Summer Stash

I once really enjoyed stashing yarn; now I tend to purchase it only by the project. Because seriously, unless you're exclusively a sock knitter, how could you possibly just intuit how much of a particular yarn you'll need for some undefined future sweater?

I break this rule regularly for gorgeous single skeins while on vacation.

Also, the one under-the-bed box I allow myself for storing yarn is completely full. Mostly of gorgeous single skeins purchased on vacations.

In the past couple of years, I've found much more enjoyment in stashing fabric. I'm still somewhat tame; I tend to make just one or two orders of unpremeditated - that is, not earmarked for a particular project - yardage orders each year. And I really do try to use up stash fabrics before buying new. Again, however, exceptions are easily made while traveling.

I love to knit, but rarely do I take out the box of yarn and gaze at its possibilities. Each of those single skeins will ultimately end up as a lace shawl or lovely scarf. I learned my lesson with the beret. But the fabric...it's so delightful to dream up a project, or be inspired by a tutorial, and riff through the stash to select which fabrics to use.

Mr Apparently gave me a bias tape maker and Ellen Luckett Baker's book 1-2-3 Sew for my birthday, and so clearly a little stash renewal was in order. Look at this restraint! Only 7 yards!

summer stash

That's because I have a gift certificate to Hawthorne Threads pinned up over my desk, waiting patiently.

 

Summer's Crafty Goodness

Why is it that I always find myself sewing - which by its nature means, turning on the iron - on the hottest days of the year? Apparently heat inspires me. Here are just a few of several projects I've completed lately.

magnolia hat

This sun hat was a commission from a lovely friend. The inside has a little secret - a contrasting fabric with a pretty picture that reminds me of her. I'm not going to show you what it is, but I'll tell you it's a Heather Ross fabric.

manly pincushions

A bride-to-be in California commissioned two Very Manly Pincushions for her wedding. I'm not entirely clear on the role they'll play, but I love that she's doing something very creative!

nesting hen pincushion

We made a trip to Fish's Eddy, where we got some new egg cups. This means that the nesting hen egg cups I bought at Anthropologie a few years ago (and which really aren't very good at holding eggs) - will be repurposed.

I couldn't resist a piece of this Suzuko Koseki linen fabric printed with vintage sewing images, and so of course it became a potted pincushion.

The FedEx man just rang with a package I'd forgotten about - a fresh stack of fabric! Stay tuned for pix...

Ramen, Really: Chang's Lucky Peach

So after a couple of excellent pizzas at Vapiano, we walked over to the Strand for some book browsing. I'm sure I don't have to tell you about the Strand; surely everyone who has ever set foot in NYC has been to its 55,000 square feet containing over 18 miles of books. And if you haven't been there in some time, you should return - a recent(ish) renovation has left the store more spacious and easier to navigate than in years past.

We didn't plan to buy any books. Famous last words, right? After our recent trip upstate, we returned with a shopping bag full of fiction, economic theory, Richard Scarry and the odd embroidery stitch dictionary. It's not like we need any more books. But I have a weakness for the children's section, and the last time we went I hadn't had enough time to do any browsing for myself. As my high school math teacher often said, "You people can rationalize anything."

We exercised restraint. Mr Apparently discovered the exact book I was planning to give him for his upcoming birthday. Apparently Jr came home with a chapter book and a lavishly-illustrated book about Picasso. I found Richard Russo's second-latest in the fiction specials. But the one snatch-it-off-the-table, game-over find was a copy of the inaugural issue of Lucky Peach, a new food quarterly conceived and executed by Momofuku's David Chang, writer Peter Meehan, and the team behind Tony Bourdain's No Reservations.

And to seal the deal, the first issue is almost entirely devoted to ramen. In a previous iteration of this blog, I wrote a post outlining the Apparently family's mid-2000's obsession with the noodly stuff. It turns out that in NYC, we have barely scratched the surface. Japan offers no fewer than 20 regional variations - on what is originally Chinese fare - and even has a museum devoted to ramen history and lore.

I can't think of the last time I've spent so much time with a magazine, and I'm only halfway through its thick, glossy pages. Did you know that the Deep South has its own variation on ramen? Or that Ruth Reichl used to toss the packets, doctor up the instant noodles and serve them to her son's friends? Next in my queue: two articles by Harold McGee (whose classic On Food and Cooking, by the way, is illustrated by a Sunnysider). And then off to McSweeney's for a subscription, which they wisely begin with Issue 2.

See a peek of Lucky Peach at the Huffington Post. (Steel yourself for some profane language, although in a surprise move, it's Bourdain who comes off as the soft-spoken one in this lot.) And let me know what you think in the comments.

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