THANK YOU and Elsewhere

THANK YOU and Elsewhere

I’m just back from a week in Florida with innumerable loved ones gathered together for a big family event, where I had even less time and connectivity (and knitting opportunity) than I expected — hence my spotty attendance here. Among the many things I’m thankful for at the moment, one of them is finally being able to leave the house with my waxed camo Field Bag after months and months in hiding! But what I’m seriously most thankful for today (after my lovely family) is all of you and all of the support you’ve given to me, and to this blog and to Fringe Supply Co. When I think about how my life has changed since the day I learned to knit and started to blog about it … the mind reels. And I couldn’t do it without you — so thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your ongoing support.

Since most of you are in the US and celebrating Thanksgiving today/this weekend, I’m including Elsewhere links here today and will resume normal posting on Monday!

First: Remember my post about Stella Tennant and Nov ’96 Vogue? Well, I now have both the US and UK editions from that month in my possession, and none of those photos are in either one. There is a feature in the US one in which Stella tromps and rows around the Adirondacks, at one point wearing an ivory Ralph Lauren turtleneck very much like the one in that post, but now I’m dying to know where/when those vaunted photos were from. Some other Vogue edition of that month and year, or something else entirely? We might never know — but if you have any leads, please share them!

3 designers creating clothes for life — not the runway (thx, Claudia) — Maureen Doherty, especially, is my new idol

How to wear a yoke sweater (on the beach!)

– If you’re in a group that knits for a good cause, YarnCanada might be able to help you with some yarn

– I love these Love More mittens and what Leigh had to say about them

These Japanese dioramas blow my mind

– I’m crazy about Jen’s winter sewing plan

– I want a hat that looks exactly like this

– Congrats to Felicia on the launch of Soul Craft Festival

– and Tif has me obsessing over that Markham Collar again

What are your favorite links lately? Feel free to share!

Happy feasting, all — and if you’re in Nashville, I hope we’ll see you at the pop-up on Saturday!

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PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere

New Favorites: from BT Fall/Holiday

New Favorites: from BT Fall/Holiday

When the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’17 collection came out, I mentioned there were some sweaters that would come up here sooner or later. I was referring to Galloway by Jared Flood and Voe by Gudrun Johnston. What I didn’t imagine is that, in the meantime, they would put out photos of second samples in their holiday lookbook that are even more stunning in wintry shades of greys and blues. I’m now yearning to have Galloway in my closet in this exact color combo. And while Voe would look terrible on me — I can’t do a motif that encircles the shoulders like that — there is now a Voe Hat! (below) It’s fingering, but maybe I have the patience for fingering-scale colorwork at hat proportions! It’s just so gorgeous.

IN OTHER NEWS! We’re having a holiday pop-up here in Nashville this Saturday, in conjunction with our friends at Mason-Dixon Knitting — the first-ever Taylor Yarn Co-op Pop-up! We’ll both have all of our goods (including our new holiday lovelies and theirs), and we’ll also have some special Field Bags at markdown prices: samples, slight seconds and floor models. (Available only at this event, not online.) It’s happening at 100 Taylor Street in Suite A22 from 10-3, at the same time as the Shop Small Makers Fair is happening, so there will be lots to choose from! If you’re in the are Nashville area, please come see us!

New Favorites: from BT Fall/Holiday

 

Log Cabin: Ideas and considerations

Log Cabin: Ideas and considerations

The thing about this whole upcoming Log Cabin Make-along is it’s kind of a lot to think about! Am I right? If you’re anything like me, you might be combatting too-many-ideas-itis — debating yarns, color, pattern, what it will turn into. Of course, you can totally 100% keep it simple and knit something beautiful from one of the many great log cabin-inspired patterns in the world. But even then, there are most of these considerations, all of which are fun to ponder—

1. YARN / GAUGE
What yarn you use and how tightly you knit it will determine the character of the finished fabric — this is no less true for log cabin than any other form of knitting. Traditionally, log cabin patterns call for good ol’ garter stitch knitted at a gauge that’s the norm for the weight of the yarn. If you’re working with bulky yarn, that would mean a dense, gooshy fabric, whereas fingering-weight yarn would net a light and drapey fabric. But there’s no reason you can’t play around with gauge! For instance, the Sommerfeld Shawl (included in the Log Cabin Field Guide) calls for lace-weight mohair knitted at a very loose gauge, which takes a traditionally squishy fabric and makes it gossamer instead.

2. COLOR
If your goal is to knit from stash and scraps, you may wind up with a charming crazy-quilt sort of color scheme. Or if you have a palette you naturally tend toward, your leftovers may be inherently cohesive! On the other hand, you may be planning to bust open some fresh skeins for this and exercise complete control over the palette. Will it be bold and graphic, soft and subtle, monochrome, shades of sheep, black and white? Will it involve speckles or stripes? The possibilities are literally endless, and which way you decide to go may depend a lot on the other considerations here. For instance, are you making something to go with your couch or your wardrobe?

