Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bouton d'Blow

So a brief follow-up is in order on the post below. I am toiling away on the Bouton d'Or sweater, in all its gorgeousness and lacy loveliness, but WHO THE HELL WROTE THE PATTERN!? Now I am a very experienced crocheter, and those that know me also know that I am not one to blow my own horn readily. I rarely meet the pattern that exceeds my skill set, but this one is a test of my patience. Honestly, after the experience working with this pattern, I would not consider blowing money on a Bouton d'Or pattern book. The pattern is working (though not without extensive frogging) only due to perseverance and determination to see it through. (A side thought -- blogging as you go on a project is a little like going to Weight Watchers. You really can't fool yourself when everyone's watching.)

I'd be curious to know if anyone else has worked this pain-in-the-ass pattern and what they thought of it. I will post pics, I promise, but right now I picking up the hair I'm ripping out of my head as I do this.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


So Subway Hooker has taken her act to the cramped and filthy skies! Funny how Continental Airlines, with their excruciating lack of leg room and non-existent airspace, makes it virtually impossible to do work on a business trip. As soon as we level out, the passenger in front of me knocks his seat back into my face, and my laptop is rendered incapable of opening to where I can see the screen. Way to go, Continental! This seemingly frustrating situation narrows my on-board activities to the following: reading (check), sleeping (check), eating (check, since I get the vegetarian option), and hooking (doubleplusgood Check!). So I took the opportunity to grab some lovely chocolate sportweight alpaca and got started on the above sweater. This pattern is available either from Bouton d'Or's pattern book Collection Printemps-été n° 84, or in the 2008 Crochet-a-Day Calendar, January 11-13 pages.

Truth be told, their instructions suck, big time. But perseverance pays off bigger time, and I am on my way to having this lovely lacey froth for my very own. As soon as my internal clock is back on East Coast time, I'll post pics on the progress.

By the way, if any of you work for Continental, please feel free to forward my comments on their appalling lack of space to anyone there who pretends to give a crap. Perhaps they'll figure out a way to spin it to their advantage ("I fly Continental whenever I just want to forget about work and relax!....")

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Big Ball o' Fluff

Oh, did I say I'd post this yesterday? Oh well. Anyway, here's the finished sweater for you to cast your peepers on. I'm actually pleased with the outcome as I'd veered wildly from the directions. Hopefully, the birthday girl will be as pleased as I am...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Anti-Carol

It's good to have a child in one's life--adorable, curious, and someone else's. I have such a child. Okay, my friends do. But I am her Anti-Carol and I make her things. She wants to be Ariel for Halloween? Done. Fortunately, she is beautiful, brilliant, charming, and tiny enough that crocheting her stuff is (generally) quick, fun, and appreciated.

My first project for her was the child's bolero in Teva Durham's Loop-d-loop Crochet. I screwed it up. It is misshapen and bumpy and I won't put her parents in the position of apologizing for her when she hates it. And she will. [Okay, brief interlude here. i adore Teva Durham's work. She rocks, big time. But is it really worth taking the time to break off your yarn at the end of each row for the nuanced improvement it brings? Has any one else tried that pattern? Am I the only one that got cranky about that?] Sorry, back to the program: I have learned that one needn't try to spin out such challenging fare for the wee ones. Simplicity rules for kidwear AND it makes for perfect subway hooking. It's small and portable and the stuff practically crochets itself!

Recently, I cranked out the sweet capelet from Positively Crochet. Took an hour. Maybe. She loved it. Calls it the Princess Shawl. Whatever.

Said child's third birthday is upon us, and I decided last night to make her something. Praise jebus for Lion Brand's free patterns -- I found the perfect one last night. Dug up the $1.00 balls of Moda Dea Dream in Leaf (which, not for nothing, crochets up beautifully!) (a dollar???) (I mean, you could do a lot worse for a measly buck!) Packed it all in my bag and the thing's practically done. I swear I put the components in the bag and it was done when I took it out. Okay, it still needs sleeves. And a button. And to be sewn together. But it will be done by the big party Sunday morning. I will post a formal addendum to this sometime Saturday with the finished product.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Doily Billy

