A few years ago, I came across a camera at a little vintage market. Usually cameras like this aren’t worth much now since they were mass produced and inexpensive, and not very complicated, making them pretty accessible. For whatever reason, it sparked my eye, and I picked it up only to find that it was still full of undeveloped film. Well, it obviously had to come home with me. The camera is a Brownie Starmite II and I’ll leave the folks at the Camerapedia to go into the details if you want them. The film inside was 127 film, probably still from the 1960s when the camera was made, so I knew the folks at Old School Photo Lab could handle it just fine. I saw there was a frame left, so I shot that off (last photo below), then wound up the film and sent it off for processing. In a matter of days, the scrappy Lab Rats at the film lab had emailed me the scans and popped the negatives (and reel) in the mail. The images are below. I don’t know anything about who owned the camera prior to my finding it or where it might have been used, but judging by the clothing, it’s probably about 1960s, and somewhere that it gets cold enough to ice skate, so it’s entirely possible the photos are of a family in the Philadelphia area where the camera was purchased. Maybe some day I might be able to reconnect these photos with the family who left them behind in the camera! Click any photo to see the full size. The camera is probably still usable since there’s not much to it in terms of moving parts, no battery, etc, and you can still find 127 film albeit at ~$13/roll. It would be fun to run a roll of film through this just for kicks someday.
Blue & Purple Speckle Socks
Finished: 26 Jul 2021
Yarn: Skein band missing, though I think it’s from Mountain Laurel Yarns
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: I absolutely love the colors of this yarn. I think I had originally bought it to make a hat, but it makes a mighty fine pair of pretty socks.
Dutch Vacation Socks
Started: Sep 2021
Finished: Oct 2021
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock yarn in colorway, “Indiecita”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: Started these on the plain on the way home from a brief vacation to the Netherlands while the husband was actually home, before he left for the UK for 2 years (that’s a whole ‘nother story) and while there was a lull in Coronavirus cases. Yep, pandemic vacation socks.
Plain Old Socks
Started: Oct 2021
Finished: 23 Oct 2021
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in colorway “Good Luck Jade”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: This is one of those yarns that looked really heavy variegated in the skein but actually knit up in a pretty even set of color values (light/dark) and probably could’ve handled a simple pattern pretty well.
Purple Storm Socks
Started: 29 Oct 2021
Finished: 4 Nov 2021
Yarn: Wullenstudio Superwash Sock in colorway “Wooly Bully”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: I picked up this yarn at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival in 2009, so it’s definitely on the older end of the stash spectrum. I really dug the purple and grey together and they pooled up every so slightly around the leg in wide stripes.
That wraps up the plain old socks catch-up! There’s one more that I need to post, but it deserves its own post since it’s actually a really neat design. There are other knits to post too that aren’t socks, so I’ll be busy getting caught up for the rest of the year probably!
We found a box of old books when my last living grandparent passed away that seemed to have been given to her by her mother-in-law and contained some pretty old books from even grandma’s mother-in-law’s mother (my 2x great grandmother). While there’s no indication whose writing is in the book or a name printed in the front or back, one of the pieces of paper stuck in the book certainly looks like great grandma Olga’s handwriting. My 2x great grandmother and her husband married in 1891, both immigrants from England – Alfred had come over with his adoptive parents in 1872, and Jessie had arrived in about 1890. It certainly feels like the most likely scenario, that the book belonged to Jessie and her family, given the other books in the box as well as the handwriting belonging to her only surviving daughter. The book has a copyright date of 1894, and this edition is marked on the front cover, “Compliments of the Pittsburg Press” (yes, Pittsburgh without the ‘H’ as the newspaper titled itself). The inside cover notes the book cost $1.50. I can’t be entirely sure when this particular edition was printed, but the newspaper did advertise the book in 1894, and by 1908, it was called, “The Standard Domestic Science Cook Book,” by the same author. I couldn’t find any information in the newspaper about it offering the book for sale at a discount or as a gift to subscribers. The book has clearly been used quite a bit since the leather on the spine has nearly completely separated from the rest of the book, held on by only two pieces of well-aged tape.
