As soon as I saw The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, I wanted to write about a certain piece of knitwear. I’ve been putting it off for a month because, well, I just don’t want to say what I’m about to say and I just can’t write about it without saying it. Here goes. I was so thoroughly disappointed by this film. SO disappointed. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy really inspired me as a preteen. I’m not sure if maybe the magic has worn off since I’ve grown older and less interested in fantasy epics or maybe four years of film school have soured me to having any fun at the movies. But I have a feeling that this movie was just not what it could have been. It was long, it looked like a video game, and Orlando Bloom is not as fresh-faced as he once was (sorry).
Really the only good parts of this film for me were Bombur getting stuck in a barrel (definitely my Halloween costume this year) and giggling with some of my best girlfriends about how I’d snuck an impressive amount of candy into the theater. To have to go back and search through the entirety of this movie for a screen cap was just too much for me in this cold, bleak winter. But THDOS (is that the official abbreviation? Quite a mouthful.) has been nominated for three Oscars and this knit is not one of them. It’s time to talk about it.
Let’s talk about Gandalf’s sparkly scarf.
When I first noticed Gandalf’s scarf, I’d say right after the group stays with Beorn, I felt completely giddy. And every time it appeared on screen, one of my friends would say, “Sparkly scarf!” Despite the flashiness of said accessory, the silver scarf is a part of canon Gandalf costume. It’s specifically mentioned in the books so this is one serious piece of knitwear.
Of COURSE Gandalf has a beautiful, long, and mystical scarf. I’m not kidding about it being sparkly. It’s definitely got this rustic, tweed-y quality but then there is a metallic yarn woven throughout. I just loved seeing it swirl around in 3D magic.
If you’re interested in seeing the costumes in real-life close ups, check out this article. Or you can buy an authentic movie replica woven with real mithril (aka not actual mithril) for $99. Or, maybe, just knit one? (I’ve got a nerd bone to pick here. Is this book canon? I’m not really sure what good it would do to weave a scarf with mithril. I guess if you got shot in the throat with an arrow? Maybe we should start with mithril in hats and gloves and then maybe scarves if it’s particularly, dangerously cold outside. Feel free to discuss in the comments.)
Who do you think is best dressed in Middle Earth?
Alright, ladies and gents. If you were psyched about the Katniss cowl discussion, I have a treat for you. Lolly commented earlier in the week with her pattern for the cowl and I just had to share it with you.
I really love the look of Lolly’s cowl. It’s probably the closest I could imagine coming to the real thing considering that the original isn’t knit. I haven’t had a chance to take a look at the pattern yet but I’m loving the herringbone stitch and thick yarn. If you got started now, you could probably have one ready in time for the premiere later this month!
The pattern is available on Ravelry for free!
Occasions like these make me so excited to be a blogger! Talking to the knitting hive-mind can get you information in the blink of an eye. From Jess’s research on the cowl’s original designer to, just a few days later, Lolly’s pattern for her version of the piece, I’m reminded that the knitting community is absolutely amazing. Without the magic of the internet, we all may have just said, “That’s a nice cowl” and left it at that but check out the resources we have now!
Will you be knitting a Katniss cowl?
Hunger Games: Catching Fire comes out next month which means a big dose of one of my favorite things: Jennifer Lawrence! While my love for JLaw and the Hunger Games books is no secret, something new has caught my eye and I know I’m not alone. Lots to cover so let’s dive right in and talk about this fantastic cowl.
I caught a glimpse of this cowl months ago when the teaser came out and I knew this was going to be a big deal. Now that the trailer is here, I’m basically just drooling over this gorgeous piece. I love the rustic tweed. It reminds me of Roman Hills’ Winters Bone color way! (Winters Bone, Jennifer Lawrence, IT’S MEANT TO BE!) While it’s kind of earthy and has that hand-crafted look, it’s got a fantastically futuristic shape. I love knits that are minimal and trendy and I’ve found that it’s really really hard to pull off knits that are cool in a modern way instead of a comfy cozy camping kind of way. But this piece finds a way to straddle both looks perfectly. I’m really in awe.
