Thursday, May 31, 2007
In other snaffoo news, for those of you who bought the Mae Day sun dress pattern last week, please note that Row 6 of the smocking stitch pattern, is missing. It should read:
Row 6: Repeat row 2.
The error has been fixed in the downloadable pattern.
Sorry for the suckiness.
Hope we're still B/F/F's for always! ;-)
P.S. Did anyone watch the special, Craft in America on PBS last night? It was very cool and really built a bridge between "art" & "craft".
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
(Namesake: Portland Supercrafty)
(Namesake: Share Ross of Punk Knits)
(Namesake: Sandi Genovese of DIY Scrapbooking)
Still up, new colors in LOVE. Stay tuned!
In other, unrelated news: I just signed-on to host the video pod-cast for this year's STITCH in November (well, there wasn't as much signing-on as there was agreeing-to it, while walking on the treadmill next to event co-producer, Jennifer Perkins)! I've never hosted a pod-cast before, so it should loads of fun. I plan on approaching it renegade style, all E! True Hollywood Story and stuff. Just kidding. Anywhoodles, if you plan on participating in the show make sure you fill out your application soon, before spaces fill up. Oh, and let me know if you're going to be there so I can be sure to say, "hi"!
Lastly, what would you all like for June's Free Pattern of the Month? My creative juices are on vacation. Keep it small though, since I'll have all of two days to produce it. Another ascot? Washcloths? Make-up bag? Head-band? Another pillow? Bueller...Bueller? Okgoodthanksbye.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
I am unamused by the fact that you a.) decided to re-position yourself in the crowd during a pinnacle moment of a musical icon's performance and, b.) that you chose to do so, within5 inches of my face. Although I'm sure your high-lighted locks are well worth the money to some, I do not enjoy breathing them in as the backdrop to "Panic" and "Lucky Lisp". You are worse than a close-talker, you're a close, back-to-me-stander. Shame on you.
Furthermore, is it really necessary to supplement the obstruction of my view with your extended arm, amateur videographer attempts? Let me fill you in a bit of reality. It's dark. There are strobing lights...lots of them. The star himself, is dressed head-to-toe in black. We're a good 50 feet from the stage. These things don't add up to picture making perfection, my friend. Not to mention, you're using a cell phone video camera that was likely FREE WITH YOUR T-MOBILE PLAN--Spielberg himself couldn't get the shot you're attempting! Seriously, stop. You're kidding yourself.
5'3" Surly Red-head Behind You
Last night Dave and I went to see Morrissey with our friends J.P. & Jamie, at The Backyard here in Austin. Besides the aforementioned incident and the woman who decided to throw herself while singing, onto a red-faced J.P., the experience was damn near musical utopia. After 20+ beautifully angst-filled years of entertaining the masses, the man's still got it. His voice, still powerful, playful and heartbreaking. His band of young, handsome men, uniformly dressed in a Robert Palmer Girl-esque ode to beauty. His ability to be cocky and self-deprecating almost simultaneoulsy. All of it, fantastic. Anti-woman or not, the Last International Playboy can serenade me (amongst a crowd of thousands), anytime.
That is all. Thank you.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
That question led me to one of my own: Does John Cusack have it in his agency contract that he will only do movies that include at least one scene with him standing drenched, and looking heart-broken in the rain? These are the things that I lie in bed thinking about at night. Well those, and this stuff:
1. "Get an updated passport, you're working in Vancouver in 8 weeks!" I'm going to be a guest on the new HGTV Canada show, She's Crafty. The bleach blond photo from my 1996 passport obtained for a trip to Paris, clearly isn't going to cut it. Not to mention that my name then was, Vickie Carole Montoya. "Montoya" is sooooo 1990's. Clearly I've changed my name twice since then. ;-)
2. What came first, couple's losing their individual identities or the creation of co-names like, "Bennifer" & Brangelina"? What would mine and my husband's be? Davic? Vicid? Vave? Pass.
3. "Vickie, get thee to the gym. You're shooting the Knitty Gritty Special in a few weeks and man, those pants are tight." If only I could figure out how to burn calories, while knitting on the couch.
