Sunday, January 25, 2009


Geez, where to start?

Well, let's pick up where we left off a couple of posts ago. My KnitPicks needles have arrived in all their speedy, non-kinky glory! I LOVE them! What a difference they make in ease of knitting. I mean, holy cow! Well done, KnitPicks! Buh-bye, Susan Bates -- you will be relegated to stitch-holding and little more. I have struggled with your horrendous kinky cables long enough!

Forest and Frills Shrug by tiny owls knits

In the meanwhile, as much as I was enjoying making the Nicky Epstein Roman Holiday Shrug, my mind started wandering and I've started making this Forest and Frill shrug by tiny owl knits instead (her completed version is above and the section of mine in progress is at the top of this page). It is the very definition of easy-peasy, and I need me some quick gratification. And if that ends up being a stashbuster AND involves some pretty crochet edging to boot, so much the better. I'll get back to Nicky later.

In a topic switch, I have been thinking about my parents a lot lately. Part of it is how I miss them, part of it is how I am having a harder and harder time mentally conjuring my mother (she passed in 1985, so it's been a while), and part of it is how much like them I am turning out to be. For instance, my mom was a knitter and crocheter and made up a lot of her own patterns. I remember this beautiful blue crocheted coat she made me when I was about 12. It had Juliet Sleeves, a particular favorite of mine, and was long and oh-so-hip. She loved to garden, cook and to experiment with new foods, spices, herbs, and cooking techniques. So I know where all THAT comes from!

My dad, on the other hand, was an ideas guy. Nothing charged him up like a book that challenged the standard notion of world. During my daily visits with him, we'd talk about ocean exploration, outer space, history, homeopathy, radionics, dowsing, and alchemy. He loved to surround himself with books (and he did!) and was at his happiest immersed in ideas or tinkering with his experiments. To the very end of his life, he never lost his enthusiasm for his books and ideas. So it should be no surprise to those who knew him that I am afflicted with this same disease. I am surrounded with books (though of a different nature than my dad's), and am happiest when immersed in them or tinkering with my needlework, jewelry work, arty, foodie, or costumey pursuits. Oh, or traveling.

All of which is a long-winded way of getting to talk to you about this week and why I'm so excited about it.

First, I received a book this week that I'd ordered from a Dutch bookseller called "Zelf je kleding haken," by Lis Paludan, author of the wonderful "Crochet History and Technique." I saw one of the projects in it on ravelry and thought the book was a little unusual in its design approach. And kids, it is positively filled with wonderful ideas for those weilding the hook! Is it dated? Yes, absolutely. Are the ideas big enough to be translatable into more contemporary versions? Again, yes. Is it in English? Hell, no. But it is beautifully illustrated, complete with clothing patterns in the back of the book, so the savvy hooker should be able to glean the ideas needed into their next project.

For example, these mittens look fresher than a lot of new stuff out there:

And this jacket, while clearly dated, is a fascinating shape that could be easily updated:
Also, I bought the new issue of Vogue Knitting, which has some extraordinary patterns in it, including Elizabeth Zimmerman's amazing Snail Hat, Jared Flood's cabled gloves, and the amazing work of Sandra Backlund. I love almost everything in this issue, and only wish I had the time and talent to make all of it.


While shopping at KnitPicks for my needles, my fingers accidently added Wendy Bernard's
Custom Knits to my shopping basket. I have no idea how that happened! :-) But what a fantastic book! I cannot recommend it highly enough! I love Wendy's website, Knit and Tonic, and her senses of humor and style. As a result, I'm once again trying to figure out how the hell I'm supposed to grow the limbs needed to do all the projects I want to.

Sigh again.

Clothes. I love clothes. I've worked for years as a costume designer, and I adore weird clothes, new clothes, old clothes, you name it. But I have this crazy predilection for buying the most boring clothes imaginable. In my youth, I'd come up with the craziest outfits. In my old age, I'm two steps away from buying jogging suits for my husband and me to wear to the mall. It's sick. So I am looking to change up what I've got,
creatify, if you will, my existing wardrobe into something new and distinctive. Except that I'm not starting with my existing wardrobe, I'm taking a pair of grey striped pants that my husband wants to chuck and turn it into something adorable for myself. Here they are as they currently exist. I'm thinking skirt (so bloody obvious, though, isn't it?), possibly jacket (saw something like that in a Roman boutique last month), but think I'll try for the thing that will likely have more wearable results. So skirt it is.

Back to books for a minute.

I mentioned the new old book from the Netherlands before. Here is a book from England that I am enormously fond of. It's dated, yes, but positively brimming with ideas and techniques that are literally crammed into its pages. Lookie!

So this week's loaf is in the oven (is it just me or does that sound like a euphemism?), a seeded rye, and it's heavenly scent is teasing my nostrils as I write. Later today, I'll make apple bread for the man to enjoy for the week.

On the diet front, for those keeping score, I'm down around 4 pounds. Not a huge amount, but respectable. I know from experience that the slower losses tend to take hold a bit better. So slowly I go...

Till later!


Christina said...

What a great pic of your parents. Its nice as we get out of the teens to realize how much we've learned from our parents and how much they had to offer.

Good luck with the skirt sewing. I sewed a bib this weekend and it was full of disaster, LOL. I finally finished a half decent one after about 5 hours. ha!

JellyDonut said...

Are those tassels hanging from the boobs in the bottom photo? Gotta love the kinkiness!

I have that same problem with extra stuff ending up in my online shopping cart. Really weird how that happens with yarn and knitting books...

NAL said...

Great and informative post! Do tell - what brand of needles did you get at KnitPicks?


SylvChezPlum said...

Ooh, I love that crochet book (the one with the mitten in), please share if you know of any source where I could buy it ? (tried to google it but didn't find anything)

Thanks !


Danielle said...

If only you knew someone who spoke a little Dutch...
; ) D.

Anonymous said...

So are you going to crochet the knickers on the front of the Batsford book then?
rockpool candy

SylvChezPlum said...

Yay, I got my copy of that great vintage crochet book, love it !! :-)