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.


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.


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.




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.



Aging in place

Earlier this week, Wendy over at Knit and Tonic discussed aging and how some women are all philosophical about it, like it's a grand adventure watching one's face, nose, ass and boobies succumb to gravity. (For the latter, there's at least a non-surgical solution, Denver's Store of Lingerie is having its spring sale starting Saturday.) Most women are not all sanguine and loving about their crow's feet, otherwise why would skin care be this mutli-gagillion dollar industry?

I'll admit, I'm not the youngest girl at the party. I have a full head of grey hair. I railed against the dying of the light, until Mom bought me one of these. And let's just say, I don't weigh 102 lbs. anymore.

I also wouldn't go back to being 25 even if you paid me a million dollars and got me a date with George Clooney.

Your 20's suck, people. Admit it. You're trying to start your lives, begin careers, find mates, make money and discover, “Am I a cat person or a dog person“? “Do I want to live in Sundance or Schenectady“? “Do I believe in crystals or Jesus“? And you have to do it while being all clever on MySpace and typing on itty-bitty telephone key pads. Shitfire, man, that's a lot of work!

But you're all cute and perky and passionate and energetic and fresh. Lot to be said for that. 'Specially when something like this occurs:

A year or so ago, Mitch and I were in Westcliffe. I was puttering about the house and Mitch was talking to one of the town's famously inebriated citizens. She asked Mitch, “Where's your wife“? He pointed to the house. “Oh,“ she said. “I thought that was your grandpa.“

Ba da dum.

I recently picked up a brochure posing this question, “What can cosmetic acupuncture do for me?” I haven't thrown it away, if that tells you anything.

Wednesday Miscellany: Links

It turns out the great Babs isn’t wrong. Lissa graciously charted out the Cherry Tree pattern and it turns out the issue is one of knitting grammar (and the fact that I’m a little foggy on the meaning behind “multiple of 18 sts plus 1”). The answer for those of you who have been unable to sleep since reading yesterday’s post is this:

Row 5 - K3, (*p6, k1, p6*, k5); rep brackets to last repeat, continue to *, K3.

Row 6 - P3, (*FC, k3, p1, k3, BC*, p5); rep brackets to last repeat, continue to *, P3.

Row 7 - Row 7 - K5, (*p4, k1, p4*, k9);

rep brackets to last repeat, continue to *, K5.

Feel better? I certainly do. And so does my swatch.

Shall we proceed with the order of the day?

A number of cool resources and temptations have come to our attention this week. For instance:

1. Here’s the best excuse I’ve ever seen for buying the entire Ring Cycle of Walker treasuries: The Barbara Walker Treasury Project. The idea is to collect color, high-quality photos of each and every one of the stitch patterns as an Internet addendum to the black-and-white photos contained in the encylopediae themselves. Makes the stitches vibrate with life. (Coutesy of Margene.)

2. Ya’ll may know about this one: Vintage Knits. Historic patterns, knitting-themed notecards, discontinued yarn information—in other words a real time sucker. Definitely worth a leisurely tour. (Courtesy of Sahara.)

3. If you need something fun and “ironical” to pair with your handknits, check out this indie designer. I’m partial to the Bukarest Skirt (sp), but Toadstool has its appeal too, don’t you think?


Bukarest Skirt

4. Fans of Beqi Clothing will be delighted to see her spring line is up. Lots of great Asian-print skirts. For nature girls, be sure not to miss the Adirondak moose-in-the-forest number. Very tempting.

5. This just in: Cool felted bag site! (Courtesy of Mom.)