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Friday, June 29, 2007

Swatch portrait makeover -- revealed!

We're heading away for the weekend, thank heavens, so I have the day off until we leave for D.C. Do I sleep in? No. Do I vegetate and watch Regis and Kelly? Nope. I wake up early and continue fiddling with my craft area.

I decided to go with swatch portraits a la Purl Patchwork. And I scooped up great fabrics there recently, thanks to a gift certificate from my dear Spiders. (My natural light is limited here, so forgive the photos.)

And did you notice this? I'm telling you, Russian dolls are the next big thing.

I used mostly greens and oranges. All are from Purl minus the flowery fabric on the upper right, which is a vintage pillow case, and the orange gingham, which is from Fabric Save-a-thon.

Now let me tell you a little story about my trip to the Save-a-thon. I decided that I wanted a few patterns, so I stopped by, even though the store was about the same temperature as the earth's core. I purchased all of my embroidery hoops there for a song. Then I turned my attention to the pattern table. I selected a few, then spent 45 minutes attempting to flag down an employee. She was strangely hostile to me, sarcastically telling me that she would be thrilled to help me. Then they didn't have two of the "Made by Wendy" patterns, so I settled for a few New Looks. But they wouldn't let me carry around the patterns, I guess for shoplifting reasons, which made picking out fabric and notions onerous.

I did find the cute orange gingham above, which I intend to turn into a cute top. But I got a touch of attitude from the man at the cutting counter, who wore a menacing Wile E. Coyote t-shirt.

"Sewing something for the kids?" he asked me.

"Um, no, it's for me," I answered.

"Oh," he said. "Well, no comment then."

Now, I don't see gingham as being childlike. At least not as childlike as, say, a Wile. E. Coyote tee-shirt.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Coquette? You bet!

Perhaps it should have been called the "'You have no business wearing a tube top' lace top" or the "'Who do you think you are? Chrissy from Three's Company?' lace top." But, it's the "Coquette lace top" from Fitted Knits, and though I'm not one, I decided to make one.

It fulfills my typical requirements, ones that you are probably sick of hearing about -- it's simple, but busy enough to keep me interested. Great Top Chef knitting, if you are into that kind of thing. (Is there anything I won't watch on Bravo? Nah, probably not.)

I used three hanks of Classic Elite Provence, which is a delightful mercerized cotton. I feel like it has a little more stretch and sheen than the recommended Cascade Pima Tencel. And that stuff sheds like Fred MacMurray in the original "Shaggy Dog." Not pretty.

Speaking of old-time actors that I have no business remembering, my colleagues and I were leaving an awards ceremony Thursday night when we spotted Angela Lansbury! Having had a $9 glass of wine, I was far too excited and snapped her picture. Way to work the large floral print, Ms. Fletcher!

(Oh, and if you are looking for something to read the next three days, may I humbly recommend this? It explains why I haven't seen the spiders in ages and why I became ill on Friday.)

(Oh, oh! And happy birthday to my wonderful and marvelous mom! I bought her this!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I am not in the habit of doling out advice. But I do have a few words of wisdom for you today: Befriend someone with a boat.

I would offer you our friends Mike and Suzanne, but they're popular enough. You will need to find your own friend with a boat.

We went out for a few hours Saturday, traveling from his home in Babylon, Long Island, to Fire Island and all sorts of spots in between. Being from landlocked Pennsylvania (aside from Pittsburgh's three rivers), I had to keep pinching myself because it was such a foreign, wonderful experience. The mist in your face, the wind in your hair, the occasional bumps from the choppy water -- it was perfectly relaxing.

My greatest concern was on the beach, when the little umbrella from my pina colada blew away and I had to chase after it.

Sunday was also quite wonderful, seeing as it was the Renegade craft fair, but it was so toasty that Jess, Sandra, blogless Shannon and I could only hang in there for a few hours. Despite numerous suntan lotion applications, my back still got a touch burnt.

On to the loot! This adorable pail is from pixiegenne. She is a decoupage queen -- I have never coveted a suitcase so very much.

It was commented on repeatedly that matroyshkas -- Russian stacking dolls -- were this year's owls at Renegade. They were on everything! My mother briefly lived in Russia, so our house is populated with the dolls. (I was only allowed to play with them under strict adult supervision, but now my cousin's triplets basically treat them like G.I. Joes.) Anyway, I bought this cute little ring imprinted with a Russian doll face, though I can't remember from what vendor! And I'm also kicking myself for not buying a cute little blue t-shirt with a matroyshka on it. If anyone remembers either, please let me know -- I already checked the vendor list, but to know avail.

I picked up some fabric remnants and a mirror, but the MVP of the day was the jewelry from Fernworks. We were all instantly drawn to it.

My necklace has a lone bird flying over a tree -- there's something haunting and lovely about it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

In the olden days

So we were strolling along 7th Avenue in Brooklyn recently when we came upon a kindly old lady selling overpriced used children's books, suitcases, and crochet magazines. I picked up the April 1989 "Crochet World," which is basically a crafty "wayback" machine. There's lots of big hair, bulky sweaters and a stuffed doll called "Little Britches Indian" that makes me more than a little uncomfortable.

Oh, and this fashion doozy. The look on the model's face seems to say, "Mom, I'm really gonna get you for this one."

Anyway, what really captured me in this magazine was a section called "Potpourri," where crocheters tried to find back issues, patterns and pen pals. It's basically an encapsulation of the needlework community back in the day, pre-Internet. And it ain't that different than how we communicate now, really. Take this little letter:

I'm a widow seeking new friends and a crochet skunk pattern where the tail holds an air freshener can. Would also like to trade patterns for potholders, fridgies and 6 " granny squares?

Don't you want to write to this woman? (And aren't you dying to see what the heck this skunk looks like?) I guess what struck me was that, then and now, knitting and crocheting aren't as satisfying if you can't share your obsession with someone else. While my spiders and I might rapid fire pattern questions to each other, this lady was probably waiting weeks to see what granny square patterns were circulating in Tuscaloosa. Crazy.

So anyway. I'm still plodding along on the baby knits, but I also selfishly started the coquette lace tube top from Fitted Knits. It's in Classic Elite Provence, which I lurrrrve.

And just because I'm having fun with my new Canon, here are some shots from our fireplace/ghetto terrace.

My new marigolds....

And the mystery hanging plant. Anyone know what this is?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

baby things

Two nights ago, I had a dream (nightmare?) that I gave birth to nine babies. Yep, nine. And as it is in dreams, there was no explanation for how this happened or where the nonuplets would sleep or how we'd feed them.

Maybe I ate something weird for dinner, or maybe it's all the wee baby clothes I've been knitting.

I've recently thrown myself headlong into little outfits for my very pregnant friends/beloved co-workers. I could knit February sweaters until the end of time. Busy enough to keep you interested, simple enough for the feeble-minded (like me).

Here's the sweater, lounging on our fire escape/ghetto terrace on my oil cloth from Brooklyn General. She's made from King Tut cotton, my go-to yarn for February sweaters.

In other breaking baby knits news, I started the Bella baby dress from Posie Gets Cozy. Reading this blog is like opening a Valentine every day. So crisp and fresh and delightful.

So I know the dress doesn't look like much yet, but give the gal a chance!

So did anyone else read about this and recall the song Pac-Man Fever? Yeah, my brother and I had it on vinyl.

And did anyone else read about this and worry that Sam Waterston would get less air time?