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From Couch to Runway, Literally

2 3 From couch to runway…  Well, let’s just say I have always been a private knitter.   For years I’ve knitted right here in my house, wherever it might be, in the location that was designated by the family as Holly’s knitting spot, and pretty much under the same lamp that has traveled with us from one location to another.  The lamp itself blinks due to age or an ill kept electrical connection and we need to turn over the cushion of the seat often to prevent the sag that ultimately is formed.  I do not belong to a knitting group (currently, but that could change) as I’m too tired after life’s responsibilities to find and get to one and I do not take my knitting with me when I travel or to work.  Teaching does not allow time for knitting (what the heck job does?) and I like travel time to be reflective in nature.  These are the habits that I’ve developed and we all know that people are creatures of their own habits.

Joining Ravelry (about eight years, ago) was the first step in bringing my knitting into the public eye, not that I necessarily wanted to but I wondered how I might like that.  Now, ’tis true I wear my hand knits (with regularity and pride) but somehow the act of wearing transforms that project into a garment, so in my eyes, that garment is no longer about knitting.  So, at Ravelry I saw and read about  people who shared in their enthusiasm of knitting and spoke a language that was familiar to me.   However, as public as these sites are, the internet still holds a bit of mystique and the lack of face to face contact continued to allow me to knit on my couch in my home and under my lamp.

Then, there was the interview.  Through Ravelry, Vogue Knitting became aware of my projects.  Through WordPress VK became aware of my thoughts.  And, with that came an invitation for an interview that would be published in my all time favorite knitting magazine, (I have yet to find another that holds a candle), Vogue Knitting.  After its publication Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 2014, pages 20 – 21! I thought  I had reached (and achieved) an unfamiliar new level of public awareness that I was allowing my world of knitting to enter through.  However, a magazine article about oneself is still not face to face contact, so the lone knitting continued.

Well, about a month ago, I saw a contest.  A runway contest?  A runway contest!   Gee, I thought.  I’ve always wanted to walk the runway.  Hmmm..  the girl on the cover kind of looks like me with that red-haired pony tail (and similar fashion sense)! IMG_3775 “Send in your photographs of hand knits made from Vogue Knitting”, it said.  Are you kidding, I thought?  For hand knitted projects? From Vogue Knitting?  I have many photos due to Ravelry!  With each set of phrases  I was reading, it was as if the contest was written for me.  Not only did I have hand knitted projects that are mostly from Vogue Knitting, they have all been photographed for the Ravelry site and I have always dreamed of walking the runway! For a few weeks, I thought of the possibility of entering.  Location, NYC… ok!  Long, 3 day weekend..ok!  Wavering and thinking of all the reasons why not to enter, I sadly put the contest out of my mind.   You know..the inevitable self doubt, life is too busy, it’s an expensive idea… Then, a few nights before the deadline, I thought how could I NOT enter… at least send in an entry and see what happens, I thought.  By the time the deadline came, I entered five more of my projects, strategically choosing which to enter due to the year of the publication, due to the complexity, and fitting of the garment.  I also entered projects that were designed by a wide range of designers and each, a different designer.  Hint:  I looked to see who was presenting thinking they would like to see some of their designs in action.  I  was being quite strategic and purposeful in my decision-making which let me know how badly I wanted in.

I learned shortly later that not only was I accepted to walk in the Readers’ Runway Fashion Show, but four of the six projects I submitted were chosen as entries.  Both stunned and excited, I packed my bags (a week ahead) realizing that this not only a fun opportunity but also  a turning point in my knitting life going into the public domain within the circle of knitters, face to face!  And, not just face to face with your average joe knitters like me but with such well-known designers as Brandon Mably and Norah Gaughan who are well published and on the list of who’s who within the knitting community.

I was fortunate to have my daughter and her boyfriend there as my fan club and to take these pictures.  These pictures show the garments (which, by the way are staples in my  wardrobe and have been worn countless times) as well as the order in which I was asked to walk them down the runway. IMG_0196 This is a lovely piece from VK Holiday 2011 designed by Mari Lynn Patrick.  I altered the stripes so the tie would be blue rather than cream as I wanted the primary color to be blue. IMG_0197 Yes, I found a need to change into these pink pants (from Lululemon) as I think the color of them is so beautiful and fun with the sweater.  Oh and the sweater is what I call the amazing Hoodie Glam designed by Jeannie Chin, from 2012.   I had about 60 seconds in which to make the change between all of these sweaters.  I was more stressed about that than I was walking the runway. IMG_0200

Blurry, for sure but you can make out the British Flag that patterns this amazing cardigan jacket designed by Brandon Mably.   I love this piece and I think it showed very nicely on the runway.

IMG_0207 And, finally an iconic Calvin Klein suit from Fall 1987 that I continue to wear regularly (and yes, I re-worked elastic thread into the ribbing a few years back to renew it) was my final showing.  Again, the quick change did not allow me to put on the tights I would normally wear with this suit.   I was hoping the knitting would hold the eye away from the very white legs?!

