Finally summer

We’ve had a wet summer here, and I’ve been grinding away on my Prayer Shawl.

I’ve been wondering, how to keep my knitting Momentum going during the warmer months. And coincidentally, I came across an older article in the Oprah Magazine Archives about Tiffany Haddish, the American comedian and actress.

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Tiffany Haddish Sept 2018 Glamour

She’s a knitter – even going into adventurous territory of knitted Lingerie. So here I am, with my interest piqued…

My first question was why?

Well, firstly, you might want to see if it were at all possible. Or, you might want to try out vintage patterns, when hand-knit Lingerie – perhaps of the stocking, sock, or Camisole Variety. You might like the look and feel of handmade Lingerie, or perhaps you have that one skein of luscious yarn that you can’t bear to knit into socks, but isn’t quite enough for a Sweater.

lingerie_mcgowanmichael1Joan McGowan-Michael, says that “… hand-knitted Lingerie is hardly a revolutionary idea; it is simply one that is being revived.”

In her book ‘Knitting Lingerie Style’, she answers my second question: surely not wool?! She suggests “luxurious silks, linen blends, or easy care cottons… [chosen for] stretch and recovery, their shine, crispness, or simply their indulgent softness against the skin.”

This book is 12 years old, but some of the pieces are really timeless. The bra set, the slip and this Teddy on the cover are my favourites. I was pleasantly surpised that most of these pieces call for a 4.5mm/US 7 needles and DK yarn Held double with something sillky or soft.

A Lingerie knitter could go finer, with fingering or light fingering yarns as with

 

 

Images: Ravelry.com

Anne Hanssen’s She must be dreaming set, Amanda William’s Hush Chemise,  and Charlotte Kirkholt’s Louise set , which is at once modern, while harking back to sets like the vintage 2 piece Tailored Hand-Knitted Lingerie from Evelyn C. Palmer. Funfact: The neckline variation shown in the background, is called the ‘opera top,’ to be worn under slinky evening gowns.

 

 

I don’t always like her humour, but I respect the knitter in her, who went hardcore knitting that lingerie in wool, and I’m looking forward to when her film The Kitchen hits cinemas over here.

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100 Years Bauhaus

 

Leiden by  Natalie Selles in the summer stripes issue of PomPom Quarterly and the crochet Coco Boxy Sweater by Cecilia Losada bring the Bauhaus to mind, with their clear lines, use of bright colour, contrast and graphic shapes.

 

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Bauhaus Sweater by Irina Poludnenko / source: ravelry.com

Irina Poludnenko’s Bauhaus Sweater brings to mind the work of Anni Albers and Gunda Stölzl, two talented artists who basically got shunted over to the weaving department. Although this move was motivated by the Bauhaus director‘s desire to reserve the ‚hard‘ disciplines for men, this restriction inspired a blossoming of creativity in both production and philosophy as evidenced in Albers‘ seminal works On Designing and On Weaving. Both works are highly recommended not just for weavers, but textile artists in general.

If you happen to be in Germany later this year (2019), I hope you won’t  miss the Bauhaus centennial celebrations. The  design school founded in Weimar in 1919, shortly after the first World War, has had an amazing and far-reaching influence on design worldwide from architecture to fashion, product design and graphic design.

I will be revisiting Bauhaus but here are a few links to whet your appetite::

The Art Newspaper article on Anni Albers

Tours through Southwest Germany to look at Bauhaus architecture

UHF video on the German Weimar Republic, the era 1918-1933 when the Bauhaus was founded.

The permanent collection of the new Bauhaus Museum in Weimar is definitely worth a look-see. I hope they put up an English website soon. But not to worry, 100 Years of Bauhaus as an extensive English website of everything Bauhaus and -related for this year.

 

Camp:When “too much” is just right

(All photos: huffingtonpost/Getty images)

Lady Gaga at the 2019 Met Gala in Brandon Maxwell

 

Of course Lady Gaga won the Met Gala. She had to. She could do no less, because she’s been serving camp as industry leader since 2008. But now she has some steep competition from Billy Porter.

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Billy Porter at Met Gala 2019 in The Blonds

And that’s fine, because we love the spectacle. Still, I have to give credit, where it’s due. The men brought it this year. And that pleasantly surprised me. Menswear on the red carpet hasn’t always been known for glamour. But they impressed. Maybe because the bar is so low for them, and so high for women.

This was more than drag (the divine Mr Porter nonwithstanding) or a coloured tuxedo jacket. It’s always interesting to see who tries to hit the theme (a try is better than a fail in my book), just as much as who hits it out of the park. Although it is performance, it says a lot about the celebrity, how they want to be seen, and how seriously they take it all.

 

It seemed that quite a few men (and not just the younguns like Ezra Miller) decided to get in on the fun.

I’m not quite sure what carrying a spare head is about, but it does answer the question “Is this too much?” in the affirmative. And Hamish Bowles’ purple tux and fabulous feather fringed coat checks every box on the list.

Ezra Miller’s extra set of eyes behind his face flips the script and makes the observed the observer, but Jordan Roth’s custom couture cloak from Iris van Herpen deserves a second look.

Closed, it looks like a classic red stage curtain, but when he raises his arms, you see that it opens to reveal not the stage, but the audience seats. So who’s performing and who’s observing. A nice bit of table turning there.

Well done, lads!

What is camp?

Susan Sonntag wrote an essay in 1964 called Notes on Camp. Trying to circle in and corner a definition of camp, and what it is, or is not. Some people say her essay is legendary, perhaps it is because she made a solid attempt to define something not quite defineable. Still,  I’m not sure she succeeded.

La Lupe, Flash Gordon Comics… just over the top.

Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, Serena Williams, Alessandro Michele the creative director of Gucci (the sponsor)… even the number of cohosts is slightly over the top.

Harry Styles and Lady Gaga were easy to understand as cohosts for this theme. I was wondering about Serena Williams, until I dipped back into the glorious Internet archives and found this photo of the tennis superstar ‚going to work‘ in her tennis blazer at the Australian Open back in 2014. and she is certainly no stranger to playing with fashion both on and off the court.

So, I got to thinking about camp in knitting and crochet. Can yarncraft be camp or just campy? And then I found this sadly discontinued YouKnitWhat?! blog… that I had to laugh out loud and share it here.

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Isn’t this knit camp perfection? Have a great weekend full of crafting goodness! 

Less, but Better: Fashion Sustainability

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Well, it’s that time of year again: Futurelearn’s got a new fashion course out. It’s called Fashion & Sustainability. They‘ve had fashion related courses in the past. This time, the courseis being run by the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion in collaboration with luxury fashion group Kering (parent company of Gucci, Puma and Stella McCartney to name a few).

I‘ve only just completed Week 1 of the 6-week course, but I can tell right off, that it’s a bit more academic and philosophical than Fashion Revolution‘s course, but it’s in the same niche.

From a maker point of view, I think Hannah Thiessen‘s Slow Knitting was a great pulling together of sustainability thought in the yarn-crafting community.

Trendstop Founder Jaana Jätyri talks about Less but Better as a means of getting companies to shift their focus and reduce production that ends up on the sale rack.

I‘m looking forward to keeping you updated.

 

What’s on my needles: I‘ve finally cast on again – Alix‘s Lace Prayer Shawl by Myrna Stahman for a dear cousin of mine who’s not so well at the moment. More on the shawl later.

 

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.

And a lovely retrospective of his work in Vogue here.

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

 

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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