Sunday, March 22, 2009

Quilting and Me

I have always wanted to quilt, but It's a bit terrifying to even contemplate. First of all, I already have my hands filled, so to speak. In my case, it's with yarn and needles and patterns - normally, at least 3 or 4 things going on at once. Secondly, I tend to fall in love too easily. While I love all forms of fiber and indulge frequently, I can be washed away in a moment when it comes to foulard prints, provencal colors, japanese fabrics and just about anything with words or letters on it. I bought a sewing machine and left it in the box for 2 years rather than begin the fabric feast. I knew that fabric would become what yarn has always been - a really big obsession.

So when I got an invite to the Empire Quilter's Guild biannual quilt show, I thought I'd go and live vicariously. We all know where this is heading, right? Right! Take a look at my newest inspiration - the selvage quilt:

While at the show, I met a neat woman named Karen Griska, who has made some incredible selvage quilts - which are easy to do, (she swears!), and long on impact. Go to Karen's blog:( and see what she has to say - and contribute - to this incredible art form. I am already beginning to think of who to tap into in order to get some selvages of my own. If I start small, perhaps I won't get carried away?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's been a week of interviews

...not for jobs - those seem to be in very short supply. I am writing a new feature for the Knitty City website, It's a monthly profile of fiber artists entitled, A Fiberous Life. Pearl Chin suggests some subjects , I suggest some, the knitters suggest some and, all in all, we hope to gather at least a dozen and get them up every month - mid month. The focus will not just be on knitters. We'll try and concentrate on a variety of fiber fanatics. Given the enthusiasm of people on the subject and the degree of involvement, we think we will have a lot of grist for the mill.

Last week, I met Sabrina Gschwandtner, ( who appeared at Knitty City, in February,to publicize the audio version of her book, "Knit/Knit: Profiles and Projects from Knitting’s New Wave” (Stewart Tabori & Chang, 2007)", which was done for Knitting out Loud (

I visited her at the Museum of Art & Design where she is currently an artist in residence ( She's doing an inspired project, utlizing 16 mm. film, from FIT, and machine quilting it. You can visit her there on Thursdays, 2-5; 6-9, during their open studio hours. She will be appearing until late April.

If you haven't been to the Museum at its new "home", don't hesitate. It's filled with light, and all good things. The new gift shop is terrific and you owe yourself a trip there - Take a peek at and check out the schedule and the blog.

Today, I went to Brooklyn and met up with Jared Flood, the designer, photographer and writer ( . His profile will be put up in April, but, with a little luck I'll start writing it today - before I lose the energy that I found while listening to him and having an early lunch at a neat coffee place in Greenpoint. It took 3 trains to get there and each one was "waiting" for me as I arrived in the station. I count that as serendipity of the best kind. Jared spoke about his philosophy that a blog must be focused and instructive on its chosen subject. As a person who tends to segue right, left and over the line, in my driving as well as my writing and talking, I found myself finding fault with my wandering ways. It's just that my chosen subject is so large - knitting AND New York and there's so much to say and to discover!

Hopefully, we'll discover it together, and in the meantime, check out the new offering on Knitty city, the class list and upcoming events. Spring is a great time to knit - you can do it outdoors now!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Boomer in the Fashion World

I returned to school a while back. I started off by taking some courses at SUNY. First, it was the serious stuff: Statistics and Philosophy - one extreme to the other, I figured. I fooled both professors and got A's. Then, I decided to take a few courses at F.I.T. and I fell in love with the place. It reeks of professionalism (among other things) but the good part (for me) is that you can't fool anyone there. They take themselves and the industry very seriously, which is how it should be. This is the real deal. If you love learning and fashion, be sure to check out their catalogue. You won't find a better resource.

I began by taking courses in Elements of Textiles and knitting on industrial machines and I got lessons in humility, fast. It's the first time, in years, that I have received less than an A in a class - and B's are hard on one's ego when, occasionally , one thinks oneself a smarty-pants. That's another illusion I have had to release quickly. It takes me twice as long to learn (and recall) as it did years back. Wonder if that has anything to do with "maturity" - Nah!

