Friday, May 29, 2009

Coming this fall....

a lovely book full of cro-shay designs by GKIYH pal Kathy Merrick:

Crochet in Color: Techniques and Designs for Playing with Color is now available for pre-order on

Thursday, May 28, 2009

March-April-most-of- May Book Report

Once again, it's time for the semi-annual book report. This edition includes March, April and most of May, and given my Evelyn-Wood-like powers of quick reading, there's a lot to cover. (get it? COVER?)

Somewhere, sometime, someone recommended Nancy Mitford to me. I had picked up a copy of The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate, two of her novels in a single volume. After I stopped staring at the cantilevered dress in the cover photo (still can't figure out how that chick didn't show a nipple) I read both, and was charmed. Mitford writes of the British aristocracy in the years between the First and Second World Wars. Her novels are autobiographic, and deliciously but relentlessly skewer the society types she saw all around her -- including in her own family. The first novel describes the efforts of Linda Radlett, a titled debutante, to land a husband, while the second tells of a young married woman who embarks upon an affair with unintended consequences. I very much enjoyed these comedies of manners as they mercilessly yet affectionately describe a way of life about to vanish.

Bad Traffic, by Simon Lewis, was an somewhat unusual detective story. It's set in modern-day Britain, but from the perspective of a Chinese police inspector who doesn't speak English. Inspector Jian receives a terrifying phone call from his daughter, who's been attending school in Britain. She's in trouble, so Jian jumps on a plane and shows up in Britain, ready to rescue her. Jian is an interesting character: middle-aged, corrupt, and completely at sea in a culture that is alien to him. Part of what made this book interesting is seeing Western culture through the eyes of a Chinese cop. Jian ends up with a reluctant sidekick called Ding Ming, who has illegally immigrated to Britain to work in the restaurant industry. A suspenseful modern-day noir, with a cross-cultural twist.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton,was another book recommended to me. Perhaps this one suffered from too-high expectations. It's a sprawling family saga set in World War I-era England. The narrator is a very old woman looking back and remembering her life: secrets, joys, heartaches, and the plot shifts in time from her present-day old-ladyhood to her youth. It's not as Danielle Steel-ish as it sounds, but it does have the whiff of melodrama about it. The narrator was a housemaid at a country estate when she was a girl, and the story flips back and forth as she tells about life in the manor house during World War I days -- the love affairs, the secrets exposed, the mysteries uncovered. I liked it but it wasn't quite as gripping as I expected it to be. Maybe it seemed a little too screenplayish?

Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg, was an interesting if meandering account of a journalist's attempt to uncover a family secret. Luxenberg grew up hearing his mother describe herself as an only child, only to learn, as an adult, that his mother had a sister named Annie. Turns out that Annie was disabled and mentally ill, and when she was quite young, she was institutionalized. Her family then basically wrote Annie out of their lives, pretending she didn't exist, and only occasionally visiting her. After his mother dies, Luxenberg decides to find out more about this aunt he never knew and does his best to trace her life. The book sheds some interesting light on a phenomenon of the 1940s, 50s and 60s: the lifetime institutionalization of a substantial population of individuals who were physically and/or mentally challenged in mental institutions, even though not all of them were what we would consider profoundly disabled or severely mentally ill. Luxenberg is at his best when he laments the lives of people like Annie, who were squirreled away in institutions and virtually ignored by their families. He doesn't write without sympathy for the challenges faced by the families of these individuals, however, and he does strive to put things into historical context (e.g. the discovery of psychotropic drugs revolutionized the treatment of some of these illnesses). His account is a little too stream-of-consciousness at times, and occasionally he seems a bit desperate to fill in the blanks (does he really need to have modern-day orthopedic physicians review the scanty medical files he has, when so little fact-based information was available about his aunt's physical condition?). While his discussion of his grandparents' immigration from eastern Europe is interesting, it also seems a bit tangential to the story he's trying to tell. Overall, though, a fairly quick read and interesting, if heartbreaking at times.

