Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Glitter not included . . .

So, I knit and crochet and do a mediocre needlepoint. One thing I have never done is cross stitch — regular or counted (I think there is a difference but I'm not exactly sure). When I was waiting in the airport one time, I was speaking with a woman who was doing cross stitch. It looked like so much fun, even though she was doing some religious-Precious Moment-themed bookmark. Then a week or so ago while I was knitting on a subway, a youngish man pulled a huge tapestry from his bag and started cross-stitching. He has clips and a tambour frame and everything. It looked like a Watteau painting. It was incredible to watch him.

I told Saint Jerome that I was thinking of teaching myself counted cross stitch. I looked online for patterns and kits. Gosh! One is worse than the next! How much Precious Moments/Disney/Christian/Faerie crap can one make? Or want  to make. I would probably have to design my own.

Anyway, yesterday I find this in my email box, forwarded from The Guardian's website, courtesy of Saint Jerome:

If I hadn't read the description or the excited headline, I would never have guessed who it was. It's Edward Cullen, aka Robert Pattinson. Now, I am not into Twilight or any of this vampire trend, but I thought that this was pretty funny. It's only shades of gray! Where are the colors? Where is the rainbow? Where is the glitter? Oh well . . . it kind of looks like him if you cross your eyes, squint, close one eye and then close the other.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Where have I been?

In a knitting fog! I've been knitting all sorts of projects and have completed exactly 0.

This all started when I decided that I needed to knit my four-year old nephew James a sweater. He is the only one of my six nipoti that  I haven't knitted anything for. My other two nephews and three nieces all have had a "Made Especially for you by Aunt Sarah" special. James wore his sister Evelyn's hooded jacket (dark blue, purple and green yarn), but he needs a non-hand-me-downer. So, a sweater formulated itself in my brain. Not just any sweater. A chunky-ish, black turtleneck with a Batman logo on the front. I found the basic pattern sweater in a 1965 Vogue Knitting (Children's Special Issue), I found the Batman logo charted out for knitting, I found the yarn. I knit up the back in a few days and then put the sweater away and started something else (I didn't have a date I needed to get it done for so . . .I have since picked it back up and am about halfway through the front. The Batman logo is a bit of a challenge for me because I'm not a multi-color knitter. Give me lace or cables any day!).

Then I started on a 1940s cardigan jacket which I have wanted to knit for over 15 years — hip-length with a fitted waist, open-work decoration along the front and yoke, collar and pockets. I was almost finished with the back when I realized that the pattern as knitted—gauge adjusted for my knitting tension, modern yarns and my patience— was going to be too big. I've decided that I will  have to use smaller needles and totally re-work the pattern to fit along my hips. Oh well. I put it away for a near-future date.

At the same time, I started on a 1922 sweater vest. I have no idea what the finished size is supposed to be as there is no size on the pattern but the gauge of 5 stitches per inch would yield a too small vest, especially flapper-sized boobs compared to 21st Century, middle age saggage (okay flappers were a year or so later so sue me). I knit one front half, I start knitting the second front half when I realized three things, I was probably going to run out of yarn (I was using leftover stuff), the yarn was all wrong for the pattern anyway and it was waaaaayyyyyyy unflattering as is. Into the box of broken dreams it went, never to be completed, though the yarn will be reused somehow.

When all of this was going on, I decided to make a 1940s "dickey". In the 1940s, dickies were just a turtleneck thingy that tucked into your crew neck. They were more like fake blouses, sometimes with fronts and backs, sometimes just fronts, usually made of fabric just like a blouse. This dickey is more like a vest. I knit the bottom band — 3 and a half inches of k1, p1 ribbing , which has got to be the most tortuous thing after three rows or so.

I didn't want to make it just plain, so I was looking for simple texture stitch pattern. I spent time looking through my stash of vintage needlework magazine (I have thousands from 1916 to about 1975) when I found the knitting booklet, Bushwick Beat's 'em All, from the late 1960s, early 1970s. It is a book of teen fashions and I couldn't remember why I bought it because I'll buy teen fashions from earlier decades but not so late and also, the patterns weren't very interesting except for this one:

But I digress. I flipped through and remembered why I bought it. I bought it for this young dude:

WHO IN THE WORLD PICKED OUT HIS PANTS?!! It's a TEENAGE fashion book for crying out loud! Did his mother dress him? Was he wearing normal trousers and then switched pants in the bathroom as soon as he got to school? Did he get grounded? Did he make extra money? Yikes! The rest is so fun and innocent (except for the Star Trek sweater).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The 27th Annual Itchy and Scratchy Show 9/26/2009

the 27th ANNUAL.

September 26th, 2009
A Presentation of the St. Charles Saloon

Accepted from 9am to Noon.

Voting & Judging
Between Noon and 4pm

Tropies Awarded
at 5pm

Aren't you just itchin' to participate?
11 categories:
Class 1: Best arrangement of poison oak.
Class 2: Best arrangement of poison oak and another plant.
Class 3: Best arrangement of poison oak and inanimate object.
Class 4: Most potent looking GREEN leaves.
Class 5: Most potent looking RED leaves.
Class 6: Biggest single Leaf.
Class 7: Best poison oak accessory or jewelry.
Class 8: Most original poison oak dish (recipe included).
Class 9: Biggest poison oak branch or trunk.
Class 10: Best Photo of poison oak.
Class 11: Best photo of poison oak rash (or in person?).
This event is like a traditional flower show, except, all entries must include poison oak!


Musical entertainment from 1pm to 4pm.

For another fun site: Poison Oak I.D.
Please contact the organizers below.

Contacts for more information:
John or Jeanne Hand
phone: 209-533-4656
Send an SASE to PO Box 1596, Columbia, CA 95310 for event details.

