Wednesday Miscellany--Odd lot and mullet love

1. Don’t you love the library? Yesterday when I went to my branch, these were on hold for me:

Fitted Knits         Runway Knits

Such a good use of tax dollars.

2. Blog-challened: After two (three?) years,  I finally managed to install a Bloglines button (to the right). If you've been dying, frothing at the mouth and tearing your hair out over the lack of subscription access to Nake-id Knits,  now it's easy.

3. Random acts of stupidity: Did y’all know about the Rwanda Knits Auction last week? Cool celebrity samples on sale for a great cause? (Rwanda Knits provides U.S.-made knitting machines and training to Rwandan and refugee women so they can increase their standard of living. It’s been enormously successful. Check it out.) Welllllll, I had no real intention of buying, but bid on an item or two just to bump up the numbers. So now I’m the proud owner of this…


It’s not that I don’t like the afghan, it’s totally cool. Just wasn’t looking to spend that much money. Some things are meant to be. And it’s hard to imagine a better cause.

4. Speaking of meant to be: Seventeen years ago this evening, I put on a pair of black pencil pants, my Buddy Holly glasses and drove my ‘76 baby-shit yellow Toyota to watering hole called Fish Dance. A bunch of us were meeting there for happy hour before gallery hopping. It was a dreary evening, spitting rain, but it was spring and a Friday night and I felt frisky and it was time to shake off the winter.

The ususual suspects were there, my old roommate and her weird boyfriend, this guy Tom, who was just as cute-as-a-button but never seemed to date so was he straight or gay or scared or stunted? Another mutual friend, who had such high sharp cheek bones she could gut trout with them; she was on hand, looking fabulous and smoking.

This guy approached the table and he seemed to know everybody, but I had never met him. He was tall and lanky and had this amazing mane of dark, curly hair—yes, styled ala mullet, this was back in the day. He looked very hip and I pegged him as a filmmaker and figured he wouldn’t give me the time of day. He seemed too cool and fidgity. But the stool next to me was free and he sat down and we talked. He seemed kinda funny. And he wasn’t a filmmaker, he programmed computers. So then I decided, he must be boring. But he had this great profile.

He drove me to the gallery—in his grey Camry, which I loved. I didn’t trust guys in sports cars or trucks with silouettes of naked women adorning the mud flaps. The Camry was a good sign. At the gallery, we talked more. And I remember thinking, “This guy has a soul.”

Well, five houses, four cats and many miles later, the mullet is gone and so is much of the hair and I’m a “silver fox,” but there’s still the topography of that profile. And that soul.




At this juncture it’s hard to believe that

Noniunfelted           +

Washingmachine          (minus the pink panties)      =


From Noni Patterns Fall 2005 Collection


Tool Time at Nake-id Knits

That I would ever know the difference between a pipe wrench and a crescent wrench is not something I considered when I was a single girl living with three cats, a closetful of shoes and a liter of Diet Coke. That I would thrill to the superiority of a Purdy sash brush over their cheaper, lesser brethren and could expound upon their differences would have been beyond my ken 20 years ago. But here we are.

Drum roll please…El Rancho de Chihuahua is painted. In a lovely soothing palette of beiges and blues trending toward green. There would have been pictures had I remembered that another tool required a compact flash card in order to record images. Obviously I’m developing analog skills, not digital. But we’ll be heading back down in a week or two to clean and ready the place for the move, so I’ll post pics then.

For now, if you have can deploy an embroidery tool, go check out the Mother’s Day Project at Threading Water. Promises to be an amazing moveable work of poetry and art.

Wal-Mart greens up

Two nights ago I found myself defending Wal-Mart at a dinner party. (This does nothing for one's liberal cred, by the way.)

I had just finished reading Thomas Friedman's sterling piece in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, “The Greening of Geopolitics.” In it Friedman made a case for the greed motive; capitalism, not our vaunted form of government, could ultimately be the the fuel behind reducing greenhouse gasses--not just here but abroad.

