Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in review...

Well, this has been an amazing year.

I can't begin to tell you how happy, grateful, and blessed I feel just to have been on this planet, in this family, in this community, and in the blogosphere this year.

Coincidences and miracles, chance meetings, and emotional highs and lows have made this year a frantic cocktail of love, chaos, confusion, exhilaration, disappointment...

I have met the most fascinating people of all walks of life, learned so much about Autism since Aaron's diagnosis in February, had AMAZING clients, watched my daughter and husband absolutely BLOSSOM in their own pursuits... I've been the coach, quarterback and cheerleader and spectator.

Who knows what 2008 has in store, eh? I am excited to see what it will bring.

This quote, as seen on Kari and Kisja's blog today, sums it up best.

I'm quite a fan of Yoko Ono's "yes" painting. A few years ago, I saw a documentary about her work, and it just clicked with me. I know it may seem "out there" to some, but this piece is simply a ladder that you must climb to get the full benefit of the art piece. A small framed "Yes" is affixed to the ceiling, but it is only visible if you climb up to see it. An absolutely genius metaphor for life.'s to ascending your own "ladder", whatever it may be. This is my wish for all of you in the new year.

Every year, I make the same resolution.


That's it. I play lots of music on New Year's Day. Mostly calm, beautiful songs that just make me ache over the beauty of life. Since you probably know the others (they are very popular, standard classic songs from a variety of genres... I'll share if you're interested), here's one of my favorites (Sting)...

Happy New Year! See you in 2008!

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Beware... fashion and video game lovers

I used to have a problem. A serious addiction.

I was a video game fanatic.

Now, they have come out with the perfect marriage of video game and fashion. I have loved the Sims forever... but have no time for them now. This version could seriously lure me back to the dark side.

But I will not buy it... promise.

An different "twist" on the Japanese shirt idea.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

-Marianne Williamson, President of the board of The Peace Alliance

Last night, I dreamed the first two sentences of this quote were written on a wall. I also dreamed I was 40 and couldn't figure out where the last few years went. It wasn't a problem in the dream, just a weird amnesiac feeling. Last week, we watched Akeela and the Bee with our daughter, and the above quote was a big part of the story. My six-year-old loved it!

Round and round we go with my double helix theory.... I once admitted on this blog that I was addicted to the Scott Baio reality show. Apparently, there will be a second season. Not sure why.. seems like the main problem has largely been solved. Anyway, on the show, his relationship coach tells him he's "playing small" (see above quote). I know I am often guilty of the same. Placing limits on myself, on our son, on my time, on my abilities... whose voice is that? It is mine.

Last week, our family went to church, and managed to get our son to sit still for a whole 20 minutes before a full-on tantrum began. People were not understanding. We keep trying, but church is just an exercise in frustration right now. When we have to go somewhere that requires quiet AND dressing up (a deadly combination) I unusually finish the event with ripped hose, twisted clothing, mussed hair... looking like I've just finished a wresting match. Even last week, I never heard a word of the service. Hmmm... twisted clothes...

Thanks to Madhatter's inspiring post, I'm doing my own version of this. It is a great asymmetrical, twisted top, that looks casual, artsy, and wonderfully cozy for the winter months.

So, again I thought "I'd love to make it, but I don't really leave the house often enough to make use of the clothing I have." This shirt is a REASON to leave the house. We are going to stop playing small, and start doing the things we can do, go the places we can go, and look good doing them. This shirt marks the new year, and the opportunities it brings...

And, well... it only cost me $4... ha!

I'm draping mine on the form, without a pattern.

For the way my mind works, draping is a better way to achieve the fit and look I want. Madhatter's version was great, and I love the humor of making myself a "straitjacket" style top!

So here's what the process looked like...

Mine has 5 pieces (front, back, left shoulder inset with part of collar, left and right sleeve) The right sleeve I designed as twisted, but the left will not be. My collar overlaps, and I have a left shoulder overlap that will close with a covered button, so I can get in and out of the top without stretching it out. My sleeves are slightly raglan at the underarm, with a gusset-like extension that goes down to the bustline. This fabric is lighter weight than it appears in these photos, and I need the stretch of it to make the design look the way it is supposed to, so I am adding a side zipper opening on the left. A bit of boning on each side seam will stabilize the top, keeping it from twisting out of place.

