Art for Arts Sake

So far, I have spend my first day home trying to pull everything together while pretending that it’s not all a mess. It’s a mess. After my appointments today I got groceries and I’ve started tidying so at least it doesn’t look crazy around here.  I’ve noticed that if it looks crazy I feel crazy.  When the physical stuff is sorted, it helps me be sorted too, so I think that when I catch up with the abject disaster that is our home at present, I’ll be able to move in some straighter lines.

Joe (who really put a big dent in the disaster last night before I came home despite being so overloaded at work that it would be a human rights violation if he wasn’t self employed) took the good camera to work today, so the Laminaria photo shoot will have to wait another day or two.  Instead, all I can offer you is proof that the November edition of the self-imposed-sock-club is churning along.   This is still sock number one, which is a bit of a bad sign, but I did work on it in the airport –

and on the plane on the way home.

When I took that picture, camera and sock held up to the airplane window, trying to capture the clouds, the wing and the pretty colours of the sky, the guy next to me stared at me the same way that you would expect someone to look if you’d just started trying to put a whole cow into your purse.  He goggled at me, as I juggled my stuff around and searched for the right light and angle.  When I turned back around in my seat to put it all away, he shot me a questioning look, and opened his mouth – then closed it. 
"Sock at sunset." I said.  "It’s art."
"Oh." he said. 

He didn’t look relieved. I didn’t expand.

124 thoughts on “Art for Arts Sake

  1. LoL! I love it! I have to say that you’ve inspired me so much, too, with the photography and knitting. If I spend hours and hours of my life making something, it deserves some time and thought in photography. It makes it all feel so much more precious, too.

  2. It’s always good to leave people wondering. I love it when the explanation doesn’t really clarify things. And a sock at sunset is a glorious thing!

  3. Your seatmate is obviously an unlettered heathen, unknowledgeable in the Way of Sock. Good on you for educating him a little!
    On the other hand, you shouldn’t flog yourself over missing a couple of days of blog. 17 hour days, huge honking flights, and the detritus of almost grown children left to their own devices for more than 10 minutes is more than a reason to be blogging “late.”
    Sadly, the grocery fairy doesn’t show up at my house either.

  4. Love the sock at sunset. And there’s really no point in trying to explain, is there? I’m getting a little tired of the horrified looks I get with my knitting on the plane and then people say “I wouldn’t think you would be allowed to bring knitting NEEDLES through security” and I want to say “shhhhh, don’t tell anyone but I smuggled them in my butt.” However, I simply smile and say “yes, you can”

  5. I wonder what the neighbours think when I take my knitting out to the front porch, take a picture, and then go back inside. Oh well, if they ask, I’ll explain! I hope you can sort your house. It’s a noble goal…

  6. Ahh, the Muggles never quite “get it” do they? And thank you–you’ve inspired me to get off my hindquarters this weekend, and get my mother’s birthday (Nov. 30) present FINISHED…so I can start on her Christmas present!!

  7. Sock at Sunset. Heheheh. Love it.
    (Btw, since I know you love wee folks, there are some gratuitous newborn-in-handknits photos on my blog. He’s my last, so I’m trying to get all the knits in I can for him. ;o)
    Have a great day.

  8. I would love to know what airline your fly on that lets you bring knitting needles. Is there a list somewhere of airlines that do and don’t let you?

  9. Sock at sunset. What’s not to get?
    Glad you made it home and I hope you get a “weekend” this week. I am on day 12 w/o a day off; I can relate.

  10. I’m laughing my butt off thinking of what he’ll tell his partner/spouse/person-waiting-for-him-at-home, “Honey, you’ll never believe what I saw on the plane, today!”

  11. I took a picture once of my knitting project and me flying over Scotland… but I was the only passenger on a cargo flight so no explanation was necessary.

  12. I think I’d call that photo – “signature needles allowed on a plane” – I would have been too scared that something that precious would be confiscated – but I don’t get on a plane much.

  13. Hell-OOO?!? Where the heck has this guy been? You’ve been doing this for years now…how did he miss the memo! 🙂

  14. My husbands extended family could not see the humour in the fact that I ‘improved’ a photo of a tractor by putting a sock project in the foreground. Go figure.

  15. I think that just means people are not photographing their knitting enough in public. I will take this lesson to heart, and will start photographing my project more while I am out 🙂

  16. That’s awesome. Yay for making the skeptics out there mildly uncomfortable! It’s good to push folks to expand their horizons, right?

