Monday, September 12, 2011

Dreaming of.... Santorini

I have wished that I could visit Santorini for a very long time. I like to tell myself that someday I might go there on a honeymoon, or at least a romantic vacation, but either of those is probably a long way off, so for now, or until I can save up enough money to go myself, I tend just to look at pictures and sigh. At least for a few moments, I'm somewhere relaxing and lovely.

Friday, September 9, 2011

NYFW From Afar - Vena Cava

I wish I could go to New York Fashion Week. It's in my list of 'made its' - as in, I will have 'made it', when I can do the things on the list. Or at least some of the things on the list. (Commission a pair of Hetty Rose shoes, get a french manicure whenever I feel like it, etc. Some are small goals, others quite a bit larger.) When I get invited to NYFW, it will be a big check off my 'made it' list.

As for now, like most everyone else in the industry, I will be watching the spring fashion develop from afar, while my own personal wardrobe finds me more occupied with planning how to stay warm in below-zero temps. C'est la vie, non? So far, my favorite show is the Vena Cava collection. I love how it feels spring, but still polished and interesting. I am especially excited about the fabrics and structures of the pieces, and the suggestion that the graphic shapes we're seeing emerge in fall trends (not necessarily ones that started on the runway) are planning to stay next season. That gives me a lot of hope, as it will be 'spring' in Iowa well before we see any weather warm enough to wear a dress without a cardigan or scarf.

Sisicata - Fashion Friday

Sisicata is a Polish jewelry designer who makes things mostly with resin. There are many good things about resin - it's cheap to produce, it preserves things suspended in it, it's clear - and a few not-so-good things about resin, too. It's not biodegradable (at all), and if you wear a piece that is really close to your skin on a hot day you are going to sweat against it like you did wearing jellies in the fourth grade. My mom never let me buy jellies in the fourth grade, so maybe that's why I have this weird love of plastic jewelry (and, occasionally, plastic shoes....)

The juxtaposition of resin in these pieces with natural 'found' objects makes them interesting and balances them out from feeling to much like plastic. I feel like a single, well-loved resin piece would be okay, right? I love the pendant earrings especially much!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Inspired By.... Donna Wilson, Annie Larson

I am loving funky, colorful, fair isle and stripes for Fall. I will seriously be making sweaters and accessories inspired by two queens of color: Donna Wilson and Annie Larson. Annie's brand, 'All for Everyone', focuses on crazy pattern pairings that equal up to some pretty rad ensembles. I love her use of geometric shapes and more traditional patterns, like knitted lice and bicolor ribbing. I could imagine some little Latvian braids stuck in there, and plenty of pom-poms. I do love me some pom-poms.

Donna's work is a little more calm, but no less awesome. I have been swooning over these mittens since I first saw them on Pinterest - look through her online catalogue for even more knitty awesome. All in all, anything by either designer is going to be time-consuming to make, but won't it be fun to pick out colors and mix them together into a neat pattern? When I do it, I'll be sure to release the charts for you guys to play around with, too!

Monday, September 5, 2011

No-Labor Day

I've had a really lovely weekend. Knitting on my Inspira Cowl is a refreshing break from the cardigan I've almost finished, and it means that I can completely ignore the sweater I have languishing on waste yarn upstairs, begging me just to sew in the ends and graft the underarms, choosing instead to focus on a slow and steady purl bump progression of color. I've also been paging through two really excellent books. After just finishing Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, I was ready for a little realistic reading, and have been indulging in learning a new interest - canning and preserving - and seeing someone else's viewpoint of another - a knitting book written by the fantastic Jane Brocket.

I already owned two of Jane's books - The Gentle Art of Domesticity, The Gentle Art of Quilting - both of which were excellent reads, useful informational books, and a look into the modern-day world of a well-loved crafter and photographer. Jane has a way of writing that makes you feel as if she is your friend just around the corner, and she has extended this writing from her blog to three books, the latest of which is The Gentle Art of Knitting. While I adored the first two books, I will say that the third is certainly geared more towards a beginning or casual knitter. You won't find any patterns in here that you won't be able to work out yourself. But that's not what I read her books for anyway. I read them for the feeling I get while reading them - as if the time you're reading is sunny, and calm, and you could curl up on the couch or in your favorite chair and have an afternoon to yourself.

