Thursday, April 29, 2010

More New Hats From Woodland Farms Antiques

This new hat no. 1 from Woodland Farms Antiques. I'm not ordinarily a huge fan of 1920s cloches, but this I like. The texture combination is hugely appealing. You've got the rough straw and the soft velvet trim. Now the brown....that's a little hard to love, as is the size. It's small. Something in the 20 inch range. It seems most hats I encounter from the 1920s are small. They're either from teens who never wore their hats, and stuffed them in the back of their closets, untouched, for posterity. And all the large-head ladies wore their hats to death. So there's nothing left for the museum folks to archive. Nothing. I'm sort of convinced that teens are responsible for  the dearth of decently-sized 1920s hats. It's their fault.  I mean would you wear this hat if you were breaking out and you had major perspiration problems? This hat, sorry to say, is on the dowdy side. It's the color, really. The hat just sort says, "I'm depressed, I know it, dearie." It just wants to be worn with a matching thick-wool cardigan, a calf-length kick-pleat skirt and t-strap shoes.

This hat, on the other hand, is all flirtiness. I mean, it hides the eyes, which on third thought, could make it a little dangerous crossing a street. Now I'm surprised what good shape this hat is in. A lit cigarette didn't do any damage back in the day? Now, here's another hat that didn't see much use. It's just too much fun not to have a few dings in it, especially to the feathers. No feline saw fit to play with this hat? Unbelievable. My guess that this hat was a gift to a schoolmarm-type from her husband, who wanted his wife to dress up a litle more and go out on the town BADLY. But she didn't acquiese. This hat was not her thing. At all. So she politely accepted the gift, and promptly dumped it...guess where. The marriage survived, barely. But no more hats, although schoolmarm did continue to knit and darn socks for said hubby.

The perfect Sunday hat. This one's in amazing shape too. No apparent moth holes; the flowers are crisp and pretty, just like they might have been plumped with steam yesterday. Actually, that might have happened. How does a hat this cute remain so darling? I refuse to believe that the owner didn't wear it and didn't go to church. I think this hat was worn to teas and special fundraisers, which didn't happen enough for the owner. But she kept it all wonderfully wrapped up in tissue paper in a certain hatbox. When the 1950s hit, this particular style went out of style and the owner didn't wear it anymore, and the hat box fell into the back of the closet. Later, it was unearthed and moved to the attic, where it sat untouched until the 1990s, when the owner passed away, and her daughter was cleaning up the house getting it ready for sale.

Ok. This hat is very Rockette. It's not the kind of hat you wear to show, drinks and dinner. No, it's a bit too kicky for that. And that orange plume! So curly, and provocative. My guess is this is another gift from abovementioned lovelorn husband to prim-and-proper wife. But again, she didn't bite. She couldn't bring herself to wear this hat....which looked so very Vaudeville in her mind. Gaudy! Unwomanly! She was so horrified by the hat, that she couldn't even bring herself to talk about it with her friends. What would they think? Charlie was spending all this hide something he was doing. Something terribly wrong.  She didn't need her friends gossiping, they already yakked enough about the time Dobie Doberman destroyed the geranium bed. So the hat needed go quietly....and be with that other thing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gone With the Wind Hat, designed by Annie Modesitt, version 2.0

So I have embarked on the second version of this hat even though the first hat was a hard project and it's too big on me. I'm feeling stubborn, like I want to master this pattern. Like I need to know if the hat is the right size, maybe I'll know it's not for me? That's an odd thing to say, but it's kind of like trying on clothes. If it fits and it's the wrong color, you know it's a combination that was meant to be? That's kind of how I feel about this hat at this moment. I'm going to give it another chance before I kick it to the curb. And I really don't want to kick it anywhere. Yarn is too expensive and time is even more so, so why go to all the trouble to make something and not love it? I know it happens. So anyhow, I'm planning on really loving this baby way more than no. 1. And wearing it too. It's amazing how much I wear the things that fit me than the stuff's that's too small or too big. I'm certain that will be the case with this new hat.

Anyhow, I've cast on my swatch and I've off to the races....and an odd analogy now that I think about it with the Kentucky Derby around the corner. And this hat would be perfect to wear the Derby. Perhaps the only knitted hat in sight. I'd love to be that odd duck. So I've set my 'due' date as May 25. I want to have this hat ready to wear before summer breaks out.

The yarn I'm swatching is actually my contrast yarn....the star of my show is a grey yarn, not shown. Grey and navy. I can see that with a pair of navy linen pants and a red, white and blue sweater knitted. Of course.

