Sunday, July 27, 2008

80s flashback

I've been tagged by Kim for the 80s meme. Posting an embarassing photo of an eighties moment seemed like a must and looking back through my photo pile there were some doosies. I definitely could have used a little Style Council. Ann, Deborah, Lisa, Michelle, you are tagged if you feel like it. Here are the rules:

1.Expand on the questions as much as you can. It makes it more fun for the rest of us.
2.Show us your hair, whether it be preppy or skyscraper bangs. Post some photos and make it fun. We promise not to laugh, we have them too!
3. If you get the meme from a blog, leave a comment on that person's blog so they can see your responses.
4. Post links to any videos from YouTube to your blog that help you and your readers to relive the 80s. Here's mine: AHA, Take on Me
5. Party like it's 1999.


Here are the questions:

1. Preppy or Rocker: New Wave-ish disaster followed by Hippie


2. Z Cavarricis or Guess Jeans and Espirit or Benetton?: Esprit I guess, and if I could remember the name of that Italian jeans company whose logo was the two people sitting back to back, it would be that.


2. Favorite songs of the 80s. Take on Me by Aha

Pathetic, I know, but that's the first thing I think of when I think of the 80s. For some reason their video where they go in and out of being illustrated and photo real was a very seminal thing for me. Below is not necessarily my favorite songs but ones that really remind me of the 80s.

  • “You Can Get it if You Really Want” Jimmy Cliff
  • “It's My Life” Talk Talk
  • “Careless Whisper” George Michael
  • “What is Love” Howard Jones
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen
  • “Sultans of Swing” Dire Straits
  • “Smooth Operator” Sade
  • “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner” Black Uhuru
3. Most Annoying Pop songs of the 80s. Anything by the Cars


4. Hair Metal or Heavy Metal- Who was your favorite performer and favorite song?
I had a thing for AC/DC for awhile. Hells Bells.


5. What posters were on your bedroom wall or college dorm room? I had a poster of the young and super sexy Richard Gere. That is the only poster of I guy that I have ever had on my wall.


6. What concerts do you remember most from the 80s? Jackson Browne, that was the first concert I ever went to. Howard Jones. UB40 on the Boston Common. Black Uhuru.


7. Favorite 80s movies. Pretty in Pink, Dirty Dancing, anything with John Cusack in it, Blue Velvet, Fame, Micki & Maude


8. Favorite 80s movie quotes: I can't seem to remember any quotes.


9. Top 3 most memorable pop culture moments of the 80s for you:

(1) Watching the '84 presidential elections. It was the first time I could vote. (2) Pro choice rally on Washington (3) duh, is my memory so bad that I can't remember anything else? Does listening to "No Sleep til Brooklyn" in a boyfriend's car count?


10. Favorite 80s cartoon Were there cartoons in the 80s?

11. Favorite 80s commercials:
The Clapper, clap on, clap off. That was from the eighties wasn't it?


12. Boy George or Wham? Wham, with the white gloves on.

13. Favorite one-hit wonder AHA, Take on Me

14. INXS or Depeche Mode: Depeche Mode, but what about Duran Duran and "Girls on Film"?

15. Poison or Warrant:
I don't think these two bands ever even crossed my conciousness.

16. Did you ever meet a rocker or 80's pop icon? Where were you?
I saw Debbie Harry on Canal St. in NY. She looked exactly like herself and was very intense.


17. Snap bracelets or Jelly bracelets? I totally missed this trend.


18. Fess up. Who had the garden weasel bangs? Did you ever measure your wall o' Aqua Net love?
No hairspray, but I did go through a bad perm phase, pics to follow.

19. Favorite 80s TV shows: Love Boat, Three's Company.

20. Is Jon Bon Jovi still hot or what? And is Axel Rose just chopped liver?

21. "Double Dare" or "You Can't Do That on Television" . Missed these shows altogether. I didn't watch too much TV after the summer before college when I was trapped at my grandparents house and watched many reruns of Love Boat and Three's Company.

22. Who was your favorite Brat Packer?
The boys didn't interest me so much, but Molly Ringwald, there was just something slightly repellent about her that I just couldn't keep my eyes off of.


23. Jellies or Reebok Pumps Neither. I had some leather earth shoe type moccasins that I fear were very unflattering.


24. Favorite pizza parlor arcade game. Pong.


These pictures are so embarassing that I shouldn't be allowed to post them at all. Here I am in the prairie skirt and the shirt with the high collar (second from the right). What WAS I thinking? Even at the time it felt like a costume to me. I don't think I wore it more than a couple of time.


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Really bad jacket, really bad permed hair. No wonder the three guys that I asked to the prom all turned me down.

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Late 80s, looking a bit better. Maybe it was college, maybe it was having boyfriends that improved my appearance, but I still managed to stick an ugly barette with plastic pearls on top of my head.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A shout out to the Chebeague Island Ladies' Aid

I've been wrestling with making mitered squares while I was away this past week. Debbie New makes it look soooo easy in her Unexpected Knitting and I figured it would be a cinch. In her book she describes how to knit them with circular needles from either the outside in, or the inside out and you can use one, two, or three circular needles, or if you are a real numbnut you can use dpns. Well, I guess I'm a numbnut. I really wanted to knit from the inside out because you can make it any size you want but it was fiddley beyond belief with my solo circular needle. They only way that I could wrap my mind around it was to knit from the outside in with a set dpns, which I didn't have with me. I put out a distress telephone call out to the Chebeague Island Ladies Aid and they saved me with a set of double pointed needles and included me in their weekly gathering.

