Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It ain't a Cowichan, hipster.

 Words matter. what you call something matters. Otherwise, you will enter The Twilight Zone, and live in an Orwell or Huxley dystopian novel.
If you want credibility as a seller of vintage, then you have to know what you are selling...or at the very least, not purposely misrepresent an item. Just because Hannah Hipster in LA calls her chunky sweater a Cowichan, doesn't make it so...unless Hannah can prooove it.
War is not Peace. And a Mary Maxim sweater is not a Cowichan. And never will be......A Cowichan is a special type of sweater, using a certain kind of wool, and knit by a member of the Cowichan band. Some Cowichans might use a Mary Maxim pattern....but if it ain't done by a Cowichan, it ain't a Cowichan!


So, I love Mary Maxim graphical sweaters...they always tell a story...and they are hand knit. I can't knit, so I admire those who do. I can't walk a tightrope, so I admire those who do.........You get my drift.

Mary Maxim produced charts for knitters to follow while knitting...these became very popular in the 50s and 60s.They are not Cowichan sweaters which are made by members of First Nation tribes... the Cowichan band of Coast Salish. 

When you misidentify a bulky patterned sweater as a Cowichan, without provenance or  proof, or an attached label, then you are wrong, and showing disrespect to a Nation.
Here's what wikipedia has to say............but you can find out more truth of  Cowichan heritage by a simple online search.
"Most knitters collect designs, some of which are passed on through families and friends. Some families have proprietary designs, although this is relatively rare Designs are incorporated only for their artistic appeal; there is no meaning or implication to them.The popularity of Indian-patterned sweaters prompted the Mary Maxim Company, then headquartered in Sifton, Manitoba, to produce graphed commercial patterns, beginning in the 1940s.Ironically, the knitters soon began to collect and use these charts themselves. They continue to retain favourite designs and to make modifications of them. There are, for example, many variations on the eagle theme. Knitters will also create custom patterns, often with no traditional associations. Despite the diversity of patterns, however, experienced knitters and dealers can often identify the maker of a sweater through the particularqualities of design and knitting style that form a kind of personal signature."

There are also Brown Buffalo Canadian sweaters...but back to Mary Maxim...
Welcome to Mary Maxim…
...the largest mail order merchandiser of exclusive needlework and craft kits in North America now offering secure internet ordering on the world wide web. Mary Maxim began with hand knit designs in the early 1950s. Influenced by the beautiful wildlife in North America, Mary Maxim designed bulky outdoor zippered jackets to knit using the first easy-to-follow graph-style charts created. 

Here is a real Cowichan....from vintage clothing seller FastEddiesRetroRags, with
the original "Genuine Cowichan Indian Knit" label-

Authentic SIGNED Vintage 70's COWICHAN INDIAN Cardigan Elk Sweater

 Here's a Mary Maxim pattern from vintage seller, AlwaysMoreRoom

 Vintage 1950's Mary Maxim No 482 Graph Style Knitting Pattern, Outer Space, Children's Cardigan, Sizes 8-10-12

and another.....Mary Maxim from vintage seller, TheJavaShop

 Mary Maxim Vintage Sweater

 LOOOOOONg before the World started in with the UGLY sweater fad of recent years....I have had a love/hate with sweaters. OH yes. When I lived in California I didn't spend much time thinking about sweaters....but in Washington...I wear sweaters all 12 months of the year!!

I hate sweaters.....I love sweaters.........
I hate them because 99.99999% of them are ugly. Like face-thru-a-windshield ugly.
I love them because they can be sexy and have rhinestones.

I look at racks and boxes of sweaters and I think:"I can't believe someone has a job designing this crap."

Therefore, I buy really ugly and really weird sweaters and cut them up or shrink them to make other things from them. It's transformative. It's like Sweater Karma where you go Up the levels of enlightenment....I am a goddess....I control Sweater Lives.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Favorite Label Friday January 25, 2013

Oh yes. I do. I do buy things just to have that label. Not a fancy-schmancy label...tho, I don't hold it against a label or a thing if some nose-in-the-air has their name on something....
I love this one!
Truth and Soul.

Sooooo 70s. Peace. Love. Truth. Soul. Big sun and the Moon and the Stars. Look at that font...bubbly and fun. In between listening to The Carpenters and Sly and the Family Stone, us flower children and hippies were busy saving the world and making it better for all of the peoples. We got sold out by Ronald Reagan and the Republicans for the last 30 or so years...but Good Times, Equal Rights and saving the planet for our survival is now Back in style, Back in the knick of Time.

