a star is born

August 17, 2014

if you live in the metro detroit area,
and didn’t make it to one of the detroit city distillery
bottle releases & tastings this weekend,
then you missed out on the event
of the summer.

i’d been stalking DCD for a while
when fate sat me across from owner,
(apparent) front man, and detroit’s newest
most eligible bachelor,
michael forsyth,
at de la tierra,
a pop-up art show and dinner.

it was one of those moments of kismet when,
if you’re trying at all to be part of
what can only be called
detroit’s exploding food/booze/art scene,
you inevitably run into someone who’s doing something fabulous.

and so, a month or so later,
when i got the advance email
about DCD’s bloodline whiskey release,
i bought my ticket without a second thought.

no amount of coaxing could get my friends to come with,
so i flew solo to eastern market
rolling up to 2462 riopelle
a little more than
fashionably late,
blasting amr diab
and circling twice for a parking spot.

i’ll spare you the details of the night in favor of the highlights:

the energy was palpable – just the right mix of smiles and buzz, allowing the chet baker and billie holiday to bleed into the evening without being oppressive.

the service was impeccable – i was seated at the bar and the bartenders were friendly and, frankly, rather attractive. (evan, in particular, was kinnered several times by this shameless shutter fly)

the company was fated – a fellow solo diner was seated next to me and turned out to be none other than the detroit foodie. it was the perfect pairing; i love to dissect the food and drinks at these shindigs, and it was great to be seated by someone who could (and would) happily keep up.
the morai were clearly looking out.

the food was on point – especially considering it was prepared (semi-legally?) in an alleyway in eastern market. it was three courses of food i typically would never have ordered, the unexpectedness of my enjoyment only multiplying its effect. chefs jesse knot and brad greenhill seriously delivered. (that brisket, bitch!)

the drinks were flawless, dahling – sugar house who? DCD has all the ambience and none of the pretension, the antique bar lending a subtle authenticity other “speakeasies” only wish they could buy. more importantly, the drinks were perfectly balanced* and will knock you down without you realizing it (though that blackthorn is not fucking around!) the stars were the detroit sidecar and the strawberry punch. seriously. who would ever have thought that whiskey and strawberry would go together? i just want to lay in a hammock with a growler of that shit, slowly pickling.

my life is such that these little outings of mine carry great importance to me. so it was lovely to not be disappointed and to leave happier than when i arrived (so much so i returned on saturday for the two faced blended bourbon bottle release & tasting). between the two nights, i dropped a dollar and left with ten bottles, two gifted to those who kept me company in my solitude (thanks TDF and haven!)

if this opening is any indication,
DCD is set to become
a detroit icon.

check it out, stat.

as you know,
i’m not blogging regularly these days and
am equally out of practice at editing down
the number of pics i take to weave into a post.
you’ll just have to settle for a disjointed photoessay.

later bitches!

the hot bartender aka evan
punch - strawberry, whiskey
blistered corn, grilled leek, green chili, eggplant, basil
detroit sidecar
bar left
roasted carrot, pistachio, lime, yoghurt
blackthorn
smoked brisket, pickled watermelon rind, celery root slaw, cheddar, grilled toast,
melts in your mouth, not in your hand
DPP_2320
michael forsyth, jesse knot, & ?
DPP_2324
DPP_2326
DPP_2363
DPP_2366
DPP_2293

*my only critique would be that they need bigger ice. my drinks got a tad too watery too fast. though i had a total of five in about three hours, so part of it was my inability to keep up.

gifty

June 4, 2014

the other day,
i got a package.
and you know how much
i love an unexpected package.

there wasn’t a note or anything,
so i had to do a little digging to
find out it was from my old
shop sibling, anna, who,
as you can see,
hasn’t updated he blog
since the arrival of her second son.

there is absolutely nothing better than an unforeseen gift;
may it be a sign of many many things to come!

DPP_2063pattern: ishbel yarn: socks that rock in the pining 4 ewe colorway

so thanks, anna.
i miss you, bitch!

tomorrow, how about a fo, eh?
it’s been a while, after all.

and…

January 22, 2014

i’m back.

20140122-101728.jpgbut just a little.

2013 in review

December 31, 2013

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

champagne & strawberries

November 13, 2013

if you’re a crafter
with any internet presence,
you’ll remember an ‘incident’ in 2012
when one of my favorite bloggers, completely cauchy,
got some heat for a guest post she wrote on whipup (now, sadly, defunct)
that included an image of a quilt
with a provocative word on it.

some people went a little crazy after seeing it,
but i applauded it (and reblogged it)
because for me,
it was a work of art
and a genius work at that.

immediately after,
i emailed cauchy
with an idea
to collaborate.

after a lot of emails
and more than a year of work and thought,
the quilt is now complete.

(to be clear, i only gave the word; she did everything else)

because some may consider it nsfw,
you’ll have to scroll down to have a look.
if you have a delicate constitution
or an aversion to potential controversy
now is the time to exit.

after the image is a mini interview with cauchy about the project.
after reading it, head on over to her blog where she interviews me.

on the quilt is a word that’s especially powerful to me,
and my take on it and the issues surrounding it
are likely different from a lot of yours.

so there is but one disclaimer:

you are entitled to your opinion on the piece, but this blog is my house.
if you start acting a fool in the comments
they will be deleted.