When Jess and I were tweeting about the cowl earlier in the week, we started doing some research. The cowl, featured in Capitol Couture’s profile of Katniss, was designed by Maria Dora. I’m now completely obsessed with her work. Her pieces are being worn by celebrities right now and it looks like she only has more interesting things to come.
This stunning photo really shows off the details and amazing construction of the cowl! A cowl with an arm hole, YES PLEASE.
Jess reached out to the designer and Maria was nice enough to tell us that the cowl is woven not knit. (Doesn’t stop my imagination from running wild!) But! She said that they are developing a knitting pattern and would keep us posted.
This aspect really excited me. I’ve been looking forward to writing about the cowl and saying, as I always do, “Oh, I’d love to figure out how to make my own.” But I’m crazy about that idea of a couture/high street designer sharing their brand with people who couldn’t afford it (or maybe just wouldn’t be interested) off the hanger. If you’ve been keeping up with knitting news, you know that Fred Perry tried and failed to do something similar but I hope other designers put some genuine thought into it. It’s a really interesting way to create conversation between makers that work on completely different scales (without, in my opinion at least, devaluing their brand). I do feel a little sad when I want to rip off designs that I see in stores and there are tons of knitters that don’t have the interest or skills or time to invest in knitting “knock offs” (sorry, I can’t think of a better way to put it but I mean that with love). I’d love to collaborate in this way with mainstream fashion.
Either way, I salute Ms. Dora for her fabulous work. It makes me not only excited to see this movie (the production design is just going to blow the first one out of the water) but excited for the future of knitwear. That’s a pretty big thing to say but I mean it!
What do you think about big brands sharing patterns with knitters? Do you think this cowl is funky in a good way or would you be afraid to wear it? How excited are you for Hunger Games? My weapon of choice is the knitting needle.
ps. Thanks, Jess, for fangirling over this cowl for like three hours with me!
Tags: armhole, braid, capitol couture, catching fire, costume, couture, Cowl, design, fred perry, futuristic, hand knit, hunger games, Jennifer Lawrence, katniss, knit, leather, maria dora, movie, pattern, production design, shaping, witchin in the kitchen, woven
Today I want to talk about my FAVORITE pop culture knit of all time. That’s right, this is a big one! I honestly have never wanted to write about it because I’ve always dreamed of making one of my own but I know that it will be a while before I’ve got the chance. So, without further ado, Danny’s Apollo 11 sweater!
The Shining is definitely one of my favorite films. It scares the crap out of me and I love watching it on a snowy day. Kubrick is amazing, Nicholson is fantastic. Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, that crazy brown/red/orange carpet, and the titles that just say the word TUESDAY but still make me scream every time I see them. I really don’t need to go into all of the things that make this film so great and so terrifying and I certainly wouldn’t be the one to do it with any eloquence.
I’ve always been in love with the sweater Danny wears in the film. It’s really cute and childish. It’s very late 70s which I like a lot. I love that it’s very in your face. Danny could have worn any sweater in any color or pattern but this bold graphic with words really catches the eye. It’s an interesting choice and I really have no idea why Kubrick and costume designer Milena Canonero went with it. (I have a feeling it’s not from the book but I haven’t read it so I guess I haven’t done my homework here!) But either way, I really like it. (Did you know some conspiracy theorists believe that the Apollo 11 sweater is a wink to Kubrick faking the space landing for the government? Yeah, I don’t even.)
(Somewhat-related story: I made a set of Grady twins dolls as a final project for a Horror Genre class I took in college. No idea where they ended up and I have no photos of them. But they were fun to make. When you go to art school you get to take classes where you just watch scary movies and you’re graded on knitting dolls inspired by the films! Moral of the story is: I paid how much for college?)
One day I will make an Apollo sweater of my own and I will wear it always. Until then, I’ll be having nightmares about the ash falling off of Wendy’s cigarette.
photos via The Overlook Hotel
ps. Don’t forget to cast on your socks for the KAL!
