The September/October Pieceworks Magazine contains a pattern for an antimacassar based on an interpretation of Crotchet Castle, the home of E.M. Crotchet (actually an alias for Lord Brougham, whose ancestral manor house is the model for the piece) and an amusing article about the Law of Crochet.  The Law of Crochet was a spoof published in Punch magazine in 1852 to elicit sympathy for husbands whose wives had taken up the habit of crochet.  Apparently wives were spending many hours on crochet when their husbands (or at least the authors of the Law) felt they should be attending to family duties.  
So what, you may ask, does any of this have to do with the subject of today's blog?  My purpose is to answer two questions that should have come to mind:  (1) What is an antimacassar?  and, (2) How did it get its name?
We will start with question (1)  What is an antmacassar?  An antimacassar is a piece of fabric or needlework that is placed on the top of the back of upholstered furniture (stuffed chairs, sofas, etc.--you probaby even have some at home, treasured pieces of needlework crocheted or embroidered by a grandmother or special Aunt) to prevent hair grease from damaging the upholstery on the back of said piece of furniture.  (I will note here that not only chairs suffer from this problem.  If you ever visited the Department of Energy, you my have noticed an ugly greasy stain on the wall behind the guards chairs at the main entrance desk.  This stain was caused by oil, grease or whatever, from hair.  The guards were, and probably still are, in the habit of kicking back their chairs and resting their heads against the wall.  I can't describe the feelings this display raised in me, so I won't attempt it.  Some antimacassars on the wall might have fixed the problem.)
The second question is also of interest.  How did the antimacassar get its name?  Ah, apparently during Victorian times fashionable gentlemen used a hair oil with a base of  coconut or palm oil combined with oils from flowers such as those from the ylang-ylang tree.  Most, or all, of the ingredients were imported to Europe from Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi.  You guessed it--the name of the hair pomade was Macassar.  So the lovely piece of crochet or embroidery is called an antimacassar to prevent macassar oil from ruining the furniture.
 

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Wow!  We have been back from New York a little over a week and have we been busy.  Lots of the new fall yarns arrived while we were gone.  UPS brought the whole week's worth all at once plus we had a box arrive every day since.  The packages that came today and yesterday were for Sew Creative, but it still makes lots of (fun) work.

Since it is impossible to write about everything in one blog post, I will try to write about different yarns, books, or whatever,  in each post.  It is hard to decide what to pick first--beaded yarns, mohair with glitz, gorgeous tweeds?  

Let's start with Maggi Knits.
Fashion designer Maggie Jackson has been around for a long time, but I never paid much attention to her designs.  This year, for some reason, they really appealed to me.  Perhaps it is because I am getting old enough not to care what other people think of what I wear.  More likely, it is because the sales representative had some completed shawls from several of her kits and a very complete selection of her books.  I was actually able to see completed projects and books, not just notional outlines or descriptions.  I loved them!  She actually includes designer button in the kits!

Maggie Jackson is a fashion designer with a degree from The College of Art and Design and a postgraduate diploma in Fashion Knitwear.  She was awarded the highest marks in the history of the college.  Since then she has won a string of design awards: 
1989 the coveted title of Northern Ireland's young "Business and Professional Woman of the Year"
1994--The Guinness Special Award for Design Excellence
1996--Second place in the International Mohair Competition for the most innovative ladies garments
2003--a place in the Who's Who in Textiles

As a business woman, I am impressed!  According to Maggie's Story  in Maggiknits Irish MK Collection Book 16 her designs combine a "Sense of history with a touch of class."   One of our customer's said "her designs are beautiful but they have a little bit of an out there look".  That is probably an understatement--  BUT they are lovely and you can knit them yourself (or buy them already made up).  I personally am for knitting them myself.  We have 3 kits in the store, but I have fallen in love with one of the shawls in Book 16 and can hardly wait to make it.  The only thing that has slowed me down is that I can't decide which beautiful color combination to use.  These patterns are also a great way to use some of those beautiful one skein purchases or leftovers from a favorite project.







 
 
This is October and a good time to report on contributions from Denise needles to the SD Ireland Cancer Research Fund.  As many of you know, Denise contributes $5.00 for every pink set of Denise needles in the hard case.  They also contribute a portion from the sale of all of their pink products.  In the last 5 years, Denise has raised and contributed over $150,000 to breast cancer research.  All or you who have purchased pink Denise products have been part of this effort.  Thank you.

The SD Ireland Rsearch Fund supports administraive costs of research which allows a larger percentage of contributions to go directly to research, making this an especially worthy cause.  The team at University of Vermont is working to develop antibodies based on individual breast cancer patients' immune systems in a long and intensie process to develop true, personalized anticancer drugs.

In 1993, Dr. Krag developed the radio-tracer technique for sentinel node surgery which allows the surgeon to accurately identify cancer containing lymph nodes and to accurately remove them.  In 1998 he invented and developed a wireless implant able beacon to mark the precise position of cancer for more accurate radiation treatments. 

You can read more about Dr. Krag and his team at the University of Vermont at http://sdicancerresearch.org/the-lab/research
 
 
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Progressive Needles Knit Along (KAL)
Don't forget Skacel's newest KAL, Progressive Needles, which started on October 1.  October's project is a shawlette which uses 3 skeins of Simplicity by HiKoo.  Michelle Hunter will post each week's directions and video guidance on her website www.knitpurlhunter.com on Saturday morning (for October's project).  More information on the KALincluding rules and prizes are  published on www.skacelknitting.com 
The last KAL was loads of fun (some of us have a lot of Christmas presents completed).  None of us wanted to fall behind, so we worked hard to keep up and Michelle's tasks for each week were quite reasonable.  She also features many new techniques with wonerful videos to support them.  It isn't too late, grab your needles and yarn and get started!
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