I spent most of the night crocheting and went to bed with hook marks still on my fingers. In my dream Rob & I were at an antique store, and not only did I find a vintage F hook (with a lovely fluted handle), but there was a huge stack of pattern books and magazines at the store as well. The strange thing about the dream--and there must be something strange in every dream, mustn't there?--is that these publications were all kept behind the counter, and when I asked the saleslady to give them to me so that I could look at them, she gave me a few of them but also some knitting magazines and also--here is the very strange part--some Christian books. More of those than anything else, and I got the distinct feeling in the dream that she was trying to convert me. Which is odd, as I'm already Christian. (Episcopalian, to be exact. Here, have some coffee.)
It occurs to me that I have a wealth of crochet publications in real life, and I haven't made fun of them for a while. So it's time for another round of that.
But first, your Moment of Crochet Zen:
Knit Simple spring/summer 2006
Click on that link. Behold the cover of the spring/summer issue of Knit Simple. A knitting magazine. Read and savor the largest headline on the cover:
easy crocheted flowers for pretty knits
Yep. Easy crocheted flowers. It is a knitting magazine featuring...crocheted flowers. I love it.
Now, on to the magazines and books:
First up, the February 2006 issue of Hooked on Crochet! Hey, ladies, it is your grandmother's crochet! Aren't I glad. I won't speak too much of this, since I also have the current issue in my lap. I'll just say that I adore the hooded baby poncho, and if it wasn't, well, Hawaii here, I'd make it for Esther.
Next, the February 2006 issue of Annie's Favorite Crochet. I haven't seen the March issue yet, but it's out, according to the website. Anything related to Annie's Attic always has plenty to make fun of, and this issue of course is no exception. I think someone in Big Sandy is smoking Fun Fur. (It's nowhere near Houston, so that can't explain it.) Again, please excuse the images I am about to provide; we don't have a scanner at the moment so I'm stuck photographing shiny magazine paper.
First thought: Hey look, it's that chick who played Winnie on The Wonder Years. Second thought: How many shag rugs had to die for that wrap? This photo really doesn't do it total justice. You can't see much of the long stringy things hanging off the bottom, but it seems as if the rug(s?) resisted valiantly. It is, of course, made using Fun Fur. But not the chintzy Lion Brand Fun Fur! Oh no, this is Moda Dea Fun Fur. Nevermind that such does not exist. (Moda Dea does make fur yarn, but nothing with the same name as the Lion Brand product.) They apparently mean Fur Ever yarn (I matched up colorway names, at least). The mix-up in names hints to me that they switched yarns from what the designer intended. The Moda Dea yarn doesn't seem to be any more expensive than the Lion Brand stuff, just a bit more difficult to find (really, when was the last time you saw Moda Dea anything at Wal-Mart?) Because, of course, nothing sets off your butt-ugly design like elitism.
It gets worse, much worse, on the very next page, though. Turn the page and you are confronted with this monstrosity:
Apparently, some sort of alien fungus has attacked this poor, defenseless denim skirt. My God, I just realized there are beads on this. Beads. On eyelash yarn (just generic eyelash yarn this time, not FunFurSure). Wow. It is worse than even I thought.
You will notice that there is some hope for mankind. The aliens have not yet managed to infect the back of the skirt. And in some ways that is worse. Because you could come up behind this lady and think she was just a normal, law-abiding citizen. You would never know she's been colonized by the Alien Bead Moss until it was too late.
Luckily, if I know my HG Wells well enough, Earth germs will eventually triumph.
What, you may be wondering, is the perfect accessory to set off your lovely Skirt Fungus? Why, this, of course!
Riddle me this, Batman:
Does the hideous headband cancel out the scare hair? Sort of like when you touch your doppelganger, the theory is you might both wink out of existence.
Or perhaps it's a different strain of the alien moss?
Just for a minute, put these three hideous creations together in your mind. The wrap. The trim. The headband. Imagine one person wearing all three. It could happen. Someone, somewhere, looked at these same patterns and thought to herself, Man, they go together!
The aliens, my friends, are winning. They have already assimilated the crew over at Crochet! I reported some time back on the attack of the supermodels. It seems that with this new issue, their takeover is complete.
Mind you, I actually kind of likethis dress. Except for, you know, the rug-fringe on the bottom and the inexplicable fuzziness of the straps/bodice trim.
But you pair the minidress with the fishnets and the "Howdy sailor, new in town?" shoes and the pillbox hat (which has a gorgeous little veil) and the elbow-length gloves, and it occurs to me for the first time that this issue could well be called Crochet for Streetwalkers.
Crochet for Dying-of-Starvation Streetwalkers, more like. Chick looks like she hasn't eaten in a month. I mean, Barbie's looking at her and shaking her head in disbelief.
