RIP: Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel and Fendi, passed away at the age of 85.

Deutsche Welle documentary/tribute to the controversial German designer, writer, painter, illustrator, cat-lover and director here.

Illustrations from Lagerfeld’s Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld published in English by Steidel Publishing.

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The Art and Craft of Optimism

Cicely Tyson Time cover Optimism
Actress Cicely Tyson on Time‘s Optimism Issue

The current issue of TIME magazine, edited by Ava DuVernay, got me thinking about optimism and crafts.

She writes that art, „calls to the optimism within us and beckons us to breathe… a necessary reminder to grasp joy with both arms and embrace it like a great love.“ I think of making and craft that way. There is an eternal optimism in casting on, starting a project, or even just pickingup a work in progress to work a few rows. It‘s a neat feeling of control of the microcosm of a glove, sock, hat or pullover that is deeply fulfilling.

What fills you with optimism?

 

When knits get political

Protest fashion has always been a thing. It identifies who stands with the demonstrators, and who doesn’t. From the cap-wearers of the French Revolution, suffragettes in white to the pink knitted caps of the Women’s Marchers.

Although now largely discarded by March organizers as too exclusive of transpeople, the pink knit hat was a visually powerful symbol of activism against sexism. Why did they work? Because they were so bright, and easy to churn out 3 or 4 or more over a weekend for knitters and crocheters alike.

Unlike fancy black dresses on the red carpet worn mainly by celebrities or even designer T-shirts with catchy slogans, pink hats, yellow vests and red scarves work because when they’re worn to actual demonstrations on the street, their sheer numbers come together to show the undeniable amount of ordinary everyday people who stand behind the concepts.

Links on Protest in Fashion:

Vogue’s Timeline of Fashion in Protest

The New York Times on The Power of the Yellow Vest

 

 

Knitting and PoC

 

woman wearing yellow knit sweater and blue knit hat
Photo by Thomas Chauke on Pexels.com

I know I haven’t been on a few of my knitting blog reads for a while, but it seems I’ve missed quite a lot.

Makers of Colour took umbrage at a post by Karen over at Fringe Association, who wants to visit India and add more colour to her wardrobe.

Here are links: Original post, annotation and analysis  by thecolormustard on Instagram, Karen’s Mea Culpa and the ensuing Discussion thread over on Ravelry.

The discussion from January 15 is a very interesting read. It was closed after 34 pages, but I think it’s worth a browse. There are moving stories of makers’ experiences, along with comments, questions and suggestions for making Ravelry and the fibre world more inclusive.

 

More great links from the thread:

Jeanette Sloan has a list of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) designers and crafters. What a great start!

Layla Saad’s Me and White Supremacy Workbook

Winter reading: just finished

I just finished reading a book that‘s been on my list for a while now, The Lost Art of Dress by Linda Przybyszewski.

A fascinating work by Professor Przybyszewski, a historian of law, fashion and culture describes the past and the development of fashion, fads (which used to mean For A Day!) and dress codes.

What fascinated me was the decline of Home Economics as women‘s options in academia opened up, and how Pop Art, the feminist movement and the Youth Quake of the 60s and 70s shifted the focus of fashion designers and of society to youth as the ideal of Beauty.

I wonder what she’d think of the Kardashians’ influence on the modern body beauty ideal and athleisure…

Kudos as well to Prof Pski, for integrating African American Dress Doctors into her book. This led me to research African American Dress Doctors Charleszine Spears and Ella Mae Washington, who also penned a teaching text in 1949 called Color in Dress: for Dark-Skinned People. Luckily, I have come across a digital copy archived by the American National Museum of African American History and Culture.

My Pinterest board to accompany the book.

Art in Everyday Life by Harriet and Vetta Goldstein

Interview:Guilt-free knitting

Knitting as Self-care

The best way to get through winter, especially after the party season is to take time for a little self care.

Dion Evette is a young author, who considers self-care as different from self-centredness. Here’s what she had to say:

Why did you decide to write this book?
It was actually suggested that I write a book on self-care by a couple of friends who were looking to take better care of themselves and stay on top of their pampering skills. Better to help them act ‘as if’.