This semester I am taking a course on Textile Marketing - which is another good kick in the bottom since I spent almost 20 years marketing for very large brands in the entertainment business. Within the class, the Professor has broken us up into 3 presentation groups and my area is "organic cotton". Because I am the elder in the group, I think the others tend to look to me as being the ringmaster. No more ringmastering for me. I am intent on working in tandem. and not taking over. I have also taken another machine knitting course and this one has got me interested in additional applications for use.

I have had an intertesting week - interviewing some name brands from the knitting and textile world and setting up a new feature on the Knitty City website ( Last month I interviewed Xenbobia Bailey - a prolific and gifted crochet artist. She has taken the humble single crochet stitch and turned it into a super star in her clothing and installations. Here she is wearing a few examples of her work and looking like the creative goddess that she is

Coming soon: Sabrina Gschwandtner who is currently appearing (on Thursdays) at the Museum of Art & Design You have to get over there and see her demonstrate the creation of her current project (hint: unique quilting).

Monday, March 09, 2009

No touchdown yet

but she's working on it!

The Bunny is in the house!

Here's a picture of the finished bunny sweater - in colors that please Ella's mom - and, hopefully, Ella.

I took it, along with an assortment of presents, to Baltimore this weekend, where I visited with the birthday girl and her parents and grandparents. Before I left on Sunday, Ella and her dad met up for a game of touch football. As soon as she gets big enough to manage the ball, I'm sure she'll be in the game. For the moment, however, she has to content herself with being a mascot.
She does like to practice her running while on the sidelines. It's very sweet to witness.

After the "game", I drove back to NY and made a stop at my favorite store in the whole world: Trader Joe's. It's my idea of a good time these days. The only drawback is the horrendous crowds and lines - especially over the weekend. I understand there's a new one coming to 72nd and Broadway - a duplex! I hope they give Fairway a good run for their money - they could use the competition. It's interesting to me that despite the fact that TJ's is much smaller and has to stock all day long, they manage to do it with grace - unlike the Fairway store. It really proves that nothing beats training a staff well.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

My Eastern Shore Bunny

One of my favorite line of children's patterns is done by Roo Designs ( I am making one of the rabbit designs to celebrate not only Ella's 2nd birthday, but also the advent of Spring. Ella's mom (Nina) for whom the Nina Shawl was designed - go ahead and google that one - is very active in local Baltimore civic happenings. Every year the Downtown Baltimore Alliance sponsors a number of events for families and one of them is their annual Easter Egg Hunt. We figured Ella needed to look the part - hence the Rabbit Sweater:

I cannot recommend this sweet line enough. True, any experienced knitter can simply chart out a design on one of their favorite pullovers. That's beside the point. There's something so easy about having it on a little four sided piece which you can easily whip out when people ask you what you are working on. The various designs come in a variety of yarn weights. .

Another sure fire kid's line of patterns is featured in Amy Bahrt's book, "Creature Comforts". You cannot miss with any one of her designs, either. I made the giraffe blanket for a new little boy in Ella's life and I must say that it was the hit of the crib set.

Check out this book and the Roo patterns at Knitty City. I work for Pearl (most happily) and recommend the store wholeheartedly. ( for information and updates). If you love it as much as many of us, you might even consider joining the Ravelry group that is comprised of over 300 happy yarnies.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It's been a long, long time

...and much has happened since my last post - over 2 years ago! Much of it has been very traumatic, but some things have been very positive. Here's a picture of the most positive occurrence. She'll be 2 this month.

Her name is Ella. She's my daughter's daughter, aka: my grand-daughter! That's what happens when you are the world's youngest mother - Well, that's not actually so. I understand there's a few of us who had their kids young and find themselves in this place. People who know me well, know that I'm delighted. It just takes a while to get used to the title. She's a barrel of fun and she tends to get into some good trouble. She's also my favorite model, as one would imagine. The clothes are fast and easy to make and shaping is not an issue. Yes, I knitted her that sweater. It's made of ArtYarns Ultra Merino and it's wonderful to work with and, hopefuaally, twice as nice to wear. I will be updating regularly from now on. The "trauma" is not worth focusing on, so I will be looking ahead at new knits, current assignments and wonderful yarns. There will also be plenty of pictures. Here we go!