I started with the bias at the shoulder, and started wrapping and pinning in place.

I matched the grainlines, and made the shoulder inset.

I added the twisted sleeve, and am semi-flat patterning the other. Should be finished today. Quick project.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

How to knit using a cable needle

Why do people cut corners, when the corner being cut is such a tiny inconvenience?

I spent this morning with my father-in-law, learning to make codfish cakes, because I love them so... He is an excellent cook, and prepares wonderful food from his home (Bermuda), and seems to know everything there is to know about preparing fish, which is not my strong suit. So we had planned our "date" for this morning, during his visit at our place, to teach me how to make the cakes. I call them "cakes", because "codfish balls" doesn't sound very good, does it?

I hesitated to try making them for so long, because I didn't understand the procedure for soaking the dried salted cod. Turns out, it is very easy, and completely worth the time you need to dedicate to it. I just needed a walk-through. They were delicious, and now I know how to make them.

Can you believe... yes, this is another post about the scarf. Bear with me -- I'm obsessing.

I found a million ideas on knitting shortcuts on the web. Ways to avoid using a cable needle (a $1.75 item, by the way)... ways to make things go faster, contraptions...whatever. Why? Knitting, like sewing, is about the PROCESS and the resulting specificity of the product. If you want something fast, just go to the store and buy it, right?

I had to create this post because I had such a hard time finding a clear explanation of how to use a cable needle myself... and the search terms a novice knitter would use weren't taking me there. Besides, I don't know anyone within a reasonable proximity who knits.

See the video below...

Okay, if you can get past the fact that one of these women clearly doesn't have enough clothing on (...?), although she sports a scarf... and they are so giddy that I wonder if a little pharmaceutical help wasn't aministered... this is a clear enough explanation for me.

If you are out there in the blogosphere, Ladies featured in this video, and happen to see this post, just know that you achieved your goal -- your video was both entertaining and informative... but I do wonder what is up with the wardrobe, woman on the left...

It did give me a giggle, though.

Now, on row 14 of my test run, I can see that this pattern will work for me, and it is making sense. This is my test yarn (part of my 6-year-old daughter's supply), so I would have to make an appropriate choice, so the coils will "read" well.

I can see it setting up like a raised ridge that sits on top of the knitted background, and my strands are just at the first intersection, so I can tell that I am reading the instructions correctly. hard to photograph, becuase I can't catch it at the right angle, but it feels good so far...

So, I was thinking... if I were to come up with my own (sewn) version of this scarf, I think I would make winding trails of passimenterie or cording on a cozy sweater knit or velvet fabric. Maybe I'll add that to my list.

Overtired, overloaded, overwhelmed.

This year brought an avalanche of gifts to our home. Friends, relatives, therapists, teachers, clients and everyone else remembered us this year. I was very happy to get the gifts, but felt really guilty that I just didn't have the time or the energy to reciprocate.

When I tried to enter FAO Schwarz on December 22, (Yes, I should have known better...) this is the line I would have had to join. I just couldn't bear it.

Since my family is so large, we agreed to draw names and exchange gifts with one adult family member, and give gifts to all of the children. I don't know who drew my name; I got gifts from almost all of the adults in my family... including the divorced members!

When I spoke to one of my sisters (I have three) on Christmas day, she gently reminded me, "That's what thank-you notes are for..."

She's right.

Rather than scramble to the nearest Barnes & Noble for a pile of gift cards, or rev up the sewing machine, I will simply write heartfelt thank-you notes to all of the people who showered us with gifts this year.

I'd like to thank the academy...

When I was in high school, I crocheted a pink and grey sweater, by making long strips in the afghan stitch, and sewing them together. The sweater had sort of a Japanese, Miyake-esque thing going on, and it took me a full summer to create. By the end, I was so sick of that yarn and the repetitive motion, that I promised myself when I finished, I would never knit or crochet a sweater again.

