Q Notes 9: WFH wear

We have seen a strong demand for the giant collar blouse this spring.

Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director of Net-a-Porter/ The Guardian
Clover Stitch Collar and Cuffs by The Spool Cotton company / ravelry.com

The Guardian recommends, in the days of working from home and online meetings, a collar in order to stand out on screen. It’s more significant that that, I feel – such a collar is drawing attention back to the face.
And it drew my attention to handmade fashion of the 1920s and 30s, when fabulous handknit and -crocheted collars and cuffs were used to pep up their outfits.
So, I‘ve been looking at designs for collars (not jabots, those ruffled collars now inextricably linked to US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)


My favourites so far:
Collar and Cuffs Militaire by Spool Cotton company (crochet)

Sunday Collar by PetiteKnit

Ruby by Luisa Harding proves that a collar doesn’t have to be large, the color contrast can work wonders as well.

A Crisp Collar in Crochet by Patons & Baldwins (crochet)

Those gals sure knew how to change up an outfit with the minimum of fuss. A few evenings knitting or crocheting can give quite a return on the time invested. Looks lovely.


World Hope Manifesto

Here‘s the full text of Lij Edelkoort‘s World Hope Manifesto. What do we think?


Under siege from the Covid-19 virus, many people have come to understand that they should change their behaviour patterns, no longer travelling too much, producing too much, consuming too much or using up too many resources. The comfort of being at and working from home, wasting time instead of money, has led people away from their addiction to material things and into a realm of sharing, caring and making. Making food, making music, making love and making clothes and crafts have become the centre of life; learning the improvisation skills that ignite a more creative culture. Most people don’t want to go back to the same old society, and long to change their lives forever.


Many companies, designers and directors hear this call for change and know they shouldn’t miss this chance for the sweeping restructuring of business, slowing down its pulse.

By the end of this pandemic, as if after a war, only our buildings will remain standing and everything else will have changed. It is certain that many enterprises will be forced into a leaner way of producing goods and services, with some companies skipping production lines that are no longer considered vital, keeping today’s products for next year’s offering, and professing a more frugal business sense. Established designers are reconsidering the amount of items they want to conceive and realise, recalibrating their assortment in line with precisely calculated demand.


Fashion has the unique opportunity to roll back the insane practice of delivering cashmere in May and swimwear in November. In an after-virus future people should be able to buy a winter coat in winter and a summer short in summer. Clothes will probably become essential and more uniform. Product design will also gain crucial momentum, giving shape to autonomous design on a smaller scale, handcrafted in ateliers, keeping a privileged connection with collectors and clients alike.

Disasters are known as powerful ignition tools for radical ways of transforming business practices. Many countries will fund the return of production to their own shores and outsourcing will become more diverse and less excessive, taking better care of workers and the environment.

To harvest these emerging ideas – as well as learn from the good practice established before this global disaster – we wish to organize an international platform to counterbalance the World Economic Forum.


The World Hope Forum is a new gathering that will include climate change on its agenda as well as caring for all neglected people involved in production chains and services. Under the leadership of ambassadors chosen in participating countries, the World Hope Forum will bring together speakers and selected case studies, good practices, retail reinventions and innovative ideas that will sprout in the spring of revival. Different solutions and scenarios brought together in a global (virtual) forum once a year. Dynamic concepts and economic data will be analysed and exchanged, for all of us to learn from and to inspire our creative energies. The results will be subsequently published and open-source access will allow others to follow. Rebuilding the renaissance of society together.


We can start up from scratch and build new systems where social and common aspects outweigh the ego, where morals and values overrule shareholder profits, and where collaboration and cooperation prevail to give more people equal opportunities. We have no choice but to join forces and stand together. New pacts need to be forged between fibre farmers, yarn makers, textile industries and fashion houses, between raw material producers, independent designers and their craftspeople. Whole chains need to be integrated, stimulated by federal funds, finding a shared interest and income from this rebirth in business. The economy of hope has the potential to transform society from within.

Qnotes 8: Still around

Hey there,

Just a quick note to let you know that I‘m still around. Been busy taking care of family, which is more intense when we were in lockdown together.

Oddly enough, I thought I‘d have loads of time for making, which was flat out wrong. It’s been a whirlwind of cleaning, cooking, gardening and supervising homeschooling.
It’s as if Germany has taken a huge technological leap forward, to a more everyday use of communications tools (like Zoom, MS Teams and Jitsi) that were previously the domain of people who worked in IT or very large international companies.
We‘re slowly opening up again, and face masks are now part of the pre-departure checklist:

Shoes ✅

Keys ✅

Facemask ✅

Here in Germany, we called them a variety of names at first, but once the government started to recommend people make and wear cloth masks, the name Alltagsmaske (=everyday mask) has stuck. Some folks now match their mask to their clothes.
My sons requested dark grey or black for when school starts back. In the middle of stitching, my sewing machine needle broke, so I had to complete it by hand. Sewing by hand is actually rather soothing.

It‘s all gotten me thinking about Li Edelkoort‘s Age of the Amateur and our societal reset after lockdown. Will people be in the mood to shop? Will everything go back to normal? Or are we truly going to remake our society via our purchasing power?
Mary Portas called it The Kindness Economy in a Tedx talk last December. She has a retail consulting agency, and has a spanking new newsletter called „The Reset“ which just now, is a delight to read. If you haven’t seen her on ‚Mary Portas- Secret Shopper‘ yet, then you’re in for a treat when/if you do.

