Thursday, June 25, 2009

Some More Vintage Whimsy

Thought I'd post a few more of these lovely chapeaus....

I particularly love the clever use of the stitch patterns in the top one.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hallo from Hilversum!

I'm writing from my hotel room in Hilversum, Netherlands. I'm here on business, but there is always time for yarn in my book, so I'm taking advantage of my considerable jet lag to post and say hi, as it's some ungodly time in the morning...

Although my copy of Interweave Crochet arrived a few days ago, I've only just starting looking at it closely and I am very impressed. There's a few beauts in this issue design-wise, and some great articles. Overall, I have to say that Interweave does the best job in presenting relevent, interesting articles and great designs. Don't worry, I'm not going soft - trust me, there have been some klunkers -- but I'm happy to give credit when and where due.

First, kudos to my friend Dora Ohrenstein, who, aside from her considerable design prowess, is also showing herself to be quite the crochet historian. I really enjoyed her piece, "The Victorian Crochet Revolution". I confess the topic is a weakness of mine, being a history dork and all, but Dora has a gift for pulling the facts together and making the story flow. And not for nothing, her new design for Crochet Insider is GORGEOUS! Well done, Dora!

But I even liked the articles by people I don't know! The laceweight piece and the Lisa Naskrent articles were both interesting and well-composed. Who knew?

But let's get to the patterns, shall we?

Like I said, there are a few gorgeous ones in this issue. Of particular note are the two shawls, Raindrops Broomstick Lace and the Shape-Shifting Shawls are really nice. Raindrops uses a very appealing stitch pattern and Shape-Shifting has amazing drape.
And while technically not a shawl, the Yoga Beach Sarong has a very cool stitch as well, with strong vertical lines that should be quite flattering. Can we call it an ass shawl?

Lisa Naskrent's Bustier Top is another interesting piece. I particularly like the back view on it with its historical reference. I wonder how it would look on someone with curves?

I gotta say that my absolute favorite in this issue is Annie Modesitt's Pretty Pleats Skirt. Holy crap! I love love love the colors, fit, and overall design on this. And ohmigod, it has a waist! It's funky, cute and actually well-styled by the magazine (not one of Interweave's strengths in the past).
There are a couple of dress patterns in this issue too, but I always have doubts about this kind of project. First, these mothers take a looong time to do and then grow to astonishing lengths once you wear them. Personally, I won't invest the time.

Crocheted skirts I've made before (longer ones) have always stretched like crazy, which really pisses me off. I'm hoping Annie's skirt doesn't fall prey to that, but I think the shorter length and A-line shape will keep it from growing as much as the others have.

And finally, I gotta mention Doris Chan's Curtain pattern. I really like its wonky, rustic look.

Anyway, time for a shower and then off to work.

Ta for now!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I have this awful tendency to keep piles everywhere. Drives the Brit nuts when they get too high. So as I was working from home yesterday, I took a break to reduce the height of my nearest pile consisting largely of vintage pattern books.

Now, quite of few of them deal with making accessories of one stripe or other. As crochet lends itself to structure more readily than knitting, there is a preponderance of vintage crochet hat patterns to be pored over. And it doesn't take long to see that hats (and bags too, I guess), lend themselves to more whimsical designs than, say, sweaters. Or put it this way, they are more successfully whimsical than sweaters (my proof point being those godawful christmas sweaters that get dragged out every year all mothball-scented and embarrassing).

Seeing some of these makes me wish that we still could entertain these little flights of fancy in our lives. I think the single hardest thing to wear is a hat and I always admire the brave souls that do and carry it off. But how fun would it be to raise the bar even on that and wear some of these treasures?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The New Additions (A Yarnless Discussion)

So yesterday the Brit and I went to an adoption event in the nabe which included animals from both North Shore Animal League (a no-kill facility) and Animal Control (a kill 'em quick facility). I've been without pussies for a while, ever since the death of my beloved Spunky about 4 years ago, and have been pestering the Brit for some fresh kitties for the house.

Now all playing aside, I am a very firm believer in getting shelter animals ONLY. In fact, I am incredibly judgmental about those who purchase animals from a pet shop and even more so from a breeder. I believe breeders should be put out of business, full stop. Seriously. I know there are ethical ones out there, I guess, but the whole concept of breeding leaves me very cold, indeed. That breeds can be virtually obliterated by breeders catering to an audience favoring "fad" animals is apalling to me. It's happened before and will happen again.

But I digress.

So we are at this adoption event and one of the workers tells the crowd, "The animals in the bus will be killed tonight. Please adopt them first. The animals in the church basement will be fine." So we look at the animals on the bus, of course.

And we see the two little guys above, as yet unnamed. The tortie is the girl, the marmalade is the boy. They are two months old and were found on Tuesday on 38th St. in Sunset Park by Animal Control. They were snoozing and wrapped around each other like stuffed toys with velcro on their paws and I kind fell for them immediately. I'm sure this was aided by the notion that they'd be landfill by morning if we didn't take them, but there ya go.

Anyway, these little guys are so beautiful, so small. I am thrilled that our small action prevented the destruction of their lives and will give them the chance to grow and thrive over the next, what, 15 years.

So I'm ending this with a plea to all of you - please get your pets from shelters, not from breeders. So many animal lives are needlessly put down. Please think twice before you buy a pet. And please, spay or neuter the pets you have to prevent the crazy number of unwanted dogs and cats in this country.

Boy and Girl will have long and happy lives with us. They will be well-fed and very loved. They will not have to face a harsh winter or suffer the abuses of the heartless. But in all honesty, I feel like we are the lucky ones to have found these wonderful little critters with whom we will share our lives.