That is why this project appealed to me. See earlier post for details.

Small enough to complete within a reasonable time frame, cool enough not to get bored, and a pretty complicated stitch pattern (for me, at least).

We have had house guests this week, so my creative time needed to be social. Good opportunity to knit, right?

Well, let's just say it has been a comedy of errors. I'm using practice yarn, though. I really like to take on big challenges... it is fun to decipher a knitting pattern, which might as well be Greek for me, since I am really learning these stitches for the first time.

So far, I have cast on the wrong number of stitches...

Funny, I thought I could count. I must be tired.

Well, anyway -- pulled out two rows when I noticed my mistake.

THEN, noticed that although I was reading the charted pattern from bottom to top... I had been reading LEFT to RIGHT on every row.

Oops, oh, okay, I get it... ripped it all out.

Learned what a cable needle is...

And why I really will need one...


And... with the help of these videos, got some idea of what I need to know...

Wow, this really will take a village. Did I mention that I am only working on the small trial before embarking upon the actual pattern?

Monday, December 24, 2007

On the value of customization...

Happy Holidays to all!

Funny how something that is almost right can become exactly right, when you customize it yourself...

We considered doing without a tree this year, since we knew the flashing lights and breakable ornaments would be distracting for Aaron, but then an idea hit last week... what about a tree with no flashing lights or breakable ornaments? Nadine loved the idea, and really wanted a tree both she and aron could enjoy. So we got a little tree, and I bought lots of white ribbon and white steady lights, tied a bunch of bows, and attached them to the tree. This picture was taken before it was all done, but this is the general look of our special Autism Christmas tree...

On Friday night, we went to my husband's Christmas party in Manhattan. Since I don't get out much, I thought it best to wear something I already owned. On Friday morning, my husband insisted that I should go shopping. I knew not to take it personally; he just wanted me to feel special.


My favorite store for special occasion clothes (that I don't make) is Nordstrom. I set out with Aaron to find something do-able. I wasn't shooting for the stars; just something appropriate and flattering. On my way to Nordstrom, I decided that I should try an outlet store... just to check... and I stopped in at the Nordstrom outlet, "The Rack" at The Source Mall. (If you've been to Westbury, LI, you know where I mean)

I hate shopping. I really do.

I knew my time was limited, since I had Aaron and the stroller with me, his patience for shopping is really short, and my ability to carry a lot and navigate busy stores would be limited. I really wasn't expecting much.

But then... from across the store, tucked in-between silky baby-doll dresses, and strange, trendy, printed things, this dress beckoned...

Well, we all know ready-to-wear frequently isn't.

This dress fit perfectly, but was long, and sorta "prom-y". I lopped off eleven inches with my rotary cutter, and roll-hemmed the lining and red silky layer. Paired the dress with black, spiky heels and silky black hose, and felt like a million bucks.

The alteration took 1/2 hour, and the dress had been marked down multiple times... all the way to $32.

I kid you not.

Oh, and I couldn't help but pick up this little Eileen Fisher velvet jacket/top I passed on my way to the cash register.

Total shopping time? About 20 minutes.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

In my dreams... (if I had several lifetimes...)

If I had unlimited (or less limited) time and resources... here are what my creative pursuits would be...

I would go on great sewing and design retreats, come back home, write reviews, books and magazine articles, apply my skills, and eventually, teach. As my family's life changes, I hope to be able to do at least one of these things...

I take a course at the Royal School of Needlework in the UK.

I would take a bra making course in Canada.

I would go to Paris with Susan Khalje.

I would go to New Mexico to take a course with Fred Bloebaum.

I would go to North Carolina to take a course with Linda Stewart.

I would take a moulage class with Kenneth King. Well, I wouldn't have to leave home for this one... but I would need time I don't have...

... oh, and a millinery class in the UK.

I would get an MFA in Curatorial studies from FIT.

I probably know too many dressmakers; I'm aware of faaaar too many sewing events...