What was your inspiration?
I wrote this book as the pampered housewife, what I believe to be the pampered housewife. At least the one that lives in my head. She lives a very opulent lifestyle.

So the pampered housewife is being pampered by herself?
Yes. I feel the pampering starts with yourself. When your husband and those around you see how well you take careo of yourself, they know that they need to step up their game and I believe it gets you even more spoiled in the end. They want to be a part of what makes you happy and relaxed, so they go above and beyond to make that happen.

Why do you think women are often afraid of self-care?
I think the we are shamed into being afraid of self-care as if indulgence is a sin. As a black woman in [The United States of] America you often get the “who do you think you are?” look as if it is crazy for you to seek any kind of comfort. I believe women of all backgrounds feel some semblance of this pressure at some point in their lives. As humans we believe the more we work and the less we relax means that we are working hard and doing better when we are actually doing harm to ourselves.

What role do hobbies play in self-care?
I think that hobbies are the most fun and exciting part of self-care! You get to try out all the different crazy things you put on your bucketlist as a teenager and find what suits you the most. Hobbies make you happy and just sitting around and vegging out in the bath tub might not be your thing. Maybe you like to watch movies alone or go hiking with a friend or to a cooking class. So many things to do so always make time in your schedule to try a new thing; you might just find a new hobby.

A lot of people, but knitters in particular use acquisition of things (we call it stash) to feel good. And then hide it from their partner. What’s the difference in your opinion between stash and self-care?
I think the huge difference between stash and self-care is the absence of shame in self-care. No need to hide how well you treat yourself because you have no fear that anyone will look down on you for it or think you selfish. That’s the whole point of self-care – getting comfortable being the receiver that you naturally are.

Other Self-care links:Becky Stewart at KnitOm talks about Knitting to help with stress, depression and chronic pain.

Winter knitting

Happy New Year! I hope you (as we say in Germany) slid into the New Year smoothly. I did, but I’m still catching up on sleep after a lot of entertaining. I’ve been trying my hand at Tunisian Crochet, which is a variant of crochet, but produces a textile somewhere between crochet and knit. I find the texture fascinating. I’ll soon get back to regular knitting though, as midwinter starts to creep up on us.

So much to consider: Last year, I had a little series called “Knit Autumn’s Trends”

Part 1 Reds were all over the runway. Tom and Lorenzo are calling it ‘Wild Red.’ Everything from wine to magenta and fuschia seem to slot in here.

Part 2 was all about strong shoulders. Now we’re seeing statement sleeves. A flutter, a dramatic cuff.

Part 3 was about Oktoberfest, which is huge in German-speaking Europe, and a great excuse to party around the world.

Part 4 featured boots and socks.

Part 5 brought us the three Rs: Ribs, Ruffles and Ruanas. Well, draped capes and cloaks are still with us.

What are you knotting these days?

There’s this sweater…

OPUS Pullover Pebby
Pull Peggy from German label OPUS

Now that summer is done, and the kids are back in school, I wanted to jump back on and talk about this pullover and why something like this: classic forms and eye-searing, on-trend red could very well be my next big project….

But then a note popped into my inbox about Berrocco‘s cable KAL, and I had to take a look. So although Berrocco yarns aren’t available in Germany, it’s got my imagination off and running! What better way to kick off the knitting season, than with what I shoulda-woulda-coulda knit from Berroco’s extensive collection of cable garments.

Cardamom by the Berroco team has a lovely edge treatment that is rather eye-catching. I love the Art Deco feel of Norah Gaughan’s Auberon sweater, and the subtlety of Amy Christoffers’ cables in Champlain.

However, Cirilia Rose’s Aidez and Norah Gaughan’s Zazanna and Blish have been on my favorites list for just about forever.

And then there are some newer Berroco designs that are also quite lovely like Allison Jane’s Isthmus.

Isthmus by Allison Jane
Isthmus by Allison Jane

 

I’m a teeny tiny bit glad that I don’t have to make a choice about which to knit. I’m still not so sure about what I’ll be knitting this winter. As the weather cools down, I think I‘ll just ease back into knitting and see where it goes from there…