Thursday, October 30, 2008

Things to Make and Mend


A quick little book review.

I picked this up off the deeply discounted shelf in Chapters. Initially attracted by the cover (of course), I flipped through a bit to discover the protagonist was a capital N Needlewoman. That clinched the deal for me.

Ruth Thomas doesn't disappoint. The story is full not only of textile references but the actual act of stitching is integral to the plot. It's a tale of two childhood friends who suffer deep hurt and misunderstanding but find each other again many years later. Sally, the Needlewoman, thinks that is what she became because
"There is nothing more tangible than threads sewn through cloth. She is happiest with something that is stitched down, not given the chance to slip or unravel or change."

It's a sweet story, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to stitch.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Talking 'Bout My Baby

Who...
- can speak Zulu?
- is descended from Robin Hood?
- can discuss Noam Chomsky and do a perfect impression of Julia Child in the same conversation?
- knows what a "reduction" is (and can make one)?
- rescued a sheep from being swept out to sea on our second date?
- owns a tuxedo AND a sewing machine?
- sings to me in the morning?
- can get a wireless signal with an old wok and a couple of elastic bands?
- is the most honest person I have ever met?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hades in a Saucepan

I had some lovely organic beets that I was going to make borscht with. Unfortunately, after setting them to simmer on the stove, I went out to the garden and got distracted. Two hours later....

Eszter Haraszty, Needlepainter

I found this book at the Free Store on Lasqueti. Published in the mid 1970's, it documents one woman's obsession with embroidery. Eszter Haraszty was a glamorous Hungarian who moved to Los Angeles and found she needed to express herself in ways that hobnobbing with Hollywood stars just didn't satisfy. (Sorry, the picture is on its side as I am without Photoshop at the moment.)

As you can see, she was quite the dish. The oversized shades and knee socks are a stylist's dream. (Click to enlarge.)

She gets an endorsement from none other than Mary Tyler Moore! Talk about a 70's icon. I particularly like the blurb from Rudi Gernreich, creator of the topless swimsuit. "Dreamflowernatureartenchantedgardenhouseworld", indeed!

As you can see, Eszter has covered practically every surface in her home with needlepainted flowers. As far as I can tell, her term needlepainting basically describes crewel embroidery. But I enjoy the bold colourful textures, quite a different aesthetic from today's self-consciously cute minimalism.

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Autumn has come to the island:

The garden is full of garter snakes making the most of their last chance to bask in the sun.

The tree frogs would probably mate with anything that moved at this point.

Keiko is getting as much swimming in as she can.

The sumacs are magnificent.

The light in the forest is getting softer.