Recently, mostly due to some of my Twitter friends' obsession, and my own obsession with Pinterest, I have developed a strong desire to pickle and preserve my own food. I relish the idea (pun intended), of filling my imaginary larder with beans, jellies, jams, spreads, chutneys and pickles, to enjoy well into the deep winter of Iowa. Something about living in Iowa especially spurs my desire to do these things - winter here recalls some deep mental connection to my great-great-grandmother, who rode in a covered wagon to Montana and lived in a sod house, quilting, knitting, and canning her way through summer to last through the cold winter. I suppose since the quilting and knitting have come my way, the food preservation desire was only a matter of time.

I picked up the book Well Preserved, by Eugenia Bone, at a local Borders' going out of business sale. I got it half-off and figured that, if nothing else, I'd cheaply discover that canning and food preservation aren't within my budget or abilities. I have only just started this book, but it seems very thorough and at least an interesting read. And it's perfect for sitting on the porch under a lightweight blanket as the air is turning towards fall.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall, Fast Approaching

Have any of you thought of what your fall wardrobes are going to look towards this year? If you're like me, you already have plenty of use-able clothes, so you can only afford to add a piece here and there, either through knitting it yourself or purchasing frugally. Here are my top 5 things I'll be adding to my wardrobe this fall:

1. A squooshy, simple, pullover. I think I first came to this idea after seeing the picture featured, by the LLYMLRS' blog, on Lolly's Pinterest. I love the idea of spending my fall and winter wrapped up in a cozy pullover, with layered long-sleeve t-shirts and skinny jeans, sitting on my couch or in class. I plan on knitting a couple of my own out of yarn from my stash. I know I have some Malabrigo and some Cascade 220 sitting around!

 2. A pair of brown, flat, riding-style boots. I have a pair of black heeled boots that are suede, and while suede is really great for fall and I love the boots, they just don't carry over into winter very well. Here in the Midwest, it snows a lot, sometimes in a very short time, and it's better to have a boot that has a bit of traction, some water-resistance (when you add the leather protector), and is a neutral, wardrobe-complimenting color. I have had my eye on a couple different styles - which ones do you like best? I'm a size 7 so I have this fear of looking like my feet are long and banana-esque. UO boots, Clarks Indigos, Intyce by Steve Madden

3. New leggings. I wear black leggings like none other, in the fall especially. I wear them with dresses, skirts, long tunic tops, but I get tired of them being so thin the wind goes through them. Last year, I bought a pair that were thick and actually sweater knitted, but they had a tendency to stretch out and had to be washed often (never a good thing for black pants).

This year, I want to buy a pair of Pixie Pants from J.Crew - they're actual, structured, thick pants. They have fastenings, so I never need to feel bad about wearing them in public. They will never be revealing, and they probably won't stretch out very quickly. Plus, they will be way warmer than any other 'legging' I have owned. And they'll go great with my black boots, or more structured booties.

4. A single pair of neutral flats. For the same reason that the boots will be more coverage in winter, I need a pair of flats that will carry me into fall and early winter (before the snow), hold up, and match almost everything. I'd also like them to be comfortable, affordable, and visually interesting. I was lucky enough to find several styles I like, all under $100. Believe it or not, one of the styles that I like best is made by Crocs. Yes, the so-ugly-they're-like-wearing-pjs-in-public brand. I hate Crocs as much as I hate seeing the word 'Pink' stretched across someone's behind. That's a lot of dislike people. A lot. But these are cute, huh? I also loved the other shoes pictured: J. JillCrocs, AnthropologieUO

5. My go-to nail color for fall. This has already been decided - I fell in love with the look of neutral, shiny nails in Funny Girl - she wears a long pair of fakes the entire movie. While I don't love fake nails or super-long ones, personally, I think that it looked so chic and polished. I immediately ran to the drugstore and picked up Essie's Buy Me a Cameo, and I can't wait for it to be my signature color this winter. I only hope to look as polished as Ms. Striesand wearing it!