An announcement, of sorts: We are seeking interns for the upcoming Summer season! The position would be part time 15-20 hours a week unpaid, with possibility of becoming a permanent employee in August. Our interns gain lots of hands-on experience helping us in day to day operations related to the making of our products. In the past, interns have worked on making patterns, website maintenance, product development research, and design. Some sewing experience may be gained, depending on the availability of our machines. You can expect to be busy, but to have fun! We are now working out of our own little studio across the street from R.E.Load and we really like it.

Interns should be hardworking, highly motivated, self-starters with an interest in working for a small design company. We expect to be able to assign a task or project, with minimal oversight and have it carried out by the intern independently. This frequently includes cutting our pattern pieces out, but the internship is very flexible to include your own goals and objectives. Also, this job is not necessarily targeted at a fibers or fashion major. In fact, we are excited to have people from backgrounds different from our own get involved here at FH. Therefore, your time will be split helping to do what we're already doing and in working on new projects which can be guided by your own interests and ideas.

Because this company is only two people, there is lots of flexibility in interning here. It also means we expect a lot from the people we welcome into our space. I started as an intern with FH nearly 2 years ago and have been here ever since. Unfortunately we cannot pay our interns, but there are fun perks and we are more than happy to help you get school credit for your time. Again, we hope to find someone potentially available to stay on in the fall as a permanent employee. If this sounds like it might fit your bill, send us some images of other design you've done (ideally a portfolio) and an email about yourself. We really hope to hear from you! And as soon as possible! Send all materials to info@fabrichorse.com


Carrie in the CityPaper!

If you haven't already, go check out Carrie as the CityPaper's covergirl. That's right, you can find her peeking out from inside all those yellow newspaper boxes all over this town. She's featured as part of their spring style issue alongside with several other local Philadelphia style mavens. Thanks to City Paper for the compliment & Michael T. Regan for the sweet photos!


Good Luck Obama!

Kids, it is time! As if you could possibly have forgotten...its Primary Day! Here in PA anyway. And that means you should wear all your patriotica and head over to your local polling place. You are almost guaranteed to witness some adorable old lady from your neighborhood there who is just so excited to vote for Obama. I certainly did.

And in case you hadn't heard, we're looking at a dangerously close race today. Yesterday on my ride back home, I passed through a groan-inducing Clinton to-do at 34th and Walnut. Apparently the Clinton camp thought they'd overwhelm the overwhelmingly Obama West Philadelphia with a last ditch attempt at a rally at the gates of the West-Philadelphia-loving UPenn Campus. I spent the next four blocks uphill getting it out about that one.

And dudes, if we win PA, the Clinton camp has admitted they will likely back down. Which means a break from all this craziness. Dreams really can come true. But only if you vote. So vote!



There are a lot of things for which I am left wanting here in Philadelphia. The list, in fact, is too long to possibly even hint at its contents. However! One thing that recently got off the lacker list is One Hip Cutey Fabric Store. Because friends, now we have one.

And its delightful title? Spool, of course. It is a bit of a cousin store to the equally pleasant Loop, which sells fancy yarns and knitting bits. Spool, on the other skein, is for quilters and sewers. Aesthetically they are both bright and white and clean and organized, quite the contrast to any of those knotted nooks on fourth street. Spool offers a color organized front room that features infinitely inspired prints, making it incredibly difficult to choose which ones are going home with you. Great Amy Butler and locally made Betsy Ross patterns hang in a neat little wall organizer for convenient perusal. And when I was there, a friendly man named Michael sat quilting behind the counter. This simultaneously inspired me to take up the quilt I started a year ago and also put me at ease in this very neat and tidy little shop. A nice touch, to be sure.

Back a few paces from there and you can catch a little glimpse of their instore classroom, where they have set up six home machines at little white tables ready for hands on instruction. They offer several classes so far, most at the beginner level and all at an affordable rate. And if you prefer to fly solo and you already know basically how to sew, you can rent their machines for five dollars an hour to work on your own projects. I've always thought that a craft store without space for hanging out and actually, er, doing the craft right there, amidst the notions and the bolts, wasn't really a craft store afterall. Half of the craft is the community of it, and the commerce figures in somewhere behind that. Now I understand a store is a store is a store, but I like it when shops give a nod to the comraderie too.

Unfortunately as a primarily quilter-oriented shop, Spool carries only cotton fabric so if you're looking for one-stop JoAnn style shop, you'll have to keep looking. I didn't say that One Solid Comprehensive Craft Store could get crossed off that aforementioned list. But as long as you're looking for that rockstar print to really swing your project from the passable into the standout, Spool could be your ticket.