Seriously, though, I'd make this dress for myself. If it didn't mean lots of math to recreate it in my actual size. Large fits up to a 40 inch bust. Let's just say there are certain undergarments I have to get made-to-order 'cause they're not generally available in stores. (And I'm not like hugely fat either; I'm a size 16, only one above the nationwide norm of 14.)
As a parting thought, I will note how incrediblyflattering horizontal stripes are for those of us not weak from hunger.
Next exhibit in the Crochet for Streetwalkers theme:
This particular...lady...apparently has lost the fight with the Alien Skirt Moss.
Really, it's almost too easy. They make this stuff too easy for me. The people at Crochet! claim to be defining the craft. Which, I assume, means it's Today's Crochet and of course Not Your Grandmother's Crochet. Once again, Granny is heartily thankful.
I can't get over the sheer...surrealness of this particular model. Methinks the photographer went a little overboard with the airbrush tool. And I think she stole the hairdresser's boyfriend. Because someone did that to her eyebrows on purpose.
Final bit of Streetwalker Crochet:
Unfortunately, I took a bad photo of this one, foolishly zooming in somewhat on the skirt, so you don't get the full effect of the camisole top. Really, ladies, the whole underwear-as-outerwear thing is soover. Not even Madonna is doing it anymore.
For the record, this is another pattern I sort of like. Except for the ubiquitous Fun Fur trim. (WTF isit with Fun Fur, anyway? Do they have a whole room full of compromising photos of the foremost crochet designers or something?) Oh wait, my bad. That's Moonlight Mohair. Oy. So it's not just inexplicably fuzzy yarn, it's inexplicably fuzzy yarn that itches.
This is also another design made for the starving supermodel crowd. It comes in three sizes: 2, 4/6, and 8/10. I dunno about y'all, but most of the other crocheters I know are notsize 10s anymore than I am! Way to market to the minority! (I've said before and I'll say it again: only in the fashion industry can you get away with aiming 90% of your product at 40% of your perspective consumers.)
Thankfully, though, ugly sweaters are still available.
Once again: They make this too easy for me!
Where to start, where to start?
Oh hey, that hideous fuzzy thing comes in my size! Yay! Because of course us fat chicks look sogood in bulky stuff. I wanna wear it with my boffo Quacker Factory embellished sweatsuit.
The first words uttered by the baby in the middle: Please, Mommy, no!
I fuzzed out the face of the poor child in the last photograph. No one should risk being recognized while wearing that. Seriously, it ought to count as child abuse. Because if you send you child to school wearing that, she willget the crap beaten out of her for being a dork. I mean, really. As if the very concept of a fuzzy crocheted jacket wasn't bad enough, the sleeves are a different color! Might as well tape a "kick me" sign to your child's back.
Next, we come to the April 2006 issue of Crochet World, wherein we learn once again just how different I am from my Crochetville.org peers.
Once upon a time, when I was in San Antonio visiting my mother, she gave my eldest daughter a very special stuffed frog. The unique feature of this frog was that it was furry. A furry amphibion. Special.
Quirky the Blue Bird is likewise special. Because he, too, is furry. Fun Fur-ry, even. (I know, the Fun Fur people are Reptilians.) I think this is about the ugliest toy pattern I've come across lately, but everybodyelse in the thread loved it.
Of course, this means that they all have zero taste. Because I am the sole arbiter of what is good crochet.
Well, me and Lady Linoleum, of course.
This magazine also brings the Inexplicable Crochet Patterns of the Quarter:
First we have Clay Pot Annie. A wall hanging, apparently. A "charming but 'potty' little lass" who will enliven my kitchen. Well, not my kitchen. But someone's. Someone with a deep, abiding love for pompons. And plastic flowers.
Then, you have the Baby Set for the Stupid. "Geez, honey, I forgot, did we have a boy or a girl?"
Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've thought about putting a t-shirt that says "I'm a GIRL!" on my daughters, as putting them in frilly pink dresses has never been enough of a clue. But really, this is taking it a bit far, as some of this stuff isn't even meant to be used outside of the house. Of course, industriously crocheting this set and then giving it at the baby shower pretty much guarantees the ultrasound will be wrong.
And the lactivist in me has to note the subtle pushing of bottlefeeding...
Thankfully, that's about all I can find to ridicule in that issue.
Last for tonight, this month's issue of Hooked on Crochet! I will make it brief.
Now, the purse really isn't that bad. Except for the yarns. And the giant button. And the knot in the strap, normally something you punish your children for, not something you do to your own purse on purpose.
And, of course, the fact that they expect you to hold together two strands of bulky-weight yarn & use an H hook to crochet 'em.
More egregious is the hairy child's poncho. It uses not one but two furry yarns--neither Fun Fur, oddly enough. And the whole thing looks oddly stiff, as if you merely cut a hole in some carpet for your daughter to wear. This reminds me of the MWTer who told me about being traumatized by the crocheted garments her mom forced her to wear.