Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Neverending Winter

It's that part of winter where it feels like it will never be spring, ever again. If we did do Spring again, if it ever were warm again, I might want to make this jacket. I even have some white pique.
If it ever were warm again, and we could walk outside without Sherpawear, I'd also consider making Vogue 1168

Doesn't that look light and floaty and summery?
But who am I will never be summer again.
If it were summer, I'd choose colors like cantaloupe and aqua, peach and lime and frosty blue and khaki, maybe some yellow too. I'd make a batik wrap skirt to wear to the pool and to sit outside under the umbrellas, drinking frosty tropical drinks, with umbrellas in them.
If we ever do have summer again, what will you be sewing?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Poetry on Ice

While watching endless hours of bobsled and curling while being snowed in this winter, Mr. Hunting Creek and I thought of Improvements we'd make to the Olympic events. For example, wouldn't bobsled be more exciting to watch if they had to go headfirst down a water chute and maybe also through a wall of fire?
If the skeleton people had to do jumps on their sleds, like the freestyle skiers?
If the hockey games were played to the accompaniment of classical music, or jazz or rock music like figure skating? So they had a Theme they had to interpret during the game. Like Moonlight Sonata, or Scheherazade, or western swing? Just an idea.

Monday, February 22, 2010

They can read my mind

On Sunday, I'm lying on the couch reading the New York Times Sunday Styles, and sharing the fashion week updates with Mr. Hunting Creek, (he pretends to be interested) and I said to him, "I want some white cropped jeans and navy blue sneakers for spring." and he says,(because he's nice) "Why don't we go shopping for them on your birthday?"
Then this morning in my email, look what was there! Navy blue sneakers!
How did they know? (Are they wiretapping my couch?)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Modesty in Style

The New York Times says that Modesty is back in style. Since few of the women of my acquaintance wore see-through blouses to work, or sky-high mini skirts at any time, this is welcome news. Of course, where as a designer can you go from nearly naked? Yes, you do covered up.(I'm surprised they didn't suggest habits. But they might. Maybe that will be the next hot thing. You heard it here first.)
My daughter called me and said I had to look at Marc Jacobs new designs, and so we looked at the slide show together on the Internet. We both really liked what we saw. Clothes that real women might wear! It seems that the designers have suddenly gotten religion, because other collections had wearable by normal women possibilities.(It's so refreshing what fear of complete penury will do.)
I saw many designs that a moderately skillful sewista could copy (as an homage of course) like gray A line skirts, military-influenced jackets and pretty dresses with natural waistlines. It wouldn't be too difficult to adapt this Vogue Pattern into a approximation of the dress above, for example. And several designers showed skirts like this pretty one. Anna Sui had some pretty border print dresses that my inner flower child loved as well. I think I'd like to make a pretty border print dress. What designs have you seen that make you feel like sewing for Spring/Summer?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Great Moments in Fabric Literature, Vol XVI

Kazuko paused in the doorway,her small black eyes went directly to the silk on the loom; she bowed. "Maa! Kirei na koto! Nante kirei na iro desho!" beautiful! What a beautiful color!
Dame Colette looked round, saw it was one of the Japanes, then recognized Kazuko and smiled. Kazuko, as though drawn, came a step nearer. Droppers-in were not welcome in the vestment room; the least dust or draft blowin in a smut could ruin a breadth of silk, "also we have to concentrate," but Dame Colette was now a councilor, and all of tbe councilors knew about Kazuko. Dame Colette nodded encouragingly. "Would you like to see?"
"Yes...if you please." But Kazuko still hesitated.
"Come in Come in."
"Of course."
Kazuko came and with the small steps all of them used went up to the stand. "You can look," Dame Colette was going to add not touch, but Kazuko had already taken the silk of the chasuble in her hands. Dame Colette almost cried out peremptorily - none but those concerned dared to touch her work - but something in the way Kazuko ran one hand over the silk while the other held it beneath was not only careful but expert. "Silk, pure silk!" Kazuko spoke with strange satisfaction. She looked more closely at the weave, "inspected it." Dame Colette said afterward, paused at a minute uneveness and clicked her tongue disapprovigly, but running over the rest, approved it. "Good...very good."
"You want to see?" Dame Colette rose off the high bench, and Kazulo slid into her place. "It's called a loom. Loom."
"Yes. In Japanese hata." Kazuko said it serenely, She also said something else Dame Colette did not catch; the nextsecond, to Dame Colette's fright and consternation, Kazuko began to work the loom. "Sister!" but Dame Colette's cry was lost in the looms clacking. "Sister! My silk..." but, "Is good." Kazuko almost shouted, and confident, wove on.

Rumer Godden, In This House of Brede, page 528

Fun loom fact: did you know that the loom was one of the precursors to the computer?
Second fun loom fact, did you know that there is an Angelina Jolie movie about a cult of weaver assassins who get their instructions of who to kill next from the secret messages woven in their cloth? No, I'm not making this up, it's a real movie.

