The Sewist

I sew, knit and crochet hats. (Not all at the same time. Whaddaya think I am - a machine?)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Turbans Galore

The model in the lower left quadrant of this pattern looks like she could have modeled for my 1972 version of Stitch in Time (the topic for yesterday's blog. By the way, Stitch in Time sold for $32.34 on eBay, just a few dollars than what I paid for it. Whoever won it will enjoy it immensely!) I don't know what clevery things I can say about hats today. Although I have to say a hat can help you catch a bus! I was wearing my floppy shaggy suede chartreuse hat this morning. I was barely out the door just past the crack of the we-have-an-extra-hour dawn when a bus driver stopped his vehicle a half-block away and opened the door for me! Unfortunately, I didn't need a ride, so I waved him on! But I swear the hat did all the work, as usual. I usually bring something to make during my commute. I'm not making a hat at the moment (I know, shame on me. I'm actually working on a knit skirt) but I am forever thinking of chapeaux. There was a story in today's Chicago Tribune promoting The Way You Wear Your Hat (hosted by Chapeau: The Milliner's Guild) on Fri., Nov. 3 at the Chicago Athletic Club, 12 S. Michigan Ave. from 6-8 p.m. Even you don't feel particularly athletic and don't wear a hat, this soiree sounds delightful. Milliners Laurie Kennard, Amy Stirk, Joy Scott and Marjorie Marshall will be selling their hats that night. What a better way to start November (ok, it's the third day of the month, but still. It's a fantastic way to get out of the house and stopping eating the Halloween candy already.) What do you think (if you live in Chicago)?.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

You Want
This Book

Even if you've never crossed two knitting needles or picked up a crochet hook in your life, you want this book. Really. It's got hundreds of patterns from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, all reprinted in this 1982 compilation, as they were originally published back in the day. Plus there's an index in the back for the contemporary substitutes of the yarns used in the instructions. How cool is that? I have the 1972 version of this book. A gal with a Vidal Sassoon hair cut, too much Mary Quant make up, a reproduction 1930s knitted top and a cigarette dangling from her mouth is on the front of my Stitch in Time. She looks drugged out, like she's been spending too much time in London pubs. I much, much prefer the above picture. This girl in her matching cap, pullover sweater and manicure looks squeaky-clean. Even her ball of yarn complements her outfit. She's even got her blush just right. She's smiling and gamely has two knitting pins (as they call them in this book) stuck in a ball of leftover yarn, which is naturally Firefox orange like her the rest of her ensemble. If I had to put words in her mouth, she'd say something like this: "See what I made? You can do it too and look as well-rested as I do."
There are umpteen more pictures inside this fantastic reference book to poke fun at and/or admire, click here for the eBay link for this out-of-print book. There's only one bidder thus far. Auction ends in eight hours, so hurry.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


I'm not sure which I like more, the mannequin or the cocktail hat (which seller flamboyant! calls a "Fab! 1930s-1940s Vintage Green Tilt Doll Hat.") Just think if you wore the Tilt hat on the Tilt-A-Whirl. That would be funny, although I would be very afraid I would lose my lunch, bearings and my hat on the tumultous ride. Of course, I would most be upset about losing the hat than anything else. I can always regain my composure and have another mid-day meal, but it's not easy to come by this kind of chapeau these days. For one thing, it's not the 1940s anymore. I just looked at my checkbook and it says it's the year 2006. I always, always trust what my credit union says, so it must be true. Besides, this hat has history and mystery. Flamboyant! says this topper has a Melbourne label. I don't anything about this milliner, but perhaps this hat is from Melbourne, Australia. It's possible. Perhaps an Aussie wore this hat during World War II to pet the kangaroos. In any event, a hat such as this would be a good distraction during that time: why think about bombs falling in Germany when you can wear something as pretty as this and flirt with the boys at the Duke of Wellington? It's certainly a way to get a free drink.
And what about mystery, you ask? Well, I think the delicate black netting says it all. Do you agree?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Forever Plaid

