While I cultivated a fair number of work friends (two of whom I count amongst my friends today), I was a little different from the other girls. New to Manhattan, I made the most of the club scene, and my dress (while always polished) reflected a bit of my darker side. Lace-up Doc Martens and ever-changing hair were de rigueur for me. One of my co-workers (also a major unrequited crush) dubbed me Spooky Girl. Naturally, I adored the moniker, which only prompted me to continue to the envelope and push it further.
Sadly, my Spooky days are behind me. However, one day each year -- this day, Halloween -- I trot out the remnants of Spooky Girl. Although this 40-year old woman shows the world a softer side with her wacky bat earrings, know that inside she is still raging against the machine and ready to kick The Man in the shins with her combat boots.
30 October 2006
Vanity Thy Name Is...Uhm...Vanity
My taste in home furnishing is as eclectic as my taste in fashion. One part of me drools over Art Deco furniture, but I find American Arts & Crafts just as inspiring. I am very keen on the organic fusion of Frank Lloyd Wright, but I adore the charm of provincial styling: French, English or Italian. Maybe these are not as eclectic as I thought; they all share a certain elegance of line.
My boss offered me his antique vanity, and I offered to carry it home on my back. I planned to give my bureau to the kids and use the vanity and the armoire instead. No small feat.
In spite of embracing a "less is more" attitude, I still own a frightful amount of stuff. I am the Imelda Marcos of thongs -- all of which are sentimental, not functional (I bought these en route to Hawaii. Ooooohh...these are from a boutique in Cannes! Oh, these are from Rome; I bought these in Florence).
If you meet me on a windy day, you might just see London, or see France...
27 October 2006
Now that I am a suburban adult, Halloween is a rather disappointing affair. No parties. No costumes. Just annoying kids looking for handouts. I want to don a costume that walks the fine line between humourous and offensive and wake up thankful for Daylight Savings Time.
This morning, I had the unfortunate experience of discovering that it is not yet Saturday. The disappointments continued to rack up as discovered that the yarn I am using for Rhinebeck Weekend might actually be blue instead of a stone/taupe color. It seems that #13 is actually "Light Denim".
The thought of the time and store credit invested in knitting a lovely cardigan that I could never wear (blues on my sallow skin are a disaster) nearly reduced me to tears. As I teetered on the brink of emotional instability, I realized that I was checking the color chart for Aurora 8, not Aurora Bulky. With fingers crossed, I prayed that the numbers and colors do not correspond across the Aurora spectrum. Sure To my delight, they do not. I exhaled massive relief -- Aurora Bulky #13 is, Light Grey. Thus, the knitting continues.
I am riding a rather slow boat to Sleeve Island, but not due to dread. Rather, I have decided to modify the cardigan to have a more 1950s 3/4-length swing to the sleeves, and I am mulling over how to execute that without reducing the yarn to a pile of scrap or me to a pile of tears.
Other than a dance performance this evening, my other plan for the weekend is sorting out the sleeves on Rhinebeck Weekend -- unless I am issue a costume party invitation in the next twenty-four hours.
23 October 2006
Lamb & Cheese
Joe and I arrived rather late in the day, so I missed the Blogger Bingo/Meetup, which would have overwhelmed both Joe and me. In spite of a trained eye roaming for other knit bloggers, my sightings were limited. Saturday, Joe and I (literally) stumbled over Iris resplendent in her Teva Durham Tartan Jacket. Joe was doubly amazed; he thought it was woven, not knitted.
We spent more time in the Gem & Mineral Show and at the food vendor stalls than elsewhere. However, I did treat myself to a luxurious woven wrap of alpaca and silk. Other than that, Joe and I can only boast a haul of lamb and venison.
Spotting knit bloggers offline is a bit like seeing a celebrity taking out the trash -- context is lacking, and it is generally "too late" by the time you figure out who the person is. This happened to me with Ivete The Queen of Luxury Knits, whose Tramonto is so stunning in person that by the time my brain and mouth were able to function in unison, I simply croaked, "Chiagu". Thankfully, Ivete was miles past me by then.
I was more composed (and utterly out of my shy shell) when I ran up to Juno to introduce myself. She hugged me as if she knew me, and Stephanie hugged me because she remembered me. How she manages to keep us all in mind is beyond me. I must say that Juno is one of the most appropriately named people I have ever met. Standing next to her is like basking in the light of a regal goddess. She is unconsciously self-assured -- with just enough wackiness to let you know she is a mortal.