Looms are interesting devices; as simple as a potholder loom (I loved making these as a kid) to complex brocade looms that make exquisite designs.
Next time time you use a computer, think about how the ideas in Jacquard's loom brought it about. Cool, yes? (When I taught history, the kids were always amazed by this.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

At Last, Understanding

My mom always used to tell us this story when we were kids, but we didn't really understand the story until recently.
My father is color blind. (This is not normally a problem for him; he buys all of his socks the same color, so that they always match.)
When I was a baby, we lived in Buffalo. As you know, Buffalo is a very snowy place. The winter that I was one, and my brother just a little baby, it was very snowy. My father went out to dig out his car to go to work. He was a grocery store manager, and he had to get to work to open the store. They don't close stores in Buffalo because of snow. (When I was a child in California, my father would enthrall us with tales of walking to school barefoot, backwards, in blizzards and icy winds...but I digress.)
He went out to dig out the car, which was buried in snow. He tried to open the door, only to discover that he had dug out someone else's car.
Family legend has it that he turned on his heel, walked back into the apartment and instructed my Mother, "Pack up the kids, Martha, we're moving to California."
After the last week of weather, now I totally understand why.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cargo Cult

Like the islanders on some remote Pacific atoll, we villagers lurk around the cul de sac, trying to think of ways to lure in a snow plow.
We trade rumors. "I hear the plow was seen on Maryland Ave by Mt. Vernon High school." "No, that was just a neighbor's F150."
We trade grocery store horror stories, "They were out of flour! Eggs! There is no butter in Alexandria!" Which makes me everyone baking Toll House cookies? Which then makes me want Toll House Cookies.
Wait! I hear the rumble! yes! The PLOW IS HERE!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Storm Map

Here's a storm map my sister sent to me this morning.
We are in the "hit the liquor store" zone. No wait, the totally *&^%#@* zone.
My daughter reports that people were fighting over onions at the Gallery Place Safeway in DC last night.
They have pulled the snowplows off the streets because of unsafe conditions.
And if I hear one more smug person from Upstate New York speak condescendingly about our regional snow coping skills they will be sent back to Upstate New York. On foot. Today.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Keep Digging

What? More snow? Shoveling more snow makes me feel like Devil Dog!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Chilly Wind and Downy Flake

Feel like a picnic?

Snow is deeper than our dogs are high

They have to walk in Mr. Hunting Creek's wheel marks

The plows have not been to our neighborhood, so Mr. Hunting Creek shouldered his shovel (worth its weight in gold hereabouts) and dug out the cars. Then he dug out our driveway. Then he worked on our end of the cul de sac. Then he drove to the highway to see how bad it was. It was bad. He drove to get some milk. He reported back that some neighborhoods had been plowed. He suspected that since our governor was now a Republican, that the Republican neighborhoods had been plowed first. Since he worked on the campaign last year, he knows which are which. I suggested that this must be a coincidence, that maybe those neighborhoods were closer to the highway, or just lucky. He remained suspicious.
The plows still have not been here. More snow is expected tomorrow. If you don't have 4WD, you aren't going anywhere. (Unless you live on a Republican street?
Just sayin'...)

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Division of Labor

Mr. Hunting Creek today: get up at 630am, let the dogs out, make coffee, bring caffe latte to grateful spouse (me), let dogs back in, go out to the grocery store to get dog food (because yesterday Trader Joe had no dog food), call grateful spouse from grocery store to advise what he was buying (but really he wanted to say - hey I found standing rib roasts on sale - SNOW DAY SCORE!), go to hardware store to fill up propane tank in case power goes out, get Snow melt stuff for sidewalks, come back, unpack groceries, sit down read paper, drink coffee, (this is all before 8AM)work remotely all day, then call daughter at work, tell her she better spend the weekend here instead of snowed in her apartment alone on Capitol Hill. Drive to train station at 5p to pick up daughter. In Blizzard (what dads do). Make standing rib roast (If you were stuck anywhere in the snow, you'd want to be stuck with Mr. Hunting Creek. His motto is Be Prepared. He told me today that this runs in his family: his ancestor had advised the Donner Party not to cross the Sierra Nevada when and where they did. His ancestor crossed into Oregon with all of his oxen and family members uneaten. They are a practical bunch, his people.)
Mrs. Hunting Creek today: Drink caffe latte, work, tell Mr. Hunting Creek he is a Snow Day Genius to get Standing Rib Roast for dinner. Bake oatmeal bread from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (it's fabulous, and yes, actual work was under 5 minutes). Set table. Eat dinner made by Mr. Hunting Creek. (Mr. Hunting Creek is a great cook.) Make dough for sticky buns for breakfast. (It's a Snow Emergency, People!) Watch Trashy Westerns with family.
I think I like snow days.

Snow Emergency

Here is Northern Virginia, panicking before a snowstorm is our major winter sport.
The grocery stores are cleared out.
Mr. Hunting Creek stopped at Trader Joe's yesterday afternoon and reported that the meat aisle was picked clean (except for filet mignon and prime ribs) and there was no bread! None! or onions, or dog food. Plenty of vegetables though. But no low fat milk. Jack Shafer of Slate posted a picture showing that vegetables were cleaned out at his Safeway.Except for mushrooms. I guess those don't go in Super Bowl Chili.
All of the snow shovels are sold out. (I always wonder - don't these people already have snow shovels? It does snow every year. We've had ours since 1990. They last a long time.)
It hasn't started yet, but we are ready. Bring on the hot chocolate!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Comfort Fabric

If you or a family member have spent any time in the Medical Industial Complex, you'll know what I'm talking about. Some nice nurse hands you a drab, limp, depressing hospital gown and draws the curtain. I've done my time at our local hospital, in fact, I have another MRI scheduled for later this month. But it never occurred to me (shame on me!) to make my own hospital gowns. This morning I was reading the Lazy Girl Designs Blog, and she told of how she made some gowns for her father, who has been ill.
She even linked to a free pattern to make our own hospital gown. Wouldn't this be a thoughtful gift for a sick friend? I am making one for myself, so I don't have to wear those horrible depressing things in the MRI area. Something cheerful, like this. Or maybe this.
It can be as goofy or silly as I like, because it's a hospital gown, for pete's sake.
Any cute cotton will do. I feel cheered up just thinking about making my own.
Amything that helps make a sick person feel better is a wonderful thing.
Thank you, Joan.