I mentioned that Wal-Mart has taken a lead here. Recognizing that customers wanted them to green up, the retail juggernaut hired a sustainability czar to help them do everything from reduce the amount of product packaging to promoting compact fluorescent bulbs. Because of the company's size and clout, the “green” demands they make of suppliers can have far-reaching impacts on energy innovation and conservation. In other words, when a giant rolls over, the earth moves.

Because it's Earth Week, the Wal-Mart web site is touting ways we can all help. Interspersed among its adverts for organic jammies and concentrated detergent and the DVD of An Inconvenient Truth are tips like take short showers and unplug appliances. The Target web site, by way of contrast, is asking us to redecorate our living rooms.

Look, nobody is saying Sam Walton's baby is a perfect corporate citizen. Retail on this unprecedented scale creates vast amounts of waste and CO2 and economic consequences on a level that's difficult to calculate. Wal-Mart is a mixed bag. But it's here and it's big and if they want to go green because it's good business, I say, good on them.


We can either look at the large, black stockinette rectangle I finished to make this: (Check out the preview for Noni’s spring 2007 collection, too.)

Felted bagette

Or you can endure more eco-posturing. What’s it going to be?

Just as I thought. Pressing on…

The fashion world is greening up in a big way, so much so that it would be impossible to list all the newly minted boutiques and designers in the eco-sphere. Instead of looking at folks making new clothes, I wanted to highlight apparel manufacturers who are going above and beyond by rescuing elements from the waste stream and rethinking them. Some pieces work better than others, as you will see. But, I think you’ll find that the spirit of thrift, creativity and humor contained in these collections is most enlivening. And please submit your own suggestions.

Herewith, a list of of designers and purveyors of repurposed threads:

Sun Moon Lake—Recycled cashmere quilts and other accessories. Stunning!




Ecoist—Repurposed candy wrapper accessories.

Preloved—Redesigned vintage clothing and sweaters from Canada. repurposed sweaters, etc.

SuperLuckyCat—A full line of one-of-a-kind pieces sourced from vintage and remnant fabrics and clothing

Cat’s Pajamas—Re-imagined denim and stuff

Ekologic—Lots of rouched pieces made recycled tees, cashmere sweaters, cotton shirts, etc.

Vy & Elle—Cool bags from recycled billboard vinyl


Potential Fashions—Skirts from recycled men’s suit pants, hoodies from recycled sweatshirts, girlie jackets from recycled denim and men’s sports coats. From Denver.

Rethunk—Trash into treasure accessories. Denver-based. 

Mona Lucero—Recycled crochet-afghan skirts, vinitage necktie belts, skirts and bags from vintage fabric and scarves

Sparrow—Vintage re-thread tops and bottoms. 1608 East 17th Ave., Denver. No web site. 



Cleaning green

There was a very amusing article on the front page of the Style section of the New York Times about a society version of a Shaklee home party. Women with names like Rockefeller and Hermes sat politely sipping decaf and listened to Sloan Barnett (her husband owns Shaklee) describe the horrors perpetrated on health and home by toxic cleaning products. (Surely this would be of greater concern to their housekeepers who actually deploy these products than the madames themselves. But whatever.)

Anyway, the article was amusing and it was a clever PR ploy on Barnett's part to promote Shaklee and raise awareness about environmental toxins. Bless her well-tended little head.

Other than Shaklee there are tons of eco-conscious products to choose from: Seventh Generation, Ecover, Method and Mrs. Meyers Cleaning Supplies. We get the Eco-Products laundry detergent from Costco, which seems fine, and I've got to watch Mitch like a hawk so he doesn't bring home phosphates--the dude's price shopper.

Know what, though? You can also make your own.

Several years ago I did a story on herbs and received some great recipes for making your own cleaning supplies. Now I whip 'em up as housewarming gifts. They're cheap, and the smell, well, almost makes you want to get down on your knees and scrub. Almost. (Recipes provided by Alane Holsteen.)