Dark Places: A Novel by Gillian Flynn, is a very dark but compelling mystery/thriller that I got from the Amazon Vine program. The narrator is a woman who, at the tender age of seven, witnessed the brutal murders of her mother and sisters. She always believed her brother committed the murders, and even testified against him at his trial. When her money runs out, she's got to find some way to eke out a living -- and is unwilling or unable to find a regular job. A member of a club devoted to figuring out unsolved murders contacts her, asking for help in learning more about the murders. Libby agrees to contact some of the people from her past and ask questions for him, in exchange for cash. (You can see where this is going, right?) She starts to uncover all sorts of secrets from that night, and calls into question a lot of things she used to believe about the murders. I think what made this book so gripping was the unconventional narrator. Libby Day is not a Lifetime TV Movie victim -- she's living at the margins of society, has a checkered past and is pretty darn dysfunctional. In fact, at times, she's downright unlikeable. Yet you can't help but have sympathy for her; who wouldn't be fucked up if they witnessed the murder of 3 family members and then had to testify against a fourth at his murder trial?

All the Colors of Darkness by Peter Robinson. I really like Robinson's Inspector Banks series, and this is the latest installment. Unfortunately, I think it's probably the weakest of them all. The plot just doesn't hang together well (no pun intended) and the theory that keeps Banks pressing to solve the mystery is so way-out that I had trouble believing he'd go to such great lengths to keep pursuing it. There also seemed to be a lot of loose ends and plot lines that don't really go anywhere (I won't spoil it by telling you what they are.) If you're a fan of the series, you'll want to read it just to keep up with what happens in the characters' lives, but otherwise, I'd pass.

The Family Man by Elinor Lipman. Elinor Lipman is one of my favorites, and this book was a quick and charming read. The main character is Henry, a divorced architect who has, since his divorce, come out. Henry discovers that his former stepdaughter works at the place where he gets his hair cut. He's always regretted letting her out of his life when she was a child, so he uses the opportunity to rekindle a fatherly relationship with her. Hijinks ensue. This is a great bedtime read: lots of humor, good dialogue, amusing plot, likeable and real characters.

So..... there you have it. I always like getting suggestions for books from my readers, so feel free to leave them in the comments.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


If you are in the mood for some new yarn to enhance your stash (i.e., if it is a day that ends in "y"),


please be advised that yesterday I uploaded 26 skeins of Superwash Merino Classic sock yarn (Louet GEMS base)

and some great new colorways

Goth Chick (it reads darker in real life)


Sweetheart Roses

and 40 skeins of a new sea cell/wool blend

Lookat that beautiful luster

(70% superwash merino, 30% sea cell)

onto the Black Bunny Fibers website. Go here before they are all gone.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Some of you may remember that a few Memorial Days ago, I wrote a tribute to my great-uncle, Francis Sulcofski, who flew on a B-17 bomber during WWII. My dad, who was a boy during the war years, vividly remembers hearing about his uncle's experiences during the war -- including the fact that he was shot down over France and held in a Nazi POW camp for over two years.

Since I wrote that tribute, two things happened. My great-uncle's daughter (which makes her either my first cousin once removed or my second cousin; I was half-asleep that day in Wills class so I don't remember which) contacted me to tell me a little bit more about her dad. Turns out my dad's memories were a little rusty and he'd gotten some of the details about my great-uncle Francis's story wrong. The second thing, which happened rather recently, was that I came across a very detailed account of what happened to my great-uncle after he parachuted out of that B-17 sixty years ago. The story is every bit as dramatic and emotional as any novel or movie written about the war, so I'm going to share it with you.

My great-uncle was a Tech Sergeant in the Army Air Corps (the forerunner to the Air Force) on a B-17 bomber called Susfu. (Another thing I found out recently was that "SUSFU" is a military acronym for "Situation Unchanged: Still Fucked Up," the dark humor of which I appreciate.) One thing my dad did remember clearly was that the plane had Bugs Bunny on the fuselage:

The 427th Bomb Squadron; my great-uncle is in the front row, all the way on the left, and Bugs Bunny is visible on the plane above them.