A small group from Yarn Central (Theresa, Sasha, Sharyn, Annelise and Mardel) met Sunday, and food and wine were high on the list for us as well. I went home with a bag of cheese and flavored hummus.
My yarn purchase was a mere two hanks of Creme Puff (a chunky yarn) from Decadent Fibers. I had admired, but resisted, their colors in the past. However, this year they reeled me in with a gorgeous display of Twisty Turns from Wrap Style. Mardel's hesitation was quickly resolved when another woman showed interest in the last two hanks she had been considering for her own Twisty Turn.
As quite a few of us in the Thursday group have Sizzle and Twisty Turn completed or in the queue, we joked about invoking a uniform dress code for upcoming events that we attend together.
20 October 2006
While I am calling this cardigan Rhinebeck Weekend, no one attending the 2006 New York State Sheep & Wool Festival will see it. Lest you forget, I live a mere 45-50 minutes from the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, thus I might be found meandering around the town in Rhinebeck Weekend any given weekend -- save this one.
As I have yet to master the art of adjusting the Space-time Continuum to suit my needs, I fear that my "Rhinebeck Sweater" will either be my favorite little vest from Vogue Knitting a few years ago or a sweet little vintage number. Even if I were to suspend all activities unrelated to knitting -- sleeping, eating, working, bathing and such -- Rhinebeck Weekend will not be Rhinebeck-bound this weekend.
19 October 2006
Could this ho-hum attitude be the result of lacking a designated "Rhinebeck Sweater"? Normally, not having something to show would roll off me, but this year has been a rather unproductive knitting year, and wearing a store-bought sweater just reinforces my feeling of being a knitting fraud. Given that I am planet's slowest knitter, chances are mighty slim that I will be prancing around in a new handknit. However, I like to see just how far I can push myself before my mind and phalanges snap.
I perused patterns that would make use of the twice-cursed Knitusa. After the fiasco with the Blue Sky Blobigan, I really wanted to throw this yarn in the trash, but waste not, want not. However, due to overuse, the Knitusa has developed a halo akin to a coating of dust bunnies, so it may well end up in the trash. I am in purge mode after all.
More ho-hum than my Sheep & Wool mindset was the finale of Project Runway. Music is an important part of any show. Laura and Michael got the music right; Jeffrey did not. I doubt that he cares now.
As for the collections, I loved Laura's collection, although it was nothing new. Michael's collection was like Kayne meets Big Daddy Kane. Jeffrey's collection was interesting, but not as thrilling to me as Uli's. That is a shocker, as I had dismissed Uli and her hippy-dippy housedresses early on. However, her collection (in spite of a small color disconnect between her solids and prints) nearly brought me to tears. She managed to create a collection of effortlessly chic clothing that could go from office to beach to cocktail party.
A word to the wise: mammograms and menstruation do not make good bedfellows.
18 October 2006
I am rather anxious to cast on a new project, but my knitting conscience would not allow me to cast on for a new project without tying up some loose ends.
Pattern: Mason Dixon Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono
Yarn: Manos Cotton Stria, #212 Mist (less than 2 full hanks)
Needle: Bryspun US #3/3.25mm
Gestation period: 09/21/2006 - 10/19/2006
The pattern called for ribbons to fasten the kimono, however, the ribbons struck me as too feminine, so I made a crochet chain fastener and sewed on a baseball button. For some reason, I have the notion that both parents are avid baseball fans.
Now that the longest quick project has come to an end...what next?
17 October 2006
Learning To Eat
The purging and streamlining continues, and even the cable and cable modem services came under scrutiny. While the idea of a house with out constant television programming is enthralling, no internet connection is unthinkable. I am far too reliant on the internet.
A prime example is my Weight Watchers online membership. I decided to cancel my account after my three-month package expired. I was able to record yesterday's breakfast and track my weight (-1lb.), but after lunch, I was locked out of the subscriber site. With no idea of the Points I had consumed and the Points I had remaining, I was beside myself. Lost. Floundering.
This brought up a number of thoughts:
- Given my weight and my 2005 cholesterol levels, can I pay for the program with my Flexible Spending Account?
- There are materials for counting and calculating points, but it is just more shit to schlep.
- Has calculating Points become a strange sort of eating disorder of its own?
- Is calculating Points really teaching me to intuitively "eat slim"?
One of the most interesting, and simple, approaches to weight loss is outlined in both French Women Don't Get Fat and The French Diet (I have already confessed to being a "Lifestyle of Geography" diet book junkie). Quite simply, food is all about pleasure, portion, moderation and compensation. Counting Points is teaching me portion and moderation, but where is the pleasure? When is the day when I can stop counting Points and rely on myself to innately portion, moderate, compensate and enjoy my food? I feel that counting Points has made me obsessive about food and is forcing me to focus on food in a rather unnatural and unhealthy way.
