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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

magic window

11jan2015

My favorite online/youtube mathematician, Vi Hart, has a cool new interactive program that shows how even slight preferences cause people to segregate themselves pretty readily. (via skepchick, I think...) The accompanying article explains, moreover, how strongly these patterns persist— unless you add a rule that participants actively desire to live with others unlike them.

The town I live in readily demonstrates this: it has five districts, and during the era after the Civil War & before WWI, its black population, then the highest percentage of any city in the state & originally pretty evenly distributed, was forced into one district by covenants, which I'm very sorry to say were enforced (at least informally) well into the 50s (and probably beyond, since an adjacent neighborhood still has members who call the cops on black guys silly enough to go door to door looking for odd jobs). A century later this pattern still persists, though I didn't learn the history until a year ago, despite having resided here well over a decade, and belonging to various historical groups for much of that time. The fact that our city is mixed overall was a plus for us, but owing to ignorance about this history, we inadvertently reinforced the old, bad, pattern.

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7jan2015

So, bouncing back to the crochet (two posts ago) here's some linkies I liked for learning scrumbles specifically (part II) of a cute blue scrumble a green scrumble by the same folks, prudence mapstone (originator of the technique, I believe), plus instructables sand/shore/sea bag.

And of course, no roundup would be complete without the project that originally inspired me, LisaViolinViola's gorgeous green freeform mitts. In fact the blog has a ton of wonderful freeform examples.

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6jan2015

Happy New Year/Epiphany/12th Day of Christmas/Tuesday, everyone:)

Found the most luscious pair of socks (you may need a ravelry login to see the link), so making those—or at least a simple every-other-stitch stranded two color pair is one New Year resolution. I love the way the pattern disappears into plain white, as if the toes were dug into snow.

For those of you not yet tired of winter, here are some gorgeous macrophotos of snow crystals, and along the lines of another dpreview feature is a new photographer who did a year of pix every day to learn. I'd like to start ploughing through strobist's photography 102 flash course (though if I manage one lesson a week, I'd be thrilled...). First thing—got the recommended flash, but now I need the light stand to stick it on!

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18dec2014

This is a typical way I waste time on the internet: Threads magazine, in a vain effort to get me to renew (because the mag has become “Fine (Couture) Sewing” instead of “Fabulous Textile Techniques of All Kinds”) and I'm not much into clothes rank comfort, versatility and durability over appearance, I don't put much effort into stuff that's just gonna get dirt, molten glass, acid, etc on it anyway...sent me a link called 21 sewing myths debunked which was more a well, that's-not-quite-a-myth-but-here's-the-exception-to-that-rule; then I wandered over to a vintage blouse because they do sometimes discuss embellishment (in the context of couture sewing, sigh) and mention was made of a specialized embroidery machine called a cornely, of which antiques are still used in Africa, India and the Middle East where labor is still cheap enough for hand-guided machine embroidery is feasible, where it's become part of the local style, and where, I'm guessing, there's a knowledge base for operating these machines—the guy in the video makes it look easy, but I'm guessing there's a fairly deep well of expertise there. Note, frex, how much more comfortable the Middle Easterner is operating the machine than the person demoing for the museum, in the first link. This is not to say this type of technology hasn't advanced, but the modern machines are neither suitable nor accessible to the artisan; on the other hand, just making this post allowed me to circle back to another favorite video of a woman using an old treadle machine to make lace. N.b., she's Hungarian: that same basic region as the Irish Crochet that inspired this post.)

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3dec2014

John Scalzi generously does this thing where he opens up his blog for the rest of the world to flog our wares for the holiday season. So I got off my ass, reopened my etsy shop, and will be trying to fill out the collections over the next few days (in between a number of truly tedious mundane tasks).

Shown is the Bee Princess. I was originally trained in life drawing, and in college hoped to be a sf&f book cover artist. I never figured out how to do that, and getting hired by a bead shop rekindled my interest in beads, which, obviously has persisted.

Anyway. As Mr Scalzi has been so kind to allow me to promote myself, I thought I'd return the favor—he recently published a new novel, LockIn which he admits was

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1dec2014

Happy December, everyone. (Eek, definitely not ready.)

Aaaand the parade of links continues. I just loved the art in Nonplayer and I also admired the artist for seemingly getting his promotional chops in a row; but after that first volume...nothing. Turns out there's a happy ending (or middle?) to this story: the creator had a kid, and has been busy.

Oh, ok.

Also chugging along with fantastic art and story, Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ fantastic Saga. I'm ashamed to admit I totally missed the subtleties that Vaughn uses to make the thing more accessible:

  • no more than six panels per page
  • no more than 12 balloons per page
  • no more than two lines of (typewritten) text per balloon

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