4. I really need a good book to read. I'm in the mood for a page turner. Maybe a psychological thriller...
5. I should probably be working a little harder on plans for our post-elopement party since, it's in ONE MONTH. Oy. We're using all mismatched thrift store dishes and vintage table cloths. Do I want cloth napkins, too? If so, do I then need napkin rings? Centerpieces. What to do?
6. How long can I be in denial about the need to paint my kitchen?
7. I wish I was bionic and could produce a new knitted garment/pattern every day. That would be awesome. I would totally have my own theme music, too. Ch-ch-ch-ch.
8. Man, yesterday's TheView was brutal. I wonder when the "Team Rosie"/"Team Elizabeth" shirts will be available? ;-)
It's been quiet out there for the past week or so. Post here, people, I need knitting break entertainment. :-) What's everyone working on?
If you're looking for something to listen to in the background while you're working, they just put up the podcast of the panel I was on with Jenny Hart and others at SXSW. You can listen to it here.
Until next time,
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Smocked, Baby Sun Dress
Also up on my Shop page today, the "Bobbi" knit, snug shrug. This is a great piece to throw over a tank top on breezy evenings and is quick and easy to make.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Look for them in stores late June. New colors of Craft & Love coming, too!
Friday, May 18, 2007
That 50's Baby Set
Also available for purchase is another knit & crochet combo (I must be going through a phase) pattern! This one, for the kimono sleeved shrug that I designed for the runway at the last TNNA.
Kimono Sleeved Shrug
Buy them on-line today or get them as a gift with VHC yarn purchase at your local yarn shop.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Also featured in "The Green Issue", Vickie Howell Collection CRAFT yarn, made from organic cotton & milk fiber.
The crocheted Farmer's Market Bag I designed out of CRAFT.
...And, my interviews with knitters/Smallville stars, Annette O'Toole (Martha Kent) and John Glover (Lionel Luther)!
KNIT 'N Style
August's (yes, I know it's only May) issue of KNIT 'N Style Magazine is already available! In their "Biggest Issue Ever", you'll find an adorable, Asian-inspired felted bag by Nicky Epstein, a great All-Seasons, capped-sleeve top (seen on the above cover) and, info on how to finish your garments perfectly.
Also in the August issue, they were kind enough to include a very sweet, 2-page story on yours truly...
As well as my pattern for the "Tina" scarf, also made from Vickie Howell Collection CRAFT.
Catch you on the knit side!
P.S. In the Austin area, CRAFT is available at Craft-O-Rama on South Congress & Bluebonnet Yarn Shoppe in Round Rock. On-line, you can buy it at WEBS. For a soon-to-be updated list of retailers near you, click here. Thanks!
Friday, May 11, 2007
In the spirit of Mother's Day this Sunday, I thought I'd share something I wrote a few years ago for the on-line publication, Austin Mama. This was written before websites like Friendster & My Space grew popular as ways to connect with strangers. If you substitute some of my personal tastes in this essay with your own, perhaps you'll be able to relate to periodically feeling isolated by what is arguably, the most amazingly rewarding job in the world: motherhood. Keep on rockin' on, moms out there and know that, you're not alone. :-) Happy Mother's Day! xo, Vickie
Where the Hell's My Village?
by Vickie Howell (early 2003)
New to the area! Semi-normal, but definitely not your average mama of two young sons seeks other hip, feminist-minded, intelligent, wickedly humorous but equally nurturing mom-friends for commiseration while our children co-mingle, bond and otherwise exhaust themselves in preparation for nap-time. Non-smoker preferred, unless it's during off-hours and cocktails are involved -- in which case, all bets are off.
Being a mom in a new town can take the motherhood experience from gratifying and amazing to completely isolating and claustrophobic. It's day 167 of my residence in Austin and it's finally hit me: I have abandoned my she-tribe -- the women back home who served as my partners in crime -- and am now adrift on the sea towards motherhood anonymity. There are no more holidays, affordable home improvements or welcoming relatives to act as distractions. The honeymoon is over.
