Archive for technology

[…] Mcdonalds the…

[…] Mcdonalds the kids had off from school today, I’m still working on Matthew Snake, I don’t If I will finish it tonight.
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If you’re thinking “that’s the nuttiest post title yet”, wait. I just blogged, from my phone, WITHOUT TYPING! I usually write these with a lot of editing, but there I was, at said restaurant, trying to get my phone to glom onto the wifi connection there and not having much success. I always have a portable project handy, and was just putting a few rounds on the neverending snake toy –

“..what are you making there, a sweater?..”

“um, no , it’s a toy. a snake. for my son.”

(silence)

“see, look at it’s eyes”

So, you know that feeling you get when you suddenly realize you’re the biggest dork in the place? Yeah, that was me. Need more? OK, try and picture someone speaking a blog post into a cell phone, but trying to play it off like they were actually talking to another human. Now you’re with me.

workflow diagramI love the idea of JOTT. Sign up free on their service and you can call their 800 number and leave yourself a message, which gets translated to text by magical elves. Or something. They have a whole system of lists and folders so you can use it as a GTD style planning system, which originally drew me in. Not great for remembering dentist’s appointments, but it gelled for me when I found out it could link to things like blogger, wordpress, yahoo groups and livejournal. Holy crap! No more typing. (the above message was “low confidence”, meaning I allowed garbled messages to post as-is, without okaying them first.)

multiple increasesSo that I’m excited about, definitely. I’ve been playing with yoke construction making dresses and accessories for my neices’ dolls, teddies, (and pigs!); made a hat for my son out of lion brand suede using a rag bowl pattern from “Cozy Crochet”; frogged my whole ripple and started over; and gotten really into self-striping yarns and hyperbolic crochet.

Oh did I mention I have 15 teabags brewing to extract tannic acid to use as a mordant to fix the color on the oneskein scarf I made with some cruddy purple cotton chenille (cough -eBay- cough) after I overdyed it with red cabbage water because it was horribly faded, and it actually smelled like grape juice when it first got wet? Night-mare. Swatching and washing are not my strong suits, obviously. I am very good, however, at blogging at 2 am. Go figure.

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Mapping the Future of Craft

craftster button If you’ve never visited Craftster before, you’re missing out on the awesome designs of a lot of very creative people who are on the cutting edge of DIY culture. The mostly young demographic creates hip, modern twists on traditional arts and crafts.

It’s not your grandmother’s craft site. The Craftster forum features topics such as Stitch and Botch, Crafting for Good not Evil, Vegan Cooking, and Reconstructed Clothing, as well as the standard fare of show-and tell boards, tool and supply discussions, listings of local fairs, and advice on starting a business. The tagline, “No Tea Cozies Without Irony” sums it up very well.

Each post includes a “this rocks” button which has a clever icon of the two fingered ‘devil sign’ often flashed at rock concerts. Pressing it enables you to vote on the work, the best make it to the Featured Projects section on the site’s front page. Where else could you find a felt espresso machine, soap the looks like a raw steak or a cross-stitched portrait of Queen frontman Freddy Mercury? Most purported hip, new trends on HGTV or the DIY network have their roots in sites like this one.

Leah Kramer started Craftster in 2003. It now has over 75,000 members and recently received a mention in the Time Magazine article “50 Coolest Websites of 2006”.

NJ Craftster Heatmap

There are many message boards on the site, including a regional-specific NJ one that I frequent (in search of nearby crochet groups – hello TRKnitters!) One of its members, bethiej78, generously provided a heatmap showing the locations of all the participating craftsters in the thread. The map received enhusiastic responses from as far away as San Diego (!); I suspect the author will add more locations if the need arises. I think that the time and effort it takes to create something like this may qualify it as a craft in its own right.

I often think about the increasing overlap of digital and traditional mediums (Crafster discussion here). Digital artist trading cards (ATC’s), knitting graphs produced in photoshop, and online color palette generators are blurring the whole line between technology and craft. We now have tools at our disposal to create a whole new genre (cue the herioc star-wars type music here), equal parts fiber and fiber optic – a bastard child of post-modern pop culture and time-honored folk artistry. It’s become easier to find a voice via “social networking” on the internet. For me especially, the prospect of positive feedback from my community is great inspiration, on all levels. As Sen. Clinton paraphrased the African proverb, it really does take a village. So think globally and craft locally. You’ll be glad you did.

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