Feeding frenzy

As some of you know, the Nake-id home is an interfaith household, so certain times of the year—every day’s a holiday!

This week, the Christian and Jewish spring holidays coincided with a visit from family and cousin Stephanie’s new boyfriend, so there was more feeding than ususal, beginning with an enormous, stomach-crushing seder on Monday and finishing with Sunday morning matzo brei and a chicken-and-biscuit Easter dinner. As a consequence I will be going here this evening for a little schvitz.

Even after all this feasting, we’ll still need to lay in a few provisions. I’ll be shopping with this:

Shoppingsack   

And it folds up into the cutest little pouch, like so:

Bagpouch

The specs:

US size 15 needles

Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton in Pebble and Nut

Oat Couture Stow-Away Shopping Bag

 

Mile High Harlot

I knew there would be a crowd, but given the fact that I live 10 minutes from downtown and had books to collect at the library, I didn't arrive at the Tattered Cover until 10 minutes before her talk.

Let me repeat: I knew there would be a crowd, but didn't think it would be like Stephen King or Joan Didion or Cynthia Rowley. Even when Joyce Maynard debuted her tell-all memoir about J.D. Salinger, the crowds were nothing like this. And that book was about sex with one of the great literary figures of the 20th century. Sort of.

At the entrance to the bookstore a huge sign announced Stephanie's appearance and then warned, “No one will be admitted without a ticket.”

We didn't need tickets to see Jon Krakauer. And he climbed Mt. Everest with a bunch of people who died.

Well, there are worse things than being stranded in the Tattered Cover without a “ticket.“ So I marched up the stairs determined to explore the new hardcover fiction and non-fiction should the Harlot's talk be "sold out."

Not to worry, there were plenty of seats, though “plenty” might be overstating it. Maybe 20 chairs sat vacant. But I settled in and surveyed the room. Lots of knitting going down, as one would expect. Lots of knitting on double points (to each his or her own). And deafening conversation, like nothing I've ever experienced at an author appearance before.

Then she entered the room. This was most remarkable: The audience screamed. Like she was Elvis. Or Davey Jones. Or Hillary Clinton. I felt a little odd that I was neither knitting or screaming, but have sat through so many poetry readings, literary gatherings and writerly soirees where the mode of behavior mimics that of the mortuary that to experience ecstatic shrieks in a retail mausoleum for bibliophiles was quite startling.

Maybe the language isn't dead after all.

I won't do Stephanie's humor justice on these pages. If she spins through your city, go see her. She's a brilliant stand-up comedian, so good in fact, one wonders how she'd play on Leno--to civilians.

She's also more comely and younger-looking than she appears in photographs. And she was wearing a rockin' sweater.

Wednesday Miscellany: Calling all fashionistas of a certain age

I’m doing a little fashion research. I’m looking for iconic knits from the last 30 years, sweaters that may have started out in the secular, fashion world that ended up as must knits in the knitting world.

Your thoughts?

For a little inspiration, I offer this recent purchase—a tiny, purple tweed mini embellished with Asian satin quilting. It comes from Sparrow, 1608 East 17th Ave., where designer Kirsten Coplans reimagines vintage and gently used clothing into clever, wearable pieces.

Pearlskirt

And Denver girls, be sure to check out the Fashion Denver Spring market, this Saturday at the Oriental Theatre, 4335 W. 44th Ave. Lots of great indie designers and, dudes, it’s in the ‘hood!

 

Awed by the creativity

I’m slammed with deadlines over here, but there’s an FO on the drying rack just waiting to be “art directed.”

In the meantime, enjoy these wonderful examples of upcycling or turning trash into treasure. Book purses. Here, here and here.

Mangled

Last night, I saw Azar Nafisi speak. (She wrote Reading Lolita in Tehran.) She is passionate on the subject of reading, and sees reading even in the United States as an increasingly (and necessary) subversive act. I’m too stupid this morning to say more, but when asked if she had been contacted by the State Department or this administration for her thoughts on US/Iran relations, she replied in the affirmative, adding that the most successful academic types to breach White House walls offer easily digested ideas in accord with prevailing policy. “They don’t do nuance,” she said.

Neither do I this morning. Back with some knitting, etc. next week. Enjoy the weekend.

Hell cat

I have nothing. But I leave you with this fantasy:

Zip this Antonebasket up into a pillow case between the hours of 1–4 a.m. Think it would get me in trouble with the SPCA?