I know, I know. I've already have written about plaid. But I've got more to add. I didn't full disclose my plaid past. No, I wasn't a used car salesman with a plethora of jackets in the abovementioned pattern (do they even dress like that anymore? Or is that just a stereotype leftover from the 1960s and 70s?). I dressed in a plaid uniform for six years. And I'm still normal. Hah! Actually, I wore a chocolate and cream houndstooth pleated skirt for two years in junior high. Then in high school, I donned the same cranberry plaid A-line skirt for four years. Yes, five days in a row, 9 months out of the year, freshman through senior year. I'm embarrassed I didn't at least have another identical skirt in my wardrobe. You can imagine that thing was quite bedraggled by the time graduation rolled around. I was so glad to be done wearing it. My classmates autographed it, and the skirt promptly disappeared into the I-don't-want-to-remember-high-school hole. I think that particular piece of apparel became friends with the garbage can.
For years afterward, I hated the color brown. I couldn't look at it, and refused to buy any clothes with that hue. Now I actually like it. As for plaid? I don't have much of it in my wardrobe - but I did have a nice 1940s slate-and-putty tartan jacket until about a year ago. Once the lining started falling apart, I gave it to Columbia College's study collection. I'd add this 1940s dress to my already full closet but it's too big for me.
How do you feel about plaid? Is it like remembering a nasty sunburn?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

Isn't it ironic that both the words Thursday and thoughts begin with the same letter? That cannot be a coincidence, at least in my intellectual faculty. Actually, thought comes from the Old English thencan, according to my beloved Webster's. Thursday has its origins in Thor, Scandinavian god of thunder. So the words aren't exactly brother and sister. Good enough. But it cracks me up that the fifth day of the week, a time when so many of us are feeling fatigued after working hard bringing home the maple-cure smoke-backed bacon, has a dramatic, noisy connotation. Lightning! Thunder! Horizontal rain in your face! Bring it all on! In any event, Thursday may or may not feel quite that dramatic weather-wise, but it's definitely a time of anticipation. By that day of the week, I'm already thinking about what projects I want to work on that weekend. Do I finish the faux suede hat or the Simplicity 4124 top? Do both, and throw in a few minutes with the knitting needles? Or should I scratch all of the above and getting cracking with the crochet hook and the marker-bright orange Caron Wintunk yarn on a last-minute Halloween cocktail hat? (I have the materials, which I bought last weekend). I like to think about what I will make. For me it's a time-out to explore that back drawer in my cerebrum that doesn't get pulled often enough. How about you? What hobby-related reveries will you be indulging tomorrow?
(By the way, if you're wondering about the pattern above, click right about here.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Where are
the Projects?

Where are the projects you might thinking? The wood-spool card tables? The sock-monkey gowns? Or even the wonky crochet hat? I've yet to hammer together or glue together old spools into a table or stitch together socks into a wearable garment, but I do like crafts. Really, I do. I daydream about them constantly. On the bus, in front of the computer, at church (as you may have seen in this previous post)...just about anywhere at any given moment I'm imaging what I want to MAKE if I'm not already actively creating something with my hands at that very minute (that's why a portable hobby like crocheting or knitting is quite handy). That said, I don't want this blog to be all about my hobbies (yawn) or technique (oh, I'm getting sleepy already) because there are already enough weblogs about this or that craft. I wanted to do something different...more about the stories behind sewing, knitting or crocheting apparel, even if some of them are fictional. After all stories even thoughts are universal even if the project is very unique. Whether you've worked up a sweater from one of Elizabeth Zimmerman's vintage 1950s books or sewed one on a serger using the latest Kwik-Sew pattern, the feelings behind each journey to a whole garment are fairly common. Who hasn't dropped a stitch, or knitted the tail (me)? Who hasn't accidentally sewn a sleeve to hem (haven't done that yet but it would be possible at this hour)? If you've ever picked up a vintage Singer sewing machine for less than an iTunes song, haven't you wondered about who used it last? Ditto an old Hollywood sewing pattern with a name scribbled on it in pencil? I think about all this and more. How about you? When you daydream about making clothes what thoughts criss-cross your brain during the day?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Whistles Welcome