Their missions involved flying over France and Germany, dropping bombs on various Nazi targets. Mission No. 11 took place on January 23, 1943. Twenty-one flight crews were sent to bomb U-boat pens and the German ports in the northwestern part of France (Brest and Lorien). Two flight crews aborted the mission and returned to the base because of equipment malfunctions. Nineteen crews continued on, and ran into Luftwaffe planes -- forty-nine German fighters were reportedly seen. Fourteen of the remaining 19 planes made it to their targets; five planes were shot down. The Mission Combat report says that the losses were in part caused by the chaos caused when another bombing squad flew over my great-uncle's, breaking up the lower formation.

My great-uncle's plane, the SUSFU, was shot by a German FW-190 plane something like this one:

The pilot, 1st Lt. Harry A. Robey, was killed by machine gun fire as he parachuted toward the ground; another crewmate, 2nd Lt. Roy Moser, was also killed. The remaining seven crewmembers parachuted to the ground, landing around Le Cloitre-Pleyben in Brittany.

Three of my great-uncle's crewmembers -- Charles Grice, Edward Levering and Val Hannon -- were found by some local farmers and sheltered. They were subsequently taken to the town of Quemeneven by a local butter merchant. Two days later, my great-uncle and his crewmate Wilbur Hummel, had found shelter with a family named Hascouet at their farm, which was called "Ty-Glaz." Two days later, the five crewmembers were reunited at the Chateau du Trefry, home of the de Poulpiquet family.

Apparently my great-uncle and his crewmates had stumbled across some French citizens who were connected to the so-called "Pat Line," an escape route founded by a Belgian resistance member to get downed Allied pilots back to England. The five SUSFU crewmembers were eventually taken on trains to Paris and taken to a safe house by a resistance member named Jean de la Olla, to await transport to Tours. They made it to the Tours station, but after they left the larger train from Paris to get on a smaller local train, they heard a voice with a German accent tell them, "Les mains en l'air, vous etes faits!" ("Put your hands up - you are taken"). A double agent named Roger Le Neveu had infiltrated the Pat Line and in addition to my great-uncle and his four crewmates, various French citizens were arrested by the Germans.

The crewmen and the French resistance members who accompanied them were held at Tours for two weeks and then transferred to Paris for interrogation. On March 16, the interrogations began. One of the Americans, Charles Grice, later recalled that neither he nor any of his fellow Americans revealed anything about who had helped them. The crewmen were ultimately taken to German POW camps; my great-uncle spent over two years at Stalag Luft 17B (the POW camp which inspired the movie "Stalag 17"):

Conditions at Stalag 17B were terrible: not enough food, overcrowding, poor hygiene, limited running water, a single indoor latrine (that could only be used after dark), all sorts of horrors that got worse as the end of the war grew closer. My great-uncle was liberated in mid-1945 and eventually returned to the United States. My dad, young as he was, realized that the war had taken a profound toll on his uncle, saying "he was never the same after that."

My great-uncle's story is a compelling one. But when considered on Memorial Day, it takes on extra depth and meaning as it illustrates the kinds of challenges and sacrifices we demand from our armed forces.

Imagine being a young man who grew up in an insular Pennsylvania valley, whose dad was a coal miner and who didn't get much in the way of education or material comforts. Imagine finding yourself stationed on a base in Britain, far away from everyone and everything you know. Imagine that your job is to climb into an oversized tin can and fly out into the blackness of night, knowing that squadrons of German fighters are waiting to try to shoot you down. Imagine being out on one of those bombing missions, scared out of your wits while the adrenaline pumps through your veins. Imagine the terror you feel when you realize you're in the middle of a dogfight with German planes. Imagine the leap of faith it must take to jump out into the night over a foreign country occupied by your enemies, motivated only by the animal instinct to save your own life. Imagine landing on the ground and feeling your training take over, cutting the lines to your parachute, checking to see what you've got in your pack, trying to decide where and how to take cover. Imagine the fear of knowing that your enemy is looking for you, and then imagine the relief when you are found by friendly French farmers who risk their lives to hide you. Imagine how your relief and hope turns to terror when you realize that someone has betrayed you and you're handed over to the Nazis. Imagine being interrogated by them, and then being shipped off to a hellhole of a prison camp. Imagine spending over two years in Stalag 17B, waiting for the war to be over, trying to survive without losing your mind or getting shot by a pissed-off guard. Imagine the joy of finally being liberated in 1945, then shipping home and finding yourself in a world that seems unchanged while everything about you inside is different.

