The not-so-secret garden

Yesterday we toured the xeric gardens at Denver Water, where xeriscape was apparently invented 25 years ago. Their gardens are quite lovely with perfectly undulating berms and graceful well-tended plants. We went quite mad for a butterfly bush and fell for some blue fescues. (Don’t you love that word, fescue?) We learned that we haven’t been “clustering” enough, that is creating enormous swaths of color instead of just sticking the odd plant in higgledy-piggledy as has been our way. We will cluster more in the future, we promise.

Phase I is now complete except for planting and maybe the addition of an undulating berm or two. Here is a before and after of Mitch’s summer on the hill.

 

DCP_0783

Southfront

The medium is the message

I was just despairing of no content when this showed up in my in-box (no pun intended):

Fiber Arts Show - "makin' the fur fly" Artist's Reception - Friday August 4 from 7p to 11p

From knitted vulvas to painterly quilts to industrial sewing thread & bamboo, “makin' the fur fly“ is an underground effort to showcase the exemplary talents of 12 local artists.

Showing at The Atelier of Richard Groskopf

276 Galapago Street, Denver

Opening: August 4 from 7pm to 11pm

On exhibit will be works from knitters, quilters, crocheters, weavers and sculptural artists who work with materials ranging from yarn to metal to fabric & wood.

Wednesday Miscellany

Can you believe it’s only Wednesday? Gah!

1. Local goils: The Lamb’s having it’s summer clearance sale—20 percent off on all cotton yarns, 15 percent off books, single-leaf patterns 20 percent off, and special order Schacht equipment is 15 percent off. Time to buy that double-treadle wheel, no? Today’s special—20 percent off sock yarns.

2. Denver DIY store: Check out the hyper-hip new indie craft shop Fancy Tiger at 1 S. Broadway. Fusing craft supplies like Subversive Cross Stitch kits and some fuzzy balls of high-end yarn with an eclectic collection of how-to books, music to craft by and indie fashions, Fancy Tiger is like nothing we’ve ever seen outchere in Cow Town, USA.

3. Esty is the new Ebay: I can thank Cathi for my new addiction. Thank you, Cathi. Now I’m Esty’s bitch. (In case you are one of the three knit bloggers, who, like me, hasn’t encountered Etsy, well, go hide your credit card. It’s a vertitable treasure trove of crafty creations from countless designers, knitters, crocheters, woodworkers and like-minded obsessives from all over the world. And EVERYTHING’S FOR SALE. Oh, look, someone just posted a silk-screened chihuahua t-shirt. Gotta run.

4. Getting high: The new High Whorling is out. Actually it’s more like a new, new High Whorling. Packed with new illustrations and refreshed text, Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ Spinning in the Old Way is the must-have “how to” for spindle spinners’ libraries.

 

 

 

Design exegesis II

Well, it started with this and now we’ve got this…

Nipplebagreject

Would you buy me a decent bra, for crissake?

 

This is next season’s Nipple Bag. I was going for more of an A-cup, but wound up with a DD instead, lopsided no less. Here’s the full-frontal:

Nipplefullfrontal

 

Moral of the story: Don’t mix a single crochet aureole with a double-drochet body. Words to live by, don’t you think?

Mole

This is one of those posts that give blogs a bad name. So if you dislike self-obsessed, naval gazing writing, avert your eyes. You've been duly warned.

I'm sprouting a mole. On my face. In precisely the same location where my grandma had a big juicy one distinguished by about a dozen short, spiney hairs.

People, I sell skin care. (Well, “sell“ is a euphemism. I keep a lot of skin care in the closet. Sell would imply generating income.) So me and the old epidermis are pretty tight. I'm good to my skin. I wear sunscreen and hats and smear on lots of expensive serums and creams. And now it does this? In public? Without asking?

Oh, and don't even begin to think of it as a “beauty mark.“ This angry, red protrusion looks like it belongs on the bum of an aging bull dog. And I suspect it's only half grown.

I've always said, no plastic surgery. But faced with this alien mass (Mom, I swear, it's not melanoma), I can tell you the endgame. This bad boy's headed for the biohazard bag. Snip snip. Chop chop. Hasta la vista, baby.

 

 

 

Wednesday Miscellany--It will change your life

You know those people who are chronic recommenders? The try-this-it-will-change-your-life types? That’s me. I get it from my grandmother, whose solution to every childhood ailment was, “Give her an enema.” She swore by it. Sore throat? Enema. Sniffles. Enema. (Freud would have a field day with me, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

I have my list too, which, not surprisingly, does not feature colon cleansing. I adore dispensing advice on everything from men to picking the right college.

Got a bad stomach? Try ginger tea.

Got warts? Well, too bad for you.

Got financial insolubility? I’ll give you ideas from now until Sunday.

So, without further ado, here the latest on my “This will change your life” list:

1. The Checi Coarse Nickel Foot & Callus File. In the summer, I like walking barefoot. On the grass. Hot sidewalks. Rocks. As a result, I’ve developed hooves instead of heels. I’ve tried pedicures, pomace stones, scrubs and alpha-hydroxy ungents. Nothing comes close to addressing the leathery surface on the bottom of my feet. Finally, a trip to Sally Beauty Supply netted the Checi. Nice Checi. Wonderful Checi. Checi of supernatural callus-removing powers. Use it on dry feet. It will change your life.

2. The right sized bra. We’ve had this discussion. Trust me when I say, it will change your life. And take 10 pounds off your appearance.