  17. The taking of knitting needles onto a plane with you is Never A Sure Thing, by any stretch of the imagination.
    I never travel anymore without an envelope and enough in postage stamps to get my knitting home by mail in case the Knitting Police accost me….

  18. I totally understand about needing your physical space to be uncluttered in order to have your mind be the same way. If I don’t pull out the vacuum and get the cat hair off this floor I am not going to be able to focus on a single thing around here.

  19. I’m impressed you caught the sunset on the wing as well as you did – that alone is a feat! Sheesh on that man.
    I still want to know how you’re getting knitting needles on airplanes, without your “junk” being touched?

  20. You are a true ambassador for knitting. The next time that guy is sitting beside someone on a plane taking pictures of their knitting, he will be smug in his knowledge that he is sitting beside an artiste. Well done.

  21. The sad part is he doesn’t understand he got the ‘simple’ explanation. He could’ve heard “I was at this silk retreat, and we yarn bombed (oops, don’t use that word on a plane!) the hotel before we left but I’m behind on my sock club knitting and I can’t post pictures yet of the ‘random acts of yarn decor’ yet, so I need a picture of my in progress sock and the sky is so pretty I want it included in the picture because the thousands who read my knitting/humor blog are asking for pictures. — Pause while he rings for the flight attendant to bring the white jacket with the really long sleeves.

  22. Signatures on an airplane?!? You’re pretty ballsy. I have a trip coming up, and I’m actually seriously considering shipping them ahead of me because I don’t want to risk checking them or trying to get them through security.

  23. Money for god’s sake …
    Luminaria will wait; and Joe will arrive with the beers in time for photo ops and blocking …
    Knitting bombs, rules and loves!

  24. Hmm. A whole cow may be the only thing I have never tried to fit into my purse….
    Sometimes when people gawk, I take it as an opportunity to advertise. (“It seemed like such a good idea when Yarn Harlot posted it on her blog.”) I know non-knitters would enjoy the writing, and maybe we can enlighten some of them.

  25. My sister’s daughter may never recover from the discovery that she (my sister) had set up her swift and ballwinder right in the middle of Starbucks. . .

  26. This just makes me sad that knitting needles are absolutely banned on planes here, they’re on “the list” and I don’t dare try take them on even though I know some people sneak on wooden ones.

  27. I fully believe that if anyone questions anything you’re doing you should call it art. There can be no debates.

  28. Not only “Sock at Sunset” but Sock at Sunset with Signature Needles! Brave, Brave Stephanie. For my part – let the airlines take the bamboos – but don’t touch my Signatures! Good to know, though, that they are lightening up just enough for the knitters of the world – or at least the knitters of North America!

  29. While i have not yet attempted to stuff a whole cow into my purse, i have wandered around with a whole chicken and a couple of garlic cloves in my backpack. Plus a sock in progress, of course.

  30. Hmm I find this whole clean house clean mind thing a bit of a chicken and egg thing. I never know if I feel organised cos I cleaned of the other way round. Well done on the sock seat silence self control. I would have felt the need to explain!

  31. I’m quite excited to see those socks done. I am a big fan of the Raven colourways.
    Thank you for representing knitters around the world in such an obscure fashion.

  32. That reminds me of that adage about not arguing with a fool because people might not be able to tell the difference.
    Then again, I hope that’s not what your seatmate was thinking…

  33. I got that look at the Museum of Science and Industry last weekend when I sat on a bench watching a science experiment and knitting a sock. I’m not sure if it’s cuz I was the ONLY one there without kids, or the knitting…my theory is both. All I was missing was my gaggle of cats.

  34. Why didn’t you just ask him to take the picture for you? Sometimes you just have to do things just to see how people react.
    Trust me. I live my life (accidentally) this way.

  35. I took a pic like that on my trip from Portland to Florida. My husband doesn’t fly so he’ll never see the view from a jet window. He wanted me to take lots of pics of my trip and of course I had to include the sock as much as possible!

  36. Good news! According to Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage.
    Items needed to pursue a Needlepoint project are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage with the exception of circular thread cutters or any cutter with a blade contained inside which cannot go through the checkpoint and must go in your checked baggage.

