Found this one in the archives. As timeless as ever…
You’ll see them called Leftover sweaters, Stash sweaters or even Scrap yarn sweaters. They’re made from bits and bobs of yarn that went into other projects. It might been that extra ball you bought, just to be on the ’safe side’.‘ As long as you pay attention to yarn thickness (unless you‘re planning on making the mismatch a conscious design feature), a leftover sweater could be a great way to use up stash…
It’s a fairly new series on Netflix. Based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Walter Tevis. I think I may just take the time to go read it. The series though is getting a lot of push by Netflix and is steadily climbing the Top Ten in Germany list. Am I being snarky if I say that I don’t overly care by what other people are watching? Well, it’s nice to know, but I’m trying to curate my Netflix algorithm, so…
Still, the series fits my loose set of wants. Historical, unusual topic, character-driven, gorgeous costumes. So, why not, I thought. The first thing that hit me, is that Anna Taylor-Joy is even more Amélie than Amélie (remember Audrey Tatou in the 2001 hit?), even down to the haircut.
By the end of the second episode, I get the feeling that the fashion transformation will be fascinating to watch (Tom and Lorenzo already have an in-depth look at the chess-themed costuming). In this regard, it reminds me a lot of Lewis Carrol‘s Alice Through the Looking Glass, which is also based on a chess game, where Alice moves from pawn to Queen (check out the book, not the movie).
The reason this series resonates with so many people who know nothing about chess, and haven’t played Lewis Carroll‘s chess problem to get a pawn to checkmate in eleven moves, is that the series thoroughly mines the archetype of the Mother complex in a way we can all relate. Beth is the gifted prodigy searching for family, friendship, love and belonging. Chess is actually incidental. Almost every female character is a fascinating study that makes me want to dive deeper. Beth‘s mom, the math genius who lives in Beth‘s memory as giver of hard but valuable advice (imagine calling your ex „a rounding error“!), the replacement mom Alma who tries to finds new purpose in becoming a manager-mom. It’s painful to see Beth getting picked on by the mean girls in school, but the pay-off comes firstly when Beth sitting with the Apple Pi girls, in a chic little black dress, realizes she‘s a swan and will never be a duck. A real Ugly Duckling moment. And when she finds her tribe, it‘s all the more heartwarming how she puts herself back together with their help and moves on to her happy end.
A great series. Well done Netflix, well done German costume designer Gabriele Binder (and her team) and well done to the entire cast.
If you’re not in the mood to take up embroidery, but want close ups and a bit of background to some of the costumes, visit the Brooklyn Museum’s online Exhibition.
I just started watching Feria. About a little village in Spain, where some strange things are going on. But I could not tear my eyes away from this little cardigan. So cute.
Here are a few cardigans, along those same inspirational track. Like a knitted hug. My heart goes out to all the people of Ukraine, and especially those families with children, forced to flee their homes as Russian forces invade. Stay safe, stay warm.
Am I aging myself, when I say that the Netflix horror series, Archive 81, brought back a lot of memories from when I used to watch horror? X-files references, Blair Witch Project found-footage shakiness, the old movie posters, Fritz Lang movie T-shirts, The Secret of NiMH animated movie from the 80s, The Ring, The Shining…
I‘m fascinated about the splicing of scifi, horror and fantasy here… with technology and the supernatural, which doesn’t exclude the intuition of artists, dreams and the use of psychoactive and/or entheogenic substances. It’s as if everything‘s been thrown in here. Which must be why people have been asking if it is based on a true story (it’s not). I absolutely love the puzzle structure, where the viewers are racing to figure things out alongside the main characters.
Plus how cool is it, to see a series where someone‘s actually doing a real job. Ok, Melody IS doing the work on her PhD project, and Jess has her afterschool side-hustle. But let‘s talk about the costumes, and in particular the knits… They had a 15-person costume department for this series. First off, respect. They absolutely captured the 90s. Considering that we‘ve been through a 1990s and a 2000s fashion revival recently, the clothes do look quite familiar.
If it‘s the first time watching the series, or if you binged it and are going to have another watch-through before a second season starts, take it slow. My advice would be to watch it 2 or three episodes at a time, and really watch how that costume department tells the story through costume.
Surprisingly, it‘s Jess who wins the cutest knits, closely followed by Annabelle, although Dan and Samuel are no sartorial slouches either. In case you weren‘t knitting in the 90s, there was a lot of novelty yarns being used at the time, in contrast to the almost minimalist designs of the 2000s, where the yarn gets to shine… Back in the 90s, the goal was to add a new type of texture to the fabric.
