plan, make, finish, WEAR

This is a question some of us, as knitters, ask ourselves. Are we wearing our hand knits? We ask that question for the sole purpose of giving ourselves a reality check. If the idea is to be adding a beautiful hand knit to our wardrobe, truly are we? This is essentially the honesty factor as to why we do what we do and whether we are succeeding in pulling off the look that we were after by knitting these garments in the first place. We all know, no matter what the creative process or how capable we are in our craft, some projects ‘work’ while others do not.

One such knitter has taken this particular topic to task and back in January of 2019 offered an opportunity via a thread on Ravelry to post what she calls ‘street-wear’ photos. Street-wear photos are candid shots of us in our hand knits, in our every day lives, doing whatever it is we do, at work or at play. And, then to post those photos on the thread.

I was smitten with this question because I have always thought and have said . . . yes, I do wear my projects and very much consider them a part of my wardrobe. I have even been known to say, I shop very little for clothes because finishing a garment is like adding a new piece to my wardrobe. So, I remembered this sort of self-monitoring opportunity and as I traveled through this last year, thought, I am going to test my own statement. Not sure on how I was I going to get the photo, I figured I could lean on selfies as a last resort. Of course, I was thrilled when I found some candid shot that had been taken of some activity or function I was at and found that I just happened to be in the background . . . with a hand knit on!

The below is a one year effort. The photos are not necessarily becoming (boo) but they do illustrate that my hand knits are my wardrobe. I have paired the ‘every day shot’ with a photo that was taken during the original photo shoot so you can more clearly see the garment. The top photos or photos on the right are from the ‘posed’ while the others are the recent, candid ones. All of these projects can be found on my Ravelry page and are discussed in full length on my website.

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Making Connections

This morning, I am indulging in reminiscing. Perhaps because it is a typical snowy morning in January, the likes that have been unusually rare this winter. Or perhaps it is because I have recently recaptured my mojo for knitting and feel a need to keep my writing in sync or perhaps I was inspired by a recent thread on Ravelry. It could also be a good time for reflection as we head into 2020 perhaps with ideas of projects for the year and goals for completion.

I am thinking about sewing. The years and years of sewing I did long before I became a knitter. I remember waking up one day during my fifth grade summer and asking to make a dress. Mom pointed to a pile of newspapers and said, “There! Use all you need.” I said, “No, I mean with fabric.” And, so it began that I was sent to a neighbors who gathered up supplies and time and helped her daughter and I sew our first dress. Well, the experience stuck and through the years, the basement of childhood home turned into a sewing room, begging for fabric was my second name, and learning about construction through trial and error was my passion.

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Transition

The volunteer position of teaching knitting, aka my ‘found’ knitting group, includes teaching basic skills. The hope is that this art will serve these ladies well in some capacity in their future. The classes are offered in semesters so the size of the group of ladies varies. And so does the skill level of the participants. With that in mind, I offer a variety of patterns,

all free from Ravelry, from very simple to a bit more complex. Complex in that some patterns may include cables, may have increase and decrease steps, or expect the knitter to read a chart. It is with great effort that I am knitting samples of these patterns so the ladies can see and feel exactly what they are embarking upon.

One lady in particular was zooming right along on her projects. She was a great knitter and expressed a desire to learn how to read charts. So, I found this muffler pattern, a hooded scarf, that I thought would serve well. One could make just the scarf or the entire muffler, has a chart to follow with simple cables and I knew I loved the pattern. So by making it, I would have this great item in my wardrobe as well as serve as the sample of this pattern. 

I call the project ‘transition’ as you will see how, as the weather transitions, so does this fun piece. I knitted it in Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease, worsted weight

wanting to utilize the exact yarn the ladies knit with. (A large collection of this particular yarn was donated for this volunteer position.)

Here I am along Erie Basin Marina’s inner break wall modeling the hooded scarf as single layer.

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Borrowed from the Boys

Featured

Much like Facebook’s posts and ability for friends to comment and/or like a post, Ravelry, a knitter’s online paradise, has a function called forums.  Forums are generally written and like-interested people comment, share, like, or otherwise support the theme of the post.  Reading these threads is as interesting as posting on them.  Groups on Ravelry generally have many such forums going on at once and of course, there are people in all ranges of activity on them.  Some are so active, they have become moderators and those moderators are now posting what we affectionately call challenges.  This is true within the Vogue Knitting Group, at least. This is where the inspiration came, or maybe an excuse, to go all the way back to my complete VK magazine collection dating Fall/Winter 1982 (easy access here on shelving).

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Relationship of fabric to design

Well, at this point, this project has been knitted twice.  Not by choice, of course, but to eliminate too much shelf time, aka, not be worn.  I knit to wear so if there is something about a garment that doesn’t feel right or comfortable, I know its future is doomed.   I must say, the fabric that was created by this stitch was the conundrum.

The honeycomb stitch is a type of cable that is dense, especially when using Lion Brand’s fisherman wool . .  held double.  Not so much dense in weight as the pulled stitches create a kind of air hole behind it.  Maybe, you can make this out here, but dense in body.