3. PATTERN
This whole form of knitting derives from quilting, and quilters are mind-blowing individuals. The myriad ways that simple blocks of color can be lined up with each other to form larger motifs and patterns is its own special rabbithole. With log cabin knitting, there are actually a few different basic blocks to start with — from original log cabin to courthouse steps, ninepatch, etc. Many of these are detailed in the Log Cabin Field Guide, but I recommend googling quilting patterns for inspiration about ways to use color and combine blocks. For example, check out this blog post and scroll down to Log Cabin Variations. The assorted motifs under the Chevron Blocks subhead alone have got my mind racing.

4. SCALE
In addition to gauge, think about how large or small your strips and blocks might be — again, how subtle or graphic. For example, look at the diminutive mitered squares of Marianne Isager’s sweater, Winter, versus the oversized blocks of Mason-Dixon’s Moderne Log Cabin Baby Blanket or Purl Soho’s Half Log Cabin Ombré Blanket. Scale alone can have an enormous effect on the look of your project. (And look what happens when you break up large blocks with stripes, as Terhi did!)

5. SHAPE
And then there’s the question of what it is you’re making! Is it a blanket or wrap, or will you turn your squares/rectangles into something 3-dimensional? Whether that’s a hat, a cowl or a sweater.

I’m working on a post about just that — patterns composed of squares or rectangles that could be filled with log cabin patterning. So look for that soon! And I’ve also started a Pinterest board for Log Cabin ideas, which I’ll continue to add to — although the latest changes to Pinterest mean my notes on the pins are mostly buried. (Why are they so hellbent on making it unusable?!)

Meanwhile, what are you thoughts and ideas so far — do you already know what you’re making? Will it be carefully planned or made up on the fly? Remember, cast on is January 1st! Share your plans below or on Instagram with hashtag #fringeandfriendslogalong.

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PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: Striped cabin

Top photo © Terhi Montonen, used with permission; pinboard here

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Slow Fashion Citizen: Jerome Sevilla

Slow Fashion Citizen: Jerome Sevilla

BY KATRINA RODABAUGH // Today I’m thrilled to share the work of Slow Fashion Citizen Jerome Sevilla of Gridjunky. I’ve been following Jerome on Instagram for several years, and while his craftsmanship, choice of colors and fibers, and his designer’s approach to textiles make him one of my favorite creatives to watch, it’s his use of recycled fibers that actually blows my mind. He makes beautiful hats, scarves, sweaters and bags but oftentimes by unraveling a quality secondhand sweater or tenderly dissecting a family heirloom to be made into new creations. The boldness and thoughtfulness in his approach to materials is something that comes with his passion and commitment to simply make the most beautiful things.

What if the highest quality fibers are out of our price range but we don’t want to settle for their affordable counterparts? How can we shift our thinking of “new materials” and be resourceful in accessing the very best fibers anyway? In Jerome’s case, by unraveling a beautiful Banana Republic sweater or cutting into his mother’s stash of beloved table linens. Combine this discernment for materials with the trained eye of a graphic designer and a minimalist bent on what makes beautiful garments and, well, it’s a powerful result. Jerome’s drive for the most gorgeous fibers combined with his willingness to take apart the materials around him manifests in a particular magic that’s all his own. It’s a refreshing and inspiring approach to truly making Slow Fashion work regardless of budget.

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I love imagining how your work as a graphic designer informs your work with textiles. Can you talk about any overlaps or shared aesthetics between the two?

I think the creative process in general is an important overlap. Visual designers aren’t trained to come up with one idea per project. We come up with ten, or twenty, depending on the concept. Then we start killing the weaker ideas, and nurturing the stronger ones. This idea of “killing your babies” was first introduced to me in high school when I took photography. This was way back when, so we’re talking about chemical photography, with the darkroom, and stinky solutions, and staring at timers, and shaking canisters. And we eliminated bad shots the same way we weed out good ideas. Each roll of negatives was cut and printed en masse onto one print, and you circled the ones you wanted to enlarge into actual prints. Successful designs rely heavily on one’s ability to self-edit. My textile work is cultivated in the same way, where everything starts as a bunch of ugly sketches.

How did you learn to knit? To sew?

I’ve been hand sewing all my life. My mother and grandmother were a constant resource. I grew up making this and modifying that, and it wasn’t really about practicing heritage skillsets, it was just a necessary skill to have. I’ve always been different from everyone in terms of personal style. Being able to modify clothes was a major part of my identity and individuality.