I love polka dots. Really. The more random, the better. I like them balloon-like, floating on the horizon, just not an inky blue sky as you see here. This is my long-winded way of saying my blog is under construction. The look you see today? It's temporary, not unlike the porta-potties you see at a park during a big festival, or even the plethora of signs promoting this or that politician during the weeks leading up to next month's elections. In a matter of weeks, those boards will be gone, mulch in a garbage truck's maw. Likewise, in a week or two or three, you'll see my remodeled weblog. I like this kind of handiwork so much better than actually fixing up a home. No paint, dust or washing up in the local YMCA is necessary! What's more, you can still find things, unlike in real life where the TV is hidden under the drop cloth. You know what I really like about tinkering with web pages? It can be done remotely - can you imagine hanging wallpaper in your bedroom in say, Wyoming, whilst you're visiting a cousin in California? Not possible in real-time, but in the lovely Internet world anything goes.
I'll continue posting while I'm rejiggering this site. Ignore the occasional drop of a hammer and an accompanying attempt at profanity (I usually blurt "Curse of Darkness" and "Darn It All" when I'm in the throes of pain - nothing the kids can't handle). And if you see me with bits of plaster in my hair? I'm prepping my locks for Halloween.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

No Picture Today
wednesday, Sept. 27
Dear Pablo, I hope you're well and you enjoyed your nap today. I crumbled up your vitamins, and mixed them with some Moody's Pub burger and put that your food bowl before I left. I pray that you eat every last morsel of your meal.
For what it's worth, you'll be glad you didn't go to Fashion Focus at Millenium Park. No dogs were there, I'm afraid. Not one! I thought for sure one of the designers - Price Walton, Lara Miller, Orlando Espinoza, Kent Nielsen, Katrin Schnabl - would trot out on the runway with a fashionable malapoo or some such tiny canine. Sadly, that wasn't the case.
I sat in the front row with all these photographers, and in back of the cameramen for ABC, NBC and Fox News. I have to tell you I felt a wee bit out of place with my little Kodak EasyShare C530. Those other guys had these massive pricey digital cameras with mega-zoom lens bigger than a Great Dane's jaw. I can only imagine how the little steam engine that could felt when the monstrous diesel locomotives started becoming popular. My minature digicam strained to take photos - but all I got were tiny images of models striding down the runway. Nothing worth barking about or saving to the hard drive.
What else? Since there were no dogs, there were no doggie outfits. I thought that perhaps Double Stitch might have a crocheted ensemble or two for our four-legged friends, but natch. Or course you don't need any sweaters - you've got your Siberian-thick fur to keep you warm.
There weren't any doggie bags either. Although the hor d'oeurves were delicious. None of your favorite carrots or apples though. A waiter whizzed by with trays of sushi every minute and half. I filled myself up on those, so dinner wasn't necessary.
As for the designers, my hands-down favorite was Maria Pinto. I adored her "Tallulah black cette wool overcoat (as it was described in a Fashion Focus flyer). The fabric, black with a muted metallic red plaid print, had to be from Italy. The coat looked very Kate Hepburn-ish with the oversized notched lapel and long, long length. Perfect for 5 a.m. dog walks! It would cover the jammies, but probably not last night's mascara smudges. Need a hat from Price Walton to cover that up!
Well, that's about it, my friend. I'll be home soon so we can take our last walk for the day and snack on carrot sticks together, ok?
Love and kisses,
Mary Beth

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mass Musings

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.