This past weekend was pretty crazy around here, owing largely to the April Fool's Ride and Cadence Fast Friday. We had lots of friends in town, events to run, prizes to make, checkpoints to rock, you know, the whole nine yards. Friday night, we all left after work and rode our bikes way way down south to this spot under I-95 where technically cars could park but none did. On one side of the lot you could watch the southbound lane of traffic zooming along beyond a grassy median and on the other was Front St. and Target. And it was a little romantic, if you can believe it. Tons of bikes and tons of kids all hanging out at the end of the week in a toasty little hurrah. And it was a beautte of a day, as my dad might say, 60 degrees or so and it stayed light out til almost 9.

I went into this whole thing with a tiny bit of skepticism as to its fun-factor. That is to say, sometimes I have trouble having fun at super crazy track bike social events because I take a lot of this stuff with a grain of salt. That doesn't mean that I'm not capable of drooling over a really nice setup, but it does mean that I'd rather have a really nice vintage road frame than a bareknuckle. That's just me. I ride a cruiser most days and I will just say that I don't even come near the category of being a bike snob. And so friday night I was psyched about the commraderie-adled, spring-time, beer-drinking, entertaining qualities but nervous about the potential for bike-culture-overwhelm(BCO).

Let me tell you, I was really pleasantly proven wrong about that last bit. Friday night was every ounce of the former inclinations towards fun stuff and then some. And when I said romantic earlier, I meant it. Romantic like hanging out at the skate park back in junior high when you're crushing on skater boys. Romantic like bonfires in the summertime. Romantic like watching kids do fancy things on track bikes in just a parking lot, using a fence and a palette as a ramp and racing around a track marked just by the columns that were already there.

All this, and I actually had to leave early to catch my friend Steve's first show with a new little band back in West Philly at Fiume. It was a little show at our friendly neighborhood bar, packed full to bursting, and they opened for a little fiddle-banjo outfit also from the neighborhood. And as I watched this scrawny but lovable West Philly boy play the banjo from near the front row, I at once saw my evening in such a precisely insightful light. The banjo players and even Tim and Steve's set were so West Philly. Which is to say, emotional and bearded and crusty and pretty and acoustic and nice and twangy, alt-country indie music with a real ear for idealistic musings on alternative worlds where love conquers all. And this sort of thing, of which I am fairly skeptical and can be critically distant, I also happen to really love. And sitting at Fiume on Friday night, having been earlier engrossed in the different but equally extreme and therefore open-to-mockery little cultural niche that is track bikes, I realized that it is possible to be aware and thoughtful about life generally, to see the shortcomings of some things, but also to appreciate experiential qualities for what they are. You can be realistic and idealistic in the same time-space. It is both okay and necessary to allow yourself to be absorbed into these extremes sometimes. It is okay to find yourself at a West Philly show and realize you're having a really great time of it. And it is also okay to find yourself under I-95 at Cadence Fast Friday and realize that watching people do crazy things on beautiful bikes is pretty cool and insanely fun to watch. Sometimes you just have to get extreme, stop seeing the big picture for a second and zoom in. Leave your grains of salt at the door and get in there.

So maybe you realized this many years ago, and for that, accept my belated congratulations. Because this stitcher too rarely allows herself to wallow in the moment, to get extreme and for that, probably misses a significant degree of record breaking fun. I hereby stand corrected. If you catch me being a moderate in the future I give you permission to extend to me a swift kick in the pants. Even if we've never met. It can be hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but not impossible. And I'd sure like to try.


Birthday Cake

These pictures are a few days old by now, but I baked our friend Gerik an exceptional birthday cake for his birthday last week, inspired by the ever belly-busting Indian buffet here we both know and love. Normally I wouldn't bother you with my little birthday trifles for the office, but this time was sort of a big deal:

Chocolate Garam Masala cake with a Mango Whipped Cream (Lassi) filling, covered in a Coconut Cardamom buttercream and decorated with fennel seed candies. It was a show stopper, if i do say so myself.


And drums!

It is a very particular and indescribable feeling, the first time you get to see a friend of yours really slay on the drums.

And no offense to said friend, but this proficiency he demonstrated was very much unanticipated. Which, of course, made me smile even harder.