Maybe I should give the Weight Watchers Core Plan -- for people who find the idea of weighing, measuring and calculating counter-productive -- a drive around the block. Although this plan may result in slower weight loss, it seems to be organized for long-term success. A success in which you have lost your weight and learned "how to eat slim". Has anyone had success with this plan versus Flex (Points)?
I promise to knit something -- anything -- soon.
13 October 2006
While running errands before knitting, I decided to stop by the local consignment shop on the lark that a grey Ralph Lauren cashmere v-neck sweater would have survived one week on the wilds of Frumpland. Not only did I walk out empty-handed, I walked out nearly a full hour late for knitting. Choosing to look on the bright side, I congratulated myself on saving the money that I would have spent on that sweater, blissfully unaware that I was moments away from needing to fork over ten times the consignment value of that cashmere sweater.
Being a relatively novice car owner (for a 40 year old), I tend to either be dreamily unaware of noises and lurches, or I am frightfully hypersensitive to them. Later occurring most often at night as I drive the lonely, unlit country road without a mobile phone. I am an AAA member, but what good is a toll free number for roadside assistance when there are no roadside public phones?
The net of story: I had a flat tire. I spent well over 90 minutes in the parking lot of the consignment shop, waiting for roadside assistance. My attempts to phone home for someone to come and sit with me and/or drive me home should the car need to be towed were met with a never-ending busy tone.
The dark side: a new tire will cost me ten times the cost of the cashmere sweater that I should have bought when I saw it last week.
The bright side: I spent the bulk of that 90-minute wait reading and knitting. I also got a ride to work this morning, which translated into 25 minutes of knitting time.
The moral: Never pass up a bargain, particularly on cashmere. You will pay for it (in spades) later.
12 October 2006
I have not lost my knitting "mojo" or desire in a general sense. I would rather cook, read, chat with my family, or (for heaven's sake, take my temperature) clean when I at at home in the evenings. It seems that the act of knitting is now exclusively reserved for Thursday evening.
My goal is to finish the right front of the kimono this evening. I will not jinx my progress by stating that I will seam it tonight. I am not an over-achiever.
10 October 2006
I will say this: clearing books is nothing compared to the emotional landmine of clearing a closet. Three years ago, prior to shacking up with Joe, I succeeded in paring down my wardrobe considerably (give or take 50%). Over time, I accumulated more clothing (although I am not back to where I started). Between the newer purchases of "fat clothes" and the unused "skinny clothes", the armoire overflows. Roughly 15% of what I own fits, and less than 10% of that is “me”.
In a staggering display of strength and fortitude, I devoted a full day (minus lunch and an allergy medicine-induced nap) to “editing” my wardrobe. I examined everything (and tried on what I could) and asked: Do I love it? Does is flatter? Does it represent me, and is it the image I want to project?
At first, it was rather slow-going, but eventually, I found a faster groove. Who needs to try on two fabulous 1960s dresses (that do not fit) when all you need is a bit of high school geometry? A triangle does not flatter an hour-and-one-halfglass. After I finished with the armoire, I tackled my dresser, and my yarn stash!
Two full bags of clothing were donated to Goodwill and local firefighters. I had a fair stack of consignment-worthy garments, but the first available appointment at my shop of choice is mid-January! I decided to hold the spring garments (in the hall closet) for the appointment, but took an arm-load of sweaters to a different consignment shop.
I packed away my favorite pieces as “seasonal” (for they are from another season of my life -- the slim one) to be edited later.
At present, my armoire is a study in Frugal Frumpitis and Sartorial Schizophrenia. For instance, I own five bland, cream tops and a leopard jacket.
Not counting coats, wraps, and hand knits (which will be given the Nothing to Wear treatment in the very near future), I have roughly 25 wearable garments hanging in the armoire. Of the four skirts I kept, two of them are rather questionable in the Does is flatter? department, but they must stay for the short term. I have to cover my ass.
09 October 2006
Maybe it all happened too fast – the color consultation and the move to suburbia. Instead of learning to color me beautiful but edgy, I colored me too casual and comfy. Not that style and fashion require the squelching of comfort, but do I really need to discuss the slippery slope of oversized clothing and elastic waistbands?