Oh, and I would organize and manage the creation of a dressmakers' calendar (imagine the Pirelli calendar meets the Vionnet book), featuring beautiful photographs of custom-made creations, and get it published and sold in a quality art bookstore like Rizzoli.


And oh! I would also take cooking classes in France and Italy... but I digress...

But, seriously, in my real life, today, I updated the site, and added a gallery-like sequence of dressmaker websites, to give visitors a taste of what kind of work the dressmakers on the site can do.

By the way... I fell in love today... had to buy it. Not too bad, I'm not enlarging my stash... just bringing it back to where it was before the last few things I made...

This fabric looks cozy, doesn't it? I'm not sure what it will become yet, but it belongs with me... Ya know, it's a shame there's a fabric store along the walk between home and Dunkin' Donuts. It turned my morning walk with Aaron into an accidental shopping trip. See what damage the desire for a nice morning coffee and a bit of "fresh air" (by NYC standards) for my son and I can do?

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The blogging world is flat... (5 random things about me)

This post was inspired by Lisa Call, whose blog is a very interesting read, and whose art is even more beautiful.

Five random things about me... hmmm... that's hard. Does anyone really care? Here's a departure from the format... I will share some facts I think are interesting, about me, about you, and not about me, and maybe not so random, and hope you are entertained.

As a native New Yorker, born to a passionate airline employee, I have always had a global view. Spending so much time travelling, and truly exploring JFK airport, where my Dad had his office, sparked my global interest.

I have worked on both the export and import sides for fabric and apparel companies, and my love for foreign foods is endless. I am a falafel maniac lately, and have discovered that I no longer need to make my own tahini sauce. Annie's Goddess dressing has most of the same ingredients! I also looove going out for sushi.

Food and art together on a plate? C'mon!

I have learned by selling random things on Ebay that there is nothing you can't sell, if you open yourself up to a global clientele. The only hassle of selling internationally is the customs form, but they aren't hard to complete, and it is truly worth the trouble. So yes, the world is flat, and we are all interested in one another. Our unique tastes and points of view are worth sharing with as many people as care to "listen".

(Hang in there... this post will eventually be about sewing, too!)

In 1990-1991, I lived in Paris for a year. This is one of the reasons I enjoy Isabelle's blog so much. I was an intern for a large oil company (long story), and a student. I was told a joke by one of my classmates at The EAP (a European Business School, that went something like this...

"What do you call a person who speaks two languages?"

Answer: Bilingual

"What do you call a person who speaks many languages?"

Answer: Polyglot

"What do you call a person who speaks one language?"

Answer: American

You probably already know this, but Google can translate sites for you, if you click the "translate" button. No great shakes? Well, consider this, you can search for blogs written in the foreign language of your choice, you can find them, read the translated version, and, if you feel so compelled, submit your translated comments! (You can have Google do this for you, too!) Keep it simple, though, since, if you don't know the language at all, you will not know whether you need to fix some words in the translation, turning it all into nonsense.

I am about 75% fluent in French, if I am speaking. I understand about 80-90% of what I hear under normal circumstances, (significantly less if we get into technical sewing terms) but my writing is only about 50%, because of grammatical, spelling, and syntax errors. But the translations are far from perfect. When looking at French blogs about sewing, I see that every time the word "pattern" is translated, in English, the word "boss" is written in its place. The reason is, the word for "pattern" (like a sewing pattern) and the word for "boss" (like one you'd work for) are the same, and the Google translator doesn't consider context. This is an obstacle, which I guess is surmountable if there is a "wikipedia-like" involvement of the masses to fix translations.

Well, anyway, my reason for posting this, is that creativity, and the desire to share it, is universal. I have found that many France-based, French-speaking people seem to have a great love for Japanese fashion, as do I. Translating various blogs opens up a whole new world of information, inspiration, and possibilities.

You can also add a "translate" widget to your own site, to invite those who do not speak your own language.

Following, are some great examples from my web-travels today.

This one has lovely pictures, enthusiastic and colorful.