Hmm. I like that woman's blouse. It looks like it's a flame-stitch knit fabric. Very Missoni, like that one that sold out at Emmaonesock. Make-me fabrics has something similiar. I wonder if they still have that in stock. I don't need to buy any more fabric. I've got more than enough to last me through the next three winters, four summers, and another season of Dancing With the Stars, at least.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

That little girl's cape is so cute. I wish I could see it better. Maybe she could turn around so I can see the front. It looks like it's made out of fleece or maybe washeable suede. I can't be sure though. I could make something like that for N. She would love it, especially in pink. Oh! She's taking it off. Oh, darn. It's on the pew. Now I can't see it all. I may need to peek at it on the way back from Communion.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

Is L. pregnant again? She's looking a little poochy. I don't know how she does it with four little ones already under the age of six. I couldn't do it. What's her name? Maggie? I love her red hair and that split-pea green sweater. That kind of reminds me of the one in Interweave Knitting a couple of years ago. I wonder where that issue is. In my closet? No. I organized all my back issues last December. It's got to be in a binder, somewhere...

He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Amen? Oh yeah, Amen! Now I can sit down. I wonder if Jo-Ann Fabrics still has that sale on Vogue patterns this week. Maybe I can go over there later....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Hatboxes Are Talking....

They keep yapping, and yapping like there's a day after tomorrow. I think they feel a bit lonely, crowded on the top shelf of my closet. The ancient one with the Marshall Field's logo and the collapsing lid goes on and on and on about "Back in former times..." while the newer ones, namely those cloud-white boxes from milliners Laura Whitlock and Carmen what's-her-name? have no concept about what Ms. Marshall Field's is talking about. But those cloth-covered ones from the 1960s and 1970s, which are meant to carry more than one chapeaux at a time, are most the chatty. They've traveled all over the country, the world. They remember the days when you dressed up to get on a plane and you brought all your hats with you. These ladies have names and addresses on them on yellowed plastic tags. They do feel so important, having logged so many miles as they have. Anyhow, as I say, the hatboxes talk, mostly about how I ignore them. The travel version say I don't unzip them. The others long to have me unwrap tissue paper on the cocktail hats. But they also talk about how it's ironic that I love hats but I haven't written about them in a long time. They know that'll keep me up at night! So I know the hatboxes want me to write about them. Somehow, as brilliant as they are, they can't articulate what kind of book I should write. I already know one agent wants a book on this topic, just not one on technique. What are your thoughts about books about hats? What haven't you seen that you would like to read? (By the way, the book pictured above? It can purchased at the Vintage Martini web site.) Click here to follow the link my survey on the hat book.
I look forward to reading your responses. (And maybe then those hatboxes will get off my case.)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tartan vs. Plaid

plaid (plad) n. a long, woolen garment, usually with a tartan pattern, worn as a wrap by Scottish Highlanders; a. marked with stripes.
tartan (tar'-tan) n. woolen cloth of colored plaids, each genuine Scottish clan possessing its own pattern; a. made of tartan.
I got both of those definitions from my coverless edition of the Webster's Dictionary. I thought it was important to define both words since people use them interchangeably. But they don't mean precisely the same thing. I even read in yesterday's edition of Life Magazine (after reading about how actress Maria Bello is down on marriage) that plaid comes from the Gaelic word for blanket. The fabric with erratic, crossing strips is more accurately called tartan, says Life. All this plaid talk got me looking at other dictionary definitions of that word. Did you know that buffalo plaid is a broad checkered plaid pattern usually of two colors? See the definition at Merriam-Webster's Online. I can only imagine a buffalo wearing plaid - this large, shaggy mammal covered head to toe in a fabric more obnoxious than a neon green stop sign. Send that creature down the catwalk to scatter the crowds and make fashion headlines! And a glen plaid? That's short for glenurquhart plaid, from Glen Urquhart, valley in Inverness-shire, Scotland; glen plaid is a twill pattern of broken checks. That's also from Merriam-Webster. Betcha you didn't know that shepherd's check (also known as shepherd's plaid) is a pattern of small even black-and-white checks? I didn't until I looked up the definition of plaid, again in Merriam's.
All this talk of criss-crossed stripes has me thinking of the vintage 1930s plaid. The really loud, W.C. Fields style version. Unusual colorways - the above yardage is a good example. You can find it here on eBay. I just love the tartans from the Depression-era. The way I look at it, people during that time were used to standing in lines for food (hence the stripes) but they lived their lives in Technicolor as a form of escapism (thus the Crayola colors). The two together? Pulsing plaid!
Anyhow, I've got my share of vintage plaid in my fabric stash. One has more stripes than a test-sheet from my printer. I cut it out to make a Ginger Rogers-style pencil skirt -- two years ago. Maybe I'll get around to sewing it in another 600 days. How about you? Do you have a favorite tartan? One from your childhood that brings back memories?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Got A Problem With That?