Yeah? I thought so.

 

Knitting in the raw

Last weekend, Richard, Kathleen and I went to a “living” food restaurant in Berkeley, Cafe Gratitude. There are four of them in the Bay Area. And while Cafe Gratitude has the vibe of an old-timey health-food restaurant from the ‘70s, it’s also concepty. Whenever the staff gathers around a birthday celebrant to sing, one is forced to think, New Agey Bennigans. Menu items, too, are named for affirmations. So in order to order a cup of coffee, one is asked to say, “I am courageous.” Or for a raw chocolate smoothie, “I am luscious.” Check your cynicism at the door, or you will feel most awkward.

We didn’t dine there, but instead stopped for coffee and cake. Coffee is cold-processed, meaning that it’s infused as opposed to brewed, and it arrived with a frothy cup of foamed almond milk. And we shared an “I am lovely,” the cobbler of the day, a surprising raw apple, pear, blueberry crumple topped with an oaty, nutty mix. We had it ala mode with the cafe’s signature soft serve, a light frozen dessert made from nut milk, dates and vanilla bean. Quite delicious, but pricey at $9.50; organics don’t always come cheaply, do they?

Anyway, I was fascinated. It’s such different food, like steamed quinoa and hemp seed pesto. Or lasagna made from sliced zucchini and cashew ricotta cheese?

So back home, I pulled out my copy of Living Cuisine, a book I received when I was on some press list. I’ve been threatening Mitch with raw food since cracking the binding, but “cooking” raw is quite an enterprise, what with the juicing, sprouting, nut soaking and dehydrating. Not to mention sourcing the ingredients and the equipment—juicer, mandolin, dehydrator, saladacco. One meal can involve days of preparation when you’re talking about sprouting grains and whipping up nut cheeses.

Call me crazy, but I just went to Craigslist to see if I can find a juicer cheap. Wanna bet this lasts all of about a week?

 

Sweater spotting

In San Francisco, I drug my poor brother-in-law into every Pacific Heights boutique I could find. Inside this one establishment, I gamely sorted racks of $800 blouses and $4,000 coats, delighted by the creativity and craftsmanship of these exquisite garments.

Invariably I fell upon a stack of tissue-thin cashmere sweaters, each one painstakingly reimagined and reconstructed from vintage pieces by a California designer, Koi Suwannagate. Tiny mismatched buttons, layered bits of cashmere, machine embroidery, quilting, but still with clean, lovely silhouettes. Poor Richard, I went berserk.

Eye-wateringly expensive, they are so worth the time to drool. Go check them out (and look beyond the fashion direction, which, in my opinion, distracts from the garments).

Japanese knitting

I’m newly back after a long evening in the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, which incidentally is NOT the country’s most diverting travel center. So this morning I am confused and frazzled.

But I leave you with these, some photographs of Japanese knitting books purchased at Kinokunyia in San Francisco’s Japantown. Normally I don’t go for cat motif, cats yes, cat figurines no, but these patterns tickled me silly.

Japanesebooks

Japancat2

Japancat

Leaving on a jet plane

One of the things I do is write marketing copy for colleges and universities. So when I fly, typically it’s to a remote intellectual outpost and involves propellers and barf bags. (The Nake-id stomach is not so strong.)

Today, however, I’m heading to Oakland where I’ll spend the weekend with my BIL’s family and SIL’s family before heading to work on Monday. Mitch’s siblings are kindly tolerating me for a couple of days, which is lovely, for I’m not the easiest guest. I scream in my sleep, a trait I’ve assured Mitch, is charmingly idiosyncratic. “Honey, it’s cute that I scream. Really it is.” Send good sleeping karma my way, so I don’t wake the relatives.

Obviously I’m grateful that no propellers are implicated in this journey. However, my big concern re: yesterday’s post is getting the skincare on the plane without checking the bag. Last time we flew, the nice TSA man confiscated my baggie and said, “Darlin’, we’re going to have to move you from a mansion into a condo” and handed me a ziplock the size of a postage stamp. Since cleanser, toner, moisturizer, serum, nightcreme, eye creme are must-haves, guess I’ll be skipping the deodorant.

My knitting mission in the Bay Area is to score copies of Keito Dama, the Japanese needlework magazine. Interesting. On the preview page, the models look, well, like corn-fed Midwestern girls. Huh.

Anyway, have a grand weekend. And check out the new Yarnival. I’m over there off-gassing about organic yarn.