Tuesday, January 30, 2007


It has taken me a long time to get this post together, what with overtime at work, our pc at home turning into a doorstop, and a winter malaise that doesn't want to let go of me.

Anyway, Myfanwe, Norbert and I spent a pleasant evening at Chicago's Winter Delight Stitching Salon -- a wonderful temporary gallery dedicated to fiber arts. On Thursday nights they show KnitFlix -- movies with fiber themes -- and we went for Boys Night. There weren't many boys there, but no one could be disappointed with the turnout. These were some fun chicks! Sara (who I met at World Wide Knit in Public Day) and Moonrat Nat (who I met at Franklin's Dulaan hootenanny) were there. Subversive knitters fer sure!

front row, from l to r: Myfanwe, Nobert, Wild Sara and the Natty Moonrat
The movies were a documentary of Dave Cole's Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art commission of a huge American flag knit with cranes and telephone poles. It was only 5 minutes long, but really quite exciting.
The second part of the double feature was the film Men Who Knit. Not the greatest film, but it was nice to see some people I know from the blogosphere, including boy-wonder Ken, ward and sidekick of the Yarn Harlot. (Click on the picture for a booty call...)

The first 50 people to arrive for the movie got free lighted knitting needles...which really work! I think they might be too distracting for knitting during a movie, but the extra light could really come in handy when knitting with black yarn! M, N, & I were the first people there, so we made off with 3 pair! Since Myfanwe doesn't knit, we are giving her pair to a fried of Norbert's in Toledo who will really get some glee from them.

One of the activities at the stitching salon was a spectacular installation piece which invited to pick up needles and add on to the project using whatever stitch or yarn they wished. It was great fun.

It is currently -4 degrees in Chicago, with a wind-chill of -30 degrees. I hope everyone is staying warm. My plans are to make a pot of tea, put on some nice music, and knit away. Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! Who could ask for more?

Monday, January 22, 2007


My friend Macarena sent me the first pic of the post, excited as she is over the prospect of leggings for men. Although I am sure payback is among her top motives, I can't help but wonder if she isn't also interesting in seeing a guys kibbles and bits! I am not a fan of dress shoes without socks, so when I look at this picture all I can think is that they sell socks 6 pair for $10 at Target.

And then we have this lovely creation from Fendi. I don't know what to say. Except that I don't know that I would have put a capelet with a business suit. And it makes the model look like Julie Andrews. Do you think there is a large market for clothing that makes 21 year old boys look like a 65 year old woman trying to look like a 21 year old boy? Oh gosh, if Little Old Lady become a chic look for men, people are gonna start asking me for fashion tips.

IO didn't have to go far to find evidence of my assertion that designers were running small this year. And is it just me, or does the eye makeup make him look like his eyes are looking in different directions?

Etro has jumped onto the Bucket Hat Bandwagon with gusto. Except I fear he might have lifted the design from a famous movie character.

You decide.
Yes, it seems as if Etro is bound and determined to beat the life out of the felted bucket hat if it is the last thing he does. What on earth could this guy be carrying in that bag? Clean straw?

I have to say, I really, really like the rest of this guys outfit...nasty, ugly, repetitive hat notwithstanding. Me likey the sweater, the vest and the scarf.

And this practically had me clapping at my computer. Isn't this the cutest idea. And when the show is over, no one has to rush to catch a flight!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Ever since a friend of mine "bought" a designer in the mid-90's, I've followed fashion weeks in the various fashion centers with interest. I particularly keep my eye out for interesting or promising knitwear for men.

Or really ugly knitwear.

Milan fashion week gave me lots of the latter, but very little of the former.

I'm not sure what Byblos was going for when he designed this, but it's like he was costuming a musical adaptation of a cross between Spamalot and Barbarella. It's a white, knit balaclava with a brim and a breasplate.

Roen's Fall/Winter collection brought us this which, despite the frilly cuffs, is my favorite piece to come out Milan this year. The proportions are fresh,the oversized sillouette is in sharp contrast to many designers who seem to be throwing clothes on models that are 2 sizes too small. And, while I generally prefer to wear black and grey, the earthy brown is easy on the eyes.