And, because I've got curtains on the brain, this one caught my eye.

And this one, particularly for the I-Pod armband, breadbasket and chopstick-holder ideas.

And dare I say... there are millions more out there????

The golden prison (new curtains)

As I thought about writing this post, I vacillated between... "No, I can't write that!" and "Yes, I absolutely should write that!" While this is a blog anchored in sewing and creative subjects, the point really is the bigger picture thinking that goes along with it.

After all, "Here are my new curtains" risks being about as compelling as, "Have you met my cat? Isn't he cute?"

(No offense to cat lovers out there... I know what it is to love my own pet... well, you know what I'm saying...)

So, after waaaaay too much thought, I have recently put up the new curtains I made.
Whether you love them, hate them, or feel nothing in particular, they cast exactly the golden glow I was going for, and add a warm hug to our living room.

My Autistic two year-old is making incredible progress with his therapies. Every day, an army of therapists march through our home, helping Aaron to snip Play-Doh with scissors, string beads, put puzzles together, balance and walk on a row of thick beams, develop the skills to pronounce the words he knows, pay attention and follow directions, and so much more... He is truly a different child than he was when we started in April. He looooves being read to about as much as his sister did at his age. (We are about 20 books into the day already... no, I'm NOT kidding)

So, with all of these therapies, my opportunities to leave the house for any recreational reasons, are limited. I have started to research babysitting options. Okay, since Aaron has significant safety awareness issues, tends to choke and gag on food if not closely supervised, has considerable mobility issues, and has sensory problems that can set off random tantrums, we would really need someone qualified to deal with that stuff.

For any quality person to take on such a job, money would be a motivating factor, and she would need to have a regular schedule. Problem is, who would be qualified, willing AND only need part-time work? The kicker, is that she can't be elderly, because she has to be strong enough to physically handle Aaron.

I would also have to have the patience to train such a person, take her on in the Mommy's helper role until we were both comfortable, AND make sure she knows CPR and the Heimlich maneuver... well, it is a second job for me, too!

I hung the curtians up before hemming them to check the "feel", and asked my 6-year old, Nadine, if they looked a bit crooked. "Yes," she replied, "and perfect."

My husband worries about any stranger caring for my son. I understand that, but every single person you've never met is a "stranger". All of Aaron's therapists were once "strangers". We have to start working on involving someone else in our lives, before I go stark raving mad...

So, in the past few weeks, being hit with the realization that Aaron will require special supervision for years to come, most likely, started to scare me. So, we were in a fabric store, and I saw the striped sheer fabric with the gold bars. I chuckled to myself, and thought it would be the perfect addition to my "golden prison". I hope there is a person out there who can really help our family, giving me a break to just take a walk by myself, have a cup of coffee by myself, go to the movies with my husband without requiring the kids to be asleep... you know... real life.

So, as Nadine has reminded me, our life is crazy, busy, demanding, complicated, and yes... "perfect".

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reasons to knit

This DNA helix scarf caught my eye... I love the idea of using this symbol of our specific and unique genetic fingerprint to adorn an article knitted specifically and only with one wearer in mind. Love it... Click here for a Wikipedia link, if you are feeling "sciencey"...

Note: I did not make the scarf pictured above - this post is about WANTING to make it...

I'm not a knitter, but I do know how to cast on and do very basic things... the straight-forward knit, purl, cast on....

I happened upon that wonderful scarf pattern (example pictured above), and it has inspired me to learn to follow a knitting pattern, and I also want to make use of my beautiful knitting book, that teaches from the ground up... it really should be used, not just read...

Yes, you read it correctly -- 1892! Think this info might be tooo old for present-day patterns? Or have the abbreviations always been the same? If you know, tell me, okay?
Great, neat, common-sense illustrations and explanations - very easy to understand.

Once upon a time, I worked for Vogue Patterns, where the Vogue Knitting magazine was also published; I even attended their Wednesday lunchtime knitting lessons they gave for the staff... and never made a thing...

I outta be ashamed.