3. Burt’s Bee’s Herbal Deodorant. Years ago, I gave up antiperspirants in the belief (real or not) that they contributed to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Since then I’ve been on a quest to find an effective natural product. I even tried the crystal, which some people swear by. But rubbing a wet rock under my arms made me feel like an idiot and I still smelled like rotting cabbage. Recently, I saw Burt’s natural deodorant extolled in a magazine article. Nothing involved but alcohol and essential oils, hard to quibble with either. So I gave it a spritz. People, it’s mid-summer and my pits smell pretty! It will change your life.

4. Iyengar yoga. I won’t gas on about this, but I’m forever telling people with minor aches and complaints to find a good Iyengar instructor. I swear, I’m still knitting and writing because of it. It will change your life.

5. Proper skin care. This one is a bit tricky. Though I’ve started selling a skin care line—a decision made in a moment of temporary insanity and career ennui—I believe this is a process or trial and error. Not every line works for every face. If you have sensitive skin like me, it might take some time to find the right stuff. Aim for products packed with antioxidants and natural ingredients. In the meantime, slather on the SPF, wear a hat and drink plenty of water. It will change your life.

I showed you mine. Now, show me yours. What’s on your “It will change your life” list?

The President's potty mouth

Much has been written about the President's verbal gaff at a G8 luncheon last week. And I'm here to say, merde happens.

It strikes me as disingenous that journalists fault Bush for using a metaphor that in newsrooms is as common as passive voice. Having spent a great deal of time among writers and reporters, I can safely report that guardians of civility we ain't. We might get all stuffy and uptight about deploying an f-bomb in print, but in spoken language? Let's just say, you won't hear a lot of “oh shoots” and “oh dears” when writers describe something with emotional content.

Though completely reductionist, POTUS' characterization of Hezbollah's activities sums up at least one part of the equation. Hezbollah isn't in the business of cultivating roses, after all. Some situations deserve off-color descriptions.

Bush therefore shouldn't be chided for what he said but what he didn't say: That Israel should moderate its response. That the UN should pursue a multilateral solution that would include Iran and other Middle Eastern nations. That we need to better understand the issues separating Sunnis and Shiites. That more civilians shouldn't have to die.

It's what he didn't say that sucks.

Cloche encounters

The other day my friend Heidi and I were discussing changes in the neighborhood. Did you see the new accessories shop? Did you know someone bought Billy’s Bar? Can you believe we’re getting a Starbucks? It was one of those conversations, which longstanding residents of Northwest Denver have constantly. We live in an area where 14 years ago people feared for our safety (in spite of low crime statistics). Now we have a vegan, raw food restaurant. It’s a little weird. Nice, but weird.

To make a long story even longer, Heidi asked that should I happen upon a pink, roll-brimmed hat in my neighborhood perambulations, I should alert her immediately. Apparently her little girl has a penchant for pink toppers and, in the way of two-and-a-half-year olds, makes short work of them. She’s also the spitting image of Strawberry Shortcake, so she cuts quite a fetching figure in her stroller.

Filled with the hubris of the newly tutored, I think, “Why I bet I could crochet just the thing.” When the conversation ends, I “google” Strawberry Shortcake, having only the vague idea about who she is or what she looks like. OK, she’s very cute and the hats are very cute, but I have no clue how to fashion a brim. Back to Google. The Lion Brand site yields a free pattern for a rolled crochet hat. Wonderful.

(By now you’re thinking, “Why isn’t she working? Doesn’t she need to earn a living so as to afford the lifestyle to which she would like to become accustomed?” These are good questions. Keep asking them.)

So combining stash cotton with the Lion Brand pattern with flowers and leaves swiped from The Happy Hooker, we got this…

Cloche

Cloche, but no cigar.

Cute, but not quite it. Antone agrees.

Photohog

Girl, make it work!

 

 

Wednesday Miscellany--The Design edition

1. “Project Runway”—Another season commences and with it the usual display of personality disorders, explosive creativity and rudeness. Speaking of rudeness—The Washington Post in its review of season III revealed the results of the first challenge. This is one of the tacit rules among reviewers—don’t spoil the mystery for your readers. While it’s not Jason Blair, it’s most certainly in poor taste. That said, this season’s designers look especially promising. I went ape over the party dress crafted from coffee filters. Episode two debuts tonight.

2. Fall preview time—Lots of mags have their fall previews up. Check out Knit Simple, Vogue Knitting, Knitscene, Interweave Knits and many of the Phildar titles (where ponchos are still in evidence. Interesting, no?)

3. Yarn company previewsBerroco has their new stuff up, as does Classic Elite and Lana Grossa (more ponchos!). Look for lots of wrapped cardies, cables and more forgiving shapes in the shrug/bolero mold. And, it appears, the really wacky novelty yarns are fading into the sunset in favor of lux naturals.

4. In the bag—Look what Mom made me! Combining a felted purse pattern with trumpet blossoms from Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Flowers, she designed this clever purse.

Trumpetpurse

Kittyblogging

Antone nibbling on beaded stamens. Ah, the perils of blogging in the presence of a kitten.

 

Design exegesis

The design process here at the atelier de Nake-id is largely one of trial and error. Surely if we had a team of crack knitters and crocheters at our disposal, it would expedite the finishing of goods, but alas, that is not the case. So we knit, felt and critique. Knit, felt and critique.

Over the next weeks—yes, it will take weeks—you will bear witness to the dirty Nake-id mind at work as we struggle to develop our next generation of Nipple Bags. What follows is the latest reject. The handle not quite right. The colors too garish. Judge for yourself.

Crochetfelt