sweater

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Per request, I’m sharing another pattern from the very 60s ‘Holiday Handknits’. I very nearly posted this last week, but thought the chunkiness, extensive bobbling and nehru collar might put off most knitters. Not that that’s stopped me before.


(Check out the sharp Photoshop work.)

People bill and coo over the costume design in ‘Mad Men’, but the above is an important reminder not to pick and choose at what we recall from a period, lest history repeat itself:

Barbarella and David Bowie actually pull off silver lame quite well.

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Slouchy hats. Right now, they have achieved an omnipresence not seen since 1995′s Lollapalooza tour.


The sloppy chapeaus top celebrities, models, the fashionably disheveled, and their studied insouciance has infiltrated every college campus coast to coast. In other words, THEY ARE PLAYED OUT.

Who wants to be another floppy hat bobbing in a sea of oversized army green jackets and jeggings? The rest of this bitter season, why not stand out and prevent frostbite with a topper that’s the opposite of slouch? A jaunty little crown that perks up tall and proud and says ‘here I am world, looking vaguely like a winter milkmaid!’ I give you:


The Sports Tiara! (also a matching sweater).
I boldly predict tiaras are going to be next season’s Annie Hall hat for the ladies. Then tiaras will pass onto guys as princess cones become the ladies’ rage, and finally by the end of the Mayan Calendar both genders will be fully decked out in Miss World crowns spelling out the wearers’ names. IT’S IN THE CODEX, PEOPLE.

Seriously, stock up on sequins now.

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For this week’s free pattern, I thought I’d share some non-Wikileaks-related cables. See what I did there? TOPICAL. Though it looks complex, the sweater’s knit sideways with simple increases on one edge creating shaping. This would look nice in a bright jewel tone, or perhaps stripe it up with the cables a different color than the background.

I’m not quite sure why they called this blouse the Tarantella, other than every sweater in the book’s named after a melody and they seemed to be running out towards the end. On close inspection it’s too staid to have anything to do with either Italian folk music or poison spider bites. I suppose it would hold up nicely as you whirled yourself to the point of collapse though.


(By the lack of chuckling the audience probably had no idea what to make of this.)

Play that tarantella while the Cubans hit the floor.

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On a recent trip to H&M I was disturbed to see an exact replica of justcallmeruby‘s gorgeous ‘Perfect Christmas Jumper’ hanging on a rack. In a recent entry on her site she posted side-by-side pictures; aside from a slight change of white triangle to white cross they’re identical.

Knitting is a craft. It requires an investment in time, effort, and to a lesser extent, money. Vintage knitting requires a special devotion – willingness to interpret implied directions, research into fabrics, yarns, and colors of the time period, an understanding of the era. When a store like H&M rips off a design intended to be crafted by hand it cheapens the nature of Craft. Anyone with $40 burning a hole in their pocket can walk in and buy this sweater without thinking, without effort.

In turn that consumer doesn’t realize and won’t understand the effort required by genuine craft (something any knitter who’s been asked by a random co-worker if they could whip up a sweater for them this weekend understands). How are any non-crafters supposed to understand the price of creating something by hand if it gets devalued by fast fashion?

I knit vintage not only because I’m a masochist who loves working on tiny, tiny needles but because I get the opportunity to bring a piece of history to life. I adore Craft in all its forms and am seriously annoyed how little respect perfection in creation gets nowadays. Few were more pissed off than me when the American Craft Museum changed its name to the Museum of Art & Design because as their chief curator said, ‘the understanding and meaning of the term ‘craft’ has changed’.

Yes, that’s right folks, if you create for yourself, your friends and for the sheer joy of it, you are a CRAFTER. If you create to stick it in a gallery or are ‘using the medium of ______’ to get an IDEA across, you are an ARTIST. BUNK! BUNK AND ROT I SAY! Loving attention to detail, careful study of form and materials, these transcend the barriers of intent! Stanley Kubrick was a MASTER of craftsmanship and it shines through all his films, but I doubt the man ever picked up a crochet hook in his life. The full investment of a person’s attention and focus into ANYTHING, no matter the medium, will show in a finished object.

Numerous devotees of Shaker furniture and objects say they were drawn to collecting the exceedingly practical and simple items because they ‘glowed’ or ‘had a presence’. The Shakers embodied the true spirit of Craft – joy in creation, perfection in execution, love in working. The ONLY thing separating art from craft is the Shaker’s last requirement: practicality. By (my very general) definition Art is that which has no purpose, but craft in the physical sense is that which does. Craft skills can certainly be applied to art, and the projects are all the better for it, but I’ve gotten rather far from my initial point that art should not scorn nor mass marketing reduce the value of craft.

Which sort of brings me close enough to introduce this week’s pattern, a Christmas-y little number with double Moose value for your effort. Ugh, sorry, I’m still chafing at the idea any ‘fashionista’ (aaagh, blood boiling) can pop in and purchase something….it’s sort of like seeing nepotism in action, or hearing a trust fund kid complain how Ibiza’s played out- your innate sense of the world’s ‘fairness’ gets tilted royally out of whack. Ugh. Ok, look at the nice pattern…nice moosey pattern.

It’s from Jack Frost, the pattern company who light all their photos like Bergman’s ‘Persona’.

Behold the natural beauty of the Grand Tetons.

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This week’s pattern is a jaunty little meta-sweater displaying engagement in the very activity the sweater is intended to be worn doing. The pattern’s a bit easier to follow than that sentence.

Intarsia knits are always a bit annoying to work but make up for it in pure 8-bit joy of wear- the awkward blockiness of the images charms enough to get over a thousand dangling strings tangling themselves as you go along. Mary Maxim patterns are the most well-known (that is, well-known among knitters, i.e. not at all among the general population), but there’s also Bouquet, Knit-O-Graf, and the looser search term ‘cowichan’, referring to the style of knitting developed by the Cowichan people of British Columbia.

A few choice examples:

Funnily enough, I found a reinterpretation of the same chart from this week’s pattern in a sweater for sale on ebay:


Intriguing!

Let’s hit the slopes!

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