Heather Dixon's "Glastonbury"
This issue of Clotheshorse is so enticing, I just had to post about it. (All photos are by Peter Demuth and courtesy of/copyright Clotheshorse magazine.)
The collections are each introduced with a runway report by Creative Director Heather Dixon. In two pages, Heather conveys the essence of the story---the colors, shapes, patterns, and textures she and Editorial Director Mindy Brown were looking for as they put together each issue.
The reports are brief editorials followed by analysis of several designers' current lines along with inspiring and representative runway photos.
The first collection this season is Ice Cream, with "lighter than air fabrics." The Raspberry Ripple skirt, by Mindy Brown and Mari Chiba, is a quintessential example of this texture. Worked in cool linen with tiers of lace at the lower edge, this garment clings to the form without sticking. Linen actually wicks heat away from the body---a perfect choice for a story inspired by cool treats.
Also featured is Marika Simon's Peach Melba, a crochet confection with puffed sleeves. It's so cute, it makes me want to learn how to crochet! Other notable patterns in this collection are Lidia Tsymbal's Very Vanilla and of course my own Cherry Cheesecake.
The Tribal Sport collection is full of items that would be fun to knit as well as wear. I absolutely adore Rene Dickey's cardigan, Della (click on the photo at right for a larger view). The diagonal rib provides chevrons that fit your form as well as the theme. The buttons are also perfect.
Susanna Ferguson's Naana is a cool cotton dress that looks extremely comfortable. Mindy Brown's Ogo is a swingy purse with tassles, and Gyorgyi Suta's Sapelle, below right, is a work of art.
Skirts, a hoody vest, T-shirts, and a fringed clutch make up this issues Festival story, the next collection in this issue.
Mountain Jam is Jane Howorth's contribution---a crochet lace fringed top which looks great over a camisole. Clotheshorse provides no descriptive text to accompany the designs, putting pressure on the photographer to show crucial elements. In this case, you have to go to the magazine itself (not the pattern archive) to see a good view of the sleeves, which have shoulder slits in the tops.
I adore Elena Ferrari's Field Day skirt. I'm clearly going to have to learn to crochet.
Besides the pattern collections, Clotheshorse also runs personal interest stories, product features, yarn shop close-ups, and interviews.
The last collection in this issue was inspired by the art game Spirograph. Mindy Brown's Equation looks like it would be warm but soft next to the skin in a silk-cashmere blend. Modeled over a skin-colored camisole and black pants, the crossover stitch and attractive color pooling really make this top stand out.
My Transverse didn't fare quite as well over the same camisole---perhaps the celery green of the lovely ribbon yarn is too pale to make the pattern pop, but I was able to get some photos of my own before shipping it off, and I can assure you it's a cool and versatile garment.
The entire collection is noteworthy, but Melissa Lemmon's Tangent, with I-Cord loops, deserves special mention. A fun piece that would be a blast to knit!
I've had these ready to wear for some time now, but it got so warm here I haven't had the motivation to model them.
These are the Amplitude Stockings that didn't work with my garter belt. (The clips were too wimpy for these full-blooded knits.) But as you can see, I found a solution at the fabric store: short pieces of elastic with clips on each end. They sell these to clip onto the backs of dresses for a more fitted look. I use them because I enjoy wearing loose dresses for everyday, and get a kick out of being able to make the same garment a bit dressier with one flick (okay, two flicks) of a clip.
Actually, more like ten or eleven flicks and a cry for help---but it's still not that much work, and my husband is always ready to lend a hand getting the clip in just the right place.
Coming up: a review of the most recent Clotheshorse issue!
Mary Jo over at Whatzitknits nominated me for a Super Sweet Blogger Award. She found my blog after the publication of my Moon Mirrors scarf. I'm looking forward to seeing what she knits using the tapestry method!
As part of the award I am naming Twelve Sweet Blogs:
Clotheshorse This issue Clotheshorse has a whole section entitled Ice Cream!
Wooly Wonka Fiber Visit now for a giveaway . . .
Leda's Urban Homestead Local foods are important to me.
needled Kate seems very sweet, and we have something in common.
The Sexy Knitter Knitting and baking and a dash of empowerment.
Blue's Blog Yummy alpaca yarn!
The Ladies of Mischief They don't post often, but they're ambrosial.
Gluten Free Mommy Amazing recipes.
Fair World Project Keeps me in the loop.
Diary of a Locavore Beautiful pictures, provocative recipes.
Truly Myrtle Knit design and book reviews.
Ramblings Becky has a book and a sweet baby on the way.