The Poison Oak Show is an annual festival in Columbia, California. Saint Jerome and I first became aware of the Poison Oak Show in 2007 when an article appeared in the New York Times.

The festival was celebrating its 25th year. Saint Jerome instantly called his twin sister in Sacramento which is about two hours away from the festival. Jill and her native Californian friends was completely unaware of the Poison Oak Show! 25 years and they never heard of it! Jill was intrigued and wanted to get to the next year's festival.

2008 came and she had to work so didn't make it to the festival. She did, however, call them up and got tee-shirts for Saint Jerome and me. I feel as if  I'm at the Filmore West, my head filled with Airplanes, Dead and Messenger Services (Jefferson, Grateful and Quicksilver, of course). Here is the tee-shirt. Very, very groovy.

Saint Jerome and I especially like the merge roll, which was the height of innovation in print-making in 1969. It's seems so in keeping with the whole thing. It sends Saint Jerome back to graduate school and me back to Campbell Elementary School.

Though I had been warned many times about poison oak and poison ivy, I've never seen any in real life and wouldn't recognize it if it reached out and bit me on the ass. I guess this is a good thing because I have sensitive skin and would probably break out in a rash before I even got within a mile of it. I have a rash now from just looking at the photos of the Poison Oak Show. It seems like a blast, though. Maybe one year if Jill doesn't have to work.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Poll

Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure

Literature or Cliterature. 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Golden Thighs (cue the tights . . . )

My art teacher in high school introduced me to the wonderful tenor voice of Franco Corelli. For a girl with a penchant for baritones, Corelli was a perfect compromise — a dramatic tenor with a dark, very baritonal sound. His voice was pure, animalistic sex. Of course it didn't hurt that he looked like a god — over 6 feet tall and so good looking he could have been a movie star. He looked like Marcello Mastroianni, Rock Hudson and Gregory Peck all rolled into one. He also had famously beautiful legs, earning him the nickname "coscie d'oro", or golden thighs. He spent a good number of roles in tights.

He retired from the stage before I saw my first opera so I never got to see or hear him live. No matter, there are records, photos and, best of all, films and TV shows. He was on Italian TV a lot in the 1950 onwards.

When I started working at Rizzoli, I had heard that Corelli was in regularly to buy his newspaper. He lived down the street from the store near Carnegie Hall. If he came in, I never saw him. But one day, I just happened to be on the ground floor at the customer service desk when a handsome, older man walked past on his way to the newspaper department. As he passed me, he paused, smiled and nodded to me in greeting. FRANCO CORELLI!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, I saw my idol and he smiled at me! I was in heaven . . .

About a year or so later, I became customer service manager and was now located on the ground floor behind the customer service desk. I used to see Corelli almost daily with his little black poodle. He would always nod or say hello in greeting, except for the times he came in with his wife. Then he would look straight ahead while she looked right and left in suspicion. It was obvious that he knew that I knew who he was.

One day, I was at the front register and happened to ring him up. We greeted each other and as he was about to leave, he turned and said to me, "Tell me, do you sing?" I told him only in the shower until my neighbors tell me to stop. After that, we always chatted unless Loretta was with him. One of the nicest experiences was when I had just gotten back from vacation and was on a ladder putting books away when he came over, got my attention, asked me how I was doing, etc. It was a really nice chat.

He  always seemed a bit sad to me, not unhappy but "sad" — I really can't describe it. Then someone would recognize him and  he stand up straighter, puff out his chest and look like a god.

I would also see him on the street, usually walking his dog. He would always stop and say hello. That always gave me a huge thrill because he was such a opera legend and I was a big fan. I once saw him years later after I left Rizzoli. I was on 57th Street and he was walking the dog. He stopped and said "hello".

He died in 2003.

Corelli in the 1950s or 60s

An appearance from The Bell Telephone Hour 1962 "E lucevan le stelle" from Tosca. Nice view of his legs.

Outfit of the Weekend: Sponge Bob Pajama Pants

Weekends bring out the strange wardrobe in people. Saint Jerome and I were walking down Broadway and were passing Duane Reade when three youths exited the store. They were about 16-20 years old. Two were dressed in the usual messy young adult-wear but the third was striking. Not only did he leap onto a unicycle as soon as he got out of the store, he was wearing a tee-shirt, crocs and Sponge Bob pajama bottoms. Boy, I wish I had a camera with me.

Book Grabbing and Gorging: A Cautionary Tale

We went to the Strand bookstore this weekend. We frequently go and end up with bags and bags of books and auction catalogues.  Saint Jerome goes in and starts upstairs in the art department while I hit the $1 and 48-cent books outside. Well, my usual MO for outside it to grab and look later, which is exactly what I did. I grabbed a book about a true-crime that took place in Seattle in 1911, Rudolf Bing's memoir 5,000 Nights At The Opera (which I'm surprised I haven't read or owned already), a gem-cutting and jewelry-making book from 1938 which has very cool jewelry and metalwork examples and I grabbed a biography called E. Nesbit. I checked out the dance books looking for Guerrero and then went upstairs to hit the Fashion History section and find Saint Jerome. We leave relatively unscathed (though the Neue Galerie catalogue Brücke set us back some). We go to Little Poland to have lunch as we always do when we go to Strand and I pull out E. Nesbit. It is not a biography on Floradora girl, Stanford White lover Evelyn Nesbit but a bio of an author named Edith Nesbit. We walk along 12th Street on our way back to the 1,2,3 train and when we pass the outside carts at Strand, I carefully replace the book on one of the carts. It was only a $1 and I really didn't want to drag it home, only to drag it to the church thrift store. This will teach me to grab and go without looking at the content. And, no, you can't judge a book by its cover after all!