Back from a business trip to Tucson, Arizona. No, I wasn’t there for the incredibly huge Gem and Mineral Show, but wandered by one of the show’s many pavilion complexes in the little bit of free time I had on Saturday.

In the knitting realm here’s what I got:

These are little silver mini-earrings – the kind some people line up by the half dozen along the edge of their ears. The dinglebobs (a technical term) hanging down are small faceted semiprecious stones – mostly garnets and pale amethysts, in small silver settings. They were incredibly inexpensive. (I’m sure somewhere in India there’s a whole village making these by the barrel full for next to nothing.)

While I was in Tucson, I happened to meet Dr. David Crawford, the Executive Director of the International Dark Sky Association. His group advocates for increased awareness of the problems caused by light pollution, and changes to local zoning/building regulations in favor of more efficient use of outdoor lighting. There are compelling reasons to improve outdoor lighting, including increased energy efficiency, reduced cost, and improved visibility where it is truly needed. There is also a growing body of research documenting how light affects people’s health and well-being, and the negative impacts that indiscriminant lighting can have on organisms of all types. When all of the other benefits are taken into consideration, the aesthetic and scientific benefits from preserving the dark night sky almost become secondary concerns.

In any case, Dr. Crawford’s impassioned (and sensible) ideas stuck with me on the over-long flight home. I turned out that the sock yarn I brought with me sort of fit the darkness and light theme, so I present Night and Day socks (still in process):

This particular yarn is Regia 4-Ply Ringel, Multi Effekt Color #5383. I’ve done a standard toe-up on US #00s, with 17 stitches on each needle (68 around). After the heel, I increased two stitches to a total count of 70. I did the increases where the corners of the short-rowed heel ends. Those two stitches help fill in the small hole that can form at that point. Normally I add a stitch on each side at that point anyway, then decrease it away on the next row. This time I just left them in.

The ankle pattern is a 10-stitch repeat I doodled up on the plane. I’m sure similar things exist in stitch dictionaries:

I hope that the the organization doesn’t mind having something as silly as a pair of socks dedicated to it. I’ll be writing up the pattern at greater length as I do Sock #2. If you decide to knit them, consider investigating (and making a donation to) Dark Skies.

Oh. The red jelly-bean looking things in the sock photo are lampwork glass ladybug beads, about to become a necklace for The Smallest Daughter. The other received earrings made from slices of a very small fossil ammonite, set in silver. My gift for myself was an unusual silver wire necklace thingy, meant to display large dinglebobs (see above). The ones I chose were rectangles of cobalt blue dichroic glass set in silver. (Dichroic glass is that iridescent stuff that looks like someone vitrified a peacock.) The Resident Male got an entire backpack full of various types of dried chili peppers – things that are hard to lay hands on here in this small corner of Massachusetts. He’s much happier with something edible.

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