Bookfair plus

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If you find yourself in Frankfurt for the Bookfair this year (Norway is the Guest country!), you may want to check out the Hannah Ryggen exhibition at the Frankfurt Schirn Kunsthalle. The exhibition runs til January 2020.

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Ryggen in her studio, around 1964. source: Adresseavisen, Trondheim.

The Swedish-Norwegian artist Ryggen (1894-1970) lived on a self-sustaining farm in Norway, spun and dyed her own wool and taught herself to make huge collage-like tapestries. How cool is that?

 

Did I mention the Book Fair (October 16-20)? Yes, there’s books, calendars, cookbooks, posters, and just about everything book-related. Yes, there’s cosplay and cooking demos and giveaways and book prizes, but in addition to all that, folks, NORWAY.

27B95109-6542-4C33-80B9-9D2E5BEC3419 As we all know, Norway isn’t just about fantastic nature and fjords, but also great writers – we love those crime thriller authors, Jo Nesbø, Karin Fossum, Åsne Seierstad and the polarizing Karl Ove Knausgård.

There’s plenty for knitters too: According to the programme, designer Wenche Roald, and Annemor Sundbø, the godmother of norwegian knitting will be in attendance, and there may even be a workshop on knitting selbu mittens.

 

What, you ask, is selbu? It’s an eight-petalled flower design (often called the Selbu rose), used in traditional Norwegian stranded knitting. It’s actually older than Norway itself, according to The Atlantic, but has come to be associated with Selbu, a municipality in Northern Norway.

Fotos: Todd Gocken’s Norwegian Snowflake Scarf and Monica Værholm’s Eggwarmers. Source: Ravelry.com

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Summer Reading 2019

 

 

Yes, I do have a summer reading list. This year, my friends have gifted me a couple of bee-related books, so they will be going along on holiday next week.

Sarah Wiener’s book Bienenleben (Beelife), which may have helped her ride the wave of concern about bees and insectlife into the European Parliament in the  recent elections.

I first found out about her because she had a cooking show on ARTE, where she travelled around mainland Europe, the UK and Asia, cooking with local chefs, and looking at where the food we eat comes from.

She has written several interesting foodie books like „“Zukunftsmenü“ (Future menu: What is our food worth) from 2017, with table talk transcripts with well- and lesser known food activists, a vet, a chef, research Professors and nutrition experts. It‘s fascinating how food and eating well, healthily, and mindfully could be so politically charged.

In 2015, she wrote a book called Wohlfühlmaschen (Feelgood stitches) with cute designs for inside (homewares), outside and just relaxing on the sofa. She has star appeal, name recognition and has amazing energy and authenticity that folks in German-speaking Europe just love.

She‘s one of those rare people, who without finishing trade school or going to University, has been quite naturally successful. It‘s her bubbly personality that is quite understandable that if she says she’s cooking with quality regional ingredients is the thing, everyone raves. When she loves wool and crafting one year, then it’s great. Next year she says she has become a beekeeper, and that’s fine too.

So I‘m looking forward to sitting in the shade by the pool and digging into how and why she got into bees.

I looked her up on Ravelry, sadly her book patterns aren’t listed, but I found this, that I know she‘d a kick out of Sarah H. Arnold‘s Wiener Dog hat!

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The Wiener Hat by Sarah H. Arnold/ Source: Ravelry.com

Also on my list:

Minimal Fashion by Anna Bronowski and Juliana Holtzheimer of  eco fashion label Jan ´n June out of Hamburg.

Winterbienen by Norbert Scheuer. It sounds like his last book about a juxtaposition of war and nature. Or an escape from war into nature. Not sure yet, but I‘ll let you know. Hopefully before it‘s translated into English.

 

 

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.

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.

 

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.

Summer Reading

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

My kids absolutely hate the thought of doing anything remotely school-related during the summer. And that includes reading anything that could possibly be edifying or remotely educating in any way. I, on the other hand, like to stock up on books throughout the year so that I have something nearby to read, when the days get too sticky and muggy for me to even contemplate taking up a knitting needle.