I like to think that back when I was a single gal of the non-mom variety, I would've probably spent the first few months in my new digs exploring the city, checking out museums, shops, local bands and crafty hangouts. But that's probably not entirely true. Pre-parenthood, I wasn't necessarily one to find joy venturing out on my own. For me, it was always more about the company than the adventure. Now however, I fantasize about the theoretical days when I could've jumped into my car at a moment's notice, heading off to, well, anyplace where there isn't any screaming, tantrum throwing, Barney songs, dirty sippy cup valves or miscellaneous smells coming from undetectable places.
Today, even if I were to get a babysitter so that I could take off for one of those magical places where hip, fun people hang out, what would happen after the night o' mirth was over? When would I get to hang out with these new (most likely kidless) friends again, and would I even want to be the token mom in this group of free-spirited members who would surely look upon me sympathetically when I had to decline an invitation to go mid-day thrifting or to lunch downtown because of the inevitable circus that would occur with two children under the age of four in haul?
So here I find myself scouting the neighborhood, the grocery store, looking for fellow hip mamas to befriend. I scan the crowd for prospects, casually looking mothers up and down, avoiding those donning Talbot's clothes and tiny gold crosses (judging these strangers like I'd never want to be judged myself), putting on my best smile for the few I see with cat-eyed glasses, big shoes or the hint of a tattoo peeking from beneath a lower middle-class mom's uniform of baby-tee and cargo capris. As I make eye contact, I hope that my kids won't bite me, throw up or start screaming and going limp on the floor as said mama is about to notice that we most certainly should become fast friends and ultimate compadres. No dice.
And so it goes. I watch potential friends getting into their cars, paying special attention to those brandishing feminist propaganda or indie band bumper stickers. I am a veritable stalker, looking for that knowing glance from a woman with Vamp-colored toenails and the remnants of an edgy haircut. The mythical mama would recognize how out of place I feel in this sea of big blond hair and traditionalism. She would tell me that there are in fact more women like us here in this strange Republican dominion, and she will gladly make the introductions in the name of sisterhood!
Meanwhile, I find myself questioning why mothers have been left to fend for themselves. Why is it that a gig completely dominated by women has not yet managed to rally its grrrl-powered members together to network in a more effective way than on a few virtual bulletin boards? Why aren't we challenging the fact that the word "mother" as a descriptive term unrealistically places all of us "breeders" into one tiny box, wrapped in a church-run mommy & me group bow? The Internet has spawned match-making sites to help singles find a mate and yet, women in search of a village are left completely to their own devices. If the personal ad format (which always includes a disclosure of interests, hopes and dreams) is a competent enough system for connecting with a life partner, then why not for connecting with fellow sisters-in-arms?I do not have answers to my own questions. For now, all I can do is continue the search and do my best to be a voice for other women who have found themselves in this maternal leading role without a supporting cast. So funky mamas, if you see a tattooed, red-headed white gal lurking in your midst, please don't be alarmed. I'm not some creepy assailant with miniature side-kicks in tow. I'm just a woman, mother, friend; reaching out to fellow passengers on this strange motherhood ride.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Parents, pickup your copy at any local newsstand, Target or Barnes & Noble! Don't forget to take a peek at my Eco-Crafts column. This issue's project: knitted Hugs & Stitches newborn booties made out of Vickie Howell Collection CRAFT in colors: Libby (coral) & Jennifer (mint green). These are knit on straight needles, so they're a great beginner project. Oh, and the organic cotton & milk fiber yarn makes the booties breathable for baby-toes during summer weather!
In other unrelated news, I was invited to participate in a great conference call yesterday some of which, will be transcribed and included in the 25th Anniversary Issue of Vogue Knitting Magazine. Besides myself, call attendees included Debbie Stoller(Stitch n' Bitch books), Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Yarn Harlot), Clara Parkes (Knitter's Review), Adina Klein(Vogue Knitting) and Shannon Okey (Knitgrrl). We discussed topics ranging from the evolution of the industry over the past few years, our own personal experiences in the business, current trends, the mind-set of today's knitter, etc. It was really interesting and I felt honored to be a part of a conversation with so many smart, creative, strong women. Pretty cool, man.
