Call me obsessed. Call me intense. Call me stubborn. This sweater, Renaissance designed by Teva Durham was NOT photographing to its fullest potential and it was driving me mad until I realized . . . oh, dear . . . it’s the SWEATER!! My thinking . . . What was it? The body fit perfectly, the neckline moved about in a ruffly kind of way as intended and certainly appropriate for its name sake. The sleeves . . . dramatic, as seen in the pattern. Wait. The sleeves. The sleeves. Something about the sleeves. Yes, they are long but that is the style of the pattern. Oh, wait . . . what about their width? That could be it. If I made them narrower. . . If I make the sleeves narrower, the cap to fit more snug at the top, that might give the sweater an overall better look. Wait. The sleeves. Maybe, just a little shorter. For comfort sake. Wait! How ’bout three-quarter length keeping the essence of the pattern? I notice I get excited, probably because I have a plan to resolve what seems to be ailing me about this garment.
One of my goals as I entered into retirement was to knit from my stash. The stash I am talking about includes patterns I have loved and collected over time and/or the bundles of yarn that were purchased at a time when I thought I could knit a particular project. I suppose enthusiasm outweighs time, at least that is my case, so in my new state of retirement, I am addressing this. This project is an example of that. I don’t even know where I first saw this pattern as I do not subscribe to Interweave Knits but I have been following Teva Durham, the creative designer since being aware of her work through Vogue Knitting. The pattern is called Renaissance Tunic, as you will see, for obvious reasons. And, I am thrilled to finally be adding this to my wardrobe.
It was a lovely gauntlet of receptions, recognitions, gatherings, presentations, and gifts as one career has now ended for each of us. We called it our “transition” rather than our retirement. They do say 60 is the new 40 so if that be the case, I see the next decade as a second opportunity for discovery such as what more may I offer to the community and/or to myself. Much like the caterpillar will endure a transformation, (funny, I was making a connection with it rather than shooing it away) I will be taking these next few months reflecting on where I’ve been, what I’ve learned, and where I want to go having every expectation of finding a new direction for my life.
Ponchos, Capes, and Fawnchos Oh, My!
Gee, I’ve got the song “Getting to Know You“, a show tune from the 1951 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The King and I and Dorothy’s (Wizard of Oz) little fear-of-the-forest chant going on in your mind right now. Maybe, purposeful to distract you from the word, me. I am not comfortable with that word in any form of communication as I am more shy than not when speaking about myself and am continuing to adjust taking on this public forum. I ponder the reasons why I am doing so and sometimes I say, oh, it is the teacher in me and I want to write a series of “how-to” posts on knitting techniques or another day I might say I just love thinking about fashion no matter what the venue. Maybe, it is the longevity of the love of knitting I have and/or feelings of success I’ve had with this art form in the recent years. Or, an effort to gain followers as I consider design work in the future? …. whatever the reason, it’s probably more on my mind than yours, so with that here is my “collection” of ponchos, capes, and fawnchos, oh my! Now they say, just because you can knit something does not mean you should. However, I believe unique shapes, style, and variety keeps one in the forefront of fashion and in the minds of others.
Criteria for choosing projects that I use:
- immediate excitement of pattern or construction of a project
- challenging in some way
- can be paired with existing pieces in current wardrobe
- has a purpose or becomes a focal point
- must be a style that works for me
- original and hopefully not able to be found in a clothing store
So, here we go with a shoulder shrug, designed by Teva Durham and found in Scarf Style, a book on my “recommendations” shelf. I am madly in love with pieces that are versatile. When you pull the sleeves off, you can wrap them around your neck as a scarf. I wished I had one of these in every color.
Here is another of similar style designed by Sarah Hatton, found in Rowan Studio 2. Love it with black.
Much more challenging to knit and my first go at “short rows” was this fabulous cropped hoodie, designed by Mari Muinonen, found in Vogue Knitting Winter 2008/2009. The yarn is hand-dyed Koigu and is as exquisite as the design. Mix and match buttons, to me, complete the look perfectly.
When I first saw the below, it did not appeal to me at all. Curious to know how it was constructed, however I read about it and then it became a must-do. A simple fold here and there? How ingenious is designer Rebecca Taylor! Found in Vogue Knitting Fall 2010 and knitted in sumptuous yarn from Blue Sky Alpaca Yarns, the most amazing yarn ever. You can just see the softness in the photo. (This is the sweater that is shown in the header of this blog.)
Reversible is this two-tone vest; worn with the strap in front or back and caught my attention in every way. Also, reversible turning it inside or out. This pattern simply would not leave my mind until I knitted it. Design is by Lynne Barr, found in Reversible Knitting: 50 Brand New Groundbreaking Stitch Patterns (on my “recommendations” shelf)…..
You see now what I mean about variety of design that captures attention while staying true to style, shape, and line. The poncho was designed by Vogue Knitting‘s 2010 Holiday issue by Michele Wang. The red hat was a gift from the photographer.
Just love the cape worn here with jeans, however looks equally great with skirts, designed by Vladimir Teriokhin and is a free Vogue Knitting pattern from their website…
Norah Gaughan has excited me over time with her designs; such a simple pullover thing this is and worn a myriad of times; pattern found in Volume One, Norah Gaughan Collection for Berroco Yarns.
And, finally Fawncho, which could and may be a post onto itself. So sweet, designed by Tiny Owl Knits, one peruses this designer’s work and FINDS a way to make her pieces fit into one’s lifestyle!
I believe this collection reveals my taste and style in fashion as well as gives you a road map of where I have been with my knitting.
Whatever is your style, stand by it. Be your own person and be proud of who you are. Enjoy the design work of others for inspiration holding to your own aesthetic. Experiment! Play with the creativity and spirit that is within you and let it be your guide.
Part Three, next and will be dedicated to Laura…..