Christmas!

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On a recent trip to H&M I was disturbed to see an exact replica of justcallmeruby‘s gorgeous ‘Perfect Christmas Jumper’ hanging on a rack. In a recent entry on her site she posted side-by-side pictures; aside from a slight change of white triangle to white cross they’re identical.

Knitting is a craft. It requires an investment in time, effort, and to a lesser extent, money. Vintage knitting requires a special devotion – willingness to interpret implied directions, research into fabrics, yarns, and colors of the time period, an understanding of the era. When a store like H&M rips off a design intended to be crafted by hand it cheapens the nature of Craft. Anyone with $40 burning a hole in their pocket can walk in and buy this sweater without thinking, without effort.

In turn that consumer doesn’t realize and won’t understand the effort required by genuine craft (something any knitter who’s been asked by a random co-worker if they could whip up a sweater for them this weekend understands). How are any non-crafters supposed to understand the price of creating something by hand if it gets devalued by fast fashion?

I knit vintage not only because I’m a masochist who loves working on tiny, tiny needles but because I get the opportunity to bring a piece of history to life. I adore Craft in all its forms and am seriously annoyed how little respect perfection in creation gets nowadays. Few were more pissed off than me when the American Craft Museum changed its name to the Museum of Art & Design because as their chief curator said, ‘the understanding and meaning of the term ‘craft’ has changed’.

Yes, that’s right folks, if you create for yourself, your friends and for the sheer joy of it, you are a CRAFTER. If you create to stick it in a gallery or are ‘using the medium of ______’ to get an IDEA across, you are an ARTIST. BUNK! BUNK AND ROT I SAY! Loving attention to detail, careful study of form and materials, these transcend the barriers of intent! Stanley Kubrick was a MASTER of craftsmanship and it shines through all his films, but I doubt the man ever picked up a crochet hook in his life. The full investment of a person’s attention and focus into ANYTHING, no matter the medium, will show in a finished object.

Numerous devotees of Shaker furniture and objects say they were drawn to collecting the exceedingly practical and simple items because they ‘glowed’ or ‘had a presence’. The Shakers embodied the true spirit of Craft – joy in creation, perfection in execution, love in working. The ONLY thing separating art from craft is the Shaker’s last requirement: practicality. By (my very general) definition Art is that which has no purpose, but craft in the physical sense is that which does. Craft skills can certainly be applied to art, and the projects are all the better for it, but I’ve gotten rather far from my initial point that art should not scorn nor mass marketing reduce the value of craft.

Which sort of brings me close enough to introduce this week’s pattern, a Christmas-y little number with double Moose value for your effort. Ugh, sorry, I’m still chafing at the idea any ‘fashionista’ (aaagh, blood boiling) can pop in and purchase something….it’s sort of like seeing nepotism in action, or hearing a trust fund kid complain how Ibiza’s played out- your innate sense of the world’s ‘fairness’ gets tilted royally out of whack. Ugh. Ok, look at the nice pattern…nice moosey pattern.

It’s from Jack Frost, the pattern company who light all their photos like Bergman’s ‘Persona’.

Behold the natural beauty of the Grand Tetons.

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Thomas Jefferson once said, “Determine never to be idle… It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.” Alexander Hamilton once said “Ugh, Jefferson. What a pompous ass.”* Just one of the many reasons Hamilton’s my boy; that and his kick-ass job as Secretary of the Treasury.

Crafting Season is in full swing- combine frantic knitting, sewing and whittling to finish gifts before the holiday deadline with work, shopping, holiday events and travel, plus the pesky need for sleep and food, and writing here quickly drops to the bottom of my priority list. Which is unfortunate, as for the first time this site is getting some love from other crafting sites and I hate to disappoint.

So, with a rare free day today (still a-crammed with doings), I decided to take care of now until the end of the year in one fell swoop using the beloved format of the Advent Calendar (at first it was going to run until the end of the Aztec calendar in 2012 but that seemed a bit rich). So even if I haven’t time to dig in and post, it won’t look like an abandoned Angelfire page about pretend cats around here. Nothing too fancy, just a little clip, song or image vaguely related (or not) to the holidays through to the New Year. Enjoy!

Click to see what’s behind the Green Door!

*and by ‘said’ I mean ‘liberally paraphrased’.

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Now that I’m not sloshing through dirty snow or shoving past crowds, I can reflect fondly on Christmas in the city (call it ‘holiday’ all you want PC Patrol, but that’s no Hannukah bush up at Rockefeller center). Having an out-of-town friend come in is the best way to enjoy all the ‘touristy’ stuff in New York, and lucky for me a friend joined me from Philly just in time for all the holiday cheese. We wasted no time in checking out the coup-de-grace of seasonal tourist gawking- the Rockefeller Tree:

Rockefeller Center

Somewhere out there that 4000 year old gnarled Dwarf Pine is chuckling to itself. Each year a paid group seeks out the largest and most beautiful tree in the nation…to chop down and slowly die in front of thousands. The rainbow lights are the final insult.

I’ve been more interested in Saks 5th Ave’s ‘Singing Snowflakes’ display since it caught me by surprise 2 years ago- out of nowhere the whole building started blinking in time to the badass version of ‘Caroling of the Bells’ (itself a spooky bit of Christmas cheer no matter how it’s sung), captivating me through the magic of well-timed light display.

Singing Snowflakes

Lines wrap around all the big department stores for viewing their window displays. Unfortunately both Saks and Macy’s windows were sappy Santa stories pandering to kids about the magical wonderment of their missals getting to Santa’s shop of whimsical delight. Meh.

Fortunately the fancier stores went in the random crazy direction, resulting in the following:

Crazy Store Displays
Flying bed in a sparkletree? Sure!

Crazy Store Displays
Dapper wolf playing piano for a draped chantuse? Why not! It’s Christmas!

As Kent Brockman warned us, KillStorm ’09 bore down on us like a shotgun full of snow:

Killstorm 2009

Killstorm 2009

Perhaps it’s early-onset Cabin Fever, but this is the Christmas tree I whipped up:

Ghetto Tree

Yeah. That is indeed a jug of cat litter holding it up (I couldn’t find the base or top). Happy Holidays, folks!

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