In less cool news, I officially suck at fashion illustration. I pity the fool that has to be subjected to my drawings. I'm taking my 2nd lesson today in hopes of sparing future magazine editors/publishers/yarn companies from having to try and guess what I'm trying to get across based solely on a stick figure and a swatch. My homework illustrations are, well, humbling. Shading, totally escapes me. My instructor wants to play with color today--I think I need to remain on remedial pencil sketch duty for a while longer. Regardless, wish me luck!
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Mixed knit & crochet projects are gaining popularity and probably, about my favorite things to work on. If you have experience with both crafts but have never paired them together, The Net mesh tank is a great first-time foray. The front and back pieces are the same, the drape of the crochet stitch is very figure-forgiving and the knit ribbing pulls it all together.
Knit & Crocheted Tank Top
That's all for now. Stay tuned for more!
P.S. Don't forget. For basic knit or crochet instruction, check out my How-to section. Thanks!
Friday, May 04, 2007
Excluding my own of course ;-), this is probably my favorite new yarn out there. T.T.'s yarns are all glitzy, vibrant, drop-dead awesome-to-the-touch, and have a lovely drape. Ranging in price from the low $30's to the mid-$100's (for silk & crystals), this is definitely a "treat yourself" line. If like me you're on a budget, buy just one hank and make a short scarf or use it with some merino wool from your stash, to make the Hairpin Lace beanie that Jennifer H. (aka Stitch Diva) showed us on Knitty Gritty! Try it, you won't be sorry.
The other day I was at Craft-O-Rama here in Austin where (amongst SO MUCH OTHER COOL STUFF!!), I came across Crafty Alien's adorable critter kits. These are seriously squeal-worthy, people! I have a thing for owls so I'll have to buy this one, but my son Tristan has also requested the fox and I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to pass up the hedgehog...and maybe the tuxedo cat...
I luuuuuuuuuurve Wenlen Chia's designs, and this book! During my tour I asked store owners across the nation if they carried her yarn because I was hoping to make one of the chunky, cabled cardi's while I was traveling to places that warranted warm clothing but alas, no one had it yet (run-on sentence, much?). I know I could've used a different yarn in the same weight but since I know about the pressures of having a new yarn with your name on it, I really want to support hers. But I digress. Check out Twinkle's use of color and innovative patterns in this book. Her application of traditional stitch patterns to modern shapes and styles is fantastic. Even if you don't end up knitting any of the projects from this book, you'll still dig having it on your shelf just to flip through every once in a while!
My friend, and author of Punk Knits, Share Ross sent me a set of her killer needles that are clearly, bad to the bone. I'm currently using them to entice my son Tanner into wanting to learn how to knit. If these don't work, nothing will! ;-)
I enjoy a good black t-shirt and this one by Knit One fits the bedazzled bill. For the less "dark-like-my-soul" inclined, it's also available in white. :-)
I got to see designs from Alyce Benevides and Jaqueline Miller's book for the first time on the runway at TNNA in January and then again, when they came to one of my signings in New York. Pretty in Punk makes me want to break out my needles, dust-off my 20-hole Docs and try not to be jealous that I didn't think of that title first. If I were a rock star like Dave Gahan (who currently sports one of their hats on tour), I too would be a Knit-Head!
Psst!...Other than being a fan myself, I have zero connection with these products so please e-mail the companies directly with any questions. Thanks!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Soooo, my beautiful, eclectic group of readers, if you know, have heard of, or are a part of a group that may be a little off the beaten path, please speak up! The production company already has great stories in Los Angeles, Houston and Indianapolis. They are however looking for at least one more feature in each of those cities as well as a coupla more elsewhere. If you have any info that might be helpful please either post it here and on this blog or e-mail directly to producer, Alessandra Ascoli at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks in advance for your help!