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REDUX: Suffragette City Part One January 29, 2013

…Lately, we’ve been getting some requests for some writing we did last year about a global phenom: DOWNTON ABBEY. While we’re away, busy getting ready for the Long Beach TNNA show, we thought you might enjoy a redux…


Like millions of viewers around the globe, I seem to be in thrall to something kind of unexpected. Even though I consider myself to be a stone cold Citizen of the 21st, I am mesmerized by the tale of an upper-crust family, their army of servants, but most of all their Lifestyle.

And, it didn’t occur to me, until I was watching the premiere episode of Downton Abbey Season 2 this last Sunday, that all of this mighty foo fa rah actually takes place almost One Hundred years ago.

The Crawleys, et all, are languishing in the complications of high and low culture in 1916.

AND yet.

Into the mix comes the Modern.

For me, that’s the ultimate fascination.

Along with the estate (overwhelmingly HUGE), the sets (impeccably drawn), and all the details of life above and below stairs, something interesting bubbles right below the surface of it all.

The Fashion.

And here, in an intriguing and subtle way, we see the most important sub-plot of all: that while women were claiming their right to vote, the female wardrobe finally evolved into something mobile and wearable and yes, arrestable.

Even though it’s a slow trickle down into the older generations, the Crawley Sisters go dashing onto the Runway! From shorter, simpler dresses (at least in the daytime!) to pantaloons, it’s full-speed ahead.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear:

VOILA! Enter 20th Century Knitwear. Worn by Sybil Crawley. At the chilly breakfast table.

And suddenly, it’s good-bye Shawls; hello Sweaters!

Seeing this made me remember something and I went running – I possessed (from my wild and crazy flea-marketing days) some very, very old craft magazines, from right around this time.

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Now this, although it’s titled an “Embroidery Book” is really much much more.

Just like Ethel Parks, Housemaid, who often enjoys a magazine or two in her free time, this is a multi-function tome for the masses.

We have:

Chic Knits Knitting Blog

which could be one of the 1st mass-distributed reality-shows-as pitch platform, where everything from wardrobe to relationships is dished with the product solving Everything!

Dear Diary:
I decided to wear my organdie to the dance. I do hope that none of the girls remember it from last year. That new sash may help. Do men ever remember dresses, Diary? Jimmy will be there with Edith Williams. Always Edith Williams. Oh, if I only had some becoming clothes!

And maybe, Ethel daydreamed a little while she was making the Mistresses’ bed:

Chic Knits Knitting Blog

Of course, the Mistress embroidered all the “Lovelies” and Ethel just put them in their place, but one can’t help wondering if maybe Ethel and maybe her friends, styled themselves as well:

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But what about that sweater? Looks almost like it could be from Top Shop, no?!

Stay tuned for more masterpiece ahead

…all in the series:
– Suffragette City Part 1
– Suffragette City Part 2
– Suffragette City Part 3
– Suffragette City Part 4
– Suffragette City Part 5
– Suffragette City Part 6

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Monday Morning Mirth January 28, 2013

It’s Monday! And it’s time for a little party…

One of our most beloved authors is Jane Austin and one of our very favorite stories is her Pride and Prejudice…

Today is the 200th Anniversary of this incredible novel of high culture meeting modern hearts and here at Studio Chic Knits we Celebrate Romance with a little number named after another of her amazing heroines:
Chic Knits Miss Dashwood

Chic Knits Miss Dashwood

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Pattern: Chic Knits *Miss Dashwood*
Gauge: 20 sts/28 rows over 4″
Needles: #6

This lovely lace shrug is named, but of course, after Elinor Dashwood, who, like many of Austen’s women, embodies someone who is tied to cultural propriety yet in the end, is shaped by the authentic passionate heart.


Happy Anniversary, Miss Austen, and happy knitting! :)

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Pocketing a miracle January 4, 2013

Freezing temps have landed in the PacNW valleys and it’s the perfect time to wrap up some cozy finishing. There’s nothing like having a built-in lap blanket to ward off the chill.

Now, this particular project, in the knitting, was easy and care free: simple stitch pattern, simple design, top-down set-in sleeves (!).

Kind of “the wheels on the bus go round-n-round” kind of knitting…

But now, even though there isn’t much to do but slip-stitch some parts and weave-in the ends, it’s taken some scheduling to do.

I had to make a date with my UMA.

It had to be a brunch date; around 10am or later because

it’s very dark out – a lot –

And even with my trusty elbow-lamp hovering in a comfortable glow, sewing BLACK YARN parts together is MADNESS…

But when you’re so close to the finish line that you’ll wear it around the house with strings hanging any way (yes, guilty), it’s time to go there:

the Sewing of the Pockets 2013 Style

Chic Knits UMA

To keep things nice and tidy while I’m busy stitching, I secure the top of the pocket on the RS with a couple of safety pins. This style of pocket has a knit-in band, with the pocket lining knit after the body of the sweater is done, on the WS. It’s my favorite – very flush and neat.

Chic Knits UMA

Since the Finishing Muse is a fickle mistress, this is a fast and furious event. Usually, the pocket linings would have enjoyed a steam pressing but today, we live dangerously.

So we go, pinning the pocket to the body, and it’s pretty easy with the Uma design – there’s noticeable ridges to follow as guidelines, so really it just looks wicked.

Chic Knits UMA

Now, we sew.

I always include an edge stitch on things that need seaming. Then, in the sewing, you use one outer leg of one edge and slip-stich it to the outer leg of the other edge, or in this case, the little loop that lives between a knit stitch, the almost invisible one. If this wasn’t black yarn (!), I would hazard a CU of the join but today, we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.


Chic Knits UMA

Is it just me, or is this almost merged into one? Perhaps my eyes deceive – staring at the dark yarn even in daylight sort of makes my head spin!

But now the fun begins – just a few ends, a warm sudsy dunk, and we have the first FO of 2013~!

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