January is not the time I want to be day-dreaming or even reading about coats. But that is exactly when the book pictured above is scheduled to be published. In the heart of winter. Right when the roads are slick, tempers are short, the nights are longer than the moonshine, right? By that frigid time of year I'm thinking of longer days, hot evenings, bathing suits and kicky sundresses! But if the photographs in this book are pretty enough (Peter Lindbergh and Richard Avedon took some photos, presumably not with a Brownie camera), I suppose I could make room for it on my nightstand. That's only when I'm snugger than a lightening bug in my blanket.
Now is the time I'm thinking about coats. It's brisk, but not unbearably cold just yet. A coat feels festively flirty. Halloween is two weeks away. Coats and Halloween costumes! Yes! This is the stuff of good conversation this week, along perhaps with who's going to win on Project Runway come Wednesday.
That's why I figured this as a good time as any time to unleash the results of yet another survey. It'll give you something to yak about. This time I asked what kind of statement do you make with your coats. Forty eight of you responded. (Thank you!) Here's what you all told me: nearly forty-six percent of you responded to choice no. 1: "What are you talking about? I'm just trying to stay warm." Another 29.2 percent of you checked off ''I'm a fashionista and I know how to stay warm on a budget." God bless you both. Just stay clear of each other, ok? We don't need coat parts flying all over the road; somehow I picture the Scarecrow of The Wizard of Oz not only losing his shirt, straw, but his coat. Not a pretty sight.
A good-sized bunch of you wrote in the "other" field on my poll. Here are some answers I loved:
  • I feel so confined in a traditional coat, especially when driving. I guess my statement would be "let me be free!"
  • warmth and weirdness
  • I'm a freak, I love stylish coats and I have about 6-7 big coats. I love the 60s movies where the women had matching coats, hats, etc.
  • Isn't it a bit simpler than all that? I need to stay warm, and I want to look relatively nice. It's not that I don't care about how I look at all, but I'm certainly far from a fashionista.
It is far, far easier than all that, and I'm a feeling fatigued to think about it at the moment. But if you've got any other thoughts on the outgarment I like to call a coat, please speak now or forever hold your piece of pizza!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Kevin Chronicles, Part 1