  37. Marvelous post, have just shared with curator spouse! We just went to NYC this month for Print week (works on paper, etc) and i must say i had absolutely No trouble with a whole knitting bag full of a variety of needles -circs, dpns, metal Pointy Kpicks, little bamboo sticks, on Frontier Airlines, either there or back to KS. And i didn’t realize till we checked in at Hotel 31 (close to Empire State Building) that i also had my 2 little scissors in there! (One IN the Namaste buddy case, one just in the bag pocket)
    But i am still musing over the earlier post about _WHY_ things get pushed to the back of the knitting closet. For me there is no rational explanation. I continue to surprise said self with what i seemingly randomly choose to a) pick up and finish, or b) pick up and start. I have lists like crazy of things i want to make of yarns matched with patterns, things to make For people, etc, but deadlines don’t seem to figure in my interior knitting plan. For NYC i packed many projects, including one started as the “on the go” boring stst pullover for son, but also one Koigu blue-purple matched with the Waving Lace Socks from the IK mag of 2004 (now in their Favorite Socks book) which i actually Started on the plane. I can’t predict. That’s what keeps it fun!

  38. If you live in the US, knitting needles have been allowed on planes since July 2005. Can’t speak verifiably for other countries, though I heard a rumor that this may now be allowed on UK flights as well.
    My everlasting regret is that my recent round-the-world trip had too much work and not enough knitting. I didn’t even touch the emergency stuff in my suitcase! smh

  39. I understand about having your physical space in order to be able to work. I’m the same way. I think people can tell how my life is going by how my house looks:)

  40. I would have suggested giving him your business card, but then I thought he would read ‘Yarn Harlot’ and his mind might wander in ways that were inappropriate.
    Ahh… ‘whatever gets you through the night …’
    (I can’t believe it, I must have missed yesterday, I have only just caught-up with yesterday’s post. Most unlike me, as I am ever-vigilant.)

  41. So will “Sock at Sunset” be available as a limited-edition print for sale? The colors are perfect for my living room. (Snork…”put a whole cow in your purse”…love the way you play with words, Steph.)

  42. Thank you for the cow guffaw!
    I admit I do enjoy it when a confident woman who knows what she’s doing flusters a man who thinks he knows better than she what she ought to be doing.

  43. Maybe there really is a whole cow in my purse. That would explain why it’s so full, and I can never find what I’m looking for in there. The only needle trouble I’ve had of late was almost five years ago, flying on Quantas to Australia/New Zealand (strange, considering the importance of wool in the latter country). No trouble in North America or Europe lately.

  44. Aaaaahhhh! Socks on a Plane!
    I don’t know if anyone else was subjected to that movie about avian reptiles, but that’s all I could think about when I saw the sock and the wingtip against the sunset…

  45. SOCK AT SUNSET: Oh Steph, ain’t it fun to just mess with people, even if that’s not your intention in what you’re doing at the time you mess with them?
    The silk-to-mittens in the airport is another lovely example. Since I’ll be taking some socks along on an Amtrak trip next week, I’m anticipating a bit of the same myself!
    I’m glad The Hero Joe scored on the site-recovery work before you returned. Reminded me of an incident I’ve not thought of for years and years … I was out of town for a week-plus and when I got home, I found that the husband (and the kid-slaves, under his leadership and direction) had tidied the entire house and environs, had ALL the dishes and laundry done, the fridge and cupboard stocked with groceries, and (GET THIS) they had rented a steam cleaner and shampooed ALL the carpets in the ENTIRE house and washed ALL the windows inside and out the day before Momma’s return. I did just nearly PASS OUT.
    And yes we need the Laminaria photos. Likely too freakin’ cold now, though, for the semi-nude-mermaid on the rock photo. Kindly disregard that. And we can wait on the yarnbombing results for a while, because we are all deliciously anticipating your feedback from staff there. There’s only one itsy problem with the yarn-bombing-hiding maneuvers, though — the place will either run out of knit-drops or they’ll have to strip it next year prior to your visit. Limited space and all. (Oh wait, maybe they could sell or auction off the left-behind gifties prior to next year’s visit???) hmmmm.
    Golly, I’d almost be willing to arrange such a gathering at some place near me, just to see what you and your “stealth team” would do to the place! You could start a whole new movement in the tourism industry (and godknows they need the help), just “invite this crazy bunch to host their event with you, and you’ll be world-famous!!!
    [[hugs]] to you, hope you stay warm and curl up cozily with yarns and needles and stitches and comfort for the next few days. We all of us love you so.
    It’s snowing and getting arcticly cold here in Montana. Sockknitting is eversomuch more fun in this brrrrr weather than it is in summer ….
    ~ Kelly in Montana

