Slow fashion has been on my mind a lot recently and I’m very glad that Karen Templer is at the helm with Slow Fashion October. If you know me, you’re probably aware of the fact that this concept is really important to my wardrobe. I’ve been dedicating my knitting and sewing to making pieces that are really functional and will last me a very long time and I’m really trying to kick that into overdrive.
For me, slow fashion is all about rejecting the fast fashion industry that exists today. I am not a very good sewist but I feel a strong connection with the women (and it is over 80% female) who make clothing every day for meager wages in unsafe living conditions. For me, it is a privilege to make clothing. For some, it is their only option. When I made my Alder dress, I ripped out so many seams and the collar is just a mess. After the sweat and back bending that went into that piece, I have never had more respect for the women that make t-shirts that are sold for $5.
Slow fashion is a reminder to me that EVERY piece of clothing from the couture runway to the wonky homemade to the Walmart bargain bin is handmade.
I want to use this month to plan the pieces that I really need, to dedicate myself to learning the skills that I’ll use to make them, and for gathering tips from other makers. Creating a handmade wardrobe is hard work. I feel very limited in terms of my time and a bit in materials and skill level (certainly when it comes to sewing) but seeing how others do it and which garments they choose to make is a huge inspiration to me. I’m also so interested in seeing what Slow Fashion means to others. It’s clearly political for me but for others it’s about living with intention or making clothing for body types that the industry ignores or it’s purely the challenge of creating everything.
Are you participating in Slow Fashion October? What are your biggest tips for growing a handmade wardrobe?
My newest pattern is here! I’m so excited to show you the Elevé Pullover.
This lightweight, cropped sweater is all about geometrics. Elevé features stranded colorwork, intarsia, and saddle shoulders. It’s knit flat with Rowan Wool Cotton. This is kind of my take on a modern Cosby sweater. The shape and colors bring a fresh look to that iconic design. And, of course, there are triangles.
I imagine wearing this with high-waisted shorts but how cute would it look over a maxi dress? I’m really psyched about this top. It feels very true to my style.
You can get the pattern in Knitscene’s Summer 2015 issue which hits news stands April 13th! You can pre-order it today. Or, if you just can’t wait, you can purchase the digital edition right now! This issue is full of great patterns including a Southwestern-inspired collection and featured designer Allyson Dykhuizen (the brilliant mind behind Holla Knits)!
Don’t forget to add Elevé to your queue on Ravelry!
Tags: ballet, colorwork, cosby sweater, cotton blend yarn, cotton yarn, design, digital edition, eleve, knit flat, knitscene, knitscene summer 2015, pre-order, pullover, pullover pattern, rowan, rowan wool cotton, saddle shoulder, summer, sweater, sweater pattern, triangles, wool cotton yarn, yarn
When I was getting ready to go to Rhinebeck, I realized that I had nothing to wear. I’d designed a bunch of sweaters in 2013 and 2014 but I didn’t have any of them! Some knitters may not know that when you design for a publication you don’t always get your samples back and, when you do, you often don’t see them for a long time. (It’s kind of a funny surprise to get a sweater you made a year ago in the mail.)
I found out that I might be able to get Ilsa back in time to wear for the big event so I was pretty excited to show her off. But I got an email that basically said, “Vickie Howell would like to wear your cardigan for an episode of Knitting Daily TV that’s shooting just before Rhinebeck. Sorry that we can’t give it back!” And I was like, “If Vickie Howell would like to wear my design on TV, I will find a hat to wear to Rhinebeck.” This is not something that happens to a girl every day!
And she really did! The Ilsa Cardigan is featured in Episode 1402 “Thick of It” and Vickie looks great in it! It was styled so well. I love the way the bunched sleeves make it look over-sized and casual. It’s a really fun piece and I’m honored to be part of her show! Check out the trailer:
I haven’t seen the episode yet. Vickie Howell’s show for Interweave airs on your local PBS station! If you don’t get that channel or you’re too cool or cable, you can get a DVD of the complete season here. I’m going to get one for my mom so she can be proud of me forever.
Have you seen this episode of Knitting Daily TV? Were you like, “I wonder where I can find the pattern for that gorgeous cardigan”?
Did you miss me? I know it’s been a while. September was a crazy month and I just started a new job so I’ve been settling in. But it’s time to get back to business because I’ve got new pattern out!
Ilsa is a drop-shoulder cardigan with color work details on the fronts. The sweater is part of Knit Scene’s Vinter Stickning spread which is all about Scandinavian-inspired pieces. I love Scandinavian design, it’s where I go for inspiration when I’m feeling stuck so I was very excited to make something directly informed by it.
I wanted to do something a little boxy and relaxed. The trends for simple lines really lead me to this shape. Of course, I’m obsessed with neutrals but the little pops of color give it that Scandinavian whimsy.
Are you casting on your own Ilsa?
I recently wrote about upcoming print-only Knit Wit Magazine and how I’m dying to get my hands on the first issue. The Kickstarter is quickly coming to a close but I was recently able catch up with Zinzi Edmundson, Knit Wit’s Editor. Zinzi (and art director Gigi Jack) come from a magazine background. She was nice enough to do a little interview with me and I’m very excited to share!
