Awesome Things

Vintage View-Master Magic

Happy Friday, everyone! If you’re wondering where my Shop Talk posts went, I’m putting the series on hold for a bit while my design and knitting work is insane for the next few weeks. It will definitely return later with more tips and stories from my work as a designer!

Today I have wonderful vintage cuteness to share. Earlier this week, while I was in the middle of knitting dozens of characters and props for an upcoming photo shoot, I got some unexpected inspiration from the blog of Lance Cardinal, a set designer whose finely detailed models always blow me away. He had scanned TONS of vintage (1960s-’80s) View-Master reels featuring the coolest 3-D scenes of popular cartoons.

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Maybe I saw some of these as a kid, but either way I’m blown away by the style and level of detail in the carefully constructed scenes. Lance actually scanned each slide, so the complete stories are on his website. He’s also got a post with several photos taken on the sets of these stories.

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These are so amazing to me, I have to share more.

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OK, some are cuter than others. But I love the knitting in that one!

Seeing all these cool slides on Lance’s blog led me to find the a website called View-Master World, which introduced me to tons more weird vintage Vew-Master goodness, including this scene in which Barbie is climbing a pyramid in Egypt.

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This might sound kooky, but all of this was just the inspiration I needed this week. Back to knitting!

Sweet Sweet Roving

On Sunday I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: buy lovely cotton candy clouds of wool roving!

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I got these at from Esther’s Place at YarnCon, the Chicago indie yarn gathering that I didn’t even know existed until a couple of weeks ago.

Honestly, I’m always so tempted by the roving when I go to yarn shows that it was probably just a matter of time before I bought some for no reason, but happily I have a reason—a tiny bit of needle felting that I’m incorporating into a little project (that has to remain a bit mysterious for now).

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I’ve only tried needle felting once before, when I took a workshop with Moxie a few years back. It’s a craft that I admire more than I practice, but I do have to say that I love the portability of it, and stabbing things over and over again with a needle is one of the best stress relievers I’ve experienced.

I would love to find ways to incorporate more roving into my life. Maybe there should be a roving fight at the next TNNA—like a pillow fight, but with big colorful clouds of fluffy wool flying everywhere. Who’s in?

The Internet and How it Works!

I just spent more than 24 hours without the internet because a couple of things got unhooked somewhere by accident. It was crazy! It was like having the power go out or breaking an arm—so many tasks had to be re-learned. Anyway, I only mention it because in the middle of this crisis, we got a very timely package from my mother-in-law.

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It was an empty cereal box. Store brand Grape Nuts. But check out the back!

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It’s as if someone at Hannaford’s generic cereal division decided that people who eat generic Grape Nuts would like to be transported to the year 1996 as they’re eating breakfast, and then at least one other person approved of that idea and made it happen. It’s visually stunning, and the text is perfectly odd too. Here’s a closer look:

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It strikes me as especially weird because, even if this is meant for the few elderly people who still haven’t acquainted themselves with the internet, I’m thinking the information provided wouldn’t be particularly helpful to them. Except maybe for the emoticons key.

I honestly thought this was an ancient cereal box that Bonney unearthed in her pantry or craft room, but no! This box’s contents weren’t supposed to expire until December 2nd of this year.

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My new theory is that Hannaford outsources its cereal box content to someplace bizarre… but where? I really would like someone (who has more spare time than I) to get to the bottom of this.

By the way, we’re now back online and everything is going to be OK. Everyone hug your internet extra tight tonight!

The Mark Hrachovec Yarn Winder 2.0

As you may recall if you’re a regular reader, last year my dad custom made for me a life-changing yarn winding contraption for my kits. Over the holidays I casually mentioned to him that it would be nice to have a backup, and three months later yarn winder 2.0 arrived on my doorstep!

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Like the original, this one works like a charm, but it’s more compact and has little rubber thingies on the bottom so it won’t damage a table. Isn’t my dad the greatest?

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So now I have TWO awesome yarn-winding contraptions. I could use two hands and double my kit output! But really, it’s nice to have a backup for this tool that’s proved so essential to my work, and it gets me a step closer to possibly someday having someone else help me wind the yarn. (Could this finally be the year for an assistant??)

And where does all that wound yarn go? In my wound-yarn drawers, of course!

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This way, the yarn is all there and ready to go for made-to-order kits.

Three cheers for my dad, a legend in Mochimochi Land!

Websites as Toys

It seems like the internet is getting more powerful every day, which is cool, but also scary, right? I think that’s why I find extremely simple, possibly useless websites to be so attractive. The art/design website The Fox is Black recently introduced me to some of these sites (which they called “single-serving sites“), and I’m thinking this could be a very deep rabbit hole indeed.

If you have a few spare seconds, click on the below to see some of my favorites.

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I think we’re pretty used to silly “toy” apps by now (sound effect apps come to mind), but there’s something really bold about a whole website built upon one simple concept. Websites can do so much, yet these do so little.

I have one more for you—a simple idea, but mind-blowing nevertheless. Take a virtual stroll through any random place in the world…

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As many different things as the internet is becoming, I love that it’s also becoming a place for some of us to create new forms of art and play and for the rest of us to enjoy the results.