as we call him in yogic circles) is more or less toe-up; his short-rowed tail flukes sandwich the sock toe, his short-rowed plump underbelly

Underbelly

embraces the sock heel, and his gaping maw

Gaping Maw

surrounds the ankle of his victim…

Gaping Maw

… its pointy picot teeth

Picot Teeth

biting into the tender flesh.

The Down-Tshark, as you might expect, is worked as it’s positioned, in the opposite direction. Its tail flukes spread upward…

Tail Flukes

… as it plunges downward to devour the last of its Victim. The latter’s Foot protrudes from the maw - slip-stitch lower jaw on the underside…

Lower Teeth

… upper jaw nearly covering the deeply-tanned Toes.

Victim's Toes

Victim's Toes

Both tsharks are worked in a rough tsharktskin texture…

Sharkskin

… that is actually the wrong side of a variant on a classic herringbone stitch pattern…

Sharkskin

… the result being that you spend much of your time knitting inside-out - that is, working inside the shark whose dinner you’ve already become, whose fearsome maw…

Maw

… has already engulfed you. Aside from the occasional confusion this engenders, the tsock isn’t really particularly difficult, technically speaking.

Not that it matters. After the Tsharks have eaten up every morsel of you, and licked their bloody chops, who will know the difference anyway?

“Shark Week” dove into the water last week, and its terrifying dorsal fins…

Dorsal Fin

… have already been seen circling the mailboxes of several unsuspecting Tsock Club members.

Watch out, my friends. You’re gonna need a bigger knitting bag.

Shark Week

P.S. Almost forgot to mention. The heroines of the dye studio took to calling this one “Bruce” for short… so that’s what we named the main colorway.