Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Queen Looks at Princesses

Sweet Sally Melville, can you believe how long it’s been since the last post? I’m appalled. I intended to chirp immediately upon my return from Loop in Philadelphia (it was marvelous, thank you for asking) but on the way home a nasty little microbe or virus or microscopic protoplasmic sonofabitch slipped past my defenses and landed me on the sofa, huffing decongestant.

While the bug was in residence I felt it best to keep mum, for which you should be grateful. I’m not exactly a bouncy ball of fun when I’m well, and when I get sick I head straight for Act III of La Traviata.



Alfredo…is that…you? Everything…everything’s going black…


I am such an ill-tempered, ungrateful patient that if Florence Nightingale had been put in charge of me she’d have quit and become a bus driver. If you’re in the room and I feel myself going down, I’m taking you with me.

Catastrophic sniffles aside, I’ve got a surprising amount of knitting done. The trick, I discovered, is to hold one needle in each hand while you knock on death’s door with your forehead.

In our household, works-in-progress are usually referred to by color, i.e. The Pink Thing, The Green Thing, The Blue-and-Orange Thing. The Pink Thing is the one I can write about, and you’ve heard me mention it before–it’s Abigail’s Bespoke Pink Princess Poncho, now in Version 4.0 (beta).

I think I’ve probably done more research and development for this design than any other. Rumors to the contrary notwithstanding, I was never a little girl and have never experienced the desire to be, or dress like, a princess. This puts me at risk for turning out a poncho more suited to a marchioness. Disaster.

So I’ve been digging into primary source material, the better to discern the essential characteristics of princess gear.

Here’s what all I’ve been able to figger so far.

1. Go pastel or go home. Princesses don't wear tweed.



2. Put a swag on it. At least one. Swags are good.



3. Put flowers on it. Flowers are even better than swags.



3. Put swags and flowers on it. Simplicity and moderation are for peasants.



4. Fringe is not an acceptable substitute for flowers or swags. A princess who wears fringe will tank at the box office.



5. Drama above the shoulders is key. If there’s not a crown, there’d better be a tiara. If there’s not a tiara, there’d better be a big floppy romantic hood from which to peer with your goo-goo-googly eyes.



6. It had better look good when you twirl. The typical princess will twirl 87.23 times on an average day.



On days when a ball is given, the average rises to 149.25.



The above list is incomplete, of course. Research continues. Meanwhile I'll show you little bit of The Pink Thing in a few days, when I come back from a place where princesses, so I hear, are very thick on the ground.

No, not a private school in Lincoln Park. Somewhere else. You'll never guess.

80 comments:

subliminalrabbit said...

you forgot sparkle. they may not be super-sparkly in the original films, but go hit up a store and you'll be blinded by the glitter. promise.

Rox said...

Also, puffy sleeves are essential.

Anonymous said...

and pompoms that are soft and cudly...

MM

Rach said...

And then Mommy will come in with the bling. Pretty princesses must have jewels. Pink is perfect. Purple acceptable and Lello, I mean yellow is acceptable. How ever this comes out I may have to make one too and Princess M has decreed. :)

Rosie said...

Have you seen "Enchanted"? Does a lovely job of making fun of how often princesses twirl.

And I agree with Rox, puffed sleeves are very very important. I just don't know how you can puff the sleeve of a poncho. Possibly would require the use of a bent coat hanger.

Lynn said...

Five daughters. You can only imagine how much twirling went on in the 29 years between the birth of the first one and the moving-out of the last one. [Word verification = "zindro", as in Zindrorella, who just might be Barbarella's cousin.]

Roggey said...

Dude, all good stuff but where is the *bling* at?! Having raised a daughter that continues to aspire to being a princess (age 22 yrs this year), bling is essential.

laura gayle said...

thank goddess. I was afraid Delores had done you in. Boy, you've revealed one of the reasons I failed Girl 101. Never enthralled by the princesses, few though they were in the mid/late 1960s. Your research findings are spot on. Cannot wait to read the conclusion. Please include footnotes using Turabian style. Oops. You're not in my class. Never mind that last bit, darling.

Madame Leiderhosen said...

Will you provide twee little birdies or mousies to arrange said swags and flowers? Prepared to knit them little britches?

Oh, Feck! I'm behind on my twirling again!

Gail said...

Just re-watched The Duchess. No princess there ... good costumes, though.

My goddaughter always wants to listen to "princess music" when in the car ... and my niece liked to twirl. Alas, I have boys. Nerdy, sci-fi boys. I just made a Jayne Hat (Firefly) and I had to ask, "what is it? and is it on Ravelry ..."

Thanks for the chuckle. Sending virtual chicken soup ...

Jaimee Drew said...