We ask so much of our military, and we're still asking so much of them. It doesn't matter whether you head out into the night in a B-17 or a stealth bomber with the latest computer technology, whether you face Luftwaffe rifle fire or IEDs by a roadside, whether you see your friends die in an airplane or an exploding humvee or a rice paddy, whether you're taken prisoner by Nazis or the Taliban or nameless psycho extremists, whether your flashbacks are of Viet Nam or Korea or the Middle East or of Nazi-occupied France.

So please take a moment today to think about the men and women who have served and are serving our country in the military, and the families who love them and miss them. We honor them today, and we thank them for their sacrifices.

Tonight I'll light a candle in memory of my great-uncle. I didn't know him, but I'm proud of him.

Friday, May 22, 2009

No-Bull Book Review: Vintage Baby Knits, by Kristen Rengren

Okay, let me get this out of my system first:





Okay, now I can get to work. Today's No-Bull Book Review features lots of babies clad in beautiful, vintage-inspired knitwear -- some even featuring kitties, duckies and bunnies. Yes, today GKIYH takes a look at Vintage Baby Knits: More Than 40 Heirloom Patterns from the 1920s to the 1950s, by Kristen Rengren.

Last year at TNNA, I was fortunate enough to run into Kristen and to see some of the garments that were going to be in the book. I was knocked out by how beautiful they are -- a stuffed elephant, blankets, cardigans, pullovers -- and have been eagerly anticipating this book ever since.

The wait is over. Stewart Tabori & Chang just published Vintage Baby Knits (MSRP $27.50, available for $18.15 by following the above link) and it's every bit as wonderful as I'd expected it to be.

Kristen had been knitting for ten years when she first became fascinated by vintage patterns. Working for a vintage clothing dealer, part of her work day already consisted of haunting estate sales and poring through Ebay listings to find old and retro garments. She began a personal collection of vintage knitting patterns. As she tells in her introduction:
The baby pattern booklets -- loaded with black-and-white photos of babies in handknits, as well as lively illustrations of frolicking tots, friendly zoo animals, and smiling storks -- always intrigued me the most. The projects were classic and simple in style, yet detailed enough to hold even a highly distractable knitter's interest, and I could easily imagine modern babies wearing them.
Upon closer examination, Kristen found that it wasn't as easy as knitting up the patterns. They often called for long-gone brands of yarn (Lady Betty? Germantown Zephyr?), didn't include schematics or charts, and often didn't even include yardage or gauge notations. There were safety concerns (e.g., ill-placed buttons or ties) and issues of convenience (like making sure items were practical, and easy to get off and on modern-sized babies). Some patterns had to be rewritten entirely, while others just didn't make the cut. But when Kristen's hard work was done, she'd pulled together a collection of over forty patterns (yes, forty -- and don't worry, designers, I've already told Kristen to quit being such an overachiever or she'll make the rest of us look bad with only 20 or 25 patterns in our books!).

The book has a very straightforward structure. After a brief introduction, Chapter 1 (called "Getting Ready to Knit") contains tips about issues like sizing; which fiber and type of yarn to use; tools; and the all-important swatching. The section is short and sweet, as is Chapter 3 ("Resources"), which contains details on the yarns used in the samples, hints for choosing and using vintage patterns on your own, and a few techniques (like cabled cast-on, short rows, and fringe). But the heart of the book is Chapter 2, the pattern section: 136 pages full of sweaters, blankets, hats and footgear, among others.

