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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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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I Lost and Found a Knitting Group

Pretty much my entire life, I’ve knitted alone.  Happily, on the couch, in a relaxed state of mind, figuring out the pattern stitch or the possible mistake in the pattern or in my thinking, always knitting alone  . . happily.  The main advantage of that is the ease of stealing an hour here or there between the hustle bustle of family life, after a school day (whether a student or teacher or both), in between the piles of homework and/or housework, there were always those precious hours.

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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!

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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Full-on Indulgence including Runway Revisit, 2018

If you are a follower of VKL (Vogue Knitting Live), you may be aware that this event in NYC is historically held in January.  After travel debacle of December, I was fully aware January could prove the same.  JetBlue, however served its travelers well, weather cooperated, and I found myself at VKL NYC 2018 in good form.

Having attended the event before, I knew what to expect but wanting to make something new of the occasion, I chose to volunteer at the event.  That immediately changed the dates of travel due to a volunteer meeting held on the Wednesday evening before.  It also meant two glorious extra days in the city and lots of decision-making on how to spend that time. When the weekend was all said and done, as in all travel, there were certain moments, expected and otherwise, that stand out, so with this post, those are the moments I will highlight.

Wednesday ~ easy travel.  With room readily available and map in hand, I settled in for my stay and planned where I was going to ‘tour’.  It was a simple choice.  Mood, of course followed by Bryant Park.  Why?  I am a huge fan of Project Runway and wanted to see (and possibly shop) the fabric store where PR contestants make their purchases in the competition and Bryant Park hosts the final fashion show.  So, off I went with my poor sense of direction but great determination.

I found this (admittedly after 2 mile jaunt in the wrong direction) :

So excited, I walked in.  As a tourist does, I snapped these.

Bolts and bolts of fabric miles long and miles high.  A few floors just like this.  Then, I asked where Swatch was.  (Swatch, to you unknowns of the reality show is the visiting pooch of Mood.)  And, I was told I was in the upholstery section of Mood NOT the fashion section where Swatch typically hangs out!  WHAT??  Never suspecting and already in heaven she pointed to the door.  I was to take the Olmstead (a familiar name) elevator to the third floor.

WOW.  I immediately recognized THIS as what I was seeking . . .

Black in EVERY fiber!

And . . . where fabric gets bolted, cutting boards, patterns, and classrooms!

Of course, I asked about Swatch again.  He was not there that day, but I did spot this which filled my heart.

On leaving Mood, I was quite satisfied having found it that I wasn’t too disappointed having not purchased anything.

My next desire was to find Bryant Park.  Back to scouting my map and asking an occasional passer-by, it was in no time I was there.  On this weekend, it was set up as a lovely winter wonderland.

The volunteer meeting was Wednesday night, a welcome time to sit at the end of a tourist’s day.

Here are some jobs you can sign up for in volunteering.

Thursday ~ Knowing I was to be in NYC, I signed up for the MoMA tour as offered by VKL.  Scouting out the location of the Museum of Modern Art, which was basically in the opposite direction of the day’s before outing, provided all kinds of new stimulation, it was easy to find.  The tour called, “Is Fashion Modern?”  had an excellent docent who took us to task with asking ourselves that very question.  I thought it pretty cool that Lululemon’s original pant made it into the display.  The little black dress and orange piece are pieces I loved.  So, if these were examples of what was in the exhibit, you could ask yourself, Is fashion modern?

I visited the gift shop and found this great cross-over bag.  A picture of my MoMA keepsakes . . .

One must visit Central Park when in the city.

And, of course one must take in a show on Broadway.  A chance friend and I chose Amy Schumer in Meteor Shower as our pick.  The ticket taker, Georgie, was especially personable and left this sweet note for us when we went back to pick up our tickets.

Friday – Sunday ~ Days to volunteer, window shop, and take in classes/lectures.  I built my class schedule for all three days around the theme of designing.  Each teacher had her own take on the topic and it was interesting to hear of the process from different points of view.  The lectures I sighed up for were inspiration filled.  My favorite class was on sketching.  Deborah Newton could not be more enthusiastic about her designing and that enthusiasm was not only palpable but contagious.  Here, we are studying sketches.

Her tip is seen on the right, my practice, on the left.

I did indeed make one purchase during my stay.  Could this book be any more beautiful and so aptly named.  Glamourie, indeed!  Now, THAT is knitting!

I thought the main highlight would be the Readers’ Runway Fashion Show.  As delightful as it was, it was the second time I’ve entered and somehow, the second time is never as exciting as the first.  My favorite part was meeting someone AND her husband who I have talked to on Ravelry and BOTH walked the runway, as well.  Also, the young girl captured my attention who was with her Mother.  How special for these pair to do this fun thing together.

The fair isle coat earned this award.

Here is a candid pic of the group who walked the runway this year.

The most meaningful highlight was however my daughter and her friend meeting up with me in the evenings.  Whether ordering room service or having a delicious meal at a lovely Irish eatery, talking about nothing of consequence and laughing really put the weekend into perspective of what matters most and certainly added to what truly was a full-on indulgence weekend for me.  A goofy selfie ~

We said good-bye Sunday night to each other and to this great city.  Until next time . . .

Copper

I have been very grateful for a little online thread on Ravelry set up by a fellow knitter and avid fan of Vogue Knitting, coilycurly.   This knitter, to honor Vogue Knitting’s 35th anniversary, has set up what she is calling the “Anniversary Challenge”.  According to the ‘rules’,  contestants are to knit one project from the VK magazines, from each decade since the publication’s start, from the years ending in 7.  That would be a total of four projects to fulfill the challenge and at the same time, honor the magazine for its longevity in bringing high fashion and current designers to the forefront.

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Fair Isle Coat from Remnant Stash

This past year, I have made a conscious effort to utilize the growing stash that is forming.  I don’t mean the stash of yarn waiting to be worked on with particular projects in mind, I am meaning the remnants or leftovers of yarn from already completed projects.  I call the first the stash and the latter, the remnant stash.   To help me think how I could utilize these scraps, I have organized them into bins according to their weight.

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Vest [Best] Dress[ed]

For a project that pretty much flew off the needles, it is interesting that I have so much to say about it.   I have lots to say not due to any pattern issue or yarn dissatisfaction, but rather the changes I made in how I constructed it.  From long tail cast on to sewing on the seam binding along the back neck, I feel these changes led to its success and will lead to the garment’s longevity.

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