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! 

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Less, but Better: Fashion Sustainability

spool of purple thread near needle thimble and measuring tape
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

 

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?