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Ah, Easter. That delightfully confusing time when parents gloss over the potential question of what a giant rabbit and ovomania have to do with Jesus by plying their children with sweet, sweet sugar. Until the hippie revolution, Easter was also a time of Great Hats, with a venerable tradition of ridiculous haberdashery in the Easter Bonnet, a frivolous bit of headgear that welcomed in Spring with lighthearted silliness. Excellent examples can be seen below, tossing aside the dour seriousness of winter with increasingly goofy bonnets almost completely abstracted from the concept of ‘hat’ save for their placement upon the head:


(click to play)

In this tradition, here is a delightful pagoda hat, with or without tassels, sure to perch perkily upon your head with Deco charm:

Not coincidentally it sort of vaguely resembles DEVO’s famous engery dome, itself based upon a 1930s light fixture.

(yes it was an excuse to post this image.)
Happy Easter!

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For this week’s pattern, I had a tough time deciding between something versatile and wearable that’s faddish at the moment (a basic sweater with stripes on the sleeves and across the upper chest), or something sort of ridiculous that’s put together strangely and involves a bit of geometry (also sort of faddish at the moment). Then I remembered I post a pattern every week and would get to both. On with the ridiculous geometry!

The 1930s tunic pattern comes courtesy of Minerva Vol. 40. Its assembly involves points meeting at the neck and shaping comes courtesy of a belt. The sleeves, hem and belt stand out from the body using nubbly moss stitch. While it looks very classy in white, might I also suggest cardinal red, forest green, or perhaps a bright jewel blue?

(Seriously, just picture her with a feather in her cap.)

A black skirt pattern is included, but really, why put in all that effort when we’re moving towards a pantsless society? In about 5 years all anyone will wear bottomwise are tights, leggings, jeggings, and probably some new portmanteaus like sleggings and bleggings. I say beat the fashion industry to the punch, pop on some tights and prance around with your band of merry fellows (codpiece optional).

Hey Nonny Nonny and Away We Go!

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Patience. Fortitude. Sheer Willpower. Behold a full ballgown, teal no less, knit eight and a half stitches to the inch. Requiring each individual panel to be neatly made and sewn together. With lace work. In a combination of straight and circular stitching. Poorly photographed from the NYPL and cobbled together in Photoshop with blurry lettering and bad lighting intact. It makes losing 5 lbs. or taking dancing classes seem like a breeze.


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I thought this pattern was one of the first I’d posted- excellent lace pattern, scooped yoke neck, puffy sleeves, what’s not to love? Color me surprised to find it languishing on my external hard drive. Well, better late than never; enjoy!

Opalsheen sounds like an 80s feminist superhero in touch with her emotions.

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As a knitter, I am aware of the painstaking amount of effort that goes into each knitted garment. In a process like sewing, you cut the needed pieces out of a plane of existing fabric and reshape them into a three-dimensional garment. It’s a negative process, excising elements and leaving remnants behind. Knitting on the other hand is a completely positive process, creating only that fabric needed for the garment at hand, loop by individual loop. Nothing is wasted as it’s being created exactly for the needs of the project, except perhaps your time as it takes FOREVER.

The sheer amount of time involved in knitting is one of the reasons I like it – I get a visual record of that time passing by. There’s an artist who only ever knits one enormous project, sitting in museums as an installation piece knitting ever more of it as it rolls out the museum and down the steps. Unfortunately the internet fails me in finding her name (damn you, Google!), but if anyone knows who it is drop a line.

This amount of life and time poured into a hand-knitted object, when combined with the fickle and ephemeral nature of fashion, seems the cruelest waste. I get angry flipping through Vogue Knitting, as page after page of ridiculous trend pieces sure to be passè by the time one finishes working them up flash by (not to mention their projects use rather expensive yarns, so not only are you spending a month or two working on something already dated, you pay $200 for the privilege).

As Jean Cocteau said, “Art produces ugly things which frequently become beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.” Well put, and part of the reason I so enjoy vintage knitting. These lovely objects have already passed the test of time, and are sure to… reward….. your…..uh, investment……. huh.

Well then. Fugly apparently spans the decades.

Click if you want to look like Big Bird at the Ren Faire.

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