Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Happy Birthday!

clothes hanger

Finished in time for Mum’s birthday yesterday. She was shocked, not expecting to see it done before next year at least. More than once, I hid the growing thing so as not to ruin the surprise. I’ll post some action shots soon: this is a garment that can be worn inside-out, upside-down and back-to-front. Both Dad and Isaac expressed doubts, unconvinced by my arguments for deconstructed fashion.

The pattern is an easy one. I strongly recommend using a circular needle, but I still found it somewhat hard on my hands. Even though large gauge projects move quickly, I find large needles awkward to manage. I’m back to the last few repeats of the False Entrelac Scarf. Using 4mm needles after 8mm ones reminds me of the feeling of walking in one’s own shoes after an hour or two on the ice rink in a pair of rented skates. Bliss.

(Click image for a full garment shot.)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Slade Knitwear

Slade Knitwear

Still no scanner, and I have new Japanese craft books to share. Full of inspiration, I’m very excited about upcoming Back-Tack II. I was one of the annoying ones writing to ask, Did I get in? Did I? acting as if the Back-Tack Corporation is manned 24 hours a day by customer service providers ready to take my call. I am, however, ready to take their call (or e-mail) anytime.

One of the joys of my new neighbourhood are its old signs. Above will be the first in an ongoing, occasional series of typographically significant signs in Melbourne (generally), Richmond (in particular) and Cremorne (especially). The Slade Knitwear sign is in the shadow of the more famous Nylex sign (images forthcoming.) It’s easy to get lost driving in Cremorne, with its narrow one-way streets and the bisecting railway line. I like to imagine frustrated drivers searching for Church Street, turning into Dover and exclaiming, Crikey! For the typographically minded, of particular interest is the fact that “Knitwear” is a perfect script, but “Slade” is not. (For a more illustrative shot, click here.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

It's a Good Thing™..... keep one's motivations in perspective.

For a sidesplitting account of why David Rakoff loves to craft, listen to This American Life, Episode 192: Meet The Pros. (This originally aired 31 August 2001. You'll find it in the archives for that year in the sidebar to the left.) His piece is Act III, "Martha, My Dear."

And if you don't know This American Life, the archives are a treasure trove of interest and can be downloaded free from the site. If you do know the show, what do you think about this?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Festina Lente: (Latin) Make Haste Slowly.

Even casual readers will have noticed a distinct lack of knitting content on Show & Tell. There are many reasons for this and recriminations to be had, and generally I wouldn't want to burden an audience with such matters. However, in my current self-flagellating mood, I thought I'd share some of them with you.

1. I'm slow. Very, very slow. I wasn't really aware of this until I started reading crafty blogs and knitting in public. All around me, finished objects fly off the needles. Fluffa! finishes something amazing every week or so, in between raising a son and gallivanting on strangers' Vespas. I was proud to finish Emmeline (Rowan 28) in, oh, three years? (The last year spent in pieces waiting to be seamed.) I thought this was normal.

2. Due to Reason #1, up until now I’ve been reluctant to participate in swaps. Recently however, I’ve plunged in, hoping for a therapeutic effect. I’m generally more efficient when a giftee is involved, and a stranger: well, that’s a big responsibility. But who better to make something for than someone who’ll appreciate the time and effort?

3. I recently shipped my laser printer and scanner from the US, trusting online tech support that indicated dual voltage compatibility. A loud pop and billowing smoke indicated otherwise. The printer is kaput, and the scanner awaits an appropriate step-down transformer. Until then, you’ll have to take my word for it that I have a stash of Japanese craft books, vintage knitting patterns and funny photographs that I’m anxious to share with you. I hope this will adequately compensate for the poor quality of craft programming on this blog thus far.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. window

Collins Street, Melbourne.

"Yes, the jewels are nice, but do you stock the gold-plated Addi Turbos?"

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Self-Portrait Tuesday


Kindergarten: 1975, at the cut & paste table. My mum made my shirt and possibly my skirt, which is very short. I'm quite certain I'm wearing shiny patent leather lace-ups.

I had a strange idea at this age that one's teeth ought to close edge to edge, instead of the normal over-bite. I can only imagine that I got this idea after drawing mouths and teeth and smiles. For this reason, in all photographs of me at this age I'm biting my teeth together so that you can see both the top and bottom rows.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Thanking Mrs. Kelly

Eight years ago yesterday, my apartment burned down. Mrs. Kelly, elderly and paranoid, set fire to #60, her apartment, which was littered with teetering piles of papers and ashtrays overflowing with cigarillo butts. Her freezer was filled with chilled beer mugs for her long dead, wife-beater of a husband. The fire quickly spread through the roof space, and by the time the ceiling fell into #64, my apartment, five trucks were on the scene, and the elevated subway line that runs beside the building was closed down. It was a Saturday, in summer, and the neighbourhood turned out to watch the building burn. I’ve told the story many times since: how Mrs. Kelly scratched and fought us, how Mayor Giuliani’s eyes glazed over when I asked if we could stay at Gracie Mansion, how Mr. History narrated the whole trip down to the Red Cross in a commandeered city bus, as if we’d all decided to take a field trip.

There was a welcome lightness walking in the East Village later that night, stopping to buy toothbrushes at a bodega, not caring that I wasn’t wearing a bra. I recognized my apartment on the television, flames shooting out the windows. I couldn’t imagine getting over it. Unable to sleep, I called the New York Times to cancel my subscription and the person wanted to know why. When I told him, he laughed.

Perhaps I’m wrong that I’m a tenth as happy now as I was ten years ago. Perhaps when we look back we can’t help but imagine ourselves as generalisations, without remembering the particularities of individual days, hours, moments. Since Monday, the mail’s included a parcel from the UK, a card including cash and the latest New Yorker. All were unexpected.