What drew you to the magazine world?
It’s unclear. I wanted to work in magazines from such an early age that it’s a little hard to pin point (around middle school, I wrote a letter to Anna Wintour. Unreturned, naturally). As a kid pre-blog, I would take all my favorite parts of other magazine (mostly photos + some headlines) and create my own Zinzi-themed magazines in sketchbooks. I’d even write stories around the images.
You come from a magazine background so what is it about textiles that you find interesting?
I’ve been a knitter since I was 8, but I have to admit that the current mega-surge in textile interest is really what hooked my attention. I love the limitless ability for expression and the cultural specificity that gets woven, stitched, knit, printed or dyes into fabrics. It’s really romantic and it’s so, so interesting. But, because we’re still in discovery mode (and this is our personalities anyway), the magazine will never be written from the point of view of an authority or some austere perspective from on high. It’s an honest curiosity and readers can come along for the ride (and chime in via social, too!).
Most (if not all) knitting magazines provide patterns but Knit Wit has none. What made you turn away from that format?
I think including patterns makes it a different kind of magazine and I wanted to introduce Knit Wit as an alternative to what’s already out there. That’s not to say that we’ll never include projects, but it’s just not exactly the idea. I have these grand visions of people who aren’t crafters or who never picked up knitting needles to be swept away by the stories and the incredible people so much so that they decide to dig deeper and start making stuff themselves. And that hardcore knitters or weavers or what have you (if they aren’t totally pissed that there aren’t patterns!) will discover something new or hear a story about something they already knew about, but from a different perspective. So for our purposes, it’s always been more about the people, places and objects than it is about DIY aspect. Call it a jumping off point or something.
What do you make of the contemporary knitting/textile scene?
This is a tough one. It’s so enormous—there are so many different people, all of whom relate to it in a completely different way. I was thinking recently about how fiber and textiles is considered a niche, which it definitely is, but it’s so weird given that there are millions of people participating in these activities, whether they’re just fucking around or upholding a grand tradition. So yeah, I guess I have to say that I think its vast and dynamic and just so chock full of stories. I think what’s interesting about Knit Wit is that it can be technically about something so specific, but it’s secretly very, very broad. We’ll never run out of material.
What do you see for the next issue and the future of Knit Wit?
OMG, good question. Now that we’re funded and most people signed up for a subscription, we’ve got to make good on that! Ha! In the future, I hope to continue to put as much care and love into future issues as there is in this one. And on a more literal note, Gigi and I are looking to expand into hosted workshops with fun lunches and awesome guest instructors. Coming soon…
I’m so pumped that Knit Wit was fully funded long before their deadline but tomorrow is the last day to back Knit Wit Magazine on Kickstarter! I hope you are all looking forward to the first issue as much as I am. Thanks for sharing with us, Zinzi!
Have you backed Knit Wit yet?
There are a few things I won’t do. I won’t dye and I won’t spin. I don’t quilt. And, as of right now, I don’t crochet. It’s not that I’m against other crafts, I love even the ones I can’t understand. I just can’t allow myself to have other hobbies. My yarn stash is out of control and, since I started sewing at the beginning of the year, I’m having trouble finding places to store the new yardage I’ve been collecting. One day, when I am a grown up, I will have a house with a craft room and there will be a closet full of yarn and a cabinet of fabric and a sewing machine, serger, floor loom, spinning wheel, and maybe even a knitting machine. But right now, in my one-bedroom, I am bursting at the seams (craft pun) with bobbins, tapestry needles, cross stitch canvasses, etc.
But if I could have a new hobby, if I did allow myself to learn something new, to take time away from that mile-long queue of sweaters and hats and socks, if it were possible to store a little frame under my bed between the sewing patterns and bags of yarn, that hobby would be weaving.
To be honest, I know how to weave. I have a small table top loom that I received as a gift years ago and I made lots of little patterned ribbons with linen thread. When I saw these woven wall hangings coming back into style (they’re really 70’s, huh?) I tried to ignore it. But now it’s too late. The pastel, textured beauties have caught me and I want one of my own.
I’ve considered taking a class (maybe one at the Textile Arts Center or this one at Makeshift Society Brooklyn) but I am the most stubborn kind of DIY-er. I like to think that I can figure out how to do anything on my own. Pickling? Sewing buttonholes? Weaving? I’m sure I can make it work. Besides, I have the internet to help me. Some resources I’ve found for DIY weaving frame, the anatomy of a loom, and a tapestry tutorial. So I might go for it. I mean, it would be a good way to use up my stash, right?
Do you limit your hobbies? Have you caught the weaving craze? How are you learning?
As I mentioned before, I was really excited about the mythology theme. I was thinking of lots of cool images including singing vases, bodega coffee cups, and Penelope’s tapestry. I decided that I wanted to do something Egyptian. I really wanted to be an Egyptologist when I was a kid. I think I have this book memorized. Egyptian mythology arouses so many visuals, there’s a lot to work with there.