So, Jess is a teen, who‘s mom is away a lot, she has to take care of herself, but at the same time she runs errands for the other tenants in the building. Interesting that this motif is a rose, calling back to someone else (called Rose) who in a later episode is in a similar position.
This actress Ariana Neal, did an amazing job in the role, of a teen with mental health challenges. As we‘ll see, though just about everyone in the series has stuff they‘re dealing with.
The menswear follows a similar but more subtle formula, if we compare and contrast Samuel and Dan‘s knitwear. Samuel‘s is more close-fitting, with set-in sleeves and in fairly muted colors. The one exception being his bright red cabled pullover. He wears it when he explains to Melody that he‘s won, and the cables put us in mind of the vertical vortex of energy when the portal ritual is performed. Dan‘s knits have a more relaxed fit, raglan sleeves have been added to the mix. His sweater choices are more minimalistic, which was typical of the 2010s (although his friend Mark does love a graphic geometric pattern). When he‘s confronting Davenport, he‘s wearing a forest green pullover with a straight up and down 4×1 ribbing. He‘s straightforward, wants to get the job done and find answers.
We also notice, that the knits are worn fairly close to the body. This is very different from the knits in the 2019-timeline, and with the menswear in general.
It‘s a nice contrast to Melody‘s 1994 grey jumper with horizontal stripes hinting at how she‘s tied to her project, which hides her real goal of finding her mother. And Melody‘s grey is miles away from modern Annabelle, who‘s already sheltering in place in sweats and oversized jumper (dropped sleeves, hello 80s redux!)
And finally, my favorite knits of this season (the Internet now seems fairly certain there will be a season 2), Rose and Jess. Just for the absolute loveliness of the knits. Rose, interviewing with Iris Vos for the position of lady‘s maid. She‘s pretty much fresh off the boat, in head to toe knits. Very earth-toned knits, telegraphing her working class origins, much in contrast to Vos‘ finer beaded afternoon dress.
Jess‘ cardigan also borrows from that earth tone palette. The closest to the cable pattern I could find was this Rapunzel‘s Braid in Regina‘s Cable and Bobble scarf. It‘s fitting, as Jess has been sheltered in a tower all her life, and does manage to escape out the window. Still the bobble pattern does manage to evoke that idea of fruit ripe for the plucking. And another reason for slow viewing: Jess is standing beside a crate marked “Fragile“, while telling Melody that Samuel‘s been spreading the word that she‘s mentally ‘fragile‘.
So while I’m waiting on tenterhooks for season 2, I’ll be finishing up a few WIPs. Stay well, my friends.
This got written in March 2021, but Somehow was never published. I think WordPress got a bit too fiddly and I never came back to it.
I hope, dear Reader, that you‘ve had a restful holiday/winter season, and if you’re in lockdown or quarantine that you’re making it through these difficult times. These days managing one‘s mental health is an important factor in self-care, and I hope everyone is doing well.
Fiber arts are enjoying a resurgence. And I for one am shouting „hurrah“. We‘ve spoken here about the mental health benefits of knitting and crochet.
Honestly, I‘m still thinking about vests (called Pullunder here in Germany). Some of these images have been in my archives since 2017.
I’m actually working on the pullunder/ vest these days. One row at a time.
photo: Feel the Bern sweater by Caitlin Hunter. Ravelry.com
What do Bernie‘s mitts that he wore on the campaign trail have to do with the Met Gala‘s theme of Time and Duration? Quite a lot actually. Senator Sanders‘ gloves were made from recycled wool by primary school teacher Jen Ellis. The image of Sanders dressed sensibly and warmly at the President‘s Inauguration ceremony went viral, and so did the gloves. To date there are over 100 Bernie-themed pillows, coffee mitts, crocheted dolls, mitts, cowls and hats on ravelry waiting for makers to get started. Caitlin Hunter’s free Feel the Bern sweater pattern is available on Ravelry. Sanders‘ gloves aren’t actually knit, but are made from repurposed knitted sweaters. In other words, the fabric of older knitted sweaters are cut up and used to create mitts. Classic upcycling. It‘s a great way to reuse already existing materials (especially that polyester fleece for lining) that may have been discarded and was on its way to the landfill. It’s lovely to support new and sustainable materials- whether plant- or animal-based, but simply switching to new materials and supporting yarn manufacturers new blends doesn’t answer the question: what do we do with all the stuff we have NOW? Which brings us right along to the Metropolitan Museum‘s cancelled gala, whose theme was About Time: Fashion and Duration. We generally so dazzled by the celebrities on the red carpet, that we forget that there’s a well-researched and presented exhibition behind the spectacle.
