Eating Downtown.

May 27, 2008

Everyday Living

“Women shoppers or employed girls frequently have occasion to dine in restaurants downtown. Some people are forced to eat all noontime meals away from home except on Sundays. This is unfortunate if the person does not know how to select an attractive place to eat, as well as a satisfactory and inexpensive meal. Many things must be considered in making a wise selection. Convenience, time, cleanliness, service, quality and variety of food, quiet, and cost are all important factors.

“A girl with a minimum wage should never select a tearoom where a tea-leaf reader tells fortunes. In the first place, the food may be expensive and inferior. One must pay for ‘fortunes’ that are silly nonsense and sacrifice food values essential for health.”

Everyday Living for Girls: A Textbook in Personal Regimen, L. Van Duzer (formerly Supervisor of Home Economics, Cleveland Public Schools) et al., published 1936.

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More from the Needless Stash Acquisition Department

May 25, 2008

I went to the Great Lakes Fiber Festival yesterday with friends/fellow knitters/accomplices Sandy, Megan, and Kristin. I sort of overdid it on the yarn buying. But so much prettiness could not be resisted! I am powerless before the pretty!

Flying Fibers Wensleydale

This is my favorite purchase of the day. It’s Flying Fibers Wensleydale sportweight. The colors are the wateriest blues and greens you can imagine. I looked at it and just said “ahhhh…” Peace in wool form. I’d really like to make a nice-sized rectangular lace stole with this. I have about half a pound, or 550 yards. Pattern ideas will be warmly received. I know I can do a Ravelry search. But, in a blatant ploy for comments, I’ll incorporate some interactivity in this post.

Briar Rose SonomaBriar Rose Sonoma

These two beauties are from Chris at Briar Rose Fibers. They’re two skeins of bulky-weight Sonoma, one in blues and greens and the other really very teal. They are destined to be a sweater vest. As was the case last year, the Briar Rose booth was gorgeously arranged with beautiful samples and all that beautiful yarn. It just made you want to take it all home, hole up in your house, and knit for weeks. Which I suppose was exactly the desired reaction.

And of course, I could not possibly resist the siren call of handpainted sock yarn.

Creatively Dyed Merino

Dianne of Creatively Dyed Yarns has been tempting the Knit Ohio Ravelry group with photos of the yarn she planned to bring to Wooster. Her booth was enormous and filled to bursting with more handpainted yarn than you can imagine. I am not certain if she sleeps. This sock yarn is a great happy combination of purple, pink, blue, and green.

So, yes indeedy, I totally overdid it. But it was a beautiful late spring day and, in the company of good friends and fellow fiber enthusiasts, it’s easy for the defenses to fall. All I need to do now is resist starting a stole with that Wensleydale.


More on Dressing

May 18, 2008

Several of you commented, and I had an email exchange with Ashley, about not thinking about what you put on in the morning. All hail, the people who dress on auto-pilot! You are in very good company. For example … Michael Kors. I remember hearing him answer a viewer question about this on one of those Project Runway season wrap-up shows. The viewer was suggesting that it was ridiculous that a fashion designer would wear the very same thing all the time. Presumably, wearing a plain black sportcoat and tee with jeans every day didn’t strike this viewer as a good marketing statement for buying designer clothing.

Kors’ response was that, as a young man, he wore all sorts of crazy things. But at some point, he found it easier to be creative in his designing when he wasn’t expending so much energy on his own wardrobe. So he figured out what looked good on him* and what was comfortable, wore that and stopped thinking about it.

I’ve got respect for that sartorial philosophy, especially the part about figuring out what’s flattering on you. I’ve tried to do this of late. For example, I have concluded that the crewneck looks awful on me. I am never happy with a crewneck.

But his response also makes another point: you have to choose your creative outlets. And that outlet ought to be something that is important to you, that you enjoy, and that inspires you. If getting dressed isn’t it, then, by all means, don those jeans and tees with pride. But wear handknit socks.

* Just an aside: I am a big fan of the sportcoat/t-shirt/jeans combo on men. Big fan.


Sartorially Speaking

May 13, 2008

Speaking of lateness, once again Laura is very, very late to the party.  I am probably the last shoe-obsessed, Project Runway-loving, handbag-enthusiast, dress-wearing girly girl in the world to start reading The Sartorialist.  Shameful, I know.  If only I had some of his pictures, this Cafe would really be a classy joint.  But, naturally, that would be wrong, so click that link and take a gander.  We’ll wait.