If Romeo Gigli is to be believed, this is the year of the bucket hat.

Well, you GO, Girl. Get down with your bad self. Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma Chameleon... And they say drag is dead.

This has absolutely NOTHING to do with knitwear, but what, for the love of Dog, was Byblos thinking? From the front the model looks like a pudgy investment banker in a bulletproof vest, from the back he looks like a nelly cop with a patent leather purse. (Though I assume he's on his way to the market, with such a big basket.) And what, praytell, could those buttons be for? A braille map to his erogenous zones? I think the designer had some personal skore to settle with the model, 'cuz you have to work pretty hard to make a muffin like this look so fat.

Let me end on a positive note.

I don't really know what Dolce & Gabbana are selling here, but I don't doubt there are a lot of willing buyers.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I recently downloaded ABC's hit comedy Ugly Betty from iTunes, and started making my way through the episodes. I really, really want to like Ugly Betty. I really do. I loved The Devil Wears Prada, and I live for Project Runway, and nobody loves a snappy retort better than I. But I can't love it. I can't. And here are the reasons why:

1. It makes me tense. I swear, I've had to stop each episode at least 5 times each because I am already emotionally invested enough in Miss Betty Suarez that I can't stand the thought of something bad happening to her. (I remember not liking Gomer Pyle at the age of 4 for exactly the same reason. I used to complain that Sarge should stop yelling at Gomer.) I don't watch much television, but when I do, I gravitate to shows like The West Wing where the characters are smart and funny and not out to hurt one another.

2. I don't like mean girls. And this show has entirely too many of them. Everywhere you look, there's another mean girl. I swear to dog, there are more mean girls on one episode than in my high school senior class, which had 85 girls and 9 guys. (I was in the first co-ed class at a 125 year old prep school. 82 of the girls were mean.)

If Ugly Betty were my only New York point of reference, I would be certain that 9 out of 10 women in New York were plastic, premenstrual, anorexic barracudas. But having lived there, I know that the number is more like 6 out of 10.

3. Vanessa Williams gives me the wiggins. Those unfortunate naughty pictures aside, I always though Vanessa Williams was sweat and good...like a Disney star. But my, how she's changed. I think it is safe to say she isn't going to be bursting into "Colors of the Wind" on this series. She's completely without a soul. I honestly didn't recognize her -- they've got her so angloed-up, I thought it was a white Episcopalian woman who needed to take a few steps away from the spray tan. But it really is Vanessa Williams. And would someone please tell me just how many black women are there named Wilhelmina? (Also, having seen those naughty pictures of Vanessa, one thing is obvious...she can now afford a good wax.)

4. Is it just me, or is this show WAY too much like Desperate Housewives? It's got anorexic Latinas, manipulative fathers, private investigators, missing persons...all it's missing is arson. Even the music and camerawork reminds me of DH. Which isn't necessarily a good thing. Nor is it necessarily a bad thing. I'm just saying...

I want to state for the record that the show has some really big things going for it. America Ferrara is amazing as Betty Suarez. I love her. (I do want to know why she spends her nights with curlers in her hair when it obviously isn't helping her, but I know that sometimes you need to let art flow over you rather than question every little thing. But still...hasn't she heard of hot rollers or a curling iron?) But I love her. She represents everything that is good and true and loyal and stellar in the world. I wish she could come over and make empenadas. (Personally, I like spicy beef and olive.)

I also love, love, love Ashley Jensen who plays Christina. I love her voice -- reminiscent of peat and pipe tobacco -- and I love her accent, and I would pay good money just to listen to this Scottish lass read from the phone book. I melt just thinking about it.

I still have 10 episodes to watch, but I don't know if my heart can take it. I'm pretty sure it's causing a spike in my blood pressure. They are just so MEAN on this show.


I found this picture on the wires -- I'm not kidding...this was in a Prada's fall/winter collection at Milan's fashion week. Is it just me, or does this sweater make him look pregnant? I could write 500 words about the dearth of talented men's knitwear designers, but really, after this picture, it would just be overkill.

Friday, January 12, 2007


When Stitches in Britches held its first meeting a year ago, Jonathon and I were the only ones in attendance. On Tuesday, as we celebrated our first anniversary, we had a very nice croud, indeed.

