Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fun in the sun

No matter what some people say, sometimes it's good to be in California.
At Mother's Beach, Marina del Rey, March 28, 2009.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vintage Photo (Object) Friday—The Notebook

I wasn't able to locate the box of photos I wanted to scan for today, so I'm posting a photo of a vintage object, rather than a vintage photo.

In October, my grandmother passed away. In January, my mom and aunt went up to my grandmother's house to go through all her possessions to decide what to sell at an estate sale, what to hang on to and what to distribute to the grandkids.

I was lucky enough to receive several items, such as my grandmother's collection of hats and gloves, one of my great-grandmother's fancy dresses, and one of my grandmother's framed needlepoint pictures.

As the only knitter in my family (both of my sisters crochet, but neither of them knit), I was given my grandmother's knitting basket. And inside the basket, along with some vintage knitting magazines and an unfinished pair of socks, was this notebook.

It's filled with knitting patterns and notes, all in my grandmother's handwriting.

I don't remember my grandmother knitting when I was a child. When I was young, she was more focused on needlepoint, with some sewing thrown in. But I do have one fisherman's style sweater that she knitted.

This notebook feels so personal to me. I alone, out of all my family can decipher the symbols and shorthand of knitting (well, Jenny could probably understand it, but she doesn't do it). It just feels like this notebook is a special talisman from my grandma meant just for me.

In a practical sense, this little notepad isn't worth anything. But emotionally, it's priceless to me.

More of Vintage Photo Friday at Paper Dolls for Boys.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring Awakening

To me, nothing says spring food like asparagus (well, and Cadbury Mini Eggs, but that's for another post). When I saw asparagus at the Larchmont Farmer's Market on Sunday, I had to buy a couple of bunches. I didn't know what I was going to do with them until I saw this post over at The Kitchn about asparagus tarts.

Tonight, I decided to attempt the Bon Appetit recipe for Asparagus-Ricotta Tart with Comte Cheese. And oh. my. god. This was amazing.

I subbed in 8 oz. of Neiman Ranch ham steak for the salami, to make the tart more substantial. The tart has asparagus in every bite because you puree the bottom half of the stalks with the cheese and egg. Trader Joe's carries both frozen puff pastry and comte cheese. So yummy!

What says springtime food to you?

Walking after midnight in a new skirt

If I try really hard, I can actually finish a crafty project or two. It doesn't happen every day, but sometimes I just need to hunker down and finish something.

Drumroll, please...

I give you the Walking After Midnight crocheted skirt!

The pattern is from Doris Chan's book, "Amazing Crochet Lace." I am attempting to make a serious dent in my stash of yarn this year, so I decided to use this rayon chenille yarn by Blue Heron that I picked up at Stitches West last year. It was a really simple pattern, and I'm very happy with how it turned out.

The yarn is beautiful and plush. Just about every knitter & crocheter understands the chenille quandary—the yarn is silky and oh so soft, but it worms!

What is worming? According to Jimmy Beans Wool,
"Worming occurs when a loop of yarn pulls away from the knitted [crocheted] fabric and coils back on itself...Chenille yarns are constructed of short tufts of fibers anchored into a central coiled core yarn, and it's precisely this coiled nature of the core yarn that gives rise to worming. It's like when you hold both ends of a length of string and then twist and twist and twist... eventually, if there is any slack in the string, it will coil up on itself. Chenille starts with some twist built into it, and the more twist you introduce when knitting it, the greater the likelihood that you'll get some worming."
The worming in my skirt is pretty active, but I did my best to steam the heck out of it to get more of the coils to straighten out. The fact that the yarn is variegated helps hide the worming, too. I don't know that I would buy more of this yarn, simply because of the worm factor, but is fantastic to touch.

