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C.O.L.O.R. Tuesday May 17, 2011

A few short weeks ago (March 30?), I was wishing for COLOR! And, if truth be told: warmth.

Everywhere you looked, there was grey, drab concrete and dirt. The City, on State St. filled the streetside plots with loads and loads of colored sticks. I was thankful, sort of, but a little mystified…

Well. You know what they say! Be careful for what you wish for – and I’m happy to report that 1/2 of the wish has come true:

NOW the sticks make sense! You can see them peaking through the Main Event: hundreds and hundreds of tulips – and lovely deep blue pansies at their hem.

The sticks are like giant curl-licious exclamation points. I hear them saying: “It’s Spring, it’s sprung!” as they reach for the sky.

A big tip’o’the hat to the folks who design these lovely public installations. Chicago has some of the finest landscape architects that transform our downtown sidewalks and neighborhood boulevards into wonderful urban gardens (except for that Gilligan’s Island thingie)…

But the other half? Not so much: it is still chill-ee here, so much so, that instead of sitting near some lovely flowers at a streetside cafe, I was in the coffeehouse (but enjoying a view all the same).

Still a lovely view, and my sweater, it’s growing…

Monday Morning Mirth May 16, 2011

Monday Morning Mirth

Chic Knits Knitting PatternsOver the weekend, we worked on some of the pictures from our recent photoshoot of VONICA…

Lots of you wrote in asking about “those shoes”.

Hee! So here’s the lovely slippers in all their glory! Our lovely model brought them from home – she’d gotten them as a gift from a friend who’d traveled to Europe where they were found in an open-air market.

Rest for the Wicked May 10, 2011

While moving some furniture around this weekend and taking stuff off the floor for a good spring cleaning, something popped up on a table after hiding for a good while behind a chair.

My Workbasket.

Apparently, in the early morning dark dark early spring hours, gremlins have been piling it high with all sorts of sweaters! Cotton sweaters (2). Wool Sweaters (3). Wool/alpaca sweater (1).

Six lovely garments meant for the wardrobe of moi. Six lovely garments that have taken about 300% longer than they should because, well it’s personal. Personal Wardrobe always is last in line at Studio Chic! ;p

I’ll admit that actually half of these are prototypes for working designs, designs that will be released; in fact, that’s how most Studio Chic sweater styles get on the needles. I wake up with a burning desire to “go shopping” and have something new to wear. Of course, this is all in my head, so the “shopping” is really a process that can take months and months of sketching, swatching, and sampling.

Some styles have taken up to six swatches or more to really get going. It is not uncommon to get to a 20-25% finish on the beginning garment, then go back to the drawing board because a stitch or shaping or edge becomes insistent on being included (or excluded).

The built-in edges and finishes that are so enticing to me lately require lots of hand-holding, so to speak. That neckband that flows around the slope of one area into another has to respect proportion and really integrate into the big picture of the entire piece. That’s usually not a one-shot exercise but as they say, practice makes perfect, or at least shines in the attempt.

Some feature a technique, that in the working, requires a level of concentration and daring that might not appeal to any but those willing to suspend disbelief. One would have to just do what the pattern says and believe it or not, and sometimes that’s really hard. We all have preconceived notions of what a sweater should be, what a pattern should do – and when I get an email that says, “I’ve been knitting for 50 years and I’ve never seen that before!” I know I’m on the right track, although sometimes I have to duck. ;p

So, a couple of these are in a time out, while I decide if the message itself will be lost in translation.

Some, one in particular, are really elegant, but require a lot of backend development to become a simple and graceful compostion of style. It’s what’s called making it look easy – and I guess that’s what it’s all about – removing the obstacles to the heart of the matter so one can just knit and not fuss.

The Remaining are clean, elementary styles, that just need finishing, in one area or another. One has sat in the basket for months, just needing the front band bound off and two sleeves sewn in. This might come in handy later this year – I want to demonstrate how to set in a sleeve at a meeting and VOILA! I have an example all ready to go.

Another is a version of a simple DK cardigan (like this one) but it’s the prototype, the sample, the first in what I hope to be a whole pile of cardigans in my closet. It went into an extended hiatus when I finished one sleeve and realized a small change would make a better fit, so the second sleeve is different and the first needs a reknit. For some reason, I like to look at this sweater and its silly sleeves; it gives me a great sense of accomplishment to realize I bit the bullet and re-designed but also a little sense of gloom knowing I’d be done with it if I knew what I knew later. I actually want to wear that sweater Right Now. Hmm.

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