Have you been to Ikea lately? If not, you have missed the new version of Billy - the one with the crochet doily pattern all over it! If I had even close to enough space for another bookcase in my workroom, I'd be all over this. Hell, I'd replace every bookcase I've already got groaning under the weight of my trove with this baby. Take a look!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Hello dears. So while you've all been sleeping a-snug in your beds, the Hooker has been hard at work pulling in some interesting bits of history for your perusal. Ever hear of a Manchette? Me, neither. Sounds like something that helps you chew. But it is, in fact, a lovely precursor to everyone's favorite fingerless gloves or wristwarmers. Oh sure, you're all so cool with your mitts on, aren't you? But so was the fashionable crocheter of 1848. That's right. The hipsters swirling around in outfits like this were madly hooking their exceptionally beautiful and delicate manchettes--13 years before the Civil War. My gut is that, despite the technical explanation from Wikipedia, these lovelies were probably less about being a wrist cozy and more about dressing up a plain blouse or jacket, but I am charmed by the notion that our foremothers were crocheting these simply because they are so cool.

So I am thinking that the fingerless glove can do with some fancifying, don't you think? For this and more inspiration, take a look at the Antique Pattern Library, which has thousands of pages of gorgeous old crochet patterns to pore over.

Fresh-Picked Haute Crochet

Well, well, well, looks like fancy-schmancy WWD has given its seal of approval to crochet! The January 2 issue features a pink silk chiffon hairpin lace ribbon coat by Malandrino, a stunning yellow silk and linen dress by Juicy Couture, and some other bits 'n' pieces. Turns out we ARE on the cutting edge, after all. Whaddya know. I'm curious as to the cost of these items (and I'm too lazy to search, but there ya go).

So this coat in done in silk chiffon. Nice idea. Might be worth a visit to ye olde rag district to poke through the shops for some other off-yarn ideas. Wouldn't be cheap, but could be fun.

These hats by Alison Beth were shown in the accessories insert in WWD for January 2. Sweet and oh-so-easy.

This is the Juicy Couture dress done in yellow silk and linen thread. Very nice

And finally, from the same issue of WWD, an ad on the back cover that shows some very nice embroidery, I'm guessing, that goes over the lovely silver dress. Looks a bit like a version of Irish Crochet to me. I'm just saying....

December 31, 2007

Okay, let me get this off my chest. I am lame, LAME I tells ya! That's right, I haven't done SQUAT for this site in ages. Can I give you a pile of excuses? Like the fact that my iMac lay dying, its hard drive clickety-clacking in its belly, kernel panics every other day? Oh sure, maybe I do have too many pdfs of obscure and vintage crochet patterns clogging its little iVeins, but isn't that what it does best? Whatever. I'm now the proud owner of some new souped-up iMac, yanking envy out of the little iElves at the Apple Store (oh yeah, baby, the new one in the Meatpacking District). Smell me.

Oh, things have happened behind the scenes, don't you worry. I've interviewed some of my beloved Hookers, that's for sure, but all I can tell you is blame Corporate America. That's all I can say for the moment. Okay, that AND the fact that I promise I will deliver the interviews with these utterly amazing people, as god is my witness.

But in the meanwhile, I have to do something easy. Easy for me, easy for you. I will have some sense of accomplishment. You will have a li'l old feast for your peepers. Yes, that's right. All.......three of you will have some fresh vintage to enjoy. Go ahead. Swirl the glass. Hold it up to the light. Sniff the bouquet. Coat your tongue with it. Wait, did I say Coat? Well how about that! What a coinky-dink, because here are some lovely vintage coats for you to enjoy.!

October 3, 2007

Okay, so listen up. There are some things you need to know about me. Though not a religous person, I do have what I consider to be "high holy days." My loved ones know what they are: Coney Island's Mermaid Parade, the Ninth Avenue International Food Festival, and The Atlantice Antic, the mother of all street fairs. Last Sunday was the Antic. We wandered in at the Flatbush Avenue end of the fair. I was on the phone to our dear friend Lucky who was taking time away from work to read me the the culinary highlights of the fair and where to find them. I wasn't thinking about hooking. I was thinking about food.