So another project finally completed. Honestly, I think I only finished this skirt because I told myself I couldn't cast on for Wendy Bernard's Ingenue sweater until I was done. On to the next project!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday—The Juliet Cap

The year was 1971, and my mother was 19 years old. She was getting married to my dad, 27, whom she had been dating for about 6 months or so. When I was little, this just seemed normal. But then I got to be 19, and I realized that this seemed a bit crazy. I didn't know what I wanted to major in, much less who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

While my mom's dress is not exactly my style, I do love its simplicity. No over-the-top beading or pouffy lace. Just a simple empire waist dress, with a high neck and delicate lace daisies. This was the era of Taming of the Shrew, Camelot, Romeo & Juliet, and Anne of the Thousand Days, don't forget. My mom's veil is attached to a beaded Juliet cap, and falls to her feet.

More of Vintage Photo Friday at Paper Dolls for Boys.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday - Leaving the Wedding in Go-Go Boots

This is my mom and dad leaving their wedding in 1971. Yes, my mother is actually wearing hot pants and white plastic go-go boots. According to her, she hated this outfit. Apparently my dad picked it out because he thought it was "hot."

Yeah, they're divorced.

More of Vintage Photo Friday at Paper Dolls for Boys.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Not a Habit...It's Cool, I Feel Alive

The new issue of Knitty came out today.

Dear god.

There are some absolutely beautiful patterns that I want to knit right now.

Decimal, a light and lacy cardigan that was designed to—gasp!—look beautiful on women of almost any size. The designer even knit a plus-sized sample, modeled by a beautiful lady not afraid to show off her ample assets.

And then there are
Topaz (a perfect baby dress for a little girl scheduled to join the family shortly), and Steggie (which Vivian, who loves her DINOS!, would enjoy). Oh, and Pioneer (which I would totally knit if I could overcome my fear of needles smaller than size 8s), and Santeney (which I may knit, but shorten to waist length, instead of tunic length, so as not to emphasize the baby tummy), and Andy (a really nice men's sweater that I can't even talk about knitting since I still haven't finished Richard's Baseball sweater from 2+years ago).

And then there are some beautiful lace and sock patterns that I will never knit (lace because I never have enough uninterrupted time to concentrate on complicated charts, and socks because of that fear of small needles), but I will love to see how other people knit them.

I am really fighting to not cast on for any new projects right now. I'm working on Doris Chan's Walking After Midnight crocheted skirt, which is coming out beautifully, and which I could probably finish in a week if I could concentrate on it. I'm also working on a modified pinwheel pattern quilt for Vivian.

If I finish crocheting the skirt, I'll give myself permission to cast on for something new—the pride in actually finishing a project will be worth more than the transient rush of casting on something new.

a sneak peek of the Walking After Midnight skirt.

And because I haven't posted it here yet, here is the baby quilt I made for Teresa & Morgen's Baby T., due next month.
I love how the top turned out, but I also love the fabric I used for the backing—a vintage Waverly print that I bought years ago on eBay. I've been saving it for the right project, and I think it works here.
There are so many crafty projects that I want to tackle. I feel like a junkie in need of a fix. Do they have a 12-step program for this?

Friday, March 06, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday-Robert & Richard

This photo is from 1976, when my husband Richard was only a few months old. He's sitting on the lap of his older brother, Robert. Richard was the baby of the family, the fourth kid. He was a bit of a surprise baby, born nine years after his brother. Of course, Robert was a surprise baby, too. He was born 6 years after their sister, JoAnn. Jo and her older sister, Linda, were only a year apart.

So the generations in Richard's family are a bit s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d. Richard turned 33 last month, and yet we just went to Linda's 50th birthday party last weekend. JoAnn has a granddaughter, Kaitlyn, who is a year and a half older than Vivian. So Kaitlyn is my great-niece, even though she is older than my own daughter. And Richard's mom has a great-grandaughter that is older than her granddaughter.

But isn't this photo adorable? (even if it is a bit grainy—I took a photo of the photo with my cell phone this morning as I was rushing out the door) A side note to further date this photo to the 70s, apparently to calm baby Richard when he was cranky, his mom and sisters had to dance with him and sing "That's the Way (I Like It)" by KC and the Sunshine Band.

More of Vintage Photo Friday at Paper Dolls for Boys.