Knitting was one of many things that piqued my interest on the internet. Back then Jared Flood had this blog that I liked a lot. I’m pretty sure it was called Brooklyn Tweed back then, but I could be wrong. There were a lot of people on Flickr back then, too. So I just decided to do it one day, simple as that. Took me about a month to really get the hang of it. That was … gosh, 2009. Wow.

Slow Fashion Citizen: Jerome Sevilla

Your work with recycled or redesigned yarn is stunning. What inspired you to deconstruct that very first sweater so that you could work with that yarn? Weren’t you intimidated to start unraveling?

Thank you. No, it wasn’t intimidating at all. I was really into it! Maybe it’s a creativity thing, but I like destruction. And if I can take something and kill it, and turn it into something else, that’s power. The object represents creative power. I’m inspired by that. That process of destruction and creation is addictive. When I started recycling yarn, it wasn’t nearly as profound. I killed that first sweater because I was poor and had no money for yarn. Technically, this is still the case.

You’ve mentioned cost is prohibitive in buying quality new yarns, yet you’ve chosen to deconstruct vintage garments to gain access to their valuable fibers. This makes me cheer! It’s something I think about so much in my work: Choosing quality secondhand fibers over cheap new ones. But in this equation we choose the value of time — our own time — to locate, acquire, wash, deconstruct, redesign and work with quality fibers over the money of buying new materials. Can you talk about this tension and thoughts about value, about making something new from something old and investing time — sometimes so much time — to access quality materials?

I see it as an act of defiance. Think about the value that this person placed on that sweater. That value becomes zero when they decide to donate it or throw it in the garbage. I defy that assessment of value. The fast-fashion industry trains us to want more, and we apparently do. That’s so stupid. The best silk thread I’ve ever worked with was recycled multi-strand from a Banana Republic sweater. I have tons of it. I’d estimate the value of this black silk at about $100 or so a skein. I’ve sewn with it, knitted it, and wefted it into cotton. That sweater wasn’t worthless.

There’s a minimalism in your work that has such power. Do you consciously try to work with minimalism — paring color, line or composition back as far as possible as you design — or does this just materialize organically as you work?

I just don’t like a lot of fuss. I believe the subject of a work should be concise and clear, and there is nothing easier from a production standpoint than minimalism. I wonder if that’s a terrible thing to say? Either way it’s true. I’m no artist; I’m a designer through and through. Things should be neat and beautiful at the same time. I suppose this goes back to the self-editing thing. Composition requires a conscious awareness of the layout, and how the work is seen. There has to be negative space. In magazines it’s white space. In knitting it’s stockinette (for me, anyway). Patchwork looks amazing when there are long swaths of consistent color.

Slow Fashion Citizen: Jerome Sevilla

Mending, you know it’s my passion. So when I see your work with denim, hand-stitching and mending it makes my heart race. Do you find working with denim and working with yarn to have any similarities?

Well, working with sharps is a nice change from the knitting needles, but it is more physically intensive. I have so many compositions in progress, it’s pathetic. With my knitting, I have a max of two projects, but in sewing I believe I have five or so. In that respect, the two are very different. Sewing is a very quick process most of the time, so I tend to favor whichever project I’d most likely wear. On the other hand, I’ve been knitting this alpaca shawl for two years because I basically hoard the process of knitting. I like picking it up every once in a while. I like that it’s there. Sewing isn’t like that. Either I finish it, or I kill the idea.

In one of your blog posts you wrote, “I guess what I’m trying to say is that the meaningfulness of these fragile things is paramount in my thoughts, and that working with them gives me a very private sense of accomplishment and emotion.” I love this. I’ve been thinking about the connection between healing, mindfulness, and cultivating connection or meaning through slow fashion. Can you talk about the meaningfulness or sense of accomplishment that results from handwork and redesigning fragile textiles?

The majority of my yarn and fabrics is recycled. The yarn was bought second hand as sweaters, typically from flea markets and thrift stores. However, the fabrics are all recycled directly from my home, mostly from my own wardrobe, but some also came from my family. The things I make out of these fabrics carry the memory of our lives, and the places we’ve lived in. They’re not worthless. They’re immensely valuable to me.

Lastly, can you point us to three artists, designers, or makers currently inspiring your work?

Dan Bell’s videos of dead malls, Techland’s FPS survival horror game Dying Light, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Slow Fashion Citizen: Jerome Sevilla

Katrina Rodabaugh is an author, artist and slow-fashion advocate. Visit her website www.katrinarodabaugh.com or follow her on Instagram at @katrinarodabaugh

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PREVIOUSLY in Slow Fashion Citizen: Rebecca Burgess and Fibershed

Photos © Jerome Sevilla, used with permission

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Someday vs. Right Away: Mosaic knitting

Someday vs Right Away: Mosaic knitting

Maybe the reason I keep saying I want to try my hand at mosaic knitting but never actually do it is that I keep favoriting blankets and scarves, and I apparently don’t knit blankets or scarves! Even Dami Hunter’s Southwest-inspired Kiva wrap (top) isn’t allover mosaic like some others I’ve daydreamed of knitting, and yet it’s a Someday project for me nevertheless. Meanwhile, Andrea Mowry’s new hat pattern, Tincture, is bite-size mosaic, highly tempting. Or there’s the possibility of a dishtowel or washcloth-sized appetizer such as Purl Soho’s Slip Stitch Dishtowels (free pattern).