And the sweater is so fantastic! Styled like it's 30s, but made in the 70s in that neato blend known as Space Dye of the time, or simply, heathered, or multicolors.....
this one blends rust and green yarns in this Purl stitch  turtleneck, with 30s style deep ribbed cuffs and waistband.

Here's another 70s style...this is from the "FUN" 70s...party, disco, and slinky sexy dresses. This gathered ruched number recalls the glam gowns of the 30s also. Yup, the 70s was the 30s and 40s done all over again...with a groovy twist, in modern fibers for easy care.

Hey look.......Easy Street Fashions!
Getting yourself to Easy Street was a real big deal in the 30s and the 40s as you can imagine...The Depression, Prohibition, and the threat of looming war....and then...war. Dreams delayed, and soldiers fighting overseas.

The vintage 70s long empire dress with wide straps....and a deep neckline, has a sexy gathered bodice and is reminiscent of the 40s glam gowns.
So very....1970s Halston and the Disco.

The 70s colors repeated the earthy colors of the 30s too.....brown, moss green, shades of orange......rust, peach, pumpkin and earth tones of tan, khaki and caramel....

These 2 skirts ....both in earthy autumn tones, are from the same company, but the labels changed with the times...starting out more traditional, with a very charming logo...then later, it got more whimsical with a swirly font..... I find this interesting because, Copley Square , named for painter John Singleton Copley, is a public square in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, in a conservative locale.... and the older label, here, reflects the timeless classic style, with is simple font and spare yet detailed logo of high rise buildings with their high rise windows!

this wool skirt is charming with perma pleats...The wool blend plaid is a rich blend of coffee brown, rust, tan, camel and pumpkin. Shaded ombre rainbow plaid...not boring!

But later on in the 70s, teals, blues and dark browns came into style...and the label changed....Simple yet fun...and still traditional, and also cheaper to make, with much less detail than the earlier 70s Copley Square Ltd label.

Another change....the earlier 70s skirt has a red, white and blue UNION label, while the late 70s skirt doesn't. As Unions came under attack, and US jobs moved overseas, Americans lost good benefits, good wages, and still kept on producing excellent quality goods as much as they were allowed to by the bean counters and CEOs.

A classic with its charming perma pleats...The wool blend plaid is a rich blend of coffee brown, rust, tan, camel and dark teal.

Later 70s clothes are often darker colors and jewel tones....turquoise, teal, purple, burgundy, berry, and ruby.
Here's a delicious purple velvet blazer....The label is College Town, a venerable Massachusetts label that started making college girl clothes in the 50s when post-war "girls" started entering college in big numbers.

I see a logo with Hearts and Arrows....follow your heart...follow your dreams!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Edgar's Birthday and his Muse, Fanny

What moves the talented people? What clicks in their soul do they hear and so begins the production of that which is art?
So very much has been written about Edgar Allan Poe.....and January 19, 1809 is the day of his birth to a mother and father in show business. They died when Poe was only around the age of 2, so a wealthy merchant, John Allan of Richmond Virginia, fostered the child and gave him the middle name of Allan.

the back of the Edgar Allan Poe action figure....a fine Xmas gift from Kelly!

File:Edgar Allan Poe 2 retouched and transparent bg.png
This picture of Poe, perhaps his most well known is from a fine wikipedia article.

How brilliant? Invented the genre of detective fiction, and made science fiction so very popular....He was a poet, a short story writer (another of his "firsts") and edited many magazines of the time. He supported himself, his wife and his mother-in-law, and earned very little for his genius....
such is the story of most talented artists and writers.

the Poe action figure doll, a 70s collection of his stories and poems, the book Poe & Fanny, and our edition of antique Poe, dated 1882.

That Poe first published a book of poems....Poe. Poems. that has always fascinated me...Was his life so tragic, so full of genius, was of the curious combination of the Irish that he was with the long tradition of rich word play....the artistic talent that was passed to him from his parents....the knowledge of the tragedy of the slaves sold and bought by his foster father, and the slaves he grew up with in the home of the Allans....the sadness that was his due as an orphan and as a foster child.....