I did fall in love with a sweater pattern in one of the issues, though, and paid someone in the knitting dept to knit the pieces for for me, and then crocheted them together myself. I still wear it now. It's been about 11 years, I think.

(It is only on a hanger for the photo.)

So... Even my husband thinks that scarf is cool... I think that's a sign... It appeals to the science-lovers in us. Now, it is about #10 on my creative to-do list.

So, I've got a reason to knit now. Well, maybe not RIGHT now. (smile)

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Allegory of the Cave...

A few nights ago, I was watching the shadows of the city lights outside, dancing across our bedroom wall, and I turned to my husband and asked, "What do you think the lesson of Plato's Allegory of the Cave was meant to be?" He said "Well, probably... no matter how hard you try, you just can't make some people see things your way." (And yes, we have conversations like this all the time...)

If you are unfamiliar with the story, it describes a dark cave, dimly lit with a roaring fire. Prisoners are chained in a restrictive position, so that they can only see shadows on a wall, being cast by the figures behind them. Because of their limited view, it appears that the shadows are real, and that the voices they hear are coming from the shadows. A prisoner who was able to escape, leaves the cave, and experiences sunlight and the outside world, then returns to the cave to "enlighten" the others... But they dismiss him, thinking he is crazy, and that his eyesight has been damaged by the sunlight. This is just a quick condensed version of the story, but it is truly food for thought.

People sometimes ask me why I would want to make things that are so easily bought. "Why would anyone want to make slippers?" they ask. Until this moment, I thought that maybe one of us (but who knows which one...?) was the cave-dweller, who just couldn't imagine the other person's way of thinking.

Turns out, after thinking about it, and rereading Plato, that isn't it at all!

The problem, it seems, is in our wide definition of "slipper".

Further reading in Plato's Republic analyzes art, truth and imitation. Assuming there is only one true Creator of all things, everything else is imitation, right?

So an approximation of a generic foot, generates a standardized pattern, which gets produced, yielding a product that you can then buy, called a "slipper". While this is a perfectly valid way to obtain a slipper, an alternative way to develop a "slipper", is to obtain the measurements of the intended wearer, find something that is beautiful to the person who will wear it, and create it according to its intended purpose and unique design. This can also be called a "slipper", but it really just isn't the same thing.

This idea goes back to my post about spider webs, and the beauty of unique, specific, ergonomic design. I no longer seek to convert people to my way of thinking; it is enough for them just to know that making things is something I do, because I love it, and it is meaningful to me.

Sure, you can buy a shirt or make one, but the one you make isn't just a shirt, is it? I mean really, what you want is never an exact duplicate of what you can actually buy, is it?

So, if I haven't lost you, and you haven't yet decided that I am completely off my rocker, here is some proof of that idea.

So, what is this? You might have seen this fabric, which was wildly popular about 7 years ago, and was ushering in a kinda new color scheme at the time... Plus that it conveys such a happy mood, and a great attitude. So for me, at a time when I was feeling optimistic and VERY pregnant, I bought this fabric, and created a baby bag...

I wanted to carry this mood around with me all day, and that was reason enough to create this bag, using this fabric, and I used a layer of clear vinyl on top, and a canvas totebag beneath to sandwich the layers without needing to create a pattern. Heavy snaps made it very easy to open and close, and the vinyl coating kept me from worrying about getting it wet in the rain. I carried it until I no longer needed it, and it really seemed to brighten the day for me, and for others.

So my point is... if it means something to me, it needs to be created just as much as I need to create it. I really can't explain why, so I'll just continue to live it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Creative jouneys

Every Saturday morning, tour buses roll into my neighborhood. They come from Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Philly... Long considered a shopping magnet for the urban teen and young adult market, my new neighborhood is broadening its horizons, due to the recent passing of a HUGE rezoning plan. We are the hub of the AirTrain from JFK airport, a hub for the Long Island railroad, and soon to be home of a new Macy's JCPenney, Trader Joes, new hotels, and new schools. It feels like they are fixing EVERYTHING at once.