That's all for now. I'm back to my top-secret project. I'll announce it, probably in a few weeks. I'm quite excited about it and I think you will be 2.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Midwesterners Represent at Judith M Millinery Competition

Between Judith M Millinery in Indiana and the growing crop of hat designers in Chicago, it appears the Midwest is gaining traction as a millinery mecca. It may,  in part, have something to with the loss of Manny's Millinery in New York. There's nowhere on the East Coast to buy hat-making supplies. It's all online now with Judith M as a premiere resource. Anyhow, Judith M had a contest recently, which I understand drew entries worldwide. I'm just showing you the runner-ups because they're mostly Midwesterners like myself. My favorites would be those by Lisa Farrell (lower left) and Susan Freese (lower right). Freese's design makes me think of sheet music, Farrell's has the feeling of movement with the little feathers (?) in the back. What do you think? Which ones do you like?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eugenia Kim Hats at Target beginning April 18

Eugenia Kim will begin selling her hats at Target beginning on April 18. As much as I like to see milliners become as successful as possible, I sort of have mixed feelings about being able to buy her hats at stores nationwide. I bought my floppy Eugenia Kim sun hat at P45 a number of years ago. It's very unique, which I can't say about what will be sold at Target. Eugenia's written a book Saturday Night Hat: Quick, Easy Hatmaking for the Downtown Girl, so the hats at Target seems like a natural segue, perhaps part of a business plan to become a brand like Marc Jacobs or Kenneth Cole. What would you do if Target approached you to sell your products at their stores? Would you gleefully sign the contract or tell 'em to take a hike? For those of you who sew and have the greatest affinity for Liberty Fabrics, what do you think about the Liberty-related products at Target? Good, bad or just plain cheap?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lost My Serger Mojo...Onto Buttons for the Sun-Ray Sweater from A Stitch in Time Book

What can I say? I've lost my sewing mojo. Both my sewing machine and the serger sit unused. I last used the sewing machine for a set of silk scarfs at Christmas. The serger? I tested it out at Vogue Fabrics,  *sort of* learned how to thread it's back in the box. Untouched. Unused. **Unloved.** And I feel particularly guilty about the serger, considering how long it sat in lay-off, now to only sit in the box, virtually untouched. Of course, I forget the investment too. The payments I made regularly just to get that baby into my home. Now, sewing doesn't interest that much. Although, I still go to the sewing demos at Vogue Fabrics and scrupulously take notes on my iPhone.

Right now, knitting is all that interests me. I can't believe I'm saying that, considering how made I get at my needles and projects at times! Truly, knitting is the only hobby that takes the edge off any concerns I  have at this moment. That's why I can happily slip in a pair of bamboo needles and knit away on the ribbing on the front half of my Sun Ray sweater. It fits so nice and neatly. What's more, I can usually finish a row before I get off even a short bus ride! It's nice that it fits into one purse compartment perfectly.

So anyhow, I like to think I'm getting to the tail end of my Sun Ray sweater. Like to! Even though I still have a major part to complete. So when yesterday's sewing demo was cancelled, I looked at buttons at Vogue Fabrics. I really like the buttons with the embossed flower and leaf print. Very suble. Pretty,  even a bit retro. I think these buttons are a dollar a piece.

Let's say I didn't like those buttons. I could knit up a swatch, felt it, give the fabric to the ladies at Vogue Fabrics and I could have self-fabric buttons for a pittance (see the prices on the burgundy buttons above). So many people don't know that this is an option. They think this is only available online or in swanky places like New York City and Paris. But no! You can get  this inexpensive couture touch right here in the Midwest. Just ask at the cash register in the notions department at Vogue! As for me, I think I just might go with those cute little yellow buttons.

Anyway, what do you do when your sewing mojo disappears for months on end? Induce labor? Ignore apathy and guilt? Find new hobbies?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My iPhone contribution to the Easter Parade: Annie Modesitt's Gone with the WInd Hat from Romantic Hand Knits

I was the only woman wearing an Easter hat today at church. How about you? I didn't realize how red it was until I felt like it was too late to change. For some reason I was thinking it was burgundy when I was getting ready. Bu you know, red is too hard to match, so who cares? I was the only woman having at this church having too much fun getting ready. Isn't that half of the fun of Easter? Getting gussied up? The pretty dresses, spring shoes, flirty purse, perhaps even lacy know it's not only renewal in a religious sense, but it's a rebirth of the wardrobe, the time of year you might start wearing more white, break out the cotton or the light silk dresses and skirt, just because you know on Easter you can. I enjoy the ritual Easter egg hunt (which I supervised later in the day)...but I just think the ritual of Easter morning, getting up leisurely, turning on the music on the laptop....wondering can I wear? That's just the best and certainly the most peaceful part of the day, especially when you have a lot of young nieces and nephews underfoot like I do in the afternoon.

Looking at these photos, I can see the hat needs to be made again and improved. I think I even see where I grafted a bit of hat wire to brim, there's a bit of crimp where I made the graft. I'm not happy about that. Between that designer touch and the fact that it's a tad LARGE, I'm not sure how much I'm going to wear this hat....but it's so pretty! (It's from Romantic Hand Knits: 26 Flirtatious Designs That Flatter Your Figure). Someone else make it please!