I have many mementos that are a tribute to one of my favorite writers...as so many people have also done for One and a half centuries since he became a celebrity when he published and performed The Raven.
His executor, Rufus Wilmot Griswold, defamed him terribly after Poe's mysterious death in Baltimore on October 7, 1849.
One theory of his tragic and strange death is that he was drugged, dressed in odd clothes and shepherded from one polling place to another in Baltimore.
(proof positive that politcians and the rich people that own them, take voting in America very seriously...Democrats want you to vote, Republicans will try to kill you and confuse you if you try it)

It wasn't until a decade after the Redfield edition of his poems and stories published in 1856 that Poe's true life story was redeemed. And then we know...what happened....
Poe has become one of America's most beloved writers.

and oh yes, this handmade necklace, made from a picture of  my #13 specimen bottle, is a tribute to Poe. The number 13 appears again and again in his life....

I just finished reading Poe and Fanny by  John May, published in 2004. Though it is a novel of historical fiction, it posits a quite interesting thread, an alternate and entirely plausible story of his fascination with Frances Sargent Osgood.
Not much was known of Fanny...until recently, although she was an influence on Emily Dickinson and Fanny was an immensely popular poet from the 1830's until her death in 1850 from tuberculosis.

http://www.librarycompany.org/women/portraits/images/Ports/Large_Ports/osgood_lg.jpgbiography and pic

2 of my favorite Fanny Osgood poems....

A Shipwreck
I launched a bark on fate's deep tide ---
A frail and fluttering toy,
But freighted with a thousand dreams
Of beauty and of joy.

Ah me! it found no friend in them ----
The wave -- the sky --- the gale --
Though Love enraptured took the helm --
And Hope unfurled the sail!

And you, who should its pilot be--
   To whom in fear it flies--
Forsake it, on a treacherous sea,
   To seek a prouder prize.

Alas for Love! bewildered child!
   He weeps the helm beside,
And Hope has furled her fairy sail,
   Nor longer tempts the tide.

Despair and Pride in silence fling
   Its rich freight to the wave,
And now an aimless wreck it floats,
   That none would stoop to save.

I won't type the entire poem and I couldn't find a Google source, but I'll keep looking. This Osgood poem is published in the book, Poe and Fanny, referenced above.*****

Had We But Met 

Had we but met in life's delicious spring,
When young romance made Eden of the world;
When bird-like Hope was ever on the wing,
(In thy dear breast how soon had it been furl'd!)

Had we but met when both our hearts were beating
With the wild joy --  the guileless love of youth --
Thou a proud boy -- with frank and ardent greeting --
And I, a timid girl, all trust and truth!

to be continued.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Good underwear.

The latest from the funkomavintage lingerie drawer....drawers..ha ha. 60s Vanity Fair, a rare Olga violet gown, Pink Champagne garter panties...Hollywood Vassarette.....and something for the boys. Boxers, tighty whities, and long underwear All in ones, and thermal shirts......too.

Leopard vintage Vanity Fair Rhinestone buttons 60s silky nylon Top S M

60s vintage Vanity Fair nightie top...That Leopard! soft and silky. Rhinestone buttons.

Garter Panties vintage Pink Champagne Pinup Frilly Lace satin ribbons S  M

 wow ! sexy panties with garters.... made of sheer lace, satin and ribbons, these pink satin and champagne beige lace cuties are perfect for pinup and burlesque fun.

 Rare Vintage Violet purple Olga Long Nightgown huge Sweep M L 92060

Pretty purple violet nylon, and matching lace, it has the famous Olga form-fitting bodice with a wide...skirt...about 100" !

 60s Party dress Nightgown Vintage Hollywood Vassarette hostess lingerie scarf S M

60s long nightgown is a psychedelic print by Hollywood Vassarette. It's a party dress...a hostess gown...and a nightgown. It can be worn many ways...with its large scarf.

Nylon vintage Panties Sheer Black lace long pettipants 60s slip S M

 Pin up panties in soft silky nylon, in an old-fashioned style of long panties, or pettipants. They look like a half slip...but are panties. 

This pair of 1960's- 1970's men's underwear is in new, never worn condition.
Made in USA. Sears Men's Shop
35% cotton - 65% poly knit Tighty Whiteys !

 Vintage Cotton Underwear White Briefs dashed elastic 60s 70s mens L 38

Cream, french vanilla thick cotton knit and lots of white cats eye buttons.Yes, a flap on the back.