By the way, I have never seen so many sneaker stores in my life... who knew there were that many brands to choose from? And collectible VINTAGE NIke Air Force Ones???? How out of touch am I?

The fabric stores in my new neighborhood reflect the unique cultural mix of this area. The colors of India, the warmth of the Carribean, the vibrancy of Latin America, and absolutely EVERYONE else are reflected in the offerings of the fabric stores near me. Within a three block radius, these are pictures from about half of the stores on those few streets... what I snapped on this morning's walk, with my two-year old at my side!

Aside from this, the biggest appeal of this neighborhood, is that I am now close to my beloved library, which had circulated the highest number of books and other library materials in the country since 1994, and is the second largest public library in the U.S. in terms of size of collections. If there ever were a perfect library, this one is it...

And, completely off-topic... I must share with you, a song that is so lovely, it just makes me want to melt, by
Colbie Caillat . Is it just me?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


At Seth's Blog, a very popular business blog, Seth tells his blog fans specifically to subscribe to his blog. It never occurred to me to do that. So, if you like this blog, subscribe. Readership is the motivation to write more posts.

If you don't know how to subscribe or what that means, see Seth's explanation of what that means, and why you would want to subscribe to the ones you want to visit again!

If you held the microphone...

I have this thing about T-shirts...

I often see T-shirts with funny sayings, snarky comments, sometimes offensive, yet hilarious statements... and I think to myself "Would I want that to be my message of the day?" The answer is usually "No", unless I would be willing to let a stranger make a snap judgement about me based on that T-shirt.

So, sometimes, when I sit down to write a blog entry, I imagine that the whole world is silent, and that there is one universally understood language. I step up to the podium, and take the microphone... I have just a few minutes to make an impact.

What do I say?

If I say it, what is my goal, my pupose, my wish for everyone within earshot?

Well, I probably already said some version of it in my post on Lacemaking and What We Can Learn from Spiders. There is something so unique and special about a spider's own ergonomic study that leads him/her to design and create their own custom web; it speaks so beautifully to our unique desire to create beautifully customized garments and furnishings for ourselves. It explodes from our souls in even the most dismal of environments and circumstances. It is a necessary communication, and, as much as we need to create, the things we create NEED to be created.

If the world handed you a microphone, what would you say?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wedding dress kit?

This weekend, I read an article in the online version of New York Times that blew my mind...

Who thinks this stuff up?

Someone has actually applied for a patent for a "Wedding dress kit", which allows brides to mix and match elements of their "dream dress" -- a sleeve here, a skirt there, and take it to a dressmaker to be made.

Ummm... okay... why is this patentable?

Ideas... we dressmakers see many. Are they all executable? No. Are they all good? No. Are they all practical? Within the brides price range? Suitable for the fabric choices? For the body type of the bride? No.

Giving a dressmaker a group of elements to assemble for you, is like giving a chef a group of ingredients and not acknowledging the endless variety of possible outcomes that could result. It is like giving a pilot a destination without a flight plan. It is like... well, you get the idea.

What this sounds like to me, is a "dream kit". Heck, I could do that. Sounds like a good idea... but I don't see how that could possibly work. Your thoughts?

Monday, November 19, 2007

On fatal design flaws...

I've had this pattern for along time, mostly because I keep thinking I must be missing something about this dress.

It really appeals to me, but I can't imagine how this dress, cut the way the pattern recommends, and using the recommended fabrics, could possibly work on a body that moves.

This deep back is really lovely, and would make a great vacation dress, but...

The pattern for the body of the dress is THREE pieces, and the contrast bands, are another two. It has no waist stay, front boning or support of any kind, and no underwires or bra cups are called for at all. The recommended fabrics are denim, gabardine or linen. The front of the dress has a high, square neckline and shoulder straps spaced far out on the shoulder.


I can't imagine who could wear this, and still lead a life, bend over, reach for anything... unless she relied heavily on double-stick body tape... what would hold this dress on your body?

Have any of you ever seen a low-backed garment that didn't make up for it in structural support at the waist, and the front and/or sides?