Here's a rough list of what you'll find in Chapter 2 (I may have missed a pair of booties here or a cap there, since did I mention there's SO MANY patterns?):

  • 2 shrugs
  • 3 types of headgear (including a bonnet, beret and cap)
  • 5 pullover sweaters (some short-sleeved, some long, one also doubles as a vest)
  • 11 cardigans
  • 2 soakers (won't someone please think up a less disgusting name for these? can we all agree on "diaper covers" instead?)
  • 3 stuffed animals
  • 3 blankets
  • 2 pair of pants
  • 1 cape with hood
  • 1 pr mittens
  • 2 or 3 pr of socks
  • 1 nursing shawl that also can be used as a blanket
  • 1 christening gown that is also shown as a dress
That's a hell of a lot for one book. If you're concerned about gender-specificity, fear not. I'd say only about half a dozen of these patterns are not unisex. (The shrugs, the dress -- although christening gowns are gender-neutral, the cape, possible the kitty sweaters and one or two of the lacier cardigans, depending on age of the baby and gender-role paranoia of the parents).

Sizing is about as you'd expect. There are a few size-doesn't-matter patterns, like the blankets and toys. The remainder are sized for babies from 0 to 24 months, with chest sizes ranging from 18 to 25 inches. Most patterns come with 3 sizes, a few have only 2 and some have 4.

With regard to yarn choice, skinny yarn fans will jump for joy: approximately half of the forty-odd patterns are written for fingering weight (samples are shown in some of your favorite sock yarns, too, like Socks That Rock, although, alas, nothing (sniffle) in Black Bunny Fibers). The christening dress is knit in Jaggerspun Zephyr, a gorgeous wool-silk laceweight; about 5 patterns call for sportweight yarn; about 3 call for DK weight and 3 for worsted; and about half a dozen for aran-weight yarn. Vintage knitters knew what they were doing when they stuck with fine-gauge yarns; a lighterweight garment, even if knit in wool, helps keep a baby cozy whether it's an autumn breeze or a summer air conditioner that's blowing, and the natural fibers let the garments breathe in the stain-topia that is baby's world.

When it comes to style, well, these are baby patterns and they are vintage-inspired, which should tell you quite a bit. I love the traditional, yet contemporary feel of the patterns as Kristen has reworked them. You'll find a mix of knitting techniques and difficulties, including garter stitch, stockinette, lacy stitches, cabling, and colorwork. As always, your personal taste is everything, but these patterns start out with a leg up, since they've already stood the test of time. I find it hard to imagine any one of them not eliciting major oohs and aahs at a baby shower. I also like the specific yarns chosen for the garments (except the prominent omission of BBF yarn, ahem) -- these are gorgeous yarns like Hand Jive, O-Wool, STR, Rowan 4-ply Soft, Sheep Shop and more. The yarns shown tend to be natural fibers, with complex colors, and it's fun to see baby patterns in colors like brown and cherry red and sunflower gold and olive, as well as the more traditional pastels.

As usual,STC has produced a high-quality book: hardcover, beautiful color photos with adorable, moppet-models, multiple shots of each garment (some worn, some flat), schematics, charts where appropriate. I like the historical text inserts (e.g. "Knitting in the 1920s") that give context to the patterns. Special props to Thayer Allison Gowdy for the spectacular photographs.

If you were looking for snark to send you off on your Memorial Day weekend, sorry; we're fresh out today (but I'm sure we'll be getting a restock next week). Nothing here but praise for this beautiful book, overflowing with elegant, charming patterns. I hope that Kristen will soon turn her needles to patterns for older kids, or even -- dare I suggest it? -- us adults.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Conversational pitfalls

Kids. They are either offering up information that you wish they'd keep quiet about, or asking for information that you'd prefer to keep quiet about. Case in point:

Tom: How was your day?
Twin No. 1: Mommy took a nap today. For like more than an hour.
Tom: Oh, re-e-e-eally?

It doesn't matter if your husband snores like a banshee and you've been awakened every few hours to redose a kid with tylenol and then get woken at 5:45 a.m. when your daughter has a nosebleed. It just sounds bad when your kid rats you out to your husband. (Although it wasn't as embarrassing as the time Elvis announced to his grandfather, "Mommy is wearing a black bra." Note to self: close door ALL THE WAY SHUT when dressing.)