  46. Someday I want to sit next to you on a plane, knitting a sock and have my husband take a picture of the two of us. He totally gets it. He takes pictures of me in the London Tube so I can get a TubeSock picture. He takes pictures of me in Barcelona with my Gaudi Sock… But then, we grew up in Oregon [where I learned to knit in 1963], and lived in Washington. He loves yarn, and yarn shops, and enjoys going into the shops on our travels. Yes, I love him, loads. Especially when he says, I have room in my bag for that…….

  47. “A Sock at Sunset” sounds like a great name for a book, or maybe a song.
    -insert guitar music here-
    And I will knit you a sock at sunset
    Another row, it’s been another day
    Oh I will knit you a sock at sunset
    As I think of you while you’re away

  48. The other day my husband was walking by while I watched a knitting show on TV. He looked at the host and said, “Wait a minute, she looks normal!” I thought of saying, while knitting and watching a TV show about knitting, “You mean I’m not normal?” But instead I just laughed.

  49. I always figured I need organization outside my brain because inside my brain it is terrier-time.

  50. (quote)I’m laughing my butt off thinking of what he’ll tell his partner/spouse/person-waiting-for-him-at-home, “Honey, you’ll never believe what I saw on the plane, today!”
    Posted by: Michelle at November 19, 2010 3:26 PM(end quote)
    And his SO will immediately realize what took place and say, “OMG!!! you sat next to The Yarn Harlot on the plane and you didn’t get your picture with her OR her autograph?” and it will be a cold, cold night in his household…and he will be very, very sorry.

  51. Oh, oh, oh!! I was laughing so hard I started choking! Scared the daylights out of the cat. There must be space for “A Sock at Sunset” in the Met. Or the Louvre? Can’t write any more because there’s a cat refusing to give up sitting rights, using my arm my arm for a nest, but thank you!

  52. OK- what I am very curious to know is, how are you managing with the whole security thing? Have you had to go through the x-ray machine? I worry about the extra exposure that people will have to subject themselves to…and if not, did you have to go through the pat-down? Apparently there’s a whole movement afoot where people are not pleased about their ‘naughty bits’ being groped. Or maybe you haven’t had to deal with this, perhaps Canada is not so anal….

  53. TeeHee! “Socks on a plane”, insert cow *here*, too many silly visualizations this morning. I have flown on Southwest several times with the needles in the carry-on, no problems so far. I think we’ll all have to use some common sense about the full-body scanners; if you fly a lot & have concerns about the exposure, you might want to alternate between the scan & the pat down. It’s a hassle, but it’s also an effort to make the skies safer. I do plan to stay home this holiday!

  54. Hey, cool toilet repair. I did something similar a couple of years ago – the handle broke so I tied yarn to the chain and threaded it through the hole in the tank, so you could flush by pulling on the yarn!

  55. For what it’s worth, I think that “sock at sunset” is beautiful art. Some people just have no taste or sense of what art really is.
    They must be converted.

  56. Steph, This is the best is better than having a wart on your nose..
    At least it is more perplexing..Airports seem to be,and catching more odd people, looking as though
    you are from Outer Space..
    Knitting is an Art that will never die..

  57. ROTFL!!!! As they say it’s all in the eye of the beholder.I think a gallery should take up a knitting expo of all of the knitting snapshots they can their hands on. And “Socks at Sunset” should have pride of place. About four months ago I started carrying around my small digital camera in my bag and it’s hilarious the looks I get when pull it out of my bag and take a picture. I just wonder what people think.

  58. It’s so easy to immerse ourselves in our knitting kingdom. It’s so real to us. Re: your sunset sock photo shoot – I often run into reality checks like that – when I take my knitting out on a bar counter to take a picture or when I dare to knit at a kids sporting event, I get those looks which make me feel like I’m playing a nerdy game of dungeons and dragons in public, by myself. Or something along those lines.

  59. Been there. Try explaining to people exiting the County courthouse why you are wading into the fountain in front to fetch a soaking wet rag (shawl) which has been blown into the water during a photo attempt!