Defining my style seemed a most logical prerequisite for Armoire Therapy to commence properly, but so deep is my style struggle that I simply could not do it alone. I bought a few of those self-help books that focus on defining style and streamlining closets. Perfect!
After answering eight (!) whole questions in Nothing to Wear, I pegged my personal style as Avant-garde/Whimsical or Whimiscal/Avant-garde. The fact that I was trying so desperately to pigeon-hole myself by answering eight questions amused Sharyn to no end. I would have seen the ridiculousness, but I was blinded by a burning desire to climb into my closet a frump and emerge a butterfly.
Do I have to tell you that there is a giant disconnect between my inner style and my inner armoire? Inside, I am a mad melding of Siouxsie Sioux, Cate Blanchett (although I’d say Miss Cate has a healthy dose of Chic in her Avant-garde!) and Maggie Gyllenhal. However, a peek into my armoire reveals a kinship with Minnie Pearl – at least the closes that fit me.
When I look at the clothing I have bought since my weight gain, I see a pattern: The clothing is extremely simple, if not dowdy. In effect, I have been caught in a fashion frump vicious circle. The fatter I got, the frumpier I felt/dressed; the frumpier I felt/dressed the fatter I got.
However, that is in the past. I performed some serious Armoire Therapy this weekend, and I am taking myself for a mini interim shop -- to put some style in the armoire and to celebrate a total of twenty pounds lost.
06 October 2006
I worked a few rows at knitting last night, and then I started perusing new books and the latest Vogue Knitting. At Sharyn's insistence, I put the distractions aside and focused my attention on the kimono. The left side done, but I have a feeling there will be no knitting over the weekend. Today is the first day this week that I carried my knitting to work. What gives?
Frankly, I am hesitant to start another project until I 1) finish Tubey and CeCe and 2) get my style under control. I found a few garments from my early knitting days (not that long ago), and it is clear that several of them have no place in my life.
Just as I have curtailed impulse purchases of "bargain" items that I never wore, I need to curtail getting caught up with the latest blog pattern, getting derailed by the newest Rowan, or getting seduced by some stripey yarn. No longer can I knit for the sake of knitting something; it has to be suitable. My projects have to fit me and my style.
This Wardrobe Therapy is shaping up to be a more difficult project than I had anticipated.
05 October 2006
Multiples of Forty
Did you know that you could have 20/20 vision and astigmatism? Until last Wednesday, I certainly did not. Is that possible? Obviously. I will say that I was prepared to hear that readers would be on my horizon, but the need for prescription reading glasses completely threw me!
Once upon a time, I was the marketing-cum-sales force for a company that designed readers and all manner of eyewear accessories. One of my many assignments was to find a photographer and the talent for a new catalogue and advert campaign. Nothing is more humorous to me than eyewear ads. There is some serious fun (Tommy Hilfiger), serious sex (Guess), or serious drama (anything Italian or a status brand) being peddled.
04 October 2006
If I cannot call my participation in Wardrobe Refashion 2006 a successful venture in refashioning, I can call it a resounding success in expanding my circle of crafty blog friends. Both Petula*Darling and Aiar have made my world a much brighter with fantastic email exchanges, as well as some little gifties.
Yesterday's post was the usual sale fliers and drivel bound up with a padded envelope from the Land of the Maple Leaf!
I was snorting with delight at the incongruity of such a gothic "dressing" for such a rollicking and riotous celebration of color within. Who is going to have the most delightfully fun and fancy needle holder made by the hands of a clever CorpGoth fabulous diva? I am! Wheeeeee!
And in the spirit of refashioning and multiple use, come the dreary dead of winter, I may resort to refashioning the needle holder into a wall hanging -- just to keep me focused on the brightness of spring.
03 October 2006
This week, I "celebrated" (WeightWatchersSpeak) reaching my 10% goal. Actually, I surpassed it. The fact that I have yet to see a change in my body, that I have 31lbs. to go, and that I have a wardrobe narrower than my thigh...well, it has me in a bit of a funk. At my current weight, roughly 10% of my closet is viable. That is some slim pickings, no? As rule, I do not indulge in retail therapy, but in this case, the addition of just two skirts to my wardrobe is almost medicinal.
My penance will be a little armoire therapy. It is time for a major armoire overhaul. The sort of day-long extravaganza that is best done when the apartment is empty. There is no way to gently assess the sartorial stagnation that has taken place. There is no way to gently purge a closet. There will be a fabric explosion. There will be trashbags, and there will be tears. There will be all manner of out-loud mutterings that my family shall not witness.
My goal? A reduction of 10%, naturally.