Fool's Folly

Now I know you've by now finished the NYTimes April Fool's day crossword puzzle and realized that your house is in fact, not on fire. You didn't oversleep until 4 o'clock in the afternoon and Google's homepage is back to normal. Believe it or not, there is still April Foolishness to be had. In fact buckets, this coming Saturday, April 12th in the form of the 8th Annual R.E.Load April Fool's Fun Ride. If you've never been, the fun ride consists of many many many true and false destinations on a scavenger-esque ridable course throughout the city. Charming attractive people are there to greet you at each and every real checkpoint and loneliness awaits you at the not-so-real ones. You can do it as a team, make matching headbands and paint your helmets if you want to. You can also ride any bike you want. Really, it's true.

As you can doubtless read from the flyer, registration starts at noon at the R.E.Load store and costs ten bucks. Ride starts at 2 and the after party location will be announced on Saturday. As of today, there are already 188 riders pre-registered and we expect at least a couple hundred more on the day of the race. It is a super duper fun thing, I can tell you, and if you happen to have the day off from your usual responsibilities, i promise you can count it time well spent. Lots of sponsors also usually means plenty of prizes, so there's always the possibility of winning something flashy too.

For those of you sporting more "vested" interest in "bike culture" you can show up early--that is FRIDAY--for the first ever East Coast Cadence Fast Friday event. Generally this sort of thing is for track riders who do fancy tricks.

In any case, put this in your day planner, kids. And we'll hope to see you Saturday.


The End of the World.

Today the third announcement of a bankrupt airline closing its doors has spurred yet another outcry over soaring gas prices and our imminent economic demise. Prices in the Philadelphia area are currently hovering below the city's record high ($3.35/gal) but estimates say they will hit 4 dollars a gallon before the summer's through. And according to the Energy Information Administration, we are actually demanding more gasoline this year than we were last year, despite decreasing supply worldwide.

We do own a car at my house, mind you. We use it for big grocery shopping trips, heavy loads, and occasional gargantuan quantities of laundry, as well as short road trips. It is a 1989 Volvo Wagon with a bike rack and we fill the tank halfway about once a month. In my own finances, gas comprises barely a sliver of my money pie and so aside from the media, I almost forget about it. Or I certainly don't let it ruin my day. Now I know that the ripple effects of gasoline's price inflation have already sunk in, especially in the cost of necessities like Food. Which inevitably shall burden every single resident of this country and make us all a little conservative as consumers.

I discovered this little article in the Lancaster, PA local paper about gas prices and it had such a choice quote from an everyman that I felt I had to share it with you, out of journalistic duty:

John Beiler of New Holland reluctantly pulled his Ford Escort sedan into a Turkey Hill near the intersection of Routes 322 and 222 in Ephrata, where regular gas sold Wednesday for a "reasonable" $3.239 per gallon.

"It's disgusting," Beiler said. "We had to cut back and get rid of one of our cars. What next? Riding a bicycle?"

Now I don't mean to sound insensitive, but seriously!? This warranted quoting in a newspaper? I would like to blame the funding cuts in arts education for this man's severe lack of imagination when it comes to low-petroleum transportation alternatives. I suppose he assumes that riding a bicycle out of necessity means you're living in the nineteenth century and relying upon some "crazy contraption". And I'm all for good technology and innovation, but if we as a society cannot conceive of mechanical evolution in any other way than as a linear progression from caveman to iPhone then we are probably doomed. I know it is shocking but bicycles and cars have been known to exist in the very same space time. One of my greatest peeves of motorist conduct is when some frat boy yells from his car, "Nice bicycle!" in that soggy mocking voice as though you were walking around in a loin cloth and carrying a spear by virtue of pedaling.

What's next? Of course a bicycle, Mr. John Beiler. If there's one thing the 5th Anniversary of the War in Iraq should remind us of, it is that gas is something we've paid dearly for the privilege to enjoy and it should be used accordingly. That is efficiently. And only as necessary, which means for goodness sake, get rid of your extraneous four wheel drive monstrosity and upgrade to a city bike. Even if you live all the way out in Lancaster. Roads weren't built for cars, you know. There is Life Beyond the Automobile.

So if rising gas prices is a symptom of an American economic apocalypse, and if this apocalypse gets us to cut down the carbon footprint of air-travel, join a carpool and heaven forbid, strap a helmet on and ride a bicycle, then I say Bring It On.


Places You Can Find Me

It is rare the First Friday when I make plans to see openings. More often, I'll sort of bounce between Vox and the Fabric Workshop to see what there is to see and head home early to dodge the real potential craziness, if I even venture out at all. This Friday is however an exception to the rule and I will be planning to attend not one but TWO openings. Maybe you should too. The first will be Taliah Lempert's show at Copy, conveniently located across the street from the RELoad Studio. I was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of this show last night and even halfway through the installation I got that fuzzy admiring feeling in my belly, which bodes well for this evening's full display. Taliah paints photorealistic renderings of all sorts of bicycles and things bicycle, using tricks of scale and perspective to really showcase the bike in briliant homages. They could be portraits, for her brush's tender reverence and accuracy, and in many ways they are: capturing the emotions and qualities of each cycle in a truthful, brilliant catalog.