Inside the book are tucked random bits of newspaper articles containing recipes, notes on pages, and the end few pages were left blank to contain, “Recipes Gathered by the Way.” All those pages are filled in, so I’ve scanned them here for you because they’re pretty interesting. There were no oven temperatures listed, just “Moderate” or “Quick” oven, but fortunately there’s a temperature chart available here to help convert these recipes. I may even give them a try at some point! Small thumbnails here, click the images to see the larger version in case you want to try your hand at any of these.
The full book has been digitized by Google Books (available here), so you can have a look through the recipes in the book. Beyond recipes, there’s a section on napkin folding, one on meal planning, personal care, stain removal, and how to care for your home. The back quarter or so of the book involves a “Medical Adviser” which is obviously and somewhat hilariously outdated, but worth a glance if just to appreciate how far we’ve come in terms of medical knowledge in just over 125 years. I’ll leave you with what’s easily one of my favorite pages because it’s SO cringe inspiring today.
How Cold Is It Mittens
Started: 13 Jan 2022
Finished: 24 Jan 2022
Pattern: How Cold Is It Mittens by Drunk Girl Designs
Yarn: KnitPicks Palette in colorways B961 (Light Blue) and 2425 (Dark Blue) – used just about half a skein of each
Needle: US 0 / 2 mm
Notes: This is now the second time I’ve knit these mittens and these ones went to a friend as a holiday present. It’s not too often that I knit for other people, but there are some folks who are absolutely knit-worthy! Most of the time I’m knitting for just me because it is a sizable amount of time, energy, and cost that can go into producing a knitted object. You’re damn right I’m going to do that for myself! There’s a longer conversation here that I saw on Twitter about men’s vs women’s craft/hobby endeavors and how women are called selfish if they engage in a craft or hobby for themselves while that’s not said of men.. and also a conversation about how I knit for the enjoyment of knitting and don’t need to monetize it and sell what I create in order to make it valid and worthwhile. Buuuut anyway, back to the mittens! I had to check back to my notes when I knit the first pair, and I did indeed go down 2 needle sizes to a size 0 since I tend to knit a bit loose in colorwork and the pattern called for a US size 2 which seemed way too big. I also always use a Norwegian Knitting Thimble for colorwork since I’m a continental knitter, and it works great to keep the yarn organized on my left hand without getting twisted or falling off my finger. The mittens came out a tiny bit tight straight off the needles, but after washing and laying out, the yarn loosened up a considerable amount and the fit is damn near perfect. The pattern also comes with a Norwegian style thumb, but I find that those twist the mitten funny when it’s being worn – our thumbs sprout out the side of the palm, not the center – so I switched up and added a “sore thumb” instead. For the thumb, I started increasing every other row at the edge of the mitten body starting at row 3 of the mitten chart till I got to 25 stitches and then slipped those onto a holder and backwards cast on 1 stitch. When it came time to work the thumb, I picked up 5 extra stitches along the thumb ‘crotch’ for a total of 30, then worked the thumb till it was long enough, decreased, and cast off. This is absolutely my favorite mitten thumb type to knit and IMHO, it fits the best without twisting or distorting the pattern while wearing the mittens. Uncensored version below the jump!
A few months ago, one of my favorite local distilleries, Manatawny Still Works, opened up a Whiskey Club which involves four shipments per year of standard or cask strength selections of their whiskies. I definitely do more damage than that every year at their distillery, so I figured this would be a fun experience, getting bottles of unique whiskies with no worrying about showing up to release day on time or placing a pre-order, plus the shipments come straight to my door. Can’t go wrong with that! When I told the husband about it, his only question was whether I’d go for cask strength or regular, not whether or not I’d join, so, yeah, pretty obvious I had to sign up.