On the other hand, this morning at the bus stop I was asked for too much information. The daughter of neighbors, age 7, said, "I wonder how babies get out of their mothers' tummies." I made a noncommittal noise, hoping she'd be distracted, when she asked me point-blank. A thousand thoughts rush through my mind: Don't lie, it's a perfectly normal question, don't push the kid into a shame spiral, MUST NOT TELL NEIGHBORS' KIDS FACTS OF LIFE OR I WILL BE ARRESTED. For once, I blessed my two C-sections, saying, "Well, it depends on the mommy and the baby. When I had the twins, the doctor split me open like a watermelon made a cut in my tummy and pulled the babies out that way." My dilemma was solved by the timely arrival of the bus.

After several days of sick kids, I nearly kissed the bus driver. I'm really looking forward to a day of catching up -- with no nosy questions and nobody except the bunny to tell all my secrets.

Unlike my kids, the bunny can easily be bribed with carrots.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Belated report on booksigning

Facebook friends already know that all three of my kids came down with strep at various points this week (and it's only Wednesday!). Everyone has been started on their antibiotics, so hopefully we'll see them all back in school tomorrow. With all the shtuss, I didn't get a chance to tell you about my wonderful booksigning in Swarthmore on Sunday.

Finely a Knitting Party is a lovely shop right

in the business district of downtown Swarthmore. The owner, Cathy, is warm and friendly and definitely has a knack for partyhosting! She decided on a painting theme (get it? handpainted yarns....) and even wore painter's clothes.

She thought of every detail, including wine sold in paint cans from a local winery, yummy cupcakes and cookies (Miss Thang liked the chocolate-chip ones) and door prizes. Even stargazer lilies,

which I have a soft spot for since we had so many of them in our wedding flowers long, long ago. Everyone who purchased a book was entered into a contest to win goodies like wine and a skein of BBF yarn. Here is Miss Thang, who got to roll the dice to help select the winners:

We set a record for most copies of KSWHY sold at a signing (woo-hoo!) and I met some amazing people, some of whom I knew from the 'net (Hi, Amie!) and lots of new friends, too.

I even got to see dear pal Laura (not Knit So Fine Laura, the other Laura), who as a special treat brought along the Well-Read Hostess.

(Here is the Well-Read Hostess on the left saying "Wait, don't take that picture, I am not ready---oh crap.").

If you live in or near Swarthmore, you should check out Cathy's shop. She has great classes (including one for kids that is very fun and very popular), pretty yarns like Lorna's Laces and the new Berroco stuff and other goodies, and you might even run into special pal Jeanne T there (Jeanne T works with my husband, God bless her, and helps keep him in line when I am not around....). A huge thank-you to Cathy and all of her wonderful customers. . . I had a great time and hope you did, too.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Selections from Sock Club C. . .

Friday, May 15, 2009

Don't forget: Book signing in Swarthmore on Sunday

The menfolk will be returning from their camping trip this afternoon, and I'm very curious to hear about their weekend. In other news, Miss Thang capped off a night of being extremely rude and disrespectful, by barfing at ten o'clock last night. (Must have been an accumulation of bile.) She seems like she's on the mend, although we will be graced with her presence at home today just to make sure she isn't coming down with something nasty.

In the meantime, don't forget that I'll be booksigning at Finely A Knitting Party in Swarthmore, PA this coming Sunday, May 17th, from 1 to 3 p.m.

For some reason, Blogger is acting a little wonky, especially with regard to the comments, so I'll sign off for now. I'm hoping to have a new No-Bull Book Review for you next week, so look for that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dear Little League Dad,

Dear Little League Dad,

I realize that you are going for the Fabio look, what with the flowing mane of wavy locks. You can even get away with the ponytail (although, honestly, you'll be getting a little long in the tooth for that soon). But wearing your hair in a bun whilst coaching third base is just absurd.

A Little League Mom

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Father-son bonding...

Today I waved good-bye to Elvis and his dad, who were headed to the Poconos along with 300 other fifth-graders and their parents, for the annual 5th grade camping trip. Three elementary schools feed into one middle school (ack -- Elvis will be in middle school in the fall!) and to get the kids from different elementary schools to meet each other, they take them all up to a camp in the woods, mix them up into groups, and let them do things like canoe and hike together. Being of the view that if it's not as nice as my own bed, I don't want to stay there, I was happy to let Tom take this chaperoning job. (I didn't even have to play the Lyme disease card, but having finally been symptom-free for the better part of a year, I'm taking no chances.)

