Friday, February 05, 2016

Vintage Photo Friday - Knitting Helps

Women of the Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order Knit for WWII Soldiers. 1943, LA Public Library Photo Archives
The Jewish Peoples Fraternal Order was a Jewish cultural, political and educational fraternal organization with it's roots in Canada. It was formed in the 1920s to assist immigrants with labor unions, insurance, business loans, medical care, summer camps for children and education. It was a division of the Workmen's Circle. The JPFO was often associated with the Communist Party. It was disbanded during the McCarthy era of the early 1950s, however many secular and cultural Jewish organizations continue to this day with their roots in the JPFO.
Above are a group of women, knitting for soldiers during World War II. They are a serious bunch. Today, we have many charity organizations that collect knitted items for soldiers, refugees, children in need, babies in hospitals and more. There are as many charity groups as there are people in the world. My knitting guild, The El Segundo Slipt Stitchers donates to at least 20 different charities. There are also many groups on Ravelry, specific to charity knitting.
Knitting and Crochet aren't always about making holiday gifts for your friends and family or a beautiful shawl or sweater to impress your friends. If you have this skill, it's wonderful to share it with people less fortunate. I try to donate at least one object a month to one of the various charities that my Guild supports. I collect chemotherapy caps for my Cousin Audra's clinic where she is a nurse. It's the UC San Francisco Center for Reproductive Health 
Chemo Caps Crocheted and Knit by my Yarny Friends

Audra's group harvests eggs for women of childbearing age and freezes them so that they can have biological children post chemotherapy (chemo kills their fertility because it kills the eggs).  Audra’s patients absolutely LOVE receiving the hats and always get very emotional at the kindness of strangers. This is the first hat they receive before losing all of their hair due to the chemotherapy treatments.  Audra has a small supply of soft chemo hats that she likes to give to her patients receiving chemo, about 1-2 ladies a week, but her supply is limited. My yarny friends from many of my knit groups have been contributing hats on a monthly basis for over 3 years! Thank you for continuing these acts of charity in the tradition of my JPFO ancestors.  Your acts of kindness are a mitzvah!
Contact me at if you'd like to contribute a hat!

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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Important Sweater

It's time to knit an important sweater. By important, I mean with really nice yarn! I knit and/or crochet all sorts of things, however, I was raised during the Age of Acrylic and I just cannot get used to using large amounts of expensive wool for a big project like a sweater.
I was lucky, over the holidays, to receive a few gift certificates. Since I have everything I could possibly need in this world, I decided to splurge on yarn as my giftie. I am now the proud owner of many skeins of Malabrigo Rios Yarn in the Pearl Ten colorway, as well as six skeins of Noro Silk Garden, Colorway #381. I love it when a solid yarn (Malabrigo) is striped with Noro using the garter stitch (see below).
Malabrigo + Noro = Cool Garter Stripes
I was thinking about knitting a top-down cardigan or pullover with a striped yoke in the above-mentioned yarns. The body and sleeves would be solid gray with some colorful details at the cuffs and possibly some pocket detail. This is all worsted weight yarn, so knitting on larger needles would make this a relatively quick knit.
Speaking about quick knits, The ladies over at Mason-Dixon Knitting have issued a challenge knit-a-long to "Bang Out A Sweater." Many of my friends have taken up the challenge. I do love the pattern they chose, "Stopover." I've always been enthralled by Norwegian yoke sweaters. "Stopover" is a subtle version of this style. This knit-a-long is tempting.
It's always fun to peruse sweater patterns when you have some gorgeous yarn just itching to be knit up! Here are a few I've been looking over:
Transitions Yoke Cardigan
Simplest Sweater
Ellen Cardigan
Rainbow Yoke Pullover

Now, I just have to narrow down my choices, finish a few other projects and begin! By the time I've finished my WOOL sweater, it will be hot again in Los Angeles!  