There are also questions to answer:
1. Cookies or cake? Cookies! Though I won't say no to cake . . .
2. Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla. It goes with everything, and supposedly alleviates anxiety. Though again, I won't say no to fair trade chocolate.
3. Favorite sweet treat? Fruit pie.
4. When do you get hit with cravings? I'm actually famous for not getting them.
5. Sweet nickname? Big Peach.
Here's my other recently published design: the Cherry Cheesecake Purse in Triple Dip stitch, which is basically a rib interrupted by giant garter stitch ice cream scoops.
It's unlined, so there's no sewing involved, but it holds its shape well and objects don't tend to poke through because of the density of the knitted fabric. A removable frame allows you to make several different designs of the same size and use the same frame for each. The rods of the frame slide through channels knitted onto the purse body, then the end caps are secured.
My daughter has already claimed this sample, but she'll have to wait a year for Clotheshorse to finish showing it off. Suri Merino by Blue Sky Alpacas was a dream to work with, and the Dawn colorway is yummy and fat free.
I doubled the yarn for a denser fabric, and the purse holds its shape well. I couldn't find a chain I liked with lobster claws at the ends, so I tried connecting it to the frame with beads, wire and pliers. It was fun, but I'll need more practice before turning to professional jewelry making!
You can get the pattern directly from Clotheshorse here.
The Spring/Summer 2013 Clotheshorse went live yesterday, and two of my patterns were included. I'll post about Cherry Cheesecake, a really cool textured purse, tomorrow. Today's feature, Transverse, is a reversible cowl/vest which you can wear many different ways.
Transverse is a super-simple construction---a long and wide tube and a short and narrow tube connected by two pieces of medium length and width.
The model wears it with the short end on top, and boy is it cute that way on her! I prefer to wear it with the long end on top (below, left). You could probably even wear it as a hoodie that way.
The stitch pattern is Lynne Barr's Twist Pattern from Reversible Knitting. The yarn is Party from Crystal Palace, a nylon ribbon that not only lends variety to the dropped wraps sections but looks wonderful in the garter stitch intervals as well.
The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos by Heidi Adnum, pub. Interweave Press, 2011.
I recently purchased a camera, and am still finding my way around it. Not knowing a lot about photography, I was pleased to find clear explanations of some basic concepts in this book. Compared with Craftsy's Shoot It! class, this book had more specific information about settings and composition, and less information about working with people as models.
In the first chapter, Adnum briefly discusses light, aperture, shutter speed, exposure, color, focus, and major digital camera modes, and gives advice on choosing a digital camera. I imagine I will outgrow this chapter fairly quickly once I learn these basics, but it will be a wonderful reference in the meantime.
Next she goes into actually setting up your shot, touching on composition, background choice, and props---elements that will be dealt with more thoroughly later. Then comes an excellent chapter on do-it-yourself camera accessories: how to make your own light tent, light box, reflector, flash diffuser, seamless background, and even tripod (in a pinch). These pages are referred back to in the following chapters.
A book like this is really hard to organize, and somewhere along the line the choice was made to separate the crafts from each other so entrepreneurs can look up their specific category and have all the information they need in one place. The problem with this method is that there are many similarities when photographing products that come out of various disciplines, which leads to repetition and omission. Some techniques that would be useful when shooting bags, say, are only given in the section on books.
Furthermore, although the categories dealt with in this section are given at the beginning of the section and in the table of contents, they are only given a colored band in the header of the first page and the footer of every odd-numbered page to differentiate them from each other. Given that the choice was made to divide the crafts into separate chapters, I would have appreciated large chapter titles announcing the categories.
Each of these chapters includes FAQs and an interview of a crafter in the respective discipline who takes beautiful and successful photos. The FAQs were well thought out, but I found the interviews less helpful because they mostly reiterated tips found elsewhere in the book. I can see how some people might appreciate reading about real people learning or discovering these things for themselves, though, and seeing the photos that resulted. All the photos in this book are taken by crafters, with credits that not only cite crafter and craft, but camera and settings as well!
The final section of the book contained a nice surprise---extremely useful tutorials on editing essentials, image handling, and optimization. Again, I hope I'll outgrow these chapters soon, but in the meantime I'll really enjoy knowing they're at the back of this book.
The final chapter on business advice provided a nice wrap-up, even though I already knew most of the information it conveyed. The glossary is also helpful, though it omits some terms like "in situ" and "MDF board."
If you have stuff to photograph, whether or not you made it yourself or plan to sell it, you should take a look at this book. If you know a lot about photography, see whether your library carries it. You may learn something new about styling or props.
But if you're a novice like me, you may want to purchase this book and refer to it frequently. Lots of information, effectively presented.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed a copy of The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos from her library. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Interweave Press or Heidi Adnum.