Basic floral cleaning scrub


2 pounds baking soda

25 drops ylang-ylang essential oil

20 drops lavendar essential oil

15 drops rosewood essential oil


Combine all ingredients into a plastic shaker like a used herb bottle. This recipe is great for cleaning tubs, sinks, pots and pans. To make a more antiseptic cleaner substitute above essential oils with 50 drops tea tree oil.


Scented cleaning vinegar


1 gallon distilled white vinegar (Heinz)

½ tsp-3/4 tsp essential oil of your choice (lavendar, tea tree, lemon grass, lemon)


Combine ingredients. Add to cleaning water and…This is a great tile floor cleaner.


Lemon Balm Furniture Polish


8 ounce wide mouth glass jar

olive oil

dried lemon balm leaves

8 ounce squirt bottle

¼ cup lemon juice

50 drops lemon or lemon grass essential oil


Pack jar with lemon balm leaves. Pour olive oil to the top. Cover with a cheesecloth and rubber band and allow to sit outside in a sunny spot for one to two weeks. Strain out lemon balm. Add ¾ cup infused olive oil to 8 ounce squirt bottle. Add lemon juice and essential oil. Shake well. And rub it on wood furniture.


All-Purpose Household Cleaner


16 ounce spray bottle

16 ounces purified or distilled water

4 Tbs distilled white vinegar (Heinz)

1 tsp Borax

¼ cup liquid vegetable-based soap (Dr. Bonner’s)

½ tsp essential oil (tea tree, lavendar or orange)


Combine all ingredients. This is a great all-purpose. But should be followed with a vinegar rinse.


Introducing Mrs. Robinson

For you knitters of a certain age, you may recognize this impulse: To squeeze the last bit of juice from one's youth, very, very hard. In my case it manifested in an inexplicable desire to knit a red pencil skirt--a short, red pencil skirt. See.


Mrs. Robinson


A Nake-id original knit from Araucania’s Limari, color 504 on US 11 and US 13


There’s even a sexy backslit. Too bad that at my age I haven’t learned to put a skirt on straight.




What to wear when kicking some Supreme Court ass.




Cooking in the raw

Two enormous piles of dishes later, we had a tiny, hugely expensive raw lasagna awaiting us in the fridge.

As I mentioned last month, a trip to a “living food“ cafe in Berkeley got me all intrigued with the raw food movement. And always up for something new that doesn't imperil life and limb, I thought, “Why heck, we all need more veggies.“

As I dove into the Internet, I discovered that raw cuisine has its own conventions (I still haven't figured out the Celtic salt thing) and language and appliances. You know the thing that slices and dices and makes great julienned fries and boy, does it catch fish? You'll need one.

Not quite ready to buy a juicer, spiral slicer or dehydrator and unsure how to soak and ferment nuts to get real nut cheese, I wanted a recipe for us secular types. Happily, The Raw Chef provided.

The prep, which involved two blender sessions, two food processor sessions and massive amounts of dishes, certainly doesn't have one slaving over a hot stove. Instead I found myself mining the recesses of our cabinets for additional appliances to masticate, crunch, slash, slice, combine and froth. Walnuts (raw) and sun dried tomatoes (dehydrated) required soaking. Zucchini needed marinating. And spinach needed wilting. Then it all had to be ground and whipped into submission. All in all the dish had five layers--a faux noodle layer, faux meat, faux cheese, tomato sauce and pesto. (The recipe called for a sixth wilted spinach layer, but enough already. No wonder our mothers raised us on tuna casserole.)

When I showed it to Mitch, he asked, “Do you eat it cold?”

Honey, it's raw.”

As a concession to both our palettes, I let it warm to room temp before we tucked in. The verdict? Amazing. Absolutely delicious.

Today, though, we have serious garlic hangovers. That raw garlic is some serious sh*t.

Blog silence for Virginia Tech

Maintaining blog silence in honor of the faculty, staff, students and victims at Virginia Tech.

Technical difficulties

Having a few issues with the old blog editor this morning, and gosh darn it, even had something to show. Stay tuned while I adjust the dials.

In the meantime, go visit my pal Roxanne, who's chronicling her adventures in alpine living and doggie agility training at Champion of My Heart.