#sorryboutit
#notreally

the quilt:
faggot

the interview:
it seems like your crafting, whether it’s a deeply thought-out expression of a philosophical idea (as with the fuck quilt or the n-word quilt) or making a knitted stuffed bunny, everything is ultimately an expression of you. your life, your tastes, your thoughts, what makes you happy. what was it like to have the seed of an idea given to you from someone else? and how did you put yourself into this work (if at all)?

I’ve tried things like testing patterns (in knitting and quilting) and even a fully-dictated commission or two and found that there’s something far too confining to me in those situations. It always feels like dungeon crafting at the behest of a whip-cracker. However, you just provided the kernel of an idea by just putting one word before me. To begin, I had to check you out, observing your blog and other social media interactions to learn more about the requester. Once you seemed fairly reputable, I felt like I had to give it a try by living with the idea long enough for it to begin to feel like my own. Honestly, I don’t think it’s reached that status completely, but we’ll discuss that more later.

How did I put myself into the work? Well, the use of such a word expressed in quilt form is the beginning, of course. Not too many folks are doing that at all. But, definitely the picnic theme came from within; it’s a darkly comedic approach rather than resorting to the more obvious forms that might come to mind. That is, I played with dusty pinks and purples in a flouncy font, for example. But that seemed one-dimensional and too easy–too easy for me and too easy for a viewer. The final form is the result of a year of rumination and conveys more of my own internalization of the seed of the idea–it came to me at breakfast one Saturday, I sketched and started impulsively sewing within a few minutes.

i requested that you make this quilt after the inclusion of your n-word quilt on your whip-up post almost two years ago. i had a very visceral response to that whole internet encounter, but even more so to the quilt itself. obviously, faggot doesn’t have the same personal effect for you as the n-word but what does it make you feel? what is your reaction to it?

As a Southerner, I hear these words in my mind in the most countrified accent. Those double g’s in both words are lingered over. In the n-word, the “errrrrrr” drawls on and hangs in the air, while the ending of our f-word, the “ot!,” comes out as a hard and violent pop like a firecracker. Both words bring an element of fear since my first experiences of them were in threatening situations. And I tend to assume that one who uses our f-word would also use the n-word, actually, and vice versa. And these words tend not to be followed up with coffee and cupcakes.

The first time I heard our f-word it was hurled at a neighbor kid who was always bullied in middle school. I had no idea what the word meant nor why it was used. But the force behind the yelling and the teasing that surrounded the incident only incited fear in me. Ever the nerd, I looked it up in the dictionary right when I got home from school. It was puzzling… why is he a bundle of sticks? It took quite a while to get a full explanation out of my parents.

in our exchanges during this process you mentioned some reticence to making this quilt because (correct me if i’m wrong) the word faggot wasn’t “yours” to quilt. can you talk a little bit about that? and what ultimately made you agree to make this quilt?

Yes, indeed. I started this body of work as an exploration of my identity as viewed by others. The concept is simple. With the quilts or comforters one chooses to buy from department stores, one expresses some portion of one’s self-image. Albeit there is a limited selection (one is confined to the choices made available by current industrial-scale designers), one chooses a style and builds a decor accordingly. What do those choices project about one? And, in turn, how can one project oneself into a quilt?

The words that first came to mind for me were: oreo, bitch, princess, and the n-word. While the n-word quilt ultimately was an angry cathartic project, the others were light-hearted and playful explorations. And eventually I’d go on to give c*nt a try and that is probably the best of the series so far. These are words that are personal and for which I have clear personal experiences that give me license to use and illustrate them. Initially and throughout my one-year deliberations on our f-word, it just seemed to me that I wasn’t allowed to use the f-word. I’d even been accused of racism on that Whip-Up post, by commenters who just assumed I wasn’t black and therefore was not allowed to go anywhere near usage of the n-word. So I had to pause to think. One must quilt responsibly, right?

I gotta say that 2012 was the perfect year to be in this perpetual tailspin: the nation was finally moving forward on marriage equality. Amid daily immersion in this civil rights movement, I was making sure to steep myself in history and, at the same time, just happened to revisit Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, first by finally viewing the beautiful mini-series with Jeremy Irons and, second, by nipping into the novel again to recall contexts. Volumes have been written analyzing the characters, their relationships, and the religious themes of the novel so I’ll refrain here. For me this reading in 2012 brought on visceral feelings of social contrasts of all sorts and I reveled in the joy of the early moments of Charles and Sebastian’s relationship. All of this led to finally acknowledging the anger and frustration I feel about the entrenched resistance to this equality movement.

It slowly dawned on me that our f-word is part of my world and my AmericanExperience. My reticence was right because I want to avoid offending (to a certain extent) but I have a right to use this f-word responsibly for the same reasons that I defend others’ rights to use it. [First Amendment for all, my friend.]

