Burning question of our time: What to wear under your knit skirt?

Unless you want to line your handknit skirt, you will wear a slip.

You will wear a slip because like me you have a mother voice inside your head that says, "I can see right through to your legs!" everytime you step out of the house without one. That and there's the matter of the unslightly butt-shaped pouch you'll have to block out after every wearing if you don't. See above.

Personally, I wear a dreadful nylon thing purchased so many decades ago the label reads: Made in the USA. Not ideal, it peeks from underneath hems and requires regular adjusting during the day. I also bought this shaping garment, thinking it was a slip, only to find these hideous "boy shorts" contained inside. The thing is hot and becomes a complete puzzle whenever it needs to be lifted. I loathe it.

I had one of these I rather liked, but it disappeared during an intense spate of business travel, during which I left clothing all over the country, like breadcrumbs or something. What must the housekeeping staff at those hotels think?

Right now I'm liking this. Not too slippery, plenty short and reasonably priced. And with just enough lycra for support.

A good slip, well, it just makes a girl feel fully dressed.



Le Hobble Skirt--Premiere

Yes, it's been a while since anything has come out of the atelier.

Publishing this pattern reminds me to thank every knitwear designer everywhere. For the labor and care and attention you put into your patterns. Boy, do y'all work hard!

Let me introduce you to Le Hobble Skirt, a handknit pencil skirt with sexy striations of twisted rib.

Many thanks to the lovely Christine for modeling; doesn't she look fab?

And to Cheryl Oberle, whose Organic Merino yarn makes this piece.

Dying to knit one yourself. The pattern is available on Ravelry. Happy hobbling!

Bee Brain-Crochet your own

I swear, this won't become a bee blog. But as we anticipate the arrival of "our girls," we've been doing a lot of reading and thinking about the critters. As I crocheted my way through bee club last night (yes, the Nake-ids are full-on bee geeks--at least this season), I wondered about bee-related stitching possibilities. Looks like I'll be stashing more yellow yarn.

Scroll down. Some of these are just killer Wink

Jonathan the Bumble Bee by Stacey Trock

Burnie the Bee by Stacey Trock

Boo the Bee by Shannen C

Bumblebee by Grace Meador

Bee by Fiber Doodles

Bee Gurumi by LuvlyGurumi

The content thing

A friend of ours has become similarly bee obsessed and loaned me the volumes pictured above.

The authors of these books receive no royalties when I curl up on the couch to read. Nor do publishers earn any profits.

Am I a pirate?

What about if I borrow a jazz CD from a friend and rip it to my hard drive? Is that copyright infringement?

The difference in the two scenarios is possession. In a few weeks I'll return the bee books. If I want copies, I'll need to buy them. But if I rip a CD, I possess it, not the physical object but the data that gives it meaning.

I've been having a running argument with a member of the younger set, who views access to content as his First Amendment right. Information should be available to all.

For someone who writes content for a living, this goes down like cod liver oil. So I make noises about how not paying your freight hurts writers such as myself or the code-wielding Nake-id IT.

But who among us hasn't mixed tapes or "borrowed" software or accepted a thumb drive filled with the last season of "Weeds"?

Um, OK, moving right along...

it's easy to view CONTENT PROVIDERS like running dog Goliaths, exploiting us little guys. What's the harm in watching rogue copies of "Homeland" or sourcing critical software as a poor student?

For starters, it puts us on the wrong side of the law. And sometimes THEY do prosecute.

And, like Scott Turow said in his excellent piece:

Authors practice one of the few professions directly protected in the Constitution, which instructs Congress “to promote the progress of Science and     the useful Arts by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The idea is that a diverse literary culture, created by authors whose livelihoods, and thus independence, can’t be threatened, is essential to democracy.

It's good for the culture to have all us wackadoos out there writing knitting patterns, making independent films and whaling on  guitars. To eliminate the profit motive--modest as it is--puts art and innovation in the hobby category, ghettoizing it to our free time. If we don't support creative people, whether they're engineers, writers, artists or actors, it stands to reason that only the most popular, the most market-worthy will penetrate the culture. There will be less art and fewer ideas, if the D-listers among us can't work.

Isn't it more democratic to vote with our dollars, to align our financial resources with our passions? If we want our artistic and intellectual lives to look like Applebees, then we can cede responsibility for the evolution of the culture to the common denominator. But if we like our Vivaldi or Vanity Fair or The Borgias, we should pay.

As much as I hate to admit it.

Shabby chic without the chic

We live in one of thes, next to one that looks exactly like it, except that our intrepid young neighbors are more than doubling the current size, dwarfing our version of the same 100-year-old house.

This was our starter home. Years ago we talked of moving and expanding and adding and breaking through, but 20 years in, we've learned what space buys you rooms to care for and fill with yarn, and we already feel rich in rooms to care for...and yarn. So we yearn for space much less often than we did in our younger days.

Still there comes a time, when the house that you painted, tiled and purchased furniture for starts to look, um, well loved, in our case by two humans, one well-mannered 20-year-old tabby and a corpulent orange thing who has made the destruction of our Ethan Allen sofa his personal project.