Vogue Knitting staff awarded five of the thirty of us who walked the runway for our efforts of knitting prowess and enthusiasm.  We were awarded with this beautiful keepsake, Vogue Knitting Classic Knitting that of course, makes for a wonderful addition to my ever-growing knitting library. IMG_3776

The audience then, was called upon to ‘vote’ for their top favorite utilizing a clapping barometer with the Vogue editors in the back.   That victory went elsewhere.

While the fashion show was set up like a competition, I feel like the experience of meeting others face to face,  sharing thoughts about our passion, and becoming inspired with new ideas was the goal for me.

Let the road of the unknown guide me in my future knitting endeavors.

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Blog Debacle

Anyone following hollyknits may have noticed the many changes and directions this blog has taken lately and none of those changes has anything to do with writing a new post!  So, what is the story and why no post?

I am always interested in making anything I create more pleasing to the eye so I’ve been strolling through the many options regarding color, font style, header options, widgets, etc.  Questions I asked myself (of which I have no answers):   what captures the attention best of the reader or which is kindest to the eye for reading?   So, with every visit to my blog over the last few months, I’ve changed one thing or another.  Whether all of these changes created the debacle my blog has in streaming to other sites or whether these other sites have some kind of interface or formatting issue, I have not been able to have my blog look like how I’ve created it in those other locations.   So, of course I wondered why.  Contacting wordpress first with a series of conversations and following the recommendations which included changing the theme of my blog, I did as recommended.  More change.  Still no luck with the streaming issue.  I began to wonder if the problem had to do with the relationship between these specific sites I was attempting to link, so I went as far as to research AND begin to set up my blog at other sites.  Being smart enough (she says sarcastically) to only partially set it up and then to check the relationship between that new site and other sites for streaming,  can you imagine how frustrated I was when the problem was still there?

Well, I am tired of fussing over the entire ordeal and want to settle on this matter in my mind.  Having only the power bestowed upon me, meaning I can’t manipulate those pixels, I am simplifying the entire matter.  I have decided to stay here at wordpress and choose a simple, less complicated theme that is free for users and to accept what is.  Maybe, there is something to leaving well enough alone hoping that over time, the internet, domains, interface, and who knows what will eventually sift and sort itself out and I will happily be linked again with the look and feel of the blog at every site the way I’ve set it up.  Maybe, a little finger crossing may help, too.

And, in the meantime, I have NO excuse for why I haven’t written a post in over four months.

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Drapey (2 of 2)

What is it about Tom Scott that captures my attention?  Whoever would think to take the traditional cardigan, flip it around, and call it fashionable?  Tom Scott!  AND, whoever would think to design a garment that is knitted from the bottom to the top, but is supposed to be worn sideways?  You would think that designing a sweater would be challenging enough, but Tom Scott clearly takes it to the next level.  Here, you can see what I mean.

Traditional Cardigan

IMG_3416This is the SAME garment worn upside down.  The bottom edge is now the neckline.

textured cardi

AND, he plays around with designs that can be worn sideways.

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 You begin knitting this starting with the bottom ribbing and working your way going up, you eventually make a hole for the neckline and finish with ribbing.  What causes the knit to be sideways is the way you wear it slipping your head through the neck hole and one arm through the ribbed sleeve.  The other arm comes out the bottom giving it the sideways drape.

Now, I love avant garde fashion but we all can admit that if a garment is worn sideways, it just might need a little help in holding that shape over time.  After all, it is not every day you bring your arm through the bottom of a garment and walk around town!  And, then think to call it fashionable!

The sensation of wearing this, even through the photo shoot, was of it wanting to pull down.  So, in trouble-shooting mode, I tried to sense where the pulling was occurring.  And, of course it was pulling at the side where the gathered fabric is, on the side where the side slit is at the hip.   An easy fix, I thought.  Do we not see shirred seaming in today’s fashion and would that not hold the fabric permanently in place?

So, here is what I did.  For demonstration purposes, I used red scrap yarn but on the side that I wanted shirred, I took some of the scrap project yarn.  You can see a plastic darning needle works perfectly as the softness of the point does not split any yarn as it is traveling through it.  Sew in and out, along the seam you want sewn (or shirred, in this case) and up, around and down you go.  The photos are in sequence here so that you can see.  Once around, you see the two ends of the yarn dangling.  Perfect.  Try it on, pull on the yarns together, tie off, weave in the ends. and the piece is secure for every day wearing.   This took me all of 10 minutes when I got home that day.  Another five or ten for this demonstration below which, of course, has been now taken out.

Here I am with my darning needle going up the seam along the side seam of the piece.

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You can see the fabric begin to pucker which is what you WANT!  Here I have turned to go down the other side of the side seam.

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I am nearing the end of the seam that I have now gone up, down, and around.

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Below, you see the two ends of yarn.  Perfect!  Try it on and adjust!

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This is a shirred seam.  You see it in fashion EVERYWHERE!

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 And, for extra measure, I added seam tape to the back of the neckline to secure it as well, a technique I often do to prevent stretching in areas that I know ultimately take a beating with wear and tear.

IMG_3721Here I am feeling brilliant and ready to go and showing off the true cornflower blue color of the piece.

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