31 July 2020

Tammis Keefe ad in Vogue magazine

Every now and then some Keefe-related ephemera comes my way, such as this advertisement I found on ebay.  It's part of a page from Vogue magazine, 1952.  This page also featured ads for Wisconsin Cheese, "Mother 'N' Daughter" aprons, and Nefertiti Egyptian Designs, vases from Kipp Ceramics.

Several  interesting discoveries in this ad: the copy gives a name, "Hokus Pokus", to two of Keefe's designs and the image prominently displays her packaging design for the set.  Finally, the ad lists Bloomingdale's as the retailer.   The late Phoebe Ann Erb, an independent scholar who had spoken with some of Keefe's contemporaries, was told that Keefe's designs, signed as "Tammis Keefe", were exclusive to Lord & Taylor.  We now know that some designs were sold at Bloomingdale's as well.

Both of these designs are shown on our website; when my husband has time, we'll re-label them as Hokus Pokus 1 and Hokus Pokus 2.

Hokus Pokus 1, gray

Hokus Pokus 2

Hokus Pokus 1, black

04 July 2020

Happy Fourth of July!

Silkscreen tablecloth.

We're at home for this Fourth; no fireworks for the first time in ages. However, in my mind I've set up a picnic with this fun tablecloth, red Fiestaware and plenty of lemonade.  Maybe next year.

Detail, with Tammis Keefe printed signature

27 June 2020

Social distance scarf

Scarf, Stacy Charles Luna Effects, colorway Fireglow.

So, no movie theaters, concerts, parties, fiber arts classes or coffee with friends.  But we are lucky - no sickness either.  Time to knit and decrease that stash (pun intended). I'd bought this Stacy Charles mohair/silk blend a while back, thinking to blend it with a tonal solid, as the "pooling" of color in self-striping yarns can be awkward.

Instead, decided to use two balls of this yarn on its own for a scarf. One ball pulled from the outside, gray to coral, the other ball pulled from the inside, coral to gray. You have to use two skeins which more or less match in terms of color gradient.

Adapted from a Stacy Charles e-pattern, the Turtle Bay Shawl. That pattern uses size 8 needles however, and, although it might knit up faster, I've learned that the resulting fabric doesn't hold its shape very well. This is true for another mohair blend favorite, Debbie Bliss' Angel yarn, as well.

So, here's my pattern for a scarf with some body to it.  I do like this yarn; it was like knitting a pet.

Finished measurements:  7 1/2" wide by 62" long

1) 2 balls Stacy Charles Luna Effects, 70% kid mohair, 30% silk, colorway Fireglow
Nota bene: Both balls featured the color gradient gray to coral, outside to inside
2) Size 4 needles, 16" length
I like Hiya Hiya Sharp circular
3) Tapestry needle, markers (optional)

20 stitches and 28 rows = 4" in stockinette stitch
BUT the gauge doesn't matter that much in a scarf

Cast on 58 stitches

Row 1: Knit 2, purl 2 across row
Row 2: Purl 2, knit 2 across row
Alternate Row 1 and 2 for a total of 6 rows of  2 x 2 ribbing

Pattern stitch:
Right side: [k2, p2] twice, [k10, p2, k2, p2] 3 times, k2
Wrong side: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches as they face you.

A tip: If it will help you keep track of pattern, place one marker after the first [k10, p2, k2, p2] sequence and another marker after the second sequence.

Work the first skein, then join yarn to reverse the color gradient. Knit in pattern until about 62" or until you've finished the reverse gradient, ending with a wrong side row, then finish with 6 rows of ribbing to match the first six rows.

Cast off all stitches in the ribbing pattern, and weave in ends. 

Fluffy scarf with coral center blending to gray at ends.

01 June 2020

Tammis Keefe towels

Linen dish towels by Tammis Keefe, c. 1957.

My wonderful DH just processed a batch of twenty-six towels to add to our Tammis Keefe website.  Visit the website and see more of these charming domestic linens, which brought color, and a little humor, to kitchen chores back in the day.

31 May 2020

Crunchy horseradish carrots

Matchsticks of multi-colored carrots.