Are we going to be able to „use our hands to save our brains“, as Li said in 2018, while forecasting trends two years in advance?

Q notes 7: Black in Fashion

If you can spare the time, Michel Pastoureau’s Black: The History of a Color will take us from the beginning of recorded history through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and on into modern times. He argues quite credibly, that up until Sir Isaac Newton’s experiments in optics in the 17th Century, proved that colours were made by “breaking up” white light, and that black wasn’t even on the spectrum, people DID think of black as a colour.

It’s a fascinating and accessible read, with lots of lovely images from various types of Art through the ages – I never thought it would be so interesting to find out about how artists and artisans mixed black, or worked to dye cloth a deep black, and how the meanings that Europeans attached to black would swing back and forth.

Funnily enough Pastoureau’s book took me back to a Coursera course I just completed: Magic in the Middle Ages. Not just the connection between Black, the devil and witches, but also how Islamic magic contributed to European/Western rediscovery of Greek science writing, which inspired Newton and as a result modern science.

Other links:

Blogger Manrepeller talks about black as a fashion uniform,

Dazed has a brief history of the shade in fashion,

Bourncreativ discusses several modern meanings  of black as a colour; and

This Jungian Life Podcast goes deeper and explains the psychological meanings associated with one particular type of black, Nigredo

Interweave’s Ten Tips for working with dark yarn.

Stay safe and healthy.

A seasonless sweater?


I’ve just discovered a new (newish?) writer, Kenya Hunt, at The Guardian, who’s been writing about yarn crafts in fashion. She has an interesting article on How to wear Crochet from earlier this summer. It is however, her mention of the seasonless sweater that has grabbed my attention.

Back in 2013,  Lauren Cochrane wrote that change (not just designers trying to accommodate a globalized and climate-diverse market) may be a factor in fashion houses’ increased seasonal showing.

What makes a sweater seasonless? Lightweight enough to give a little warmth if needed in summertime, but sturdy enough to do some layering in winter.


Summer museum visits

Last year, I did a post on fashion exhibitions in Germany. I had to admit that the pickings are slim, but if you know where to look there are a few interesting things to see.

FRANKFURT/MAIN: The Museum of Decorative Arts is showing it‘s Contemporary Muslim Fashions for a few more days.


Stephan Hann/ LWL Industriemuseum Exhibition

BOCHOLT: The Westphalian State Museum of Industrial Heritage is presenting a fascinating exhibition („Fashion Material“) by tailor and designer Stephan Hann. The pieces are made of everyday materials like plastic bags, telephone book pages and so on. (More pics here, but the page is in German) The Museum‘s Bocholt site is the home of a former spinning and  weaving mills. Runs til October 6, 2019.


BERLIN: The Kunstgewerbemuseum has the largest collection of historical fashion in Germany, as I understand, and they’re putting on „Connecting  Afro Futures: Hair x Fashion x Design.“ Runs til December 1, 2019.


Honorary Mention: There‘s a Marilyn Monroe exhibition over at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz.


Have a great last few days of summer.

(Photosources: from the aforementioned Museums)

From the archives I

Pilgrim and the Heart of the Rose
Edward Burne-Jones Pilgrim and the Heart of the Rose / 1901, wool and silk tapestry

When it’s as warm as it has been last week in Germany, it’s great museum weather. Well, so I thought. A few days ago, I took part in a Museum night (buy a ticket and have entry to museums, events, tours between 6pm and midnight). To celebrate 20 years of Museum nights, many museums dug deep into their archives to come up with something related to 20. The Natural History Museum for instance had an exhibit about hippos in the Rhine back when the Rhine was 20 degrees Celsius (68F). Very fitting considering the temperatures today.

We went to the City Gallery, the Baden State Museum and the museum of Applied Art in Karlsruhe. While textile museums can be few and far between, Applied Art museums (Angewandte Kunst) will often have a few textile pieces, and are generally great at putting art and design into context.

We caught a tour called ‘The 20 years that influenced Art History- 1890-1910’ and saw this lovely tapestry by Edward Burne-Jones.

Hot weather crafting posts from my archives:

Summer wardrobes

Knitting as Deep Play

Autumn Wardrobe planning

As we haven’t gone on holiday yet, it’s hard to wrap my head around autumn knits just yet.

Stay hydrated dear readers!



Is the future of knitting green?

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

Have you seen the Guardian‘s article about the sustainable future of fashion? What practical developments are we likely to see in the knitting world in the near future?

Lucy Siegel lists among other things that new fibres will enter the market. Natural colours and dyes are on the upswing, recommerce and reusing will be more common, development of self-mending fibres, and garments made of organic materials will be treated like heirlooms.

Knitters are already doing many of these things. I for one, am looking forward to trying  out pineapple fibre!

Knit to entertain


Happy New Year!

I’ve been away from the keyboard for a minute. And it got me thinking: most non-knitters think that we knit to entertain ourselves. But that isn’t even often the main reason we knit (for meditation, to calm, to create, to name a few).

I know quite a few people who get upset if a person knits in their presence. They believe that we aren’t paying Attention, some are even insulted by it. I can totally play board games and knit at the same time!

During the Holiday Season, I’ve been spending time with the Kids on Holiday, and thinking about blog goals for the New Year: more of everything, and consistency really. Same as every year, James.*

*From the classic “Dinner for One” comedy sketch that runs  every year in Germany on New Year’s Eve at least 15 times on various TV channels.


via Daily Prompt: Entertain