Kevin H. remembers that the moment he first saw Flo like yesterday's homemade pizza, made with a mix of Jewel brand tomato paste and Heinz ketchup and garnished with a blend of grated cheddar cheese and the last of the parmesan cheese.
It was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 1985. He had just boarded the Amtrak train in Bloomington, a parking lot rock's throw from the beyond ugly dorm (Watterson Tower) dorm where he lived. The train was filled with students making their way home for the holiday. He saw the empty seat first, and then this girl, who had this uncanny resemblance to Princess Diana.
She was even dressed like Diana, wearing a royal-blue sweatshirt turned inside out (it was the the style then) with a pair of skinny dark-denim jeans and burnished brown penny loafers. Her blonde-brown hair was cut short like the princess' with this great whoosh of feathered bangs that constantly fell in front of her humongous, grey-flecked amber eyes. She was sitting there with two other girls who were sitting across from her. The seat next to her was vacant. Should Kevin sit there? What if she wasn't interested in him? He'd be stuck talking to her plainer-than-Jane friends for two hours.
Kevin decided to take the gamble. "Hi, could I sit here?" he said.
"I suppose," the Di-alike said with a shrug. "We were saving a place for my friend Alison but she hasn't shown up so far. She might be in another car."
This wasn't going well. She was going to resent him for taking her pal's seat. This could be the slowest ride home. Kevin figured he better dig out something to read. He started fishing around in his backpack, looking for Truman Capote's In Cold Blood but he could only find a well-thumbed 100 Great Stir-Fry Recipes which he was returning to his mother. This was embarrassing. She'd think he spent all his time cooking inside his dorm room.
"Oh let me see that," Flo said, as she saw him turning around the book inside his pack so she wouldn't see it. "I love Chinese food. I'm going to get a wok when I get home. My mom always uses a frying pan, but I tell her the vegetables just get soggy and not cooked when you do it the way. Don't you think?"
"I'm sorry - you're going to take a walk when you get home?" he said, knowing he had just uttered something stupid the moment he said it.
Flo snorted. "Gag me with an extra-wide pitch fork. No, I'm not going on a walk, I'm buying a wok." Her friends laughed while she explained. "It's a Chinese-style cooking pan. You use to saute veggies like onions, red peppers and broccoli."
Kevin knew what a wok was. He just misheard what she had said. At that moment, Kevin would have been completely content had a trap door mysteriously opened on the train floor. He could conveniently fall out, be turned into rail kill and never have deal with being humiliated by a girl and her friends ever again.
Somehow, Kevin found the will to live. Even if it was only to find out this pretty girl's name name and what perfume she was wearing. He could smell it distinctly even though she was sitting across from her. He swears to this day it emanated from her hair. Every timeshe turned her head, he got this wonderful whiff of perfume, mixed with her own personal body smell. Turned out her full name was Florence ( she was christened Florence Abigail), but she went by Flo. Turned she was also an ISU student. And the scent? It was Forever Krystle, named after Linda Evans' Dynasty character of the same name.
That compliment seemed to shift the conversation a bit as if Flo could sense that Kevin was interested in her. She turned her body away from him. From somewhere buried in the bottom of her boxy book-crammed black backpack, she pulled out this cream blanket which look like it was missing a quadrant. Kevin was intrigued.
"What's that?" he asked.
"A blanket. I'm crocheting it for my mom for Christmas," Flo said, looking at him with a forced smile. She unzipped a pocket on her backpack to pull out this slender, spaceship blue hook. At about four inches, it looked smaller than a screwdiver. How could that thing make a blanket big enough for an adult over five feet tall?
Flo ignored Kevin, but he watched her out of the corner of his eye, whipping that hook in and out the blanket. Yarn over, in and out, she was making fabric inch by inch. Toward him and away, she'd miraculously make that blanket grow an inch or two every few minutes. Man, this was better than watching a bonfire. He even flinched when she dropped the hook and it clanked onto the floor. Oops! She probably thought he was staring at her; that he was a weirdo.
"I'm sorry I was just watching you knit," he stammered, not really thinking about what just said.
She gave him a dirty look.
"I mean crochet." He smiled. Man, did he know how to dig himself into a hole!
And so it went the rest of the trip back to Chicago. As the train creaked into Union Station rail yards, passengers started collecting their things. Flo put away her crochet to Kevin's great disappointment. He started to put on his jacket, she slipped off a beige trenchcoat from the upper racks, making small talk with her girlfriends. When the train inched to a complete stop, everyone began moving in slow motion off the car, moving stiffly with their overcoats, purses, suitcases, backpacks strung over their arms. Kevin wanted to say something to Flo. Anything! He felt like he'd been a dork the whole ride back. He wanted to say something intelligent.
Before he knew it, they were moving en masse down the steps, he was stuck in the crowd. He and Flo were separated. Suddenly these train passengers parted like a mini-Red Sea, and he saw Flo wearing her trenchcoat. She smiled and waved, a quick flick with a cupped hand. Then - poof! - she disappeared.
Kevin stared in the direction he last saw her, and then noticed something on the ground.
It was the blue crochet hook. Size E Susan Bates.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

