Solitary Man's Knits

It’s been a lazy holiday weekend (Memorial Day here in the US). I’ve been knitting my Cropped Cardigan, went to a BBQ, and also saw the movie Solitary Man starring Michael Douglas and a bunch of great actresses. I’m into spending my first-run movie dollars on adult dramas so filmmakers keep making them. This film is good, not great, but good. Go here for: trailer, synopsis, bad review, and spoiler script analysis. It certainly is well acted, but beyond that, it has great knits. Susan Sarandon gets to wear two truly fantastic sweaters (including that one at left, shown in a still from the movie), Olivia Thirlby dons a chunky retro cardi, and Douglas himself get some stylish flair with a simple black scarf. Hats of to costume designers Jenny Gering and Ellen Mirojnick.

In The Loop

Here’s an interesting book: In The Loop: Knitting Now by Jessica Hemmings, the Associate Director of Visual and Cultural Studies at Edinburgh College of Art. Published earlier this year, the book examines knitting’s journey from retro hobby to cultural phenom—  humble utilitarianism to current craftivism. There are lots of examples of artists working with knitting as their medium, including Mark Newport, Sabrina Gschwandtner and Annie Shaw. That is Shaw’s amazing “Gansey, deep-fried above. Yes, that is a deep friend wool sweater wrapped in fish and chips paper! Read a book review here. See more images from In The Loop at the Guardian UK.

Cropped Cardi: Another Look

I am coming down the home stretch on my Cropped Cardigan, a design by Stefanie Japel that is  available FREE on Knitty. The sweater, in Cascade Indulgence, is super soft and fits nicely through the shoulders and sleeves, but the neckline is way way too deep and rolling-edged to be flattering on me. I need adjustments. Luckily, I found Melanie (momalmighty on Rav), who had the same issues and solved the problem beautifully. That is her cardi, above. She knitted a stockinette and picot edging, very much like the hem treatment, to create a lovely and flattering variation. Notice how she also abandoned the leaf ties in favor of a button, and used KnitPicks Shine Worsted (a cotton blend). Beauty. Thanks Melanie for the inspiration! By the way, enjoy her adventures in motherhood on her blog, Mom Almighty. Love the way she charts her daily mood.

Veronik's St-Denis Yarn

Classic Elite Yarns launched knitwear designer Véronik Avery’s yarn line, St-Denis,  last year with Nordique.  There is a second yarn in the works called Boreale. Pretty exciting stuff. No doubt it will be as refined and beautiful as everything this talented designer puts her name too. Her work is simply classic elegance. You can check out the progression of the St-Denis brand on the blog, where Avery posts about her efforts. (That’s her photo seen above.) Buy issue 1 of St-Denis Magazine here, or go for the Spring/Summer issue here. You’ll find patterns by Ysolda, Jared Flood, Kat Coyle, Robin Melanson, Carol Sulcoski, and, of course,  Avery herself.

Sprouting Sweaters

Last Summer I missed this wonderful multidisciplinary performance piece by Chicago artists Amber Ginsburg, Carla Duarte and Lia Rousset called “re•pur•pose.” It happened at The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago as part of the series Here/Not There, which explored ephemeral experience as art. This particular piece repurposed seeds, bricks, and knit sweaters as a metaphor for the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing. (Detail of an MCA photo of the piece, above.) The artists created 600 multiples submerged in a bit of water, which they carefully tended over the duration of the performance. The absorbent quality of the bricks and wool was a perfect sprouting medium. As a continuation of the cycle of reuse, once the performance was over, the multiples were placed in planters around the museum. So cool.

Thanks to Jill Bell, via Petrula Vrontikis for the tip on this amazing art piece.

Early Fall VK Preview

I know, I know, I haven’t even broken out the cotton yarn yet either! However, VogueKnitting has an Early Fall Preview up online. The issues goes on sale June 8th. The online preview has a cool new feature— click on the red circled star and it opens up a back view of the garment, like you see (above) for this pullover which is part of the “Make Me Blush” series. Very cool. Looks like some very lovely stuff, but honestly, all I’m thinking about is which tank top I’m going to make.

A Crochet Sun Hat

My friend Sidney seems to be getting her craft on these days. Last weekend she asked for info on a crochet sun hat. She was thinking raffia, but most patterns seem to specify cotton. Here are some FREE hat patterns that looked good to me: the Fast & Easy Summer Hat by PippaW on Cloudy Crochet, this one and this one from Drops, Craftination’s Crossed Bucket Hat, and the adorably wacky Crochet Can Hat designed by Jacqueline van Dillen for Knit.1 magazine (left). The addition of cans just says, “Summer,” don’t you think?

Knitted Rugs

In the last few weeks I’ve seen a bunch of new knitted rug patterns. I wonder about the practicality of these things, especially in a household like mine with dogs, but they certainly are attractive. I do love the idea of making just the right size to fit a particular space in a room because standard doesn’t always cut it, right? There is the nutty Knit Grass Rug (left) from Lion Brand and the lacy Rag Doily Rug designed by Julie Weisenberger of CocoKnits. Plus, if you missed it on the weekend, check out this New York Times story on artist/fashion designer Dana Barnes, who makes fantastic super thick felted rugs from roving. Wonderful slide show. Wow. If you want more info on knitted rugmaking, go to BellaOnline and browse articles by Christine Dux. You’ll find both inspiration and technique tips.

The Crochet Dude's New Tool

Yes. Drew Emborsky, the Crochet Dude, has an all new branded line of crochet tools and accessories for Boye. They are testing the products out in select Michaels, including one here in Los Angeles. I stumbled upon the news while reading Laurie Perry’s great blog, Crazy Aunt Purl. Apparently she and Emborsky are pals. Perry went on a re-con mission to check out his stuff, and blogs about it here (that’s one of her photos, above). Check out Emborsky’s blog, and his site, The Crochet Dude, which has some good patterns, but not his tools.

Ysolda's Red Yarn

I told you that the Los Angeles LYS owners have been extremely tempting lately. No, you don’t have to be an Angeleno to shop at them, they’ll do online sales— so you’ve all been warned! Here’s the latest: Unwind in Burbank is offering the charming knitwear designer Ysolda Teague’s new yarn for Lorna’s Laces. It’s a gorgeous semi-solid red, called, naturally, “Ysolda Red” and it is part of the Shepherd Sock line. Perfect for Ysolda’s Ishbel. Read all about creating this beautiful yarn on Ysolda’s blog (that’s her photo from the process, above). Buy Ysolda Red from Unwind online. Get her patterns there too. That’s trouble, huh? Told ya.