Ok.  Let’s talk about today’s look, entitled “Cold Spring Layering, Manhattan.”  I most emphatically would never wear this outfit.  The only piece she’s wearing that I own are black tights.  I might be allergic to metallic clothing.  And that elastic would have no business clinging about my post-childbearing hips.  But I love this madly, and here’s why.  She thought about it.

For this woman, dressing is not just something to do in the morning between showering and standing in line at the coffee shop.  It is a creative endeavor.  It is an opportunity for personal expression.  I guarantee you, she thought about the combination of textures and colors.  She thought about the way the rivets on the bag echo the metallic skirt.  Possibly, she thought about changing her shoes when she arrived at her destination.  If she grabbed these things blindly while brushing her teeth and just threw them on, I would posit that she is a sartorial savant. 

There seem to be a few kinds of looks that the Sartorialist features.  There’s the look that is primarily a testament to the wearer’s good taste.  Some of them seem to be mostly about attitude and effortlessness.  Some evoke a mood.  And, of course, because he is a great photographer, some of them are a little story in an image.

But I like the looks that seem to reflect the wearer’s personality and creativity, like today’s.  And this one.  And this one.  And these.  I find them inspiring, if not in the details, then in the spirit.  I get dressed every morning.  Why not make it an event?


Late. Very, Very Late.

May 10, 2008

Lisa\'s ClapotisIf we were giving out prizes to the person who “completed” her holiday knitting last, I think I would win.

This Clapotis was intended for my sister, as a Christmas present. I finished it about a week ago, just in time for the weather to turn. My sister does live in St. Paul, Minnesota, so she may still get some use out of it before October. This, in fact, was part of the problem … knowing that her winters are so long made it feel as though I had all the time in the world.

The yarn is that pseudo-Noro stuff that you can buy at Jo-Ann craft stores. It’s not bad; a little over-twisted in places, a little under-spun in others. And it started to look a little fuzzy even before it was done. But it’s soft and was definitely improved by a bath.

Lace Tee

And now, I am obsessed with the thought of pretty spring and summer sweaters. I think I queued 100 of them on Ravelry. I started the Shaped Lace Tee from Knitting Lingerie Style and it’s moving along.  As an aside, the book is incredibly lovely, with patterns for actual garments, not just underwear.  I highly recommend.  And if, like me, the idea of knitting an underwire bra intrigues you, you really ought to run along and pick up a copy.

I’m using Cotton-Ease and, while it’s more pleasant than dishcloth cotton, it’s not the most comfortable yarn on the hands. I am determined, though, to perservere. My goal is to have this done before, say, autumn.


Welcome to the Cafe.

May 7, 2008

TeacupAlmost three years ago, I started a knitting blog called Affiknitty. At the time, I was a married, stay-at-home mom with a five-year-old autistic son and a two-year-old (mostly) typically developing son. I rarely got out of the house. My relationships with other adults were largely limited to my parents and my older son’s therapists. My marriage was not working, I was isolated and lonely, and I needed a creative outlet. Knitting was one such outlet, but I missed writing. After finding other knitting blogs, I thought Hey, I could do that.

I never thought that anyone other than me would actually read it. But people did read it. At one point, I had lots of visitors every day (thank you, Eunny). People commented. They came back. I began reading very many blogs. I found many kindred souls and made many friends. And, if there was one thing I needed at that point, it was friends.

Since the summer of 2005, I have been through the lowest times of my life. But during this time, I also found the courage to change the things about my life that weren’t working. Today, I’m working again, as an investment banker, and I’m a single mom now. It’s a cliche at this point, but in my case it is true. Knitting taught me something important about life. Sometimes you just have to frog and start something new. It’s hard to take apart what you’ve made, but if you don’t, you’re just going to end up with a mess.

Since I started working, I’ve rarely posted at Affiknitty. Of course, part of the problem is that I have much less time. I’m not finishing knitting projects at the rate that I used to. But also, I sort of feel that Affiknitty represents a very different time in my life and that it’s time for something new. I’d like to keep blogging, but I don’t know that I can still maintain a blog that’s (almost) exclusively comprised of detailed posts on crafting. I was, until recently, pretty careful not to write about personal things on Affiknitty, but I think I might like to do that here. Sometimes, I’d like to write about Cleveland, music, autism, beer, investment banking, movies, food, or any of a number of other things that I currently find fascinating or frustrating or fun. But there will always be coffee, with wool.