I read in a newspaper that some home-bound parents are encouraging children to see how loudly they can munch and crunch raw veggies; anything to encourage kids to eat carrot and celery sticks.  I haven't posted a recipe in a while so here's a family favorite with lots of crunch from the dear departed Brasserie Jo restaurant, closed in 2018.

The recipe is in two parts - first, directions for a variation on French dressing which was the house dressing at the brasserie.  Some of the dressing is then mixed with the remaining ingredients. As my home-ec teacher from 8th grade, Mrs. B, used to say, the first step is to read the recipe through first. Then, chop and mix!

Horseradish Carrots a la Brasserie Jo
House Dressing
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons champagne vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (we use safflower oil)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt & pepper, to taste

In a large bow, whisk together all the ingredients. Set aside until ready to use. Cover and refrigerate any leftover dressing to use with a salad or another vegetable dish.

2 lbs pounds carrots, cut into bite-size sticks about 1/4 inch wide (see note)
1 1/2 teaspoons bottle horseradish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/3 cup House Dressing (from recipe above)

Gently toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Serve as an appetizer with crusty bread.

Note: DO NOT be tempted to substitute prewashed, precut carrots in this recipe. Sticks cut from whole carrots taste fresher and retain their crunch when tossed with dressing.

Another note: we like horseradish, so we double the amount, using 1 tablespoon. 


30 April 2020

Have sewing machine, will stitch - face masks

Finished cloth face mask with bias tape ties.

So, I've been sewing a few face masks for friends and family.  Patterns and directions can be found on the internet; even The New York Times has published directions.  My husband and I found that the commonly used elastic-over-the-ears model fit neither of us, so my masks have ties. 

The easiest way to make ties is to use single- or double-fold bias tape.  Because I never throw anything away, I had some vintage packets of bias tape in black, purple, yellow and white, hence the color schemes of my masks.  

Fabric, different prints for front and back of mask
Single- or double-fold bias tape
Sewing notions - thread, needle, etc.

Supplies and template.

Two pieces of fabric, 6" x 9" for an adult mask
Four ties, 16 1/2"long

I made a cardboard template to speed up cutting; we're not too concerned here about being perfectly on grain. 

Cut and ready to stitch.

Single-fold tape on the ironing board, folded and ironed.

If you have double-fold bias tape, just stitch the edge. My purple tape was single-fold, so I folded and ironed it, then stitched.  I've also made some masks using leftover quilt binding; again, just fold, iron and stitch the binding to make a narrow, hemmed tie.

Pin the stitched tie to the corner of the right side of the fabric.

I pin and sew each tie to a corner, with a few machine stitches, just to keep everything in place before stitching front and back together. To keep those ties out of the way when I stitch back and front together, I use masking tape to hold them in the center of the assembly.  Don't sweat the seam allowance - I used the width of the presser foot.

Ties tacked to corners and corralled with masking tape.

Back and front pinned and ready for stitching.

Leave about a 2" gap for turning.

After turning, trim corners to reduce bulk.

Turned right sides out.

The masks have three pleats; it's not critical that the pleats be absolutely equal, just do your best. Again, remember to keep the ties out of the way when stitching the next step.

Pinned pleats, ready to top stitch.

Pinned pleats.  I iron before stitching, so use glass-head pins.

I top-stitch close to the top and bottom edges, to catch the turning opening, but on the pleated sides again use the width of the presser foot as my seam guide. Stitch around twice, to make everything sturdy, tuck in your thread ends and done!

These can be washed and air-dried.  Someday, when this situation is in the rear view mirror, maybe these can be re-used as doll hammocks, or something.

DH in homemade fabric mask with ties.

02 April 2020

From the pantry - Hummus with canned beets

Beet hummus on crackers - yum!

So, it may be difficult to find toilet paper and diapers, but there are plenty of canned beets.  Not to mention tahini, which we often find near the peanut butter in our local grocery store, as they don't really know where to put this slightly exotic, and delicious, substance made of ground sesame seeds.

Any kind of tahini will do.

Beet Hummus

1  14-ounce can sliced beets, drained
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic
½ cup tahini
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth, adding a bit more oil if necessary. Serve with pita bread, pita chips, crackers, or veggies.

Add one 14-ounce can drained and rinsed chickpeas.

Thank you for reading my blog. It means a lot to me, especially during these challenging times.