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PREVIOUSLY in Someday vs. Right Away: Brioche tasting

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Q for You: What’s your picky fit detail?

Q for You: What's your picky fit detail?

I’m pretty sure we all have a pet peeve or two, garment-wise — the little fit detail that can make the difference between most-worn and never-worn. Last weekend, I was posting on Instagram all the gory details of how I’m nailing down the exact length of the sleeves on this vanilla cardigan. Sleeves and neck shaping are the two potential deal-breakers for me. I can’t stand a garment that shifts around on me during the day, requiring me to tug at the neckline all the time, and same goes for sleeves. I want them out of my way, which means they’re either pushed up or rolled up most of the time. If a cuff is too wide to stay put when they’re pushed up — creating that perpetual push-and-slide scenario — I might actually lose my mind. And if they puddle on my hands when they’re pulled down, I definitely will. As I said the other day, I find this matter of sleeve length just that much more important on an oversized sweater like this. I want this cardigan to be nice and slouchy; I don’t want to look (or feel) like I’m swimming in it.

For me, that difference can be like a half an inch, and even though I have a blocked swatch and correct gauge and good math and preferred dimensions and all of that, no two sweaters sit or hang on the body precisely the same way. So since this one is top-down, what I’ve done is knitted one sleeve to just before the bind-off point and blocked it. Once I put it on, it was easy to see that it’s 6 or 7 rows too long — it already covers the top of my hand even without the bind-off row, whereas I want it to hit right at my wrist bone. So I’m ripping back the sleeve to 7 rows before the cuff, redoing the ribbing, and then it should be perfect. And I won’t have to worry about being institutionalized over a sleeve! It’s an easy enough thing to nail, and worth taking a minute to get it right.

So that’s my Q for You today: What’s the make-or-break fit detail for you — whether it’s a hat, socks, sweaters, whatever — and what do you do (or do you?) to get it just so?

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PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What do you do with your unworn FOs?

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Stella Tennant and the age-defying sweaters

Stella Tennant and the age-defying sweaters

Feeling the need for a good ol’ fashion bask last night, I went combing through the Spring 2018 runway collections, and wow did they leave me wanting. (At least we had this.) The only thing that really lit me up was this photo of Stella Tennant (one of my all-time favorites) looking amazing on the Balenciaga runway. Which reminded me: Over the past few years, I’ve run into multiple references to an editorial that apparently ran in the November 1996 issue of Vogue — more specifically Vogue Paris, it turns out [who know see Update below] — in which Stella swanned around in some of the most perfect knits imaginable, which is exactly what I was craving. So I googled. It’s hard to be 100% certain of anything under these circumstances, but I believe all of the images here are from that editorial. And since I could gaze at them forever, would like to be certain about which others of all the images that come up in a Google image search are from the same story, and want to see the whole thing in its original glory, I actually went to eBay and found a copy for sale.

1996 is the year I moved from Austin to Columbus to San Francisco — changing jobs and cities twice — and I remember the state of fashion pretty vividly as a result. Especially the state of street style in SF that winter. There are a lot of similarities between that moment and this moment, but even so, if I told you these images were from the November 2017 issue, nobody would doubt it for an instant. In fact, plug in any year between then and now and it works.

The cardigan in the top photo brings to mind the Lauren Manoogian version that’s been all the rage for several years now, but in a somewhat more gossamer form. Or something like an oversized Cabernet? The turtleneck worn with it is essentially a shorter Forester, with wider waist ribbing. (Or try Carrowkeel with two strands of fingering held together for the marl.) And the coat below makes me think of Brandi Harper’s new Carmen Coat.

[UPDATE 11.22.17: I am now in possession of both the US and UK Vogue issues from that month, and neither of them includes any of these images, although the US one does have a Stella Tennant-in-the-woods feature in which she wears another lovely, simple turtleneck sweater like this. So I’ve inadvertently contributed to misinformation about these photos! If anyone knows when or where they actually did run — if they are even all from the same editorial — please let me know!]

Stella Tennant and the age-defying sweaters

By the way, did I mention that Paulina Porizkova was at Rhinebeck? Sadly, I did not bump into her.

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PREVIOUSLY in Fashion: First of the Best of Spring 2018

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