In the meantime, I've had one reader ask which pattern I used for the Crazy Goat Lady bag. It is the Amy Butler Frenchy Bag pattern.

In other news, Mindy is going to be doing the AIDS walk in Boston in a few weekends. She's looking for donors, and if you're interested in donating (even a few dollars can help), the link to her pledge page is here. That photograph of Eric and his partner is so beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes to think that they are no longer with us. Mindy has already said in her blog everything that needs to be said about why it's important to continue the fight against AIDS. I'm off to donate, and if any of you can spare a buck or two, I'd consider it a personal favor.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day update

You may recall that a few weeks ago, I was told by my daughter that I was "the meanest, worst, most horrible mommy in the world" and that I "don't know how to love." For this reason, I wasn't exactly sure what kind of a Mother's Day I would have -- especially since my husband, knowing exactly what I would want to do on Mother's Day, ensured that I would actually be doing the opposite. (He and the boys went to a Phillies game, leaving me alone with my nemesis daughter.)

Luckily for me, one essential part of Mother's Day is that all is forgiven.

Sort of.

From the lovely montage of Mother's Day tributes I received from Miss Thang:

an ode to me:

-- although I'd kill to know what was edited out ("Who fears my wrath"? "Who fears being left alone with her 7-yr-old daughter" "who fears her daughter's teenage years"?);

a letter (competitive much?):

And my favorite, the back-handed compliment:

I am nice "often." The rest of the time? Not so much.

I guess it's the best you could expect for a woman who doesn't know how to love.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A sewing FO

Did you ever finish a project that was meant to be a gift, and end up so pleased with it that you can hardly wait 'til the recipient sees it? I just did, and with the recipient's permission, am able to show you the finished project before it goes into the mail.

This is fabric with goats on it.

When I saw it, I knew it would make the perfect bag for my pal Mindy -- nobody in the world loves goats as much as she does. I needed a contrast fabric and lining, and I found the contrast fabric (the tippy top of this photo)

with little sheep and hedgehogs. Laura from Spool helped me pick out the dotty lining (great call, Laura!).


A handcrafted goat bag.

Happy birthday, Crazy Goat Lady!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Meet me in Swarthmore, PA!

Save the date: on Sunday, May 17th, I'll be doing a booksigning at Finely A Knitting Party, in Swarthmore, from 1 to 3 p.m. The owner, Cathy, is full of energy and enthusiasm and promises lots of fun! She also has a lovely shop in charming downtown Swarthmore, so please stop by and say hello if you can.

And speaking of Swarthmore, my friend Laura (not Knit-So-Fine Laura, this is a different Laura), who lives in Swarthmore, turned me on to a great blog, called The Well-Read Hostess. I am still cracking up over this post.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Am-nimals, a pattern and a book review

Okay,where're all the sheep? We-e-ell,

No, no, we don't want to go there. So let's look at sheep and goats and buns -- NOT on a bun.

Oh, hai.

Fluffeh bunneh

One of Kid Hollow's goats (I bet Mindy knows his name)

Got hay?

I didn't get any photos of the babies but this vendor had the most teeny, tiny, adorable baby bunnies. I really, really wanted to bring one home.


Now that you've gotten your fix of the fiber-givers, you can click on over to Knotions. The summer issue just went live, and you can help yourself to a free pattern by me, called "Sunny, Sunny, Sunny," modeled by the (occasionally) charming G.

The bodice is knitted, and the skirt is a simple fabric panel, gathered and sewn on (why, yes, that is a Kaffe Fassett fabric, from the glorious Liza's fabric-topia). The yarn is Nashua Handknits Creative Focus Cotton DK, which was a pleasure to work with, with excellent stitch definition.

You will also find a book review of Marianne Isager's Japanese Inspired Knits which is a great new book by the Danish superstar designer. I believe that Loop is the only Philly-area shop carrying the Isager yarns, and they are indeed spectacular.