Though Mr. and Mrs. Nake-id have strong esthetic opinions (happily, they typically align), neither of us likes making the decisions that move projects forward.

Take choosing paint colors. I'd rather weed the garden with a shrimp fork than pick colors to paint the kitchen.

So I start collecting chips. And more chips. And asking friends. I pour over magazines and roll websites and blogs.

"Haven't you been trying to pick colors for about two years?" a designer friend asked recently.

Hell, for me that's fast!

I recently stumbled on this collection by California Paints.

Can you imagine the consequences if I painted the house "Rosy Opal"? Or "Craftsman Gold"? I'd be living in the identical-but-more-commodious bungalow next door.

Anyway, how do you choose paint colors? Assistance welcomed.


Here's a sneak peak of the new Nake-id design. Impressed by our productivity? Why, it's only been three years since our last release! It's coming soon, once the photos are "curated" and pattern written.

The above was take at our photo shoot on 32nd Avenue, in front of Common Grounds, the coffee shop that made the Highlands in Denver, the Highlands. Common Grounds will be moving soon, curated out of the neighborhood by a rapacious landlord. We probably need to start a "keep the Highlands weird" movement, except the Highlands was never weird, just quiet and established, settled by ethnic families in the early decades of the last century. Today, it's become so desireable I'm almost embarrased to say where we live without prefacing, "we moved here 20 years ago, before you could buy a $400 handbag in the 'hood."

The Avenue, prior home to Naomi's Beauty School and Speer Furniture (Denver's go-to emporium for Spirit of '76 upholstery), now attracts chains like Jimmy John's, Smash Burger (upcoming) and Chipotle--most of which are local. We'll know things are really bad and too curated when an Apple store opens.

Someone asked me recently as a semi-native whether I liked how Denver has changed. Overall, yes. This isn't the gritty city on the plains Jack Kerouac would remember from his days on the road. Without the viaducts and railyards and blighted buildings, it's much prettier. Young, educated people swarm here for jobs, the outdoors and the hip-and-happening lifestyle. Restaurants are packed late into the night. Real estate prices are skyrocketing.

It appears the Mile High City is curating itself into a Seattle or Portland. However, we need to find ways to keep it authentic if not weird so we're not all drinking Starbucks from a go-cup.

Put a hat on

Being between large knitting projects is like being between novels. While searching for that next good book, you thumb through magazines, watch too much TV (especially this week when it's free!) and try to gin up games of Words With Friends. This is how reading keeps us from going off the rails.

It's the same with knitting. Without a good meaty project to keep idle hands occupied, one is apt to hit "add to cart" more times than is healthy and refresh Facebook too often and get into all kinds of mischief.

Like crochet. Between Lynn's fabulous afghan from Erika Knight's Simple Crochet and Rachael Oglesby's Crochet Boutique, I've been hooked in. The hat pictured above was worked between conference calls. I look like Ruth Buzzi (scroll down), but I think the intended recipient will wear it well.

What kind of mischief have you gotten yourself in?

Spring gleaning

Yesterday I was listening to the second installment of the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Challenge (yes, I should already be listening to the 11th, no judging!) and Deepak was going on about life balance and activities about we're passionate and I don't know what all because I was like...meditating, and this snuck through: Find something to be passionate about...it is a deep form of healing.

Not sure I've ever thought about it that way before; that taking a passionate interest in work, knitting, cooking, bees or the cats is healing.That health could be associated with engagement. But it makes intrinsic sense. The more connected we are to this world and the things that give us joy...the less likely we are to chuck it for the next. Metaphorically.

Spring is here officially, which means in Colorado it snows. We get to cling to the cozy parts of winter just a bit longer. Like the scarf pictured above. Or new projects yet to be imagined.

New is the operative word, though. Try something new, whether it's a new skill, recipe or area of interest. It's that time of the year.

Loving the West

There are plenty of reasons not to love it, starting with colonization and the eradication of the great bison herds, but there are also many things to admire: How ranchers have preserved open space, the live-and-let-live practicality that made Wyoming and Colorado the first states to give women the right to vote, that same spirit which made the Centennial State the sixth in the nation to legalize civil unions (nine other states allow same-sex marriage). There are times when things seem so hide-bound out here in the land-locked American heartland, and then there are times like this year, when the legislature acts to make in-state tuition available to undocumented young people, that it's possible to see the spark of hope, ambition and grit that settled these harsh lands.

Anyway, here are some things to love about today's West:



Commissioned yarn!

I've developed something of a Sleep Season yarn problem. So much so that I've even started making special orders. (Don't mind Antone, he's judgey like that.)

Much of the yarn Meg dyes is fingering weight, perfect for socks, shawls, wristers, and so on. I fell for a mixed-berry colorway but wanted a quicker-to-knit yarn weigt, DK or worsted. Kelly at Wild Yarns arranged the commission and Meg gamely accepted.

The result is pictured. 100 percent merino. If it wren't so wooly, I'd be tempted to take a lick.

Thank you, Meg! You're an artist!