My daughter made cookies again last night, for her dance teachers. There's a recital tomorrow and we bought some plastic jars to put the cookies in to give the teachers as gifts. Well, the teachers who aren't getting a beautiful hand-knit scarf with a homemade sachet get jars.
These cookies contain Ghirardelli chocolate chips. These chips stay softer than mainstream chocolate chips, but the only difference in the ingredients is they contain real vanilla as opposed to vanillin (artificial vanilla flavoring). The history of vanillin manufacture is interesting and worth a click on the link, but I'm just going to tell you that these days it's synthesized from petrochemicals. I stock my spice cupboard with fair trade vanilla, and I've been avoiding vanillin since I heard it was made from paper making byproducts (we pass a paper plant on the way to a friend's house and boy is it stinky!) but petrochemicals are even worse.
Anyway, I bought the Ghirardelli chips because I knew Hershey and Nestle use child slavery in their supply chain. But then I wrote Ghirardelli to see if they were any better. I think they might be, but it's hard to tell whether there's anything substantial behind all their talk. Here's an extract from their 2012 annual report.
Loop-d-Loop by Teva Durham, photography by Adrian Buckmaster, pub. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2005.
This is the first book in the Loop-d-Loop series. I have already reviewed a sequel, Loop-d-Loop Lace. Both books are organized much like the magazine Vogue Knitting, where Teva worked as staff editor for a while. There's a gallery of images at the beginning of each chapter, followed by the patterns.
This method has its drawbacks when the patterns are not accompanied by sufficient photography, but whoever did the layout for these books did an admirable job of ensuring that photos of the most crucial pieces of each design were included for the knitter's reference. Nonetheless, I often found myself flipping to the instructions (the pattern page numbers are included in the gallery by their respective photos) because of something in Teva's provocative text. I do appreciate the ability to glance through each chapter's designs and to see them next to each other, but it's a mixed blessing.
The designs themselves are gorgeous, larger than life, each fully committed to the exploration of one technique. The puff sleeve bolero celebrates the ability of knitters to shape the fabric as they work (as opposed to tailors who must cut and sew). Teva uses at least three different shaping techniques in this virtuosic piece.
I also love the yoke vest, another exercise in shaping. Originally developed for boutique production, its bulky gauge makes for quick knitting and the full-fashioning marks make it obvious that the piece was knit by hand.
Another outstanding design is the bobble u-neck, which features bobbles the size of meatballs.
Those designs and a dozen others are part of the first chapter, "Cycles---Explorations in Circular Knitting: Tubes, Spirals, and Round Shapes." The next chapter, "Planes---Adventures in Texture, Stitch Patterns, and Directional Construction," includes demure sweaters, charming children's clothes, and costumey blouses that somehow look like they all came from the same designer's imagination.
The yarn-over steek vest features a giant uncut wound steek up the front. Many of Teva's designs make use of bulky yarn in engaging ways and would not look the same done at a smaller gauge.
Unfortunately, the use of bulky yarns makes it hard to size up by changing yarn weight, and the given range of sizes is quite limited---most of these sweaters only come in two or three sizes, and only one size for the hats.
Chapter 3 is entitled "Waves---Experiments in Color, Pattern, and Composition," and contains a pattern for the most charming hooded capelet, shaped with yarn-overs.
Instructions for the designs pictured below are also in this chapter: fair isle patterning worked on the bias or with short rows, a color block sweater done with zippers instead of intarsia, and a child's sweater worked from the center out. With these and the other patterns in this chapter, Teva unleashed her imagination from tradition. But her design sensibility kept close watch on its wild scamperings and made sure, for instance, that the sleeves of the fair isle short-row pullover matched the body, though that meant they wouldn't match each other.
Unless you plan to use this solely as a coffee table book (where it would not be out of place), I suggest you download the errata page (depending on which edition you have) since many previous reviewers have found errors in the patterns. There don't seem to be too many errata compared to other recent books, but errors can be frustrating to encounter, especially when unexpected (as they usually are).
With this book, Teva seems to have bridged the gap between high fashion and practical knitwear. Some of the garments which appear to show off too much skin are actually vests.
Most if not all of the models in this book are actually friends and relatives of the designer. Photographer Adrian Buckmaster worked well with stylist Kristin Petliski and hair and makeup artist Angela Huff to make them look like professionals.
This book is an absorbing study of the possibilities of design---of limitation as well as freedom. It's visually stunning and artistically revealing.
I can hardly wait to see what Teva comes up with next.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed a copy of Loop-d-Loop from her library. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Stewart, Tabori & Chang or Teva Durham.
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