From left to right in the photo above are Lane, knitting with us for the second time, Kevin, Fred, and Gary, all three new to the group, Charles, a regular, and Jonathan -- one of Britches' three co-founders.

Charles was working on a blanket, Jonathan on a teddy bear...

Kevin was picking up stitches as part of a top-down sweater...

Gary knitting the same top-down, just a bit farther along...

Lane was working on a scarf. Too bad it was so hot in Argo, because Lane wore his first sweater, which he had been finishing during his virst visit to Britches.

Fred does beautiful cable work. Note, the sweater he is wearing is also of his own hand...

No photos of me, but I am working on the bottom of what I am going to call my Big Ass Bag. It is a felted tote I am making from bits 'o stash. Everytime I pick it up I start humming Never Ending Story from the 80's movie by the same name. "Turn around, look at what you see, in her eyes, the mirror of your dreams..." Terrible movie, but the song is part of the soundtrack of my youth.

We missed out dear friend Franklin, but hope he can join us again soon. Franklin adds a bit of magic wherever he goes!

To our new knitters -- welcome. We are very happy to have you and look forward to many hours of knitting, laughing, gossiping and kvetching!

I would like to thank my fellow knitters for their friendship, generosity of spirit, and good humor. Here's to another great year!

Sunday, January 07, 2007


My plenty-third birthday fell on a workday this year, so we put off going out for dinner until the weekend. Myfanwe, Norbert and I spent a very pleasant Sunday afternoon/evening at The Parthenon in Chicago's Greektown. We ate family style, and what a meal it was! We had:

Greek salad
Roasted Lamb

I tried to take a picture of the lamb roasting on a spit in the window, but the glass reflected the flash.

After dinner we stopped by the bakery to pick up a few chocolate walnut cookies for lunches this week. (Trust me, we were all too full to even contemplate having another bite tonight!)

A day like this can really take the edge off of growing older!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Today's Chicago Tribune contained an obituary for Marion Alshuler Despres, aged 96, a long time community leader, preservationist, and architecture cheerleader. Her father designed our synagogue.

Mrs. Despres and her husband, former Chicago alderman Leon Despres, were married for 75 years. I didn't know her very well -- I'd met her a couple of times over the years as I ushered at high holidays or at other social events in Hyde Park -- and I never suspected her really cool secret.

Now forgive me if I have any of the details wrong -- Myfanwe already recycled the Tribune.

Accompanying her obituary was a picture or Marion Despres standing in front of a portrait painted of her by Diego Rivera. It seems The Despres' had taken a suitcase of clothing to Mexico for Leon Trotsky, who had been exiled from Russia and was living with Rivera and his wife, Frida Kahlo. Rivera painted the portrait of Mrs. Despres while Leon Despres and Frida Kahlo took Trotsky to a movie!

Isn't that just about the coolest thing you've ever heard?

May her memory forever be a blessing. And let us say amen.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

May the New Year be filled with joy, prosperity, and laughter for you and those you hold dear.

The Gang with the bones of a lovely meal.
From l to r: Babu, George, Bahb, Maxine, Norbert, Myfanwe, & Penelope.

Myfanwe, Norbert and I started off the New Year with dim sum with our friends Bahb and Babu, their daughter, George, and her partner, Maxine, and the lovely Dr. Penelope. Myfanwe was awed when she learned Dr. Penelope's daughter has been on several episodes of the various Law & Order shows. (Myfanwe is a bit of an L&O addict.) We had some lovely dim sum at Furama -- I am particularly fond of their fresh silken tofu with brown sugar sauce, curried baby octapus, and picled vegetables. I tried their coconut jelly for the first time and wish I'd had more -- there is very little one could do with a coconut that wouldn't please me!

Aren't they lovely? George is in her first year of law school in St. Louis, while Maxine is completing her residency. In a stroke of good fortune, Maxine got her fellowship match and she will be spending the next three or four years in an GYN-oncology fellowship in St. Louis! The have good reason to smile. (We have friends who are going to spend the next three years with one in Houston and one in North Carolina.)