Here are a few books (fiction and non-fiction), that I’ve read in summers past, that I can recommend, and what’s on my ‘reading now’ part of the bookshelf… What are you reading this summer?

Books to Change how we see People
Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. The reading of this taught me that gender does not have anything to do with love, friendship and heroism.
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. Fascinating what behavioral scientists learn about us humans.
Going, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck. Recently translated German bestseller about Germany’s attempt to come to grips with what immigration really means.

Books to Change how we see the world around us
The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. Another translated bestseller written by a forester about how trees grow, form friendships, raise their kids and have a different sense of time than we do.
The Swarm: A Novel by Frank Schätzing. Packed with research and action, bringing science fiction and environmentalism together. I would love this to be filmed.

On My Bookshelf
Limit by Frank Schatzing. My son gave this to me as a gift, and it’s a bit of a doorstop.
Book of Knitting Patterns by Mary Thomas – I jump backwards and forwards trying to envision these timeless patterns in modern yarns living in my stash at the moment.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin  Nosrat. Because it’s lovely to laze somewhere in the shade and read about food and look at the gorgeous illustrations.

 

 

Other reading lists:

Guardian reading list

TED’s summer reading list

Wedding knits

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So knits for weddings? Apparently it’s a Thing.

So, in honour of Ms. Meghan Markle’s wedding to HRH Henry Prince of Wales, I thought we’d take a look at wedding knits.

Handcrafted wedding Dresses have been around for as long as there has been handcrafting.

 

Shirley Paden’s Lace Dress and the crocheted Chrysanthemum Gown by Chi Krneta (on a slight side note: Shirley Paden is an amazing designer – a designer’s designer. And her book Knitwear Design Workshop is a true knitter’ resource).

These days there are also wedding veils, wedding shawls, capes, capelets, boleros and shrugs, wristlets and the list goes on. (To illustrate, I’ve chosen clockwise from top left: Nicole Markley’s I Thee Wed fingerless gloves, Carol Feller’s Summer Affair, Louise Fitzpatrick’s Summer Rose capelet and Alison Reilly’s Wedding Canopy Chuppah) Often done in fingering or laceweight yarns, these pieces can and do become hierlooms for the families lucky enough to have such a  dedicated crafter in their midst.

Technically, anyone can knit a wedding item: ‘all’ that is required is time, patience, ability to follow a pattern and willingness to frog to correct any errors.  Would you knit for your or a loved one’s wedding? Or have you?

I hope you enjoy the royal wedding. I know I will. I’m inviting friends over for a viewing with champagne and finger sandwiches! And maybe some knitting…

 

 

Scifi and Avantgarde fashion

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Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garcons SS2018

Looking at the work of Avantgarde Designers like Rei Kawakubo is a little bit like reading a science fiction book in one gulp. It’s not the same Thing as looking up what trend forecasters are saying or projecting for the next Season (or several Seasons in advance) – although that can be fun too.

My Book Club is looking at science fiction novels, and I had the distinct pleasure of reading prolific author Ray Bradbury’s ‘There will come Soft Rains‘ from “The Martian Chronicles” at our Christmas Party. It’s amazing how stories published in 1950s are still relevant and gripping today.

This month, we’re moving on from “Blade Runner” to Cixin Liu’s “The Three Body Problem.” It’s a challenge, to choose books for people who know nothing about science fiction and claim not to be interested in anything ‘Star Warsy’ (even though Star Wars is turning out to be more space opera/space fantasy than scifi, and that’s ok too).

Just as in science fiction, avantgarde fashion asks us ‘What if?’ In her Spring Summer Pret à Porter collection, I think Kawakubo is posing the question of what it would look like if we were to seriously recycle what we have, now that we are at peak stuff? Through the lense of clothes? One answer may very well be a profuse collage of textiles, colours and prints.

Which leads me to ask myself: what would it look like through the lense of knitting?