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Vintage Art

I’m always talking about Vogue Knitting. Likely, I will always be talking about Vogue Knitting. Not only have I found this publication the most fashionable, fashion is my motivation to knit, I have come to understand the way their patterns are written and follow designers who have found their work published there. Adding to my attraction and deep dedication to this magazine are the more recent events of attending Vogue Knitting Live, walking the runway at the event, and being recognized for my knitted garments. That does not mean I am not aware or do not appreciate other publications for knitting, crocheting, and sewing that are forever beckoning our attention.

While at last year’s VKL in NYC, I took classes, many of them. The classes I chose were specific to the theme of design. For me, choosing a theme made it easier to choose what classes to take. There are literally hundreds of classes not to mention lectures, fashion shows, and vendors at these events. One of the classes in particular was with Deborah Newton, a VK designer who’s patterns I have knit and who’s books I have read. The topic for her class was sketching, sketching fashion, for me the highlight of the entire weekend. I couldn’t wait for it and I couldn’t wait to meet her. She showed many examples of sketches explaining the purpose of them and the importance of honing that skill. Her enthusiasm for the artists of the sketches as well as the aesthetic nature of each was infectious. That enthusiasm, maybe more than my actual desire to sketch, has stayed with me. The below are exercises from the class.

So, when a friend of mine, who knows I love to knit and who seems to love to find treasures for people (a genuine act of kindness), handed me a box of vintage knitting magazines, I was not only appreciative that he would think of me while rummaging, but I fell in love with the covers. They reminded me of the sketches from Deborah’s class. None of these publications were Vogue Knitting, but all of them represented some collective aspect of what I hold dear when thinking of my knittings’ past. Such titles as Gifts, Brunswick hits, Fashion and Accessories, Headliners, Modern Knitting all called to me as I could relate to each of them. “Yes, I’ve knitted gifts. I remember knitting with Brunswick yarns. Modern knitting? That’s what VK is all about!”, I was saying to myself. These covers were literally speaking to me.

How fortunate am I that my DB is a graphic designer. I showed him the box of these vintage magazines, all of different sizes, fragile, and color-aged. I explained my passion over the covers and asked if they could somehow become art for my wall. He did what he does. Many pdfs, lots of frame discussions, measurements . . . he planned to solve what potential challenges there might be.

I love the way the kindness of one, the enthusiastic teachings of another, and the willing and abled spirit of a third has come together to make this most meaningful wall art display for me.

And, what’s more? The magazines are still intact, so now I can begin perusing ideas for knitting!

Leg-o-Mutton ‘THEN’

I think it is interesting to hear of what inspires each of us.  For my inspiration, I can’t think of a time when I reached for any Vogue Knitting publication that I didn’t end up wanting to make at least one item from it.  Oftentimes, more.  This has remained true for over 40 years.  Now, currently on Ravelry, such magazines, publications, designers of well-known fame as well as fledglings have ‘groups’ one can follow.  From there one can drill down and find things like KALs (knit alongs) and surprise KALs (just that, clues per week to lead to a surprise garment in the end).  These things are found in ‘forums’.  These niceties  are all meant to inspire or motivate the knitter in us.  Well, the Vogue Knitting Group is no exception.  It offers challenges, and I am right in line to accept them.

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The Poncho Wrap

Is it a poncho?  Is it a wrap?  The designer, Vladimir Teriohkin names his design Helio Poncho, which means combining form.  Whatever you call it, it could not be easier to knit and exceedingly fun to wear.  Think, a few inches of ribbing, followed by a rectangle in straight stitch with a hole in it towards one end, and ending with the same number of inches in ribbing.  When complete,  pick up stitches around that hole for a nice 8 inch cowl.  It is as simple as that.  Knitted in Homespun from Lion Brand, a chunky, curly yarn, it knits up quickly and is impressively soft..  Wear it casual with moto joggers for Christmas tree shopping or fancy it up with more formal wear for an evening out,  The photographer snapped these photos while I was adjusting the multitude of ways of wearing.  We are at a Buffalo-famed ice cream shop, Anderson’s who rents out their lot to a Christmas tree farm every holiday season.  Paul Bunyan has stood proudly for years positioned along a main drag to announce the farm’s return to the local community.  So, here we are starting out where I’ve slipped this rectangle over my head, short length in front.

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Me-ssoni for Tech Geeks

I am talking about a recently finished garment, my first of 2018.  First due to the nature of my newly single life (adjusting/managing/accepting) but also first due to the intricacies of what was on my needles.  In all fairness to the publisher of Vogue Knitting, the pattern was marked as ‘expert’ which means a high level of difficulty to knit, so I guess I was warned.

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Detroit, Anyone? I did not take my knitting . . .

Yes, we chose Detroit for a little R & R.  Why, you might ask?  Here are a few reasons.

“One of the most beautiful homes on Airbnb. This is a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom historic home in one of the most beautiful, one of a kind neighborhood of Detroit. Woodbridge is in Midtown, and a mile from most of Detroit’s finest sights, art, and stadiums. My wife and I are in Greece for at least six months helping refugees and your stay is our only revenue keeping us there. Thank you!”

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