Friday, September 29

Books and Chocolate

Debbie Bliss Alpaca/Silk
Debbie Bliss Alpaca/Silk, Choxie chocolate covered ginger

'Bibliotheque'  from Scout's Hand-painted swag
Bibliotheque from Scout's Hand-painted Swag, merino/tencel superwash

Elann Canapone, 'bittersweet' Canapone 100% Hemp, 'Bittersweet,' Dolfin Dark Chocolate with cocoa bean pieces

Wednesday, September 27

London is the Place for Me

YeeHaw! 'Ol Mary's gonna hop on a jet plane and bounce over to London in a couple of weeks. This all came about when Mr. Mary was dreamily describing all the restaurants, gourmet shops and bookstores he was going to visit on his pending trip to New York. No wife, no kids, just footloose with a couple of meetings and loads of free time. I had just been checking out the blogs and something HPNY had mentioned stuck in my brain.
Me time.
"You know...there's a knitting/fiber show in London coming up...."
"Why not? Let's check the calendar. But this will cost you bigtime. Maybe Harris and I could pull off a press trip to Singapore."

Oh please. I love Singapore. It's a food lover's heaven BUT it is not the Knitting and Stitching Show, pal. Try harder, like a tour of A.L. de Sauveterre's studio, dinner with Sonia Rykiel or a private class and tarot reading with Barbara Walker. Now that would hurt.

I found a good fare on Continental and wiped out all my Visa points. Booked a hotel, got my ticket for the show and JOY even got a space in the intarsia class with Sasha Kagan and 'Seductive Surfaces' class with Jean Littlejohn. Got a ticket to see Tom Stoppard's "Rock 'n' Roll". Phoned a couple of British friends who laughed hysterically when I told them I was coming over for a knitting show(note to self: delete these people from knitted holiday gift list). AND I get to hook up with HPNY!
pitter-pat, pitter-pat, pitter-pat....

The Fixer

Anneke called me the other day about fixing a blanket that one of her customers had finished. Well, it showed up...all eleven feet and 4 lbs/1.8 kilos of it.The yarn is so thick I couldn't run a seam across the middle on the sewing machine, so I hand-basted it and then cut it in half. Kitchener stitch was out of the question, mattress stitch had to do. Now, it is a more wieldy 5x4.5 foot throw. I'll crochet an edge around it in a matching grey yarn and Bob's yer uncle.P9270882The yarn is Katia Diva, 50gms=33 yards, 63%wool/21%acrylic/16%nylon and it's very soft. I turned my back for 5 minutes and THIS happened. P9250871I checked with Anneke and, thank goodness, the knitter is a dog/cat lover. Otherwise, I'd be looking at the grandaddy of all handwashing jobs.
Last season it was the Ferragamo bag and there's a pattern already on the internet.(no, you go find it) I saw this trio in a Nordstrom's catalog. They range in price from $138-$178. Is it only me or does anyone else find the idea of dragging a cream wool knitted purse through your daily life a tad impractical? Yes, they're cute but the first encounter with a toddler's grubby mitts or a damp taxi seat and all bets are off. I know I'm being a sourpuss, but just wait until I trot out the doctor's bag from "Knit2Together." Now, that's a fine looking piece of haberdashery.

Friday, September 22

Son, your mom's gone to the yarn shop...

Well, Son, your mom's gone to the yarn shop....
Alright, Already!
OK, I wasn't going to unleash the 'little people' shots until I had more amusing set-ups but it seems that Turtlegirl is a harsh taskmistress when it comes to her yarnpr0n Fridays. I bought a bunch of this Debbie Bliss Wool/Cotton on sale at Patternworks for $3 a skein. I'm into 'all brown, all the time' these days so it's slotted to become some kind of cunning jacket/cardi or a shrug from the Knit2Together book.Debbie Bliss Wool/Cotton

: I picked up "Greetings from Knit Cafe" and there are some nice classic sportswear patterns in there(Polo Shirt--in cotton--oh, yes). I fell in love with the Slouchy Cardigan which has prompted my break-up with the Somewhat Cowl. Yes, Somewhat Cowl, you are very cute and curvy but I'm feeling slouchy these days and that cardigan is way more practical for Austin. I promise to smile and wave whenever we meet on the street... it's not a 'you' thing, it's a 'me' thing. Stay in touch...honest.
Also, on the book front I picked up "Knit 2 Together" by Tracey Ullman and Mel Clark. Clark's New Zealand/English knitting background brings some nice retro touches to modern pieces with a few oddballs thrown in(knitted apron, witches' britches, gym slip dress--great for the slim and witty and not so much for the plump and grumpy). I've already bought purse handles for the 'Doctor's Bag', the shrugs are lovely and I'm hunting down a special baby girl for 'Daphne's Baby Cape,' although that girl may turn out to be me. Ullman contributes some funny stories and comments--she even knitted a tie for Jay Leno which really says she outed herself, ya know?
FAMILY: Yesterday I went up to my aunt's ranch with my cousin to check on things. My aunt was 88 and passed away about a month ago--she was one of those classic Texan ladies who could shoot a coyote in her flowerbeds with perfectly manicured nails. Once, I was rushing to interview Carolina Herrera in New York and ran into my aunt on the street. We both thought it was the most natural thing in the world to bump into each other. Ann Richards was an equally classic Texan lady but in a very different vein--I loved her Doritoes ad with Mario Cuomo and how she said his name with about 5 syllables. I was saved from getting all mopey when we discovered that the 50-year old deep freeze had well and truly bit the dust.

