They don’t really talk to me anymore

Joe left this morning for a business trip, leaving me all to my own devices for the weekend (so far I have really cut loose and vacuumed the bedroom) and as soon as he was gone, I remembered that I’d forgotten to get him to help me with sock pictures.

Undaunted, I decided to engage in another episode of a game I call “weird textile things I’ve done on my front steps that make my neighbours nervous.”  (Previous entries have included direct warping a little loom because the neighbours fence was the right distance away, hanging skeins of yarn from the cherry tree for photographic purposes, and nestling various works in progress amongst the greenery to document their progress.)*

Today I decided that I’m a reasonably flexible person and there’s a timer on my camera, so I figured it wouldn’t be that hard to do it myself. I have tried this before and taking pictures of your own feet that don’t look weird and show off all the parts of a sock is really hard.  This time though I thought that I had it figured out. I set the timer, ran over and stood in front of the camera and…

socksnogood 2017-07-20

No good. (Don’t my coral bells look beautiful though? All that rain.) I looked at the picture, decided that I was standing in the wrong spot and just needed to move over, marked that spot with my mind, and then realized I’d screwed up by picking up the camera without noticing where it had been, and swore a little. I took a few other test shots, and finally worked out that what I had to do was stand in the right spot, then lean forward, sort of downward dog style, push the button for the timer, and then stand back up again without moving my feet.  This is quite difficult, and means you’ve got to stick your arse way up in the air, and from the time that I push the button, I’ve got ten seconds to execute the manoeuvre, quickly walking my hands back and standing upright.  My neighbour down the street walked by at this point, and said it looked like a good stretch. I think she thought it was the worlds most awkward attempt at yoga. On the stairs. In socks. Anyway, things improved then.

gaugesocks2 2017-07-20

(Yarn: Gauge Dye Works, a club yarn I got a few months ago.  Pattern: my own Sock Recipe. Needles: 2.25mm.)

After that I got bold and attempted a bending-over-arm-extended-like-I-am-another-person shot.  Less good.

socksnogood2 2017-07-20

But I improved.

gaugesocks1 2017-07-20

Sort of.

*I have been doing this kinda thing on the porch, warping looms, photographing yarn, projects, hanging hats on trees, arranging hats on posts, draping blankets over fences, taking pictures of various family members and myself wearing knitted stuff year round for about 15 years now. I live in the city, and those steps are about 1m from the sidewalk. Tons of people walk by every day, and never, not once, ever (and I mean it) has any human being ever asked me why the %$^&*$ I have mittens in a tree.

I think they’re afraid.

77 thoughts on “They don’t really talk to me anymore

  1. Thank you, I will be chuckling and smiling for quite a while after reading this. Beautiful colours on the socks!

  2. The neighbors probably think you’re crazy, but safe, as long as you hang yarn and knitwear in the tree. They won’t call in a SWAT team unless you start hanging farm implements and chainsaws from the tree.

  3. I have lived in the Greater Toronto Area, but am now and am now back home in the USA, and so feel qualified to offer an opinion on why nobody has said a word to you about your socks in trees.
    Canadians are just so very polite. They have probably had plenty to say about your socks, but have contained their remarks to their own homes and cars.
    Contrast your experience to this one: I once did a photo shoot of knitted hats on the Japanese Maple in my front yard here in Spokane WA. The hats were on the tree for no more than thirty minutes. Three of my neighbors are STILL talking about our little tree that grows hats, two years later. They will never stop, I think.
    Here, we are not so polite. But you always know what’s on our mind.

    • I was just in Ontario, meeting for the first time a distant cousin who showed me where our mutual ancestors lived. While at her house, she got a phone call. From my end of the conversation, all I could hear was her advising the caller that they could call her back after 7 pm that evening or before 9 am the next morning. When she hung up, she said, “Telemarketer. If she calls back, I won’t answer.” Me, I just hang up on them. Canadians are so polite!

  4. The socks are beautiful! I was in that club too & my big problem is that I can’t bring myself to actually use any of Catherine’s yarn! It’s so beautiful & I keep pulling it out to adore it. I can’t bring myself to use it though, because then (a) it won’t be there to adore in skein form, (b) I might use it for something & then the most perfect pattern ever for it will show up, & (c) what if I knit it up & then lose it? The world might end. Oof – it’s hard being me.

