Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sigur Ros - This is a Good Beginning

In spite of my long list of knits waiting to be finished for other people, I've taken a creative break to make myself some socks and stockings.

Like the fairytale cobbler whose children go shoe-less, all of my socks are grocery-store-bought black of an indeterminate fiber and have holes in the heels. Sadly, this isn't a new state of affairs. I gamely sew up the holes and continue wearing them while knitting away on gifts for others.

Well, last week I said (to myself) "No more"! I'm going to knit up a drawfull of stockings for myself before I finish anything for anyone else!

So, the picture shows my first pair, finished yesterday. They are made from Blue Moon Fiber Arts STR lightweight in Sigur Ros (one of my favorite bands). The cast on was 60 stitches and I used size 2.5mm Darn Pretty DPN Needles. I used a simple stitch pattern - 3x2 rib - in a simple formula - cuff down, short-row heel, and star decreased toe (no Kitchener!).

I wore them as soon as they were off the needles - not even waiting to block them, though I know blocking would soften the yarn even more than it already is and help it to 'bloom'. They are super comfy!

I've already begun the second pair: Rainy Day Socks using Madeline Tosh Sock in Wash. I hope the Force for sock-knitting stays strong in me. I want lots and lots!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bunny Ears, Oysters and Spring Hats


Yesterday, we went for a long drive to visit the boyfriend's relatives. Yes, that is one of his relatives wearing bunny ears. Everyone thought it was very cute but I was deathly and silently afraid she was going wear them out the restaurant for lunch! I'm such a wimp sometimes... now, if she'd been wearing a quirky vintage hat or cloche, like these in my 1923 April Needlework Magazine, I wouldn't have batted an eye!


We went to a wonderful restaurant called The Wicked Oyster.


The walls were lined with the most beautiful paintings by local artists - all very expensive but mostly of the ocean...



The menu was all oysters. Others ordered spinach salad, but my boyfriend and I ordered buttermilk fried oysters with homemade cocktail sauce. They were incredible.


I looked through my stack of old Needlework Magazines for the April versions, but only found two, one from 1923 without a cover and the other from 1934:


The New Spring Styles were loose and flowing:


and the patterns were focused on filet crochet:


There was a beautiful Anemone Tea Cloth illustrated, by the wonderful Mary Card of Australia, but as usual the pattern wasn't included.


I've always wondered if they expected the readers to copy the pattern by just looking at the over-sized photograph of her gorgeous filet designs.

There were no recipes for oysters in these April magazines, but they recommended lots of eggs - deviled eggs being the finger food of choice for a spring holiday luncheon:


and their argument for a Spring diet of eggs:

It's Spring, and Easter, and Nature is "recovering" from winter according to her own ancient laws, while poor old human nature is muddling along, trying to correct the mistakes they have made in selfishness, and greed, in war, and in peace. Learning the laws of being, and being true to them, is all that brings a good crop, be it in the cabbage patch, in the university, or in the college of Life. So much for our brief Easter sermon, and nobody can corner the joy to be had in the spring - it's there for the looking and the sniffing; the earth itself smells good in the spring as the frost leaves it... Use your senses in the spring- meet it with an alertness and an awakening to the simple joys that are free to all. If you can 'sit on a log and pat a dog, do it; it's fun in the springtime.

The 1934 recipe for spring eggs:

Eggs Florentine

Place two cups of minced buttered spinach in a baking dish. Break four eggs over this, season and pour over all half a cup of medium white sauce to which a quarter cup of grated cheese is added. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of melted butter and slip under the broiler to set the eggs and brown lightly.

Happy Spring! May you have a new (vintage) bonnet on your needles!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spring and All That...

by Pablo Neruda

The bird has come
to bring light to birth.
From every trill of his,
water is born.

And in between the water and light
which unwind in the air,
the spring is now beginning,

now the seed is aware of its own growing;
the root takes shape in the corolla,
at last the eyelids of the pollen open.

All this accomplished by a simple bird
from his perch on a green branch.


My same friend who send me the vintage booklets in my last post, sent me this beautiful page of spring sweaters from an unknown vintage magazine. It looks very much like the Needlework Magazine, printed in Augusta Maine and spanning the globe in distribution. And I appear to be correct in that assumption, because I just went to look at this page again and it says clearly: The New Sweaters, selected by the Needlework Editors!

The drawings - quite beautiful! - were made by M.E. Musselman and all reflect a lighter brighter sensibility for Spring. I love the greens especially, but the coral oranges are spot on for this year's trend of tangerine!


In the description, silk is extolled as the perfect fiber for this time of year. They go on to say that silk sweaters are "chiefly ready-made garments" and "It is a matter of personal choice between the silk and the worsted, as both are good. The worsted sweater, however, can be made more easily by hand than a silk one." Ah, don't I know it!


I am very drawn to scarves that incorporate hoods, and it appears that this is a fashion trend over 100 years old.


Scarfs in silks and in worsteds, too, offer most pleasing substitutes for fur neck-pieces for every-day wear, especially for the school girl and the business girl, and for outings in kinds of weather they are just the thing.
Illustrated in the upper left-hand corner is a very new cap and scarf with crocheted flowers. This design can be carried out in many charming colours - in blue with red roses, in orange with blank bands and deep yellow roses, in pale blue with pink roses, in grey with white roses, etc.
For motoring or driving a scarf hood in worsted, as illustrated above, is a real luxury. It is all in one piece.


And finally, a little note at the bottom says that a pamphlet containing the working directions for the items shown will be supplied for 15 cents. Oh how I wish that someone had sent away for this pamphlet and that it had made its way into my hands! I would love to make the motoring hood-scarf, the white center-top sweater-jacket, the coral Spencer with its gathered neckline on the right, and the green cut-away sweater with its white collar and cuffs on the left - just for wearing in the Spring!