Unecessarily upgraded to the Xs over the weekend. I think I now understand what people mean when they say it “reimagined” the iPhone.
Before being felled by the flu shortly after Christmas, I had intended to write this at the end of December. Better late than never.
The last quarter of 2017 was a busy one for me. This was largely the result of acquiring a new hobby. Like some people collect books or plates, I seem to collect hobbies. The first weekend of October I decided to purchase a sewing machine. It’s something I’d been thinking about for a while, and had been setting funds aside from my paychecks for when I finally figured out what to get. I’m not exactly sure what sparked it: my mom and aunt both sewed when I was growing up, working together for a period at the Nimble Thimble; I had 8 weeks of home economics in 7th grade, split evenly between sewing and cooking; I’ve played with embroidery, needle point, and other fabric arts over the years. Any or all of the above, combined with some feeling that the clothing I wanted to wear wasn’t just waiting on the rack.
So armed with a rugged Husqvarna Viking, I set out to see what sewing was all about. Since that first weekend in October, I’ve made
- two dresses (Halloween costumes),
- a tank top,
- a short-sleeved henley,
- a button down dress shirt,
- another button down dress shirt,
- baby clothes and a coordinating blanket,.
- two capelets,
- a tunic top,
- and a pea coat.
Phew. I guess the sewing bug has bitten me a bit.
There’s a way in which sewing has been an unexpected application of the skills I’ve learned in my printmaking practice. In printmaking — especially linocut — it’s easy to make a mark on the block you didn’t intend. That becomes part of the print, there’s no going back. That leads to creative solutions, working it into the image in a way (hopefully) works. Sewing is more forgiving, but — especially as an early sewist — I found myself making mistakes in cutting, stitching, etc, that I had to work with. In some cases I could unpick the seam and start again. Other projects, such as the tunic, though, were made of fabric that resisted do-overs.
A friend of mine visited me in the printmaking studio a couple years ago. Observing me listen to the ink as I rolled it as a way to gauge viscosity, he commented, “Oh, it’s really like applied material science.” Sewing seems like that to me, too: working with things repeatedly to understand how they can be pushed, manipulated, and stretched.
Looking at the above list I understand why the last quarter of 2017 felt like all sewing all the time. I want to keep doing it in 2018 — I’ve already started a small first project — although probably not at that pace.
After lots of false starts, I’ve actually gained some momentum on updating Effective Django. Feels good to be making progress, both with the text and the tooling.
Do all dependency management systems trend toward lock files?
Working on an update for Effective Django, I spent a little time looking at Pollen and Racket this week trying to understand how it’s different/better than Sphinx. I have a problem (obsession) with “programmable documentation” tools. Came to the conclusion that it solves a problem similar to Sphinx: Python extensions are Racket functions,
.. is spelled
doctree is X-expressions, etc. Also, MB’s templates are gorgeous.
If I had something in the works that I felt I could label an “essay”, I think I’d feel pressure. And that’s at least part of the reason for a three year hiatus on the blog.