A lot of people are dissing the gown Maggie Gyllenhaal wore to the White House Down premiere. They are wrong. THIS IS THE BEST DRESS I’VE EVER SEEN!
Gyllenhaal wore this Christian Dior dress to the New York premiere. It’s got a cabled skirt with a crocheted peplum. It’s chic and crazy and I don’t think that anyone else could ever pull it off. In fact, Maggie looks psyched about it. High five, girl! Black and white knits are so in. It’s a great piece of knitwear that showcases a lot of different stitches and shows the versatility of knitted fabric
Here it is on the runway for the Fall 2013 collection.
I’m pretty sure the bottom is navy while the top and peplum are black. I’m not sure how I feel about that but I just can’t hate anything about it. This is a thing that I wish I’d made. It’s outrageous in the best way possible. What have I been doing with my life? I quit knitting forever.
What do you think? Do you love it or hate it?
photos via Tom and Lorenzo
If you were raised on British television as a certain blogger was, then you were surely familiar with the antics of Wallace and Gromit before Nick Park’s feature film Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Maybe you didn’t have HBO but you wanted HBO because you wanted to watch Clueless because you LOVE Clueless even though you’ve never seen it before. So instead you tuned in to channel thriteen to catch broadcasts of BBC shows like Keeping up Appearances.
After hanging out with my Aunt Sherry last weekend and then watching 2008’s A Matter of Loaf and Death last night (as grown ups do, right?), I was reminded of the many times I visited her and asked to watch The Wrong Trousers with me after making me a blueberry soda. But while the toy train chase scene will always be one of the top ten moments in film history (don’t even, it won an Oscar!), the real best when it comes to W&G is A Close Shave.
Oh, Gromit! Oh, lawn gnome! Oh, PBS fundraiser marathons!
Now, if you are a knitter (or just a regular human being) and you have not seen this short film, you need to correct this situation and do so immediately. Gather up your children or your neighbors children or just a pet (it really makes no difference to me) and watch it.
Here are a few reasons that A Close Shave is amazing: It stars a sheep named Shaun who is adorable. In fact, it stars many sheep. It stars a dog that knits. He knits, guys! It’s a thrilling mystery that revolves almost entirely around yarn! And it’s stop motion animation. If you don’t love stop motion animation, you might as well hate Christmas or ice cream or blowing bubbles and listening to toddlers giggle. Stop motion animation is magical and require patience beyond any reasonable imagination and that is why you should love it.
I demand that you watch this movie! While you’re at it, you ought to be brushing up on Creature Comforts, too. What are you waiting for?
ps. Enjoy your 4th of July! I’m taking the rest of the week off to make friendship bracelets and eat guacamole but I’ll be back next week!
How perfect is it that this video came out over Father’s Day weekend? My dad is a biker and a big fan of Steve McQueen so I’m obsessed with this animation by Ruth Herring and the Baker-bunch. The scene, re-creating the climactic moment of the film, was made in honor of the 50th anniversary of the film’s release. The bike chase scene was allegedly added to the film in order to appease Steve McQueen when when he refused to swap costumes with James Garner (you can read more about it in the video’s description).
Knitted stop motion animation is something that I’ve always wanted to try and what better way to do it than paying homage a classic cinematic moment. (As an aside, stop motion is the most tedious thing I’ve ever attempted. Big props to anyone who’s successfully animated anything without jumping off of a building!) I really love the great little set including plastic soldiers and great fair isle German signs.
I forgot how awesome Steve McQueen’s sweatshirt is in the film! (Another something I’d love to make for myself.) I highly recommend you check out this video! And, as I was preaching last week, make sure you like and subscribe to the K1P1 youtube channel!
And while we’re on the subject, Eddie Izzard on The Great Escape. Back to the cooler!
ps. Dad, I can’t knit you a motorcycle right now. I know you were thinking it!
So much going on! I hardly have time to write. Summer is here and everything is happening. I feel like I haven’t sat still in weeks but there’s lots of fun stuff going on that I will be able to tell you about in the future. Until then, there are some cool things that I’m ready to report. So listen up!