Here‘s a link to the Met‘s online extended preview and virtual tour with curator Andrew Bolton. It’s fascinating to see how concepts in fashion last through the years, even if they are later revisited with different materials. I‘ve read theories, which claim that a generation has to pass before any specific idea is revisited. Still, which ideas are worth revisiting? Heck, the whole system needs to be reconsidered, and Covid shutdowns provided an involuntary pause needed to reconsider. Maybe our idea around the future of fashion also needs to consider what to do with the clothing that already exists. So although I loved the fashion on show at the Inauguration, Bernie‘s mittens were the brightest light for the way forward.
So, I‘ve finally finished my Emma Cardigan, and have cast on directly for another one. At time of writing, I‘m halfway through. No one will believe that this really is a quick knit because the first one took me more than six months to complete. I spent ages waffling on how to put the pockets in (so chuffed about that bee-print fabric), then I just did it, only to spend more months waffling on how to close up the armpits. A couple weeks ago, I discovered Søstrene Grene, a small Danish chain in Trier and brought home a sweater quantity of this soft pink bamboo-wool blend. Lana Grossa just put out their winter collection and this fuschia pink turtleneck vest (above, left) grabbed my attention. Now that the weather is turning chilly, I‘ve started thinking about cowls, dickeys and vests to keep my throat and chest warm.
Kids are back in kindergarten and school, bringing home the sniffles. But for adults, one wrong sniffle or cough can be awkward out in public these days.
My impressions of summer: The Porta Nigra and other sights to see in Trier, Boutique hotel Jungenwald and the Alte Zunftscheue restaurant in Traben-Trarbach on the Mosel river, my Emma cardigan is finally finished. And harvesting pears.
In and around the Stubaital glacier in Austria. I don’t know how anyone can deny global warming or climate change. The glacier is almost gone. It’s shocking and truly sad to see the efforts the folks in Stubaital are making to protect what’s left… And now Autumn is upon us. What are you looking forward to this knitting/ crafting season?
Well, school‘s out once again. The temperatures have shot up and most people had to reconsider their holiday plans. Some decided to anyway. We all watched with bated breath. And a few came come with Covid-19, but the health authorities are doing what they can to get people tested at airports and train stations. A lot of people, unable or unwilling to travel overseas are looking into traveling within Germany or to stable neighboring countries. This summer we‘ve been chilling at home watching shows like – „Eurovision, The Story of Fire Saga“, which is a must see, not only for the fabulous knits (I was laughing so hard, I only managed to snap this pic), but also for the fairly humorous explanation of what the heck Eurovision is, and why Europeans go gaga every spring.
This year, the show was cancelled, so the film was a lovely replacement. There were a lot of real Eurovision stars from former years to spot, and the music was actually as good as what we would have seen in the show! (Link to the singalong)
All Europeans vote in by telephone or App, but the catch is you can’t vote for your own country. Sort of like regular people wearing cloth masks: you’re not protecting yourself, but other people as a public service.
I think it’s all been said by now. But I like Michelle Bernard‘s BLM Dishcloth because it invites us even in mundane moments to remember what the movement stands for.
Books better than „White Fragility“:
If you want the facts, take a moment to read „White Rage“ by Dr Carol Anderson, a history professor who looks at the development of a system intent on keeping certain people in their place. She explains what she means in this video.
Richard Rothstein‘s „The Color of Law“ is also eye opening. Here‘s a short talk he gave about the myth of segregation in the US.
And Jane Elliot‘s „A Collar in my pocket- the blue eyes brown eyes exercise“ or the documentary about her work called „A Class Divided.“ There are several things interesting about her exercise: a) how quickly adults (even though the exercise was developed to be used for young children) seem to believe preposterous statements once they are based on science.
b) how quickly people will accept a status quo, especially if they are on the comfortable side.
c) how distressed participation made people and how they refuse to make the analogy to current events. Here is the exercise taking place on the Oprah Show.
d) how the language Ms. Elliott used is eerily similar to the language politicians have used to and about the Black Community or the Civil Rights movement.
I think instead of trying to convince people that they are racist, often against their will, we should be telling them what they can do to change the system: helping people get registered to vote, and contacting local and state government representatives to stop redlining in housing policy and voter suppression.