    • “Just Do It” comes to my mind often… and boy do I wish it was original, and probably saying it is the nearest thing to exercise I ever got out of the Nike slogan.

  5. I have to admit that I too hang my finished projects on fences and bushes and trees. I don’t have a partner so photography can be tricky if I have to hold something. You inspired me years ago to accept this practice and I find it actually makes for the most beautiful pics.

  6. You have the wrong neighbours. I can think about a million friends in the internet who would be over there in a heartbeat as soon as you started doing fibery things on the front step.

    On the other hand, maybe you have the perfect neighbours! 😉

  7. And here I am wondering why, when seeing you out there struggling to take photos, someone doesn’t stop and ask if they can help. Especially in this day and age where everyone seems to have a camera and takes photos of everything

    • And mine! Recently I saw a woman taking photos of her dog in a park so I asked her if she would like a photo of them together. After a flicker of indecision she said yes and I hope she is enjoying them. So Steph, if a stranger stops and asks you if you want a hand with photographing your feet, that will be me,

  8. I frequently take pictures of my own feet in socks and I agree with your assessment that practice helps. I like to think of sock selfie taking as a non-traditional workout, not quite to the level of acro-yoga, but close. Well done!

  9. What a wonderful colorway – all of those stripes are so attractive. And the socks look snug and perfect. nice city, nice neighbors.

  10. I do not live in a very fiber excited area. I have had many experiences where my neighbors have given me the funny stink eye and quickly moved on as I attempted something yarn-ish in my front yard. Granted, my two toddlers are always out there helping me…one son has a strong aversion to keeping his pants on and the other’s favorite color is hot pink, so in all fairness, there is probably a lot going on to earn a funny look in my front yard.

    Keep up the good work! The photos look great and they make me want to go knit a pair of socks…like right now.

  11. Why would they say something (unless maybe they offered to help…I think Joni has a point there)? You are providing such wonderful entertainment. The only excitement in my neighborhood involves violent behavior between cohabitants and flashing lights!

    I wish you lived closer. I would love to help/watch!

  12. I laughed at your “cut loose and vacuumed the bedroom” line. In that vein, I cut loose and vacuumed the stairs. Well, halfway up. The socks are beautiful, and I am noting that they are identical twins, not fraternal. My neighbours are used to me taking photos of the moon, the local fox family, my garden, the snowstorms….. occasionally dressed in my pjs, if the light is fleeting. They just smile.

  13. I was about to comment that I didn’t think Joe’s feet would fit in those socks, but then I remembered he could have been the photographer. I’m going to go put on some coffee.

  14. Two weeks ago we were on the front porch taking pictures of me in knee high socks I had just finished knitting (gauge dyeworks yarn to, lol). In 100 degree heat to boot, my neighbors think I’m completely bonkers.

  15. Put an object (coffee cup, potted plant, camera case, rock) where you plan to stand
    focus the camera on that object
    set the timer
    step back to the object and pick it up
    put your feet where it was
    wait for the shot.

  16. Maybe they’re afraid if they say anything they’ll instantly be gushing over those socks and then you’ll be wanting to give them to them and then they’ll be so embarrassed because they certainly weren’t trying to impose on you and how were they to know you’re that nice–oh right, you’re a knitter, so, they don’t dare open their mouths but they really love those socks. I know I do.

  17. I just saw a Facebook entry saying something like, “Do your neighbors know what names they have from you?” Like “the lady with the dog”, or “the ones with the sheep in front” or, or? I have to wonder what YOUR name could be.

  18. And while you’re at it, can we have report on this years cherry crop. Haven’t heard much about it lately.

    Thanks in advance.

    • I love those cherries. Cherries need snow and refuse to set fruit in San Diego, so I can’t have one, sigh. But I love them..
      Cherry pie is my fave, but cherry jam is good and just plain cherries makes a salad.
      Julie in San Diego

  19. The socks and your photos look great. KnittingInMind’s suggestion is a good one. I wanted to add that some DSLR cameras can work with a remote. I got one for mine a few years ago and it was revolutionary. Now I can take pictures of myself modelling handmade what-have-you from distances longer than my arm and have them in focus. It’s also very popular with my four year old.

  20. Now I’m inspired to try my camera timer. I take pics at the front of my house here in Kingston all the time, and just like you no one ever comments, even though it’s definitely weird when someone hangs sweaters onto the Boston ivy growing up the wall of their limestone house. Maybe not as weird as your sock calisthenics!

