Sunday, May 24, 2009

Brimfield, Spring 2009: The Good, The Bad, and the Just Plain Absurd, Part II

This year's trip to Brimfield was a windfall for vintage knitting patterns. As I pointed out in my last post, one of the characteristics of Brimfield is that one generally finds a lot of "bad" and "absurd" mixed in with the good...taken all together, the lot was rich and satisfying. Here are a few of my favorites:

The Good:
  1. For Babies-

2. For Boys:
3. For Dogs:

4. For Men:
5. For Women:
...Who love New Orleans, or Fleur-de-lis...just invert the 3-point motif...(I'll do it just to prove it works)...LOVE the wavy very modern columns!
And finally,
the BAD...or at least, pretty ABSURD:
...Cute, but I think I'll use the tassels and pom-poms for my curtains...
No flipping way will my boys EVER wear this... I don't care HOW cold it gets in New England!!!
So, if you like any of the patterns, I wouldn't dream of charging money for them...
but I WOULD like you to compose a short rhyme (a poem requirement...though readers KNOW how I love poetry...would apply too much creative pressure) expressing your appreciation for the pattern requested. Please leave said rhyme in the comments section, along with your email address, and I will happily forward you the requested pattern.
What's new is old...what's OLD is NEW!!!
I apologize, gentle reader, for the jumbling of photographs. Despite repeated attempts to make this post lay out properly, it continues to rebel. I trust that you will be able to sort out which knits are for dogs and which are for men and boys :-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Brimfield, Spring 2009: The Good, The Bad, and the Just Plain ABSURD: Part I

Ah, Brimfield in Spring...Part One of an Annual three-part adventure held in highest esteem by artists, historians, junkies and junk addicts across the country. For 6 solid days (beginning at 0-dark-thirty), devotees flock to Brimfield, MA for the largest assemblage of antique dealers in the country...6000 tents filled to the brim with "one person's trash." The appeal for me is the promise of finding that unrecognized "diamond in the rough," unrecognized by its host, waiting to be discovered. Sustained by this optimistic pipe-dream, I can spend hours rifling through boxes like these...despite the rains of the May show and the oppressive heat of the July show. And though one could claim that the promise of treasure can be found in many shopping venues, one is considerably less likely to be downright shocked/surprised while scanning the racks of Filenes's, and unlikely to be suddenly thrust on a trip down memory lane while in Bloomingdale's. Brimfield is not just the opportunity to instead brings to mind the great Western, "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"in which rough gunslingers compete with oneanother in search of burried confederate gold. To adapt to the specifics of the Brimfield experience, I will call it, "The Good, The Bad, and the just plain Absurd." Here is my pictorial summary of those three categories from the May show this year:

The Good:

Despite the absolute certainty of rain during the May show, both my travel companion and doyenne, artist Jenn Mason, and I BOTH forgot our rain gear. This kindly concessions dealer took pity on us and gave us two garbage bags, with a little artful adaptation became wonderful rain ponchos...and we became, "The Bag Ladies."

Two favorite ladies combine their Concord Shops at Brimfield and create the most magical tent on the fields. Cary Goodrich of Thoreauly Antiques and the proprietress of Nesting on Main assemble this not-to-be-missed dream scape where I acquired the vintage sheep cigarette cards shown at the head of this blog entry.

I found this little vintage ad in a newspaper entitled Good Literature printed in's fun to see.

Here are the buttons I found at the group from someone who knew the value of these old crochet buttons to a handicrafter (Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods...has every vintage button you could covet...but not inexpensive), and one group in the bottom of a junk drawer (which cost me 50 cents.

Beautiful pins proving (once again) that the simplest concepts often result in the most beautiful creations. These were being sold at Dusty's (THE source for vintage tablecloths)...a friend of hers has been making them out of old wool ribbon that she ties and wraps. Couldn't be prettier.

And the vintage knitting find of the show...This collection (again, found in a drawer) of antique British Knitting pins in their original case!


Brimfield is where all old bad bridesmaid/prom dresses... and washing machines go to die an ugly death...

Falling into the "bad" category is this basket crafted from a dead armadillo...fruit anyone?

And it was a big day for pregnant female are two that were particularly bad...

....and finally,

The Just Plain ABSURD:

OK, I'm not sure I can come up with a scenario where an amputee would be hopping around Brimfield looking to buy a prosthetic leg....

And this little guy...I can't think of a purpose for this yard dog...unless it's like a scarecrow for moles and groundhogs...but it surely doesn't count as ART.

And finally, my favorite absurd find of Brimfield, the mid-century Porta-Sauna...Individual size, in a stunning shade of Aqua...I had been LOOKING for one of those!

Stay tuned for Part II...the Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain ABSURD of vintage patterns found at the show!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Felted Koala

There has been a notable gap in my blogging, owing to spring break from school followed by the resultant week's worth of laundry. We have been believers in the increasingly popular "stay-cation" ever since our move to New England in 2005, but this year, we decided for a change to go somewhere during our break. My husband grew up in California and it seemed the obvious destination...providing both warm weather AND an opportunity to visit with family and friends. While visiting, we ALSO scheduled a pilgrimage to the famous San Diego Zoo in order to appease my son who has been religiously watching the Panda-Cam on his computer all year. My 5 year old loves animals and even has favorites, namely Pandas, polar bears, and koalas (which are, incidentally, not bears at all, but rather marsupials). By hitting the San Diego Zoo, we were able to see ALL THREE of his holy triumvirate and make his trip memorable.
The koala exhibit at the zoo consisted of 6 short eucalyptus trees in cells traversed by a walking bridge. As we approached, we noticed the furry grey balls in the trees were not moving...they were ALL asleep. My son looked dejected, "Oh no," he exclaimed, "We came at their nap time!" Realizing that koalas, unlike Pre-Kindergartners, cannot have organized nap time, I began to do some reading. As it turns out, it is quite likely that all young visitors to the exhibit have a similar feeling of disappointment, as the koala sleeps 20 of the 24 hours in a day!!! All those photos we see of koalas regarding the cameraman and looking cuter than Paris Hilton mugging in her all-time cutest pre-adolescent frock...the photographer waited a LOOOONNNGGG time for those shots. Here is what the koala usually looks like:

Lucky for us, I managed to capture one lazy koala waking briefly to sluggishly stuff his mouth with a piece of apparently unexciting he is:

Now we know why there is no "Koala-Cam" at the Zoo.

Anyhow, my son was really wanting to bring home a koala. Of course, he wanted a real live koala (which, in all honesty, cannot be much more work than a stuffed on sitting on a shelf, though not strictly allowable)...but I at last convinced him a stuffed one would do. [As a child remember having a koala made from REAL koala fur that someone must have sent me from their travels...eeeeyuuuwwwww!] I gathered up some leftover "polar morn" malabrigo and knit this darling stand-in. The pattern is Felted Koala, by Bev Galeskas for Fiber Trends. He's every bit as cute as the real thing...AND he has his eyes open.
NOTE: The San Diego Zoo follows modern rules for humane animal containment, maximizing open air exhibits and working to ensure close simulation of each animal's natural environment. They also employ the best animal and human vets/doctors in their many conservation programs. They are currently banking frozen embryos of every animal on our planet to ensure the preservation of genetic diversity. They fund rescue organizations to rescue the Pandas (particularly the panda research station which was badly damaged by the earthquake), Polar Bears (which are expected to be extinct within our lifetime barring heroic efforts made by organizations such as the SDZ), and the Koala habitat protection program (now especially important in the wake of the fires in Australia). If you are interested in donating to the zoo's important supporting a project, a zoo baby, or adopting an HERE.