When Not To Wear
A Felt or Straw Hat

This is a good time as any to talk about when not to wear a felt or straw hat. It's odd that you could wear either at this time of year and be quite comfortable with this freakishly warm, un-Oktoberfest weather we've been having. So grab an ice-cold Hop Harvest Ale or a Guinness Stout or whatever makes you happy at the day's end and ponder the following list.
  1. Don't wear a straw or felt hat when a thunderstorm is dropping bowling-ball heavy hail. It will not only dent your auto it will probably ruin your hat.
  2. Forget the hat during a tornado and make like Auntie Em for the nearest basement or cellar.
  3. Ditch a felt or straw hat during a snowstorm and for heaven's sake don a knitted one! Preferably one that you made yourself so you can at least brag about it when someone compliments you on it.
  4. Absolutely do not wear a felt or straw topper while unplugging the toilet. If your chapeau falls in, you will never ever wear it again.
  5. Must I say you should not to wear your hat to bed? You will not only ruin it, but you'll get bits of straw and probably felt all over your bed. That's worst than Nabisco crackers.
  6. It's best to take off your straw or felt cocktail hat while washing your face. Blobs of Neutrogena or will likely bleach your hat beyond repair.
  7. Take off the abovementioned head covering while flipping pizza dough in the air. That floury mass could land, yes, on your you-know-what.
That's it for tonight. The stuff of tonight's dream is the floppy straw hat called the Whitley by Eugenia Kim. If you've got any no-nos to add to my list, I'm all ears.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Let Go of My Leggings:
A New Survey

It seems everywhere I go I hear girls, women and grannies talk about how much they hate leggings. But....somebody's wearing them. To wit; these 3/4 length leggings in the style of Sienna Miller (that's what the online advertisement says) are sold out. If you want a pair like these, you're going to have to shop on eBay, Craig's List or somewhere else, perhaps Target.
That got me many of you actually don't like leggings or are wearing them on the sly? See to the left a poll I created on the topic. Feel free to leave a comment below if none of the responses match how you really feel. I'll leave the poll up for a week and let you know the results!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Yes, you can crochet!

Just don't look at the book cover to the left too much just yet. It'll be too intimidating. Once you understand the language of crochet than you can lovely scrutinize every little pixel of this book cover, zoom in on it if you wish.

So ignore "Amazing Crochet Lace: New Fashions Inspired by Old-Fashioned Lace" for the moment. I want to tell you that crochet is easy to learn. Go find a hook in your house - you'll probably at least have one owned by your mother or grandmother. Just don't use one that's paper-thin with a teeny-tiny tip. Find some yarn, something substantial enough that won't slip out of your hands.
This is the hardest part, creating the chain. Tie a knot onto the hook. Eventually you'll do what's called a slip knot, but we're not going to worry about that right now. We just want you to get started. Now with the hook inside that knot, put some yarn over the tip with the hook. Pull it through with the hook in your right hand, holding onto that tail like tomorrow will never come. (It's true you can crochet with your southpaw. Even though I'm left-handed, I don't bother. It gets too complicated when you're following a pattern).
Voila! A loop. Now keep creating loops. Keep holding onto that tail. (Be thankful it doesn't actually belong to an actual creature which would likely bite you after suffering such cruelty). Create about 14 loops. Now work in the opposite direction, like you're reading in reverse. Or you could think of it this way: you're running upstairs in a high-rise. One corner to the next (with considerably less exertion in crochet, thank goodness.) Back to your chain gang: dive into the second loop away from your hook, pick up some yarn, and pull it through. Two loops on the hook. Pull one through so there's only one loop left. You've just created a single crochet. Hurrah!
Now repeat that trick. Pretend you're at the circus. You're a clown with a white face. You want applause for each sommersault, even it's somewhat sloppily executed. Don't think about it too much, just crochet! Keep at it til you reach that slipknot. Tada! You've finished the hardest part. You've created fabric. You're like God (almost), you can make something out of nothing. Pat yourself on the back. Now treat yourself to a Mrs. Field's chocolate-chip cookie. (Now during your snack break you can look at the book cover. Don't try to figure out the pattern just yet. Don't even think, "I could never do that." Just admire the shawl for what it is: a pretty piece of apparel. End of lecture.)
Which brings me to my next point (always good to do when you're enjoying sweets): if you already know to how crochet, when and how did you learn?