I recently had the honor of appearing as a guest on Kollabora’s new web series Nora Meets the Maker. The series is great, featuring lots of different crafters and cool projects. I’m really excited for more episodes to come out! My episode features a cool i-cord headband that I designed. It’s a really cute and simple project with tons of options for embellishment. I hope I have time to make a few more of them, actually, because I really feel like the possibilities are endless.
It was tons of fun shooting with Nora and the rest of the ladies at Kollabora. They are always such a treat to work with! The green screen concept is so great to play around with. It’s very silly in a public access TV show kind of awesome. I’m awkward as all goddamn but you can see my Poolside top in action! Nora cracks me up.
Check out the free pattern for the Libby headband on Kollabora and take a look at the other episodes!
Are you following me on Kollabora yet? Let’s be friends!
You caught me guys. This column is really just an excuse to talk about my favorite movies and television shows. I admit it. But I think you’ll allow it once again since Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is one of the best films ever made. I have a degree in Film and Video so I think I’m more than qualified to be handing out such judgements (speaking of film school, imagine four years of me reciting the lines “I’VE BEEN READY SINCE FIRST CALL. ROLL!” whenever someone asked if we were ready for a take).
Seriously, I can watch this movie over and over again and it still makes me cry with laughter. I couldn’t tell you my favorite line or scene but I know basically every word of the script. (Apologies to anyone who’s had to watch it with me.) Okay, maybe the part where the pancakes say, “Can I have the Mr. T cereal?” is my favorite. Or, “Yes, that’s me. I am Chuck.” And I challenge you to offer a more important moment in cinematic history than the Tequila dance.
But today I’m here to talk to you about a piece of knitwear. Because I haven’t forgotten that there’s a point to this. Let’s talk about this disguise Pee Wee puts on to fool the law. (THE LAW!) This crazy house coat/jacket thing is AMAZING. Rendered in seafoam green mohair (I can only imagine), with a big moss stitch pattern and even bigger bobbles and that Peter Pan collar. I love it.
Why don’t you take a picture? It’ll last longer! Not sure I’d add this to my fangirl knits list because it’s pretty hideous and I mean that in the best way possible. I am a big fan, though. So is that cop. Big ups to costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers for this fantastic piece.
Do you love Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? I know you are, but what am I?
ps. Don’t forget to check out my Michelle collar KAL!
There have been a bunch of these Famous posts recently. But Christmas movies really are like a big knitted pageant, right?
Before the season runs out and we all start talking about how we promise that next year is the year we start going to the gym (Remember that time I had a gym membership and hardly ever went to yoga? Oh, I mean now.) I will share one last holiday movie knit. And it might be my favorite.
Because Elf is obviously the best Christmas movie to come along since Muppet Christmas Carol. It’s a new classic. And I delight in quoting it non-stop after Thanksgiving.
Every year, without fail, I fall in love again with the hat worn by Zooey Deschanel’s character Jovie. I’m quite sure every knitter has. It’s gigantic and creamy. And that pom pom!
I’ve been dying to make this hat since I first saw the movie but I still have not. I think a nice natural alpaca would be great (like I’ve said before, my weakness!) but a chunky merino might give the cables a little bit more definition. Her hat doesn’t quite have the halo that alpaca yarns do.
Either way, if you get to picking up your needles for this project before I do (one day!), there are two free patterns on Ravelry. So you don’t have to spend all afternoon pausing and rewinding and pausing the movie again to get a good look at that hat!
Are you doing anything for Christmas? Did you finish making your gifts? Why am I sitting on paper? Can I listen to your necklace? Why is there a skeleton over there? Does he have a name?
ps. Happy holidays, guys! Whichever holiday it may be or even if you aren’t celebrating anything, I hope you all eat some yummy food and relax and just enjoy the season. Jon and I are going to spend the weekend making latkahs (who said Hanukah is over?) and then preparing a big Christmas dinner. We’re multicultural like that! So I’ll be back, and exhausted, after the holiday.
pps. Feel free to fill the comments with Elf quotes.