Wow. That was certainly comprehensive. Can't wait to see it!

--Deb said...

I'm glad you understand the importance of twirling. That's vital!

Jamie Knits said...

Like Laura Gayle, I never got into the princess stuff. I remember throwing a fit every time Mom tried to dress me in pink (a sissy color as far as I was concerned). Much to my surprise, my tomboy daughter (who can outplay her male friends at Halo and COD, throw a better spiral, and outdo the guys at most of the "macho" activities) LOVED pink as a little girl and still enjoys wearing it as a young adult (age 22). One year I made her an Ariel costume for Halloween, complete with gold lame sea shell bra and hot pink wig. She loved it!

Dying to see the creation for your niece.

Alwen said...

Yes. Enchanted is probably must-watch research material while knitting this pink thing.

MikeT said...

But wait. IML is not until May!

Nonna Sue said...

I've missed you. You're research seems impeccable, given my experience with the grand-daughters, a touch of purple and sparkle is useful. However, sparkle can be, OMG, scratchy, so be careful in that area!

Sahar said...

I have to agree with sublminalrabbit: sparkle is a major princess-component. And I know from princesses, at least where the actual princess-in-question is concerned.

Linda said...

So great to see another post. I was beginning to despair. And obviously while you were lying at death's door you were planning a great post that says beyond a doubt: I'M BACK.

You may not like the knitting assignment, but no one can say you won't give it your all.

Yvonne said...

Are you going to Disneyland, or world? Seriously?

Knit Wit Knitter said...

Sorry to hear you were under the weather. But hooray you managed to get a lot done while beating your head at deaths door :-) Can't wait to see the progress on the Princess piece.

Ken said...

Don't forget that Anne Boleyn was raised to the Peerage as a Marchioness. And look what happened to her. In the end.

Welcome back. You've been missed.

wart said...

Welcome back! Missed you.

Patty said...

Missed your posts! and look what came in my mailbox for the 'word-of-the-day'! http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/

Ami said...

So glad to have you back!

astoriaAnn said...

On the subject of the beloved princesses:

This is pretty funny:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRVeYt2BCj4

I heart Sarah Haskins.

Eileen said...

May I say that if I come back again (as a little girl, not a tenor, which is my other hope so I can try to be an opera singer again...and this time get gigs), will you be my uncle?

And if you must impersonate a dying diva, you cannot do better than one from Verdi. Can't. Be. Done. (Who does Dolores identify with? Turandot?)

p.s. I got stuck with four nephews. I don't have a single little girl to spoil. I'm living vicariously here.

p.p.s. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a little niece but just this week have a little granddaughter! I plan on making a lot of pink items--full of swags, flowers and perfect for twirling.

Tactless Wonder said...

My first thought was: Disneyland! But unless you're headed down to Florida or across the country....I'd do anything for my niece and nephew...as such, my next thought was what I did:

TOYS R US

Where I got an Ariel and a...a...ummm....another one....for my niece's xmas & birthday, which follow rather uncomfortably close to one another. But that bastion of all things plastic is rife with a HUGE princess section...including costumes, if you need inspiration. Go near closing time, it inspires less panic then.

The things we do for cute little humans, I swear...

Yvonne said...

Don't forget the unicorn sparkles.

Ann said...

"Girly shit", *snerk*! Hey, I resemble that remark! It's too true: today I'm wearing pink, coral, red, navy, teal, gold AND orange--with nary a poncho in sight (it's hanging on the back of my chair; I can't see it!). Yes, I'm floral, but alas no swags are allowed at work. Oh, and as others have said, don't spare the sparkle! Glad to know you haven't kicked the bucket, btw.

joan said...

are you designing this for my Grand daughter? All of the requirements I believe you have met except for one add a bit of Bling if you can.

Anonymous said...

a place "where princesses are thick on the ground."
Ummm ... Highland Park?

Michele said...

And the twirling again. Twirl, twirl, twirl. This is terribly important to a princess. Twirls that sparkle are awesome. And if it twirls at the shoulder and the floor--well that is really awesome.

Dana said...

I <3 You...

That is all. :)

OldStyleNo10 said...

I must disagree with Rach. Purple is not merely acceptable, it is essential! There must be purple! And iridescent sequins.

And red shoes go with everything.

Miss Sandra said...

I think this is the most difficult project you've ever attempted. Too many variables. Are you on a deadline? Whoo boy. Good luck.

Laura47 said...

Love the way you stuck a photo of Diana in with all the Disney princesses. Hee!

To be truly successful, not only include everything you've mentioned, but abandon moderation. In fact, the farther you can stray towards "vulgar excess," the more successful you'll be. Thus speaketh the mother of a (now sadly grown up) pink princess. (You would not BELIEVE the pink lace/frills/tulle she wanted for her prom dress!)

