Friday, 30 May 2014
The British Royals have long been associated with knitting. As I've written before, Queen Victoria had a huge impact on the craft's popularity because her own love of knitting turned what had until her reign been a folk craft for the working class into an domestic art that every properly brought up Victorian girl was taught as a matter of course. In the twenties, then Prince of Wales Edward sported fair isle sweaters, which turned a relatively obscure regional craft into a must-have collegiate and sportswear style in the twenties and then into a classic knitwear staple they've been ever since. During World War II, then Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret set a royal example when they were photographed knitting for the war effort. More recently, when the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting Prince George, she caused a minor uproar on knitting media by casually mentioning to someone she was trying to learn to knit in order to make some things for her baby. So it's only fitting that the patron family of knitting should be paid tribute... in knitting. Fiona Goble has published a book on how to created a knitted recreation of William and Kate's wedding, and there's even video of all these knitted characters and corgis in action.
And then there's a gem of a book called Royal Knits: Designer Knitting for the Monarchy and Monarchists, by Nicolette McGuire. Published in 1987, it is now out of print, though with some determined effort you may be able to track down a secondhand copy. The cover, as shown above, depicts one of its patterns, a knitted replica of the Royal Navy uniform that is customarily worn by the Windsor men at royal weddings.
If you have a corgi or similarly small dog ruling over your household, you can give it the royal treatment by knitting it a cushion, a collar, a coat, and set of wellies.
If you think corgis are cute but can't bear the thought of having to listen to them yap, these corgi slippers may be for you.
You can also raise your self-esteem by creating your own set of crown jewels.
Alternatively, you can elevate the seat of power in your home by turning it into a truly royal throne. Presumably you can reverse the way the feet face depending on whether your household is a kingdom or a queendom.
This book also includes patterns for a one-piece twinset and pearls; orb egg cosies, crown egg Cosies, napkin rings, bacon, egg and sausage, oven mitt; a shooting jerkin and game bag; a dress sporran, fish sporran, and camouflage sporran; a tiara and Order of the Garter, a flying jacket, flying scarf with a smile, and flying helmet; a mess jacket and commander's jacket; and Gordon Highlanders Hat, and a Trooping the Colour Hat.
After all, when we knitters pay tribute to the British Royals, we need not be too reverential about it.
Friday, 8 November 2013
Once upon a time, these "skants" were posted to Etsy by one of their vendors. Yes, that's a sweater being worn as a putative combined pants and skirt (pants + skirt = skants), and this unique one-of-a-kind piece was offered for sale to some lucky Etsy buyer for a mere $780(USD). The marvellous and sadly now defunct site Regretsy (which, if you've never heard of it, existed for the sole purpose of making fun of Etsy's more ridiculous listings and twee excesses) did a post about it that spawned something of a meme. Many Regretsy readers sent Regretsy owner April Winchell wonderful pictures of themselves posing in their own skants, which they had "made" from whatever sweaters they had sitting about.
I only wish I could link to the skants posts on Regretsy, which if I remember correctly had me laughing until tears streamed down my face. Alas, Regretsy is gone and we're left with only a scattering of photos to remind us of all its crazy former glory. I remember this one as being one of my favourite Regretsy reader skants photos. And I just had to post it for the benefit of my American readers, whose Thanksgiving celebrations are in the offing. Why create some time-intensive, tasteful Martha Stewart-esque centrepiece no one will even notice when you can do something like this that your family will remember for years to come?
Though we no longer have Regretsy, we do have knitting designer Steven West, who has taken up the skants baton by taking them to the next evolutionary level and calling them "swants". West's swants are not quite like their predecessor skants. Unlike skants, swants involve some sewing, and feature a crotch. West has posted a tutorial on how to make your own swants on his website. He's also posted a video of the swants-wearing Westknits Fun Squad demonstrating how one should wear swants to the tune of "On and Ever Onward", by The Dirty Projectors and Bjork.
If you should get inspired and proceed to make your own skants or swants, be sure to link to a picture of you modelling them either here in the comments or on this blog's Facebook page, so that we can be sure this brave new crafting direction is getting the level of workmanship and respect it deserves.
Saturday, 21 September 2013
Mimi had been told she was going to her friend Cathie's birthday party, and that it would be fun, but when she got to the party she found everything was lit with a weird red light, she couldn't find Cathie anywhere, and that there was a terrifying clown present who kept telling her she had to marry him.
Two of the other children at the party, Jenna and Alex, hadn't seen Cathie either, but the dancing scarecrow hypnotized them into believing that they were having a wonderful time.
Richard and his little sister Juliet had been told that the donkey piñata was full of an extra special candy that would make them feel very, very relaxed and very, very happy.
Brenna and Scott thought the Cat Man was probably joking when he told them he'd eat them if they stopped smiling, but they weren't taking any chances.