Now, this was the kind of deep freeze that you could park all the bodies in and so we tossed out geological layers of country living. First, the bags of ice, popsicles and ice cream. Next, assorted coffee tins of flour, sliced bread and hamburger buns. A couple of Tupperware containers with merengues and something labelled 'delicious turkey soup, Christmas 1999' towards the bottom. Somewhere in there, the Jurassic layer I think, was a small cardboard box full of half-frozen venison loin, sausage and stew meat. We cleaned the damn thing out, rinsed it with bleach and treated ourselves to lunch at Tealicious on the courthouse square in Burnet, TX--a real hotspot for the locals and some excellent homemade bread&butter pickles.

DOG&CAT: Archie was lonely yesterday as Neko was having his manhood diminished at the vet's. He also got his last round of shots and was microchipped. I wanted the chip to read "Give Him Back, Asshole" but the nurse said that it was pre-programmed with a number. Neko's recovering nicely and they will be playing shaolin showdown in no time. I can't help it--Neko's feet make me laugh every time. The ground practically shakes whenever he jumps off the table. Now....Go Home!
Neko6 Toes

Wednesday, September 13

She Knits! She Sews! She Pimps Her Kids' Bikes!

eyelet detail, IK Spring 06 Waterlily topHOT CINDERS! I finished IK Spring 06 Waterlily Top. I did make a few adjustments...I put in eyelets instead of the purl bands along the bottom. I really don't need horizontal bands screaming, "Check out the beam on this broad." I also decreased more at the waist so I would, like, have one. I skipped the eyelet detail around the underarms simply because I didn't like it. Oh, a word about those eyelets...the pattern calls for 'lifted eyelets' and 'twisted yarnovers' which I thought made little bitty weenie holes instead of grade A HOLES so I went with a standard issue YO for maximum peepshow action. I did have to rewrite the pattern to make that change but such is the price of unbridled individuality. I dipped into my bottomless stash of Giotto and went with 'Castagna' as part of my ongoing efforts to feel autumnal. I like the way it pools for a slight camo effect which is always chic in Texas.
And here we have Simplicity 4072 or my "Summer of Love" dress in a Cindy Shermanesque pose. If you make this, go down a size or three--it's cut super full and I still need to take in the waist even more. Again, I made adjustments and skipped the tie in the back--a bit Holly Hobby for me. I'll probably end up putting a zipper on the side. I'd say that the waist is about 2 inches on the high side, but it's very comfy. And the orange border fabric has groovy dots which make me happy and my children cringe. Tex is 9.95 years old and has recently exhibited a !gasp! fashion sense which includes eye-rolling observations on his mother's wardrobe. I can't be too hard on him as he's up for an argyle skull sweater. Little does he know that I might make us all matching skull sweaters--perfect for our next trip to Inner Space.
Cindy Sherman pose in Simplicity 4072I've also been promising Tex that I'd customize, er, pimp his bike with some flames and stuff. Armed with 9 jillion little bottles of Testors enamel paint, I set to work. Some errant maternal instinct kicked in and I painted Bandit's bike as well. He pointed to the poster of a cheetah on his wall and said, "I want that." The cougar on the front is actually their school mascot. This was all done freehand which made for some fun cursing and embellishment. Yep, these beauties are the envy of the neighborhood boys. Other fun activities have included a hellacious head cold that's just now disappearing--hack,hack; going to the UT/OSU game and watching the Buckeyes piss all over our 21-game winning streak--put strings on Colt McCoy and he looks just like Howdy Doody; working on Very Easy Very Vogue 9389 in lightweight brown/grey tweed(started in 2003)....

AND swatching for that Oscar sweater that continues to haunt me. A couple of y'all have expressed interest(squeaky wheel is more like it, Janice) which has forced me to get off my air-conditioned butt and work on it. A pattern is one thing and an actual knitted piece is another--I should have the former in about a week or so and the latter by about the time you'll find the original at the Bergdorf's outlet shop(does one exist?) for a third of the price. FYI--I'm using either Furlana or Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece on size 6 needles.

Sunday, September 10


I got a call from my mother-in-law at about 2 pm, Paris time. I turned on CNN international and saw the horrific images of the first tower. I was describing these scenes over the phone to my husband when the second plane hit. It was a brilliant sunny autumn day and soon it would be time for me to pick up the boys from their French school. Then the Pentagon was hit and there was another plane missing. We had lived in New York and Washington, so our connection to these cities was very deep with old friends in both cities.

Walking back home with the boys, heads turned in sympathy at the sound of our American accents. It was very surreal and time had no measure. Amazingly, all of my friends returned my frantic phone messages very quickly. I really can't say more than that, but as a knitter, please look at this amazing piece. When I think of what every stitch meant to Hila, it breaks my heart and leaves me in awe of her resilience. Our lives will never be the same.