KarenJ said...

I (we?) was getting worried. It was a long stretch. Glad you feel ready to face society again.

One adult daughter and three step-grand-daughters later, you've just about got it on the nose. Pink and purple are good for nearly forever until mid-adolesence when black gray and dull hit, right through college. Enjoy it. Both the p's can also be successfully accented by a little light turquoise. Also not to forget something furryish please. Or maybe that comes into the category of bling. It certainly would in my wardrobe but I don't do bling, so what do I know about it? I can also tell you that "Princess" can last right up through the end of grade school so don't be afraid of adding any good pink buys to your stash!

Bonnita said...

I love that you have "GIRLY SHIT" as a catagory!

Moondancer5 said...

Oh, you're going to be on Longuyland?

Gerri said...

Well, what really is getting me is this job, which is preventing me from figuring out where you are going for all those princesses.

unrvld said...

Welcome back, Franklin! Glad you have been dragged back from death's door.I am the mother of 2 "princepessas",who at age 3, insisted upon dressing for dinner every night for a year in pink princess dresses,tiaras and long white gloves. I can confirm the need for glitter, pom-poms, flowers and of course, twirling. =0)

Anonymous said...

Thank heavens I didn't have girls. I do not think I could have stomached this. But, who knows, grandchildren may be in my future and I would love a girl, but I hope none of this. Glad to hear you are back amongst the living. I would assume you are headed to England. Princess Kate?

Diane said...

Princesses can be quite demanding, but I'm sure your niece will love your poncho. I made one for the neighbor one year (plain stockinette, garter edge, simple garter collar) and she loved it.

Suzanne said...

My favorite: Simplicity and moderation are for peasants. It's good to know that you have returned from sinus hell with your wit fully engaged. You were missed.

anne marie in philly said...

glad you have returned to the land of the living! did dolores take good care of you, ladle gin down your throat and all that?

I received your new 2010 ornament and, as always, better in the hands than on the computer screen; thanks, dear one! smooches!

Anne O'Nymous said...

You're going on tour with Margaret Cho?

WillyG said...

Franklin, dear, if I only read your blog labels, that would be funny enough. Pink and ruffly wishes of good health to you.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you're going to Monaco. They have lots of Princes and Princesses there but not many in pink twirly dresses.

Anonymous said...

Love the comment about the private school in Lincoln Park. I used to teach knitting to those girls and called them princesses back in the 90's!

Sahar said...

Update from THE princess in question: When asked what color crayon she would be in her ballet class, she said, "Pink Sparkle." And I am reminded that one of the many names she prefers to be called when pretending is "Sparkle Rainbow." The girl likes glitter.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Mulan never made it to the big times. No tiara, no swag, no twirl. The poor girl never had a chance.

Karen said...

I found a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Pez set at my local Walgreens tonight and, for some reason, thought of you.

helenkosings said...

Franklin, on a day where I'm feeling super-sorry for myself and gromping around stating to anyone who has ears, "Everything is poo," you made me laugh out loud with the first LINE.

I thank God for you!

Sweet Sally Melville is now my favorite epithet, and my day is so much less filled with poo - I cannot begin to tell you. Mille grazie!

Jackie said...

Well, then, looks like "pink sparkle rainbow" about sums it up.

If you tack some irridescent sequins on that pink poncho with swags and poufs and flowers and pom-poms, that should do it...

Nartian knits said...

Don't forget princess soft, as in she will feel that pea 10 mattresses down. So be careful those sequins don't scratch her.

-mom of 2 princesses, one of whom preferred Wiggles blue & deep turquoise

Marushka C. said...

Just when I needed a ray of sunshine, you returned! Glad you're feeling better. May all your poncho making be filled with pinkalicious sparkliness.

Gail (nosenabook) said...

I happened to wonder what are the cold medications of choice up Nawth? Where I come from they tend towards Vicks Vapo Rub and Contac.

Anonymous said...

HOW CAN YOU TEASE US LIKE THAT?????

I'm dying to see the pink poncho.
margieinmaryland

Elisabeth in France said...

Hi Franklin!
As a former pink princess (at least in my head, my childhood wasn't exactly a fairy tale ) and mother of two, I can assure you that you've got the basics figured out perfectly. I'm sure your poncho is going to be a huge success!

danielle said...

Found the prettiest red dress for our 3 year old grand daughter....took photo, sent it to daughter....the response back from granddaughter was "pink pink pink"!!!!!!!!!! The majority of little girls seem to go thru the PINK stage....cant wait till she outgrows it!

Nancy said...

I may not be a queen. I may not be a princess,,,, but I am a bus driver!