Meanwhile, birthday girl Cathie was in a strange blue lit room with her older sister Ava, playing a weird game of "hide the carrot" with the Bunny Man. She would never have forgiven her parents for this birthday party but for the fact that the "special candy" from the donkey piñata was to erase all memory of it.
Sunday, 8 September 2013
Betty's mother was sure that if all those mean children at school really knew her daughter, they'd stop being so mean to her. So she knitted Betty a sweater with her name on it, to help her get acquainted with the other children. After all, everyone knew how kind children are.
All the other mothers on Sarah Ann's block were satisfied with just making matching mother daughter outfits, but Sarah Ann's mother was always an overachiever.
Sometimes Natasha's parents felt a little afraid of their child. They weren't quite sure why, but maybe it had something to do with how furniture tended to move around by itself, or burst into flames, whenever Natasha gazed at it in a especially intent way, or the way a really high percentage of her babysitters had died in some horrific and statistically improbable way.
When Natasha got older and her parents sent her outside to play, the other children would burst out crying and run home at the sight of her, and their parents would later complain that Natasha was giving everyone in their household nightmares about black mists, maniacal laughter, and distorted faces outside their bedroom windows. Natasha's parents gave up even trying to send Natasha outside when they noticed that the elderly women on the street were crossing themselves as she walked by.
Natasha's parents thought giving Natasha a sibling might help with some of her problems, but things only seemed to get worse after they adopted Lucifer.
Tierney's mother had always known her husband was budget-conscious, but the day he said their daughter didn't need a new sweater because he could make one by stapling their bathmat together was the day she realized he was a hopeless tightwad, and that it was time she took a stand before Tierney started believing her father was normal. Or someone slipped on the bathroom floor.
Despite all the money Rochester and Heathcliff's parents had spent on their clarinet lessons, the boys still had to be forced to attend band rehearsals and to practice. Their mother hoped dressing the boys in some hip, music-themed outfits would help them learn to love making music.
Sometimes Morris liked to take Morris Jr. out for walks and give him pointers on how to be a man. He was gratified to see that Junior had already absorbed some of the finer points of manliness, such as how to dress.
Dora had begged for a pet dog so long that she was thrilled to finally have been given one for Christmas, and she had even gotten matching accessories. But she was slowly coming to the realization that maybe there wasn't something quite right about Loopy the Poodle. Her parents had told her he needed to sleep a lot, but surely he couldn't really be sleeping 100% of the time?
"Remember Barbie, dressing like a little lady means wearing gloves. And hemlines so high you can't sit down without everyone seeing England and France."
Sunday, 25 August 2013
Oliver always liked to have a nice studio portrait taken of him and Peaches to use on their Christmas cards. Peaches could only be thankful that this year's shot wasn't as bad as that of the last three years. She was still planning on knocking over and breaking the 8" x 10" framed photo Oliver put in the living room as usual.
Sometimes it had been too long between brushings and Jasper couldn't bear to face the world.
"Can you take me back to the shelter, pleeeeease? Or just abandon me on the side of the road somewhere. At this point, I'm not picky."
Lavinia's person had a passion for Edwardiana and liked to dress Lavinia up in lace. Lavinia yakked up a hairball on said lace as often as possible.
After getting his new hamster house, Scritchy mentally made out his to do list for the day:
1) Sleep in house all day.
2) Eat house at night.
3) Bite owner while she was cleaning up the resulting blue droppings.
Lucky had always felt he was a lion trapped in a cat's body.
Anna had taken the phrase "purse dog" a little more literally than Mickey thought necessary.
"Maybe I shouldn't have peed on her last four boyfriends."
Nothing made Sprig and Sprog feel closer than wearing their matching sweaters. Unless it was sniffing each other's butts.
"Turn me into a Koopa, will you? I am totally hitting 'reset' on your game the next time you play Super Mario."
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Dan Bergstein may not know how to knit, but he can make a how-to-knit video because he has a videocam and a YouTube account and it's a free country and all that. Check out Knitting 101 for instructions on how to make a scarf the Dan Bergstein way, and for Dan's words of wisdom, which include, "It's okay to pull real hard, cause it's yarn. Yarn can't feel pain," and, "We're not making mistakes; we're making experiences."
Sunday, 7 July 2013
This is the "Dirndl Plaid Suspender Skirt", designed by Pauline Denham, circa 1965. It's for the woman who wants to recapture those schoolgirl days by wearing a hideously unflattering version of her school uniform. But these are very specific schoolgirl days we're talking about. These are not "prom queen who dated the hot football captain" schoolgirl days, or "brainy school newspaper editor with a cute and witty boyfriend" days, or "wild girl who dated the bad boys and got suspended for smoking pot behind the gym", or even "average girl who dated the usual gamut of boys and in between times had lots of fun with her friends". No, these are "awkward dork girl who was too bashful to make friends, spent the night of every school dance alone in her room crying and writing shitty poetry and eventually succumbed to the overtures of her pervy English teacher until she could no longer hide her pregnancy under the bulkiest of skirts and he got arrested for statutory rape" days.