Now, even though I claimed ownership of the vocabulary, I remain wary in ways I cannot articulate.

i know you put a lot of time and thought into this project; it’s been almost two years in the planning/making. can you talk a little bit about the process? both technical as well as what the making made you think or feel?

My “process” for quilt design differs with each project. While most are improvisational and/or impulsive, this one started out as a long deliberation that built up to an impulsive move. I started sketching whenever ideas came to me, a practice I rarely indulge in. On my cutting table, there’s a pile of old receipts, boarding passes and envelopes that explore this one concept. Each idea has some potential, but never compelled me to start stitching; see purple-pink example above.

But then one day I woke up ready, I did a mock up on my computer over coffee, and it just felt right. The only certainty I could articulate was that the instinctual simplicity of the design was what was missing in previous versions. Technically, this is traditional Quaker sampler design executed with simple and efficient sewing.

While sewing, I thought quite a bit about the bullied neighbor kid and another dear friend of the family with whom I’ve lost contact. There was so much about them that I now realize I was too young and too oblivious to understand at the time–ten year-olds shouldn’t have to know everything, of course. All I knew was they were nice folks who, in my presence, incurred wrath expressed through this word.

do you have any idea what your next “word” quilt might be?

Well, since I tend to embark on these projects impulsively, I cannot be sure. There are ideas always on my mind, but none have risen up to need to been made yet. That’s not such a satisfying answer? Let’s just say that one of these designs involves the word “fingerpainting” in an unexpected way.

thank you, cauchy, so much.
this collaboration has meant more to me than you can know.
i’ll cherish the quilt forever.

alright bitches,
FWordWatermarked1what do you think?

and don’t forget to read the companion post on completely cauchy!

procrastination

October 28, 2013

20131028-172512.jpg

fall shawl

October 7, 2013

i am so. behind.

in the past two weeks or so,
i’ve been fighting off some kind of plague
and been dealing with the death of my grandpa.
it’s been one of those times when one is reminded
that being an adult fucking sucks.

(it also means there might be some big life changes in my future)

but for right now,
i have a lot of catching up to do.
skeletons in the closet
20131007-165145.jpg
20131007-165221.jpg
20131007-165238.jpgso of course i’ve cast on a boneyard.
i never get bored of a plain triangular shawl.
i imagine it’s what sock knitting is like for sock knitters.

and so i’ll sit here a while longer,
ignoring the pile of work in the other room,
trying to remember what it felt like before i had responsibilities.
20131007-165301.jpgthose were the days.

*t-10 days to rhinebeck.

permafrost.

round 128.

5-st gather.

Knit 5 stitches together without slipping them off L needle, *yarn over, knit into original 5 stitches again; Rep from * once more

fuck you, jared flood;
just fuck you.

fragment 137

August 4, 2013

I want to say something but shame
prevents me

yet if you had a desire for good or beautiful things
and your tongue were not concocting some evil to say,
shame would not hold down your eyes
but rather you would speak about what is just

-Sappho*

that’s some heavy shit.
more than 2500 years ago,
and the bitch knew what was up!

*from anne carson’s translation, If not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

things finished

July 27, 2013

DPP_1689
DPP_1687
photographing these socks was a bittersweet event for me.
as you may recall, i began these socks with the intention
of giving them to stephanie pearl-mcphee
at the next knot hysteria retreat.
it’d become a tradition of mine.
but of course knot hysteria is no more,
so god only knows when and if i’ll see her.

when i finished the socks,
i was in the tipsy fog.
and it didn’t hit me
until i took their picture
that these socks are basically homeless.

so as i see it, i have two options:
a. – give them away on the blog to someone with similarly tiny feet.
b. – use my super secret sneeky plan to get them to canada.

what do you think i should do?

still, i’m totally happy with how these turned out.
they’re as close to perfectly matched as one can get, even the heels.
DPP_1686i love the heels. (pattern details: here)

my tipsy socks are also finished.
DPP_1697that’s right, bitches.
two f.o.’s in a month.
(i may have an emotion)

however,
unlike my mes chausettes pour p.-mcphee,
my tipsy socks do not match.
DPP_1696at all.

now i ask you,
because maybe this is just my ignorance about dying,
but how can two socks be so different when:
1. same knitter
2. same needles
3. same pattern
4. same gauge
5. same fucking yarn.

can someone please explain that to me?

while i do love the second sock
and recognize that it is beautiful,
i still completely prefer the first one.
there’s always gonna be a favorite,
as with any siblings.

these socks are not homeless, though they will be a surprise.
luckily, i have the recipient’s address this time.

finally,
(and believe me it pains me to say this)
i need advice on . . . a baby sweater.
let me be clear: i’m cool with babies.
it’s parents of babies i can. not. stand.
which generally results in the same thing: avoiding babies.

but this universe has a sick sense a humor
and frequently makes us deal with things we’d rather not.
so i’m going to knit my friend a baby sweater.
it’s not going to be any degree of cutesy;
nor will it be even the slightest bit wootsy.
if i see any baby blue acrylic yarn, i’m pulling the plug.
i want to make something dignified and stylish for a small person.

that’s all.

so what would you recommend?
is the baby surprise over?

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