The opening is from 6-11 on Friday at Copy Gallery, 319 N. 11th Street on the 3rd Floor in Philadelphia. I can't say how the following print is displayed in the show, but I will promise that it would be worth your while to come out and see for yourself...

And if after all these bicycles you feel like you need to hop on one and ride somewhere, my friends Ben and Joel are having a little show at the Padlock Gallery in that southerly direction to showcase jointly their very nice drawings and sculpture. Although I haven't had a sneak peek at this show, I have seen Joel's drawings many times and they are meticulous and intriguing and perfect. Ben's sculpture, likewise, will undoubtedly be as nice to be around as he is.

Not to peer pressure you or anything, but it would be really great to see you there. Truly.


Conspicuous Consumption

Whew! Nearly a thousand hits later, I feel covered in mud. You? I never dreamed that so many people would sit up and take notice of this little blog's attack on the giant. In the future, I may censor my rants slightly (only slightly) in the interest of a more diplomatic discourse. I think the vicious overtones on both sides of the fence distracted from the actual issues at hand. But. In truth, would you really expect the small guy to roll over on something like this? In accordance with the character and spirit of our company, and too the character of urban cycling itself, we are actually required by common law to stand and raise our little fists to the man if we pretend to have one shred of self respect. Now am I right or am I right?

The whole discussion following Copy Cat has really got me thinking about co-opting and culture and the sorted history of hipster fashion as a whole. The test of authenticity certainly plays a part, as we all are now quite aware, but too, the question of an item's trajectory through originality and replication. The supposed cache of hipster culture implies a cohesive, up-to-the-minute personality beneath a corresponding aesthetic. Traditionally this aesthetic plays tribute to a very specific taste and knowledge of music, politics, and sociality that is working class but referentially wealthy. Intellectual but popular. Apathetic and yet passionate. And while all this creates a singular subculture, the primary defining quality of the subculture is that it is constantly hypocritical in this ideal. It is nearly impossible for masses of people to uphold such a credo which condemns normality and relies on constantly defining the new trend while maintaining any sort of actual base in reality. This is further complicated since hipsters' heavy adoption of irony in its own performance of the average. Over and over, the culture's impossible standards of image and genuine lifestyle have made the reality of hipsterdom in fact the opposite of what it preaches. Which more often than not makes them the target of intense scrutiny, mockery and let's face it, jokes. This is the reason, precisely, that over and over again decided hipsters shirk the label, turn their backs on the identification, for its necessary reflection on their own participation in this farce and illegitimate snobbery.

What impact does this have when said subculture enters the marketplace as a workforce? That's when things get really interesting. Many people end up working for companies they criticized in college, corporations that stand for conformity. Even non profits that certainly would have been described as "problematic" in seminars. In real life, we can't all afford to uphold our core values on a simultaneously fashionable, economic and intellectual level. In some ways, this can be a good thing. Many people who reach a sort of snob apex in their late teens and early twenties, are capable of stepping down a level and speaking to the rest of us again. On the other hand, as the fashion component of hipsterdom is toned down, so are the values of hipsterdom. Which is (I believe anyway) why it is even possible to buy your subculture off the rack, prepackaged, predistressed. Because all cool kids grow up some day and sell the secrets to the man. And there's really no way this won't happen. It's built in. It all comes back to the dollar, who can spend it and who can make it on outfitting the youth of America. See: Coolhunting and The Conquest of Cool. These trends are so huge that there are entire books.

The cultural impact of something like a basement metal show is immediate, experiential. It's obvious the interest in packaging it, but also the impossibility.

So what happens to the values that supposedly underly all this trendsetting and rebellion and separation from mainstream America, when everything is swept up the mainstream? A fair question. To use our trusty example, does a messenger bag still stand for ride-in-anything, cars-R-coffins bike culture when its for sale at Urban Outfitters? Can these cultural badges withstand the coopting process and reach a wider audience? I'm not sure. It is a fine line for sure between actions and words, authentic and superficial, original and replicated. My intense interest in the whole issue lies far more in what it means to the people at the end of the day who use things like messenger bags and where their values fall in the wreckage of consumer culture. It is much less about the commodity than about the message. I imagine many will disagree.