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

1962, On The Way to Work

Click photo to see FOR SALE signs in window

I pass this house almost every morning on my way to work. It's a corner house with a big driveway and a side-lot. There are always vintage 1960s cars in the driveway and parked at the curb nearby. Sometimes the cars are perfectly maintained and preserved. Other cars have been tricked out with suede paint jobs or fancy wheel rims.  You can almost see an old Chevy in the driveway that doesn't have wheels or windows. It will probably be looking good in a few months. Yesterday I spotted this 1962 Thunderbird in, what looks like, nearly perfect condition (as far as the body is concerned). $14,000. Yikes! That seems a lot for a car that is 54 years old. I wonder if the engine has been rebuilt?
I've had a long love affair with Thunderbirds ever since the first generation, 1955-1957, came out. What an adorable two-seater that was! This looked like a perfect car for my Barbie doll! Barbie ended up getting a 1962 Austin-Healey Roadster. Silly girl. Barbie may have been foreshadowing the upcoming British invasion. 
Barbie would have looked so cool in this car!

Our next-door neighbors had a 1959 Thunderbird. I remember watching Mr. Brown attach ropes and pulleys to the roof of his hard-top, convertible T-bird and lifting the roof to the rafters of his garage for the summer. Magic.
The 1962 Thunderbird

Later, when I was ready to purchase a car in the early 1970s, one of my Dad's friends was selling a 1957 T-bird. It was the same price as a new compact at the time. I wanted that car so badly. My Dad said that buying a car that was 14 years old couldn't be as reliable as a new 1971 Dodge Colt. Since Pop was paying, I couldn't argue. I settled for the red Dodge compact. Sigh.
Once, at the end of the summer session at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, I helped a friend out by driving his 1966 Thunderbird to Los Angeles. Whoa! That was one long car, especially driving it down the hill around all those curves on the Idyllwild highway!  I managed to make it to L.A., but I really wished he'd had the smaller, cuter '55-57 model.
The 1962 model is not as adorable and small as the '55-'57 model, but it's a nice, medium-sized car, perfect for a matron of a certain age, like me. Hmmmm? Wonder if I could trade this guy for a 1955 Chevy that's molding in our backyard. Larry might have something to say about that! A girl can dream...

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Monday, February 01, 2016

Birthdays at Akasha

Akasha Restaurant in the historic Hull Building, Culver City

I love Akasha Restaurant in Culver City. The menu is varied enough that you can order almost anything you like, from sandwiches to brunch items and full course meals. An added plus, they have an awesome drink menu!
Side note on this building, from the Culver City Historical Society:
The Hull Building, which we know as Akasha Restaurant today, was constructed as the first hospital in Culver City. Dr. Foster Hull, a physician/surgeon who served the city as its second health officer, built the structure in 1925. The Culver City Historical Society marked it as Historic Site #2 in the early 1980s. When Historic Preservation was added to the municipal code in 1991, the building earned city “Landmark” status.
The wedge-shaped Neo-classical-style building was purchased by Louis Freeman during the Great Depression. The tan and rose-colored brick structure has remained in the ownership of the Freeman family, for three generations.
Over the years, the first floor housed many businesses, including Sunset Drugs (with a soda fountain), Al Simon’s Sada’s Flowers (1930s), Ed Tinger’s Culver City Flowers(1940s), Kamin’s Shoes, and in 1978, the Bank of Orange County, which gutted the building and brought it up to earthquake standards.
More recently, it was reconfigured to become a restaurant, (Riccardo’s, Bella Pasta, San Gennaro, and now Akasha). The upstairs housed offices and a boarding house at one time.
On Saturday we were celebrating Natalie's belated birthday and Brit's pre-birthday. Sadly, MaryJo came down with a cold and sore throat, so she could not join us. It would be legendary if all five of us could be together at one time! 
B-Day Girl, Brit and Darcy
Ellen and B-Day Girl, Natalie
We ordered Spicy Bloody Marys and other libations while deciding on what to order for our meal. Darcy and Natalie both had the Chilaquiles with eggs. Brit had Huevos Rancheros and I ordered Polenta Cake Benedict. Everything was yummy!
Polenta Cake Benedict

Since we missed Brit at our Boxing Day Christmas celebration, we festooned her with holiday gifties as well as b-day gifts. Brit then gave us our holiday gifts. After that, we gifted Natalie with her b-day gifts! We like presents. 
I'd asked the girls to bring their holiday beards to Akasha so we could get a few group shots. We cloned MaryJo for the afternoon.
The Bearded Ladies Lunch
Obligatory Birthday Mini-Cupcakes
Natalie likes her Noro Hat (hand-knit by me) and her Aqua Doxie (thank you Wacko)
It was a wonderful afternoon with my besties. Missed you M.J.!!!

