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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?


Blogger Liz said...

Love your blog, I will delurk to tell you the hanging pot is fuschia, dk the scientific name.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Marisa said...

Liz beat me to it... but ooh I love fuschias. Brings me back to my childhood, as my mum always had them in hanging baskets on the patio.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Mintyfresh said...

You could not have made up a cooler/funnier 'personal' if you'd tried! a skunk whose tail holds air freshener?? who thinks these things up!?

11:39 PM  
Blogger Kellie said...

wow, Carrie, you really do live in NY. I am looking at the pictures of the outside of your building and I'm thinking, "cool, red brick and those metal fire escapes just like you see in the movies". I guess I should try and see more of the world but that is a very expensive venture. I don't think there is a building like that anywhere in little old Thunder Bay.

You are so right about the 'share your obsession' thing. I was not as obsessed in knitting and fiber until I got involved with the internet community.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Liz and Marisa are right - its a fuschia. My grandmother always had them hanging on the front porch, they attract hummingbirds - although, I don't know if those are native to your area.

3:10 AM  
Blogger SJ said...

Is it just me, or is that guy wearing the sweater looking a little ... possessed? Like he's about to go completely psycho on the maker of the sweater?

Thank goodness patterns have evolved since then!

7:59 AM  
Blogger Phoe said...

Several others beat me to it, it's a fuschia. I didn't know what it was either until I moved to the UK, where they feature heavily in every single garden.

8:10 AM  
Blogger femiknitter said...

I've recently been thinking about the whole knitting community thing, too. The group aspect of it is so important to me now. I couldn't imagine myself loving knitting as much without it.

And I totally want to see the skunk.

8:13 AM  
Blogger The_Add_Knitter said...

Yes, fuschia. SUCH a gorgeous, delicate plant.

I agree with the Femiknitter about how the communal transmission of knowledge makes knitting so appealing. Great post!

8:52 AM  
Blogger amanda said...

We have a hanging fuschia in our yard. Aren't they just gorgeous? They're nice to snip and put in a little dish of water on your table, to be decorative and all that. enjoy it!

9:52 AM  
Blogger KnittenKnots said...

LOL - you know I had to google that skunk air freshner to see if such a thing still existed. The closest I could find was the "farting poodle" - - who knew?

9:55 AM  
Blogger Miss Scarlett said...


Oh my goodness - a skunk that holds a can of air freshener? If you find the picture you will have to share it!

Yipes - that sweater!

That lady needed Ravelry - we've come a long way baby. :-)

10:02 AM  
Blogger Veronique said...

That magazine is a hilarious time capsule!
Good idea on the tube top, I don't think anybody's made it :)
Your fuschia is lovely. If I remember correctly, they have to be watered every day.

10:19 AM  
Blogger MeBeth said...

You could even put other aerosol products in the skunk - deoderant, febreeze, hairspray - the possibilities are endless.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Yarn Coffee said...

I have one of those crazy plants, it is a fuschia (sp?).

That link will take you to my post about the plant.

Unfortunately, mine died recently. They remind me of Venus Flytraps!

12:19 PM  
Blogger Lolly said...

Too funny!
Beautiful flowers too :)

12:29 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Wow, if someone could manage to dig up a picture of that skunk thing it would be hysterical!

I saw shrubs of fuschia everywhere in Connemara Ireland. It was just incredible!

1:03 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

By now everyone knows what the plant it. They are beautiful.

The sweater cracked me up. Sadder than the photo is the fact that it was probably knit for a real person at some point. Maybe they will share the snapshot taken the first and only time they every wore it. Then again, it was the eighties so it may have been totally awesome.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Liz K. said...

You know, I would roll my eyes and think, hm, skunk air-freshener holder, how quaint and thrown-back, but did you ever see the episode of Knitty Gritty where they made sushi toilet paper cozies? And how, friends, will we explain fun fur twenty years from now?

Every generation of knitters will have their shame!

3:37 PM  
Blogger laurie said...

The plant, as I'm sure many have told you, is a fuschia. Love how happy they look and what a nice bright spot of color they add.

What a find...those books. To ease your unease about the little britches indian:
in 1950 a series of books for young readers (elementary) was created; they were about an 8 year old boy in colorado in the 1800's--cowboys and indians; the first book was "Little Britches".

6:39 PM  
Blogger Carrieoke said...

oh, someone SO needs to track down the skunk. this is exactly the kind of thing that the internet is for! hahahaha.

I saw that same plant in Lowe's and had to ask Jacob what it is. It's so neat looking!

Yay for canons! Great pictures.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

My grandma has a ton of those old pattern books and they are great fun. Your plant is certainly a fuschia:0)

6:54 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I remember seeing that Potpourri section in some of my grandmother's crochet publications. Ah, the days before the internet...

8:54 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Having lived in Tuscaloosa, I'm pretty sure there might still be some of those skunk air-freshener dealies still lurking in powder rooms around that town. (Given the lack of need for heavy-duty wool sweaters and such, knitters and crocheters needed something to do in the 70s.) Next time I'm there, I will be sure to look for one for you!

9:30 PM  
Blogger Faith! said...

Lordy, that's one of the cheesiest/creepiest pattern pics I've ever seen. Good find!

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Katie said...

I love that yarn you're using! The blue is so deep and vibrant.

12:35 PM  
Blogger jenna said...

Thanks for the chuckle! Nothing is funnier than a crochet skunk pattern...except for maybe the person who is desperate need of one.

1:09 PM  
Blogger schrodinger said...

Yup, many people beat me to it on the flower response - Phoe's right, my parents have about 10 different versions on them in their garden in their little corner of the UK.

Love your post, I'm fascinated by the skunk pattern - I wonder if she ever found it...

7:49 PM  
Anonymous rfg said...

Fuschia! I know this has already been answered but I was thrilled to actually know the name of a plant. Sadly, it's only because I cross-stitched a fushia flower fairy. Sad state of affairs.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

also, he epitomizes the look of the preppy 80's guy... I'm thinking one of the jocks in Revenge of the Nerds. Especially love how the embossed pattern points at his crotch.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Trudy said...

Love the pattern picture, very hilarious. Would love to see more of the treasures in the book. Crochet patterns don't seem to age as gracefully as knitting patterns, huh?

1:25 PM  
Blogger T. said...

Just found your website (was googling rusted root - yours is lovely by the way) - very fun posts!
And I definitely want to see the skunk...very intrigued. I need to find my old pattern books from my grandma and check out the back!

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

I wouldn't be worth my salt as an editor if I didn't horn in on the mystery plant love and point out that the correct spelling is fuchsia. I know it looks wrong, but it's named after a 16th-century German botanist called Fuchs. Oh, and apparently you can eat the little berries it makes.

I can't wait to see the new top take shape - I've petted la Provence many a time in the yarn store and it's luscious!

11:09 AM  
Blogger fluxity said...

I didn't have time to read all the comments, but I found the pattern!! And I just cannot imagine not being able to share my love for all things crafty without the internet!

3:43 AM  
Anonymous landscaping trees said...

TN Nursery is a state certified tree nursery specializing in native plants and trees, shrubs, fern, and perennials as well as pond plants and wetland mitigation.

3:58 PM  

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