My first shipment was due to arrive while I was visiting the husband who is currently assigned to a posting in the United Kingdom, so they thankfully held it for me and delivered once I returned home in the first week of March. I think I got the call during the last week of February, so we’re calling this February’s edition since that was the planned delivery date (the delay was my fault!). The shipment arrived packed extremely well, with a layer of bubble padding on the bottom and paper shred fill inside, and the delivery person even called before to confirm I was available to receive it which is something I REALLY appreciate. Included along with the bottle was a Glencairn glass with the Manatawny logo, a letter about the whiskey, and a club sticker. On to the whiskey, it’s a 750 mL bottle of a Single Barrel Four Grain American Whiskey at cask strength, 62% ABV. The letter included with the shipment details that this was aged in new, charred American Oak barrels for 6 years and says that the nose is cherry, pepper, and vanilla with sweet oak and gentle spice on the palate. Mine is bottle 6 of just 9 at cask strength making this super unique!
Most whiskies, I prefer to have the cask strength so that I’ve got control over the ABV. I’ve had some whiskies at 40% that were disappointingly over-diluted, and some incredible whiskies at 50% or higher that honestly didn’t need even a single drop of water. Everyone’s palate is a little different, so I enjoy having that flexibility with the cask strength edition, especially since I tend to drink whiskey neat. I’m not a whiskey tasting expert, but I enjoy a fine dram and have gotten a good handle (I think) on that whole taste-to-brain translation thing, so here are my thoughts! On the nose, I definitely get cherry – a dark, red, dried cherry, maybe a little bit of raisins too, and definitely the vanilla and caramel I’d expect from an oak barrel. Undiluted, on the palate, it does have a fair bit of fire from the 62% ABV. After adding a little water, it mellowed out and my brain immediately sparked to those fancy Amarena cherries we’ve used for cocktails. That dark, rich, syrupy cherry is definitely what I’m getting on the palate with a really nice rush of dark chocolate (like a 90% dark chocolate bar) as it rolls down the tongue, and spice at the finish with a tinge of smoke from the barrel char. I mean, wow. Absolutely perfect for the cold and snowy day we have while I write up this post, and a great whiskey to open the club!
If you want to sign up, the club is open to Pennsylvania residents, and is, in my opinion, absolutely worth it if you enjoy whiskey. I haven’t been paid or reimbursed to say any of this – the distillery has been one of our favorites since they opened, and it’s been a delight to see them grow and produce some incredibly good whiskey in their 8 years of operation. I’m only here to share the love of a fantastic whiskey, and I’m so glad to have gotten a spot in the club.
Continuing on with the sock knitting catch-up posts, but at least we’re into 2021 now! This is some peak winter pandemic knitting, just basic plain stockinette socks, but honestly it was all my brain had space for at the time.
Started: 25 Dec 2020
Finished: 2 Jan 2021
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight, Mill Ends
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: Mill Ends are the not-quite-perfect runs of sock yarn that are still plenty good, but not perfect. Ravelry says I picked this up at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool festival in 2009, so wow was it due to be used finally. This yarn is an absolute delight – it’s SO squishy and comfortable to wear even if a little thicker than most sock yarns, and what a pretty colorway.
Day at the Beach Socks
Started: 2 Jan 2021
Finished: 11 Jan 2021
Yarn: Spindle City Yarns Handpainted Sock in colorway, “Day at the Beach”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: It’s my best friends, blue and brown again! Ravelry says I bought this in 2008, so this was one of my first few sock yarn purchases ever. Pretty wild how a few skeins of sock yarn became bins of yarn, enough to keep me warm for an eternity. This project marks my transfer from keeping records on Ravelry to keeping records in a notebook because of Ravelry’s site redesign and refusal to add basic code for accommodating those who found the new site intolerable or harmful to use. I even noted on the project page, “Last FO on Ravelry. Going to notebook logging or posting on the blog. BYE RAVELRY.” Part of the reason I got back to blogging was to keep better track of Finished Objects, so, here we are.