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These ladies sure know how to party. Their lunchtime knitting included food, ice tea, ice cream and birthday cake! Now that's what I call knitting fun. They are in the final countdown to their summertime fair, which is August 7th, and have already knitted many fine items for sale. My children have worn countless things they have knitted over the years, like their hats, mittens, and sweaters. A particularly cherished one was a red popcorn hat, which had cables and bobbles on it. The Chebeague Island Ladies' Aid is also famous for appearing Robin Hansen's book, now published as Favorite Mittens, with their Chebeague Island Fisherman's Wet Mittens pattern. The pattern is for a thick pair of mittens that are continually felted as the lobstermen dip their hands in out of salt water while wearing them. After the book came out in the early 80s, orders for these mittens poured in from all over the country. Thanks ladies for saving me from a knitting nightmare and sharing a good time!

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Here is what I finally managed to churn out after getting my hands on the coveted double pointed needles. There are my three finished squares and I've picked up for another square on two sides and cast on for the other two sides. Maybe this will turn into an afghan. The cool thing about working this way is that I can just keep adding on squares wherever I choose, I could even change shapes and work in some rectangles. Once I block this I hope it will measure out to be about 13 inches total in width so I can add it to the Yarnplayers group knitting project on Ravelry. 13 inches was really the only guideline given for this and there is a possibility that I've already blown that. The fabric in the background of the fabric is Anna Maria Horner's Sketchbook from her Drawing Room collection for Free Spirit.

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I knit while I watch the tube. What I'm watching now: So You Think You Can Dance, Deadwood (on DVD), and Project Runway. Harakiri was almost necessary when I realized I had missed the first episode of Runway, but I'll catch a rerun. Deadwood is like Sopranos in the wild west, it's great. Swearengen is a very compelling character.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Uncle Ged

My Uncle Gerald, after a long career in NYC as an architect, retired to Maine where he was from. Well, he wasn't really my uncle technically but he was my grandfather's first cousin. So what does that make him to me, first cousin twice removed? I'll never understand all the twice, thrice removed, second cousin business and I don't think anyone else does either. Uncle Gerald didn't like being called "Uncle" and would once in awhile snort out "I'm not your uncle.", but it seemed too informal for me to just call him Gerald. Uncle Ged moved into his family's summer home and claimed a favorite corner with a saggy armchair where he drank a martini every day at noon, slayed us all with his wit, did the crossword puzzle, and worked some lovely needlepoint pieces that he designed himself. Below is his needlepoint of his house. I wish I had gotten some detail shots because the shading is incredible. I always think of him whenever I'm up there.


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Here is a shot of the house as it is now. My mother owns it and has put an addition on, but otherwise things there are very much the same.


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It was Girl Thing's birthday this week. I made a Red Velvet cake with 7 Minute Frosting, and Quick Spice Cake cupcakes with Lemon Icing from The Joy of Cooking. I keep my beat up 1986 edition of The Joy of Cooking around because it has how to skin and cook a squirrel in it. They have gotten rid of this very important information in subsequent editions, sadly. The Spice cake with Lemon Icing is a family favorite and has been made over and over again, but the Red Velvet cake was a must try for me after the killer cupcake that I shared with Kim. The recipe performed beautifully and popped out of the pan like no cake has ever popped out for me before. The Frosting also had great texture. The taste... eh. The cake and the icing flavor-wise just didn't have a lot of oomph. I wonder if it would have been better with cream cheese frosting? Girl Thing had a fabulous time at her birthday party and is becoming sassier every day.


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Monday, July 7, 2008

Sahara finished!

Sahara is finally a finished object, hooray!

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Here is the general rundown: The pattern is Sahara by Stitch Diva, I made the medium. The yarn is Bonnie's Bamboo (100% bamboo) in Terracotta from Farmhouse Yarns, 6 skeins, purchased at Purl (in a yarn frenzy with Kim). Size 5 bamboo dpns for the stockinette stitch and size 4 bamboo dpns for the diamond rib. Unblocked gauge in stockinette with size 5 needles is 5.5 stitches to the inch, blocked gauge of same in 5 stitches to the inch. No major modifications other than adding two increase rows to the hip and working that increase section every six rows instead of eight.

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The yarn is really the star here, Bonnie's Bamboo is to die for. It produces an incredible soft, silky, and very drapey fabric. It is heavy stuff so it definitely pulls the garment earthward. The yarn loosens up considerably after blocking so Sandi Wiseheart's "the swatch is king" mantra was echoing through my head the whole time. I hate knitting with cotton because it roughs up my hands and shows every boo boo, but not so with bamboo, I have finally found my summer yarn. My only beef is that during blocking (bamboo takes a crazy four days to dry) some of the dye migrated to the bottom hem of the sweater, in the front only. This isn't so obvious in the pictures and isn't really terrible, it gives it an ombre look. I wonder if I wash it again, will it come out? Or, should I have flipped the garment after a day or so of drying? Any idea all you Yarnies?

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The ribbing is gorgeous. I was tempted during picking up the neckline to just do a seedstitch instead, but I'm glad I didn't. The pattern calls for going down two needle sizes for the ribbing and I probably could have done that because it's pretty stretchy. The twist in the diamond rib is K3 through the back loops but I worked them through the front. I know the effect is slightly different but this was just much easier to do with the not-so-stretchy yarn.

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Even the back looks nice. The Huz says this is the best thing I've ever made so that makes up for the big price tag of the yarn. I thought this was a great pattern and would use it again, maybe the next one will be in alpaca. The pattern does take into account that the yarn is going to stretch rather than tighten up after blocking, so I would probably go up a size and reposition where the bust decreases begin if I was knitting it in wool.

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I spent my 4th of July weekend catching up a bit on my War and Peacealong. No knitting for me for four days=withdrawal, which was combated with lots of potato chips.

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