  60. Love the sock – Just did four flights from Seattle to New Orleans and back. Both times had the pat down (knee replacement)- the body scanners were not on. Told the TSA gals both times that it wasn’t the high point for either of us. They smiled. Not a word was ever said about the knitting needle with the sock, the one with the scarf or the spare.

  61. I can totally get with the idea of straightening your surroudings to straighten your composure. I can’t concentrate in clutter. I also totally get the “Sock at sunset”. Fine photography. Keep up the good work.

  62. once I took my new yarn out to the snowbank for a photo and my husband caught a glimpse of that and said ‘you are twisted’ in a voice that meant ‘all mine and I love it’…well, that’s how I remembered it!

  63. Sock at Sunset song really is vintage WWII, right? If not, it should be.
    As for the barbarian at the gate, well. Someday I’M going to get off the right response at the right time and not 3:30 the next morning.
    You’re absolutely right about clutter making the mind cluttered. There must be articles about it in some neurology journal. And isn’t it abfab not to have (messy) kids(?) in the house full time? You stand a bit of a chance that a room stays neat for more than the amount of time it takes you to walk out of it before it all implodes behind you.

  64. Never a cow but most weeks a carton of eggs- i cycle to the store and on the way home my handbag is the safest place for fragile things. Everything else is prone to squashing in the basket or whacking into my knee hanging on the handlebars.
    Looking forward to seeing the gansey, oops I mean the shawl!

  65. So far, my knitting and I have made it on planes. I take off the tips, put them in with my pens & pencils, cap off the cables and I get through. One of our Knit-Sisters gave us all this knit doo-hickey that has a cutter on the edge, a crochet hook, a counter, tape measure, place to storee stuff and little plastic handled scissors and so far that gets through. All I need!

  66. I remember being taught that art was supposed to mean something and that we should look at art with an eye to more meaning than is just on the surface. That always bothered me. There is nothing wrong with art just to make something beautiful or ugly or odd. I don’t think every artist thinks of something more than the surface with each piece.

  67. I have taken shots like that…like from my favorite outdoor knitting places. People DO stare like I am some sort of pervert with the sock needles in all directions…you remind me of…ME!!

  68. But it’s so much fun to leave people confused. You could’ve asked him to pose with it. Title “Confused stranger with sock” or something.

  69. Ok, I have to comment again: My lovely neighbor lady likes yard sales, and has “caught” me outside taking pictures of my handknits. So, on Friday last, I got a call from my DD that her Dad would drop her at the library and could I pick her up after work, and “Oh by the way, did you know anything about the box of yarn on the porch?” Yes, I had a run-by yarning! The neighbor lady didn’t even ring the bell, just left a box of yarn & a note. Kinda funny, no?

  70. Knitting needles on airplane….yes. Those signature needles with the totaly lethal points? I’m surprised.

  71. The one time I did that, the woman in the seat in front of me turned around and asked if I was knitting my sock on two circs! I was! We had a lovely flight…

  72. @Elizabeth D at November 19, 2010 4:41 PM – yup, did that at our Starbucks in Edmonton too – more than once!

  73. Hey this is a silly question, but here it goes. My husband and I are having a friendly dispute whether knitting needles are allowed on planes. I showed him your picture but all he said was, “maybe she has special needles, or maybe she has special permission.” So could you clear it up for us.
    thanks 🙂

  74. Our knitting group meets at the coffee shop at a bookstore and a plain coffee shop.
    We have brought the swift and winder, we commonly take pictures of our work (we have a dedicated photographer), and that is what we do. The space is full of muggles but we buy coffee and there are no derogatory comments.
    I’m sure we know it’s art. You can see it all over Ravelry! 😉

  75. The most amazing part to me is that you were allowed your knitting needles on a plane! My 80+ year old mother wasn’t allowed her knitting needles or even her tiny little snips to cut yarn ends.
    I love you artwork–especially the shawl on the bridge–beautiful!

  76. Art for art’s sake. I lol when I read your response. I spend a fair whack of time on planes and always have knitting with me. I get questioned more often by the flight attendents (who always have their own story really rather than being interested in mine)than the passengers. What I love however is it is often the icebreaker for strangers to connect. It is the people on the trips that make it for me rather than the trips themselves. So perhaps art for art’s sake is an opportunity rather than an interpretation.

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