  21. Beautiful socks, Stephanie. Life for me right now is very, very hard. I so badly needed something to make me smile, and your words actually made me laugh. So thank you for a moment that broke the tension and hard times.

  22. Beautiful socks, and the photo beats all heck out of my usual foot-on-coffee-table shot. Keep the neighbors guessing, I say.

  23. I was pondering what to do tonight as my fiancé is going to a cottage for boys evening. Now I am inspired to finish my knitting of a baby gift… after I clean up the house a bit!

    Love the socks – I still haven’t perfected your pattern. I would love a little workshop in Toronto on this as I live in North York!

  24. Where else would you keep your extra mittens?

    Oh, and the socks are gorgeous. Don’t put them in a tree – they may walk off.

    Liz

  25. “Tons of people walk by every day, and never, not once, ever (and I mean it) has any human being ever asked me why the %$^&*$ I have mittens in a tree.”

    Thanks for the best laugh I’ve had all week! Happy knitting!

  26. Beautiful socks! I’m very glad you took the time and effort to photograph them for us!

    I was at the car dealership this morning, getting my car looked at. Spent two hours in the waiting room working on a pair of fingerless mitts (the first one is done!). One person stopped to ask what I was making. Everyone else very politely ignored me. Minnesota Nice – if you’re not sure about what someone’s doing, best to not comment on it!

  27. Hahaha! I usually contort to put my feet up on a table while twisting in a chair to get different angles. I have sons, but they seem to have very little appreciation for a decent sock photo. It’s almost like they aren’t even trying.

    Beautiful socks though! Love the colors!

  28. I got one word for ya – REMOTE! Ten bucks gets you a remote shutter release, and no more awkward porch-sock-yoga. Of course your neighbors will get bored and you’ll have less blog fodder, but you can still hang yarn and mittens from trees. 🙂

  29. They are probably all thinking,”If that’s the weirdest thing we see in this neighborhood, then we are pretty darn lucky.”

    I was sitting in the OBGYN’s office doing a 3 hr glucose screen and I was knitting (because what else can one do?). I don’t think anyone noticed because their faces were in their phones. Then a mom came in with her 4 kids and I look up and the oldest was crocheting. We had a nice chat about knitting and crochet.

    • Hahahaha! So true.

      Great socks, Steph. My daughter would steal them in a heartbeat. Just her colours.

  30. Apparently I have not walked by your house.
    My daughter says my (insatiable) curiosity about how the city in which you both live works is a clear indication of why I’ll never be able to live there. Excellent socks, btw, and pretty good photos – Joe may want to be careful about leaving town and losing Partner Points!

  31. You have normalized your bizarre fiber behavior. I fight it unsuccessfully every day. But I’m a man, so somehow knitting in public is applauded and the fact that I can do something with my hands other than open a beer or grab a remote is considered heroic. In other words, don a moustache and hang those mittens in trees.

  32. I have done these weird maneuvers, though never outside. It’s why I’ve settled for taking photos of finished socks laid flat rather than modeled now.

  33. ….or they are really, really envious of all the good knits they see. Love the socks. Makes me remember I have a sock UFO and it needs finished.

  34. I think I would like to send you a selfie stick…..I think you could do great things with it when you don’t have a knitwear model hanging around! LOL

  35. I’m not sure if it works on an iPhone, but on Androids (well, mine anyway! ) you can go into the settings and set it so that if you are in camera mode, and say, “Smile” or “Cheese”, it will take a picture without having to touch the camera–very helpful if you are attempting to take a picture at an awkward angle. It might be useful in this instance!

  36. Oh man,, Stephanie. Every time I see an asterisk in your posts, I know I’m going to laugh even harder at the end.

  37. I’ve been binge reading your blog for the past few months, I am only up to April 2005, but I couldn’t resist reading this months worth of blogs and stopping in and saying hello. Anyway I love that your blog has been active and going strong for 13 years! That’s amazing.

    Also thank you for your wonderful humor.

  38. This post made my day! Piece of advice – next time you have to do pics on your own, try putting your camera a bit higher, say, on top of a couple of books rather than on the same surface you’re standing. That way you’ll change the perspective of the image and will be able to stand much nearer the camera, giving you the chance to bend down, focus, straighten up, bleep and voila!

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