I really don't know why anyone would want to revisit those memories, but the way to do it is with a qualified counsellor, not with, let alone in, this knitting project. And don't even get me started on the psychological motivation behind that Marcia Brady hairstyle.
Thursday, 28 February 2013
I've been seeing this... creation.... in my random image Googles search results for awhile now. I thought it was one of those runway creations that are purely for spectacle. Turns out this a knitted wedding dress from Yves Saint Laurent's Fall/Winter 1965 collection.
I have no idea if anyone actually bought into this idea and wore this in her wedding. It looks like a wedding dress version of the burqa, one that daringly shows the face as a tantalizing preview of the wedding night. I suppose the one good thing about this design is that the bride will not only feel any need to diet for her wedding day, but that she'll feel it's a sign that she can eat all the creamsicles she wants.
But this is one of those designs that make me feel designers really are actually fucking with us and trying to find out just how much we'll pay them to make us look like idiots. I mean... this is more than a little phallic, isn't it? Mightn't that be a subtle clue of some sort?
Saturday, 23 February 2013
That is not actually a piece of bacon, but a scarf knitted or crocheted to look disturbingly and alarmingly like bacon. Perfect for the unapologetic carnivore in your life! The chart is available from Monster Crochet for $5.
Friday, 15 February 2013
If you're tired of all the Valentine's Day togetherness crap, you can always knit your partner this. It'll give him night sweats and a rash and make him so tortuously overheated he'll refuse to snuggle with you, much less do anything more. For that matter it'll be pretty much impossible for the two of you to do anything more, unless that Y-front is more functional than it looks. As a bonus, if you put flannel sheets on the bed he'll light up the room with sparks of static electricity every time he turns over. You can't lose.
Coming up: My review of the Interweave Knits Spring 2013 issue is set to release tomorrow morning!
Thursday, 24 January 2013
I suppose this laptop-viewing sweater is one way to make sure that pesky real life events (i.e., your kids are playing with the electrical outlet, or your spouse announcing a decision to divorce you), doesn't distract you from your oh-so-important video game or internet chat or porn. But upon reflection you might prefer to knit your laptop its own little Irish cabled sweater so as to be able to store your laptop snugly away and do a little more living in the real world.
Friday, 21 December 2012
Holy Taco has put together a slideshow of 25 of the most disturbing knitting projects ever (do take care when and where you view this, as much of it is NSFW).
The slideshow is even more disturbing than the Holy Taco editors think, though not for the reasons they imagine, because I don't think there are more than nine actual knitting projects in that slideshow at the most. The other items are crocheted, or consist of just strands or skeins of yarn. This kind of thing is common, however. Whenever I do any googling involving the word "knitting", at least 20% of the search results items are crocheted.
Thursday, 29 November 2012
The Family that Struggles with Abject Self-Hatred, Robs Convenience Stores, Bakes Pies, and Tries to Destroy One Another's Life Work Together, Stays Together
There are so many things wrong with these patterns and with the staging of this photo that I hardly know where to start, but do you want to know what I find MOST disturbing about this knitting booklet? That it was written by Meg Swansen. That's right, Meg Swansen: daughter of master knitter and knitting designer Elizabeth Zimmermann; renowned designer, author and knitting teacher; long-time columnist in Vogue Knitting; owner of Schoolhouse Press, a well-known publishing company specializing in knitting books; and administrator of a knitting camp in Wisconsin.
Perhaps this booklet was written during a rebellious phase, when Swansen got into dropping acid and said, "All right, Mother, I'll show you. I will knit, but only for the purpose of destroying knitting."
Saturday, 10 November 2012
This isn't one of those vintage knitting patterns one drools over and that makes one reflect on some supposed decline in craftsmanship or aesthetics. This is one of those knitting patterns one has to view in the proper historical context: as the perfect thing for a miserable, Valium-addicted housewife to make her closeted gay husband. I understand these "string vests", also known as "Norwegian string vests" because they were first invented by a Norwegian Army Commandant in 1933, supposedly have heating and cooling properties, because they trap air between the meshes. My guess is they also work well as a form of birth control, because if a man strips down in front of a woman and she sees him wearing this, he isn't getting any.
Now this is the type of vintage pattern one drools over. It's utter perfection. This pattern is from a 1930's Patons Beehive booklet. I'm planning on making this one myself and have bought a PDF of this pattern online and some hand-dyed merino yarn in shades of teal and green for the purpose. I like the idea of making a thirties pattern in a very contemporary-style yarn.