So the next thing I know, I've come upon the crochet stylings of Nacinimod, an amazing hooker with style to spare. Then Kephera, and Sue Rock, and Angie and Denize followed -- all fabulous artists. I was thrilled to see these talented people working from different perspectives and evolving their unique and personal style. And people, we need more folks like these

to keep pushing the crochet envelope and saving the world from toilet paper cozies. So all these amazing (and by the way, really nice) people will be profiled in a new section I'm calling "Meet the Hookers."

I'm aiming for a launch of this new section within a week, so keep your eyes peeled!

And if you know of other deserving hookers who should join this illustrious group, contact me here.

Bye for now!

September 15, 2007

Becoming obsessed with crocheting a coat. I am intrigued by the Seaside Coat in the upcoming issue of Interweave Crochet, but am seeing this going in more of a vintage direction. I am looking at 30's styles, but this might b a total invention on my part based upon designs of the 1910's/Paul Poiret-ish feelings. High collar, high waist, with a poufy ass (yeah, I know that's not "period" -- who cares). See "explorations" for some visuals.

September 11, 2007

September 9, 2007

Appropos of nothing, I had to share with you all a transcendent meal that I had at the Red Hook Ball Fields in Brooklyn yesterday. Naturally, we had the incredible huaraches con queso - stupendous -- and a huge cup of hibiscus drink (my first and a revelation), but on a whim, as we were leaving I stopped at the fruit stand near the entrance and got a baggie of sliced mango for $2.00. I requested it with chilli powder as I have seen others do, but watched in awe as the woman added salt, lime juice, and chilli poweder to my mango. Fifteen seconds later, I was eating what must be food of the gods. I have never tasted anything like this before. It was the alchemy of these four humble ingredients put together that made the experience absolutely magic. Sweet, tart, spicey, and salty in once silken bite. That is a flavor experience I will dream about for years to come....

August 25, 2007

It's been a struggle, really, getting this mother up on the web. What with life, work, cooking, crocheting, and what can only be termed as a fantastically dramatic mid-life crisis, I've not paid much attention to learning Freeway Pro.

Cue entry of Knight in Shining Armor, aka the hubby, atop a white horse and announcing in his best Mancunian accent, "Never fear, my brooklyn wifey! I shall help you get your bloody site up once and for all! Now where's my apéritif?"

And so it begins.


Is this thing on?

Now that I'm here, I can't think of a thing to say, really. It's raining out right now. Horrible thunder, lightening, the whole nine yards. Stopped at the Red Hook Ball Fields earlier today for some yummy horchata and grilled corn. Sweet. Then the rains came and we scattered like roaches.

Oh right, this is about crochet, isn't it?

Well, I really love to crochet. Love it. Love hooking on the train en route to work. Love converting non-believers on the train that want to know what I'm doing, what I'm making. Love to answer the questions on how to start, where to get yarn, what magazines are best for beginners. Had two conversions the other week, actually. One right after the other. Made me think that I'll have to have a section on this blog called "The Subway Hooker Crochet Ministry" or something, but then you'd all be thinking this is some kinda freaky religious tract in wooly garb. It's not, trust me. But I still might do it cos it's funny. To me.

Keep entertaining the notion of opening a yarn store in my yarn-deprived neighborhood. There's nothing here. Nothing. But we also need a bookstore, for chrissakes, so a yarn shop seems like a long way away. And are you allowed to open a yarn store if you can't knit? I can't. I've tried. I can barely knit and purl and have NEVER completed a knitting project, no matter how simple. I bought Kids Knitting figuring if they can teach some snot-nosed rugrat to make sweaters and puppets, they can damn well teach me, too! Only not so much.

I actually joined the CGOA yesterday, and I'm pretty pleased with myself. Now I'm looking for all sorts of professional associations to join to give myself the stink of credibility in this still-underrepresented and under-appreciated technique. I want to see the really clever designers whose work I absolutely eat up change the crochet world. I want to join their ranks as crochet visionaries (you got that right - I have more than a few designs percolating in my pea brain, some actually executed)(but not written out).

But I digress.

Wait, not really. This is all about crochet -- my lifelong obsession of it, historical patterns, quirky executions, cool stitches, and funky visionaries -- and I want to do what I can to keep the art alive and kicking.

So join the subway hooker, won't you, on this little adventure through the ether and the deep, dark tunnels of Brooklyn?