Stormy Night Socks
Started: 6 Jan 2021
Finished: 11 Jan 2021
Yarn: June Pryce Fiber Arts Plum Panda sock in colorway “Stormy Night”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: Oooh aren’t these pretty?! The yarn was picked up at the Pennsylvania Fall Fiber Arts Festival in 2015 so it didn’t wait too long to become socks. My notes on this say that I left the leg longer than I usually do to preserve the color transition. I even alternated and used the other end of the ball for the heel since the yarn was supposed to transition all the way back to the dark green again.
Started: 14 Jan 2021
Finished: 23 Jan 2021
Yarn: Holiday Yarns Flock Sock in colorway “Bacon”
Needle: US 1.5 / 2.5 mm
Notes: Plain old sock! The yarn was acquired at Rhinebeck in 2010, and how can you possibly resist a colorway called “bacon” which pools up like streaky bacon?! I mean it really is pretty great.
A few years ago, I started taking printmaking classes with a local artist at our community art center to give me something to do and dig back into a creative groove. Printmaking was something I’d always wanted to try and this class gave us a great overview of the basics of a few different printmaking methods. I later took more classes with the same teacher and really found a love for all the possibilities in printmaking. There’s also something neat about the history of the craft. Anyway, making prints without a press can be a bit limiting since some of the methods involve consistent pressure that can’t really be achieved by hand, so when I saw the Open Press Project on Kickstarter, I jumped on it. My little blue press arrived and I went to town playing with drypoint etching on plastic plates. It’s a very small format since the bed is only about 3×5.5 inches in size, but that also makes it portable and takes up less space which isn’t a bad thing.
At the end of 2021, the team that created the little press put out a call for artists to join a global art swap using the press to create a small series of 10 prints. For mine, I used a subject that’s gone around a few times in various printmaking iterations from a screen print to a stencil, solar print, and probably eventually a linocut. It’s my grandpa’s old Polaroid SX-70, and my love of photography bleeding into my newfound love of printmaking is something that should shock absolutely no one!
Here’s my whole series of ten – one will stay with the Open Press Project folks and be part of a catalog and future show, and in return, I’ll receive 9 different prints from artists around the world. Can’t wait to see the catalog and online archive with all the prints as well, and I’ll add a new post once I’ve received my 9 prints in the mail, hopefully this summer.
Drypoint Etching on plastic plate
Speedball Akua Ink in Mars Black
Printed on Legion Stonehenge paper in Steel Grey
UPDATE: March 2023 – Prints were received in May 2022 and I finally posted about them! Here’s the link – https://www.sheetar.com/2023/03/29/open-print-exchange-prints-received/
Trying to get back into regular blogging this year, so here’s another item from Grandma’s scrap book. It’s a Reese’s Johnny Bar wrapper from probably about 1941 based on the other items on the same page (dated postcards in particular). I couldn’t find a whole lot on the internet about this, nor could I find another photo of the wrapper anywhere. There’s a Wikipedia article about H.B. Reese who created the bars and named this one after his son – a companion bar to the Lizzie Bar, named after his daughter. The difference between the two bars was that the Johnny bar contained nuts (you have to laugh, it’s just too funny). The bar was made at the H.B. Reese candy co in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and was probably one of the last few Johnny bars made before being discontinued in 1942 due to wartime rationing in favor of producing only their best seller, the peanut butter cup.
The full ingredient list:
Fresh Cocoanut [sic], corn syrup, cane sugar, creamery butter, molasses, freshly roasted peanuts, milk chocolate, salt.
Why grandma saved this may remain a mystery. It’s on a page that also includes a ticket stub for an airplane flight she took with her then boyfriend (later husband), a bingo ticket, postcards, and a few newspaper articles. I suppose the most likely reason she saved this is that grandpa bought it for her or they shared it on a date or something like that. Whatever the reason, it was a neat piece to find in the scrapbook, even if I’ll never know why she held on to it!