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Uke Time

Last week I started a ukulele workshop at Boulevard Music, taught by Cali Rose. Cali is an excellent teacher. This class is for people who already have knowledge of ukulele chords and basic strums. We're learning new songs, new arrangements and a few embellishments, licks, etc. I really like this workshop and am glad that I'm focusing on playing again.
I am constantly inspired by famous folks who played the ukulele. There are tons of photos online...

George Harrison
Marilyn Monroe

Pete Townsend

Paul McCartney

Shirley Temple

John Lennon
Spanky McFarland

Elvis Presley
Lego Man
Barack Obama
I'd say I was in good company!!  Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Winter Wonder Valentine's Scrubbie Swap

Winter Wonder Valentine's Scrubbie Swap.  That's a mouthful! Every year the Annual Dishcloth Swap group on Ravelry holds a scrubbie swap.  A scrubbie is smaller than a dishcloth, usually used to scrub pots, dishes, etc.  You could also use a scrubbie like a tawashi, to washi your face or body if the cotton isn't too rough. There's still time to knit and/or crochet three scrubbies for this swap. The due date is February 1, 2016.
I like the scrubbie swap. It's fairly easy to make 3 small scrubbies...they're like drink coasters.
Here are a few of my entries in the past:

2014 Scrubbies with a holiday theme
Tidy Scrub with handy strap, 2011
Flower Power Scrubbies, 2012

Scour Flowers with Nylon Netting Centers, 2013

This year I was determined to make a scrubbie that had some scouring capabilities. I could have used nylon netting in addition to 100% cotton, but sometimes, the netting is a bit too abrasive. I decided to let the shape of my design work for me. I came up with the "Bobble Scrubbie." I will write a pattern for it within the next month or so. It's alternating rows of 4-stitch bobbles with single crochet. It's very nubby. I like it!
Those mighty bobbles have lots of scrubbing power!

Come on! Get out your ball o' cotton, needles and/or hooks and make some scrubbies!

Here is the pattern/recipe for the Bobble Scrubbie:
With main color (MC), chain 19.
Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and across. You should have 17 sc, total. Chain 1.
Row 2: sc in first 2 stitches. Make bobble (which is really a POPCORN) in 3rd stitch. (To make a popcorn,  Work 4 double crochet (dc) stitches in the same stitch. Remove hook and insert your hook from front to back under the top 2 loops of the first double crochet of the group. Grab the dropped 4th loop with your hook and pull it through the stitch, chain 1).
sc in 4th stitch.
Alternate making popcorn and sc stitches across, ending with 2 sc.
Row 3: sc across. Remember to maintain your 17 stitches. Chain 1

Alternate between Rows 2 and 3 until you have 7 popcorn rows. End with row 3. 
Finishing:  sc around the entire scrubbie, placing 3 sc stitches in each corner. This will make a neat edge around the entire piece. 
For the second and third rounds, change to a Contrasting Color (CC) and repeat the Finishing row.  Fasten off, weave in ends.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Set in L.A.

I just updated my Goodreads book list. I haven't updated it in a LONG time. I'm not surprised that most of the books on my list take place in Los Angeles. I LOVE reading about Los Angeles, any era. I also like books based on true facts. I recently started the fifth book in Martin Turnbull's series on the Garden of Allah, "Reds in the Beds." Turnbull's novels deal with real facts and locations in and around Hollywood, but star a cast of three fictional characters. I'm obsessed with all of these books!
Here are a few Los Angeles-based books I've read in the past:
Time and Location: 1920s and 1930s, Boyle Heights and beyond

Time and Location: Late 1960s-1980s Hollywood

Time & Location: Current day, Los Angeles from the Beach to DTLA

Time and Location: F. Scott Fitzgerald's Late 1930s, Los Angeles

Time and Location: 1920s-1970s, Los Angeles
Time and Location: 1941, Los Angeles
Time and Location: 1960s, Los Angeles

All of these books are readily available at your local library or via Kindle. I do read books about other locations, but my nickname is L.A. Ell, after all. I feel it is my duty to know everything I can about my fascinating City of Los Angeles! 


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