50s Penneys Vanilla Long Johns underwear for winter wear 44 M

60s cotton knit pullover shirt, charming red and white stripe thermal shirt of stretchy wool and cotton blend. 60s Duofold is fabled for quality and general awesomeness.

1960s Vintage Thermal shirt Red Stripe Duofold Made in USA wool cotton s

Made in USA

Back in the early 80s I noticed that a lot and I mean a lot....of things I was buying new were made in countries other than America. I use to enjoy buying neat imported things from Cost Plus Imports in San Francisco back in the 70s, and the occasional cute widget at Woolworths, but imported merchandise was still quite rare. I bought wicker baskets from China because that's where they were made. Made in India handwoven and stamped textiles indigenous to the country...When that changed to making 3rd world countries the low-wage exploited workers of the world...I stopped buying imported goods if at all possible.

And, I simply stopped buying imports from that time on....unless I could not find it made in the USA. This meant I went without a lot of stuff. And that is fine! I made do, I bought used, I made it myself, I lived without. (I have always had used clothes, used housewares, used cars, and used furniture...this new trend of "junk" and "diy" ain't anything new to me!)

 Egan, shown here as a teenager at Baker Beach in the '70s, moved to San Francisco when she was 7. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Egan
During the 70s, I remember imports from Taiwan ROC, and Hong Kong, for instance, showing up in clothing shops. And Volkswagens...and Volvos...from Europe!

While the imports were rare until the mid 1980s, they offered no real challenge to American jobs and our economy. The industry that grows around imports.....the ships, the ports, the dockworkers, the movers....can add to an economy. What has happened since Reagan was installed in the White House, is that people have been convinced that buying American is dumb, that government is the enemy, and that Unions didn't get those high wages we used to enjoy.....and now....we have low-paying  jobs in the US, and Americans have closets overflowing with junk from China.

 a label from a vintage nightgown, Made in USA, and UNION made!

I have always been promoting the re-use of that stuff others have discarded! When I say "The Recycled Life", I'm not saying some slick marketing concept.....I live it. I believe it.
I know this has always been the right way to live.
I developed this philosophy of living back in the '60s when I was a teenager.
1. Buy Quality. It lasts a long long time, cutting down on waste.
2. Buy from Small Business. Do you think Macy's really gives a shit about you?
3. Buy local as much as possible. We live in a world economy, and we always have, so if you can't find what you want in your area, search out other small businesses, and buy from them.

When I offer something with a not-made-in-America label, it is vintage or used. It needs to be reintroduced to our modern life again. It needs to see life again. It needs to be used, and worn out!
We can't change the past, but we can change today....we can change tomorrow.

Where ever you live, you can buy more stuff made locally, buy better quality stuff, and be mindful of all your purchases. I'm typing on a made in China computer.....because I repaired my old computers until they could not be revived. I didn't buy a new computer every year....I kept what I had for about 5 years, and got it repaired.

Minnetonka moccasins are made in (surprise) Minnetonka Minnesota USA.  Since 1946, Minnetonka has been a staple of American style.

Crayons are made in the USA! not every Binney-Smith product.....but crayons are.
Welcome to The Crayola FACTORY

Here's the classic Crayola factory tour from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Best Way To Eat Onions in Winter

Cold, windy and wet. It's winter. And I want soup. I love this one because...it is made from what I almost always have on hand in the pantry....and French Onion soup is soooo good. Rich, brothy, buttery and satisfying...and easy!

2 -3 big onions or 4 -5 smaller onions, chopped or sliced to make about 3 -4 cups. This recipe will make about 5 servings.
4 cups of broth. I use this yummy instant broth making stuff. It's at Safeway, so easy to find.
Salt and Pepper. More pepper than salt.
2 T. butter.
A splash of red wine or white if that's all you got. Whatev'.
 Once the soup is done, sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese or float a piece of toast on top and put the Parm or a slice of Swiss on the surface of soup, once you have ladled it in to the soup bowls!

First chop the onions.Toss the brown papery stuff....or save it to make dye. Another post in the future. Or google Onion skin dye .

Saute them in a frying pan with some oil.

Stir them so they don't get too brown....you just want them to soften and release the onion goodness.

Meanwhile make your broth ....I use 1T of yummy Better Than Bouillon broth in 4 cups of warm water.
Toss this all in a big soup pot, and then simmer on low-medium for 15 mins. Then stir in the wine, remove from the heat.

 Ladle it into bowls, and float the toast/cheese on top.
Serve and eat.