I usually tell my passengers that I am the Empress of Transportation.

(but I am the self-proclaimed Queen of the Internet, if that helps!)

K-Leigh said...

Ha! Ok... I'm brank spankin' new here, but I read this post and about howled with laughter. It is perfect, absolutely PERFECT!

Others are right about the bling, though! But sometimes super-soft yarn with super-soft-and-fluffy trim can MAYBE be a substitute for major bling yarns that can be itchy-twitchy for the young ones.

Of course you could always do a glitter threaded yarn with SS&F trim... with princesses, more is ALWAYS better!

Can't wait to see!

Laura said...

Ah, it's good to find you back. And your comments about "Princess Fashion" are right on target.

Funny, but I spent a session in my step-son's therapy a number of weeks ago in which he was very uncooperative. We finally resorted to playing a board game about super heroes and villains where we were collecting cards of both. There were many points where we were able to swap cards for our opponents, and I thoroughly confused the therapist (who definitely is NOT the sharpest knife in the drawer) by making my choices not based on the point value of the super hero, but instead on their choices of costumes.

After you finish up your Princess phase, maybe you want to take a look at this alternative world? It's amazing what some people will wear when they're up front and on center stage - lol!

P.S. - When the therapist expressed her shock and chagrin that she had never encountered anyone who made their choices based upon cartoon fashion before, my response is that I'd bet she had never played the game with a woman prior to that day either. She admitted it was true.

But truth be told, anyone with any kind of vision at all could see how ridiculous the uniforms are, how - ahem - unprotected the super heroes really are (how do they expect to save the world if all they are wearing is underwear although I admit I've never seen a cartoon where the hero is kicked in the groin, but I'll bet in "real life," it happens), and the fabrics and the color choices? Who, exactly, ARE these people who are supposed to be so superior to us going to for their designs?

Deb G. said...

Franklin, dear, if I turned into Greta Garbo by getting ill, I would so not complain! Just don't go getting the galloping consumption on us, all right? And may I address you as La Dame aux Camelias from now on?

Trope said...

#6 is most critical, I would think.

Susan in Dulwich said...

My personal preference would include a pointy felted hat with coordinating scarf hanging off. I really want to make one for my nieces so I can wear it!

P√°sztohy Lili said...

it was fun to read and see your place and really you knit? is it true my grandma knitted me a beautiful thick black bobble hat with a huge pink pompom on top and it is really really warm and once i tried to knit mr hawthorn's pajamas myself but i failed and it's really something you have to practice a lot i guess but anyway your writing made me laugh though some of your models i actually like but i agree those twirls are a bit anoying bye

Sara in WI said...

Well. Speaking as a real Princess, your requirements are spot on. You must also include the birdies singing in the background wherever we go and our lovely Soprano voices. If you need more information, just ask.

geogrrl said...

Hum. La Traviata? I would have through more MiMi from La Boheme.

evilknits said...

Franklin darling, you are pricelss!
I miss you like my best girlfriend when you haven't posted in awhile. Glad you're feeling better and whatever you make for Abigail will be perfect! Hope to hear from you soon.

Su1282 said...

Can I just tell you how pleased I am that our cub scout den leader tonight repeated after me when I said "Sweet Sally Melville, it's cold out tonight!"
Also, just so you know, after the glitter princess phase comes the "don't I look like a skater chick?" phase. Fortunately, fingerless gloves complete the look.

peony said...

at times like these I kinda mind I don't have a girl. My boy wants a dr who scarf.

SandyK said...

So which Disney theme park are you taking Abigail to for "real princess" research?

joeyshouse said...

Dude. Swags? Those are not swags. The correct term is "Fruffles". Ask any princess, a swag does not flare correctly when twirling. A fruffle is what is required for Maximum Twirlage to be reached. Something glittery helps too.

KnittedGalaxy said...

Are you headed to AGP? (American Girl Place?) there are tons of little princesses there!

Your research is right on the nose...particularly the tiara and looking good when twirling! Twirling is essential to the princess.

can't wait to see what you've come up with!

Krispian said...

A princess must fall inlove with a beast or a troubled soul who has a heart of gold. You must have a evil relative or some sort of evil friend.

You must be friendly to animals and be able to cook and clean (despite the vast amount of servents who cook, feed and wipe you.

Also you must have servents.

Did I mentioned a birth mark?

Kathie in Naperville said...

(wipes tear from eye) Franklin, you just keep getting better and better.

pjenz1@gmail.com said...

Love, love love the statistics! As an academic researcher I look for proof and now I have Princess Proof! Thank you for the information and I'll be sure to follow the "rules" as I make future projects.

I love you blogs - one of my favorites. I wish I had your gift for words.

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Keep working ,fantastic job!