But my inspiration came mainly from Cleopatra who was not a mythical creature but a real live human being. If you’ve read Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra, you know that many of the popular legends about her just that and that she was actually a remarkable leader of her country and army. Cleopatra came along a lot later than King Tut and the pyramids and she was actually Greek. The popular vixen story appeared somewhere later down the line. So Cleopatra herself is something of a myth. (Am I getting too literal here? Stay with me.) Anyway, it lead me to this idea of interpreting the Egyptian nemes, that iconic headdress that the pharaohs wore.
I had this picture in my mind of modern Cleopatra. Maybe it came from watching too much Clone High (RIP CLONE HIGH. WHERE CAN I STREAM THAT SHOW!?) but that was where the fun started. I imagine she’s pretty cool and artsy. Still wears a lot of eye make up, obviously, and maybe has some cool tattoos. She definitely knows the best coffee shops and dive bars. I suppose that she’s a myth to me, too.
And this is what that incarnation wears. It’s got those jewel tones of the nemes, the turquoise and ebony in gold, but it’s in a repeating pattern that appeals to me as a minimalist. The shape of the hat really lends itself to that Brooklyn (sorry, I’m using that as an adjective and I don’t care) vibe that our no-nonsense coffee beverage-drinker, who’s working on her latest installation piece modern Cleopatra gives off.
So there you have it. Do you think Cleo would wear one of these?
Good morning, lovelies! I have been really busy, guys, but it all seems to be falling in place. I’m so excited to say that I have another pattern to share with you today! A little change of pace for me, this is an accessory. I seem to dream in sweaters but it’s a fun challenge, doing something that requires a little less labor that still packs a punch visually.
This one is called Sphinx and you can find it in the upcoming issue of Knitscene Accessories! Sphinx is a slouchy hat with colorwork and contrasting ribbing, perfect for anyone who’s intimidated by two-color knitting or anyone new to knitting in the round.
The theme for this part of the issue was all about mythology. (Have I ever mentioned that I love themes? I LOVE them. I love the problem-solving they require and I also love how much inspiration they can provide.) So I wanted to go with an Egyptian theme with these jewel tones and clay colors. I think that the Brooklyn Tweed Loft is perfect. Not only are the colors absolutely gorgeous, the heathered hues look really antique.
I’m so excited for this issue of Knitscene. Of course, the photos are just great. I love the styling. As always, I’m part of a great group of designers!
This issue of Knitscene Accessories featuring Sphinx is available for pre-order. But you can buy and download digital copy of the issue right now! So what are you waiting for?
After all of the complaints about startitis last week, I am super excited about what I have to share today! The preview for Pom Pom Quarterly’s summer issue came out on Friday so you can finally get a peek at my first design for their magazine.
Creamsicle is a summery sweater, slightly cropped with half sleeves and a bobble front. You know I love bobbles. I’m always pleased when I can put my personality and style into a piece of knitwear and this vintage-inspired, whimsical top is exactly that.
The sweater is knit with Kettle Yarn Co’s gorgeous Wimbledon yarn which is the most delectable superwash merino I’ve ever laid my hands on. Working with it is a dream and it’s super soft and silky which is perfect for a light sweater like this. Linda is a really fantastic dyer. The colors were beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m obsessed with how the peach and melon work together.
And, of course, I’m just completely over the moon with how amazing the photos are. The ladies at Pom Pom always impress. They really know how to style things perfectly.
The summer issue of Pom Pom Quarterly is available for pre-order right now in both print and digital forms! I definitely think you should pick up a copy and not just for the purposes of shameless self-promotion. All of the patterns in this issue are going into my queue. Speaking of, you can add Creamsicle to your queue and add it to your favorites on Ravelry. Best of all, Kettle Yarn Co has already opened a pre-order for Wimbledon kits so you can have your yarn on hand when the magazine comes out later this month. Did I mention how amazing this yarn is?
Will you be knitting a Creamsicle? Do you love bobbles or do you love bobbles?
So, first off, Vogue Knitting Live was a success! I had a great time catching up with a bunch of people and learning a ton and, oh, right, shopping. I haven’t had the energy to put together all of my thoughts and photos yet but I promise it’ll come soon! Wonderful seeing all of you there and to those I missed, I hope you had a fab time, too!
I guess 2014 is going to be a big year because I’ve seemed to start off with an adventurous spirit. A couple weeks ago I was hanging out around the neighborhood with Ashley and Kelly after a movie date and some beer. And they just kind of convinced me to spontaneously get my ears pierced. I’ve been talking about it for years now but I’m a scaredy cat. (I had them pierced once before and it was terrible and painful.) So I just went ahead and did it.
Now that that’s happened, I’ve been shopping for every earring under the sun because I can! So I put together a few that caught my eye that you might like, too. I do it all for you, not for selfish reasons at all!
I’ll be buying all of these now, thank you. Is it redundant to wear sweater earrings with your sweaters? (Yo, dawg, I heard you liked sweaters so we put sweaters on your sweaters!) I THINK NOT.
Can you tell I’m still loopy from a weekend of excitement at VKL? What’s your favorite knitted jewelry?